Gain a valuable skill-set that is needed across the world with our Photography program. Companies across a variety of industries need images for marketing, social media, newsletters, web design and more. Develop the technical experience and photography skills right here to become an asset to any employer.

Master the art of creating, setting up, composing, lighting and producing photographs to professional standards. Learn the basics of black-and-white film photography as well as developing and printing photographs. Become familiar with Photoshop, Lightroom and other photography software to develop your own artistic touch on our images.

Through classroom activities and hands-on experience in our photography studio, you’ll develop confidence in your ability to effectively create images. In just one year, you’ll be ready for an entry-level position in digital media, photojournalism or portrait photography. Whether you choose to work for a company or pursue your own photography business, the Photography program will equip you with the foundational skills you need to excel as a photographer.

Faculty Contact

John Leopold
Professor | Art
712-362-7975 | jleopold@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details


DEGREE: Diploma (34 credits)

CAMPUS: Estherville


Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $35,102

Average Salary: $42,818

Projected Employment Growth: 0.9%


Term 1

Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy

Credits: 3

This introductory course covers the core concepts associated with digital imaging. Students learn how to effectively use this software in a graphic design environment; planning and carrying out professional digital imaging projects. This course introduces both basic visual design concepts and a comprehensive understanding of digital workflow, providing the student with a foundation for print, web, interactive, animation, and game design projects.

Credits: 3

Basic digital theory, how the digital camera works. Includes digital capture of both still and video; input into the computer; digital manipulation; basic Photoshop and photography; saving digital images for future use and long term archiving. How to prepare digital images for print social media, web and other uses and how to send digital images after formatting for upload.

Credits: 3

This course will develop skills needed for adjusting and enhancing photographic images after image capture and before going to a final output. The emphasis will be on images used in the photog­raphy professions of Portrait, Photojournalism Commercial, and Forensic. All image manipulations and adjustments will be done with computer imaging software, such as Photoshop.

Credits: 3

Principles of Management provides the student with a conceptual framework for understanding the basic theories of management. Emphasis is placed on the internal and external environment, ethics, planning, goal setting, decision making, organizational structure, motivation and group dynamics, and effective control mechanisms for establishing and accomplishing business objectives.

Term 2

Credits: 3

Introduction to the art of portrait photography.

Prerequisites: JOU 173 – Digital Photography

Credits: 3

The basic fundamentals of business. Basic business and economic concepts and terminology; management, marketing, finance, human resource management, accounting and other business areas.

Credits: 3

This course is an introduction to fundamentals of business, including evaluations, typical forms of business, accounting, management styles, marketing and customer service skills. Concepts of business and management functions, organizational considerations, and decision-making processes, are studied.

Credits: 3

This course advances the ideas and techniques taught in Digital Imaging I with an emphasis on advanced techniques. Focus will be put on the understanding of tool setting, curves, levels, blend­ing modes, layer styles, special effects, as well as painting and drawing tools. Students will be challenged as a designer working with real-world projects.

Prerequisites: GRA 140 – Digital Imaging

Credits: 3

This course will teach the basic photographic skills needed to create publishable news photographs as well as basic photographic skills needed tocreate photographs for advertising use.

Prerequisite: JOU 173 – Digital Photography

Credits: 3

Studies the concepts of selling. Includes an understanding of the customer; realizing the importance of product knowledge; secur­ing and conducting sales presentations, analyzing and handling different types of customers; steps in selling; and the importance of maintaining good will.Personality development and principles of selling are stressed.

Credits: 3

Techniques and procedures used in determining profits, pricing of goods, inventories and merchandise control. Typical problems faced by merchandisers are presented, analyzed and solved.

Choose BUS 102 or BUS 126
Choose MKT 140 or MKT 162

Term 3

Credits: 1-4

Offered under the guidance of an instructor and employer mentor/supervisor, this course provides students an opportunity to learn in a work setting while obtaining practical experience in Applied Digital, Visual, and Communication Arts careers. Students will participate in job training, and will complete assignments to develop workplace communication skills, gain an understanding of industry and organizational structures, and learn problem-solving skills in a work environment.

WBL 207 is a repeatable, variable credit course that can be taken over more than 1 term to complete 4 total credits.

† indicates a course that fulfills the diversity requirement. This course may also fulfill another general AA requirement.