[Introduction] Photography was once said to be one of the greatest inventions of the modern world because people’s lives can be vividly recorded. The photographer's ability is to transform ordinary things in daily life into everlasting visual images. We believe that students who are passionate about photography can enhance their knowledge and skills. So, in Canada, which schools offer this major? What are the professional skills taught? What are the employment prospects and salaries? How do netizens and UtoCanada view this profession? Let’s take a look!

Introduction to the Canadian photography major

As an artistic medium in contemporary art, the photography major emphasizes the development of students' artistic vision and encourages students to continuously explore styles. The photography major combines photography technology with entrepreneurship and business courses, aimed at cultivating and developing a wide range of photography techniques and artistic vision, as well as in film, television, advertising, and other fields. Graduates can engage in careers in photography, teaching and research in film studios, TV production departments, advertising departments, and audiovisual publishing departments.

Photography majors are generally offered at colleges and universities in Canada, offering college diplomas or undergraduate degrees. According to the different needs of students, they are encouraged to conduct more in-depth studies. At the same time, students get paid internship opportunities provided by employers who cooperate with the schools, giving students the opportunity to gain work experience while studying. Photography graduates can gain experience in cooperating with various employers and receive guidance from elites in the industry to lead them towards their dream career.

The rapid development of the industry has created a huge demand for photography talents, and the scale of professionals working in the photography industry is relatively large. Since the overall supply of photography talents is in short supply, the salary and working environment of these professionals employed in the industry are very attractive. If anyone is passionate about photography, this is the major to choose.

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What knowledge and skills do students learn in the Canadian photography major?

Students will learn about all aspects of contemporary and historical photographic practices, such as the use of cameras, darkrooms and digital technology. As the program progresses, students will start to explore different photography styles. There are also many elective courses for students to choose from. For example, OCAD encourages students to choose elective courses such as Fabrication Studios, Sculpture/Installation, Integrated Media, Printmaking, and Drawing & Painting to develop ideas and skills that complement their use of the photographic medium. Students also have opportunities to gain real-world experience through a placement in the arts community or through an exhibition of their photographs in their final year.

Photography courses offered in Canadian colleges combine technology and business aspects to provide students with the creative skills needed for a successful future photography career. From editorial and portraiture, to video and e-commerce imaging, students will learn the visual communication skills needed to enter the industry as a trained professional. The comprehensive program focuses on image-capture technology, as well as creativity and conceptual proficiency. Students will also learn practical skills such as the use lighting, venues, color and black-and-white printing, and advanced post-production editing. Students also have the chance to connect with industry professionals for guidance.

Courses include:

Image Production

History of Photography

Lifestyle and Photography

Video Editing

Creative Photography Techniques

Photography: Creative Lighting

Commercial Photography

Portrait photography

Advanced Editing

Creative Photo Design


Photography and Art

Digital Imaging

Employment prospects for Canadian photography graduates

Graduates may pursue careers in advertising companies, film and television production companies, news media, newspapers and magazines, publishing houses, wedding photo studios, propaganda departments and other relevant institutions. They may be engaged in work such as photography, video production, graphic design, advertising planning and production, education, propaganda, commercial photography, etc. Specifically, the work may include product shooting, portraiture, fashion and food photography, editorial and photojournalism, architectural and industrial photography, film production, social media and marketing, and more.

It's worth noting that these traits are essential to succeed in the field:

  • Confident, approachable, disciplined
  • Passionate about photography
  • Have strong computer skills
  • Creative and observant
  • Have a keen sense of entrepreneurship
  • Have critical thinking skills

》Job description of a photographer

According to the PayScale description,
Photographers use their creativity and technical abilities to capture photos of people, places and things. They usually spend a lot of time marketing their skills to the public, and they are often hired to take photos of special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and graduations. Photographers usually have in-depth knowledge of photo editing software for post-production. They also often provide photo album designs to clients. Photographers can focus on different fields, such as commercial photography, aerial photography, news photography and special events. Depending on the field of expertise, they may employ different marketing methods according to their business.
Becoming a photographer does not necessarily require strict academic qualifications. However, a bachelor's degree in photography or a college diploma can greatly increase employment opportunities. Many people think that photography is an art form that takes many years to perfect and requires a lot of experience because photographers are required to be detail-oriented. The reason is because the quality of their work depends on capturing specific moments in the camera lens. Experience and knowledge of business is also beneficial because many photographers need to conduct their own marketing when they first enter the industry.
Specifically, the main responsibilities of photographers are:

  • Taking photos in studios or on site
  • Working with clients or in teams
  • Create photographic narratives
  • Prepare and organize portfolio
  • Use various types of photography and computer equipment

》 Salary for photography graduates: The decisive factors & annual income

According to PayScale statistics,在加拿大,摄影师的平均年薪是 C$43,279加元,较低的年薪为C$29,908加元,较高的年薪则达到了C$106,864加元。

The best schools for photography in Canada

Ontario College of Art & Design University

OCAD University,In Canada,public universityThe school is adjacent to the Grange Park and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ontario Institute of Art and Design is the oldest and largest art and design education institution in Canada, ranking top three among more than 40 similar universities in North America,北美it has cultivated a large number of artists and designers for a long time and is honoured as a “university of imagination" in Canada.The school’s four-year undergraduate program aims to provide students with an understanding of contemporary and historical photography practices and technical aspects, and develop conceptual abilities to create dynamic expressions in the digital world.The school’s photography curriculum emphasizes the development of students’ artistic vision and encourages them to explore a wide range of issues and styles.

Sheridan College

Sheridan College is a very reputable art school in Canada. The most famous is its animation program and the rest of the arts and design majors. It is known as the "Harvard” of animation majors, and it is the absolute first in the industry, followed by its information technology major. Sheridan is the only school in Canada that offers a photography degree program with an entrepreneurial focus. It is also one of the best professional photography degree programs in North America. This four-year photography degree program includes eight semesters and a 14-week internship. At the end of the third year, the course will provide an undergraduate honorary degree certificate.

Humber College

Humber College is located in the west of Toronto, Ontario. In its two-year photography diploma program, students are equipped with the skillset needed to pursue technical, commercial and photography careers. From advertising photography to editorial and portraiture, to video and e-commerce imaging, students will graduate from this program prepared to fully engage in a plethora of career options. Students learn photography with the latest equipment taught by experienced photographic teaching professionals. The faculty is composed of a wide range of full-time and part-time professionals ensuring that the school’s photography major is always at the forefront, covering the latest innovations and meeting the needs of various clients.

Niagara College 

Niagara College is comprehensively one of best colleges in Ontario, Canada with the widest range of disciplines. Due to its excellent geographic location and faculty, the school's guarantees a two-year college diploma program that provides students with practical entrepreneurial and business knowledge, as well as practical artistic techniques for the application of photography. The program integrates leading digital editing software, and students can gain extensive practical experience in the studio, digital darkroom, and on location.

Mohawk College

Mohawk College was founded in 1967 in the city of Hamilton in the Greater Toronto Area, less than an hour's drive from downtown, Toronto. The college provides students with high-quality professional programs and carefully designed courses to help students improve their professional skills. The school’s two-year college diploma program focuses on both still and motion images, and students will be trained to meet the changing needs of the photography industry. The course aims to train content creators to develop a critical eye. Students will have the opportunity to establish connections within the photography community and submit their work to to award shows.

Lambton College

Lambton College is one of 24 public colleges funded and recognized and led by the Ontario Ministry of Education. Students learn from current and award-winning industry leaders who share their knowledge through their decades of photography experience. They get to use the most advanced photography and video studios, as well as lighting and other equipment. The 2017 Key Performance Indicators (KPI) survey showed that 100% of the photography students at Lambton College expressed satisfaction with the quality of the curriculum, and 100% believed that the knowledge and skills taught in the program were useful for their future careers. The college’s photography course realizes its students’ dreams for an artistic career.

Algonquin College

Located in one of the three major business centers in Ottawa, the college ranks among the top five in 150 colleges in Canada. Algonquin College is a large public college recommended by the Chinese Ministry of Education to Chinese students. It is also under the Student Partners Program (SPP) and Student Direct Stream (SDS) programme, approved by the Canadian Embassy as a designated learning institution. This two-year college diploma program trains students to capture, create and alter images at a professional level. Digital knowledge and skills are combined with the foundation of image production to emphasize the creation of still and motion creations, and to teach students to effectively communicate and meet customer needs. The college's networked post-production computer lab is equipped with external monitors, scanners, wide-width inkjet and solvent printers, observation rooms, installation printers and colour management systems that generate high-quality images using industry-standard software.

Georgian College

Georgian College is known as "the largest paid internship base in Ontario" and is located in Barrie, Ontario. Georgian College offers a two-year diploma program in Photography. Students will learn how to combine digital imaging technology with the basics of photography to create images that meet customer needs. In addition, students develop business and professional development skills related to the digital photography and imaging industries.

Centennial College

The school guarantees a two-year diploma program that prepares students for the aesthetic and technical requirements needed to work in studios or on location to create works that tell stories. Students will gradually build the skills needed to compete in the commercial photography industry and learn how to develop brands and create stunning images for real-world clients. After completing the photography program, students will have the skills to start their own photography business or find a job in a related field, such as fine art, advertising, publishing, graphic design, gallery and studio management.

Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College is the sixth largest public college in Canada. The school is located in London, Ontario. It has been rated as the most popular public college in Ontario for six consecutive years. The employment rate of graduates is as high as 92% within six months after graduation. With its strong faculty of about 1,700 members, these excellent professors share their experiences of studying and teaching overseas. The school’s two-year diploma program provides students with professional training in the photography industry and will prepare students for work in photojournalism, architecture, advertising, fashion, products, industry, public relations, portraits, and wedding photography.

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Summary: UtoCanada's views on the photography major

Photography is not just a creative art, it is also a business. To succeed in this industry, in addition to knowing various photography techniques, graduates also focus on their business, operations and management skills. Therefore, those with relevant internship and work experience are more likely to find their ideal jobs. Students need not only to master the use of various devices and software, but also learn to meet different customer needs and have the ability to communicate. They must also have business acumen, understand brand building, grasp market trends and digital marketing strategies.

Schools that offer this program in Canada provide students with opportunities work internships positions and participate in exhibitions. The colleges also provide opportunities for connecting and learning from the top photographers, which can greatly enhance students’ experience and open up doors to a range of career possibilities. In terms of hardware, most of the schools that offer this major in Canada have art galleries and studios. Through regular art exhibitions, students have the chance to display and improve the quality of their work. The schools have a wealth of resources and many choices available to their students. If you want to come to Canada to study photography, you must decide the direction according to your professional background and preferences, and then choose a school that offers the major your desire.