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Do you Need a Degree to Be a Photographer?

What I like about photography is that it captures a moment that is gone forever. Basically, every picture has a story to tell.

In order to be a good storyteller, you need to be a good photographer, right? 

This blog is for you aspiring photographers.

In today’s article, we will discuss and find out if you need a degree to be a photographer.

So, if you are thinking of pursuing a digital photography career, make sure you stick to the end.

Without wasting time, let’s solve your unsureness.

Do you Need a Degree to Be a Photographer?

Let me cut the chase right away, No.

But Is it worth having a Digital Photography Degree?

Yes, it sure is.

If you have a degree, not just in photography but in general, you will have a much better-looking portfolio, than someone who doesn’t.

The question here is, does a degree hone your skills, or does it help you in finding a job?

A degree might give you a good general knowledge regarding photography, but It won’t give you extra skills, those are learned by experience and how creative of a photographer you are. There are known photographers who haven’t attended even a single day of school, yet they are prominent and completely dominate the photography world.

Regarding finding a job, I would say Yes and No.

Some companies don’t care about your degree, they just want to know if you have the right skills, and can deliver what they ask you to.

However, some of them will find you more capable and adequate if you have a formal education background.

The most common programs you can join to study “Photography” would be the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

Let’s find out what you will learn there.

What Will You Learn If You Were to Study Photography

Both programs will take you through photography classes, just in different ways.

For example, a Bachelor of Arts will also give you knowledge in many different fields, like marketing, art, history, etc.

While the Fine Arts are more focused on designing and painting, basically, the true definition of becoming an artist.

During your studies, you will pretty much learn everything that has to do with colors, the basics of your camera, how to shoot, and how to work your way to becoming a professional photographer.

Sadly, the studies won’t feed your creativity, that’s something that comes from within.

Once you learn the basics, you move to the next steps where you will be learning additional and more complicated things.

How to set up the whole photoshoot, finding the right locations, finding the good spots, weather as well as using your imagination and making stories in your mind, for the best possible outcome.

Those are indeed great and useful things to learn, but nothing that can’t be learned by yourself.

Please just note that this is a general insight, different countries have different learning ways.

While I can’t talk much about a degree since I am a self made and self employed photographer, I can sure talk about how to hone your skills without having to attend college.

How to Become a Professional Photographer without a Degree

The things I am about to mention are just friendly tips in general, not trying to convince you to stray away from the degree path. Professional photography can be achieved even without a degree. To land photography jobs in a good field, however, you will need some kind of degree, for example, if you are into fine art photography or say industrial photography and scientific photography.

Hit it Off as a Hobbyist

First, you want to start your photography journey as a hobbyist. Try to take some pictures there and then.

Whatever your eye catches, be it the beauties of mother nature, portraits of your friends posing. etc.

Being a hobbyist will give you some general knowledge regarding photography, and you will learn some nifty tricks by yourself.

Get The Right Equipment

Once you feel ready that you want to go to the next steps, make sure you have the right equipment. Photography studios are important indeed, but before that, we have a few others things we need to consider.

Foremost, find the camera brand that suits you. Obviously, having a good quality camera is everything.

But tools like a tripod and lenses are key too, especially a lens.

First, I would advise getting a zoom lens that has a good amount of focal ranges, then trying to find the perfect one that will benefit your type of photography.

As for a tripod, it is a really essential tool but you know should pick your photography field first.

Other stuff like bags, lens cleaner, and straps are important of course, but not as much as the two I just mentioned.

Join a Photography Community

Thanks to modern technology, nowadays almost everything can be learned online.

That’s what you want to do with photography also, there are tons of forums online where photographers share their tricks, work, tutorials, etc.

You can learn a lot on those forums, or even Reddit is a great place to start. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility to enroll in a community college, you can learn some good photography skills there.

Watch Youtube Tutorials/ Follow Famous Photographers

Just like above, watching videos on youtube can massively help in some aspects.

There are many YouTubers who exceed on photography, what’s good is that you can actually witness their experience on the videos. If you watch some famous photographers who are on youtube, it is guaranteed that you will learn a thing or two about photography.

Also social media like Instagram, and Twitter are good places to follow worldwide known photographers who share their work.

Consult Local Professional Photographers

No matter how small your hometown is, I am sure a professional photographer is lurking somewhere.

Try to find your local photographers who know what they are doing.

Once you do, you can try to learn a few tweaks from them.

If you prove yourself, you can get your name known out there too, so don’t give up.

Learn Editing Skills

No matter how good your camera quality is, it will never satisfy your customer until you edit the photo.

People like to see something that has a little photoshop touch, even more, when you make them look “beautiful”

Learning editing tools like photoshop and such plays a huge role in becoming a successful photographer.

Your camera can’t fix flaws, but an editing software sure can.

Final Words, Conclusion

We arrived at the climax,

pretty much I think you got an answer.

I concluded that a degree sure is important and useful. It gives you a good status and background which makes finding a job much easier.

However, it is not a must in any way.

What will make you a successful photographer is not the degree itself, instead it’s your desire to be a photographer and how much you feed your creativity.