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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Professional Photography

Majors Overview April 12, 2015

Get information about Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree programs in Professional Photography and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Programs in Professional Photography

Schools may offer a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Photography as a program in Illustration Photography, Digital Photography, Photojournalism, or Photography. Basic concepts in subject areas such as arranging lighting and exposure often begin coursework before a broad spectrum of knowledge is incorporated, including subject areas such as business management, advertising, journalism and multimedia operations.

The creation of print or digital portfolios by students may be a requirement over the whole duration of the program; students may also be required to submit a final portfolio at the culmination of the program. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.


The curriculum in a photography program may include a wide array of knowledge, skills, methods, and techniques. Core courses may include commercial photography, perspective, control of plane, and focus and may augment the coursework in subject areas such as:

•Experimental camera techniques
•Color theory
•Studio portraiture
•Publications photography
•Medical photography
•Large format photography

Career Choices

These professionals can choose from career options such as photojournalism, industrial photography, digital photography, and commercial photography. With knowledge gained about event photography, portraiture, advertising, and editorial photography, graduates can seek positions such as:

•Digital-imaging artist
•Newspaper editorial photographer
•Photographic technician
•Product photographer

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of 4% have been predicted for photographers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, photographers brought in an average annual wage of $28,490, with the highest earning photographers paid about $66,990 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates from the bachelor’s program may seek continuing education by earning a master’s degree in photography. Practicing photographers can use master’s degree programs to enhance their career prospects while facilitating the development of a more professional and refined style through coursework related to art history, critiques, and the study of criticism.

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