What to expect from a career as a Photographer

Photography is a great hobby or pastime, but it can also be an exciting career avenue. Photography programs at Ontario colleges not only teach students how to take beautiful and moving photos, but also how to market themselves as professionals in the photography industry.

If you’ve got a passion for taking pictures that you want to turn into a successful career as a photographer or photo industry professional, here’s what you need to know.

Photography Courses

There are a variety of photography courses offered by Ontario’s colleges, each with a slightly different focus:

  • Creative and Applied Digital Photography. These programs examine how digital technology has changed the photography industry. Students will learn lighting techniques, colour and black and white photography production, and Photoshop, as well as studio techniques and how to produce high-end and location photography. Business skills will also be emphasized.
  • Photojournalism. Photojournalism is a unique program that combines photography with journalism and writing. Students learn to tell stories not only with their writing but with their pictures as well. Students will learn reporting and news judgment skills on top of their studies in photography and camera operation.
  • Photo Arts. Photo arts programs focus on darkroom photography, as opposed to digital. They also examine the political and social issues that are reflected in photography through past decades. Students will spend time in the studio working to build a portfolio.

General Photography Program Requirements

Ontario college photography programs offered at the certificate or diploma level typically require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. A grade 12 English credit may also be required. A basic knowledge of camera operation and some photography experience is highly recommended, and some programs may ask for a portfolio submission as part of the requirements.

Photography Jobs and Salaries

There are plenty of career options for photography program grads. Just a few include:

  • Photojournalist
  • Digital Imaging or Photo Editing Technician
  • Fashion, Editorial or Event Photographer
  • Freelance Photographer

Earnings in the industry will vary depending on the position. Salaried positions start close to $30,000 per year, but can move up quickly with experience. Freelance and contract work is typically paid hourly, with wages starting in the $30-an-hour range and running much higher with experience.

Ontario Colleges Offering Photography Management Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of photography programs at Ontario colleges.

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