How to major in photography

Many aspiring photographers begin their artistic careers with a bachelor’s degree in photography. Suited to creative, patient, and observant students, photography programs cultivate creativity, visual intelligence, and sophisticated technical skills.

To enter college, freshmen applicants usually need official transcripts indicating at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Good schools also typically require above-average grades, test scores, and recommendation letters. Students can eventually apply to the photography program itself by completing associate degree-level coursework satisfactorily and submitting work samples.

A photography degree can support diverse careers in fashion, news media, or forensics. Some graduates work as portrait or wedding photographers, nature photographers, or fine arts photographers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites a median annual salary of $36,280 for photographers. The BLS also projects a decline in jobs for photographers of 4% during 2019-2029. However, talented, industrious photography graduates may also develop lucrative careers in the arts, graphic design, journalism, or film.

What Are the Goals of a Photography Degree?

Students interested in a photography degree can choose from bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, and bachelor of science photography programs. Bachelor of science degrees and bachelor of fine arts degrees feature more professional and technical courses in photography. A bachelor of arts degree includes considerable liberal arts coursework. As a more academic and interdisciplinary degree, the BA can prepare graduates for diverse career paths or graduate programs.

Many photography bachelor’s programs emphasize technical equipment skills, visual literacy, and professional knowledge of the photography industry. Core photography coursework usually covers photography principles, digital photography, and photography history. Many programs offer curriculum concentrations in areas such as fine arts photography, professional photography, and film.

Sponsored Schools

Why Get a Photography Degree?

Photography degrees offer many personal and professional advantages, including increased creative expression, technical proficiency, and evaluative skill. Many photography programs also emphasize business knowledge and resources useful to photography entrepreneurs and freelancers.

What Are the Requirements for a Photography Degree?

Photography bachelor’s programs typically require applicants to submit official transcripts demonstrating possession of a high school diploma or equivalent. High-quality photography programs often look for students with a 3.0 GPA and good test scores, although not all programs require standardized test scores. For admission into the photography major, applicants usually submit a photography portfolio and positive recommendation letters.

A photography bachelor’s degree typically requires about 60 general education credits and 60 major-related credits, including elective or concentration coursework in an area of interest. Photography programs often feature internships, capstone projects, or portfolios that cultivate technical and creative skills.

How Much Will a Photography Degree Cost?

An undergraduate photography degree typically requires 120-180 credits of coursework. With approximate tuition ranging from $190-$850 per credit, the total tuition price for a four-year program falls around $23,000-$150,000.

In-state students at public universities typically pay the lowest tuition. Some public institutions offer in-state prices to all online students regardless of location. Private universities typically charge higher tuition rates, though this figure is not based on state residency.

Students also need to consider school fees, textbooks, supplies, and typical cost of living expenses (food, housing, transportation, etc.).

To help pay for a photography degree , seek out grants and scholarships, which do not require repayment after graduation. Low-interest government and private loans can also reduce immediate out-of-pocket costs, though students must repay them with interest.

Learn more about paying for college:

Choosing the Right Photography College

Choosing the right photography college requires careful evaluation of many factors. After reviewing our rankings list, keep the following in mind:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation ensures your chosen school and program meets certain academic quality standards. Some financial aid opportunities also require students to attend accredited schools.
  • School Size: School size often impacts the student-to-faculty ratio, diversity of academic offerings, and the number of student clubs and organizations available. Consider your priorities to find the right campus for you.
  • Faculty Credentials: Choose a program that employs skilled instructors. Explore the photography faculty’s portfolios to learn about their specializations and skills. Find out whether they participate in local art shows or hold any awards.
  • Career Services: Photography can be a competitive field to break into. Look for a school with career services that meet the needs of photographers and artists, such as portfolio building.

Is a degree in photography worth it?

Some photographers do succeed in this skills-based field without earning an expensive, formal degree. However, photography degree programs provide valuable feedback, internships, and networking that can make them worth the investment.

What kind of degree do you need for photography?

Many freelance photographers do not hold a degree in photography. However, non-freelancers often need degrees to qualify for photography work in fields such as journalism.

Is photography a good career?

Studying photography can lead to very diverse career paths and experiences. Many successful photographers enjoy creative, artistic careers.

Do photographers get paid well?

Photographers earn a median annual salary of $36,280 — over $3,000 less than the $39,810 median annual salary for all occupations. However, salary depends heavily on employer, industry, and credentials.

Do you have the ability to take any old random thing and turn it into a photographic work of art? Are you the person who takes a camera everywhere you go because you’re fascinated with the idea of forever capturing the human journey? If you answered “yes”, or even thought a confident “maybe”, a degree in photography is definitely for you. Photographers must be more than creative; they must have a thorough understanding of the subject and the equipment. As a photography student, you will learn the basics of photography: the history of photography, lighting and composition, how to capture objects in motion, equipment operation and maintenance, and the use of computer applications to enhance images. Because the technology world is constantly changing, successful photography students must learn how to adapt to the changes. What you learn while earning your degree should complement your current photography knowledge.

You can go to school to become a photography generalist or you can have a specialty such as photojournalism, digital media, or portraits. Make sure to do in-depth research to find the school that best fits your goals. Keep in mind that fine arts specialty schools are typically more competitive than liberal arts colleges and typically require a strong portfolio. Most entry-level positions in photography require a bachelor’s degree, while some technical positions may only require an associate degree; teaching photography generally requires a master’s degree.

Best Photography colleges in the U.S. for 2021

How to major in photography

Washington University in St Louis offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 3 Photography students graduated with students earning 3 Bachelor's degrees.

How to major in photography

University of Washington-Seattle Campus offers 2 Photography degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 8 Photography students graduated with students earning 5 Bachelor's degrees, and 3 Master's degrees.

University of Houston offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 11 Photography students graduated with students earning 11 Bachelor's degrees.

How to major in photography

New York University offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 31 Photography students graduated with students earning 31 Bachelor's degrees.

How to major in photography

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2019, 9 Photography students graduated with students earning 9 Bachelor's degrees.

How to major in photography

University of Miami offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city.

University of Oregon offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2019, 2 Photography students graduated with students earning 2 Bachelor's degrees.

Fashion Institute of Technology offers 2 Photography degree programs. It's a medium sized, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 5 Photography students graduated with students earning 5 Certificates.

Texas Christian University offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 2 Photography students graduated with students earning 2 Bachelor's degrees.

How to major in photography

Purdue University-Main Campus offers 1 Photography degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2019, 1 Photography students graduated with students earning 1 Bachelor's degree.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at Sacramento State is aimed at educating students in contemporary photographic methodologies and in the current situation of photography, its use and its communicative effects. The curriculum is designed to give students a broad exposure to not only the technologies, processes, and models of contemporary practice, but also to introduce them to the aesthetic, cultural, and ethical dialogues surround the use and role of photography in our society. The program does not aim to create, specifically, studio artists or commercial practitioners, but to give students the tools to act in a world where such models are concurrent and highly overlap. We wish our students to be adaptable in a changing landscape of photographic practice, and to be successful and responsible in their role shaping how and what images communicate.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography is intended for students who are interested in pursuing careers as photographic image makers. The program provides students with the technical, creative, and critical thinking skills needed to practice in a variety of fields including art, design, editorial, and production. The breadth of courses in the program reflects the importance of both a liberal arts background and professional preparation in the field. Courses encompass the study of photographic and graphic history and theory, aesthetics, design, contemporary digital and analog photographic practice, lighting, complex planning, and professional practice.

Degree Program

Special Features

  • Among the facilities available for Photography students is a large digital lab furnished with Macintosh computers, large format inkjet printers, and film and flatbed scanners. There is also an alternative process facility, a well-equipped chemical darkroom, and a studio lighting facility.
  • The Photography program has a generous collection of equipment available for student checkout that includes small, medium and large format cameras, various lenses, tripods, and portable lighting equipment.
  • A Design Department gallery on the 4th floor of Mariposa Hall that regularly exhibits student work.

Career Possibilities

Photography is one of the most widely used forms of visual communication in our world today. As the technology to create and share visual imagery has become more accessible and expedient, photographs have taken on a vital role in how we share complex visual information. We use it both to form and communicate the sense of who and what we are via social media, and it is an important tool in the material and mental exploration and interpretation of our world. The Photography degree at Sacramento State prepares students to thoughtfully engage in the production, interpretation, and presentation of photographic images, asking them to consider how these images can be created and used in the world, whether in personal, social, or professional contexts. While gaining technical skills in the production of photographs, students engage rigorously in the conceptual discourse surrounding photographic images (their use and meaning) and are encouraged to consider the application of photographs broadly and with flexibility. Students who earn a degree in Photography can bring this expertise to all career fields, whether these are the more traditional photographic careers that occur in the fine arts, commercial photography, journalism, or editorial work, or in the any of the myriad professions that need and rely on photographic imagery to help define, gather, and assess information, or communicate who and what they are.

Contact Information

John Forrest, Chair, Department of Design
Rhonda Franks, Administrative Support Coordinator
Mariposa Hall 5001
(916) 278-3962
FAX (916) 278-6116
Photography Program Website

With a bachelor of arts in photography, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as a professional photographer. You’ll study foundational topics like digital photography, photo editing, lighting, composition, and photo development, enabling you to capture aesthetically pleasing images for a variety of purposes. Graduates may work as photojournalists, wedding photographers, or artists.

What is a Degree in Photography?

With a bachelor of arts in photography, you can enjoy a career as a photographer, which will enable you to earn a living as an artist in a variety of careers. Students study both traditional and digital photography and the techniques that go along with the mediums, such as photo development and photo editing. They learn how to establish the right lighting for shots, how to frame and compose shots for the best captures, how to select subjects for photos, and how to edit photos using programs like Photoshop.

With experience and talent as a photographer, you can find work capturing images for a variety of purposes. Some graduates go on to work in photojournalism, capturing images of newsworthy events around the world. Some start their own photography businesses and capture images at weddings or for family photos. Others specialize in food photography, while many take advantage of stock photo services, earning a living from their art by capturing images and selling them online to businesses.

What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Photography?

  • Camera Exploration and Technique
  • Digital Imaging and Compositing
  • Lighting Applications
  • History of Photography
  • Business Practices for Photography
  • Digital Narratives and Documentary
  • Basic Design and Color Theory
  • Photographic Aesthetic Concepts

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Photography?

Today, photographs are used for a variety of reasons. Many still use them for memory, having photos taken of weddings, family portraits, and other big life events. Professionally, portraits are used for individual and business branding and social media profiles. But the demand for talented photographers has significantly increased alongside the demand for websites and web content. Modern businesses are dependent on stock photographers to supply images for articles, which has increased demand in the field.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Photography will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Photojournalist

Best Jobs for Photography Degrees

Photographers work in a variety of positions. Some work as photojournalists, capturing photos to appear alongside news stories. Some focus on portrait photography, capturing people, weddings, and other events. Others work as stock photographers, capturing images for a variety of purposes and selling them online through stock photography sites for businesses looking for images to go along with online content.

How to major in photography

Photojournalist

How to major in photography

Sports Photographer

How to major in photography

Wedding Photographer

How to major in photography

Creative or Art Director

How to major in photography

Curator

How to major in photography

Event Planner

How to save time and money

Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your Photography degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:

Create Your Free SmartPlan

How to major in photography

There are many ways to make college affordable and accessible.

That’s why we created a helpful tool called SmartPlan.

It’s free, and helps you find potential ways to save and tons of information about each school you’re considering

Think of it as your “college blueprint”, to help you instantly craft a path to your degree:

  • Which Colleges Match Your Needs
  • Ways You Could Save Time & Money
  • Free Courses You Could Take for Credit
  • Valuable Data and Insights on Each College
  • Detailed Steps You Should Take!

See what’s possible for you and generate a free plan within just a few minutes

Get a Certificate in Photography First

To find work as a professional photographer, you’ll need a diverse and representative portfolio that highlights your skills and talent. By earning a certificate in photography, you can understand the foundations of photography technique and begin building your portfolio—and earning an income—sooner. The credits you earn may also transfer to reduce the time needed to earn a bachelor’s degree.

You Might also be Interested in

Many visitors who look for a degree in Photography are also interested in the following degrees.

Make your vision a reality and build a marketable portfolio

At JBU, you’ll practice the art and science of photography. With a study and practice of studio photography, fine art photography and social documentary, you will be equipped to enter the variety of industries that rely on images to convey information, create emotion and tell stories. In JBU’s program, you’ll work with both analog (film) and digital cameras, gain experience with a variety of mediums, use traditional and digital darkrooms and learn cutting-edge editing software.

Discover how JBU will equip you for a successful career in photography

What to expect as a Photography student at JBU

How to major in photography

Work in Fantastic Facilities

Learn in our three art buildings that include two 3-story facilities featuring classrooms, a theater, two galleries, photo and cinema studios, MAC labs and a printmaking workshop. Also new is an “art barn” with additional large spaces for a state-of-the-art photo studio, drawing and painting classrooms, wood shop, ceramics studio and individual artist stations.

How to major in photography

Tour the World

Tour across Europe with other photography majors, visiting an array of collections for student exposure, study, inspiration, and, best of all, college credit.

How to major in photography

Display Your Creativity

Choose your favorite work from the year and display it at JBU’s Annual Student Art Show, a highlight on the JBU academic calendar.

How to major in photography

Explore the Art Gallery

Our art gallery, listed as the second best in NWA, hosts a myriad of professional artists and their work, providing students direct contact with professionals in their field.

How to major in photography

Establish a Solid Foundation

You’ll learn the basic techniques of exposure, composition and formal aesthetics before moving onto more complex forms of visual literacy and artistic critique.

How to major in photography

Gain Great Exposure

Every year, seniors display their best work for potential employers, like Hallmark, Walmart, Saatchi and Saatchi X, and Acumen Brands at the JBU Portfolio Show.

Alumni Profile

How to major in photography

Andrew Albright '16 & Will Echols '17

Andrew Albright and Will Echols are started Gordon’s portraits, a free portrait service aimed at preserving memories for low-income families in Siloam Springs and Eastern Oklahoma. The people this organization will help are the communities of Siloam Springs and Eastern Oklahoma. “We just wanted to give back and gain some experience,” Albright said. “Will and I both enjoy photography a lot, and we want to get better. We thought it’d be a good idea to give back to people.”

Watch students practice the Wet Plate Collodion process as part of the Alternative Darkroom course

What can you do with a photography degree?

Fashion Photography

Fashion photographers are called upon to conceptualize and direct the photo shoots. Often these photographs are intended for publication and advertisement for specific designers and product lines.

Editorial Photography

Photographers illustrate a story or an idea within the context of a publication, particularly that of a magazine, newspaper, or online publication.

Event Photography

This type of photography captures a myriad of events (weddings, birthdays, baby showers, bar mitzvahs, wedding anniversaries, parties) and simple family or child photos for sentimental records.

Food Photography

Food photographers must be masters of light and technique in order to create appealing images of food for advertisements, brochures, menus, and the like.

Still Life Photography

Still life photographers focus on capturing inanimate objects such as scenery and architecture.

Crime Scene Photography

Photographers in this field are required to know how to use an infrared camera for the sake of evidence documentation.

Meet our Photography professors

How to major in photography

How to major in photography

How to major in photography

Kyle Agee

Assistant Professor of Visual Arts

Mr. Kyle Agee is the resident jack-of-all-trades. He began teaching at JBU in the Fall of 2011. While his main medium is photography, he has worked as a graphic designer, photojournalist, television editor, and offset printer to name a few.

Mr. Agee’s work has centered on exploring and documenting architectural decay. This exploration has encompassed traditional black and white photography, wet plate collodion, digital photography, and alternative process printing techniques. His latest project, DrFrankenfilm.com, is a free photographic educational resource that aims to provide comprehensive instruction for anyone wishing to explore traditional analogue photographic mediums.

Mr. Agee’s commercial clients have included the United States Air Force, the United States Navy Blue Angel Squadron, the United States Marine Corps, the Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and the Outdoor Channel, among others.

Mr. Agee enjoys spending his free time building guitar amplifiers and effect pedals, and working in his woodshop.

How to major in photography

Neal Holland

Department Chair, Visual Arts
Professor of Visual Arts

Mr. S. Neal Holland began his career at John Brown University in 1998 as the first full-time instructor in Digital Media Art.

Mr. Holland has been a champion of non-traditional programs and study-abroad partnerships, and he continues to head a series of programs to promote off-campus study. His work with the start-up Fields and Frames promotes that desire and helps photography students get international experience while encouraging the responsibility for Christians to engage with social justice issues.

Mr. Holland has worked for clients like Coca-Cola, Reebok, Nike and GM. He spends his free time fly-fishing and attempting to capture elusive images that might change the world.

Love creating meaningful images? Have a passion for photography? A healthcare career as a Medical Photographer could be the perfect healthcare career pathway for you! In this role professionals develop images to be used by other healthcare providers in a variety of ways. Whether being used to monitor a patient’s anatomy, as educational support or to visualize treatment progression, medical images help shed light on the inner workings and responses of the body. Much like a Medical Illustrator , these professionals capture medical images through artist mediums.

Want to learn how to enter this awesome career? Here is 5 Tips from a working professional on How to Become a Medical Photographer:

1. Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

The first step toward becoming a Medical Photographer is to enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree program in photography or a visual arts program. During these immersive programs, students will receive instruction on a wide variety of photographic and imaging techniques spanning the broad fields of science, technology and medicine. Furthermore, these programs can include wellness education, fundamentals of layout and design, professional practices, optics, perception and imagine and more.

How to major in photography

Medical Photographer,
Katharine Hanlon

“Generally a Bachelor’s Degree is required to gain employment in an academic institution or hospital as a Medical Photographer,” Katharine Hanlon, a Medical Photographer practicing in the Vero Beach , Florida-area, explained. “In the U.S., the only true undergraduate program in medical photography is at Rochester Institute of Technology, where they offer a Bachelor’s Degree in photographic sciences. Some of my colleagues have this degree, which is certainly more applicable than that of a more general fine art photography program.”

2. Complete Volunteer Work

The best way to gain insight into healthcare settings is to experience them first hand. Prospective students interested in medical photography should aim to get their “foot in the door” at a healthcare facility as soon as possible. Typically volunteerism is the easiest way to achieve this goal. Whether volunteering in a clerical role or as a newborn photographer, any experience can prove incredibly valuable when applying for paid positions in the future.

“Having experience working with Doctors, nurses, administrative staff and patients can be very beneficial,” Hanlon stressed. “A Medical Photographer should understand how hospitals function and try their best to gain knowledge in areas such as anatomy and biology.”

3. Learn the “Ins” and “Outs” of Medical Photography

Photography is much more complicated than using your smartphone to take selfies. When learning how to capture and create professional quality images, Photographers must keep in mind a number of elements including lighting, angle, perspective and more. While many of these concepts can be learned through education, direct experience in the field will provide the experience necessary to maintain a successful career over time. Medical Photographers must understand both the technical aspects needed to capture a great image and the medical knowledge necessary to create images that healthcare providers specifically need.

“Sometimes Medical Photographers are thought of as less ‘creative’ than Fine Art Photographers, as we spend our time working on how to standardize our images and lighting solutions,” Hanlon expressed. “However usually Medical Photographers appreciate the rigid standards and protocols our community abides by, which allows us to problem solve with our unique goals in mind. For this reason, having a scientific mindset is more important than being concerned with producing aesthetically ‘artsy’ images.

4. Consider Specialization

As in the case of many healthcare careers, developing a specialty can help a Medical Photographer find more work and reach a higher salary cap. Examples of specialties include pediatrics, surgery, autopsies, orthopedics, etc. Even when a Medical Photographer does develop a specialty they should still remain able to photograph special patient cases as needed. Larger healthcare systems tend to appreciate a Medical Photographer’s ability to adapt and “change gears” quickly as situations arise.

“I personally work in dermatology, so my work is typically done in exam rooms or a studio,” Hanlon noted. “Conversely, one of my colleagues works almost exclusively in the operating room capturing surgical photography, which can be much faster-paced and more stressful at times. Sometimes we are both also asked to do non-clinical work, such as taking a portrait or an editorial type shoot.”

5. Network with Healthcare Professionals

Aside from gaining the required credentials and volunteering within a healthcare settings, the other most important component to landing employment as a Medical Photographer is networking. The more connected these professionals become to their community, the more acquaintances they can make, and the more career opportunities they will have. To ensure that hiring managers and high-level healthcare employees understand a professional’s desire to become hired, reaching out to introduce yourself and following up with them to seek hiring insights can prove advantageous.

“There are not a lot of positions that open for Medical Photographers,” Hanlon stressed. “When they do come along usually the most qualified people with the most extensive healthcare experience secure the opportunity. Sometimes landing a permanent position in this field may take years and multiple attempts, so networking can be extremely important.”

In today’s media driven society, photography is one of the primary tools of marketing. Appalachian State University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Photography provides students with technical and visual literacy skills through courses with a strong industry focus. The program specifically covers the elements of photographic theory with an emphasis on practice that prepares students to enter the commercial marketplace and succeed as photographers, videographers, producers, stylists, image retouchers and photo editors, as well as roles in industry sales and support.

Courses provide a solid foundation in commercial digital imaging, digital workflow, studio lighting, small medium, large format cameras and lab/studio management. You will work on assignments in a wide variety of areas including portraiture, fashion, product, catalog, advertising, location lighting, studio lighting, documentary, and HDSLR video production and narrative construction.

You will meet professionals in the field who are important connections for internships. An annual trip to New York City includes visits at magazines such as Martha Stewart and Food Network, commercial studios such as Root/Drive-in Studios and Industria, industry expos like PDN PhotoPlus, and manufactures such as Nikon, Bron and Leica. Students have won numerous awards in national and international photography and video contests, including First place in the Photographer Forums photography contest and Third place in Nikon’s Everyday Cinema contest.

After Graduation

Employment: Graduates are working for Amazon, RR Donnelly in Charlotte, Tribuzio Hilliard in Greensboro, Splash Worldwide in Portland, ROOT Studios in New York City, FotoCare in New York City, and with many independent photography studios across the country, including several world famous photographers such as Annie Leibowitz, Norman Jean Roy and David Lachepelle. Many pursue careers as successful independent photographers, both in the commercial arena and as wedding photographers.

Graduate school: n/a

People

How to major in photography

“I challenge my students to develop concise and universal themes in the visual stories they pursue. … Mastering the art of visual storytelling will help our graduates differentiate themselves in the industry.”

– Associate Professor Chip Williams, in an interview with American Society of Media Photographers

How to major in photography

Appalachian professors mentored and encouraged her. Now, Anna Ulery ’04 owns and operates her own photo booth business.

How to major in photography

How a Photography Degree Has Shaped My Life and Career

How to major in photography

What Can You Do With A Photography Degree?

Colleen Gutwein O’Neal is a photographer and curator from the Northeastern United States. O’Neal’s work is focused on the human experience through personal engagement, using photography as a way to build lasting relationships within her community. We caught up with her and asked her to answer a few questions about her career and find out what you can do with a photography degree.

O’Neal’s most recent long-term work, The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project, pays tribute to, and immortalizes through photographs, ninety-plus artists within the Newark arts community. A natural extension to her photographic work, O’Neal curates contemporary exhibitions inspired by the artists she has built relationships with over time.

How did you become interested in photography? Describe what made you fall in love with it.

I became interested in photography at a young age, around five or so. My grandmother and grandfather owned a small wedding and portrait photog- raphy business. My grandfather would take photos and my grandmother would hand-color them. Watching an image slowly appear like an apparition in the developer bath has never lost its magic to me, although we live in a digital world, I still spend a great deal of time working in the darkroom.

Did you know right away that you were going to get a photography degree?

I didn’t take a photography class until I got to college. Before college I saw photography only as one of many artistic mediums and opted instead to take my electives in painting and philosophy. I spent a lot of time in the summer between high school and college with a friend who was a photography major at Rowan, and this rekindled my interest in the medium. After that, I took an Introduction to Photography class my freshman year and once I was re-submerged in the darkroom, I knew a photography degree was for me. However, I still explored other mediums as well as language, philosophy, math, and science to incorporate all of it into my work.

What would you say to a high school student who loves photography?

If you are a student and love photography, awesome! Keep loving it! Careers in photography are wide-ranging. If you are interested in the technical aspects of the craft, you could find work as a product photographer. If you love documentary style work and being around people and events, wedding photography could be a great opportunity to hone in on your craft or start your own business. Alternatively, you can reject “making a product” and consider how photography is harnessed within the art world, create documentary content, or support non-profit groups or activist causes. There are so many opportunities within the field, but you must be willing to hustle.

With all of the cuts to photography departments at newspapers and general lack of understanding around photography degrees, what do you see as the future of photographers?

Thinking about the future of photography is exciting! It’s such a young medium especially when we think of it on the same scale of painting, which has been an artistic expression created by humans tens of thousands of years ago. I think photography can surprise us in the art world, and forever change the way we view each other and societies across the globe. As traditional photography jobs seem to be waning, the medium has been made accessible to huge portions of the population through camera phones, and we are able to share our experiences globally with social media.

What makes a photographer “good”?

What makes a photographer “good” is a loaded question. Is it something your parents or your teachers taught you? Is it something that you feel when you look at an image? I believe we are coming into an age where traditional aesthetics are no longer held as the highest importance. What you do with your work is more meaningful. A good photographer has nothing to do with the quality of images, Instead, it has to do with the intent of the work and the ethics of the photographer. We are not creating work in a vacuum; we have a great deal of responsibility every time we pick up our cameras.

How do you feel about the future of the arts in general? Why do you think they are especially important now?

I think that the future of art is determined by those who do the work, meaning artists, critics, and organizations that hold true to their missions and consistently create. Art allows us to see beyond ourselves and our own expectations, allowing us to reach further and enter worlds we have never even dreamed of. Through this, we’re able pull new ideas into our current state of being.

As you can see, the possibilities of what you can do with a photography degree are nearly endless. So get out there, find a program you’re passionate about, and start changing your own life today!