Digital Photography Degree Online | Sessions College Associates Degree Programs

Digital Photography Degree

Associate of Occupational Studies

Outdoor photography - degree student work Exterior photography by student Nayla Smith

Earn your Associates Degree fully online with our accredited AOS program in Digital Photography. Contact our Admissions team about start dates, how to apply, and financial aid

The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Digital Photography degree at Sessions College is an intensive two-year degree program for students seeking to enter careers as contracted, freelance, or fine art photographers. Designed for high school graduates and adult learners, the program offers a strong foundation in the visual language of photography and a working knowledge of the equipment, software, and production techniques essential for work in the photographic industry.

Digital Photography Curriculum

AOS in digital photography degree program seal

The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Digital Photography degree is a 2-year fully online program. Classes start in January, May, and September. Credit transfer is welcome and part-time schedules are available.

Program requirements include 54 credits in art/design and 18 credits in general education. The program concludes with a design business course, capstone project, and final portfolio review to get you ready for your career. Click to view course information below.

Digital Photography Major - Year One

digital photography major
"I do some of the Web development work required for our larger projects, but I really try to take part as a photographer when our film crew is out somewhere having an exciting day for either fashion or architectural shoots."
- Jason Maclean, Associate Degree in Graphic Design.

Digital Photography Major - Year Two

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Digital Photography Program Goals

The program provides a training in the many ways in which photographers can monetize their images. First-year classes cover fundamental concepts in photography and digital imaging in addition to providing a foundation in drawing, color, and composition, and Web design.

online student work in digital photography Student product photography work by Judy Smith.

Second-year classes place emphasis on best practices for commercial photography and managing an advanced digital editing workflow. A focus on photography for advertising, event and location based-photography, and video production ensures that students are prepared to work in a range of professional contexts.

Throughout the program, emphasis is placed on a professional approach that involves research, practice, and critique. Students learn how to research and plan projects and create purposeful images that meet an objective or accomplish a goal.  Students will manage complete photo shoots from concept to final production, skillfully organizing and manipulating images, creating polished and professional work, and discussing and critiquing photography and editing practices with peers.

Digital Photography majors are expected to develop the ability to:

  • Manipulate framing, perspective, distance, and lighting to take professional-level digital photographs in a range of settings.
  • Create drawings in traditional media that show a command of proportion, perspective, and value contrast.
  • Prepare images for professional publication with Photoshop retouching, correction, compositing, or collage.
  • Create sophisticated, appropriate color palettes and use color and contrast effectively in their work.
  • Research and apply an understanding of how technological, social, and artistic changes have influenced the development of the field of photography.
  • Create consistent, visually appealing page designs using HTML and CSS via Dreamweaver or via hand coding.
  • Stage and shoot professional quality images in a variety of different lighting situations utilizing both available and artificial/augmented light sources.
  • Create engaging images that attract the eye using fundamental design and composition techniques.
  • Develop more advanced shooting and composition techniques in various contexts and apply image correction, retouching, compositing, and printing techniques.
  • Use Photoshop to make seamless, realistic improvements to images using retouching techniques.
  • Master the equipment and techniques used for professional photography work in portraiture, product photography, real estate and more.
  • Create advanced images using Photoshop's vector illustration techniques, photo-realistic painting tools, and high-impact typography.
  • Use basic and advanced development and retouching tools in Lightroom to create stellar images, and present their work in slideshows, on the Web, and in print.
  • Practice advanced photography techniques with a focus on event photography for weddings, night life, and fashion.
  • Create engaging videos that incorporate skillful production, camerawork, audio, and non-linear editing techniques.
  • Identify classic color problems with photographs and correct them using both comprehensive and efficient methods.
  • Utilize non-linear editing programs to apply traditional principles of film editing using modern digital technology.
  • Research, pitch, shoot, edit and present a body of work in which images tell a story or illustrate a narrative.
  • Represent their services to potential clients or employers and manage different aspects of the photographer's professional process.
  • Identify current areas of strength and prepare and maintain a portfolio of their best photography work.

For Gainful Employment information on this program, visit this page.

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Notices and Deadlines

Digital Photography Degree Admissions

Classes start in January, May, and September. To apply to the Associate Degree in Digital Photography, you'll need to complete our degree application, write an application essay, provide 5-10 samples of art or photography work, and order transcripts from high school or colleges attended. 

Advertising design degree admissions advisor Mhelanie
"As a trained photographer, I'm excited that Sessions College is offering an innovative new photography program. The program can be a launchpad for anyone interested in a photography or digital imaging career." – Mhelanie Hernandez, Senior Admissions Advisor

Whenever you're ready, talk to our friendly Admissions admissions staff or sign up for an Open House.


Software and Supplies

Software for advertising majors

To take this online program, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection as well as additional software and supplies.

  • A Windows-based or Macintosh computer that meets software manufacturers' requirements.
  • A digital camera that offers manual control over aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance.
  • Basic drawing supplies.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom in versions CS5, CS6 or CC (recommended).
  • Adobe Premiere or alternative video editing program.
  • Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • An account with an ad-free Web hosting service.
  • Webcam, headphones or speaker, VPN connection, and microphone connected to the computer for live proctored exams.

Please check course syllabus pages or the catalog for detailed information on course requirements or proctored exams. Be sure to visit our Student Store for discounts on hardware and design software. You must be an enrolled student to be eligible for educational discounts.

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