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Do i need a degree to do what i love?

Im in the first year if college nearing entering into the second and all my lectures want to to go the university, but the point is i do not see why i need a degree in photography is there something i could learn more than I'm already learning. Do i need a degree to be classed as professional? Im bit suck I'm torn between yes or no, positives that ill be able to say i have a degree, negatives 2-3 more years of learning before the real world and lots of debt. I like to hear other peoples opinions on photography degrees and if they are worth it?

Thanks Alice!

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ray1 14 546 1 England
14 Apr 2013 8:59PM
My view would be that you do not need a degree but you do need experience, a good portfolio and an excellent business capability. For some professions a degree in the subject is essential such as being a Dr but not for lots of other things such as photography. A degree course will give you a good opportunity to learn your skill and make contacts etc but you do have to balance that with the cost. I would guess that lots of established photographers do not have a photography degree and most of their business comes from the quality of their work. I don't think many people ask their photographer to see their degree qualification.
LensYews 9 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
14 Apr 2013 8:59PM
If you want to be a professional photographer, knowing how to run a business is much more useful - whether that is in degree form or from practical experience
Spencer1966 5 80 1 United Kingdom
14 Apr 2013 9:21PM
Agree - if you must have a degree go for one in business and marketing - professional photography is 90% business 10% photography. From what I have seen from people with photography is that they totally do not understand light and lighting techniques.
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
14 Apr 2013 9:35PM

Quote:Do i need a degree to do what i love?

A degree - or any other qualification - in photography will count for absolute zero.

Your portfolio plus, even more importantly, your marketing skills will count for everything. Smile
arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
14 Apr 2013 9:59PM
Go to uni and study business, whilst continuing your photography when ever you have a moment, using epz plus other youtube videos to improve your photography.
14 Apr 2013 9:59PM
You don't need a degree to become a photographer. You don't need any qualifications at all to become a photographer. As others have said, a business degree would be better. Having said that though, if you do decide to study for a degree in photography, you'll find that you must pass a Business Studies component as part of your course. Everyone studying for an Arts degree is compelled to do this. I completed HND Photography a few years ago, followed by a degree in Creative Imaging. Everyone complained bitterly about having to do Business Studies, but to no avail! I will say that I found my study courses beneficial, but I was taking them for my own enjoyment and enlightment as a very mature student, not with any intention of finding employment.
HTH, Alex.
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
14 Apr 2013 9:59PM
I was once told that there are more photography graduates from UK universities per year than there are professional photographers working in Europe.

I have no idea as to the accuracy of this claim, but I think the point to take from it is that a degree in photography does not necessarily lead to a career in photography. This is a fact no matter how you quantify it.

Another fact is that going to, and graduating from, university is about far more than the course or subject you choose to study. Yes, a degree course incurs debt, and yes it isn't for everyone. But before you dismiss it out of hand you need to think carefully about the advantages a university education can bring, and whether these offset the advantages of other routes to your goal.

Just a thought...
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
14 Apr 2013 10:17PM
You do not need a degree, but depending on you and your skills/outlook, a degree could be something that enables you to discover thinks about yourself and photography that make a significant difference.

My advice is to have a look at a few universities, see what they have to offer, talk to some of the students and lecturers at the open day, and if possible talk to some professional people who work in the field of photography that interests you. It is true what they say about jobs etc, but then it is also true that some people benefit from a degree. There is no correct solution for everyone, but there is probably a correct solution for you. Try not to let us old cynics push you into a path.

Also from looking at your portfolio picture I think you have youth on your side. If you pick a path, give it a year, and if you have massive regrets then you will still have time to try the other path. So my advice get the A Levels in the bag with good results, and if you feel that Uni may be for you, but you are not certain, you could take a year out and try and get an assistants job, or if you are brave and skilled you could try setting up your own business. At least if you get the College work banked you can fall back on it in the future. And if you did go to Uni, the life experience will have a value.

Good Luck.
oldblokeh 7 1.2k United Kingdom
14 Apr 2013 10:18PM
There are something like 150000 first degree graduates per annum in the UK. The Federation of European Photographers, a European umbrella organisation of national professional bodies, represents about 50000 European professional photographers. We can probably safely assume that the actual number of professionals is higher than this. Unless more than one in three graduates is a graduate in photography, I'd say the claim is totally spurious.
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
14 Apr 2013 11:16PM
Do a search for the HUGE recent thread on this subject...lots of opinions!
LensYews 9 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 12:42AM
One line of photography that you could potentially follow at least for the short to medium term (technical advances are likely to eventually make it obsolete) and where a degree would help is medical imaging, however its a little short on creativity.
monstersnowman 12 1.7k 1 England
15 Apr 2013 4:56AM
One thing to consider is that the are different types of photography degree. I took on a degree in commercial photography and whilst I learned a lot about history and semiotics etc I forgot more about actually taking photos than I learned. One or two on the course have gone on to follow the avenue they wished but I am confident they would have done so anyway ... I would look closely at the course content and decide if it specifically suits your needs. I am sure just to be a photographer you do not need a degree or indeed any qualification but if you are seeking employment you should look at job adverts to see if they expect degree standard applicants. If so then merely having the degree, regardless of how much you improve, will be important in just getting onto a shortlist.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
15 Apr 2013 5:37AM

Quote:Go to uni and study business, whilst continuing your photography when ever you have a moment, using epz plus other youtube videos to improve your photography.

Yes I agree a business degree would be good but so could a photography degree.

I have a friend that studied family law, he qualified but spent a lot of time chasing jobs.

So he went back to collage and trained in teaching, he now teaches law, and has never been happier.
hobbo Plus
7 1.2k 2 England
15 Apr 2013 8:07AM
If I were you, I would think really deeply on your personal aims and targets.....then ask yourself the all important question........WHAT DO I REALLY WANT TO DO?....make a list, prioritise each item.

It is obvious that if you want to be a good professional photographer then you need to study and practice photography in depth, whether at University or elsewhere.......but above all .....no matter what you choose to do in life.....it is essential that you learn to develop good business sense.

I know dozens of people who went to University to study one thing, then ended up doing something completely different, whilst retaining lots of positive spin- off from their University Education.

I wish you well!


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