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Why a Degree in Photography Gives You an Advantage

Why a Degree in Photography Gives You an Advantage

Written 7 years ago by Guest Contributor

This is a guest post written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of top photography colleges.

There are some people who believe that you don’t need any kind of formal education in order to make it as a successful photographer; they feel that all you need is a natural ability that is honed over a period of time with experience and practice. But, there are times when a degree in photography or even fine arts gives you an advantage over the competition, because:

  • It opens up connections: When you go to college, especially if you’re lucky enough to be admitted to the best photography schools in the country, your college connections allow you entry into the best firms in the business. If you’re at the top of your class and have a portfolio that proves your talent, the doors to various internships and regular positions begin to open even before you graduate.
  • It is a necessity with some employers: Some employers stress on a degree, especially if your portfolio is not all that impressive. You can gain a toehold at a company and then use it to enhance your skills and cement your position. A degree opens doors that were hitherto locked and inaccessible.
  • It increases your knowledge: Photography can be learned by practice, but a little formal education does you no harm either. It teaches you all there is to know about photography, both the practical and theoretical aspects. You also earn grades which help you assess how good you are.
  • It provides you with business skills: If you’re planning to start your own business, you should know that administration is an important part of running your own operation. So unless you’re prepared to hire someone to take care of the business aspect of your company, it’s best to learn a few of the basics of accounting, balancing your books and paying your taxes. A few credits in business management during your photography or arts degree should stand you in good stead once you set up shop on your own. It also comes in handy when you’re seeking a position as an intern because you have that much more to offer towards the job.

Even if you feel that a photography degree is a waste of time in which you could otherwise be practicing your skill and seeking well-paying work, you would do well to earn at least one degree in any discipline. Four or even two years of college help teach you more about life and provide you with the discipline you need to face the real world once you graduate.

Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com

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Comments
Jeffrey Byrnes  7 years ago

This past year I was accepted into The Art Institute of Boston. I began studying in January. By March I realized that the program I was in was nothing more than a continuation of the education I had received while getting an Associates degree in Photography.

I strongly feel and think an education is important. My goal, even though I left The Art Institute of Boston, is to obtain an MFA in Photography. I am taking a break from education at the moment to establish a business. But one thing I would like to add is, there is a difference in education when it comes to choosing a school. A degree in anything, especially photography means so much more than a certificate does. Schools that offer certificates manufacture students to enter the industry with a limited skill set. Where as getting Bachelors of Fine Arts is a complete education in not just the areas of Photography, but general classes that further enhance ones knowledge. Having a BFA also represents you have a working knowledge of the arts and not just the ability to turn a camera on press the shutter to make an exposure. That is my thought on education. Some photographers are self taught, some have gotten degrees, and some have gotten certificates. Each one has it’s own meaning.

XposurePro Photography Community  6 years ago

a large % of photo students have dreams of owning their own portrait studio .. this is where the photo degree kills them. They come out after 4 years (in American universities) with training that could have been obtained through a 3rd party in about 6 months. Totally in debt and without a clue of how to actually run a business. These represent the majority who start businesses after college and fail within 12 months .. now in even more debt with their dreams crushed. That why those of us who have been working professionals for decades tell people … learn photography on your own and go to college as a business major. 4 yrs will pass and you will not only be a better photographer but you’ll be one that actually knows what it takes to build a successful business.

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