Best photography schools in Europe

Last Updated on May 23, 2022

Photography is an art form that is about the capture and production of images. There are people that choose to take this path in life and a photography degree is a great way in acquiring the foundations needed to become a successful photographer. By studying in this field, students will get to develop their individuality and skills, while learning from the creations of others.

A degree in photography can be an amazing tool in job searching for photography careers. Other instruction can be shorter studies, multi week classes or even one day seminars. All of the instruction available in photography can be accessed by people in countries around the world.

Right here on infolearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on best photography schools in europe, best country to study photography, best photography programs and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Best Country to Study Photography

1. Switzerland

  • Reasons: High Quality of Education, Affordable Tuition Fees, Stable Economy
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

Switzerland has consistently been among the best countries to study photography. And though the quality of education is considered one of the best in the world, tuition fees in the country are relatively more affordable, and several universities offer scholarship programs for both Swiss and international students.

Photography students get the preparation that they need through lectures and professional projects with businesses that Swiss universities collaborate with. Switzerland also has a stable economy and a low unemployment rate, so there’s a high chance of you landing a job right after graduation.

Some of the leading universities that offer photography courses are Vevey Vocational Education Center, Zurich University of the Arts, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and Webster University.

2. France

  • Reasons: Cultural Immersion, Affordable Fees, High-End Equipment, Qualified Educators
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

Studying in France would allow you to visit its famous tourist spots, galleries, and museums, get to know the sophisticated French people, immerse in their rich culture, eat their delicious food, and receive a top-notch education at an affordable rate. The country is also known to be the place where the first photograph was taken in 1826, by French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

Photography classes in French universities give students access to modern equipment and facilities while being taught by individuals who are successful professionals in the field. Some classes use English as the medium of teaching, but most use French, so it is a great opportunity for international students to be fluent in a new language while studying there.

Some universities in France with the best photography programs are Spéos International Photography School, Parsons Paris, and Paris International Film School.

3. USA

  • Reasons: Knowledge of Basic/Advanced Techniques, Good Tech/Equipements, Internship Programs
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

In most programs in the United States, lessons range from teaching students basic photography skills and techniques to making them knowledgeable on how to use advanced equipment and technology.

Students are encouraged to express their creativity, practice critical thinking, and explore the various options they have to identify which particular area of photography they would like to focus on. They also gain experience and get a chance to expand their portfolio through internship programs. These reasons are why the US is one of the top countries to study photography.

Here are some of the top photography universities in the US: California Institute of the Arts, New York Institute of Photography, Parsons School of Design, International Center of Photography, Rochester Institute of Technology, and School of Visual Arts.

4. Australia

  • Reasons: Cultural Diversity, International Student Support, Laid-Back Lifestyle
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse English-speaking countries. The country’s government also largely supports international students by providing scholarship programs and guiding them in finding a job after graduation. You will also enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle, warm climate, and get close to nature even while living in the city.

Photography courses in Australia allow the students to apply their learnings and showcase their skills by involving them in several projects and collaborations with other majors.

Some institutions that offer photography courses in Australia are Griffith University, RMIT University, Deakin University, and CATC Design School.

5. Germany

  • Reasons: Free Tuition, High-Quality Education, Opportunities for Practical Training
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

Germany is one of the top countries for studying photography for international students because of its reputation for providing high-quality education. Tuition fees for higher education in public universities are subsidized by the government and yes, it applies to both German and international students. You will only have to pay for administration, transportation, and other fees each semester, depending on which university you choose to enroll in.

The educational system in Germany focuses on the concept of “praxis”, meaning students learn by applying their theoretical knowledge to practical, real-life activities. So studying photography in this country will involve several trips, exhibits, and projects that would greatly prepare you for your future career.

Here are some of the best universities to study photography in Germany: Köln International School of Design, the University of Europe for Applied Sciences, the University of Fine Arts, and SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences.

6. India

  • Reasons: Low Cost of Living, Cultural Immersion, High Academic Quality
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

Money-wise, pursuing a degree in India is a smart choice because of the budget-friendly tuition rates and cost of living. Immersing in this developing country’s day-to-day living will be an amazing cultural and educational experience for you.

Several colleges offer photography courses in India wherein students get access to advanced photography equipment, facilities, and infrastructure. Faculty members include famous Indian photographers, filmmakers, and other notable individuals in the field. Top photography colleges in India include the National Institute of Photography, Delhi College of Photography, Sir J.J Institute of Applied Arts, Light and Life Academy, and The One School Goa.

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7. Japan

  • Reasons: Advanced Technology, High-Quality education, Sponsored Study Programs
  • Related Links: Student Visa, Work Visa

Japan is known to be one of the most technologically advanced countries, and the quality of education provided in this country is considered one of the best in the world. There are several sponsored study abroad and internship programs that would make it easier for international students to enroll in a Japanese university.

The study of photography in Japan largely involves mastering theory and artistic expression which will help students in gaining a detailed, in-depth understanding of what photography is all about and how it works in different areas of society, making them competent professionals after graduation.

Here are some universities that offer photography courses in Japan: Tokyo Zokei University, Nihon University, Nippon Photography Institute, and Tokyo Polytechnic University.

Best photography schools in Europe

Istituto Europeo di Design – Italyversity

1. Istituto Europeo di Design – Italyversity

If you are desirous of an international career in photography or film making, there are few places to go than IED, the Istituto Europeo di Design. With campuses throughout Italy and Spain, IED offers a world class education experience for becoming a word class photographer.

Founded in 1961, the school offers 29 different three and four year courses in the various arts. Courses are taught in English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Not every course is taught in each language, though, so you will want to verify before signing up.

The campus in Rome is where the specialized courses in Film, TV, and New Media are taught, with Italian being the primary language for many of the classes. It is one best photography schools in Europe, or anywhere in the world for that matter.

Other Arts related studies include Fashion, Industrial Design, and Visual Arts.

2. Spéos Paris Photographic Institute – France

Spéos Paris Photographic Institute – France

Founded in 1985 with campuses in London and Paris, Speos has become one of the best photography schools in Europe. 

There are a wide range of courses available and study programs are 5 months, 1 year, and 2 years. All courses are available in English, even in the Paris location. Fashion, Documentary, and Photojournalism are some of the specialized courses offered.

In addition to the photographic aspects of the education, business management is also taught. This allows graduates to quickly transition in to the professional world, being fully equipped for managing their own professional photography career.

Some of the most sought after photographic careers in the world are in France, Paris specifically. Especially in the world of high fashion photography or advertising photography. Being educated in Paris, the heart of fashion, is a great way to get an edge into breaking into that world of art and business.

3. Royal College of Art – UK

Royal College of Art – UK

Originally founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design, it became the Royal College of Art in 1896.

Only post graduate and doctoral degrees are awarded here, so you will have to have completed an accredited degree somewhere before applying. The college is very welcoming and accessible to students from around the world. 

Photography degrees are offered, as are degrees in painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, glass, architecture, and industrial design. The courses are intense, but after completion, students are fully qualified to work almost anywhere in virtually any field of the Arts.

Internationally rated in the top three post grad Arts universities year after year, often as number one, the Royal College of Art definitely qualifies as one of the best photography schools in Europe. 

Academy Award winning director Ridley Scott and actor Allen Rickman are among the multitude of alumni who have achieved international success after attending this school.

4. Vevey School of Photography – Switzerland

Vevey School of Photography - Switzerland

Centre d’enseignement professionnel de Vevey, also known as CEPV, is one of the oldest photography schools in Europe.

Offering BFA degrees or vocational training, graduates are well prepared for a career in photography. With a dual focus approach, students are taught the art and the business aspects of photography.

Courses are taught in French and the school tuition is rather high, especially for foreign students. If you are able to deal with both of those situations, this school will give you an education that is absolutely stellar. 

You will also find yourself being able to make connections in the world of photography and major corporations, since Switzerland is home to many international corporations and banks.

5. Köln International School of Design – Germany

Köln International School of Design – Germany

Established in Cologne, Germany in 1991, the Köln International School of Design (KISD) offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in a wide range of disciplines of the Arts.

An interdisciplinary approach to education provides well rounded training for any of the Arts careers. Knowledge of health, business, work practices, and other things important to daily living in modern society are integrated in with the photographic courses.

Some of the areas of study include Image and Motion, Identity and Design, Design for Manufacturing, Design Concepts, Design Theory, Gender and Design, Interface and Interaction Design, Ecology and Design, Production Technology, Typography and Layout. That’s a lot of areas of study!

Most courses are multi-lingual but be sure to thoroughly research the site to make sure the courses you desire are in a language you understand. Interested in more German schools? Well, we have got you covered!

6. European Academy of Fine Arts – Germany

European Academy of Fine Arts – Germany

A well respected photography school, this academy also offers education in painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, and ceramics. 

One of the largest private arts schools in Germany, it awards degrees in a variety of disciplines. With almost everything about the school being German, fluency and understanding in the German language will be vital for anyone considering attending here.

If you are able to study here, the education will afford you the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, Europe, Asia, Australia, the USA. German degrees sometimes carry a little extra prestige in some companies. 

7. Rodchenko School of Photography and Multi Media – Russia

Rodchenko School of Photography and Multi Media – Russia

Founded in Moscow in 2006, this school is free to attend for qualifying Russian citizens.  

Part of the larger Multimedia Centre of Actual Arts, this school provides students with an education in all aspects of working in the field of photography.  Other fields of study include documentary, video art, new media art, sound art,  sculpture, and installation. 

The professors are leading Russian and international artists and educators, teaching three year programs. At the end of the three years, degree students display their work in Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum.

8. Academy of Fine Arts, Munich – Germany

Academy of Fine Arts, Munich – Germany

Reorganized in 1953 under the new name, this school dates back all the 1770 as Zeichnungs Schule respective Maler und Bildhauer academie, a drawing school for aspiring artists.

Munich has long been a center for innovation in the arts, this school fits right in to that history. Masters and Bachelors degrees are offered in disciplines ranging from architecture to art history, and includes a top notch photography program.

Another German institution that easily qualifies as one of the best photography schools in Europe.

9. Gerrit Rietveld Academie – Netherlands

Gerrit Rietveld Academie – Netherlands

Formed in 1926 by a merger of three other institutes, this school offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in photography and other arts. 

This school has developed a reputation over the years of being a great place for independent thinkers in the professional field. Thus, many graduates find success in freelance photography business, as opposed to regular employment in larger firms or studios.

Training in the business aspects of photography are added to a curriculum of art theory, history, and application.

10. The Darkroom Academy, Florence – Italy

The Darkroom Academy, Florence – Italy

An international photography school, this school offers relatively short courses for anyone wishing to break in to or improve their skills in photography. Courses are generally about 8 weeks long. 

Fields of study include digital photography, architectural photography, fashion photography, video production, and web design. You don’t have to be fluent in Italian, but it helps.

Italy is another area that seems to draw in the highest fashion interests, all of which need the highest quality photographers to provide their imagery. There is a real reason why some cities see to draw in certain types of talent. TO capitalize on those opportunities, make good use of friendships and collaborations that you forge here.

11. Gobelins, l’École de l’image – France

Gobelins, l'École de l'image – France

Founded in Paris in 1985, Gobelins is primarily an animation school of cinema, with degree programs including Masters. Both 2D and 3D animation are studied here. 

Many world renown animators and directors in cinema animation have  learned their craft here and gone on to fantastic accomplishments in the world of TV and cinemagraphic animation. 

Basic photography and graphic design degrees are also offered though this school. Especially in the world of animation, this school is one of the best photography schools in Europe.

Animation is a wide open field, being used in TV, cinema, advertising, gaming, and even in scientific research. Outside of schools founded by Walt Disney, this school is a fantastic place to earn a degree in animation.

12. Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture – Finland

Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture – Finland

Located in Helsinki, Finland, this school has been in existence since 1871 and currently awards Masters degrees in the fields of Architecture, Art, Design, Film Television and Scenography, and Media.

Courses are taught in Finnish, Swedish, and English, with traditional classroom instruction supplemented by various vocational endeavors and also seminars. It’s a two year, full time program to gain the Masters degree.

Interestingly, there is no tuition charged for the program, but the school only accepts 10 students per year.

13. WICE – France

WICE – France

A very interesting concept, WICE stands for Where Internationals Connect in English. A wide variety of instructional courses and other activities are organized for English speaking people living in Paris.

Started in 1978, WICE also has courses and activities in writing, cultural studies, and language instruction. 

Courses are as short as one day seminars and can include long term exercises in the various subjects. Everything is taught in English, since the entire program is geared towards Anglophiles. 

14. Paris Institute of Creative Arts – France

Paris Institute of Creative Arts – France

English language courses are available in the subjects of photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, art history, literature, and the French language. 

Associated with Whittier College in California, credits earned for semesters spent here can be transferred to Whittier for completion of BFA and MFA degrees.

Besides traditional classroom settings, field trips are often taken to places like the Louvre, the Normandy, Burgundy, and Champagne regions, Versailles, and Giverny for additional photographic instruction and inspiration.

15. Dejan Kalezic School of Photography – Montenegro

Dejan Kalezic School of Photography - Montenegro

Montenegrin, a Serbo-Croatian language, is the language this school’s courses are conducted in. 

Three main 10 week courses of study are offered: Basic Photography Course, Advanced Photography Course which includes Studio Photography, and the third offering is to design your own course study.

A picturesque location is a great place to study photography, the country of Montenegro is one of the best places for photographic inspiration.  From old architecture, to mountain ski resorts, to pristine beaches, this is a great place to study photography. Provided you can speak the language.

A photography school can offer post graduates degrees or can teach short weekend seminars and workshops. The important thing is the quality and scope of the training. An education for one person might not be the idea of training required by another person.

When considering degree programs, it’s important to make sure that whatever college credits you have will actually apply to the degree program you are applying for. Most schools will accept any accredited previous training, but some are somewhat exclusive.

For instance, a state university or a school that encourages an interdisciplinary approach to education is usually the most open, while an exclusive arts college may have different requirements.

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