In today’s media driven society, photography is one of the primary tools of marketing. Appalachian State University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Photography provides students with technical and visual literacy skills through courses with a strong industry focus. The program specifically covers the elements of photographic theory with an emphasis on practice that prepares students to enter the commercial marketplace and succeed as photographers, videographers, producers, stylists, image retouchers and photo editors, as well as roles in industry sales and support.
Courses provide a solid foundation in commercial digital imaging, digital workflow, studio lighting, small medium, large format cameras and lab/studio management. You will work on assignments in a wide variety of areas including portraiture, fashion, product, catalog, advertising, location lighting, studio lighting, documentary, and HDSLR video production and narrative construction.
You will meet professionals in the field who are important connections for internships. An annual trip to New York City includes visits at magazines such as Martha Stewart and Food Network, commercial studios such as Root/Drive-in Studios and Industria, industry expos like PDN PhotoPlus, and manufactures such as Nikon, Bron and Leica. Students have won numerous awards in national and international photography and video contests, including First place in the Photographer Forums photography contest and Third place in Nikon’s Everyday Cinema contest.
Employment: Graduates are working for Amazon, RR Donnelly in Charlotte, Tribuzio Hilliard in Greensboro, Splash Worldwide in Portland, ROOT Studios in New York City, FotoCare in New York City, and with many independent photography studios across the country, including several world famous photographers such as Annie Leibowitz, Norman Jean Roy and David Lachepelle. Many pursue careers as successful independent photographers, both in the commercial arena and as wedding photographers.
Graduate school: n/a
Core courses include:
- Photographic Imaging I
- Photographic Imaging II
- History of Photography
- Form and Media in Photography
- Issues in Contemporary Photography
- Shot of the Day
- Junior Photography Portfolio
- Advanced Digital Photography
- View Camera Photography
- Studio Photography
- Video Production for Photographers
- Editorial Photography
- Professional Photographic Practices
- Photographic Studio Management
- Equipment Asset Management
- Advanced Video Production for Photographers
- Fashion and Beauty Portraiture
- Product Photography
- Commercial Photographic Production
- Photographic Portfolio
A minor is not required with the major but many students do choose to minor in Communications, Business or Entrepreneurial Studies.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
FSTOP: Faculty and Students to Organize Photographers – a student photography club
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
The Commercial Photography program runs a summer course trip to Italy, spending three weeks traveling and photographing the country from Tuscany to the Amalfi coast.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- The Commercial Photography program is accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design. It has strong support from industry partners in equipment donations and loans.
- Faculty members have many years of professional experience and transfer this practical knowledge to students.
- This program is one of just a handful of four-year degree programs in the country dedicated to commercial photography at an affordable, public institution.
- Internship host sites include: Amazon’s photography studios, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in New York, to local, North Carolina independent photographers.
- Internationally recognized photographers present evening lectures. Past lecturers include: John Fedelle, Dixie Dixon, David Stoecklein, and Michel Tcherevkoff.
- Courses engage in service-learning projects for community partners such as Watauga Humane Society.
Number of Students
120-130, with another 30-40 students pursuing the program’s minor.
Method of Delivery
On campus only