Professional Photography


First Year Core Courses: Learn the Basics

Every first year photography student will take the same courses. This course of study is designed to teach you the basics of photographing, printing, and finishing your photos. It will also give you a sample of all three of the specializations available during your second year.

  • Photo Design I
  • Camera I and Camera II
  • Print I and Print II
  • Introduction to Image Editing
  • Basic Portraiture
  • Basic Commercial Photography
  • Intermediate Electronic Imaging

Second Year Core Courses: Choose Your Specialty

Second year students can choose a specialty or a combination of specialties. Specialize in Portrait Photography, Commercial Photography, and/or Digital Technician.

Portrait Photographer

Specializes in families, children, pets, weddings, seniors, sports, and event photography. You will learn advanced posing and lighting in studio and on location. Many graduates have gone on to have very successful studios!

Commercial Photographer

Create images for magazines, catalogs, advertising, and products. You will learn advanced tabletop studio lighting and much more. You can choose to travel or work from a home studio anywhere!

Digital Technician

The computer specialists of the photo industry. Learn how to finish photos to perfection using Photoshop and beyond! Skills include advanced retouch, digital printing, compositing, and creating collages and posters.

Program Details

Award: Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
Credits: 66
Program Start: Fall

View Suggested Sequence of Study & Course Cost



Graduates find jobs in professional photography studios and color labs, corporate photography departments, and advertising agencies. Many graduates also go on to start their own photography business or do freelance work.

Example Careers and Average Wages

Entry Average Experienced
Photographers $17,600 $32,200 $39,500

Source: 2021 Iowa Wage Report, Iowa Workforce Development

Independent contractors and business owner salaries may be higher based on graduate and advisory member surveys.


The following is a partial list of employers who have hired graduates from this program:

Business Location
DC Shoes, Inc. Huntington Beach, CA
John Deere Moline, IL
Meredith Corporation Des Moines, IA
Read Photography Cedar Rapids, IA
Stalzer Photography Marshalltown, IA

Contact Us

Admissions Email Admissions 319-296-4000 Hawkeye Center 114
Academic/College Success Advisor Kari Kaufman Email Kari Kaufman
Schedule an appointment with Kari Kaufman
319-296-2329 ext.1085 Student Services
Hawkeye Center 208
Program Advisor Doug Benton Email Doug Benton 319-296-2329 ext.1438 Black Hawk Hall 181A
Program Advisor Adam Hunter Email Adam Hunter 319-296-2329 ext.1293 Black Hawk Hall 183A
Administrative Assistant Kate Childers Email Kate Childers 319-296-4007 Black Hawk Hall 258
Dean Catharine Freeman Email Catharine Freeman 319-296-4041 Black Hawk Hall 258

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