The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for professional photographers is expected to grow four percent from now until 2022, with demand for commercial and portrait photographers experiencing the highest growth rates. However, only a few extremely talented (or lucky) photographers break into the business without benefit of formal education and internship experience. Receiving a Bachelor of Arts in photography provides the competitive edge you’ll need when trying to succeed as a photographer in a career field full of other ambitious and skilled photographers. In addition to government financial aid, such as Pell Grants or work-study grants, photography students can also apply for a variety of scholarships and grants that help with the cost of earning a photography degree.
13 Scholarships and Grants for Photographers
Available to students or professional photographers, grants offered by Getty Images provides thousands of dollars for students attending an accredited school or experienced photojournalists. Photography students can apply for one of five Grants for Editorial Photography, each worth $20,000 or Grants for Good, consisting of two grants worth $15,000 each.
Supporting emerging and professional photographers with scholarships intended to promote all photography fields from fashion to digital to photojournalism, the Lucie Foundation’s is a non-profit charitable organization that accepts yearly applications. They emphasize original, innovative work and ask applicants to include a project proposal, a short biography, a description of the project and digital images of your work
The Aaron Siskind Foundation offers Individual Photographer’s Fellowship grants worth up to $10,000 each for photographers and people working in photo-based art fields. Recipients of ASF grants are evaluated on accomplishments, talent and the “promise of future achievements”.
The NANP Association provides photography students with several grants up to $1000 each to be used to cover tuition costs in an academic photography program. The Association also awards funds to students who want to attend the NANPA Summit conference but can’t due to financial needs. Photography students are awarded grants based on portfolio submissions and academic merit.
Applicants qualifying for $4000 in scholarships from the Millotte Scholarship fund must have a 3.0 GPA, be enrolled in a two or four-year photography program and reside in Washington State.
The NPPA offers several scholarships to the best undergraduate photojournalism students with impressive portfolios and definite career goals. The Bob East Scholarship awards are worth $2000 each and focus on photography students who intend to enter graduate school and pursue a Master’s degree. Recently, the NPPA expanded its scholarship awards to include $5000 grants for professional still photographers who have worked in their field for three years or more and plan to return to school to further their education.
The National Press Photographers Foundation awards scholarships, grants and awards to professional photographers and students who exhibit dedication and talent in the field of photojournalism. Some scholarships are open to undergraduates only while others are reserved for graduate students. The College Photographer of the Year International is a competition led by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Kappa Alpha Mu and recognizes students who are currently earning their photography degree.
Eligibility criteria for being awarded the Henry Wolf Scholarship in Photography include completion of at least one year of an undergraduate program, submission of five images, a short essay describing career goals, recommendation letter and resume.
This is only open to U.S. citizens and is a grant program established to help photographers develop their work as artistic. The foundation offers up to US$5,000 to photographers who show professional promise and artistic qualities. The one thing here is that the grant is nominated by a jury. The photographer needs to be a U.S. citizen and the funds can be used as the photographer sees fit.
National Geographic offers a yearly award to one working photojournalist per year. The key here is you need to be working in photo journalism and must be working full-time as a professional. Entry is open to photographers from any country and the award amount is US$30,000 to fund a photographic project.
This fund offers US$5,000 to developing photographers who want to take on a humanitarian or environmental photography project. Photocrati tries to identify outstanding photographers and offer them necessary resources to pursue their projects.
This is an international grant which encourages students in art education. The Foundation provides academic assistance for art, design, and architecture, but the arts program includes photography. Candidates must show financial need, and preference is given to minority candidates. Scholarships start at US$2,000 to $3,000.
This is a scholarship offered by the renowned software company. There are 25 annual awards for students to attend the annual conference. Each scholarship is of US$700.
Fastweb also provides a comprehensive list of scholarship and grant opportunities for photographers. Some scholarships are state-specific while others apply to U.S. and international students. Always check your own educational institution for scholarships you can apply for that will help with tuition, book and lab fees.
The U.S Department of Education has an excellent page devoted to helping students avoid scholarship scams by providing tips on spotting fraudulent scholarship websites and what to do if you are the victim of fraud.