Photography Schools: Where to go to Learn Photography

Photography Schools: Where to go to Learn Photography

Capture3Photography has long been a favorite hobby for many. But what do you do when you are ready to take your hobby to the next level and become a professional photographer? DO you go to school and get a degree? Or do you teach yourself via online classes?

There are pros and cons to both paths. First, going to a photography school can get very expensive and it can be time consuming. Some people do not see this as a problem, but rather as an investment in their career. Others have the passion to learn, but not the time and money. For them learning online is the way to go. When you are learning photography on your own, you have to have the discipline to keep up with your studies, something that is more structured when you take a class. Also when attending a photography class, you have a teacher to look over your photos and give you criticism and advice. If you are learning on your own, you will need to find someone to do this for you. In the end it is up to you to decide with path to photography is best for you according to your needs. In this article, you will receive the resources to research your decision.

According to ResourceOnline, here are 15 great photography schools in the US

  • Virginia Commonwealth University  

    Our department aims to facilitate a comprehensive artistic, technical and intellectual understanding and use of the mediums of photography and film; to provide a rigorous education in the arts, specifically in photographic and moving image media, and a broad education in other academic subjects; to foster a climate that inspires creativity, intellectual curiosity, freedom of expression, and critical thinking. We emphasize hands-on experience in the fields of fine art, studio and location photography, and narrative, documentary and experimental filmmaking and sponsor a wide variety of guest lectures, seminars and workshops. All students become adept in chemical based processes and the latest digital technologies.

  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design  

    The MassArt Photography Program teaches photography as fine art with an emphasis on personal vision, experimentation, and an understanding of the history of photography and the body of criticism that surrounds it. Students are introduced to a wide array of both film-based and digital tools; they become well-versed in the medium’s technical and aesthetic traditions while exploring contemporary directions through slide lectures and critiques. Our curriculum covers both analog and digital production and offers a wide variety of elective courses providing a strong foundation for critical thinking, collaboration, and a career in photographic arts.

  • University of Arizona

    The Photography division faculty and students conduct a rigorous investigation into the nature and meaning of photographic representation and its role in contemporary culture. Students are expected to demonstrate commitment to expressive inquiry, maturity of vision and take responsibility for their professional development as artists. The division takes a broad and progressive approach to the practice and definition of photography, encouraging you to question and expand the boundaries of the medium. The curriculum offers courses in traditional black and white darkroom techniques, digital and other image-forming technologies, color processes, large-scale photography, video, and performance. Facilities include group and semi-private black and white darkrooms and film processing areas, color enlargers and a 20” processor, professional lighting studio and large format digital output facilities. See more in the Photography Facilities section.

   The Center for Creative Photography plays an important role in the education of photography and art history students by offering access to all      of the Center’s resources, including semester-long internships and lectures by distinguished photographers, historians, and critics. Studio         photography and art history students studying the history of photography take advantage of photographic exhibitions, lectures, print viewings, gallery talks, an extensive photographic library, an artists’ book collection, and a world class archive of photographs and related material.

  • Maryland Institute College of Art  

    One of the first programs of its kind worldwide, the photography program at MICA was established more than 100 years ago. Building on this legacy, the program today thoroughly examines both still and digital photography while encouraging a diversity of approaches. Students master technical skills as they work in state-of-the-art digital facilities, learn traditional and alternative darkroom processes, and develop a deep understanding of the medium’s history and contemporary directions.

  • Arizona State University

    Students learn from faculty with diverse creative concerns and who cultivate technique in the service of ideas, parallel to the critical and cultural analysis of the medium. Students have access to the widest range of photographic possibilities, including silver gelatin, chromogenic color, digital imaging, video, alternative processes and mixed media. Students explore interdisciplinary options in their art through other disciplines, including printmaking, intermedia and sculpture.

  • Columbia College (IL)

    We’ve never lived in a more visual society. Within it, there’s a growing need for photographers and image innovators––professionals who conceptualize, create and drive future advances in visual technology. Columbia’s internationally known Photography Department and its renowned faculty and facilities will give you an unparalleled foundation for an enduring career.

  • California College of the Arts

    In our Photography Program, you’ll discover inspiration all around you, whether you’re capturing the small, human details of everyday life or exploring larger, abstract ideas about culture and identity. As you map this creative territory, you’ll also be developing your technical digital and analog skills. You will make images that have a real impact on your personal and professional communities.

  • University of California(Los Angeles)

    Focusing on the interrelation of photography and art, study in this area is directed toward works of art made using photographs. Ability to understand and discuss photography’s unique historical, material, and narrative potential is emphasized over technical considerations. Work in installation art and video in conjunction with photography is encouraged.

  • Yale School of Fine Art

    Photography is a two-year program of study admitting nine students a year. Darkroom, studio, and computer facilities are provided. Students receive technical instruction in black-and-white and color photography as well as nonsilver processes and digital image production.

The program is committed to a broad definition of photography as a lens-based medium open to a variety of expressive means. Students work both individually and in groups with faculty and visiting artists. In addition, a critique panel composed of faculty and other artists or critics meets weekly, as well as for a final review each term, to discuss student work.

  • School of Visual Art

    The BFA photography program at the School of Visual Arts grounds students in the creative and technological skills of the medium as well as in the job opportunities available in the field. This means that by the end of your four years here, you’ll know how to process and print both black and white and color material; how to light a studio; how to use medium- and large-format cameras and how to work with digital materials. You’ll have had the opportunity to pursue fashion photography, landscape photography, still-life photography, portraiture, photojournalism and other genres of the medium. But equally as important, you’ll have an understanding of the professional world outside of SVA—practical and strategic knowledge to land a position where you can put your formidable skills to work.

  • University of New Mexico

    The University of New Mexico Photography Program is a fluid investigation into visual literacy focusing on the creative possibilities of lens-based imaging. Emphasis, in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, is placed on the student’s personal growth through aesthetic and intellectual development.

  • Rhode Island School of Design

    RISD approaches photography as an ever-changing set of technical, conceptual and aesthetic conditions that exist within a broad social and cultural context. Students delve into the making, presentation and interpretation of photographic images, exploring photography as both a language and a craft. Ultimately, they learn how to use cultural signifiers, symbols and metaphors in the content and structure of image making.

  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    Our multifaceted approach to the medium includes traditional forms of image making and conceptually oriented practices and makes the SAIC Photography program uniquely diverse.

As a student in the Photography department, you will: explore the practice and theory of photography, practice your art in a supportive, non hierarchical community among faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students, and work with state-of-the-art equipment and enjoy access to all the resources of the school.

  • Rochester Institute of Technology

    The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences prepares students for a wide range of exciting careers in photography and the modern ever-changing field of imaging. Image making is taught through courses investigating methods and aesthetics required in pictorial and information-based images, videos, websites and publications.

  • California Institute of the Arts

    The Program in Photography and Media is committed to educating independent artists in a world where photographic imagery and new media representations and strategies are omnipresent. From foundation work through graduate studies, courses are designed to challenge conventional notions of artistic practice and to question the position of representation within contemporary culture. The program encourages debate and experimentation, since nothing is stable or even particularly comfortable in photography’s relation to the other arts-especially in an environment that includes so many new practices. The faculty represents a broad range of those practices, some purely photographic, some entirely digital and others branching off into writing and publishing, painting, video, film-making, assemblage, net art, digital media and installation.


There are many online photography courses out there, free and paid. Here is a list of some of the best free online photography courses according to PetaPixel:

Introduction to Photography and Related Media

Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide

Free Beginner Nikon Digital SLR Photography

Photography: Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual

Karl Taylor’s FREE Photography Course

A Complete Introduction to Photography (aka Reddit Photoclass)


Cambridge in Colour

Using a Photographic Light Meter

Pixels After Dark: Shooting the Night

Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Photoshop & Lightroom for Photographers

Create a Gorgeous Photography Site with SmugMug in 90 mins

Computational Photography


Anthony Morganti’s Video Series on Lightroom 5

An Introduction To Tilt + Shift Photography

The Art of Photography

Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion

Photography and Truth

History of Photography Podcasts

Digital Photography School

Creative Live Photography

Tuts Plus Photography Tutorials

No matter how you take your photography lessons, you need to get started. Do your research on the photography schools listed above as well as the free online photography courses. Decide where you’d like to start and get going. Here is a video from Phlearn to get you started. The best of luck to you.