It’s the latter half of May, and what that signals for a tremendous number of people is graduation season. Who couldn’t love graduation season? From lower to middle, middle to high, high to university, and then life. They should all be celebrated as receiving a degree of any kind, particularly a higher education degree is typically not a small feat; there are years of sweat and growth, and lots of money spent to attain it. It’s a point of progression that we as humans can actually measure.

This single point, however, is one of the reasons many seek out a degree. People like to measure things, but it can be difficult to measure progress, productivity, and success. So we gravitate to the generalized standards which are boxes to check off that help us realize we’ve done something. But does success have to be measured this way? No, and that’s becoming clearer and clearer in today’s world where students are realizing that many of them are being funneled into 4-year-long or more degrees, at a high cost, to get jobs that don’t exactly exist anymore – and may not be worth the opportunity cost and forgone earnings that often accompany a university degree.


This, in particular, applies to photographers, in my humble opinion, and that of Ted Forbes. Certainly getting a photography degree, while an achievement, is by no means a guarantee of any kind of success in the field. So just how important is it to get a university degree in photography for a photographer? That’s hard to judge, but many successful photographers today are complete autodidacts.


[REWIND: Should You Work For Free? | Ted Forbes Addresses This Controversial Issue]

In this 6-minute video, Ted Forbes addresses some of these points, stressing just how large of a decision going for and attaining a university education is. He points out some of the good and the bad, but I think if you read between the lines, what you’ll appreciate here is that it’s not necessary, and the people out there who are dominating in the field aren’t photography degree-toting individuals. It’s a creative endeavor, and I think, in our field, you’d probably be better off getting a degree in marketing and then seeking out apprenticeships and assistant positions with working pros. But what do I know, I didn’t go to the Yale School Of Fine Art…

Find more from Ted Forbes on his site.