Portrait Photography

A child’s smile. A newly engaged or married couple. A family’s shared joy. Learn how our Portrait Photography Certificate program can prepare you to capture these moments and many more for people from all walks of life.

Enhance your Portrait Photography skills

In this program, you can:

  • Develop skills and familiarity with industry-standard equipment, techniques, and business practices that can help you create images that will be treasured for generations
  • Study image manipulation, principles of photography, digital image management, lighting, color management and printing, marketing for photographers, and more
  • Build a portfolio of photographic portraits to share with potential employers
  • Learn from instructors with professional photography experience

Career opportunities

As a graduate, you’ll be prepared to:

  • Start a one-person freelance portrait photography business
  • Become an assistant to an established portrait photographer

Our Career Services team can support you in preparing for and finding the career opportunity that’s right for you.

Learn More Read Gainful Employment Information

The Art Institute student portfolios

Our students, alumni, and faculty are invited to join The Art Institute Portfolio Gallery — an exclusive network — to gain broader exposure for your work, connect with fellow students and alumni, and make it easier for potential clients, recruiters, and creative enthusiasts to find your work.

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Course listing

The courses in the Certificate in Portrait Photography are designed to prepare you to pursue a career in your chosen field. All of our courses are built to engage and challenge you through text, video, animation, chat, and more, while also helping you learn relevant industry knowledge and skills.

View course listing

Faculty overview

The faculty members at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division are devoted to empowering you for your future career. Their guidance and mentorship can help you to focus your creative energy and vision toward the skills that matter most in your field—and, as an online student, you’ll be in constant contact with your instructors via email, video, phone, and even chat.

Jacqueline D. Hunt

Jacqueline has had the pleasure of teaching for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh since the fall of 2007 and The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division since the spring of 2009. Teaching online has allowed her to travel when necessary and also to recently move across the country from Pittsburgh, PA to Oak Harbor, WA. There, she lives with her husband on the Naval Air Base on Whidbey Island.

As a visual artist, she moves between photography, painting, drawing and fibers. She is also interested in creative writing and how these mediums work together to better communicate the concepts she is exploring. Currently, her work revolves around ideas of memory/time, links/ connections, ritual, collections and the domestic. Jacqueline feels that each medium offers different possibilities of communication. She is interested in process and performance and how the final product relates to the creative process that created it. Jacqueline received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Slippery Rock University and her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Texas Tech University with a secondary in painting. As an artist who is interested in collecting and how this process relates to the memory, photography was a natural direction. Photographers collect time and moments.

As an educator, Jacqueline feels that it is her responsibility to teach both the technical and the creative aspects of my medium. Students within the arts should be encouraged to experiment and explore. By doing so, they will better understand that the arts are about problem solving. There is more than one way to solve each puzzle, and we as artists should enjoy this process.

Brianna Burnett

Brianna Burnett currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Art from Austin College in Sherman, Texas and her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Texas Tech University. Brianna has photographed internationally for publications and nonprofits, taught elementary art, and studied at the Glasgow School of Art. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in places such as Suchitoto, El Salvador and self-published “A Little Space – Growing Up Salvadorian”. Brianna is a founding member of Clamp Light Studios, a co-op of studios and an artist run gallery in San Antonio, Texas. Brianna’s current photographs are investigations into the ideas of storytelling and narrative. She works with alternative processes to create one-of-a-kind photographs and small edition series which reference experience, past connections, community and story.
www.briannaburnett.com
www.clamplightstudios.com

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Gabi Etenberg

Since graduating from Yale, Gabi Etenberg has held several teaching appointments at colleges and universities. He has also worked on commissioned photographic essay assignments for The New York Times Magazine, and was contacted for assignments by The New Yorker, Wired, and Mother Jones Magazine. He has also been a visiting artist at Hamilton College, Kent State, Alberta College of Art, Yale School of Architecture, and a few other places. His large-scale photographs have been included in numerous one-person and group shows. His collectors include museums and the likes of Carolyn Kennedy, Laurie Simmons, O. Winston Link, Robert Frank, and Gregory Crewdson, among others.

Portrait Photography degree requirements

The prospective student must be a high school graduate with a minimum, final high school GPA of 1.5 or higher, or hold a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, or associate's degree or higher as a prerequisite for admission.

Online orientation

Before you start your first course, you’re encouraged to complete an online orientation that introduces you to different features of the online classroom and prepares you for your role as an active learner in our online classes.

Classroom demo

See the online classroom in action.

Technical requirements

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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division photography program is designed to allow students to build their equipment suite piece by piece. The first photography course in the Digital Workflow Certificate program, PHOA102 Introduction to Photography Applications, only requires Adobe production software and any device that can shoot an 8 megabyte photograph and upload to your computer. The first shooting course, PHOA101 Principles of Digital Photography is where a student makes their first major investment in a High Definition SLR Camera, lenses and other accessories. Later in the program an Ambient and Flash Meter is used in PHOA112 and a professional studio strobe kit is needed for PHOA113 Lighting. Additional smaller investments in a photo-quality printer, backgrounds, an on-camera flash, and color calibrator will be needed at other points in the program.

By the time a student graduates they will have invested in the equipment they need to set-up his/her own photography business - a practical investment in their future. Each graduate is ready to set up his/her own studio or work in a studio, because by the time he/she completes the program he/she will own and have worked with a professional camera, 3 – strobe lighting kit, printer, flash, color calibrator, and other studio accessories.

List of materials and equipment required for the photography program

While the total cost will differ for each person, incoming Photography students can expect to invest at approximately $2,000 to $5,000 throughout the duration of this program. These costs are associated with each student acquiring the professional equipment necessary to engage in the primary activities as a professional in the industry; the range is due to the various levels of quality from the minimum required to a higher level.

Equipment list

View the equipment list for the Photography Programs

  • HDSLR (High Definition Single Lens Reflex) with interchangeable lens, 10 MB or high sensor resolution, video recording capability of at least 720p at 24fps
  • Memory Card(s)
  • Backup Batteries
  • 18-55mm lens
  • 55-200mm lens
  • Camera Bag (Optional)
  • Medium Sized Tripod - Must be able to firmly secure a SLR Camera + Flash
  • Monopod (Optional)
  • On-camera flash
  • 3 Monolights (Studio Strobes) with radio slaves
  • Ambient & Flash Meter
  • Light Modifiers (umbrellas, softboxes)
  • Light Stands
  • Reflector(s)
  • Diffuser(s)
  • Gray Card
  • Lavalier Microphone
  • External Digital Recorder
  • Neutral Density Filters
  • LED HOT-Shoe Mount Light
  • Adobe CS6 or Creative Cloud, including Lightroom, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, and Premier
  • Adobe Flash Player (Version 10.0 or higher)
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Apple Quicktime (Version 7 or higher)
  • Norton Antivirus (Version 10.2 or higher)
  • Adobe Lightroom 
  • Microsoft Office Professional (Version 2010 or higher) or Microsoft Office University 365
  • Snagit (optional)
  • Techsmith.Jing
  • Skype Free
  • Windows Media Player (Version 12 or higher)

Minimum technology requirements

  • PC: Users should have systems with the following specifications: Intel® Core™2 Duo or AMD Phenom® II processor; 64-bit support required, Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1, 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended), 20 GB available hard disk space recommended, 1366 x 768 minimum display resolution (1920x1080 recommended), 7200 RPM or faster hard drive (multiple fast disk drives, preferably RAID 0 configured, recommended); Sound card compatible with ASIO protocol or Microsoft Windows Driver Model 1 GB VRAM,and OpenGL 2.0–capable system.
  • Mac: Users should have systems with the following specifications: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, *Mac OS X v. 10.7 or higher, v10.8, or v10.9, 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended), 30 GB available hard disk space recommended, 1366 x 768 minimum display resolution (1920x1080 recommended), 7200 RPM hard drive (multiple fast disk drives, preferably RAID 0 configured, recommended), QuickTime 7.6.6 software required for QuickTime features; 1 GB VRAM, and OpenGL 2.0–capable system.
    *Mac users must have a minimum of OS 10.7 in order to run Adobe Creative Cloud.

Additional required hardware

  • Photo Printer - capable of handling 8.5 x 11 Photo Paper, and minimum of 6+ separate ink cartridges to ensure sufficient range of color representation in printing
  • Color Management System (Xrite ColorMunki Photo)
  • Mouse

Internet requirements

A connection allowing download speed of of 2 Mbps and an upload speed of 1 Mbps is required.

Web browser requirements

Windows Users: The two latest releases of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome are supported.

Mac Users: The two latest releases of Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome are supported.

Visit Journey Ed, America's leading seller of hardware and software to students. Select from a wide variety of software programs and purchase all of your required software online - at a student discount.

Purchase hardware and software

Visit Journey Ed, America's leading seller of hardware and software to students. Select from a wide variety of software programs and purchase all of your required software online - at a student discount.

Visit journeyEd.com