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Photography Schools:Obtaining an Online Certificate

written by: Sonal Panse•edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi•updated: 1/12/2010

Obtaining a photography certificate is an official validation of your photographic skill and expertise. Accredited online photography certification schools maintain a teaching standard approved by a regional or national accrediting body, and will help career-wise.

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    Photography Courses

    Online schools offering a photography certificate in basic and advanced photographic training, and equip students with necessary career skills. It is advisable, however, to couple the certificate with an associate or higher degree for better career prospects.

    A certificate program may cover the following -

    • Use of SLR and digital cameras
    • Use of photographic equipment like lenses, filters, flash attachments, lights, etc.
    • Use of different lighting arrangements
    • Use of image editing software
    • Image processing and printing
    • Photographic techniques and design principles
    • Photographic genres
    • Compiling a portfolio
    • Business management and marketing
    • Using the Internet for career advancement
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    Selecting the Right Photography School

    Here are some tips about how to go about getting an online photography certificate -

    • Use a search engine to find schools and colleges offering online photography courses.
    • Check the accreditation of the institutions and make sure they have been accredited by a proper regional or national accrediting body.
    • Check and compare the courses offered by different schools.
    • Check and compare the tuition fees for the programs.
    • Find out about eligibility and admission requirements.
    • Find out about course duration and how classes will be conducted online, and if there will be proper support in case you have a problem.
    • Find out if you can apply the certification towards an associate degree.
    • Find out if the program helps students with career placements.
    • Talk to former students and find out how useful they found the program. You can also use a search engine to find blogs, forums and other sources for information regarding a particular school and the programs it is offering.

    Online Photography Certificate School

    Penn Foster Career School

    Online Photography Certificate

    This school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.

    Tuition fee for the certificate program is $273. There is a $40 registration fee, a $25 credit set-up fee, a $35 technology fee and a $25 chipping and handling charge. So, in total, $398. Tuition fee includes, textbooks, study materials and course supplies. Payment can be made by credit card, checks, money orders and bank transfers. U.S. Military personnel are qualified for tuition reimbursement under DANTES.

    The certificate program is made up of five sets and includes the following topics -

    Set 1 -

    • Learning Strategies
    • Photography

    Set 2 -

    • The Nature of Light
    • Lighting for Photography

    Set 3 -

    • Choosing Your Subject
    • Image Design

    Graded Project 1

    Set 4 -

    • The Joy of Digital Photography

    Set 5 -

    • Presentation Skills
    • Business Skills for the Photographer

    Graded Project 2

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    Career Prospects

    The certificate program from one of the online schools will equip you with the basic technological knowledge to get started in photography, but your career prospects will depend entirely on your skill as a photographer, your business acumen and your career initiative.

    Competition in this field can be very tough, and, in addition to creativity, imagination and technical expertise, having analytical skills and being aware and knowledgeable about the world in general will help; this is where the benefits of a graduate degree are often apparent.

    Compiling an excellent and varied portfolio and setting up a well-designed website will certainly help. Research the market and prices. Learn about contracts and copyrights. See what established professionals are doing and learn from them. Stay organized and learn time management.

    Photographers may work freelance or full time in a variety of industries, such as advertising, public relations, journalism, publishing, film, fashion, fine art, sports, education, food, agriculture, science research, medicine, architecture, engineering, wildlife conservation and so on. They may take on assignments at personal, religious, social, commercial and industrial events. Some photographers license their work through stock-photo agencies.

    Work schedules are variable and dependent on the project, and some amount of travel may be necessary. Earning capacity depends on project, experience and skill. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, photographers earned between $16,920 and $62,430 in May 2008.

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    Sources

    Penn Foster Career School

    U.S. Bureau of Labor