How To Get A Photography Diploma | Schools, Cost, Salary, Career

Every photographer needs a distinguishing factor. It might be enough that you are artistically inclined, and have the ability to take a good picture with a camera. You may have read a lot of books and watched a lot of videos online, so you can now be considered an expert picture editor.

It is however responsible to admit that the world of photography is fast becoming highly competitive, with the ever-increasing strides in technology.

As a photographer, a diploma could be just what you need to be successful against the odds. It’s proof that you can be professional and knowledgeable; in the handling of the very expensive equipments high profile employers invest in, in the attention to detail, customer service, and the general approach to daily duties. 

Meanwhile, this article will explain the best schools, careers, salary and cost of a diploma in photography.

WHAT IS A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY?

If you don’t already know, a diploma is not a degree, and while both have their advantages, there are no disadvantages to having a Diploma in Photography, if you’re passionate about photography.

A diploma in photography is that proof, or certificate the university of your choice, gives to you as proof that you have completed all their requirements and earned the qualification of a photographer. Now these requirements are more hands-on than the traditional degree course. The entire process of obtaining this diploma is a highly specialized practical training in the field of photography.

IS PHOTOGRAPHY A GOOD CAREER?

This is one question you’re bound to ask if you’re passionate about photography and want to make a career out of it.  Thankfully, there’s a positive answer to this question. Photography is a good career, it is also highly rewarding. 

Yes, you’ll have a lot of challenges to get through. You will have to acquire the right skills to fine tune your natural creative ability, gain technical expertise, and be prepared for arising business related issues . 

If you’re passionate about photograph, and put in the work, then you’re well on your way to becoming as successful as you want.

The best part is that there’s room for you in any area of photography you want.  You get to show the world your perspective in any area of your choice. There’s no restriction, not even if you choose to do a little of all of them as a freelance photographer. This variety can make for a highly rewarding career because it’s easier to stay inspired when you’re doing what you’re happy about. 

WHY EARN A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY? 

The differences between a degree and a diploma, form some advantages of having a diploma instead of a degree. Some of them are;

  • Getting a diploma saves you time. You get all the training you need in about half the time it would take you to complete a degree course.
  • It’s cost-effective too.
  • You can focus better on the essential skills you’ll need to acquire to become a successful photographer to the exclusion of all else.
  • A diploma gives you better practical knowledge of what working as a photographer entails.
  • Some institutions schedule exhibitions that help their trainees network. This means that you won’t be completely lost when the time comes to start working.
  • As a technician and an artist. A diploma would make sure you’re equipped to define as well as recognize the creative space.
  • The course is important since it produces effortlessly competent photographers that give expected professional results.
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WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s easy, you become a photographer, and you can choose to become:

  • An Industrial photographer; that professionally takes pictures of the different processes involved in industrial production, buildings, landscapes, machines, and artifacts.
  • A wedding photographer; that obviously gets to capture that memorable occasion.
  • A wildlife or nature photographer
  • A street photographer
  • A portrait photographer. 
  • Commercial photographer for different agencies or websites.
  • Scientific photographer, taking pictures of scientific experiments, marine life, or microscopic images.
  • Still life photography

With a diploma in photography, you can also work as; 

  • a film/ video editor
  • Magazine feature illustrator
  • Graphic designer
  •  Medical illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Press photographer (Photojournalist) 
  • Television camera operator
  • Art therapist
  • VFX artist
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Web content manager

HOW MUCH CAN YOU EARN WITH A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY? 

A photographer in the United States can earn anything in the range of $30,000 and $90,000. This mean annual income varies from state to state. Photographers in the District of Columbia earn as high as $82,000 on a yearly basis. This yearly earning is considerably lower in Mississippi, and about $40,000. A photographer in Massachusetts would earn an average of $65,00. You should keep in mind that you can subsist your income as an employed photographer by selling pictures on a freelance basis, unless you have signed a contract with your employers that expressly forbids it.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY?

Depending on the institution you have chosen, getting a diploma in photography can take you a period of 10 months. It can also take as long as two years, which is the normal and also the longest time it can take.

WHAT IS THE COST OF GETTING A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY CERTIFICATE?

Getting a photography diploma in your state costs less than getting it out of state. While this cost varies with the university or institute. You might only pay a few thousands to study in your state, but it can climb as high as $50,000 if you have to go out of the state, or if you’re attending a very prestigious school.

For online certifications, there’s also a wide price range starting from free courses to about $150 dollars a month.

These prices are dependent on the prestige of the university in that state for both the online and standard courses.

Read: How can I become a Photographer| Training, Schools

HOW TO EARN A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY 

1. DECISION STAGE

This is the first step you should take after deciding to get a diploma in photography, you need to decide if you would go the online route, or if you’ll go physically to the university.

If you have to weigh the pros and cons of both, then you should. It would give you a better idea of what to look for in the next step.

2. RESEARCH STAGE:

It is at this point that you make a list of institutions that offer diploma programs you’re interested in. It is prudent to check their tuition, and their special qualities.

For example, Yale would only admit 10 students every year. If you research properly, your decision as to which university you would attend is better informed and based on what you hope to get out of the education.

3. CONTACT STAGE:

You naturally have to contact the university you have chosen. For most of these universities, you can choose to talk with a representative to be better acquainted with what they’re offering.

If you’re already convinced though, most universities allow you to apply online and seamlessly too.

4. ENTRANCE AND INTERVIEW STAGE:

If the university of your choice require you to take a qualifying exam or an interview, or both, this is about the time you’ll be required to fulfill those requirements. Then you’ll have to wait for them to accept you.

Sending in applications for a diploma in photography to more than one school would increase your chances of getting accepted by one at least, if not all. 

5. ACCEPTANCE STAGE:

It is at this point that you can now report to the school or to the school’s website to kick off your program and fulfill all your universities requirements to earn the diploma in photography certificate.

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WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY PROGRAM?

You’re already a good photographer if you’re genuinely interested in people, and you understand what a picture makes them feel, how it appeals to them.

Another tell tale is an artistic inclination, you’re very imaginative and able to capture moments others would most probably miss.

If somehow, you just know the best way to capture a particular picture, and you’re able to work closely with people and determine what they want.

You’re already a good photographer.

To be able to earn a certificate diploma in photography;

  1. You need to be genuinely interested in photography. 
  2. Have to pass 10 + 2 courses with any stream from a recognized state board. 
  3. You need a good portfolio, and it won’t hurt if the compilation features only your best works.
  4. Finally, you need a good result in the entrance examination and interview. 

If you’re going the online route, you need a digital SLR or point and shoot camera, an adobe photoshop, and a good internet connection among others. Keep in mind that these equipments can be a one time purchase. You want to invest in the highest quality you can afford. Technology is evolving though, so you’ll most likely upgrade as you get more successful in your career.

10 BEST DIPLOMA IN PHOTOGRAPHY PROGRAMS IN 2025

There’s no particular order for the placement of these on campus and online universities and institutes for acquiring a diploma in photography

#1. NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

This course can be completed online. It means that you can start and finish at the comfort of your home, and at your own pace. It also means that you’ll be assigned to a tutor to guide you the entire way.

You’ll learn how to take great pictures no matter the condition. You’ll also be introduced to different photography genres ranging from wedding photography to portrait photography.

You are eligible to be certified by the professional photographers of America when you have completed the course.

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#2. LIGHT AND LIFE ACADEMY, INDIA

This is the first school built in India, expressly for photography, they offer students a diploma in professional photography and another one in travel and nature photography.

As a student, your education is both theoretical and practical.

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#3. YALE UNIVERSITY – SCHOOL OF ART

They only accept 10 students every year, but it is one of the best photography schools, and they offer a two years course in photography.

You already have to be with your onion as a photographer to gain admission, but you’ll be working with trending equipment. They have a reputation for their world-class infrastructure.

As a student, you’ll be trained in black and white photography, color photography, non-silver process, and digital image production. 

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#4. VANCOUVER INSTITUTE OF MEDIA ARTS

The professional photography program for VanArts is a one year intensive program.  The program is divided into four terms where students are taught extensively about photography from the basics of photography to the business aspect.

The coursework covers everything about image editing, lighting, and the use of equipments. You’ll also get hands-on training to help develop your expertise in the different fields of photography including; industrial, product and street photography among others.

In this diploma in photography, they will teach you how to create your portfolio and prepare you for work in a competitive field.

TUITION, If you’re a Canadian student is $32,750.

visit website

Read: 17 Best Photography Colleges in the World | 2025 Rankings

#5. INTERNATIONAL CAREER INSTITUTE

The course can be completed online, so there’s an allowance for you as a distant learner. It is possible for you to complete the course around your photography career and your family life.

It will take you about 24 weeks to complete the diploma-level course, but you’re allowed to take it at your own pace. You can take as long as three years to complete it.

They assign you to an expert tutor to guide you and there is no extra cost for paying your tuition with their weekly payment plan. This program is designed with the students’ convenience in mind, and even the payment for your books is covered by the tuition.

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You don’t need previous work experience, and there’s no educational requirement to obtain this diploma. They cover basic photography courses and also teach you about photojournalism. 

This online school is affordable as their tuition is set at £35 per week.

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#6. LONDON INSTITUTE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

They run 12 individual courses, but allow you to upgrade to a professional course, which they run for 10 weeks, at any point. Their courses are designed to give you practical experience no matter your level of expertise.

You get to develop your own style in fashion, still life, portrait photography. You’re also afforded Lightroom and photoshop courses.

Tuition is tailored according to your schedule and is made to meet your requirements, and you can choose to study full or part-time. 

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#7. NORTH GEORGIA TECHNICAL COLLEGE

This school employs award-winning photography tutors that prepare students for a lucrative career in photography. You’re introduced to opportunities that reinforce the traditional academic and experiential knowledge. You’ll also be introduced to skills you need to be employed and advance in a career in photography if you choose to go down that path.

The practical form of learning helps you grow, it also exposes you to real life experiences that show you what it means to be a professional photographer.

The tuition for diploma in photography is affordable, and you might be eligible for a grant that would help you graduate with a diploma, and minimal student loans if any.

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#8. INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY, NEW YORK

This is one of the best photography schools in the world. You can choose their one year full time program on creative practices, or their part-time certificate program.

During the course of this program, your technical skill as a student is solidified, and you are encouraged to broaden your vision no matter what direction your passion leads you. ICP has an impressive library of over 20,000 books to assist you in your professional growth, and seasoned tutors that are willing to guide you.

You have to pay a $100 dollar application fee for this diploma in photography, and a tuition of $32,816 along with an annual lab fee of $1500 dollars. If you decide to study online, you’ll only have to pay $24,917 in addition to the application fee of a $100.

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#9. SRI AUROBINDO CENTRE FOR ARTS & COMMUNICATION (SACAC)

SACAC is for you if you’re looking for a postgraduate diploma. You’ll be taught by a variety of methods, different ways to create as well as read a photograph and write about it too.

You get an opportunity to build and sharpen your technical and aesthetic expertise. It means that as you learn to handle the equipment, you’ll also learn to work with what’s in-front of you to create a pleasing picture.

You’ll be permitted to network on the exhibition organized by the school every year. This exhibition is well attended by distinguished agency and magazine editors. It means that you might just be able to score a high paying job on leaving the university.

Tuition is about 278000 rupees which translates to about $3,740. 

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#10. SENECA COLLEGE

To earn the Ontario College diploma from Seneca college,  you’ll need to put in the work for the two years it takes to earn the diploma.

In that time, you’ll gain a lot of experience, and become an expert in photo manipulation and restoration among others.

You’ll need to have your own equipment as you’ll be involved in an intensive hands-on training. You’ll acquire both technical and business skills to assist you when you’re ready for employment or if you decide to start up your own business

To gain admission, you’ll need to fulfill all their requirements including a high school diploma, and an electronic portfolio among others.

The tuition and books would cost you about $8,615 in total.

visit website 

Read: Top 10 careers in Photography that are Marketable in 2025

Conclusion

To be successful as a photographer, you need to put in a lot of work. You need to be visible, so people know what you’re doing. You have to be well acclimated with the business side of things too, so you’re not taken advantage of.

There are a lot of hurdles on your way to getting a successful career especially in the midst of the competition. It is a good idea, to equip yourself in whatever way you can, to afford yourself all the advantages you can afford.

Getting a diploma in photography is one of such advantages because no matter what way you choose to go, whether online or on campus, you’re certain there’s going to be someone who knows better than you to guide you. That in itself would propel you further than you can go on your own. 

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