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Learn, upgrade, or master photography skills. Discover your creative potential. Turn your passion into a profession.
Focus on photography production and create a number of portfolios to change or advance your career.
Photography is an important medium of communication in industry, sales and advertising, government, education, the press, and the arts. The demand for properly trained and qualified photographers continues to grow.
Our Photography Studies courses can help you:
- make a career change
- establish your own photography business
- improve your chances for jobs in photography-related fields
- prepare to apply for a degree program in photography
What Will You Learn?
Start with the very basics of photography and build your skills from the ground up.
Then explore specialties including:
- Commercial Studio
- Human Figure
- Contemporary fine art
Learn about the technical side of photography including:
- Silver-based printing
- Large format
- Photoshop techniques
- Business skills for photographers
- Digital printing workshop
- Human Figure
Who Should Take This Certificate?
You may be interested if you want to:
- upgrade your current level of photography expertise
- retrain or make a career change
- establish your own photography business
- improve job chances in photography-related fields
- prepare for a photography degree program at an advanced level
You can enrol in individual courses to gain specific skills, or take the whole certificate program to develop a greater depth of photography knowledge.
Who Teaches the Courses?
All of our Photography instructors work as professional photographers and have long histories of teaching at The Chang School.
Industry and Careers
Photography is an important medium of communication in:
- sales and advertising
The demand for properly trained and qualified photographers continues to grow. The rise of digital photography technology has lowered traditional barriers to entry, creating new business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Over 80 percent of professional photographers are independent operators.
Use this program to:
- Build your professional portfolio
- Gain the technical foundation to start your own business in photography for:
“I bought my first camera when I was 12 years old – I wanted to capture every experience, every memory. As an adult working in landscape design, I enrolled in the Certificate in Photography Studies to learn how to take professional shots of my employer’s landscapes. When I realized how many contacts I was making through my courses, it hit me that I could change careers. So I stuck with it and upgraded my skills. Now I shoot fashion, music, portraits, and tons of other stuff for clients. My work has now been shown in galleries, and someday I hope to run a gallery of my own; I’m not there yet, but it’s just getting better and better.” – Patrick Biller, Photographer
- 3 required courses
- 5 39-hour electives
- 2 19.5-hour courses are considered equivalent to 1 39-hour course
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+
Recommended Course Sequence
We recommend you begin with CDFP 328 - Photography Production I and CDFP 329 - Photography Production II before you take the electives. These two required courses are prerequisites for many of the other courses in the certificate.
Note: If you have a significant photography background, you can apply to waive CDFP 328 and CDFP 329. To be approved to waive either course, you will need to provide a course credit from another post-secondary institution, or mount a Challenge Credit. Contact Academic Coordinator Dennis Miles, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for advanced standing.
Contact Academic Coordinator Dennis Miles for more information, at email@example.com.
- Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
- With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits (including English)
- With a minimum average of 60 percent
- Mature student status with professional experience
Awards and Financial Aid
Fast-track your Certificate in Photography Studies over 12 intensive, 5-day weeks.
The Photography Studies Intensive covers all required production, technology, and studio courses and is offered every spring.
Course Series in Creative Photography
If you have a passion for photography, you may also consider taking the Course Series in Creative Photography. Test your creative abilities through short-term courses offered in the evenings and on weekends.
Complete three courses to earn a Professional Development Award from The Chang School.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between the Certificate in Photography Studies and the Certificate in Image Arts?
The Certificate in Photography Studies is a standalone program with three required courses and a choice of five electives.
The Certificate in Image Arts (with specializations in Film Studies or Photography Studies) will prepare you to apply to the undergraduate Photography – Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) second-year program (if there is space).
How long does it take to complete the certificate?
Most students take two to three years to complete the certificate (three years is realistic based on current scheduling and course availability). Ryerson requires that you complete the certificate within six years.
You can also choose to enrol in the Photography Studies Intensive (CDFP 999) and complete the certificate program over 12 weeks in the Spring/Summer term.
Can I apply the credits earned in this certificate to another Ryerson credential such as a degree?
Most courses in the Certificate in Photography Studies are both degree- and certificate-credit. This means that if you don’t yet have your degree, most of the credit received through the certificate may be transferred to the BFA program at Ryerson, subject to standard admission criteria and procedures.
How much time is involved per week?
As a general guideline, you should allow three additional hours per week, per course, outside of classroom hours. This will vary from week to week and will depend on your learning style, readings, and assignments.
The Chang School Photography Exhibition
The Chang School's annual Photography Exhibition, organized by instructor Joël Bénard, gives our creative Photography and Image Arts students an opportunity to display their strongest work in a juried show. Each year, leading professionals from the photography community select several works for their particular merit. The winning artists receive valuable awards that include gifts from photography-supply outlets and arts organizations.
Exhibitors are welcome to invite guests to the opening reception, where they can mingle with their colleagues and gallery visitors.
Our upcoming exhibition will take place in April 2020. Check back in January 2020 for details about submitting your work, volunteering your time, and attending the exhibit.
Questions? Contact Dennis Miles, Academic Coordinator.