Seeking a creative edge? Consider a digital photography degree


Posted: March 07, 2022 | Word Count: 657

Are you a visual thinker? Do you enjoy creating? Do you resist the idea of a traditional nine-to-five job? If so, you might consider getting a degree in digital photography and focusing your creativity into a satisfying, lasting career.

Over the past 20 years, digital images have profoundly changed how people use and experience photography. Generally speaking, digital photos are easier, faster and less expensive to create than their film predecessors. However, having a camera phone doesn't make you a digital photography expert. People with specialized digital photography skills gained through formal training are in high demand. With the rich expertise a degree in this field provides, creativity in digital photography is virtually limitless.

Career opportunities

Digital photography careers vary, but some popular paths include art photographer, photo editor, editorial photographer, museum or gallery director, web designer and teacher.

Media, arts and sports workers are in the top five fields projected to have the most openings per year that require a college degree, on average, from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the list are art directors and editors, with a median annual wage of $97,270 and $63,400, respectively, and more than 11,000 occupational openings each. Both jobs are listed as requiring a bachelor’s degree.

Digital photography is also a great option as the gig economy grows. Gig work means jobs that have contracts or can be done as a freelancer, and many people enjoy the flexibility of either full-time or part-time work.

Digital photography degrees

Degrees in digital photography emphasize contemporary, creative and expressive forms of the art that are in demand today. Students learn how to improve their technique while growing an understanding of aesthetics and conceptual thinking. By attending school you’ll also be connected to a community of peers, professors and mentors who will encourage artistic development.

One leading example is the BFA in Art with a concentration in Digital Photography offered by Arizona State University through ASU Online. Through practical assignments in a virtual learning environment, students have unique experiences and critically engage with classmates and instructors around the globe, further expanding their viewpoints and skillset.

“In some ways, I think our online digital photo degree actually unteaches some things. Photography is about more than just making a beautiful image. The photographs that have the most power, that have the most ability to change people’s ideas, are the ones that go beyond that beauty,” said Ashley Czajkowski, lecturer and image-based artist with The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU.

Who does well in digital photography?

Visual thinkers and creative people excel and enjoy studying digital photography. A digital photography degree may also be ideal for people with learning differences related to language and organization, such as attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. People with ADD/ADHD and dyslexia have often developed different ways of approaching the world and have a more creative approach to problem solving. For many of them, art provides an excellent place to use these skills.

The ASU Online program makes a thriving art school available to a broad and diverse student body. The instructors genuinely care and want students to create something new and meaningful.

Maria Lapenta was between schools and decided on ASU Online. “The application process was smooth, the community was great and it just felt like the perfect place for me — it felt like home.

“I was wanting to go back to school for photography to expand my knowledge in not only the technical aspects of photography but also the history of photography, and learning to think about photography and art in a different way. I learned that it was OK for me to break out from the standard idea of art/photography and to be myself in my art,” Lapenta said.

To learn about ASU Online's digital photography program in addition to other accelerated and traditional degree programs, visit ASUOnline.asu.edu.

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