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Online Photography Degree Bachelor's in Digital Photography

2015 online degree graduate Caitlyn Carey, working from a laptop on her couch.

Cost per credit $330

Total courses 40

Term length 8 weeks

Program Overview Why get an online photography degree?

Your creative instincts hold true career potential. Tap into them with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Digital Photography from Southern New Hampshire University. This degree program will provide you with technical photography skills and a foundation in the humanities — from an accredited university with one of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation. Along the way, you'll create works to establish a branded identity and compile a professional portfolio.

Skills you'll learn:

  • Digital camera operation
  • Light equipment techniques
  • Post-production editing
  • Entrepreneurial expertise
  • Brand-building tactics
  • Legal rights and responsibilities
An SNHU student on their laptop smiling

Courses & Curriculum Online photography degree classes that ignite your imagination

Beyond the technical aspects of photography, this program will show you how to market yourself and manage your brand as a self-employed photographer. You'll also get key feedback from instructors and peers, so you can hone your artistic vision.

Want to explore other academic interests at the same time? This transfer-friendly program features 36 free electives, so you can take complementary classes in marketing, communication or graphic design.

Degree Courses

Online photography degree courses

Taught by industry-leading faculty, these classes will give you a strong understanding of photography theory, practice and history. You'll also explore entrepreneurial skills, like how to work with clients and agencies, develop contracts, set pricing and manage overhead.

Courses may include:

Course ID: COM 130
Examine the concept of media literacy. Practice deconstructing media messages to recognize their potential effect. Understand how media literacy is associated with an individual's role as a consumer of and participant in media.
Course ID: COM 310
The possibilities and dangers of social media increase daily. This course explores the history, technology, impact, and strategies of social media. Students will examine the uses of social media for business, personal branding, community building, journalism, affecting change, and marketing communications. The course provides hands-on experience with the most current technology.
Course ID: FAS 226
Photography as a visual medium is integral to the study of contemporary communication. This course introduces students to the history and practice of producing photographic images. The course is a combination of lecture and the hands-on practice of both the analog and digital methods of photographic image-making. The traditional darkroom is dispensed with, giving over to the computer the role of dark- room, with the student using Adobe Photoshop and other image editors to process traditional film and digital image captures. The student is taught to use various digital cameras techniques to capture, process, and print a portfolio of several original photographic images. Lectures on pictorial composition, subject matter choice, and methods of presentation display will accompany hands-on technical exercises.
Course ID: FAS 235
As the practice of digital photography leverages new technical skills through software programs and digital editing, it is critically important that practicing photographers gain a greater understanding of emerging methods for producing, editing, and distributing photographic works. This course provides an intermediate experience in the process of generating portfolios of digital images for presentation, distribution, or exhibition. Key to this experience is a broad understanding of design concepts that lead to decisions in coloring, resolution, formatting, and so on to produce high quality images that reflect a creative point of view. Students are exposed to advanced techniques using industry standard software to manipulate digital works for print and digital output, including color theory, management, calibration, and standard file formatting.
Course ID: FAS 240
This course serves as an introduction to the business practices of photography, focusing on the legal, marketing, and entrepreneurial aspects of the highly competitive photography industry today. Students gain valuable exposure to best practices recommended for working with clients and agencies, setting up an entrepreneurial business, developing appropriate contracts, licensing works, setting a pricing structure, model and property release forms, and managing overhead costs, among other topics. This course culminates in students determining their next steps in their professional development, including how to drive their personal vision and brand as a practicing photographer.
Course ID: FAS 255
The act of photography inherently depicts how light reacts and reflects its subject matter, while also communicating different emotions, moods, and feelings to the audience. This course serves as a comprehensive introduction to how light is used and manipulated for different purposes and effects. Topics covered include using ambient light versus flash or studio light for different subject matter (portraits, editorial work, fine art, etc.), angle of light and how it influences the look of the subject matter, using a single light source versus multiple light sources, how to blend ambient light with strobe lighting, using long exposures and film speed to manipulate the look of your imagery, along with other purposeful techniques for manipulating the aesthetics of light.
Course ID: FAS 360
Numerous advancements in digital imaging have created an exigent need for working professionals to remain on the cutting edge of these practices. This course provides students with an opportunity to research advancements in digital imaging and digital photography techniques with the intent of enhancing their own photographic practices. Students are expected to apply a selection of these emerging techniques and articulate the process, creative choices, and outcomes produced in their work.
Course ID: FAS 375
This course explores various aesthetic theories of photographic practice and the evolution of photography as a respectable fine art medium available to contemporary artists and subject to critical inquiry. Students learn how photographic images shape our understanding of both the past and present as well as the very nature of photography as an art form and how this has changed over time. Besides theory, students also explore through hands on practice the methods and techniques for developing one's own aesthetic characteristics and personal style in photographic work.
Course ID: FAS 400
Participate in an advanced exploration of the concepts of narrative and linear vs. non-linear imagery. Research the history of documentary photography, focusing on how creative works produced as professionals can be used to make an impact on communities and audiences. With an emphasis on storytelling through creative imagery, develop a digital narrative showcasing advanced techniques in camerawork, lighting, and other pre- and post-production skills.
Course ID: FAS 485
The digital photography portfolio course provides students with a comprehensive development opportunity to showcase their professional work, establish a branded identity as a working professional, and engage in peer and professional critiques of design work in preparation for formal employment and contract interviews. Students create both digital and print-ready portfolios that demonstrate their competencies in the digital photography program outcomes.
Course ID: GRA 220
Using Photoshop and Illustrator software, this course is an introduction to professional computer graphics creation and to the software and hardware typically used in the graphic design, video, photography and interactive Web/multimedia industries. Emphasis will be placed on the professional use of image-capturing devices, such as scanners, digital still cameras and video cameras. Image editing and color management systems will be discussed and demonstrated. The important differences between vector and bitmap graphics will be defined, as will the significant differences in preparing images for print, broadcast and Web distribution. Students will be encouraged to experiment with their own and pre-existing images using sophisticated digital editing techniques such as layering, channel masking, filtering, cloning and montaging. Special attention will be paid to copyright awareness in the age of digital image.

Visit the course catalog to view the full BA in Digital Photography curriculum.

Apply for free in minutes

Our no-commitment application can help you decide if SNHU is the right college for you and your career goals. Apply up until 2 days before the term starts!

Upcoming term starts: October 28, 2024 | January 06, 2025

Next term starts:
Sept. 02, 2024

Online Student Experience What’s it like going to SNHU?

Attending college online at SNHU can be a life-changing experience. In fact, 93.2% of online students would recommend SNHU according to a 2023 survey with 21,000+ respondents.

What to expect:

8-week terms

Learn around your schedule

24/7 online support

Online Classroom

What does an online course look like?

You’ll take your courses within SNHU’s Brightspace platform. This is where you’ll find your:

  • Schedule of weekly assignments
  • Discussion boards
  • Grades
  • Instructor announcements
How to Take an Online Class at SNHU
5 ways SNHU makes the admission process "easy-peasy" #shorts

Admission Applying to SNHU is fast and free

No application fee. No test scores. And no college essay. Just a simple form with basic information. It’s another way SNHU helps you reach your goals sooner.

All it takes is 3 simple steps

It's easy, fast and free.

You’ll fill out one form to verify your high school completion or GED. Then, if you’ve attended college before, you’ll submit a form for each school so we can request your transcripts for you. (Also for free!)

After reviewing your official evaluation, you can decide if SNHU is right for you! If you choose to enroll, just pick your start date and get ready for classes to begin.

Talk to an admission counselor: 888.327.SNHU |


SNHU is accredited by the regional accreditor the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which means we meet certain standards of academic quality, and have the tools and resources necessary for students to be successful. The university also carries specialized accreditations for some programs.

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Tuition Cost & Savings College can be more affordable than you think

As a nonprofit university, SNHU offers some of the lowest online tuition rates in the country. And when you work with our Financial Services team, we'll explore ways to help you save even more on your education – and customize a payment plan that works for you.

Online undergraduate programs

Cost per credit
Cost per course
Cost for 120-credit degree*
Full- and part-time students
Active-duty military and spouses | Full- and part-time students**

*before previously earned credits are applied

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

**Note: Students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional costs: Course materials vary by course.

Transfer credits and lower your cost by:

$9,900 $14,850 $19,800 $24,750 $29,700
Transfer credits and lower your cost by:

If 30 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $29,700

If 45 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $24,750

If 60 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $19,800

If 75 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $14,850

If 90 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $9,900

How we estimate your tuition cost:

We look at the cost per credit multiplied by the number of credits you need to earn for a bachelor's degree. Most bachelor's degrees require 120 credits. SNHU allows you to transfer in up to 90 credits, requiring a minimum of 30 credits to be taken at SNHU. This is only a tuition estimator, and doesn't account for other fees that may be associated with your program of choice.

Career Outlook What can I do with an online photography degree?

The goal of our BA in Digital Photography program is to help you build the skills and confidence needed to succeed in your career – whether you’re just starting out or taking it to the next level. With each class, you'll sharpen your photography expertise and open the door to new creative paths.


Once you complete our online photography degree program, you'll have a skill set that's directly applicable to a number of roles, including:

Capture individual subjects or groups for special occasions, business head shots or keepsakes.

Create a cohesive look and feel for magazines, photo shoots, products, campaigns — even movies.

Lay out photos and copy, create digital images, and use color and typography to bring ideas to life.

Help businesses of all sizes market their products to customers with high-quality photos.

Use your background in photography as a foundation for shooting and editing videos.

Tell stories for news outlets (including newspapers, magazines and television) as a photojournalist.


Increase in job openings for photographers through 2032, projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1

Understanding the numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors—like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

What SNHU students are saying

Susana Ellis '20
Susana Ellis '20
The courses challenged me to be creative. Each class was fun and engaging with great insight from teachers.
Susana Ellis '20

Frequently Asked Questions

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 course materials accessible 24/7.

While you'll need to have your own photography equipment, including a suitable camera, the photo-editing software used in your courses is available online. This allows you to learn key editing skills from the comfort of your home or anywhere else you complete your coursework.

We infuse the digital photography workflow process throughout the program, so you can practice digital image work from creation to output. You then can receive key feedback from your instructor and peers via your digital portfolio and/or online discussion forums.

"I am thrilled that I will be able to check the box saying, YES, I have my BA in Photography," said Saryn Christina '22. "It has given me a lot more confidence in myself and my work."

The best online photography school is the one that most effectively prepares you for the career you want.

At SNHU, a digital photography degree can give you a strong understanding of the artistic and technical aspects of photography and can also prepare you for the professional world.

"I saw a commercial for SNHU and it really hit all the right buttons for me," said Susana Ellis '20. "Once I enrolled in SNHU, I found the staff extremely helpful, and the faculty always positive and ready to assist. The cost was the lowest I had seen; the online structure is easy to work with and flexible for any working student with a family."

You’ll learn how to manually control the camera and manipulate light, and you’ll explore how to use post-production programs (including 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, an 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.

Salaried photographer jobs can be highly competitive. That said, job prospects may 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 as more businesses work with contractors instead of employing in-house photographers.1

"I feel the online education I received is equal to what I would have received in person, if not better," said Susana Ellis '20. "It was definitely worth it, in value and in fulfilling my goals."

Ellis shared that she recommended the school to her husband, who also graduated with the class of 2020 and went on to pursue his master's. "We both talk about how much we have enjoyed fulfilling this college dream together and hope someday our children want to enroll at SNHU as well."

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 has the potential to 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.

"With my new degree, I feel I have more experience and education to offer more professional freelance work," said Susana Ellis '20. "I can market myself and stay on top of the latest trends while also creating my own niche."

Starting a photography business requires a strong grasp of photography's technical and artistic elements, as well as a foundation in the legal, marketing and entrepreneurial aspects of the field.

At SNHU, you'll learn how to work with clients, manage overhead and beyond. You'll also get an inside look at how to use social media and other tools to differentiate your brand and market your business.

Additionally, 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 can vary based on any credits you transfer in, the courses you take and required materials.

While SNHU’s online degree programs aim to make use of free resources whenever possible (including ebooks, websites and training videos), you'll need access to a suitable 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. With 36 free electives available in the digital photography program, you may be able to transfer previous college credits and save money.

Absolutely. Having a photography degree can make you a prime candidate for a range of jobs in the field, such as commercial photographer, photojournalist, digital photo editor, videographer or even an educator.

According to the BLS, the largest employers of photographers were1:

  • Self-employed workers
  • Photographic services

Self-employment makes up the majority of those employed and is still projected to grow. The demand for portrait photographers will remain as people continue to want new portraits and corporations continue to require the services of commercial photographers to develop compelling advertisements to sell products.1

“I decided to major in photography to fulfill a lifelong artistic dream of mine,” said Susana Ellis '20. “I knew I wanted an education and experience that would help me in this field.”

Sources & Citations

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:

  • (viewed Feb. 21, 2024)

Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.