B.S. in Commercial Photography

Students who choose the Commercial Photography major will learn how to operate their own commercial photography studio or work for one, and learn skills to prepare for other such professions as photo editor, photo re-toucher, photographic assistant, and other fields of visual communication and applied arts. Students will learn the principles of digital photography and digital imaging technologies as it relates to the commercial photography field, including advertising, editorial, portrait, event and wedding.

Courses will focus on studio and location lighting technologies, proper exposure for digital images, and post-production including image editing, retouching, and compositing. Students will learn business skills and creativity skills through this interdisciplinary program, which includes courses in entrepreneurship, marketing, copyright law, client relations and creativity. Students will learn new technologies in publication design and layout for print and web; graphics production and workflow, and photography. 

What Will I Study in This Major?

The Commercial Photography degree is designed to provide students with a background in the technical communication industry. The program emphasizes:

  • commercial photography applications
  • studio lighting
  • location lighting for photography
  • the business of commercial photography
  • software for editing and manipulating digital images
  • digital asset management
  • training in various genres of commercial photography
  • graphic design
  • applications in new technology for digital imaging

Curriculum Requirements

B.S. in Commercial Photography Requirements
University Studies Requirements

In certain instances, specific University Studies courses are required for a degree. Courses are updated regularly, so be sure to meet with your advisor to design your academic plan.

Curricular Activities

In the Commercial Photography degree, students will:

  • Learn how to operate a commercial photography business, including issues concerning image licensing, copyright, specialties in commercial photography, and business promotion
  • Be introduced to professional photography equipment, including digital single lens reflex cameras, studio lighting equipment, and computer software for editing and manipulating digital images
  • Be exposed to a dual platform for graphics so you will have experience in both PC and Macintosh environments.
  • Be introduced to communication technologies, philosophy of reproduction choices, methods of printing, photography and darkroom applications, electronic publishing, presswork, and other non-print communications.
  • Use electronic equipment and software for the preparation of digital images, copy, including design, editing, printing, and typography.
  • Acquire and edit digital images.  The digital still camera and its operation are stressed along with computer image editing software.
  • Be introduced to multimedia software, hardware, the integration of text, technical graphics, and photography
  • Be introduced to the digital video camera and video editing suite, and produce videos for the commercial arena
  • Utilize the following software:
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Adobe InDesign
    • Adobe Flash
    • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
    • Adobe Premiere
    • Final Cut Pro
    • Adobe Acrobat

Career Opportunities

  • Photographer
  • Photo Editor
  • Photo Retoucher
  • Photo Assistant
  • Studio Manager


Polytechnic Building 216
Department of Polytechnic Studies
One University Plaza, MS 6825
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701