Do you have a passion for photography? Have you always wanted to have that passion grow into a lucrative endeavor or, possibly, a long-term career? Do you think you have what it takes to excel in a digital photography program but don’t want to uproot your life in order to progress down that path?
If you answered yes to any or all of my questions, then I have exciting news and information for you regarding this passion: digital photography courses online are an excellent opportunity to follow it. Thanks to the Internet, there has never been a time when one can obtain and research so much information, on any topic under the sun, like the present day.
However, with that influx of information, there can be many discrepancies and falsehoods to sift through before a credible source(s) can be found and identified. So, besides wanting to offer an overview of digital photography program options, costs, and benefits, I wanted to do something for you that is of the utmost importance; save you time.
As there are only so many hours in the day, and depending on a multitude of life factors and outside influences, we can only squeeze out so much free time from any given 24 hour period. Therefore, anything that can be used as a reference for the purpose of fast-tracking you on your way to a career or, at least, a professional certification or degree can be very beneficial.
Types of Photography
In this day and age, cell phones are now used as portable computers and cameras, along with various communication tools. The cameras added to the many brands of smartphones are comparable to one another and constantly updated to battle the competition. The way to utilize the smartphone’s camera has been made incredibly easy, just point and shoot, but that is where the benefits stop. The pictures taken with a smartphone or tablet will be decent but your ability to augment, after the fact, is very limited.
Obviously, with the use of a stand-alone digital camera, you are much more in control of the entire photography process. By learning the ins and outs of the many features your digital camera has, you will be able to adjust settings prior to taking a picture, during a multiple photo shoot and after, during the development and editing times. Through attention to detail, creativity, and experience in the effects of the various camera functions, you will become familiar with many different styles, or types, of photography that exist.
Any of the institutions advertising learning digital photography online provide beginner, cursory instructions all the way through to advanced professional degree programs, which span the many, distinct realms of photography: digital photography, portraiture, studio photography, location photography, editorial photography, and documentary photography. As you can easily imagine, the initial tuning and adjustments, as well as the actual photo(s) being taken, are only part of the process. Now, the digital darkroom editing, development, and printing are the next sequential steps, which these programs will educate you on as well.
Much More than Taking the Perfect Shot
Along with gaining technical expertise and focused creativity to accurately utilize photography, in all of its forms, the many different digital photography programs offer many companion courses to both round out your post-production skills and arm you with the knowledge required to create success. When learning digital photography online, via your choice of platform/program, you will be provided beginner to advanced level courses pertaining to color management, studio techniques, natural and artificial light, and digital darkroom instruction.
Color management and natural and artificial light are similar to courses all artists must take in order to fully understand how color and lighting affects the subjects of their art. Online digital photography programs have tailored those theories to support the modernized, digital methods of performing such changes to the many processes thereof.
One of the greatest differences between photography of the past, and its modern, digital counterpart is the darkroom. Prior darkrooms where just that, a small, separate room which would be equipped with equipment, chemicals, tools and the ability to retain complete darkness. The entire technical editing and developing processes were performed inside these rooms because exposure to light instantly ruins the film.
Nowadays, students involved in these programs are taught to use a combination of hardware and software, along with multiple techniques which have been updated for digital photography. The digital darkroom grants the ability to replace the entire development process and perform said duties using a computer. Furthermore, applicants are offered courses on the business of photography, including mentorship programs, to help digital photographers of every level promote, market and succeed; putting their recently learned skills to the best use, in as little time as possible. Having read this section, I’m sure you have more of an encompassing and well-rounded view of what an online digital photography degree program offers. With that under your belt, let’s take a look at what kind of institutions offer these programs.
Who is Offering Degrees and Certifications?
Researching any subject or topic on the internet can be daunting to us all but, its necessary; especially when it involves spending time, effort and money on turning an expensive hobby into a lucrative career. What I’ve found, to save you a bit of time, is that online digital photography programs are out there, and plenty. Of course, there are differences and similarities between them, and that’s where further research is necessary; reading reviews, blogs, articles, etc., once you’ve located a few potential programs.
The similarities lie in the curricula, though some advanced programs require a broader range of courses to complete, while the differences are cost and credibility. Beginners, utilizing one of the many free online courses provided on one of the many online skill/trade marketplaces, like SkillShare or Udemy, will obtain introductory level knowledge and experience.
These marketplaces do offer affordable PPA certifications, upon completion of the program, and can be a great jump off points to higher learning degree programs. Also, most institutions having degree programs solely directed towards the visual arts, like The Art Institutes and NYIP, have online digital photography programs, as well as colleges and universities. Harvard, for instance, offers free and paid courses which result in a certification or degree, and you don’t even have to be attending to enroll.
All of the upper level, accredited institutions allow students to apply for financial aid and grants, to assist with the cost aspect of your informed decision, as well as internship positions after graduating. Each of these programs will foster both technical and creative abilities along with the confidence and knowledge to bring your digital photography art to the world, and the many people in it.
To you, as with many, photography may have always been looked at as an expensive hobby or recreation, despite how much you enjoyed doing it. To your benefit, the staff and faculty of the multitude of online digital photography programs look at it much differently. The instructors, tutors and mentors know that photography, in all of its forms, is an ever-changing craft, requiring as much dedication as proficiency.
These programs have been designed to guide your progress, challenge and inspire, in order to turn you into the best digital photographer you can be. By tailoring the programs using modern technology, a degree will also demonstrate that you are now on the cutting edge of your beloved art form; further adding to your value. Plus, the real-world experience gained from mentors can highlight how their struggles and successes which led them to separate themselves from the pack, further accelerating your progress.
Starting a new career is never easy but, ignoring or limiting your true potential is definitely never good. Which is why I hope that this piece will help you dive into this field with some direction, confidence, and expectations on what to expect. There is more research to be done, to find exactly which program is right for you, not to mention, some life assessment.
Besides the future changes this endeavor will bring on, it is up to you to determine what level of commitment you currently have, and can maintain, to ensure you get the most out of your chosen program. Also, there is the financial factor to consider but, with financial aid and grants, your stress level in that regard can be lessened.
We both know you love photography and I know one of these programs can put you on the path to transforming something you love into a career; possibly even one where you are the owner of a company/business. And isn’t that what we all strive for, as far as how we make money and support ourselves and our families; to be able to make a comfortable living doing what we love? You can do it. These programs can help you. And there’s no time like the present.