Thanks to the invention of the Smartphone – complete with built-in, eight or 10 megapixel cameras – and digital cameras that are both affordable and easy to use, everyone thinks they are a professional photographer.
However, it takes more than a fancy phone or digital camera to make someone a good photographer. Knowing what looks good and how to arrange the subjects being photographed to make the finished product pleasing to the eye are vital skills that cannot be replicated simply by possessing the right equipment.
Educational Requirements

The kind of degree selected is highly dependent on how a person wishes to use their photography skills in the workforce.

An associate degree in photography takes roughly two years to complete and provides the basics of photography.  Coursework should cover the various styles of photography and the technology used for taking and processing photos in today’s digital world.

Bachelor degree programs in photography will require four years of schooling. Coursework covers the basics found in an associate-level program, combined with a specific focus on the creativity and ethics involved in photography.
A master degree, also known as a graduate degree, in photography will prepare students for the business end of the field. Coursework will focus on business management skills. Students who have aspirations of owning their own business, or working in a management position for another photography business, should consider this advanced degree.  In addition to working in the industry, those who possess a master’s degree are qualified to teach photography.
Once a degree has been decided on, students should focus on accredited programs which meet those needs.  Currently, there are 16 reputable accrediting agencies qualified to evaluate art schools. Accredited schools are guaranteed to have quality teachers, a rigorous and relevant curriculum, access to a variety of student services and activities, access and assistance for students in applying for student loans and grants and ease of ability to transfer credits from one institution to another.
Future Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for photographers until 2020 is expected to be average in comparison to other business and industry at 13 percent.
Annual salaries for photographers ranged from a low of $8.34 per hour for portrait studio photographers to $14 per hour for photographers working in other areas of the business. The highest wage earners were located in Washington, D.C., at $23.57 per hour as of May 2010.

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