Photography at BHSU

We are updating the 4-year plan for our Bachelor's degree in Photography. To set up your individual 4-year plan, please meet with your advisor or contact Janette Hettick at or (605) 642-6934

BHSU Photography Emphasis

BHSU also offers a BFA in Photography!

Click here for more information.

BHSU's Photography program offers classes that span all aspects of the profession, from Basic Photography to Advanced Studio and Commercial Photography. Students learn both the artistry and the commercial aspects of this career.

Photography graduates will find opportunities in photojournalism, commercial photography, and fine art photography, with some going to graduate school for a Masters in Fine Arts.

The Photography emphasis offers:

  • Outstanding faculty who are internationally known for their work
  • Opportunities to display student work at show on and off campus
  • Excellent darkroom and digital imaging facilities
  • The Shutterbuzz Photography Club which offers workshop, exhibitions, and field trips

Photography Course Requirements

Mass Communication Minor with an Emphasis in Photography

Minor Requirements

  • MCOM 165 - History of Photography
  • MCOM 265 - Basic Photography
  • MCOM 266 - Photojournalism
  • MCOM 350 - Digital Photography
  • MCOM 365 - Advanced Photography
  • MCOM 367 - Color Photography
  • MCOM 465 - Contemporary Issues in Photography
  • MCOM 494 - Internship

Black Hills State University Photography students are exposed to different aspects with the photographic medium to help enable them to choose the career path that is appropriate for their individual shooting styles. Students will have the opportunity to explore Fine Art Photography, Studio Based Photography, Portraiture, Weddings, Advertising Photography, Photojournalism, Landscape and Alternative Print Processes. BHSU offers the photography enthusiast the chance to hone their skills to a professional level and to take their photography in the direction that is most appropriate for each individual.

Please enjoy this small sample of student work.

Photography Emphasis Requirements

Major Requirements

  • MCOM 165 History of Photography
  • MCOM 265 Basic Photography
  • MCOM 266 Photojournalism
  • MCOM 312 Intermediate Photography
  • MCOM 350 Digital Photography
  • MCOM 364 Studio and Commercial Photography
  • MCOM 365 Advanced Photography
  • MCOM 367 Color Photography
  • MCOM 450 Alternative Photographic Printing Processes
  • MCOM 463 Professional Practices in Photographic Imaging
  • MCOM 464 Advanced Studio and Commercial Photography
  • MCOM 465 Contemporary Issues in Photography
  • MCOM 494 Internship

Take one of the following classes

  • MCOM 151 Intro to Mass Communication (gen ed)
  • MCOM 161 Graphic Communication
  • MCOM 210 Basic Newswriting


As with most professions, a degree can open the door to opportunity. In the field of photography, degree holders are often considered for jobs as commercial photographers, photojournalists, digital photo editors, videographers, and even educators. Here are descriptions of the most common photography careers.

Photojournalists photograph newsworthy people, places, and sporting, political, and community events for newspapers, journals, magazines, or television. Some work as salaried staff employees, while others own their own businesses and are known as freelance photographers. Freelance news photographers may license the use of their photographs through stock photo agencies or contracts with other types of clients.

Fine Art Photographer
Fine art photographers sell work to individuals, galleries, interior designers, architects, libraries, community centers, churches, banks, hotels, government and elsewhere on a freelance basis or by commission. Fine art photographers enjoy creative freedom not generally allowed to freelance or staff photographers, but they must also be extremely self-motivated.

Commercial/Industrial Photographer
Commercial/Industrial photographers capture images used for books, advertisements, catalogs, and wide media. They take pictures of a wide variety of objects and subjects, including models, landscapes, buildings, and merchandise. An industrial photographer might take pictures of machinery, workers, and other products that can be useful to workers in analyzing, public relations, and business strategies. Industrial photography takes place at the site of its use.

Studio/Portrait Photographer
Studio/Portrait photographers often work in their own studios, taking pictures of groups or individuals. They often specialize in particular events, such as weddings, religious ceremonies, or school photographs. They also may work on location. Some portrait photographers may own their own business, which requires them to arrange for advertising, schedule appointments, mount and frame pictures, purchase supplies, keep records, bill customers, and possibly hire and train new employees.

Freelance Photographer
Freelance photographers are hired out on a job-by-job basis, which is a nice perk for those who prefer to make their own schedule or to work on a variety of projects. Freelancers do many of the same jobs as staff photographers, without the benefit of a consistent paycheck. Some freelancers specialize in areas such as portraits, aerial photography by plane, weddings or fashion.

Get a certificate in photography
Are you looking to update your knowledge of photography or expand your current job skills with subject matter related to photography, but do not wish to enter a degree program? BHSU offers a certificate in Photography.

BHSU has among the finest darkroom and digital imaging facilities in South Dakota and the surrounding region including a new 2000 square foot studio. BHSU also offers black and white and color labs, a film developing area, and a digital imaging lab. This lab is complete with multiple Mac computers, scanners, and various large format and desk-top printing stations.

This certificate is great for high school teachers to expand their knowledge base or be brought up to date on new technology in the field of photography. It is also helpful to any education majors who hope to teach photography in the public schools. Journalists and photographers can stay up to date and learn the latest techniques.

Course Requirements for the Photography Certificate:

  • 3 MCOM 265 Basic Photography
  • 3 MCOM 365 Advanced Photography
  • 3 MCOM 367 Color Photography
  • 3 MCOM 465 Contemporary Issues in Photography

Questions? Email Professor Steve Babbitt at

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