How Important is it to Get a Formal Photography Education?

Being attentive and having a keen eye for detail is important in photography. However, some careers also require a photographer to have formal education in photography. Photography enables people to create images of life events, wonders of the world, historical moments, scientific and medicinal wonders, among other things.  Photographers apply creativity and technical skills to capture events and create wonderful memories. Many photography careers do not have set requirements, but formal education increases job opportunities and helps the photographer earn lucratively.


Many people want to capture moments and create lasting memories, which leads to a high level of competition in photography. Therefore, the photographer needs to possess certain technical skills. They need to be creative, imaginative and stay in tune with emerging technological trends in order to succeed in the photography industry. Photography also means they deal with people. Therefore, good customer service and excellent interpersonal skills are paramount.

At one point in their careers, many photographers have wondered if they should get a formal education in photography. This may be because they would like to specialize in a certain field like sports, photojournalism, portraits, wedding events, fashion arts, wildlife, or architecture. Every one of these areas requires special skills and equipment.

Most photographers are leading successful photography careers with only skills and experience. However, those who choose to specialize in scientific, photojournalism, or industrial photography do so by taking undergraduate programs.

Let’s look at certain things to consider before you make that ultimate decision on whether to enroll or not.

What is the Financial Implication?

When you’re pondering over the decision to enroll for any course, one of the determining factors is usually cost. Tuition fees worldwide, for any course, are relatively high. This is also the case with a photography course. Trying to move around funds to accommodate your photography course can be a challenge, especially if you are paying for it yourself. For students who have their parents paying for them, it can be a real struggle trying to convince them to pay as most traditional parents view it more as a hobby.

There are also relatively cheaper options. You can enroll for a short-term college course where you learn the basics and thereafter, transfer the credits when attending a higher institution.
There is Much to Learn

Going to photography school will enable a photographer to learn things they wouldn’t learn by themselves. A tutor will teach on all the details of photography, making a student become an excellent photographer. The competitive environment in the classroom also enables a photography student to strive to be the best at what they do. Fieldwork involves real shoots and photography projects, which prepares the photography student first hand on how the industry is.

It is also important to note that it’s not all fun and games. Most schools will require a paper writer to do the same courses as those taking other arts. A photography student may find themselves taking Math and English units. Some of the photography programs emphasize technical skills thus students end up doing some chemistry or calculus. This means that one needs to do their part in research on what every course entails. Evaluate all the photography courses to avoid getting to class and having to drop out.

The Opportunities that Become Available to You

The goal of attending photography school is to make it in the real world as a professional photographer. Not to say that there are no opportunities available for those that decide to not attend school, but your opportunities broaden when you attend school. A School grows your network and one gains contacts, which may be crucial in the future. A school has a way of providing its students with opportunities to work with professionals and big names in the industry. This is an opportunity of a lifetime that enables photography students to have professional photographers as mentors.

Some established photographers didn’t get a formal education on photography, so you don’t have to go to school to have a photography career. However, some clients will decide whether to take you up on a project based on that. They might think that you’re more qualified once they see that you have a specialization in that field.

Your resume showing that you attended or graduated from a certain school proves dedication and commitment to your art.

How to Balance Work, Life, and School

Most photographers do photography on the side as freelance. While still maintaining a social life and working to support a family. Going to school would mean sacrificing some time, and this is hard, especially if you’re not a young student. This is another thing to consider when deciding on whether to get an education on photography.

If you have found yourself wondering whether to attend a photography school for whatever reason, you need to decide whether it is worth it. One thing is for sure, to be a good photographer, one needs to be creative, have the technical know-how, and possess business and interpersonal skills. Most photographers have obtained these skills from real-life experiences without going to school, while others have had to learn these skills from school. Whichever route you choose, we hope that you become an exceptional photographer.

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