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Develop your photography career

The BFA in Photography at BHSU offers many opportunities to students interested in photojournalism, commercial photography, or fine art photography. The degree program offers courses in basic and advanced black-and-white photography, color photography, digital imaging, photojournalism, and contemporary issues classes. An extended range of courses includes basic and advanced studio lighting, history of photography, and alternative silver and digital processes including video and drone capture.
The photography program at BHSU is also acclaimed for:

    • Skott Chandler – Digital Imaging, Video, Photoshop & Lightroom, Inkjet Printing.
    • Allen Morris – Fine Art, Landscape, Alternative Print Processes, Darkroom Printing, and Drone Photography.

A Broad Exposure

BHSU has one of the finest darkroom and digital imaging facilities in South Dakota and the surrounding region; with two black and white darkrooms, a film developing area, and digital imaging equipment, the facilities provided are desirable to any serious Photography major. The photography department is complete with multiple Mac computers, BenQ displays, flatbed scanners, a negative digitization station, and various large format and desktop printers. Students also have access to a 3,000+ square foot commercial studio with a cyclorama and a dedicated alternative silver and digital printing lab and framing space to make their work presentation ready. Students can further their exposure to the photography industry through:

  • CUTTING EDGE CLASSES... In the ever-changing photographic industry, DSLR videography has become a must-know. The BHSU Bachelor of Fine Arts photography program now offers ART 343 – Drone Photography, a course in UAV photography and video capture that will prepare students to earn their FAA Part 107 certification to be commercial drone photographers.
  • EXCELLENT INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES... Students in the photography program have interned with worldwide companies such as Untamed Photography, the Minnesota Twins, Healing Haiti, Walt Disney World, and H.H. Brown Footwear. BHSU also offers local opportunities for internships with companies such as the Rapid City Rush, the Dahl Arts Center, and the Historic Black Hills Studios.
  • EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITIES…every graduating student in the photography program participates in the annual Senior Exhibition at the Dahl Center for Fine Arts in Rapid City. This collaborative exhibition allows students from all three Bachelor of Fine Arts programs (Photography, Graphic Design, and Studio Art) to share their work with the region at the largest art center in western South Dakota.
  • AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH…not only do students undergo rigorous training in photography in our BFA Program, they are also encouraged to expand their creative horizons by exploring courses in our allied fields of journalism, fine arts, graphic design, and time based media to help them become well-rounded artists, problem solvers, and critical thinkers.
  • PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT…as part of the curriculum, students complete a final portfolio in our Professional Practices in Photography course to ensure that they have a well-designed website, customized business documents to reflect their intended career path, along with a curated print portfolio to make sure that students are ready to hit the real world running and to also serve as their required Exit Examination for the program.

Careers in Photography

As with most professions, a degree in Photography 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.

*Current students, please refer to the DegreeWorks Dashboard in MyBHSU to confirm your major requirements.

Video Transcript
Black Hills State University has always been an amazing place to begin your life's journey.
With an award-winning photography department, a top-rated graphic design program, and an incredibly diverse studio art department.
Black Hills State delivers a world-class education in Spearfish, South Dakota. And now, BHSU is proud to offer three new Bachelor of Fine Art degrees in: photography, studio art, and graphic design.
Find out how to begin your journey at Black Hills State University by visiting

Find Your Career

» Artist 
» Photographer
     - Portrait/wedding
     - Advertising/fashion
     - Documentary
     - Architectural/industrial
     - Studio product
     - Social media content
» Videographer
» Video Editor
» Photojournalist
» Digital Image technician
» Creative Director
» Museum Gallery Photo Archivist

A man lectures BHSU photography students in a classroom.

Canon Sponsorship

The BHSU Bachelor of Fine Arts photography program is proud to have Canon USA as a sponsor. Through Canon’s generous support BHSU photography students have the opportunity to use the latest camera equipment and digital printers available. Canon also sends a Canon Explorer of Light to our campus to give presentations and interact with our students.

Expand your Experience

Travel And Cultural Opportunities

At BHSU students have the opportunity to study abroad through faculty-led trips such as the photography departments recent trip to Iceland in 2019. BHSU students have also traveled to photograph the Solar Eclipse and have taken trips to Utah to photograph the southwestern landscapes. Studying abroad, or in the field, will expand their world by providing opportunities for students to experience another culture while receiving a globalized education in photography.

Photography Exhibitions

A foundational belief of the BHSU photography program is that students must exhibit their work as artists/photographers. For that reason, all students in the BHSU photography program will have the opportunity to participate in exhibitions at various campus galleries, photography competitions, and calls for entries.

Shutterbuzz Club

BHSU photography club, Shutterbuzz, focuses on promoting the appreciation for the art of photography while connecting with the community around us. Shutterbuzz activities range from photographic excursions to raising money to help feed the hungry in our community. All students at Black Hills State University are welcome and encouraged to join us whether you have a top of the line DSLR camera or a cell phone. For more information, contact: Skott Chandler at

Contact Info

Allen Morris
Phone: (605) 642-6769

Black Hills State University
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799