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photography course: Why youngsters are opting for a structured degree course in Photography

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The freedom to choose a specialisation in higher education as per one’s interest has led to a rise in demand for various creative courses, including Photography. A perception is that students can avail only certificate or degree courses in the subject, but three-year degree courses in Photography are also an option.

Available options

Rajan Chaughule, director, Bharati Vidyapeeth School of Photography, Pune, says, “In 2011, we started offering Diploma courses in Photography. Feedback from students revealed that many of them wished to pursue further education abroad, where a Diploma/Certificate course did not give them leverage. Thus, in 2018, we introduced three-year regular degree courses, with 50 seats in BA (Commercial Photography) and 25 seats in BA (Photography and Cinematography).”

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Since the introduction of the degree course, both these programmes have seen a steady admission of 80-85% of the total intake capacity, he adds.

Ravi Dhingra, lifestyle photographer and visiting faculty at various institutes, says, “Many independent photography schools and multidisciplinary institutes offer a variety of six-months to one-year long Diploma and Certificate programmes in Photography. Over the last few years, demand for these courses has increased steadily.”

Course curriculum

Chaughule tells that in the first year of the degree course, students are taught all basic aspects of Photography. “In the second year, they are taught about specific streams, including Photography in Fashion, Food, Portrait, Industry, Product, and more. In their final year, students choose their area of specialisation for their portfolio, which counts for the maximum part of their final marks,” he says.

Short term programmes have a similar course structure, which is crunched into a period of six months or one-year, adds Dhingra.

Eligibility, fee structure

Students passed out of class XII are eligible to apply for a degree course in Photography, says Chaughule. “They need to have a portfolio that lets us know they are truly interested in the art,” he adds.

Higher education in Photography requires investment in the form of a camera, laptop, and related software, which makes it a slightly expensive option for students. “Our fee structure is Rs 12 lakh for three years. Students are also required to bring a basic camera and laptop. We know this is slightly high, but our focus is to admit students serious about a career in Photography. A higher fee would ensure this,” says Chaughule.

Dhingra tells that any good Photography course would cost students anywhere between Rs 2½ – 4 lakh. “However, this cost does not include the cost of a good camera and laptop,” he says.

Career options

Dhingra tells, “Various professionals come to Photography institutes as guest lecturers. They act as the student’s window into the various available career options. Few are even taken as interns. Once they have learnt from the experts, students move out to establish their name in the industry.”

Chaughule says that every year, the institute hosts a photography exhibition, where students showcase their best work. “Experts from all industry facets come to the exhibition. They may hire students for a particular assignment or even as assistants,” he says.

Both Dhingra and Chaughule agree that taking up a job is not a financially viable option for Photography students. “A job would pay minimal. While spending the initial few years training with an industry expert is a good idea, Photography students know that they will need to strike out on their own. Good photographers can earn up to Rs 50-60,000 immediately on completion of their education, depending upon the kind of assignment they manage to get,” says Chaughule.



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