Earn a Photography Degree Online
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Kick-start your career in the arts or blaze a new professional trail with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Digital Photography from Southern New Hampshire University. The online bachelor's program provides a strong footing in the technical skills of digital camera operation, lighting and post-production image editing while refining your visual literacy and gaining a foundation in the humanities – all at a fraction of the cost of comparable programs.
"Earning your online degree at SNHU will afford you the opportunity to lay the foundation of being an expert in your craft, and have a deeper understanding of professional photography," said Colleen Vandenberg, photography faculty at SNHU.
In addition to a solid grounding in the liberal arts, this unique online photography degree also delves into the business, social media and brand-building aspects of the profession to help you differentiate yourself in a competitive marketplace. Throughout the program, you'll also develop a professional portfolio for both career advancement and personal fulfillment.
In SNHU's online BA in Digital Photography program, you'll learn how to:
Have you dreamed of assisting major photographers on a fashion editorial – or even photographing it yourself someday? Or maybe you see a future photographing the covers of leading food magazines or becoming a renowned wedding photographer in your area. Whatever your goals are, the bachelor's in digital photography will help prepare you for a variety of professional opportunities.
Once you complete the online bachelor's in digital photography program, you'll have a skill set directly applicable to a number of fields, including:
While earning your online photography degree already gives you a competitive advantage in the job market, the best candidates have multiple talents and related skills such as picture editing and capturing digital video. For specialties like photojournalism and industrial and scientific photography, a bachelor's degree is often a must.
At SNHU, we trust your artistry can take you far, but we also know your creative skills as a photographer are just the tip of the iceberg. Many career photographers are self-employed – freelancing or even owning their own businesses – which comes with additional responsibilities.
"Photographers today often are hired on a contract basis and it is essential that they are educated in the successful creation, marketing and running of a photography business," said Sloan Kelly, associate dean of fine and applied arts at SNHU.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics even reports that the demand for self-employed photographers is projected to grow 10% through 2028.1 That's why our digital photography curriculum goes beyond the technical side of photography to include courses that teach you the vital business and communication skills you'll need to work with clients. Learning about the legal, marketing and entrepreneurial aspects of photography, you'll graduate the program knowing how to manage self-employment and market yourself professionally.
Eventually, your work experiences as a photographer could lead you down other creative paths. After cultivating professional connections, acquiring new skills and exploring your passions, you might pursue positions like:
Learn more about how to become a professional photographer.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
As an online student, there's still plenty of opportunity for you to interact with your peers and get involved with the SNHU community.
The SNHU Art Exhibition Contest celebrates visual artists. The contest has 3 major categories: photography, graphic design and illustration, and multimedia and motion graphics. After the hundreds of submissions have been curated by an expert panel, the top 25 are uploaded to a web gallery for public voting. Each category winner is awarded an SNHU scholarship, among other prizes.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
Taught by industry-leading faculty, the bachelor's in photography is a great program for anyone looking to develop a strong grasp of the theory, practice and history of photography. With 36 free electives, the bachelor's in digital photography is also a transfer-friendly program, allowing students to pursue other academic interests alongside photography. This could be an opportunity to dive further into areas like marketing, communication or graphic design.
Our online photography program was designed to give you the advanced technical knowledge you need to succeed as an artist. You'll learn about:
"By learning how to manually control their camera, and harness the power of aperture and shutter speed, students can create images with intention," said Vandenberg. "With a strong foundation of technical skills, the student will become free to push creative boundaries."
On top of technical photography skills, our bachelor's in digital photography teaches you the vital business knowledge needed to establish and run a successful photography business. Focusing on the legal, marketing and entrepreneurial aspects of photography, you'll learn how to:
But when it comes to running a successful photography business, you'll need more than core business knowledge. In this digital photography program, you'll also strengthen general skills and attributes that are considered necessary when working with clients. These include:
Throughout the program, you'll be accumulating works through various assignments. While learning the technical aspects of photography, you'll enjoy a robust feedback process to enrich your learning experience. Engaging in peer and professional critiques of photographic work, you'll be preparing yourself for formal employment and contract interviews.
These critiques will be invaluable as you develop and curate your professional photography portfolio. In fact, the digital photography program culminates with a course dedicated to polishing your portfolio, providing you the opportunity to showcase your professional work. With the creation of both digital and print portfolios, you'll establish a branded identity as a working professional and artist.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Total Credits: 120
Students enrolled in the digital photography programs are responsible for ensuring they have the minimum system hardware, software, and photography equipment required in the courses. System requirements often change, so it is important that students maintain awareness of the various minimum hardware requirements for the required software listed below.
Required Photography Equipment:
Students may also wish to purchase (not required):
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Yes, taking photography classes online is a great way to earn your degree – especially if you need a program that fits into your busy life.
At SNHU, the online digital photography degree is designed with flexibility in mind. You can attend class when it’s convenient for you, with all course materials accessible 24/7.
While you will need to have your own photography equipment, including a DSLR camera, the photography editing software used in your courses is all available online, allowing you to learn key editing skills from the comfort of your home – or anywhere else you complete your coursework.
The digital photography workflow process is infused throughout the program, providing you with the understanding and practice of working with digital images from creation to output. Digital portfolios and online discussion forums with your instructor and peers ensure you can get key feedback on your photography as you develop your artistic vision and technical skills.
The best online photography school is the one that best prepares you for the career you want.
At SNHU, a digital photography degree will give you a strong understanding of the artistic and technical aspects of photography and will also prepare you for the professional world.
You’ll learn how to manually control the camera and manipulate light, and you’ll explore how to use post-production programs like Photoshop and Lightroom to enhance digital photography.
You’ll also practice giving, receiving and applying feedback from instructors and peers – a key set of skills that can prepare you for receiving artistic criticism during your career.
"The techniques and tools you will acquire through the coursework in the SNHU digital photography degree programs will set you apart from the hundreds of thousands of photographers out there who have an awesome camera, and know how to apply filters in Lightroom," said Colleen Vandenberg, a SNHU photography instructor. "SNHU wants to prepare you for any professional opportunity that comes your way.”
While smartphone cameras and photo editing apps have made taking photos easier than ever, a digital photography degree can still give you a leg up when starting a photography career.
"A photography degree says that you have made an investment in your career," said Rashida Johns, a photography instructor for SNHU. "Unfortunately, many still view photography as a glorified hobby. To have a degree shows a commitment to your craft and career."
While salaried photographer jobs are highly competitive, job prospects will be best for candidates who have a strong portfolio and related skills, such as editing photography or capturing digital video, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1
A photography degree can also prepare you to become a freelance photographer or start your own photography business. According to the BLS, employment of self-employed photographers is projected to grow 10% by 2028, as more businesses work with contractors instead of employing in-house photographers.1
Not ready to commit to a bachelor's degree program? SNHU also offers a shorter online photography degree – the associate in digital photography.
It depends on the job you want. While many photographers don’t need a degree to get started in entry-level positions, a digital photography degree can give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.
For specialties like photojournalism and industrial or scientific photography, a bachelor’s degree in photography is often required, and coursework in the field in which you’re seeking employment is also a plus, according to the BLS.1
A degree that gives you a strong understanding of business principles, including marketing, pricing and licensing, can also help prepare you for a career as a freelance photographer or entrepreneur.
Starting a photography business requires a strong grasp of the technical and artistic skills of photography, as well as a foundation in the legal, marketing and entrepreneurial aspects of the photography business.
At SNHU, you’ll explore how to work with clients and agencies, set up your own business, develop contracts, set pricing, manage overhead and many other entrepreneurial skills. You’ll also learn how to build a brand to differentiate yourself in a competitive marketplace and how to use social media and other tools to market your business.
"Learning how to build and maintain a freelance business and the importance of a brand – and marketing that brand – is essential for students to learn," said Sloan Kelly, associate dean of fine and applied arts at SNHU.
Throughout your degree program, you’ll develop a digital photography portfolio that showcases your professional work and demonstrates a cohesive creative vision – a key part of any successful photography career.
It depends. If affordability is top of mind, you should consider taking photography classes online.
With a full bachelor's tuition cost of $38,400, SNHU's BA in Digital Photography is available to you at a fraction of the cost of comparable programs. But the actual cost of your degree will vary based on any credits you transfer in, the courses you take and the materials they require.
While SNHU’s online degree programs aim to make use of free resources whenever possible – including e-books, websites and training videos – you will need access to a DSLR camera, photo editing software and other technical tools.
SNHU also has a generous transfer policy, allowing up to 90 transfer credits to be applied to your degree program. With 36 free electives available in the digital photography program, you may be able to apply previous college credits to your degree and save money.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet at
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2 According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.