How Long Do You Need to Train to Be a Photographer?

Portrait photographers don't need formal education and can often find work having only creativity and basic technical knowledge of cameras. However, a bachelor's degree and a few years of hands-on experience is typically required for higher-level positions in fields such as photojournalism, industrial photography and scientific photography.

Photographers who want to be self-employed often need to spend a few years in a studio gaining experience and building a portfolio. A portfolio of pictures is an important sales tool to attract new clients to an independent studio. Some aspiring photographers complete shorter certification or associate degree programs at a community college and invest a few years in hands-on training.