Choosing a College for Photography

bigstock_Professional_Woman_Photographe_3095706If you are thinking about taking some photography classes, you have a few options. There are online classes and there are in-person classes. (For a discussion of the pros and cons of each, read this article.) But if you’re thinking about getting a degree or certification in photography, your best bet is to attend a photography college. If you’re considering attending a photography college, make sure to take these things into account:

  1. Cost: How much can you afford to spend on your schooling? How much are you willing to pay? Cost varies greatly across the different photography colleges and programs, from $4,000 to upwards of $84,000! If you are looking at some of the more expensive schools, consider looking into scholarship options and financial aid. If those prices seem too far out of reach, consider attending a local school in your area that might have some photography options.

  2. Location: Where are you willing to go for your schooling? Do you need to stay somewhere close to your current location, or are you willing to relocate? To attend the more prestigious schools, you will need to be willing to pack up and move. Brick and mortar photography schools don’t offer a lot of options for distance learning (an exception is the Art Institute of Pittsburgh which does offer an online option), but if you have your heart set on a specific school it never hurts to ask. If you don’t mind going to a less known photography school, there are many options all over – just Google “Photography School” and the name of your city to see what comes up.

  3. Duration of the Program: Do you want to take one class or are you hoping to study photography for several years? Some colleges allow students to take a class here and there without needing to declare a major in the photography program. Many community colleges offer photography courses that are very accessible and don’t commit you to years of study. However, if you are looking for credentials you will need to invest some serious time in your photography studies.

  4. Credentials Offered: Do you want a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts (BFA)? A Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA)? These credentials require the full 4+ years of schooling, complete with general education courses and prerequisites that you’ll find in any college program. But if you’re looking for something less intense, you can find many smaller brick and mortar programs that offer completion certificates. Again, search on Google to see what you can find in your area.

Some well known photography colleges you might want to check out are the New England School of Photography, the Brooks Institute, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. No matter which school you choose, make sure they offer classes that you find interesting and beneficial.

PhotoClasses is a legacy site only being maintained for old customers. We've now fully moved to our new site at!