Art Institutes

DigitalPhotography

I want to harness the power of images.

One day, you picked up a camera. And you’ve never put it down. You were captured by the magic of telling stories with pictures. There’s a market for people who constantly find innovative ways to fill the world with their ideas, impressions, and insights. And Digital Photography can help you make a positive impression when you’re ready to match your talents against the competition. From the very start, we’ll guide your development, both creatively and technically. You’ll work with technology similar to what professionals use—it’s a step-by-step process that’s all about preparing you for a future when you can do what you love. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty* who are focused on your success.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Photography

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Photography

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/4262 for complete Gainful Employment information for this degree.

View Academic Catalog

Diploma in Digital Image Management

Quarter Credit Hours:
48
Timeframe:
4 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Diploma in Digital Image Management

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3274 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience


I get the picture. And I'm up for the challenge.

Glamour, excitement and travel? Maybe. But our program is designed for students who find a certain thrill in putting in long hours, overcoming tough competition, and meeting tight deadlines—all in the pursuit of their passion. To help prepare you for the real world of photography, we’ll start you out with basics like composition, lighting, darkroom techniques, color and design, and the fundamentals of digital photography. We’ll help you apply what you learn both in studios and on location, in natural and artificial light, and in digital formats. You’ll work with tools including digital cameras, slide and transparency scanners, and image manipulation software. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet our Alumni

  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Angela Lawson

    Angela Lawson

    Digital Photography , 2015

    "My education at The Art Institute of San Antonio gave me the skills, knowledge, and business sense to be successful in [any] genre of photography that I choose."

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    Angela Lawson

    Real Estate Photographer for Curb Views, LLC

    Angela Lawson is a real estate photographer for Curb Views, LLC, in San Antonio, Texas. She photographs houses and collaborates with realtors to build virtual tours of real estate listings. To create her work, Angela visits homes for sale, photographing the inside and outside. “Sometimes, the home may not be photographically ready and I help the owners and realtors to straighten up,” she says. “I had a realtor specifically request me as her photographer because she liked my photographic style. The previous home I shot for her sold in the first 8 hours of being listed. She was so happy and that made me happy!”

    Angela’s creative inspirations include Annie Leibovitz, Martin Schoeller, Herb Ritts, Jerry Uelsman, Christian Coigny, and Helmut Newton. She’s excited to be learning new skills and meeting new people. “I have the chance with each passing day to make better work than the day before. This work is seen by many, many different people and is a reflection of my hard work and knowledge of my craft. I always enjoy learning more about photography.”

    Angela, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education provided the skills, knowledge, and business sense she needed to be successful in photography. “I learned about lighting, photographic design, portraiture, photojournalism, corporate and architecture, business practices, and so much more. All of this knowledge sets me apart from many photographers out there in the world.” She adds that current students should take their time and stay focused on their goals. “While you may pick up certain skills quickly, others may be more challenging. Life events, finances, and learning curves may seem to overwhelm at times—it happened to me—but don't let them discourage you from your goals and passion for what you want to do.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/4262 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Courtney Campbell HS

    Courtney Campbell

    Digital Photography , 2014

    “I have always been an artist but the idea of having a career as an artist seemed unrealistic to me until I found The Art Institute of San Antonio.”

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    Courtney Campbell

    Captures Images for University, Oversees Photography for Sombrilla Magazine

    As a photographer, photo editor, and archivist for the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA), Courtney Campbell is responsible for capturing and producing a wide range of high quality images of general, medical, and scientific phenomena and subjects. She utilizes specialized techniques of modern photography to produce a wide variety of creative images for clinical, teaching, research activities, special events, the university website, as well as print publications.

    Courtney oversees the editorial planning and photography for the school’s magazine, Sombrilla—a publication with a circulation of 80,000. She also serves as the photo archivist for the university, organizing all digital assets and fulfilling photo requests from colleges, departments, and the media. 

    In addition to her work at UTSA, Courtney runs her own fine art business, Sparx Photography. "I've been exhibiting since 2011. In just the past few months, my fine art has been exhibited in Italy, San Antonio, San Francisco, South Korea, and Budapest." In May 2017, she's exhibiting in London and Rome. Courtney is also an active marketing volunteer for San Antonio Pets Alive.

    She recommends that to prepare for a career, current photography students should push themselves—and never just do the minimum to get by. “Nobody makes you go to college. You make the decision, so why not make it work for you? Every single project I was assigned in those four years, I took and made it my own. I imagined it was for a client, or for an exhibition. Doing this gave me a very strong portfolio in the end.”

    Courtney also states she had to overcome a health crisis while in school—a stress-induced seizure that led to other, smaller seizures that would occur up to 20 times a day. “This totally threw my motivation off-course. I thought, how could I go to an interview? How can I talk on the phone? How can I have a successful career with this? I wasn't able to drive for a year and a half.” After graduation, she applied for positions including the job at UTSA—but she was terrified that she’d have a seizure during the interview. “For months, I was working on managing stress but still, I was nervous. I nailed the interview. I had no seizures. I followed every single detail that all my instructors told me over the years. I think channeling those reminders got me through that interview.” She says that soon after starting her job, the seizures began to subside—they’re now almost completely gone. The experience taught her to better manage her stress.  “If something is out of your control, let it be. If there is something stressing you out, fix it or change it.”

    The positive work environment at UTSA adds to the commitment she feels to her craft. “Work doesn't seem like work so much when you get to talk about art and photography all day. However, your superiors need to see that commitment so that is why I have made a habit of helping others where I can.” When she has downtime at work, Courtney asks others in the design suite if they need assistance.  “Working at a university, you not only need to be committed to your job, but the entire vision of the school.”

    She’s proud of the impact she’s made in her position, receiving kudos from coworkers for changes she instituted within the school’s magazine. “I really try as an artist to halt literal interpretations of an editorial story. I motivate people to see the value in strong composition and design control.” She cites an example of a feature story about a person—and asks, “what would motivate someone to read the story?” Courtney believes that moving away from a traditional head shot makes all the difference when it comes to reader engagement.  “A beautifully lit environmental portrait in a lab or a greenhouse can really change the entirety of the feature story. It will draw viewers in and engage them in a different way.” 

    Today, Courtney continues to grow in her position. When she was first hired, she was an events photographer. Within two months, she became an archivist and implemented Photoshelter's Libris, a digital asset management system to help organize the school’s 30+ years worth of photos. She continues to enjoy the surprises that come with being in a creative profession. “The main thing that challenges any photographer is how every situation is different. Every head shot, portrait, editorial, or event is different. So you have to keep growing in the technical field of lighting. Earlier this year, I went to shoot the most important photo for the magazine, the cover shot. For the first time ever, all my lighting failed. One trigger broke, than another and it was completely out of my control. I had limited time and had to think fast to come up with a solution. I ended up shooting three separate shots to composite together to get the shot we needed.”

    Courtney, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education change the course of her life.  “I have always been an artist but the idea of having a career as an artist seemed unrealistic to me until I found The Art Institute of San Antonio.” She says that the small classes helped her to feel that the education was personalized. Courtney adds that the instructors got to know their students and helped them to develop the skills needed in the real world. “[They] were professionals who allowed me to pursue my personal [goals] versus a strict pathway. They taught from real life experiences, not from a textbook. [For example], getting a true critique on your artwork is very different than getting a score on a test.”

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What Will I Study?

Study Section

Show me how to tell stories. One frame at a time.

Photography isn’t a hobby. It’s a craft pursued by hard-working, talented professionals who share not just a curiosity about the world, but a commitment to constantly adapting and improving. The Digital Photography curriculum will sharpen your creative edge and technical skills as you study:

  • Digital Photography
  • Color Management
  • Studio Photography
  • Location Photography
  • Portraiture
  • Digital Darkroom
  • Natural & Artificial Light
  • Digital Image Management
  • Editorial Photography
  • Documentary Photography
  • Business of Photography
  • Studio Techniques


I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Digital Photography degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. It’s a daily struggle to champion your ideas and earn your place among the best in your profession. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we’ll support you along every step of your journey. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field, as well as internship possibilities. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet our Faculty

  • Bella HS

    Noël Bella Merriam

    Digital Photography

    "By creating a classroom environment of supportive, shared learning each student feels more comfortable talking through their concerns, disappointments and successes."

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    Noël Bella Merriam
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional? 

    I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist, and at sixteen I began working as an artist and photographer. There was never any doubt that I would work in a creative field. I completed my first paid commission at age 18 and have worked in a variety of creative capacities ever since. I believe that I didn’t choose to be creative, creativity chose me. That’s a really nice way to have your life unfold, and infinitely rewarding.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    The extensive professional experience I’ve had encompasses a wide variety of niches a photographer could pursue—I’ve had my photography exhibited in museums and galleries, managed a photography portrait studio, worked as a freelancer for a wide variety of clients, and even perched in the bucket of heavy equipment to get the perfect aerial photo for a client. At 18, I researched how to protect myself with contracts after my first freelance job, so one of my priorities is to give my students a tool-kit of basic business skills to assist them in the early stages of their career. I’ve seen several of my former students out in the local community several years after they graduate who tell me they still use the contracts and business forms they developed in my classes, which is wonderful to hear. I feel that as creative professionals, we all benefit from sharing our knowledge and experience with each other. The focus on real-life experience is shared with students through dialogue—often a comment one of them will make about a class assignment sparks shared stories about challenges we’ve all faced as working photographers. By creating a classroom environment of supportive, shared learning each student feels more comfortable talking through their concerns, disappointments and successes.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits? 

    Art does not exist in a vacuum, so one of my favorite assignments is the market research analysis project. By exploring what other professionals are doing in the same photography niche first-hand, and learning to develop a critical eye when viewing how professional photographers present themselves on their websites and through social media, my students are empowered to expand their own professional voices in a manner that is authentic, professional, and current with the industry.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    The most important thing I would impart to my students is to believe in themselves and their own creativity. They are here at The Art Institute of San Antonio for a reason, and we are invested in giving them the foundation they need to build a successful career. The most critical advice I would offer a student would be directly related—to value themselves and not undersell themselves as they establish their professional resume.


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  • Gary Miller

    Gary Miller

    Digital Photography

    "You are your work. Constantly strive to improve your craft and your portfolio."

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    Gary Miller

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’ve always been a creative person. I was working in biotechnology sales, thinking that I could tone down my creative side, but it just took over. I decided to leave my sales job, move across the country to attend graduate school in photography, and then become a fine artist and teacher. It was a dramatic move, but one that’s been very satisfying.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    As a professional photographer, I can relay real-world experiences to students. I think it carries a lot of weight when you can tell someone that you’ve been where they are and then gone on to accomplish the same creative goals they have. Working in the industry gives you a real sense of the day-to-day challenges students will face. Academic knowledge is one thing, but for creative people, industry knowledge is vital.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I think too much hand-holding is a bad thing for creative people. They need to develop good problem-solving skills. I like to push students to be more independent-minded and to develop their own style. Many of my assignments don’t provide all the answers—they require students to problem-solve and to see things their own way. I like to tell them, “I’ll give you the tools and a blueprint, you build your own house.”

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    All of our creative students will need to work with other professionals out in the real world. Photographers are notorious for being lone wolves, so I always encourage my students to work with peers from other disciplines.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    The most important thing I can impart in students is passion. Being a creative person is always challenging, and it can be demanding. True passion will drive them on and help them produce their best work.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Be a problem solver, not a problem maker. Clients love it when you make their lives better by coming up with great creative solutions. Those are the people who’ll be hired over and over. You are your work. Constantly strive to improve your craft and your portfolio.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Even though I‘ve been a photographer for many years, I’m constantly pushing myself to be better. You should never stop learning, and never be totally satisfied. Always push yourself to create new and better work.

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  • Rick

    Rick "Coach" Green

    General Education

    "Setting goals is critical, in and out of the classroom."

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    Rick "Coach" Green

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    My junior year in high school, I was in the food service program. The drama teacher encouraged me to try out for the school play, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. After the director of the food service program saw me act in the play, she encouraged me to go back into regular studies and join the speech team. The next year, I was state champion in Duet Acting and fifth in the nation for Prose/Poetry…and I knew performing was my destiny.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Adults learn by doing. So when I teach the communication process model, my students act out the different components of the model. It’s an approach that’s based on collaboration and student-centered learning.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I always have students set goals for their learning experience. Setting goals is critical, in and out of the classroom, to help you get and stay motivated.

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  • Rebecca Kerr Portrait

    Rebecca Kerr

    General Education

    "Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success."

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    Rebecca Kerr
    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    Just the act of Public Speaking often pushes students outside their comfort zone. Standing up in front of a full classroom with all eyes on you can be uncomfortable. Then students must organize their ideas and clearly present them to the class. That can be terrifying! Students often enter my class believing they can't stand up and deliver a speech to their peers. However, I provide the students with coping mechanisms, skill development, and a safe environment allowing them to deliver not only one but many speeches.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?


    Collaboration in a communication class serves a dual purpose. Collaboration allows students to improve their group communication skills, as well as develop an end result that is better than any single group member could do alone. Working in a group challenges students to clearly express their ideas, mediate during disagreements, compromise for the good of the project, lead, follow, and much more. Additionally by bringing students from different fields of study and diverse backgrounds together, students' own ideas, abilities, and limitations are challenged often resulting in a better end product.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    I work to ensure students leave my class with the ability to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas. I believe the ability to skillfully convey abstract ideas, like those often found in art, can set an artist apart from their peers. In the creative career field, students will be asked to communicate on many levels. They will pitch ideas, lead groups, speak to investors, and hopefully deliver acceptance speeches. My advice to students: Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success.

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