Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design - learn more

Online Photography History Course

History of Photography

When photography was "invented" in 1839, the scientific breakthrough brought forth a new way of seeing. In this online photography history course, we'll trace the development of photography from its pioneering days in the 19th century to the experimental movements of today. We'll discuss major innovations and photographers in each period, and really put into practice what we're learning. Each exercise will require you to take photos that emulate historical styles, genres, or techniques.

History photography course image 

Smile! And get ready to explore the history of photography.

Explore the evolution of photography in your work

Instructor-Led Course

Feedback from design professionals

Creative Projects

Stretch your skills, grow your portfolio

Learn at Your Own Pace

Self-paced and scheduled programs available

Course Outline

1 - The Origins of Photography

How did photography come about, and how did the evolution of the camera affect the kinds of images that were taken? We'll kick off our course with an investigation of the origins of photography, examining the techniques used to create the first photographs and discussing some important movements in early photography.

2 - The Consumer Age of Photography

In this lesson, we'll discuss the coming of age of photography in the 20th century. As we'll see, the invention of roll film and later color processes by a little company called Kodak turned photography on its head, accelerating the growing popularity of the medium. We'll also explore some new genres of photography that became more important in the 20th century ranging from scientific experiments, war and news photography, to street photography.

3 - The Modern Age of Photography

In our final lesson, we'll look at the modern age of photography, with an emphasis on experimentation and digital photography. In the 20th century, photographers grew tired of recording images with the aim of exact fidelity to the truth, and artists combined existing technology (such as X-rays, copy machines, and screen printing) with photography.

Course Outcomes

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Apply an understanding of early photography styles and processes in your photography.
  • Emulate historical approaches or techniques in your photo shoots.
  • Apply an understanding of consumer age photography genres in your photography.
  • Emulate selected consumer age genres in the style, subject, or technique used in your images.
  • Apply an understanding of selected modern or experimental photography styles or techniques in your photography.
  • Emulate selected modern or experimental photography styles or techniques in your images.
  • Discuss the factors shaping the future of photography and formulate a plan to distinguish yourself in the field.

Course Registration

Interested in this course? Scheduled enrollment options are available. Ask Admissions about taking this course as part of a degree or certificate program.

Course LevelClasses startRegistration FeeTuition
Degree course
1.5-credit course, 7 weeks
Jan, Apr, Aug$200$510/credit
* Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for updates to course or program content.

Software and Supplies

To take this course you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • A digital camera with manual control over aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance
  • MS Word or equivalent word processing program.

Who’s Teaching

Course developed by Felicia Kieselhorst

Getting Started

Enrolling online is easy and convenient.

Chat with our knowledgeable admissions staff to select course and program options.

Complete your registration entirely online.

Related Programs

Did you know? You can take this course as part of an award-winning certificate or degree program.