Online education differs so much from conventional programs since it doesn’t require being physically on-site to attend classes. It also often allows for greater flexibility in scheduling. These factors all make it a convenient option for those with a busy schedule or living in a remote location. There is a wide offering of courses available online, from gen eds, like composition and rhetoric, to classes focused on specific careers, like photography.
Deciding to Enroll in a Program
Online photography courses offer some advantages over traditional classroom-setting classes. For one, there is usually greater flexibility in scheduling/less time spent in a virtual classroom, allowing students to have more time to take photographs. Online courses also usually offer sophisticated methods—like live chat, e-mail, web conferences, or discussion boards—for students to communicate with each other and instructors.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a program. Prospective students must decide what they want to accomplish with further education and then decide which type of degree or certificate most closely aligns with their long-term plans.
Certificate programs are available, which usually take a year or less to complete and are focused on providing students with in-depth knowledge of specific technical procedures, like Photoshop and lens use and editing skills. Associate degrees, which typically take 2 years to complete, can help people turn their hobbies into job prospects. These types of programs help foster students’ artistic and creative abilities while also developing their technical, business, and marketing skills to help them establish a career in photography. Bachelor degrees, which typically take 4 years to complete, are more focused programs that will allow students to take a greater variety of courses to develop more specialized skills. Advanced degrees are also available but it would be wise to only enroll if they have a specific career-track in mind.
Given the nature of online courses, a reliable laptop or tablet with Internet capabilities is a must. Other required items will depend on specific courses and programs, but it is almost universally required to own a digital camera. Many courses, though, may only require a digital camera with basic capabilities, like manual control of shutter speed, ISO settings, and aperture.
Some pieces of equipment may not be required but may be worth investing in for the future. The following are commonly referred to as “non-essential equipment” since they are not technically a necessity for many courses but can still help people develop key skills:
- Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera
- Variety of lenses
- Variety of filters
- Image-editing software
Common Courses and Content
Many options are available to students as they pursue their degree, but their coursework selection will depend on the colleges they attend and what their career goals are. Beginners, for instance, might first want to enroll in a few basic courses—like camera or photo editing introductory classes—to test the waters and see if this is truly the right path for them. Free lectures might also be available, so attending a few to gain some extra insight into a particular topic is another great option for building photography skills.
While each program is different, there are a few core classes that prospective students should expect to take:
- Digital Imaging
- Graphic Design
- Black-and-white Photography
- Portrait Photography
- Videography and Editing
- Studio Lighting Techniques
These classes are aimed at developing the basics: how to take a decent shot of various subjects/settings with techniques tailored for specific occasions; how to handle and operate a DSLR camera; and how to effectively edit a photo to improve its overall quality.
Other common courses include:
- Fashion Photography
- Studio and Outdoor Portraits
- Sports Photography
These courses are more tailored for specific audiences. Students wanting to take on more clients in the future should consider these courses as a great way to widen their skillsets to fulfill future customers’ needs and wants.
With a multitude of programs available to take from the comfort of home, enrolling in online photography courses can be an excellent choice for many.