Student using a camera

Master the lens to bring your creative vision to life across exciting roles and industries

  • 22 March 2022
  • 5 min read

Turn ideas into incredible images and create the unexpected. With a BA (Hons) Photography degree, you’ll learn how to develop immersive and exciting visuals for people and society, across truly dynamic fields of work

Why study a photography degree?

1. Build a portfolio of work

Studying a photography degree means becoming a successful storyteller. You’ll learn how to capture moments of inspiration, tension and emotion. You’ll create aesthetics using concepts such as mood and narrative, alongside technical elements such as composition, lighting and advanced digital editing.

Whether you veer towards sport, fashion, science or a bit of everything, you’ll ultimately create a portfolio of work that demonstrates your ability and style.

"What studying Photography taught me is that anything you want to be, and anything you want to do, is possible. You just have to be able to back yourself up on it."

Aurora Way, BA (Hons) Photography 2021 graduate

2. Gain industry experience

When you study a photography degree, you’ll explore a wide range of fields to identify what you love – ready to share it with the world. This could be through theory, work experience and volunteering. Or through real client projects and industry talks with eminent speakers, as you’ll experience if you choose to study at Portsmouth.

Working in lively studio-based environments, you’ll also develop competency skills that are highly valued by employers. These include the ability to work and collaborate with others, strong observational and creative problem-solving skills and an openness to new influences and ideas.

3. Use your skills in all kinds of industries

Because photography degrees have a mixture of creative and technical skills, there are many options available to you when you graduate. You can work for a company, as a freelancer, or specialise in specific industries, such as wildlife, medical, sports, forensics and arts. You'll also be able to work commercially in areas like advertising, publishing and design.

Photography is a dynamic, transferrable subject that builds skills in areas like marketing, communications and graphic design. A photography degree ultimately allows you to pick the industry or sector that appeals to you, and find a career you’re truly passionate about.

What jobs can you do with a photography degree?

Our graduates have gone onto roles such as studio photographer, video directors, picture editors, photojournalists, curators, artists and fashion photographers.

Here are some of the jobs you can do with a photography degree, but don't restrict your choices to this list. You'll be graduating with strong artistic and technical skills to thrive as a professional – so think outside of the box, because opportunities are yours for the taking.

Advertising art director

As an art director, you’ll work on ideas for creating advertisements, setting the visual and overall tone of a campaign. Working with copywriters, designers, artists and photographers, you’ll manage client briefs and tell stories that bring customers on your journey with you.

Art directors are well-rewarded for their skillset, and could earn up to £120,000 as industry leaders at top advertising agencies.

Film/video editor

Fancy using your photography degree to go into the film and video industry? There are plenty of opportunities for managing materials such as camera footage, audio, sound effects and graphics. And in 2022, the filmed entertainment market, which includes cinema, streaming and TV is estimated to be worth over £100 billion.

So whether you choose to get involved in producing, editing or using strong arms and endless patience to be a camera person, you’ll be joining a growing industry with in-demand skills.

Graphic designer

Photos don’t always need to match what you saw. If you prefer the technology side of design, consider the life of a graphic designer.

Draw, paint, dabble and doodle with digital brushes and turn your work into anything. Use software to create logos, posters and more based on the client’s brief. Average salaries are also above the UK national average, according to Glassdoor, at around £27,771.

Magazine features editor

A feature is the big piece of the puzzle inside a magazine. As editor, your job will be to ensure the feature is topical, engaging and accurate. You’ll use your precision for detail and the skills learnt in your degree to oversee artwork, design and photography. You might even attend photo shoots or edit pages before going to press.

Features editors earn an average of £37,566, which is £10,000 above the UK national average.

Medical illustrator

Interested in anatomy? Then a career in medical illustration could be for you. Use technical skills from studying photography to produce images for professionals working in patient care, education and research. That could be within the NHS, or for a company specialising in medical art and clinical photography.

Photographer

Photography speaks. So put all your photography skills to use as a freelancer or in an organisation. Use the knowledge you gain of handling client briefs from your photography degree to deliver the images people need.

That could be in a variety of areas, such as sport, travel, forensics, fashion, weddings and portraiture photography. A photography degree will ultimately give you the freedom to follow wherever your lens and imagination take you.

After graduating, I intend on taking the skills I have learned at university and applying them to real world situations. I’m currently looking for freelance work in London and the surrounding areas while focusing on working as an assistant with photographers based there.

Oliver Whitehead, BA (Hons) Photography