PHTC-1313. History of Photography. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. A historical survey of the technical and aesthetic development of photography. Topics include the beginnings of the medium, inventors, development of photographic equipment, styles of the creative masters, aesthetic themes and the social impact of photography.
PHTC-1340. Photographic Retouching I. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. An overview of retouching techniques to enhance photographic media. Includes restoration and coloration. This course replaced ITSE 1301 in the digital photography certificate.
PHTC-1341. Color Photography I. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. Examination of color theory as it applies to photography. Emphasis on color concepts and the intricacies of seeing and photographing in color. Lab fee.
PHTC-1343. Expressive Photography. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. A study of formal, professional, and individual uses of photography by applying photographic technology to personalized and professional needs. Emphasis on creative visual thinking and problem solving and the exploration of personal vision. This course replaced PHTC 1391 in the digital photography certificate. Lab fee.
PHTC-1344. Close Up/Macro Photography. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. A study of industrial, scientific, commercial, and other areas of professional photography. Includes equipment, science, technology, and techniques for procedures required in accomplishing various kinds of close up and macro photography. This course replaced IMED 1301 in the digital photography certificate.
PHTC-1345. Illustrative Photography I. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. Instruction in the technical aspects involved in commercial photography. Topics include lighting equipment, techniques of production photography, reproduction principles, illustrative techniques, and advertising. This course replaced BCIS 13015 in the digital photography certificate.
PHTC-1380. Coop Education, Com Photo. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. Career-related activities encountered in the student's area of specialization offered through an individualized agreement among the college, employer and student. Under the supervision of the college and the employer, the student combines classroom learning with work experience. Lab fee.
PHTC-1391. Special Topics in Com Photo. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. Topics address recently identified current events, skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes and behaviors pertinent to the technology or occupation and relevant to the professional development of the student. Lab fee.
PHTC-1411. Fundamentals of Photography. (4 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. An introduction to camera operation and image production, composition, correct exposure and proper lighting. Lab fee.
PHTC-2301. Intermediate Photography. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. Continuation of Fundamentals of Photography. Emphasizes social, portrait, studio, fashion, theatrical, publicity and event photography. Lab fee.
PHTC-2343. Portfolio Development. (3 Credits)
This course is taken for academic credit. Students will earn an A, B, C, D, F, or W. A culmination experience for the evaluation of the student's photographic competencies. Includes association with a professional photographic organization, completion of portfolio, professional self-presentation, comprehensive exam, and seminars in areas of photographic interest.
Photographers typically do the following:
- Market or advertise services to attract clients
- Analyze and plan the composition of photographs
- Use various photographic techniques and lighting equipment
- Capture subjects in professional-quality photographs
- Enhance the subject’s appearance with natural or artificial light
- Use photo-enhancing software
- Maintain a digital portfolio to demonstrate their work
- Archive and manage imagery
Nowadays, most photographers use digital cameras instead of traditional film cameras, although some photographers use both. Digital cameras capture images electronically, so the photographer can edit the image on a computer. Images can be stored on portable memory devices, such as flash drives. Once the raw image has been transferred to a computer, photographers can use image processing software to crop or modify the image and enhance it through color correction and other specialized effects. Photographers who edit their own pictures use computers, editing software, and high-quality printers.
Some photographers use unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to capture shots. The drones are equipped with an integrated camera to capture 360-degree imagery of buildings, landscapes, scenery, or events.
Photographers who work for commercial clients often present photographs in a digital format to the client. Wedding and portrait photographers, who serve primarily noncommercial clients, also may provide framing services and present the photographs they capture in albums.
Many photographers are self-employed. Photographers who own and operate their own business have additional responsibilities. They must advertise, schedule appointments, set up and adjust equipment, buy supplies, keep records, charge customers, pay bills, and—if they have employees—hire, train, and direct their workers.
In addition, some photographers teach photography classes or conduct workshops in schools or in their own studios.
The following are examples of types of photographers:
Aerial photographers travel in planes or helicopters to capture overhead photographs of buildings and landscapes. They often use cameras with gyrostabilizers to counteract the movement of the aircraft and ensure high-quality images.
Commercial and industrial photographers take pictures of subjects such as buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, and landscapes. They usually go on location to take pictures for magazine covers, engineering projects, or other purposes.
Drone photographers operate unmanned aerial vehicles with an integrated camera to capture 360-degree imagery of buildings, landscapes, scenery, or events.
Fine arts photographers sell their photographs as artwork. In addition to their knowledge of techniques such as lighting and the use of lenses, fine arts photographers need to have creativity and artistic talent.
News photographers, also called photojournalists, photograph people, places, and events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television. In addition to taking still photos, photojournalists often work with digital video.
Portrait photographers take pictures of individuals or groups of people and may work in studios. Photographers who specialize in weddings, religious ceremonies, or school photographs usually work on location.
Scientific photographers capture scientific or medical data or phenomena. Because they focus on accurately representing subjects visually, these photographers limit the use of software to clarify an image. Scientific photographers who take pictures of objects too small to be seen with the naked eye use microscopes to photograph their subjects.
- 2018 Median Pay: $34,000 per year; $16.35 per hour
- Typical Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent
- Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
- On-the-job Training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
- Number of Jobs, 2018: 132,100
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 132,100
- Employment Change, 2018-28: -8,300
Working conditions for photographers vary by specialty. Some photographers travel for photo shoots, working either indoors or outdoors. Others work in studios; still others work in laboratories and use microscopes to photograph subjects.
Although portrait photographers are not required to have postsecondary education, many take classes because employers usually seek applicants with creativity and a "good eye," as well as a good technical understanding of photography. Photojournalists and industrial and scientific photographers often need a bachelor’s degree.
The median hourly wage for photographers was $16.35 in May 2018.
Employment of photographers is projected to decline 6 percent from 2018 to 2028. Salaried jobs may be more difficult to find as more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for photographers.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of photographers with similar occupations.
Learn more about photographers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Photographers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/photographers.htm (visited March 14, 2020).
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Some careers in this field will require a bachelor's degree.
- TVCC's AA degrees are fully transferable to public universities in Texas. See an academic advisor or TVCC's university transfer webpage for more information on this transfer opportunity.
- Many of TVCC's AAS degrees lead to an online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree with participating universities. See an academic advisor or the BAAS transfer website for more information on this transfer opportunity.