Many schools and colleges offer photography classes to students as an elective subject. However, there is no requirement to gain admission to an educational institution for a degree if you have studied photography for several years on your own or even taken some helpful classes on a non-formal basis.
Certainly you can learn the skills of a photographer even if you have not taken photography classes in school. But excellence in this field does require dedication, and more formal class training can be a great help.
Some institutions offer 'long distance education.' You can enroll in such institutions and - unlike typical college majors - do not need to reside on campus or sit in a classroom environment to learn photography. An example of such institution is New York Institute of Photography.
If you become part of a school like this, you will learn everything from camera lenses to a variety of photographic techniques. You can even study photography during journalism classes. While developing your skills, you also receive magazines and articles related to digital imaging, contests, and a number of other photography-related knowledge and events.
The photography program at the New York Institute is built around 30 lectures on wide array of topics. Initially you are given a brief introduction to the material to allow you to choose your specialized field of interest. A significant advantage of non-campus training is that you can perform your regular job and learn photography simultaneously. And there is no time limit for learning photography; whenever you are free, you can learn and practice.
During the training, you will not only sit under the tutelage of a professor, but will also be provided sample pictures allowing you to study great photography to compare and apply your knowledge on a practical level.
A common belief among those interested in this field is that to become a photographer, you must have your own dark room to develop photos. You will be happy to know that this isn't the case anymore. Some of the most well known photographers in this business don't do their own development anymore, paying others instead to do so for them. This affords more time to focus on learning to take great shots.
Another great benefit of photography training is that there is no age limit. Knowledge is a path open to anyone of any age who possesses sufficient interest and motivation. And the rewards you gain from learning photography are incalculable. You have the opportunity to earn good pay through professional photography or simply engage in this activity as a hobby or "labor of love."
Photography educational institutions not only provide students an environment in which to learn, but also assign specific camera work activities to help their students assess just how much they have gained from the training. And it is all quite fun once you get started!