Photography Degree

Photography Captures & Freezes a Moment in Time

Learn how technology, marketing,
and business impacts your photography career.

“Nossi photo students are taught by working photographers in the best educational photo studios available in the Southeast. It’s two of the main reasons why our photo students enter the workplace with the confidence of a professional.”

Photography Degree Coordinator Tom Stanford

Tom Stanford

Career Outlook


Commercial Photographer

Event Photographer

Wedding Photographer

Sports Photographer

Photo Studio Owner

Food Photographer

Advertising Photographer

Fashion Photographer

Editorial Photography

Portrait Photographer

Freelance Photographer

Photo Retouching Specialist

Creative Director

Photography Editor

Photography Degree Courses

Focus on Our Four-Year Program

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor of Graphic Arts in Photography

133 curriculum hours



Introduction to photography will focus on learning and building the photography skills necessary to complete a variety of technical assignments revolving around nature and wildlife. Students will learn how to utilize the main functions of a digital camera in order to make accurate exposures. They will also learn the correct terminology and equipment associated with basic photography. This course is designed to build each student’s confidence when using their camera to complete challenging assignments. Introduction to photography will give students a solid foundation that will be used throughout their photography degree program. Shooting assignments for this course will primarily consist of nature photography concepts using available light. Use of tripods, meters and lenses will be taught on field trips with an emphasis on basic color control, composition and exposure.



In this course, students will be introduced to the Macintosh computer. Comparisons between the Macintosh and PC environments will be discussed in order to help those who are used to working with the PC become comfortable in the Mac environment. Students will learn how to work with the system, with an emphasis on organization and workflow. Through the use of the various programs included with the operating system and Adobe Lightroom, this learning process will take the students through various projects geared to introduce them to the software applications they will use the most. Students will be introduced to and begin to use Adobe Lightroom to organize their workflow and develop their photographs using camera raw files. Emphasis will be placed on acquiring a proficiency with camera raw processing for correct white balance, tonal range, noise reduction and sharpening.



This course is a studio and lighting class covering the basic fundamentals of various types of lighting. It includes different lighting systems that will demonstrate studio techniques for portrait, tabletop and still life photography. This class will give the students an understanding of how to work in the studio to achieve hard light and soft light using different types of light modifiers including the use of reflectors, soft boxes, umbrellas, grids, snoots and various other lighting accessories.



This course is primarily a shooting course. Students are expected to shoot hundreds of images improving their techniques and skill as they progress through the course. Some of the images students produce may be of portfolio quality. Additional topics include digital imaging, analyzing digital images, image capture with digital cameras and scanners, output devices, resolutions and digital file formats. - See more at: https://nossi.edu/degree-programs/photography/#sthash.MNTHA8yZ.dpuf



Adobe Photoshop is the premier program for photographic manipulation for Graphic Designers and Illustrators. It is used for everything from print to web to video and now 3D. In this course, you will learn how to work within Adobe Photoshop, creating strong visuals for many different mediums. You will learn how to scan images and then modify them for use in your projects. And you will learn all of the tools of Photoshop. During learning these tools you will learn to manipulate images, create posters, paintings, videos and 3D advertisements.



This course is designed for students with advanced knowledge of computers and image editing software. It is designed to teach students how to fully develop digital images in Camera Raw; to post-process images in Photoshop using advanced techniques; to apply color management techniques to their workflow, including soft-proofing; and, to professionally manage their workflow from concept to final output. Topics include soft- proofing and color management; using speed lights and diffusers; noise reduction; controlling DOF; correcting lens distortion in post work; using Photoshop’s panoramic; Zoomify, displacement and vanishing point features; HDR imaging using Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw; and, focus stacking using Zerene Stacker.



A comprehensive introduction to mass communication including a critical look at culture and a thorough discussion of how media technologies develop, operate and affect our society. The course focuses on key media issues confronting each sector of the media industry, encouraging students to think critically and analyze issues related to specific media.



A course in understanding the use of natural and artificial light, reflectors, strobes, tungsten and florescent lighting systems to light and photograph portraits, interiors, exteriors, large and small spaces, still life, streets and architecture for corporate and editorial assignments. Students will learn about color temperatures and ways to color- balance with the use of color correcting gels and filters. Techniques of controlling, shaping, moving and enhancing natural light will be learned.

BU 270


The Business of Photography is a course designed to introduce the student to the concepts of running a professional photography business. During class each student will create a resume, cover letter, elevator pitch, mission statement, Linked IN profile, personal budget, business budget, CODB (cost of doing business), description of products and services, and competition worksheet. Those elements will create a business plan that could be used to approach an investor or bank for funding.



This course will introduce students to basic video production techniques and tools. Students will learn how the camera acts as a storyteller. In addition to learning basic procedures and techniques of video productions, students will dissect various film and commercial projects to analyze detail and tricks of emotional augmentation.



In this course, students will explore and learn how to approach different lighting conditions and situations including studio, outdoor and event locations. Students will learn how to use on-camera flash and how to use professional lighting equipment (including the use of location lighting that requires generator usage) at indoor and outdoor events. In addition, students will learn non-standard lighting schemes that will enable them to shoot in difficult or unusual situations.

PH 270


This course introduces students to the fast-paced world of sports photography. Camera techniques, lighting, subject material, query letters, and publication rights will be covered. The aim of this course is to advance the student’s skills in visual communications through the use of photography in single images, stories, or videos. Communication is the ultimate aim of photography and better communication skills make better photographers. Students will be expected to produce single images and stories on their own time for critique in the classroom and through that critique to improve their communication skills. The class will place emphasis on the skills and techniques of shooting images that engage and communicate with the reader. Students will be expected to have basic skills necessary to operate in the real world where available darkness is the rule and studio lighting gear is the exception. Since communication implies an audience, students will be encouraged to submit images and stories to various publications in both digital and print formats. Whenever possible students will be given assignments to shoot for various school outlets and credited for completed assignments.



Students will learn posing and lighting techniques for commercial headshots and portrait photography. The student will become familiar with studio equipment, set design and classic lighting set-ups. Students will study the elements of portraiture: pose, gesture and composition and will learn how they work together to make the difference between a good photograph and great photograph.

PH 210


Students will learn techniques for collaborating with advertising professionals as well as producing shots suitable for editorial and advertising photography. Subject matter will include a variety of contemporary advertiser needs, ranging from product shots to architectural work.



This course teaches students how to work with the advanced and emerging features of Adobe Photoshop. Building upon what was learned in the prerequisites APSP140 and ADP240, Advanced Image Processing will delve deeper into the technical aspects of image developing and manipulation and will address new Photoshop features as they become available.

DM 150


This course teaches students how to work with the advanced and emerging features of Adobe Photoshop. Building upon what was learned in the prerequisites PS 140 and PH 240, Advanced Image Processing will delve deeper into the technical aspects of image developing and manipulation and will address new Photoshop features as they become available.




This course will cover the basic elements of marketing, such as brand, demographics and goals. These elements will then be taught on how to adapt to today’s everchanging digital marketing landscape, including social media marketing, website, analytics, content creation, email campaigns, budgeting, and cost. In this course, there will be an introduction to SEO and the different forms of paid digital media.



In this course students will learn the basics involved in food photography. This will include the fundamentals of lighting food as well as prop shopping, set building, basic food preparation and post work involved in food photography.



Color and B&W photographs will be used to showcase professional models. The use of studio lights and natural light with modifications such as reflectors and on camera flash will be combined to produce images for commercial applications. Head shots, ¾ length and full-length images will be produced.



Students will learn techniques for collaborating with advertising professionals as well as producing shots suitable for editorial and advertising photography. Subject matter will include a variety of contemporary advertiser needs, ranging from product shots to architectural work. This is an advanced course and students are expected to produce professional quality work.



There are many commercial uses for landscape photography and this course will explore those uses. For example, resorts, golf courses, retreats, state and national parks, residential subdivisions and inner-city hotels all use landscape photography for their brochures and promotional advertising. Landscape photography is frequently used on mass produced calendars, note cards, greeting cards and posters. Through this course, photography students will learn special techniques for getting the best images of selected sites that can then be used for landscape purposes.



During this course, students will learn techniques of taking structural images of both the inside and outside of a wide variety of homes and commercial buildings. Historical as well as modern architecture will be explored. How to best reveal the purposes and functions of interior design will be an integral aspect of this course.



This course is designed to instruct students on all of the practical ways to use social media for their photo and/or video business. Students will create social media accounts, learn to write effective messages, and post to those accounts on a weekly basis. Students will generate a weekly content plan and be graded on the effectiveness of engagement of their posts. TikTok and Instagram Reels are video platforms emerging as powerful ways for creative artists. Students will learn to create content for that. NFTs are a new marketplace based on Cryptocurrencies that will be discussed. The students will also create a website to market their photography and video.



This course will examine the visual storytelling techniques and tools of video editing. Students will dissect editing styles, experiment with video projects, and learn terms and tricks. The overall pacing of scenes and sequences will be discussed, as well as the importance of drawing visual and timing cues from the story itself. Going beyond the basics of storage, timelines, shot choices, inserts, montage, series of shots, transitions and fades, this course will examine how to draw an audience in and make them identify with the characters’ perspectives for the sake of the overall scene and story arc.



Students will learn basic audio recording, mixing and editing techniques for video production using industry hardware and editing software. Using various recording and editing exercises, students will get hands-on training exploring the technical and theoretical aspects of audio engineering.



This course is a study of event and concert photography. Emphasis will be given on how to capture moments in events, whether it’s some type of social gathering or a concert. Technical as well as conceptual skill will be taught. Students will become proficient in on-camera flash usage.



Students will be shown the connection between theoretical knowledge and actual application as it relates to their own business. This course will build upon the Business Plan created in BU 270 Business I. Each student will create a three-part Marketing Plan based on the type of photography business they have chosen to pursue. Topics covered:  Process Template, Fees and Charges Template, Invoicing, service fees, etc.



Students will learn posing and lighting techniques for wedding photography. The student will become familiar with equipment, design and classic lighting set-ups. In addition, students will design and use business cards, contracts and formal business arrangements for wedding related photographic products such as albums, framed photographs and videos. Students will photograph simulated weddings at real churches, outdoor facilities and other wedding locations.



DIY Photography is a course designed to teach students an economical approach to photography and photographic lighting. Students will explore resourceful techniques contributing to their personal style as a commercial photographer. Throughout the course, students will learn how to make the most out of the equipment they have, repurpose disregarded objects and turn them into practical and useful tools. Students will discover solutions by thinking outside the box.



Travel Photography Techniques will prepare each student with specific skills to photograph scenes from around the globe and bring them home. Students will not be traveling around the world but assignments will prepare students for any travel photography assignment. The course will use Nashville and surrounding areas as demonstration targets for the techniques that will be taught.



This course is a culmination of a student’s four years of photographic study. Each student in this course will develop a portfolio of work in a specific area of interest to that student. Whatever area in which a student finds his/her/their interest to be strong can be used for this final project course. For example, if a student has decided that he/she/they wants to go into portrait photography then this capstone project course will consist of a portfolio of professional-quality, portrait photography. Each student in the class may be working in completely different areas (portrait, food, wedding, architecture, model fashion, product, etc.) depending upon which area each student has found an interest. All work in the final portfolio will be done during the student’s final semester and will be done specifically for this course. Regardless of what area the student chooses for this portfolio, all the work in the final portfolio is expected to be at a professional level.



Nossi College of Art students have the opportunity to take an internship for class credit during the last semester of their program. The internship is a program completion requirement and must be approved by the current Program Chair.

The goal of the internship is to expose the student to valuable job experience that will enhance their skill sets. This monitored program for senior level students provides an opportunity to work part-time with cooperating employers (i.e., Sponsor). Though students will be provided professional leads, they must secure their own internship.



Independent study courses are individually designed to meet specific needs of students. They may vary from one to four semester hours of credit. They may be in any subject area a student needs in order to complete degree requirements. Independent study courses must be approved by a member of the faculty, the student’s department coordinator and by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.



This course provides students who are about to graduate an opportunity to explore the presentation and interviewing techniques used to find employment. Positive self-image and goal setting concepts are reintroduced. Students are expected to create communication materials for self-promotion and develop strategies for networking and community involvement, including internship opportunities. Students must participate in a formal portfolio presentation of their work to the community and to their fellow students. They are given instructions in portfolio presentation and preparation for career opportunities.



Success Strategies is a course in goal setting, techniques of note and test taking, problem solving skills, time management and critical thinking skill development. The course is designed to help each student improve his learning skills. In addition, students will acquire skills necessary to succeed as commercial artists. Life enhancing principles are also a major aspect of this course.



This course examines history in America. The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion.



This is a survey course of the science of psychology. It covers the key terms of most of the psychological concepts from brain biology to abnormal, motivational and developmental psychology. This course surveys a broad field of study. A study of the thinking and research behind various fields of psychology will lead to a discussion of how each field applies to human events in the everyday lives of people. An examination of how psychology applies to advertising, graphic arts, illustration and photography will be made.



This English class will include intensive grammar review as well as writing assignments to complete a portfolio. Illustrations are encouraged to enhance the writing and the portfolio (these can add points to the grade). A resume and a cover letter are a separate part of the writing. A research paper is required and must have the correct documentation and analysis format. Professional presentation of final portfolio is required for completion of this course.



This course is designed to provide the student with instruction in two major areas of the English language – writing and oral communication skills. Writing techniques using correct English grammar will be emphasized and will be applicable for different environments including corporate, business and professional settings. A variety of public speaking techniques will also be taught. The student will learn what is appropriate for each situation in which, as a professional artist, he might find himself.



Students will examine common uses of mathematics in everyday life. This course will also focus upon mathematical applications involving choice, voting systems, routing and networks, project scheduling, descriptive and inferential statistics and probability.



This course presents students with a survey of Western Civilization from the ancient world to contemporary culture. Through discussion and appreciation of historical works, students will draw connections between the origins and influences of Western Civilization, as well as an understanding of its role in shaping cultures.



This GE requirement was established, in part, because of the potent influence of science on society. Therefore, a major objective of this course is to help develop an understanding of the nature of science, including its philosophical basis, power and limitations. The content of the course is centered on life and its relationship to the environment.



This class is designed to enhance the student’s understanding and exposure to literature. Readings will come from PDF files on Moodle as well as from handouts from the instructor. A novel reading is required and each student will read and analyze a different novel from a list provided by the instructor. Readings from different genres and cultures will include short stories, poetry and drama. Essays to analyze the readings are the method of assessment as well as tests over the readings and background materials.


Accepting Students for All Programs for Fall 2024
Taking applications for All Programs for Fall 2024!

Who You’ll Be Learning From

Photography Degree Coordinator Tom Stanford | Nossi College of Art and Design in Nashville, TN

Tom Stanford

Photography Program Director

"Photography is a great tool for a student to interpret and capture their world. It’s an individual exercise where a creative decides where to go, what to shoot and when to press the...
"Photography is a great tool for a student to interpret and capture their world. It’s an individual exercise where a creative decides where to go, what to shoot and when to press the shutter. Tom Stanford is passionate about photography and enjoys helping others improve their skills through teaching, mentoring & coaching. Our instructors are professional photographers and they'll teach the techniques, but will take a lifetime to master the craft. Background:

· A bachelor’s degree in Photography from Texas A&M/Commerce. Worked for newspapers in TX, LA and TN.

· Photography Director at The Tennessean from 1996-2014. Experience in digital photography, videography and creating multimedia. Coordinated visual coverage for the historic 2010 flood in Nashville, the paper was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

· Experience covering the NFL, NHL, SEC, music festivals and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

· Involved in several book projects including Nashville: Hills of Harmony, Flood 2010: Chronicled By The      Tennessean, Tennessee Titans: Celebrating the First and he photographed Historic Presbyterian Churches of Tennessee."

· Learn more about his travel photography interests by clicking here.


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Accepting Students for All Programs for Fall 2024

Taking applications for All Programs for Fall 2024!

Save your spot and start the process now!


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