man taking a photo

Photography Program

The field of photography is rapidly changing. Professional photographers are always needed to capture, create, process and share images. The College of DuPage Photography Program is ready to train you for your career in this rapidly evolving profession. 

Photography students learn everything from basic skills and work flow to advanced digital imaging, printing and business practices and portfolio preparation. Photography faculty are all practicing professional photographers that share a real-world perspective with students.

Guest speakers, location shoots, community service projects and gallery shows are incorporated into photography curriculum. Once you become an advanced photography student, your work will be showcased at COD's annual Exposed Photography Showcase.

Photography teaching facilities at College of DuPage are among the finest in the country:

  • Computer labs feature high-end Apple computers, professional printers and scanners and the latest Adobe software for digital imaging.
  • The darkrooms are fully equipped, with separate areas for processing and printing black and white silver prints.
  • Photo studios are available to students enrolled in in lighting and portraiture classes and are equipped with high end Profoto lighting gear.

Students may also check-out equipment including digital and film cameras and flashes, as well as tripods and other lighting accessories.

Determine Your Path

Graduates of the program find employment opportunities in the photographic industry, including portraiture, event coverage, as documentary/photojournalists, location scouts, in-house photographers for start-up companies, digital assistants and photo assistants. They also become entrepreneurs creating advertising, corporate and editorial images for their clients. Many of our students have become fine artists and display and sell their work in galleries and at art fairs.

The Photography program has something for everyone. Photography courses include analog film photography, digital photography alternative, documentary photography, commercial photography, wedding and family portraiture and more. In addition, you will find: 

  • Dedicated instructors with years of professional photography and teaching experience.
  • Instruction utilizing modern facilities and advanced equipment including professional photography software, printers and scanners. 
  • Affordable programs to help students achieve success without creating overwhelming debt or draining a saving account.
  • Small class sizes that ensure students receive personalized attention from instructors.
  • Program accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASASD).
  • Articulated transfer programs with multiple four-year institutions including Columbia Chicago and Northern Illinois University.


The Photography Associate in Applied Science degree program is designed to provide students with a broad working knowledge of the industry and the fundamental skills to create and produce high quality images. 

Photography Technology

The Photography Technology certificate program provides students with the necessary skills to work in industry.

COD Stories

David Mayhew

“The program for photography was very complete and in-depth, and the class size was 20 per class if not less. So you get that one-on-one attention that you would not get anywhere else. Any question you have, you will get it answered.” - David Mayhew

David's COD Story

COD Stories

Johna Denault

“I was told for years that photography was just going to be my hobby, but it has turned into such a fulfilling and unique career. I will always be grateful to my COD professors who championed for me and told me I had a gift.” - Johna Denault

Johna's COD Story

COD Stories

Ben Chernivsky

“The head of the program must have seen something in me that I didn’t, because the honors classes are what really drove my interest in higher education. Both the teachers and the students had a keen intuition and drive to be in the classroom, and that level of intellect really had a positive effect on me.” - Ben Chernivsky

Ben's COD Story

COD Stories

Lauren Frank

“COD offered me an excellent education in addition to helping me acquire an internship and a study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. I felt like I received great one-on-one with both my professors and advisors, in order to personalize an experience that would prepare me for my career.” - Lauren Frank

Lauren's COD Story

COD Stories

Zlatka Sekiya

“I love College of DuPage and the Photography program because it’s small and like a family. The teachers are so helpful and you know they care. With every course I take, I get an idea and apply it to my next project." - Zlatka Sekiya

Zlatka's COD Story

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in Photography is to apply for admission.

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Photography program graduates will:

  • Understand both advanced digital and analog camera operations with an understanding of formats, photographic exposure, depth of field, and, shutter speed, and illustrate proper placement of plane of focus
  • Illustration of advanced visual literacy skills by utilizing sophisticated compositional properties and visual qualities of a photographic image
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize and control both natural and studio lighting with emphasis on the quality, quantity, and direction of light and the resulting effect of light on the photographic image
  • Ability to determine what type of studio lighting equipment is necessary to properly light various types of objects, people, spaces, and locations.
  • Manipulate, manage, and archive digital images. Control the transition of image color, tone and value from screen to printed image
  • Identify and apply appropriate business practices specific to the self-employed photographer
  • Organize, edit, and evaluate a professional quality portfolio of photographic work that demonstrates creative problem solving and effective communication
  • Create a professional quality portfolio that is a successful demonstration of the technical knowledge gained through the readings, lectures, and assignments offered in this program. The portfolio should also demonstrate an awareness of the history of photography and suggest an understanding of how the student's own work is a participation in the current conversation of contemporary photography

College of DuPage has several photography transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


Career Information

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