Are photography degrees the joker in the pack?

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I’m not particularly trying to make a living purely from photography but want to balance it with my existing (writing) work. I don’t think any of my classmates are naive enough to think it’s going to get them jobs – we all just wanted to grow as photographers and people, cheesy as that sounds.

via Are photography degrees the joker in the pack?

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. I am also fed up with all the negativity surrounding photography degrees, I am a mature student in my final year. I have worked hard for the last few years informing myself about photography, not just how to practically take a photo but the history, genres and different practitioners. We are constantly getting it thrown in our faces there are no jobs etc so we know it’s not easy, some of us are not there to gain a career. After all no other subject gets the “there are too many photographers” so why bother comment, you don’t hear people moaning about how many lawyers there are or social workers.

    • While I agree with the sentiment, there are actually too many lawyers and social workers… newly graduated students in those fields have difficulty finding jobs these days, and they are usually low paid. A lot of this is because limited job opportunities led them back to school in the first place.

      It’s amazing how many interns with masters and JD’s you’ll find now.

  2. I’ve never done a degree program, but have taken many, many classes, and for me, I’ve gotten so much more out of film making, art history, design, and studio art classes than any pure “photography” class. For example, there’s really no way to truly learn artificial lighting without using hot lights with actors/models moving around under them (you can’t even really see the light from a strobe). Add the fact that that they’re actually hot and dangerous, and you learn some pretty good working methods, too. As for learning to see, nothing beats drawing and painting nude models or landscapes for hours and hours and hours. And the list goes on. Photography classes are good for getting you up and running using your camera, but that’s about it more or less.

  3. I am absolutely of the mindset that eduction is for just that… education. Degrees are not solely a means to an end (a job); it’s an opportunity to get a well-balanced collection of subject-specific curriculum from knowledgable people.

    Enjoy your photography degree–I would like one, too! It’s probably cheaper than taking oodles of workshops. =)

  4. yvonne grimshaw baker

    I absolutely agree Brianna, I have enjoyed every minute of the degree course, it has so far been informative if not a little stressful coming into education after a 20 years plus break. I find most people on my course are not expecting to have a full time career in photography straight after graduation, however there are some that will think they will be the Rankin or Arbus, they are quickly disillusioned after the first year.

    If I was to take a practical course instead of a degree, of course I would have learn about f- stops and shutter speed, but would not have gained the confidence and communication skills needed to approach brothels for instance for which my last project focused on, I still would not know how to articulate my thoughts in an artist statement or know where my work stood in history or belonged to which genre. I find the huge topic of photography with its influence on modern day society, is a big enough subject to accommodate all types of scholars whether they wish to become a ‘professional’ photographer or not.
    My final year work is concentrating on architectural photography and Intersex women, where else would I find the resources back up and inspiration to do this as a mature mum of two, if not at university to help start me off…..

  5. On being a pro photographer: You need to be a full time business providing the service of photography. Taking great pictures is a start but having customer service skills, understanding production, taxes, cash flow, etc are what will make or break you.

  6. A degree is what you make of it. I will be graduating in less than 30 days with a B.A. in Photography and I am super pleased about the education I have received. First of all, there are too many photographers: Landscape photographers, portrait photographers, or even iphone photographers. What we all need to understand is that the education that we are receiving is an upper hand: the knowledge to take our ideas and learn how to expand them, to create images that say something, not just images of trees or flowers or babies. Most of my work is more considerably Fine Art but the skills that I have learned in the realms of commercial and dealing with clients is a phenomenal bit of knowledge to have. Don’t give up kids….dedicate yourselves to something bigger than everyone else.

  7. Not sure how much it costs to get a photography degree in the U.K. , nor how many of those commenting here are in American schools, but that $80,000.00 ball and chain around your ankle after graduation may add some gravity to “growth” as a graduate ;)

  8. I dunno…I’m currently dumping $125K into a Visual Comm degree *raises pinky – with a concentration in Photography* at SCAD, and honestly, I haven’t gleaned anything new in the way of insight, skill set or technique in those “uppity” halls that Google couldn’t have taught me for free. I feel like SCAD is a waste of time…unless I want to learn how to take pictures of bikini-clad kittens plastered with gold leaf holding flame throwers while wearing gas masks, wrapped in crime-scene tape. UGHHHHHHHHHHHH!