Careers through a Camera Lens
Professional photographers log plenty of hours behind the lens, but there are ancillary opportunities within the photographic industry that also lure imaging specialists to higher education. Photographic technology is studied at the associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels, and advance instruction serves photographic educators and top-tier professionals. Whatever area of photography captures your interest, there is financial assistance available to help you realize your educational goals.
Art, design, graphics and photography programs draw scholarship interest from a variety of sources committed to advancing creative education. Career associations, foundations and professional advocacy groups each put forth unique college funding opportunities. These examples illustrate the types of funding found throughout the photography industry:
North American Nature Photography Association offers scholarships to photography students who would otherwise not be able to travel to the annual NANPA Summit conference. Student members are invited to apply. The Janie Moore Green Grant is funded by the NANPA Foundation and provides students with up to $1,000 each, to be applied to tuition in a photography program. Students are chosen on academic merit and portfolio submissions.
The Millotte Scholarship Fund provides up to $4,000 annually, to scholarship winners studying photography – with a special emphasis on photographers focused on natural subjects. Qualified applicants exhibit these characteristics:
- Intense interest in nature and the ability to convey fascination to others through art
- High school diploma or general education equivalency
- Enrolled in two-year technical program, or four-year university degree program
- Maintain a 3.0 GPA
- Resident of Washington State
World Studio Foundation is an international organization committed to promoting and encouraging art education. Since 1993, the Foundation has provided academic assistance for art, architecture and design students. Scholarships cover a range of arts programs, including photography. Applicants demonstrate financial need to be considered for the awards, and preference is given to minority candidates and severely disadvantaged students. In addition to increasing diversity in the creative arts, the Foundation stands committed to social and environmental responsibility. Scholarships are valued at $2000-$3000 each, with a single grand prize awarded annually, worth $6000. Honorable mention also qualifies for $500 worth of assistance. Applicants should be prepared to submit professional samples.
The Association of Women Journalists sponsors AWJ Scholarships for students majoring in journalism, communications and photojournalism. Qualified applicants are enrolled in Texas colleges and universities, and have reached the level of upperclassmen.
Photshop World supports the companies powerful photography tools with scholarships for college students and transitioning high schoolers. Twenty-five annual awards enable savvy photography students to attend the 3-day spring Photoshop conference. Each scholarship is valued at approximately $700. The organization also provides a similar annual opportunity for an outstanding photography educator.
Vermont Professional Photographers sponsors the Ivan and Bernice Burnham Memorial Scholarship. Members are eligible to apply for these annual awards, which are financed by donations and fundraising efforts. Winners have 18 months to apply the scholarships toward tuition at photography schools. scholarship values vary, but recent awards were valued at $200 each.
Scholarships available from the National Press Photographers Association include:
- Bob Baxter Scholarships, worth up to $200 each, go to photojournalism students.
- Reid Blackburn Scholarships are awarded to outstanding undergraduate students in four-year photojournalism programs. Qualified applicants must have a philosophically sound career goal that is in keeping with the spirit of the fund.
- Bob East Scholarship is awarded almost solely based on the merit of a photojournalism student’s work. Qualified applicants have their eyes set on graduate school. Awards are valued at $2,000 each.
NPPA recently expanded its stable of photography student aid. Five $5000 awards are administered under the Associations Career Expansion Scholarship Program. Professional Still Photographers are invited to apply for educational funding, provided they have been employed in the field for at least three years, and are going back to school to expand their skills or redirect their careers.
Campus Aid for Photography Students
San Francisco State University Department of Photography provides the Jules Strauss Photography Scholarships for outstanding seniors. Qualified applicants are selected based on portfolio work and overall academic excellence.
Kaplan College Dayton Campus provides associate’s level training for emerging photography professionals. Photography students at Kaplan are eligible for campus scholarships that help launch professional photography careers. Photographic Technology Degrees, with concentrations in commercial and portrait photography are available, as well as General Applied Photography specializations.