How to Choose the Right Online Photography School

A photography career requires more than a good eye and skills with a camera; good photographers must have drive, technical know-how, creativity, and business sense. Attending a photography school online could be a great way to develop these skills. But before you apply to that online photography college, here are some hints to help you get started and eventually reach your goals.

Know Your Photography School Goals

What kind of photography do you want to practice? Are you interested in photojournalism, family portraiture, commercial photography, or special event photography? Knowing your career goals can help you narrow down programs and figure out the amount of time you can expect to spend in photography school.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that photojournalists, industrial photographers, and scientific photographers typically need a bachelor’s degree in photography or in the field that interests them, whereas other types of photographers can take a few courses or gain knowledge through experience.

Know Yourself

Contrary to romantic images of photographers easily snapping instantly-beautiful photographs with excellent balance and proportion, a successful photography career requires a variety of skills, many of which you’ll want to develop during your course of study:

  • • Technical expertise
  • • A good eye
  • • Creativity
  • • Stamina
  • • Good business sense

The last skill may be particularly important; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of all photographers are self-employed, which means that good business skills are crucial for a photography career. So even if you’re interested in a branch of photography that requires less training, you may want to take online business classes just to keep your head above water financially.

Know Your Online Photography Schools

Not all online schools are equal! Infamous diploma mills often offer degrees that can be bought at a price, sometimes involving little to no work on the part of the student and, accordingly, little to no acquisition of knowledge. Don’t waste your time and money getting a degree from a diploma mill.

Check out the website for the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, where you can find out whether the online photography school in which you are interested is accredited.

Know Your Financial Aid

According to a New York Times article, online degree programs typically cost about the same as traditional programs, with the added bonus of saving on commuting gas, housing, and food. But students can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year on tuition through available scholarships.

There are scholarships based on your major, state, ethnicity, need, gender, career goals, or even your parents’ jobs. So how do you get them? First, you have to know what they are. CNNMoney.com suggests the scholarship search Web sites Fastweb.com, Petersons, and CollegeBoard.com. Knowing where to look is the first step toward saving money on your online photography school.

 

 

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