When you look around you in Nigeria, you'll find different reasons to become a photographer. You might be following celebrity photographer Amazing Klef on Instagram. His pictures will make you stay glued to his IG page. Ever been on Bella Naija's website? The exhibition of glamour and style is so apparent to see. These, amongst other factors, can trigger a person's interest in photography.

For a while now, it has become very easy to get photography tools like digital cameras and smartphones. Even better, social media has been made famous for years, and people seem eager to display their photography skills and their bomb pictures. Capturing images and sharing photographs has never been easier.

Also, there are different PC and mobile applications for editing pictures. Many of us use them regularly, and some think of themselves as photographers despite not undergoing any formal photography education. With all this, it is standard for many to question if enrolling for photography classes are mandatory to be recognised as a professional photographer.

Are Photography Courses Compulsory?

Absolutely! There's not a doubt in the world that photography courses are required in Nigeria to be termed a professional. Photography isn't limited to the beauty of the images photographers churn out. These professionals must have a sound knowledge of every technique associated with photography. That's not all; there are certain intricacies attached to producing quality images.

Photographers do not only refer to their trade as an art. They think of it as a science because of the intricacies involved, The tasks, experienced involved, and training duration is factors that affect the quality of a picture. Ultimately, they determine one's mastery of photography.

A layman's thinking is that using editing tools makes a picture perfect. A seasoned professional can tell a picture enhanced by editing tools like Adobe Photoshop, apart from a photo taken by a photographer who applied different techniques during the shooting process.

As a photography enthusiast who's harbouring the thoughts of setting up his/her photography outfit in the future, it is crucial to become familiar with certain photography traits and engage in continuous practice. Doing these successfully will improve your eye for art.

Qualifications Needed for a Photography Course in Nigeria

As it is with other professional fields, there is a wide range of photography careers available for you to choose from. There isn't a definite length for each course, and they usually have different foci. Since there are various styles and fields, there are many options for you to choose from.

Before choosing any photography course, you need to pay attention to the duration first. Also, your course level and the course facilitator(s) are essential for you to consider. Similarly, it would be best to consider your goals and how the course will help you achieve your goals.

Here are some qualifications that could help you advance your photography career:

Online Photography Courses

Online courses are a relatively new thing in Nigeria. Therefore, there are limited options for people who want to enrol for online photography courses in Nigeria. However, foreign websites like Coursera and Udemy offer online photography classes.

Alternatively, you can find websites that offer courses for universities. These courses are distance-learning related. At the end of your course, you'll bag the university qualifications.

National Diploma in Photography

It is possible to obtain a national diploma in photography in Nigeria. For example, the National Board for Technical Education, Kaduna, offers a diploma-based course in photography. If you're interested in this course, you'll learn the basics of photography, how to use a camera, various branches of photography, including landscape photography, wildlife photography, photojournalism, and other branches of photography that you're hoping to learn.

Furthermore, you can learn about the history of photography in Nigeria and how the constant improvement of technology has impacted photography. The photography diploma isn't limited to that. You can learn various photography techniques that will help you produce the best pictures.

Creative Arts Degree

Asides from polytechnics and colleges of technology that offer photography as a standalone course in Nigeria, Nigerian institutions do not award a degree in photography. The closest you can get to photography is a creative arts degree. All Nigerian institutions offer creative arts as a course. However, not all of them teach photography. Therefore, you need to make your findings before choosing a university.

It takes between four and five years to complete a creative arts degree in Nigeria, depending on the institution and study plan. You need to note that since you're not studying photography alone, the study might not be as intensive and extensive as you wished for.

Different Photography Careers in Nigeria

Photography is a broad subject. There are different subjects associated with it. Saying one is a photographer without adding the qualifier that shows what type of photographer can be very confusing.

It's okay if you're unsure about the photography career path you want to pursue. Not to worry, we have decided to provide a comprehensive list of photography careers you can choose from.

Therefore, if you need a guide on the photographer career to choose, here's one:

Portrait Photography

This is one of the most common photography careers in Nigeria. It involves capturing a person's image or even a group of individuals. It uses lighting backdrops and poses to produce a portrait picture. There are many reasons for taking a portrait picture. It can be a birthday photoshoot, pre-wedding photos, formal events, for a personal blog, etc.

Most portrait pictures are taken in a studio. However, they aren't limited to studios. The location can be outdoor too. Adeola Olagunju is a portrait photographer.

portrait photography can be done outdoor too. (source: Willie B. Thomas)

Event Photography

From the name, we can conclude that event photography involves covering events. Event photographers capture moments. If there are any events to cover, trust an event photographer to be present. Events can include graduation, naming ceremony, weddings, birthdays, annual general meetings, investitures, etc.

Event photography aims to preserve the memories of the special occasion. People who request these pictures can relive them.

You can immortalise memories with event photography. (source: NickCorreia)

Artistic Photography

This type of photography is usually used to pass a message. The photographer uses an artistic photograph to express thoughts, ideas or emotions. It is the visual representation of an artist's perceptions. In artistic photography, the image displayed always has a deeper meaning than what's displayed.

Take, for example, the picture of rebels holding some young boys after massacring the elderly ones. Ordinarily, you might think of it as sympathy for the boys. However, when you think of child soldiers, the picture makes more sense then.

An example of a Nigerian artistic photographer is Ade Adekola.

Artistic photography captures the thoughts and emotions of the photographer. (surce: Michael Hall)


Imagine someone capturing and reporting a story through Images. That's photojournalism. It is a medium of relaying the news to the public with pictures impartial according to journalism standards and provide a clear idea of the story the journalist is trying to capture.

The photojournalist has to experience happenings, take good pictures, and evoke the emotions of the viewer through the images. A photojournalist in Nigeria is George Osodi.

Documentary Photography

Unlike photojournalism, documentary photography faces a particular social issue and tackles it. It can be unemployment in Nigeria, rising poverty levels, hooliganism, bribery and corruption, etc. The photographer sheds light o the social issue through a series of pictures because one picture is never sufficient.

Yagazie Emezi is a documentary photographer.

Do You Want to Become a Photographer? Consider These Things

  • What feedback did you get from professionals?

Ultimately, what people think of your work matters. Therefore, you need professional photographers to critique your work. The feedback and advice you get from these professional photographers will help you make the right decisions for your photography business.

You can request for their feedback by setting up an exhibition or sending your past works to them.

  • Is photography a full-time or part-time stint for you?

Your photography journey will be decided depending on whether you want to venture into it full-time, or it's just a part-time thing for you. If you have a job, you won't have as much time as someone who wants to venture into photography full-time. Therefore, your level of expertise and experience will differ.

  • What medium are you using?

It's one thing to create fabulous images; it's another thing for your works to be seen. Therefore, you need to work on getting a larger audience to see the magic you have created. You can only make more clients through exposure. You can create an online portfolio or website to display your works of art. Moreover, you shouldn't neglect social media because it is an avenue to reach millions.

  • What type of service would you offer?

To answer this question, you need to decide on your career path first. It is the lamp that will guide you in the dark. When you make an informed decision, it will be easy to know the services you'll offer to potential clients.

However, to make everything possible, we recommend that you undergo sufficient training first. Photography can be a hobby for you, but you need its mastery to achieve new heights in photography.

Need a Photography teacher?

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