Back in the day things were very clear; if you wanted to become a photographer, you’d get a degree in the field. As in many other professions, a formal education was required in order to gain experience, learn the technical aspects and obtain official certification.
Nowadays you’ll have a hard time finding an employer or client who cares if or where you got your “proper” education, you no longer need to be a semi-engineer to take your photos or a chemist to develop them, and some level of experience can easily be gained since everybody has a camera now (even dogs).
You’d think all that would lead to a clear cut answer when it comes to people asking if they should get a degree in photography. However, as Ted Forbes explains in the video below, things aren’t so black or white.
Having faced the same decision myself, I agree with a lot of what Ted had to say. Being able to immerse myself in a focused environment and be surrounded by people who are in the same boat as me and share the same passion was one of the reasons I decided to persue the path of formal education.
I definitely made excellent connections at or through my college, and while this was another great advantage of studying there, at same time I made some of my best connections via the internet or through friends. One of those connections, eventually, led to me writing for DIYP.
The only definite benefit of a degree is that you will need one if you decide to teach. Most people won’t go down that path, though, and either way a degree doesn’t guarantee you will get a teaching position.
On the flip side, getting a degree is a serious commitment. No more spontaneous photo shoots or field excursions – you’ve got a class to attend and an assignment to hand in.
Add to that the substantial amount of money it costs to get a degree, and the little time you will have to get a job, and you quickly realize that this is not such an easy decision to make.
One last thing to keep in mind is that while there are possibly more professional photographers in the market today, making a good living from photography might have never been harder.
This is something serious to consider, as it might convince you to keep your hobby as just that – a hobby.
How many of you have a degree in photography and would you get one today?
[Lead Image: Sean MacEntee]