Deciding Between College, Art School, or Photography Business Coaching

Deciding Between College, Art School, or Photography Business Coaching


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

We all know that doctors attend medical school and lawyers have law school, but what do you need to be a professional photographer? It is possible to work as a photographer without formal education, certification courses, and degrees, but having a coach or mentor can make a significant difference in your business.

The Benefits of Photography Business Coaching

If you’re wondering why you might consider business coaching, there are a lot of benefits to keep in mind:

  • Critical Feedback
    Critical feedback and evaluation are the best way to improve your skills. Having a mentor evaluate your work and provide feedback can help your business thrive and increase your confidence.
  • Specialization
    Any coaching or training should help you work towards your own professional goals. If your goals include starting a portrait photography business, consider a coaching program that provides business assistance as well as help with photography skills.
  • Professional Credibility
    Working with a professional photography mentor can set you apart from other photographers and lend credibility to you and your business.

Where Should You Start?

If you’re wondering what type of coaching is right for your business, consider your personal business goals. What do you want to achieve? Look for a mentor or coach who can help you reach these goals.

When you compare photography business coaching with a fine art school or business education course, it is also helpful to consider the time and cost commitments. For example, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography will take four years of full-time study and can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. At the same time, business coaching with Photography Business Institute is self-paced and significantly more affordable.

College Degree Programs

Colleges and universities provide students with a well-rounded education. An associate degree is typically completed in two years and comprises around 90 credit hours. Photography classes make up just a portion of your total credit hours. As mentioned, a bachelor’s degree will take a student four years to complete, and a master’s program in fine arts would be an additional two years of coursework after that.

While so many jobs these days require a college degree even to apply, creative careers do function a little differently. Having a Bachelor of Arts isn’t necessary if you want to run your own business or work for an established studio.


There is a wealth of videos online, including YouTube tutorials on just about everything. Want to learn something? YouTube it. This idea does include most aspects of photography. However, so many videos are out there, and not all of them are helpful. You don’t know if the person in the video is really who they say they are with the experience they claim; any credentials may be questionable. Instructional YouTube channels and videos work best not watched willy-nilly on their own but as added onto a structured educational program.

Art School Certification

If you want to become an experienced photographer with strong technical skills, an art school certification program is an excellent option. An art school education is less broad or well-rounded than a traditional college degree program and more focused on developing artistic skills.

Most art school photography programs will have students working in film and digital photography, creating images in the studio and outdoors, and developing photographs manually and on the computer. While your technical skills will significantly improve, an art school photography education includes little, if any, business curriculum and doesn’t quite prepare students for anything outside of being an artist.

Photography Business Coaching

Photography business coaching is the best option for photographers looking to start a photography business and be self-employed. As a business owner, you will need more than just the ability to create amazing images. A business coach or professional mentor with Photography Business Institute can guide you with business decisions, marketing, and client management.

Professional coaching will give you high credibility in the very competitive photography industry. It can also help justify higher pricing for services.

Anyone can technically pick up a camera, create an online portfolio, and call themself a professional photographer. However, business coaching can help you reach your professional photography goals. Whether you want to advance your technical skills, charge more money for your services, start your own photography business, or grow your current business, mentorship with a successful photography professional can be a key to success.


Deciding Between College, Art School, or Photography Business Coaching


To become a professional photographer, formal education isn’t always needed, but having a coach can make a big difference. Learn more in this infographic.

4 Photography Business Learning Options Infographic


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