If the art of photography has always been your passion, why not refine your photography skills by getting a photography degree from a prestigious international institute?
That is the path to international renown, and the most adventurous way to learn new techniques.
Thanks to SLR cameras and smartphones, what we see today is the democratisation of photographic arts.
More and more people pursue photography as a hobby, and even take courses it to make it their profession.
It is for this reason that schools in photography are multiplying across the planet, welcoming both beginner photographers as well as those more advanced in the art of photography.
A Degree in photography is increasingly recognised as a legitimate achievement of a discipline.
Therefore, any photojournalist or commercial photographer will find that magic door – Open, Sesame!, gives them access to a rewarding, lucrative and growing career field, after just a few years of study.
To get you started on the work of your dreams, Superprof now delivers a ranking of the best photo schools in the world to help you choose the right art school to get your Diploma.
See which photography books you might find useful during your studies.
Photography At University: What are the Fundamentals?
What does it take to become a professional photographer? What type of photography degrees are there?
For one, if you have any artistic flair, perhaps an eye for composition, cultivating those would be the best place to start.
Students and people already in their peak of life, complete with children and career: you could start developing your aptitude for photography through workshops and private lessons.
Many studio photographers offer workshops on how to use your DSLR, how to pose subjects, and on lighting techniques.
Such an introduction to photography will serve anyone, from beginner to intermediate and beyond.
Once you have a working knowledge of the camera and lenses, and how to frame a shot, registering with an institute that has a photography programme would be the next step.
In the UK alone, there are no fewer than 78 schools that offer a BA Honours Degree in photography!
Although our country does not require a degree in order to work as a professional photographer, other countries, such as France and the United States demand higher education in order to claim professional status.
Should you matriculate with a university abroad to train as a professional photographer, you will be confronted with several choices, one of them being: to what degree would you educate yourself?
Some universities offer a two-year programme; others go as far as a Master's Degree – a full six years of formal education!
The length of your studies is predicated upon your area of photographic specialty.
Would you be a fashion photographer, or does the gritty reality of photojournalism appeal more?
Do you want a safe bet – portrait photography or wedding photography; or would you chance your future wealth along uncertain lines, like wildlife photography or landscape photography?
While pastoral scenes may call to you, you might find you could make more money in portraiture. Can you afford to pass up a steady income?
There are so many aspects to consider before settling on a photographic specialty!
Here is something else to think about: do you have time to dedicate six years to study, or would two years be a more realistic range for your situation?
Short formations – one- or two-year programmes are primarily aimed at students wishing to become a full-time photographers of just about any type.
The long formations, Bachelor's and Master's, allow time to study high-level photography topics: the history of photography, among others.
As a four-year student, you will have more time to experiment with depth of field, framing, composition, image editing and post processing.
If you have the time and the money, why not take as much education as possible, to render real what, till now, you've only timorously dreamed of?
The Global Five Top Photography Schools
Sir JJ School of Applied Arts, Mumbai, India
Considered the most prestigious art school on the planet, Sir JJ School of Applied Arts has been training photographers since 1935.
Its many artistic specializations are second only to its unique setting, making this historic school the perfect campus to discover in oneself how deep runs the artistic vein of photography.
Not for nothing do we wax poetic about this venerable locale: Rudyard Kipling was born within the walls of Sir JJ!
This private institute of photography follows traditional stages of education for their photography majors:
- Bachelor of Fine Arts, a four-year programme
- Master of Fine Arts, an additional 2 years,
- Professional Development, a course of 1 year.
Sir JJ maintains its tradition of learning through action.
You will follow not only traditional photography courses London, learning about studio lighting and how to pose your subjects, but you will also go out in the field to capture scenes from daily life.
Few places in the world are as lively and colourful as Mumbai!
To demonstrate knowledge, skills and ability as a photographer, the student enroled at Sir JJ must defend his thesis, usually on the topic of his/her chosen photographic specialty.
As a student there, you would also be called on to submit a portfolio for review before graduation.
One of the most curious aspects of photography training at Sir JJ is that being skilled at drawing is seen as an asset to the aspiring photographer, and such training is considered and questioned during thesis defence.
Discover the 20 best quotes from photographers!
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California U.S.A.
Founded in 1961, the California Institute of Arts, or CalArts, is a private school located in the western United States.
The school offers various paths future artists can follow: in dance, theatre, design and, of course, photography - among other film arts.
Valencia is not too far from Hollywood!
CalArts' photography programme focuses on the relationship between photography in various media, for example: students can focus exclusively on digital art as a specialty.
To qualify for registration at this most prestigious institute, the aspiring photography student must:
- Provide a portfolio of original photographic work,
- Fill out an online application
- Provide letters of recommendation from former professors,
- Additionally, any international students from non-English speaking countries must:
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language through TOEFL (score of 80 at least),
- Report any income to the American consulate.
The cost of one year of study is $46,000, to which one must add the cost of housing, transportation and food.
That steep price tag buys you instructors who are top photographers in their own right.
In case you are not already gifted with a capacity for visual storytelling, photography classes at CalArts will endow you with skills in any audiovisual trade.
Arts and crafts training is a bonus!
Academy of Performing Arts, Film and TV School, Prague, Czech Republic
This institute holds the title as one of the oldest film schools in the world.
FAMU, as it is colloquially known, teaches classes primarily in Czech, but there are English language programmes and workshops.
Good news: photography programmes are taught entirely in English!
Among other facets of the discipline, students learn processing, retouching and post production of images in a darkroom.
Digital editing and graphic art feature heavily in the programme, as a tie-in to its Animated Film degree programme.
As you enter these historic halls for the first time, you would be treated to galleries of past students' work; alumni in full elan, anticipating their future career.
Whether you opt for a Bachelors', Masters' or Doctorates' degree: what you will find waiting for you at FAMU is professional training adapted to your ultimate goal.
To enrol with this school, your registration packet must include:
- The CV of the future photographer - you!
- you should list any photo shoots you have participated in or any amateur work you've done
- The student's academic record,
- A personal essay explaining your motivations to become a photographer.
If you intend to specialise in landscape photography or street photography, FAMU would most certainly be the school for you!
At FAMU, students are encouraged to apply their artistic sense in conveying a message that reflects contemporary society.
Beyond bringing aesthetics of photography to the forefront, this school's focus it is communication: pictures as tools of expression.
That is the heart of the photography programme for this Czech school!
One year at FAMU costs 8,700€ - much less expensive than other international schools of similar repute!
Zokei University in Tokyo, Japan
Are you floored by the possibilities of film photography? Or are you more entranced with the art of digital editing: Photoshop and Lightroom?
Have you already settled on a specialty indoors: commercial photography, studio photography, macro photography?
Maybe you prefer working in the great outdoors: nature photography, night photography, travel photography...
As an English speaker – and especially if you also speak Japanese, you will find a warm welcome waiting for you in the land of cherry blossoms which, of themselves, are a delight to photograph!
Renown for its quality of education, this school offers scholarships to the most deserving students, sometimes exempting them completely from any tuition fees.
First year students have a choice of study subjects, among them:
- Graphic Design and photography
- Fine Arts: painting and sculpting
- Design Education, a panoply of artistic ideal that includes media design, textile design, and industrial design, among others.
Who would be the student to arrive at such a school to learn digital photography without his digital SLR camera?
If you forget to pack your camera and lenses, the school will rent you some photographic equipment, or rent what you need to fully participate in any excursion, such as a tripod, or a telephoto lens.
The most interesting entrance requirement is not an essay or letter meant to personally appeal, but showing well in a photographic competition!
Because the school is rather smaller than other international institutions of the same repute, they must carefully vet prospective students in order to retain only the top talent.
If you make that cut, you can count on meeting famous photographers from all over the world!
Do you know who invented photography?
Speos Photography School, in London and Paris
London: is there a more international city in the world?
More than 400,000 students from 200 different countries come to learn photography in London, at Speos.
Wouldn't that be a testament to its qualifications as a global center for learning photography?
What an honour that an institute on our island is considered one of the best schools for photography!
Opened six years ago and following the philosophy of its older cousin in Paris, the institute specializes in training the next generation how to photograph different subjects, such as:
- Studio photography,
- Fashion photography,
- Street photography,
- Documentary photography
Speos routinely analyses the photography industry, preparing students to meet market demand.
Furthermore, the school collaborates with the world's leading camera brands, from Kodak and Canon to Nikon and Leica, to ensure that students learn to work with top of the line equipment.
This helps maintain the highest standard of advanced photography and ensures the latest photographic techniques are disseminated.
And what about this school's Paris campus? After all, this article is about the international photography schools of renown!
No worries: the sister campuses are prepared to share!
You can undertake half of your studies in London, and then cross the channel to complete your degree studies in the City of Lights!
As a student, you would have your choice of courses through which to exercise your creativity:
- A 32 week intensive workshop,
- A one-year internship
- A two-year pre-bachelor's programme
- Photo workshops hosted evenings and weekends,
- Summer Photography Workshops
- Professional training with photographers, and with relevant magazine publishers.
For learning anything from the basics of photography to specialising in digital imaging, you could not find a more refreshing, exciting environment to take photography lessons in.
The art of photography can be learned at any age, and changing your direction by embracing professional photography is always possible.
In fact, spending a few years on the job market will, if anything, make you even more intent on pursuing the art of photography!
Conversely, you could decide that life on assignment or photographing food is really not for you...
We're banking on your striving for a photography degree. In that spirit we aver:
International photography schools will be delighted to help you get to the next level; from an amateur photographer to that of an artist.
If you are eyeing such institutions with the idea of becoming a master at Adobe Lightroom, assisting on a fashion shoot or even teaching others about photography, learning all you can about photography is never a bad decision.
What are you waiting for?
Enter photography contests today! One of your shots may win you tuition at a world-famous school.
Photography magazines also sponsor contests all the time; maybe you will be published in one or more of them.
What qualifications to put on your future CV: trained in Mumbai, won several contests...
Find photography courses throughout the UK: