The Benefits of Earning an Arts Degree in Photography – A Comprehensive Guide

Whether you want to make photography your career or pursue the craft on your terms, getting a well-rounded education is always beneficial. A Bachelor of Arts, or BA, in Arts degree provides essential knowledge of the art world. Photography courses offer challenging coursework modeled on industry practice. They also provide access to studios, historical wet processing and lighting equipment, and other materials for experimentation.

1. Boost Your Creativity

An art degree in photography like Academy of Art University is a great way to hone your creativity. It’ll force you to think of new ideas and experiment with different styles. For example, if you usually shoot with a wide-angle lens, forcing yourself to switch to a telephoto will make you look at things differently. It’ll also help you learn to see from new angles and focus more on aesthetics. You’ll start seeing art and beauty in things like water bottles or walls once plain. 

Photography can boost your creativity by making you use parts of your brain that you haven’t used in a long time. It can even trigger your BDNF, a critical molecule that grows new brain cells and makes you think artistically. Many colleges offer students options for pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in photography. 

An associate degree focuses more on the technical aspects of the craft, while a bachelor’s degree teaches more about the history and fundamentals of photography. The bachelor’s program may also include courses in image design and the handling of commercial concerns. Regardless of the degree level, taking various classes and learning about different photography genres is essential. This will help you develop a portfolio and understand the current trends in the field.

2. Develop Your Communication Skills

While anyone can snap a photo with their smartphone and share it with the world, professional photographers have a wealth of technical skills beyond basic image capture. They understand how to frame an image, use lighting and color to add depth, drama, or humor, and tell a story with their photographs. 

A bachelor’s degree in photography can provide the tools and techniques to make a difference in your creative career. A good program will offer you a balance of structure and flexibility, challenging assumptions about your work while providing new avenues for exploration. 

You’ll also develop a deep understanding of the field’s critical issues, with access to facilities that include analog and digital cameras, historical wet processes, and an extensive lighting studio. You’ll be expected to critique your work and the result of fellow students and faculty members. It’s essential to accept constructive feedback and apply it to your practice. 

This is where the support of a cohort can be invaluable. A bachelor’s degree in photography is not just preparation for a career as a photographer; it will also serve you well in careers in art direction, archiving, curating, communications, and teaching. A broad base of knowledge across traditional liberal arts subjects will help you to think critically and to create innovative solutions that will advance the art form.

3. Learn to Think Critically

A significant benefit of pursuing an art degree in photography is the opportunity to explore various techniques, mediums, and creative approaches. This helps you develop a diverse skill set and expand your artistic boundaries, preparing you for a career in which the scope of your work will grow beyond the realm of photography alone. 

In our close-knit community, you’ll challenge assumptions about the photographic process in yourself and others and explore related creative fields like drawing, painting, sculpture, and video. 

Visiting artists and scholars offer workshops that help you broaden your conceptual thinking while strengthening your technical knowledge. You’ll also be able to take courses that teach the fundamentals of image-making research and theory, enabling you to make informed choices about your creative approach and how it will shape your final body of work.

You’ll learn about photography’s history and study contemporary practices that have emerged due to social and technological advances. And, because photographers rarely work alone, you’ll have the chance to collaborate with other students and faculty members on group projects that test your ability to think critically and problem-solve. 

You’ll learn to build alliances that will stay with you throughout your career as a fine artist or a commercial photographer. In addition, you’ll have access to resources in other departments that will allow you to work with different media and develop cross-disciplinary skills.

4. Build Your Network

While some freelance photographers succeed in this skills-based field without a formal degree, many find a bachelor’s or master’s program worth the investment. These programs offer valuable feedback, internships, and networking opportunities that can help you launch a career in photography or other creative fields. 

When you attend college for a photography degree, you’ll learn in a structured environment with instructors and classmates with similar goals and passions. This creates a positive learning environment that can help you reach your career goals more quickly than if you learned on your own through videos and tutorials. In addition to classroom teaching, many art schools have dedicated career services departments to assist students with various professional needs. 

These can include helping you write your resume, prepare for job interviews and locate employment and internship opportunities. The skills you develop in a photography degree can also help you build a strong portfolio that showcases your work. This can help you stand out from other candidates in your job search or land a new contract for your photography business. 

Final Words

In addition, your coursework may cover topics such as branding and marketing that can help you grow your audience. In addition, many professional organizations for photographers and artists offer members exclusive networking opportunities and industry news.


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