Want to find out more about the Certificate in Photography Studies? Express interest to connect with this program and receive updates.

Express interest

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; or prepare to apply for a degree program in photography.

This program offers the following benefits: 

  • Enrol right away – open admissions with no application required
  • Take Ryerson degree-credit courses
  • Ladder to a Ryerson degree program – earn advanced standing through eligible degree-credit courses
  • Finish your certificate faster through our intensive schedule option
  • Exhibit your creative work through special events
  • Apply for merit-based awards

Equipment/Facilities Use

Please note that equipment and facilities use outside of class time will not be provided. All course work requiring use of Ryerson equipment and facilities must be done during class time only.

What Will You Learn?

Start with the very basics of photography and build your skills from the ground up.

Then explore specialties including:

  • Fashion
  • Portrait
  • Wedding
  • Architectural
  • Magazine
  • Editorial
  • Photojournalism
  • Documentary
  • 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
  • Bookmaking
  • Presentation

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:

  • Industry
  • Sales and advertising
  • Government
  • Education
  • Media
  • Arts

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:
    • Weddings
    • Human figure
    • Portrait
    • Fashion
    • Photojournalism
    • Architecture
    • Commercial products
    • Contemporary photographic art


Patrick Biller“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

Certificate Requirements 

  • 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+

You must complete the certificate within five years of registering in the Certificate in Photography Studies program.


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 mount a Challenge Credit. Contact Academic Coordinator Dennis Miles, at dmiles@ryerson.ca, for advanced standing.

If your goal is to transfer into the BFA degree program at Ryerson, you will be required to take CDFP 328, CDFP 329, CDFP 333, and CDFP 358.

Contact Academic Coordinator Dennis Miles for more information, at dmiles@ryerson.ca.

Admission Criteria    


  • 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


Intensive Option

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.

CDFP 999 - Photography Studies Intensive

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 five 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.

Can I do extra studio, darkroom, or computer lab work on non-class nights or weekends?

Because we use facilities belonging to Ryerson University's School of Image Arts for our courses, we must follow their policies regarding equipment/facilities use. Please note that equipment and facilities use outside of class time will not be provided. All course work requiring use of Ryerson equipment and facilities must be done during class time only.

What types of delivery options are available for courses in this certificate?

Delivery options include fully Online courses, on-campus Classroom courses that take place in a traditional in-class setting, and Hybrid courses that combine online and in-class (or laboratory) learning. The delivery method for each course is listed under “Delivery Options” at the top of each course page. The “View Details” link within the Course Section schedule provides more details about the course delivery (for example, LAB may include studio, darkroom, or computer-based learning).

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Dennis Miles, Academic Coordinator.

Email: dmiles@ryerson.ca

Additional Details