Studio Photography

Studio photography requires a special knowledge of lighting balance, exposure, equipment, and the many other factors that contribute to successful photo shoots. In our Studio Photography Certificate program, you can learn the skills you’ll need to stand out in the world of studio photography.

Enhance your Studio Photography skills

In this program, you can:

  • Start by studying basic exposure, composition, and camera operations, then move on to their application in the studio, including studio lighting and applied business practices
  • Create a portfolio showcasing your work to potential employers and develop a plan for marketing yourself after graduation
  • Get guidance from instructors with professional photography experience

Career opportunities

As a graduate, you’ll be prepared to:

  • Start a one-person freelance studio photography business
  • Become a studio assistant

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 Studio 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.

Joseph Lavine

Mr. Lavine received a Bachelor’s degree from California Polytechnic State University and a Master’s degree in Digital Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  He has owned a commercial photography studio for the past twenty years in Colorado, where his clients include General Mills, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Coors, and Kraft.  Joseph has taught photography for twelve years at The Art Institute of Colorado, and currently teaches full time with The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division.  Besides working as a photographer and educator, Mr. Lavine is a frequent beta tester and lecturer for Leaf America, Adobe, X-Rite, and Mamiya America Corporation.  He has been a contributing author for numerous books including the recent release of The Elements of Photography.
Lavine Photography Inc.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any Web site linked to this Web site/newsletter. The links are provided for your information and convenience only. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online does not endorse, support or sponsor the content of any linked Web sites. If you access or use any third party Web sites linked to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online’s Web site, you do so at your own risk. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online makes no representation or warranty that any other Web site is free from viruses, worms or other software that may have a destructive nature.

Traeton Garl

Traeton’s passion for photography began in high school and has never stopped growing for over twenty-four years. He attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in both photography and sculpture and holds and Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His background in sculpture influences and informs his photography.

The majority of Traeton’s work is fine art photography that he exhibits, publishes and sells. In his commercial work, he specializes in fashion runway, competition, editorial, and beauty photography. He brings his fine art aesthetic and experiences to his commercial work with the same passion and energy to create imagery that pushes further and expresses his own unique vision.

Several years ago, Traeton became a part-time professor at a small college, where he had the opportunity to teach, motivate and inspire upcoming creative professionals. Teaching has since become one of his life passions and he deeply cherishes his students and learns as much from them as they do from him. He brings over ten years of teaching along with twenty-four years of real-world experience as a practicing professional and studio owner in photography and digital imaging to his classes. Traeton is dedicated to the growth, development and success of his students. At the beginning of 2011, he had the privilege to join the full-time staff in the Photography Department at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh– Online Division. He could not be happier.

Damon Sauer

Damon Sauer is an artist and educator based in Phoenix, Arizona. His fine art work includes an ongoing collaborative practice with Julie Anand. Their work investigates notions of boundaries, language and perspective through diverse photographic media and technologies; it has been exhibited nationally at venues including RayKo Gallery in San Francisco, the LA Center for Digital Art and the El Paso Museum of Art.

Sauer’s personal Fine Art work involves photographic investigations of residue and mediation.

He has also worked on editorial projects for the Virginia G. Piper Charitable trust and other commercial photographic projects.

Damon Sauer currently serves as a full-time faculty member at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, and has previously taught at Phoenix area community colleges and universities, as well as serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. Sauer will be co-teaching a course at Penland School of Crafts in the Summer of 2011. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 2005.

Studio 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

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 Digital Workflow Materials & Equipment Overview
  • 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, 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with 16-bit color, 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, 1280x800 display (1280x1024 recommended) with 16-bit color, 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

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