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Online Photography Degree at Sessions College

Online Photography Degree

Associate Degree in Digital Photography

NEXT CLASS: AUG 24th | Registration Deadline Extended – Orientation Begins August 17th

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

About This Program

The Sessions College Associate of Occupational Studies in Digital Photography is an intensive two-year degree program for students seeking to enter careers as independent freelance photographers. Designed for high school graduates and adult learners, the program will offer 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.

First-year classes cover fundamental concepts in photography, lighting, and image editing, as well as color and composition. Second-year classes place an emphasis on exploring a range of commercial photography assignments and finding areas of strength. A focus on real world scenarios and a training in complementary skills such as photo editing and video production ensures that students are prepared to work in a range of professional contexts.

Going to Sessions online allowed me the freedom to make my own schedule. Whether I had a job or photo shoot or needed time for family, online gave me the opportunity to do all those things while still getting my school work done.

Ivan Hunt

AOS in Digital Photography, Class of 2018

Student Work By: James Warren, Juliana Satele, Sharon Capps

Program Benefits

Launch your Creative Career

Earn a degree and launch your creative career in our most rigorous 2-year program.

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By Creatives, for Creatives

Collaborate with a community of creative learners and industry professionals.

Maximize Your Portfolio

Projects put you through your paces as you build a body of work. Your program culminates with a guided portfolio review.

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Structure and Flexibility

Weekly deadlines keep you on track, but with no set login times you can build your studies around your schedule.

Education You Can Afford

Affordable programs with low per credit tuition, and financial aid available for those who qualify.

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Convenient Online Application

Fast, convenient, and student-centered application process.

The Curriculum

The Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Digital Photography is a 72-credit program completed in two years. Part-time schedules are available.

Digital Photography Major - Year One

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Digital Photography Major - Year Two

Fourth Semester

Fifth Semester

Sixth Semester

Students must complete 54 credits of Art/Design coursework and 18 credits of General Education. (DES = Design, PHO = Photography, WEB = Web, DIG = Digital Media, ILL = Illustration, DEG = Degree, GEN = General Education)

* Elective course may be replaced by any other 3-credit course in the program, subject to availability and prerequisites.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Program highlights for Photography majors in the AOS in Digital Photography program.

DES 151 Digital Photography I - 3 credits

Explore the interaction of photography techniques and environmental factors to create powerful digital images. Students learn the fundamentals of lighting, perspective, and set up and explore techniques for classic assignments: portraits, product shots, indoor and outdoor location shoots, and fast-action sports. A mastery of digital photography gives you creative control of the medium.

PHO 104 History of Photography - 1.5 credits

This course provides a historical overview of photography, from the invention of the photographic process, to the evolution of the medium, to the role of the image in contemporary art and design. You'll gain an introduction to the styles and achievements of important photographers, and be provided the tools to understand the context of their work as well as their influence on society.

PHO 105 Photo Setup - 3 credits

Focus on the planning and preparation that lead to the successful execution of a photo shoot. Develop a thorough understanding of different types of lighting, both natural and artificial. Learn the limitations and advantages of varied shooting conditions, and explore methods to effectively stage and style photographs to achieve your desired effect.

PHO 152 Digital Photography II - 3 credits

Take your digital photography artistry to a higher level. Advanced photography techniques and approaches to composition, learning how to correct images using Photoshop and print high-quality images. The emphasis of the class is developing a solid technical understanding of the medium and identifying one's individual expressive vision. Advanced projects explore experimental methods for enhancing photographs with digital effects.

PHO 106 Photo Retouching - 1.5 credits

Learn techniques for removing, correcting and manipulating photographic flubs or flaws using Photoshop. You will explore professional selection techniques, and how to clone, patch, and heal problem areas, and adjust colors and tones to create a seamless and professional quality product. The course examines image correction and enhancement scenarios a designer or photographer might typically encounter.

PHO 204 Commercial Photography I - 3 credits

Event photography is the primary source of business for most professional photographers. Capturing the important moments in a concert, wedding, sporting even requires planning and a mastery of equipment, lighting, and location. In this course, you'll learn practical skills for managing paid event photography shoots. Discover how to approach projects professionally and deliver the client a high quality product.

PHO 205 Digital Photography with Lightroom - 3 credits

Learn how to manage, develop, print, and present your shots more efficiently with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Discover how to collect and catalog your images with ease, use basic and advanced development and retouching tools to create stellar shots, and present your work in slideshows, on the Web, and in print. The course will challenge you to take your shots to the next level of organization, quality, and presentation.

PHO 207 Commercial Photography II - 3 credits

Explore and practice advanced techniques for developing your skills and presence as a commercial photographer. Make images that accomplish specific objectives, with a focus on location-based event photography for weddings, night life, and fashion. Finally, you'll learn about photography products, including prints, books, and more.

PHO 208 Color Correction - 3 credits

Learn how to achieve an effective color balance in your Photoshop images and optimize them for print output. Students explore professional techniques for working with scanned, film, and digital source material, learn how to control, correct, and enhance the color palette of digital images for print media. Course projects emphasize developing a technical knowledge and an artistic understanding of color calibration for professional-quality digital imaging.

PHO 214 Narrative Photography - 3 credits

Explore the use of an editorial approach to photography in order to tell stories with images. Throughout the course you will use conceptualism in conjunction with documentary photography approaches to build photo essays and other narrative projects. Learn how to research, pitch, shoot, edit and present a body of work that encompasses unifying themes.

OUTCOMES

Program Outcomes

By completing the program, Associate Degree in Digital Photography students develop the following competencies:

1. Photography

Demonstrate effective and efficient use of a digital camera to create photographs applying well considered framing, exposure, composition, perspective, distance, and lighting.

5. Projects

Produce and present a variety of professional photographic work in a wide range of settings including portraiture, event photography, real estate, food photography, and more.

2. Lighting

Stage and setup photoshoots by adapting for a variety of typical settings, lighting situations, and project goals.

6. Critical Thinking and Writing

Employ critical thinking to generate, support, and convey ideas through writing for academic or professional contexts.

3. Technology and Image Enhancement

Apply and demonstrate retouching and color correction techniques to improve or enhance photographic images to a professional level utilizing software including Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and other industry technologies.

7. Portfolio

Apply creative problem solving and constructive feedback to conceive, produce, and present an impactful body of work that showcases your skills to employers and potential clients.

4. Art/Design Principles

Demonstrate the ability to produce visually compelling work by applying knowledge of color, pattern, details, and composition.

Outcomes Assessment

To learn more about our outcomes assessment process, visit our Academic Team

Sessions Student Work

FACULTY

Taz Tally Taz Tally is an industry-leading expert in digital imaging and pre-press techniques.
Felicia Kieselhorst Felicia Kieselhorst is a veteran wedding and product photographer.

VIEW ALL PROGRAM FACULTY

Get expert feedback in classes taught by our industry-leading faculty.

Instructor Biography Degree(s) Earned
Andrew Shalat

Andrew Shalat is an author, designer/illustrator, educator, and Mac expert who is a regular speaker at Macworld and has written several books on design for McGraw-Hill and Peachpit Press.

  • MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • MA in English and American Literature, Brandeis University
  • BA in English Language and Literature, State University of New York at Stonybrook

Carolyn Zaikowski is the author of the novel A Child Is Being Killed (Aqueous Books, 2013) whose fiction, poetry, and essays have been published widely.

  • MFA in Creative Writing, Naropa University
  • BFA in Psychology, University of Massachusetts
Felicia Kieselhorst

Felicia Kieselhorst is freelance photographer with her own business based in Oakland, CA. Felicia specializes in wedding and product photography, and works in digital and film photography, using primarily Nikon, Hasselblad, and an array of toy cameras.

  • MFA in Photography, Academy of Art University, BA in Visual Arts
  • Photography Concentration, Chatham University
Jessica Peltz

Jessica Peltz has more than 20 years of industry experience in graphic design as an Art and Creative Director with ad agencies, design firms, publishing companies, and in-house corporations.

  • MA in Graphic Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • BA in Mass Communication, George Mason University

Kevin Hedgpeth is an Arizona native who makes his home in Phoenix, where he actively writes and illustrates in addition to teaching college-level visual arts courses. He is co-author and illustrator of several published books.

  • BA in Studio Art at Arizona State University
Kristen Becker

Kristen Becker is an educator and a graphic and business designer specializing in e-commerce. With over 12 years of experience as an award-winning educator, Kristen has developed curriculum and taught courses in graphic design, multimedia, and e-commerce/marketing.

  • MA in Digital Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art
  • BA in Environmental Systems, University of Maryland
Lynne Cuda

Lynne R. Cuda is a 30-year IT professional who has worked in project management overseeing company-wide information systems selections, implementations and upgrades at hospitals, universities, and private companies.

  • MA of Computing Science, Texas A&M University
  • BS in Communications/Advertising, University of Illinois-Urbana
Natalie La Scala

Natalie La Scala is a Denver-based media artist with 20 years of work experience in creative direction, project management, and higher education. Recent clients include Z1CareerZone, Engage, LLC, and the Performing Arts Academy.

  • MFA in Film and Television, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • BA in Studio Art, University of Kentucky
Piper Nilsson Faculty profile image

Piper Nilsson is a graphic/Web designer and educator. Piper has been working with the Web since 1997, working in various roles as a designer, programmer, and information architect, Piper blueprinted sites for such global clients as MetLife, Pepsi, ETS, and Citibank.

  • AOS in Graphic Design, Pratt Institute
Taz Tally

Dr. Taz Tally is the president of Taz Tally Seminars and Taz Tally Photography and author of numerous graphics and print production books and instructional videos, CDs, DVDs and online training courses on scanning, prepress and printing, Photoshop, and color correction.

  • PhD in Geology, University of California Santa Barbara

View all faculty.

Job Facts

An associate degree in photography can help you begin your career in the field. You can take that first step today. Here are some job statistics to consider:

Facts are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. For more information about photography careers and the community visit: National Press Photographers Association, American Society of Media Photographers, or American Photographic Artists.

$63,950

Average Income for photographers in printing and related support activities in May 2017 was $63,950 a year.

7 in 10

About 7 in 10 Photographers were self-employed in 2016.

GETTING STARTED

Our online application process makes getting started easy, fast, and convenient.

What's the Admissions Process?

Classes start in January, April, and August, with early start options in February, June, and October.

Students entering the program are expected to have earned a high school diploma, GED, or state-approved home school equivalent. Any students under 18 years of age will need to provide the signed permission of a parent or guardian.

To apply, you’ll need to complete our convenient online application and provide an application essay, official transcripts from high school OR for any college degree completed, and 5-10 samples of your art/design work. (Transcripts must be provided for any course you wish evaluated for credit transfer.)

How Long is the Program?

The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) program is a 72 credit program completed in six semesters or two years by a student on a full-time schedule. Students with transfer credit can graduate in under two years and part-time schedules are available.

Will the Program Fit My Schedule?

Weekly deadlines help you stay on track. And with no set login times, you can build your studies around your schedule, wherever you are located. That’s why more than 50% of our degree students complete their programs while working full-time. 

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

To take this program, you’ll need the following:

  • Mac or Windows computer with an Internet connection.
  • A digital camera that offers manual control over aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance .
  • A digital video camera and ability to connect it to a computer to capture footage.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Premiere CC software.
  • Your computer must meet software manufacturer requirements.
  • Webcam, headphones or speaker, VPN connection, and microphone connected to the computer for live proctored exams.

There are no textbook or course material costs to participate in this online program. Student discount on Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to enrolled students.

What are the Program Costs?

Effective July 1, 2020, the tuition for full-time Associate Degree students is as follows:

Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) Program
$435 per credit
$5,220 per semester
$15,660 per year
$31,320 total program tuition
Per-credit tuition for part-time students is the same as for full-time students. Federal financial aid available for eligible students. Ask about our $500-$2,000 scholarships for exemplary applicants.

A $200 registration fee is required to process your enrollment in the program. Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from the scheduled beginning of program orientation. See Associate Degree Tuition and Payment options.

Is Financial Aid available?

Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid is available to students who qualify. If you are eligible, you may be able to fund your program using Pell Grants and Federal student loans. Check out our Financial Aid Information pages and ask to set up an interview with our Financial Aid Director.

Military Student Aid. Military servicemembers and their families who are eligible for GI Bill Education Benefits or active service member Tuition Assistance (TA) may also be able to utilize these programs to pay for their education.

Adult Learner Scholarships. Ask about our innovative scholarships for adult learners. The Designed for You Scholarship Program can help you offset your tuition costs. 

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