How to Major in Photography

Pursuing a college degree in photography can lead to a rewarding, life-long career. Whether shooting pictures as a photojournalist, working as a commercial photographer or specializing in fine arts photography, potential students must understand what to expect when pursuing photography as a major. In addition to choosing colleges that offer photography degrees, those majoring in the field must focus on developing skills while learning the history, science, art and basics of digital and traditional photography. When learning how to major in photography, it is important for potential students to know what to expect when working towards a degree in the art of photography.


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    Decide on your goals for a future career in photography. This will give you direction as you select the type of degree you will pursue.
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    Choose a college that offers a major in photography based on what type of degrees the college offers, such as a major in art with an emphasis in photography or a major in photography.
    • Your choice will depend on the future career you want to pursue. For example, if you want to be a news photographer, you will need to focus on photojournalism. If you plan to be a portrait photographer, you will need a degree with an emphasis on commercial photography.
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    Visit the college you choose to be sure it offers a photography lab with plenty of darkroom space and well-maintained equipment. This will be key to pursuing a major in photography.
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    Apply to the college making sure to provide all paperwork and information requested by the institution, including school transcripts, application and portfolio of photographs you have taken.
    • Make sure you have all necessary educational prerequisites to begin your major in photography.
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    For example, most colleges require a high school diploma and a photo portfolio before starting photography coursework.
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    Select classes that are required coursework for a degree in photography.
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    Some of the courses that you are required to take might include camera basics, black and white photography, darkroom techniques, digital photography and history of photography.
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    Take other necessary courses required for your degree in photography, such as math and English. You may also be required to take a variety of elective courses for a well-rounded major.
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    Keep your grade point average as high as possible.
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    Most colleges require students to keep their grade point averages at a specific level to qualify to stay in the photography program.
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    Consider getting an AA Degree or a Certificate at a Junior or Community College. The benefit to this is that you save money on tuition and you can pick and choose classes to customize your education and possibly gain other skills to benefit you as a photographer and a business.


  • When learning how to major in photography, make sure you have a portfolio of your work available. Some colleges will request to see previous work prior to accepting new students into the photography program.
  • Before majoring in photography, be sure that it is the field you want to pursue as a future career. Practice taking photos and working with a variety of types of cameras and subjects to get an idea what photography is all about.
  • Be prepared to purchase photography equipment while pursuing your major in photography. In addition to traditional and digital cameras, this might include film, darkroom chemicals and photography software.
  • When pursuing a photography major, plan your coursework so you are able to fit all required classes into your schedule.


  • When pursuing a degree in photography, do not choose a college until you have thoroughly checked out the photography degree programs it offers.

Things You'll Need

  • Cameras, digital and traditional
  • School transcripts
  • Photography portfolio
  • Darkroom chemicals
  • Photography equipment (as required by the college of your choice)

Article Info

Categories: College University and Postgraduate