Can experience make up for the lack of a degree, or is having a degree crucial? The age-old debate of education vs. experience resurfaces each time one seeks out to make a career move. To go or not to go to a photography school, that is the question, even for most shutterbugs around the globe.
While not obtaining a formal degree and being gifted by artistic talent can undoubtedly generate a successful photographer, but opting for a degree has its perks too. A photography school gives you exposure to the latest technology and a chance to build your portfolio. Not only would you get professional feedback on your work, the degree you obtain can work a long way in impressing your clients.
However, choosing the right school is essential as it will be detrimental in honing your photography skills. We have selected the best among the sea of options available today where you can learn photography. Every school has a different approach to photography, and some are known because of their uniqueness.
Here is the list of Photography Schools around the world:
1. NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY (NYIP)
Location: New York City
Courses offered: This photography institute offers five online courses-The Complete Course in Professional Photography, Digital Photography: Photoshop for Photographers, Marketing for Photographers, and the Video Making & Storytelling and The Fundamentals of Digital Photography.
Known for: Focus on creativity and progressive attitude.
Alumni: Matthew Lewis Jr (Got the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for “for his photographs in color and black and white”), Michael Doven ( a close collaborator of Tom Cruise on movies Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, The Firm, A Few Good Men, Eyes Wide Shut, Minority Report, Vanilla Sky, and the Mission Impossible series.) and Paul Gilmore ( Earth's first moon rock photographer).
2. LIGHT AND LIFE ACADEMY
The Light and Life Academy is in many ways different from other schools of photography. It tries to maintain a balance between giving its students a well-structured course structure and free-willed study; classroom and corridor study; theory and practical education. The photography school, through its courses, focuses on developing students vision along with their inner vision. The Light and Light Academy is India’s first academy which is exclusively built for professional photography training.
Location: Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India
Courses Offered: The photography School offers two courses, namely PG Diploma in Professional Photography and a Diploma in Travel and Nature Photography along with customized courses.
3. GOLDSMITHS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
Goldsmiths university is a place where creativity and ideas are encouraged. There are 18 academic departments in this university like Arts, Humanities, Social Science and more. According to the QS world rankings, Goldsmiths is in the top five universities to study Art and Design and Communication and Media Studies.
Location: London, UK
Courses offered: There are two MA courses in Photography provided in the photography school of Goldsmiths University. One is MA Photography and Urban Cultures and the other is MA Photography: The Image and Electronic Arts. The MA Photography and Urban Cultures course aim to teach the interconnectedness between the visual representation and Urban Theory. The MA Photography: The Image and the Electronic Arts want the students to learn about the practical and theoretical aspects of photography to develop image making arena through research.
4. PIXEL INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Pixel Institute of Photography aims to teach photography skills in a wide range of areas. The institute is run by experienced professionals who systematically impart technical and aesthetical knowledge.
Location: New Delhi, India
Courses offered: 2-month Certification Course, 4-month Diploma in Advance Photography Course, 1-year Professional Course
Known for: Best learning atmosphere
5. UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO (UNM)
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico United States of America
Courses offered: Various undergraduate and graduate programs are available in this photography school which provides an interdisciplinary approach to photography, including video, film, sound, performance, and installation.
Known for: Personal student growth through aesthetics and intellectual development.
Alumni: Brian Jay Jones (New York Times bestselling biographer of Washington Irving and Jim Henson), Melissa Miller (Painter).
6. SPEOS INTERNATIONAL PHOTO SCHOOL
Speos is one of the best photography schools which has partnered with prestigious organizations such as Magnum to provide courses. Speos has more than 30 years of experience in teaching photography and is accredited by the government of France.
Location: Paris and London
Courses offered: Speos offers photography courses from 5 months to 2 years in Paris and London. The courses include studio photography and CGI, Sports photography, Photojournalism and Fashion Photography.
7. ISTITUTO EUROPEO DI DESIGN (IED)
Location: Rome, Italy, Madrid and Spain
Courses offered: The courses in this photography institute is being provided in Visual Communications ranges short summer or winter to bachelors and masters course.
Known for: Considered the powerhouse of creative ideas.
Alumni: Hélène Binet, Natalie Korneitsik amongst others.
8. RYERSON UNIVERSITY
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Courses offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts (Full-time, Four years)
Known for: Photography curriculum here is a combination of theories and practical work and old and new technology, and it will provide you with tools for turning your photography into art.
9. ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Location: Henrietta, NY, USA
Founded:1990 ( RIT started its first Ph.D. program, in Imaging Science)
Courses offered: Unlike most undergraduate photography programs that provide a more general photo education, RIT offers a variety of different photography majors in specific areas of study. This includes advertising photography, fine art photography, photojournalism, and even biomedical photographic communications making it one of the good schools for photography where you can get varied options.
Known for: Course structure and options.
10. COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO
Columbia College Chicago is a private, non-profit college which aims to provide academic distinction by creating a conducive learning environment for students.
Location: Chicago, U.S.A.
Courses offered: This college offers minors, undergraduate and graduate programs in Photography.
Known for: Affordability, Financial Aid and wide range of courses.
11. SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO (SAIC)
Location: Illinois, Chicago
Courses offered: Bachelors and Masters in Fine arts.
Known for: Art and Design.
12. GNOMON SCHOOL OF VISUAL TRAINING
Location: California, USA
Courses offered: Gnomon School of Visual Training is another one of the photography schools in the USA, which is known for its quality education. They provide one, two, and three-year training options in Entertainment Design and Digital Production, as well as various software workshops, online Master Classes, and the Gnomon Gallery, which was created to showcase art from the entertainment industry.
Known for: Its stress on placements.
13. YALE UNIVERSITY - SCHOOL OF ART
It is one of the best photography schools where exceptionally bright and motivated students are given an opportunity to study at the Yale School of Art. Critical dialogue is constantly given to students by their colleagues and distinguished faculty.
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Courses offered: Yale School of Art offers courses in Graphic Design, Photography, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture and Film Making.
The photography course by Yale is a two year one where they take only ten students in one year. The students are taught in black and white photography, color photography, non-silver process, and digital image production.
Known for: Iconic faculty and accomplished alumni
14. INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF PHOTOGRAPHY (ICP)
ICP was started to promote social and political images by Cornell Capa. The center, which is one of the best photography schools in the world, has till date provided thousands of classes and has done more than 700 exhibitions. ICP has become an open forum to discuss the role of photography in creating a social change. They provide education through the school, workshops, exhibitions, and community outreach.
Location: New York, USA
Courses offered: International Centre of Photography offers full time as well as part-time courses. The full-time programs have three one-year certificate programs, and a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) and the part-time programs are based on flexible timings and can be done in the center or online.
Known for: Infinity awards which honor people who excel in photography.
15. ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART
The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university which offers courses in art and design to students who come from more than 60 countries. RCA is one of the best photography schools in the UK as well as internationally.
Location: London, U.K.
Courses offered: RCA offers a 2-year MA programme in photography where the focus is to develop a student as an artist with photography as the core of education. The student is encouraged to transform the idea into photography work and look at it critically.
Known for: The only university in the world which offers only post-graduation courses in Art and Design.
16. SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS
SVA is a reputed school for art and design which places emphasis on critical thinking and has courses which are constantly evolving. The faculty comprises of around 1000 distinguished working professionals and extensive alumni of 35000. SVA is one of those photography schools which offers a wide range of study options based on age, education, and location.
Location: New York, USA
Courses offered: SVA offers two and three year MFA in photography where the students are taught to push boundaries in the techniques, theory and learning new technology. The students are taught to create, manage, and interpret the image in these intensive courses making it one of the top photography schools in the world. They also have a comprehensive online course on photography due which it is hailed as the best online photography school.
Known for: Having an influential community of artists in the world.
17. PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN
Parsons offers its students education with an innovative approach. They have a renowned faculty and a diverse community on campus.
Location: New York, USA
Courses offered: Parsons, one of the top photography colleges, offers BFA and MFA courses in Photography. They teach the students to develop aesthetic and technical skills with the use of analog and digital mediums. Photography is also taught with the perspective of its relation to video, installation, and design.
Known for: Being the only American Art and Design School to be within a comprehensive university.
Getting into these schools is not easy; you need to prove that you are passionate about photography and has a good body of work which needs to be approved by the school to give you admission. Select the school based on the type of work which you have done, and you might be interested in doing. These top photography schools are known internationally, and a school that fits your requirement may not be near you. So take your time and study them carefully from their websites and make a well thought out decision.
Many of these schools ask for a portfolio so that they can judge your skills. If you do not have a gorgeous website, look no further than Pixpa to build one. Pixpa gives you tons of customizing options without the need to learn to code. Start with a 15-day free trial now.
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