Top Photography Schools in the USA to Learn Photography

Photographers looking to improve their skills are now faced with a giant range of choices, many of them from courses that let you study online. But there are things best learned in person, with a teacher prepared to answer your questions — and even award professional certification at the end of it. Here’s our list of places to study photography. If you know of more, toss them into the comments.


Academy of Art University – San Francisco
Private, big and accredited. Graduates include Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers Deanne Fitzmaurice.

Brooks Institute of Photography – Santa Barbara
A for-profit corporation, offers four programs, including Professional Photography, Visual Journalism and Visual Communication.


The Art Institute of Colorado – Denver

Established as a private arts and crafts college in 1952. Offers Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in photography.

District of Columbia

The Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University – Washington
Offers a Professional Photography Certificate that teaches basic camera techniques, workflow and lighting among other skills.


The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale – Fort Lauderdale
A private, accredited college that boasts an employment rate in an related field of over 90 percent within six months of graduation.

International Academy of Design & Technology – Tampa
A nationwide, accredited arts school. The Tampa campus offers an Associate’s degree in Digital Photography.

Miami International University of Art & Design – Miami
Part of The Art Institutes network and offering a BFA in Photography.


The Art Institute of Atlanta – Atlanta

Atlanta’s branch of The Art Institute network.


Harrington College of Design – Chicago
Located in the Loop and focused on interior design, Harrington College also offers a Digital Photography program.

The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg

Illinois hosts two branches of The Institute of Art: one in Chicago and the other in Schaumberg.


Maine Media Workshops
Maine Workshop offers workshops that range from classes on creating your photo book to shooting Rajasthan. Classes can be expensive but the variety is huge… and so is the fun.


Brown College – Mendota Heights
Brown College offers a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Photography with specializations that include fashion, fine arts and freelance among others.


Missouri Photo Workshops
Sponsored by Nikon, the Missouri Photo Workshops takes place over six days and aims to teach photojournalism and story-telling.

New Hampshire

McIntosh College – Dover
McIntosh College teaches professional photography and even offers dorm rooms in a converted hotel. But room service isn’t included.

New Mexico

Santa Fe Workshops – Santa Fe

Creative workshops that range in time and location, and include courses for both hobbyists and professionals.

New York

Briarcliffe College – Bethpage
Briarcliffe is a small, private college offering an Associate’s degree in Digital Photography.

School of Visual Arts – New York City
One of the country’s finest art schools with both graduate and undergraduate degrees in photography.

International Center of Photography – New York City
A photography museum offering full-time and continuing education classes in subjects ranging from lighting to photojournalism.


Antonelli College – Cincinnati
Antonelli College offers an Associate of Applied Business Degree in Photography but only at its Cincinnati campus.

Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology – Dayton

The Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology focuses on photography and provides professional skills. It also offers both day and night classes.


Marylhurst University – Marylhurst

A private, Catholic university with a long history and a BFA that includes a photography concentration. Students can be full-time or working professionals.


The Art Institute of Philadelphia – Philadelphia, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania has two branches of The Art Institute: in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


Nossi College of Art – Goodlettsville
Nossi focuses on the business side of photography, offering a degree in Commercial Digital Photography. The curriculum includes camera techniques, lighting and basic and advanced Photoshop with the aim of guiding students to entry-level industry positions or the knowledge to freelance.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island School Of Design – Rhode Island
One of the most respected arts schools in the country, RISD boasts a who’s who of alumni and faculty, and offers both degree programs and business-oriented continuing education classes.

[tags] photography schools [/tags]

126 comments for this post.

  1. Judith P Said:

    SCAD - Savannah College of Art & Design, campus in Savannah, Atlanta, LaCoste (France), and Hong Kong - one of the best art schools.

  2. Denver Photographer Said:

    Ditto on the Colorado Mountain college program, I've seen a few really great photog's come out of there.

  3. Tina Bean Said:

    Great resource page. I see you're missing this one:

  4. Aperture Academy Said:

    Aperture Academy offers both in-field camera instruction and digital darkroom courses in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. All our Photoshop and Lightroom classes are geared toward improving your images while keeping quality and realism.

    During our in-field photography workshops students receive comprehensive digital photography instruction by award-winning photography instructors. We take students to photograph some of the most scenic and pristine locations in the world!

  5. Potter Said:

    Suprised Parsons, NYC is not on this list??

  6. Bahamida Said:

    Hello, Im form Algeria and I would like to take a photography course in the "USA"
    i want to learn photography and want to make career in it
    i don't really know witch photography school would be the best for me
    I've been doing some searching on the internet but i lost a bit
    is hard to find a good and reasonable price, "i mean not really expansive" photography school in the USA
    Photography is my passion i realy want to be professional,so please Any one out there to help me out???
    plz e-mail me @ [email protected]
    thank youuuuuuuu.......................

  7. Michigan Wedding Photographer Said:

    There is also :

    Michigan -

    CCS / College For Creative Studies in Detroit.

  8. Dee Said:

    Does anybody know much about photography programs (courses) in England? Any suggestions?


  9. Janet Said:

    Try Hartford Art School at University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT. You get a BFA .

  10. Nilesh Patel Said:

    Hello, Im form India and I would like to take a photography course in the "USA"
    i want to learn photography and want to make career in it
    i don't really know witch photography school would be the best for me
    I've been doing some searching on the internet but i lost a bit
    is hard to find a good and reasonable price, "i mean not really expansive" photography school in the USA
    Photography is my passion i realy want to be professional,so please Any one out there to help me out???

  11. : Wedding Photography Denver Said:

    Hi Alex. Thanks for tell us about these photography schools. Its really a very important information. we can choose best school from hare.

  12. Bill Gratton Said:

    What criteria was used in determining this list???

    LOTS of REALLY good schools missing from this list.

    MOST (if not all) of these schools are part of large for-profit corporations. While this does not mean they are a bad school, it might reflect the source of this list.

    Many of these schools are indeed very good, but there are several very suspicious selections on this list...

  13. Kelsey Said:

    Im a freshman in high school. And I know it may be early to be looking for colleges, but I just want to keep my options open.
    I was just wondering if anyone knew a good school for nature photography and like portraits?

  14. Alison Said:

    New England School of Photography in Boston, MA offers a two-year Professional Photography Program with ten different major/minor concentrations. The program balances the technical, artistic and business elements of photography and has an impressive list of graduates working as successful professional photographers. In addition, the school offers evening workshops for photo hobbyists, enthusiasts or professionals seeking to update their skills and stay inspired. Intensive education, supportive community, great environment.

  15. The Studio Said:

    VCU !!!

    The School of the arts. I'm under the impression through other student that several art schools are build on around the assumption. If you want a degree from them there is just one submission to get into your degree. Which might be fine. I when to VCU the school of the art with film as a major. Which their are 3 submission levels to go through to get a degree from VCU the first was greeting excepted with art work and letter and grades. the second get excepted to the school of the arts, which was just art work of specific criteria and there's only one slot a year for only so many applicants. The third was which ever major you applied to, there would be just art work specific to the major Ex.(photography film graphic design) And excepting so many applicants, graphic design only 50 students 25 for film and 25 for photography.

    And many had to change majors or try again next year or just transfer and leave the school.

    And the computation was something out of these TV computation shows like . You would have to continue improvement or they kick you out 3.4 or higher it was close to dean's list, which was funny case just about everyone was on dean's list in all the majors

  16. sabrina Said:

    How about SFAI -

    I am interested in Commercial (Architectural, Food, Travel) photography. I am looking for a graduate program, prefer California schools.

    I have looked Brooks but some people said it used to be the best school.

  17. David Said:

    The Art Center Center College of Design in Pasadena California.

  18. Ayesha Said:

    am looking for a best photography graduate program... i have researched alot and liked some of them but i really want some people who have done their masters for the universities that they recommend the best or have been studying in those courses which will be a good blend of practical and theory ... inspiring teachers...
    i have read a lot of programs and about colleges culture... but what i really am interested is that is their any course out their that just challenging enough and with such posituve environment tht one would be satisfied once ur done with the program... some course that do justice when you say that ur mastered in photography.

  19. David Said:

    I recommend checking out the Photo assistant boot camp
    offered by
    James of 1prophoto has been running this workshop for the past 11 years.
    Probably the best thing about this workshop is the amount of information provided in 2 days, "seriously intense".
    James is also a really great instructor; making sure that everyone's questions were answered and that the entire class was comfortable with the information he was imparting to us.
    The other thing I liked was that we didn't have to sit and listen to a bunch of sales reps talking about photo equipment we could never offered.

    I don't know about others experiences but I was able to get work 3 days after taking the workshop by following the marketing advice I learned from the how to be a photo assistant eBook that I got at the workshop.

  20. Robert Johnson Said:

    I've heard good things about Kaplan College in Dayton Ohio if you are interested in Commercial Photography

  21. Mathieu Perry Said:

    I am currently graduating from Northwest College in Powell, WY and it is one of only two schools in the U.S. that Brooks accepts transfer students from. The school is a hidden gem.

  22. Nick with Gift Cards USA Said:

    I would agree with Nate above. Dakota County Tech in MN has great photography classes, and it's way affordable because it's a small tech school.


  23. Josh schaedel Said:

    Just curious to know where Art Center College of Design landed on this list?

  24. Libby Funke Said:

    I work at Nossi College of Art. I just "stumbled" upon your site and noticed that, under Tennessee, Nossi College was listed (Thanks!!). I want to make you aware of some really great updates to the information you have listed. Three years ago, we moved into a brand new campus that was designed and built specifically as an art college. It is located in Nashville, not Goodlettsville. Also, about four years ago we added a Bachelor degree in Photography and Videography. Our website address has changed to
    Thank you for listing us!

  25. Shikha Singh Said:

    Hey, I am an Indian currently working as a Software Engineer in Hyderabad. I am an amateur shooter and suddenly decide to try and make my career out of my passion in photography . Most of the school in US are offering courses in Digital Photography. Which one to follow is big question considering money matters and job opportunities. I fell in love with Brooks Insitute but they are asking for Hefty amount.Any one out there to help me out, and what are the most rewarding careers in photography and their related programms.

  26. Photographer Said:

    It is true that The Art Institutes has a great reputation and a long tradition of education in photography and other design areas, but I agree that Academy of Art University is one of the best choices to learn photography in California.

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