Digital Photography Hero

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

Associate of Science in Digital Photography

Quarter Credit Hours:
90
Timeframe:
6 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Associate of Science in Digital Photography

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3967 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:

  • Apply the industry standards for studio and portrait photography and photojournalism to produce a portfolio of photographic work across multiple platforms.
  • Demonstrate a fundamental style and vision that solves basic photographic problems and integrates superior print quality and proficient judgment of aesthetic value.
  • Apply the elements of marketing and promotion and follow a basic business model.
  • Apply technical merit in lighting and demonstrate inclusion or exclusion of ambient light sources, placement of main light source, degree of diffusion, control of overall lighting contrast, and separation of subject and background.
  • Apply technical merit in post-production and demonstrate the basic elements of retouching based on professional parameters; integrate multiple images together to illustrate a concept, demonstrating proficiency using image manipulation techniques.
  • Apply technical merit in digital asset management and demonstrate how to process and manage images and time-based media, employ tools, menus, and keywords, manage and archive digital image files on external sources.

View Academic Catalog

Bachelor of Science in Digital Photography

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Digital Photography

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3959 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:

  • Produce a portfolio of original work for current media and multiple platforms, integrating industry standards, personal interest and career specialization.
  • Assess the historical and social impact of photography and evaluate how their photographs fit within this context.
  • Develop a style and vision conveying a personal point of view using problem-solving processes to integrate extraordinary print quality and skillful judgment of aesthetic value.
  • Conceptualize, plan and implement marketing strategies to create a successful business model.
  • Exhibit technical excellence in post-production and demonstrate retouching based on professional parameters; integrate multiple images together to illustrate a concept; and use selection techniques, alpha channels, layer masks, blending modes, and layer techniques demonstrating a mastery of image manipulation techniques.
  • Exhibit technical excellence in digital asset management and demonstrate how to process and manage images and time-based media, employ tools, menus, and keywords, manage and archive digital image files on external sources.

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/3326 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and control of the photographic process, including image manipulation, photo retouching, color management, printing, network use and digital asset management.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the workings of a large, multi-functional commercial photographic studio, its business and operations, including key concepts of business plans, competitive business strategies, human resources, database management, and financial principles.
  • Create advanced market research including branding, competitive analysis, and direct marketing.

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 California - San Diego alumni Brian Townsend

    Brian Townsend

    Media Arts & Animation , 2010

    "The skills I learned in school helped me turn a hobby into a profession."

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    Brian Townsend

    Brian Townsend describes himself as a kid who was always drawing in his notebook instead of taking notes. His natural creativity led him to a career as a 3D artist and photographer on the design team for Microsoft Surface tablets. He had the prestigious honor of creating all of the shots used by the CEO of Microsoft and President of Windows when the Surface tablet was unveiled—his design work was also displayed prominently on the screens in Time Square in New York City.

    Brian creates all of the marketing shorts and 3D animations for the tablets and his job involves photography, 3D animation, and graphic design. “Often I help the design team photo realistically visualize [new concepts in 3D] long before they physically exist. This helps them work through design variations as well as communicate their ideas clearly to the engineering teams who actually build the products,” he says. Brian adds that the most important part of his job involves telling a clear story as quickly as possible, using images and animation.

    In addition to his creative pursuits, Brian is a military veteran who served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of Specialist. He served in both Korea and Iraq, and believes that his military training provided the discipline he needed to transition to school and finally to a civilian career with Microsoft in Seattle. “My time spent in the service prepared me for school in ways I never imagined. Had it not been for the Army, I wouldn't have had the same work ethic that allowed me to get so much out of my education.”

    Brian, who in 2010 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that the skills he learned in school helped him to turn his creative passion into a profession. “[In my job], I use skills I learned from the foundation classes on up through the most advanced classes. I can’t emphasize the importance of the fundamentals enough though. I fall back to those constantly and I still reference my fundamentals of design and color theory books.”

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/376 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    *As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University

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  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Corey Bolwyn

    Corey Bolwyn

    Media Arts & Animation , 2008

    "Embrace the artistic vision and the technology that will push the art. Every film has its extraordinary challenges and none of them ever feel the same."

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    Corey Bolwyn

    Corey Bolwyn’s love for animation began when he was a child, playing the game Dragon’s Lair. “I was blown away by Don Bluth's character ‘Dirk the Daring,’” he says. Years later, Corey has helped to create movies that could provide that same inspiration to the next generation. Corey, a Character Technical Director for Walt Disney Animation Studios, has worked on Academy Award winning major motion pictures including “Big Hero 6” and “Frozen.” His most recent accomplishment is creating animation for the recently-released “Zootopia.” His role on the film was Character Technical Director and Technical Animator.

    Corey is a graduate of The Art Institute of California—San Diego.* He earned a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation in 2008.

    Working as a member of the creative team, Corey was tasked with achieving the artistic vision of the film’s directors—while staying on time. “You have to find a balance between the highest quality possible versus knowing when to stop due to time constraints.”

    Corey describes “Zootopia” as a very stylized film. “We had to hit very silhouette-driven shapes in our character’s performance. You can see this style in the art book and in the film. Besides the shape language, most of the characters had moving fur and clothes going over the fur. This makes life very challenging at times. The fur likes to come through the clothes—if you don't know what you are doing.”

    Corey adds that some departments at Disney work more closely together than others. “I happen to be in a department that is very close, and we are all very technical and artistic. The two disciplines require that we collaborate closely and feed off of each other. If you don't, you won't last long.”

    Corey has now been in the animation industry for eight years, and he believes that the biggest change in that time is the complexity of animation. “Technology allows us to create very hand-crafted films—literally anything you want to make. Even within our department there are so many varying disciplines where artists are experts. It really is quite fascinating.”

    Corey recommends that current students keep learning and growing. “Embrace the artistic vision and the technology that will push the art. Every film has its extraordinary challenges and none of them ever feel the same.”

    * As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/376 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Enrique Torres

    Enrique Torres

    Media Arts & Animation , 2005

    "[My education] helped me to keep up with the fast pace that is the entertainment world."

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    Enrique Torres

    Enrique Torres is a freelance 3D generalist, character artist, and designer who generates 3D assets for designers. Enrique enjoys the challenges of his career and the knowledge that he can keep growing. “There’s no limit on how far I can get in terms of success and knowledge as an artist. I can make choices to increase my career or I have the choice to stay where I am.”

    Enrique says that his most proud professional moment came when he won an Emmy for the show “Sports Science,” which aired on ESPN. “I have an Emmy with my name that I get to keep. It’s on a display at my house.” Enrique says that his influences include everyone from from comic book artists to classic artists. “Jim Lee was always my favorite. Heinrich Kley was someone who [truly inspired me].”

    Enrique, who in 2005 earned a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that his education exposed him to a variety of software. “There were times when I had to use what I was taught [in school] to finish big-budget projects. [My education] helped me to keep up with the fast pace that is the entertainment world.” Enrique believes that there are four key attributes to success in his industry. “One is talent. Two is networking. Three is professionalism. And four is always have a positive attitude.”

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/376 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    *As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University

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  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Erica Alexander

    Erica Alexander

    Interior Design , 2015

    "Working on group projects [in school] was so helpful because I'm constantly working with other designers, clients, sales representatives, and architecture and design firms."

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    Erica Alexander

    Erica Alexander is a designer at Tangram Interiors in Santa Fe Springs, California. She’s responsible for space planning, field measures, client management, and CET Design—a visual space planning software package. Erica works on multiple projects at a time and says that she is constantly growing as a designer. “[Learning other computer programs in school] helped me to catch on to [CET] quickly. Working on group projects was so helpful because I’m constantly working with other designers, clients, sales representatives, and architecture and design firms. Knowing how to hear what people are saying and how to combine ideas from multiple people is very helpful.”

    Erica’s biggest challenge has been “figuring out her place” within Tangram Interiors. “It took me several weeks to understand how the company works within the context of the larger field of interior design.” She began listening to others around her and learning from fellow designers who took her under their wing. This helped her to feel comfortable and confident in her position at the company. Erica recommends that students and those new to interior design keep pushing forward, no matter how difficult things get. “Many times I didn’t think I was going to make it or could make it through the classes—yet I made it through.”

    The creative collaboration at her workplace serves as inspiration for Erica. “I am constantly talking with other designers and have helped other [them to] consider new ways of planning a space.” She credits her education with helping her to find her place in the interior design world. “When I interviewed with Tangram, I knew that all of the hard work had paid off. I got many compliments on my portfolio and I knew that this was a place that I had to work.”

    Erica, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that she’s pushing herself to understand products and how the design process works. She’s currently working on an account that combines educational, healthcare, and corporate design. “[It’s giving] me a small taste of everything that Tangram does.” She views this as a challenge to build her knowledge and experience. “[Tangram] made me feel so welcome. I knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/375 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Karla Franco

    Karla Franco

    Fashion Design , 2014

    "What I enjoy the most about my career is the satisfaction of making someone feel confident and beautiful."

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    Karla Franco

    Karla Franco is working as a sample maker for designer Michael Costello in Los Angeles, California. She’s responsible for constructing garments, patternmaking, fittings, and creating samples. “My typical work day consists of making samples for Michael Costello that [are] showcased in different fashion shows around the world. I usually make one to two samples of gowns or other garments a day.”

    She adds that she’s proud to have won The Art Institute of California—Los Angeles’ fashion show and landed a job with a notable fashion designer. “I get inspired everywhere I go, but what I get most inspired from are all the cultures I get exposed to. I also love getting inspired by different geometric shapes. Many of my designs are composed of triangular patterns.” Her artistic hero is Frida Kahlo, who Karla describes as “the best example of someone who believed in herself and expressed her emotions through her art—even her toughest moments.”

    Karla, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that her education provided essential knowledge for her career. “It educated me on all the basics and technical skills I needed to become a successful designer.” She adds that current students should be well versed in social media and its ability to showcase fashion to a wide audience. “I believe that the internet can be a double edged sword. It affects designers positively in show casing our work but it can also affect it us by increasing competition. Anyone can just post anything in their social media and knock off designs, but overall it's great as it creates opportunity. Competition is a great way to motivate us [to do] our best.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/369 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Matt Sloman

    Matt Sloman

    Culinary Management , 2014

    "[Since completing my education], I have a much better working knowledge of how the kitchens and the back of the house works."

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    Matt Sloman

    Matt Sloman is a banquet supervisor at Harrah’s Southern California Resort in Valley Center, California. He’s responsible for planning and executing client events as well as overseeing staff, servers, and housemen who work at the event venue. “The one thing that I enjoy most about this position is the interaction I have with both clients and guests alike. The ability to make people smile is what keeps me going every day,” he says. Matt adds that he always put his best effort forward. “[I] know that how I respond to a guest’s questions or requests could make their experience either great or less than great.”

    While he’s only been in his position a short time, Matt is excited to have instituted a new staff training program. “Ensuring that we are performing to the highest possible service standards available [is important to me].” He adds that one of the biggest challenges to working in his field is the technology involved in processing client invoices. “Great service is great service and that will never change.”

    Matt, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that his education provided a strong working knowledge of both the kitchen and back of house. “This helps in providing a much better product to the customer.” Matt recommends that current students soak up knowledge in all areas of the kitchen, hotel, or resort. “One thing about the banquet department is that we interact with almost every other department. It really helps if you know what those departments do.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/368 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Sean K. McCreery

    Sean K. McCreery

    Culinary Arts , 2007

    "Being a chef allows your inner artist to come out in your food."

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    Sean K. McCreery

    Sean K. McCreery is an operations manager at Sodexo in Vail, Arizona. He supervises 100 employees to ensure that 12,300 children are served two healthy meals each day. In his position, Sean oversees the daily food service operations for 17 schools, grades Kindergarten through 12th. “I always need to give more than 100% daily. Being a chef allows your inner artist to come out in your food. Food service [can be] a thankless job, but I get gratitude by seeing the smile after that first bite—and the silence around the table from the people eating my creations,” he says.

    Sean’s busy workplace means that he’s constantly learning and teaching. “When you have a wealth of knowledge, everyone wants to ask you the questions. In doing that, I became more of a teacher.” His experience in the United States Marine Corps added to the leadership abilities he brings to workplace and kitchen. “In school [and now], students looked to me for help, guidance, and mentorship.”

    He adds that the challenges of his career mean he’s also evolving as a manager. “Being in charge of a multi-unit operation is where my career is going. I think the next step for me will be to start my own consulting firm. I want to help others achieve the success I have in my life.”

    Sean began his education after serving in the Marines as a chef. “I have a bit of a different [background] story,” he says. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a chef. “It was very challenging trying to learn all the jobs and becoming good at each one. But looking back at my wealth of knowledge, it was well worth all the hard work.”

    Sean is a graduate of both The Art Institute of California—San Diego and The Art Institute of Portland. He recommends that current students challenge themselves with higher goals. “When you get to one goal, strive to get to the next.” He says that he realized the benefits of his education when he was placed in a management position. “It is all a growing process and a mind set of being able to strive to attain the goals you have set in life.”

    *as of 2012, a campus of Argosy University

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What Will I Study?

Digital Photography 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

  • San Diego Program Coordinator of General Education Mary Broding

    Mary Broding

    Graphic & Web Design

    "I learn from my students every day. That's what I love most about teaching."

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    Mary Broding

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

    I was in Paris with my high school French club, viewing impressionist work at the Musée d'Orsa. Walking past Monet's Rouen Cathedral series, I was stunned by how paint could achieve the effect of atmospheric shimmer. I walked through the Impressionist section many times, in a haze, absolutely taken with the work. That’s when I knew I wanted to study art history, and either work in an art museum or teach art history.

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

    I primarily teach College English and Creative Nonfiction, and I bring my love of the written word to class. Many of my students have struggled with writing in the past so I ask them to write about something they’re comfortable with and interested in. I want to help them build the confidence they’ll need to express themselves in writing, no matter what profession they choose.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I’m all about experiential learning, getting students out of the classroom and into the community. I recently took my Creative Nonfiction class to the Cannibalism exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man—then had them write an essay on whether they’d ever consider taking part in cannibalism. Students were eager to respond and ready to back up their answer to the question, drawing from what they’d learned at the exhibit.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    No one is an island, especially today. Students need to learn to be able to get along and be productive with people from different personal and professional backgrounds.

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

    Writing is a constant learning process. Once I let students know that I have a hard time with certain aspects of it, they know it‘s okay for them to struggle, too.

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

    Be realistic. You’re going to fail—and that’s okay. In fact, failing will help make you stronger at whatever you do.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I truly care about our students. We have a fantastic bunch of individuals here who bring a vast variety of experience and knowledge to the table. I learn from my students every day. That’s what I love most about teaching.

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  • "Listen with your eyes."

    Richard Ybarra

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Listen with your eyes."

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    Richard Ybarra

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

    I was born with a good eye for design. As a child, I drew on the walls in our home. In high school I progressed to graffiti. While studying art and photography in college, I entered gallery art exhibitions and won a few awards. That’s when I began to consider design as a career. Working in ad agencies and design firms fueled my ambition and creativity, and allowed me to explore other areas of art and design.

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

    With 37 years in the advertising/design profession and 25 years of teaching, I bring a lot of creativity and knowledge to the classroom. I draw on all that experience depending on the classroom situation.

    How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    My class projects let students apply their creative skills and talents to corporate branding, typography, and conceptual design. I encourage them to think smart and work smart. I share my passion, knowledge, and wisdom, and help them develop the independent thinking and organizational skills to become more confident and produce better work. The more they learn about themselves, the more creative they become.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Working as part of a team helps students understand the process of a given project, and also helps them learn to communicate...to present their work both visually and verbally.

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

    Be more aware of what’s happening in the real world. Read at least one daily newspaper to get a better sense of reality. Attend business and social events to improve your networking skills. Find a good mentor, someone who’s walked the path to success. And most of all, listen with your eyes.

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Miami International University of Art & Design alumni Marlon Munoz I'm challenged by the opportunity to take my ideas and bring them to life. Marlon Munoz
Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Miami International University of Art & Design, 2008