Search within:

Commercial Photography / Undergraduate

The Major

The Commercial Photography sequence focuses on advertising photography, product and still-life photography, fashion and portrait photography, architectural and interior design photography, and the business aspects of operating a photographic studio. Commercial photography graduates go on to become studio owners, magazine photo editors, digital retouchers and photographers within the advertising industry.

Student Work

Students in the Commercial Photography sequence photograph work with a variety of subject matter — both in the studio and on location. Using sophisticated lighting techniques and deliberate styling, students create beautifully lighted photographs that transport viewers into another world. See more student work.


Photo by Leanne Siupinys

Commercial Photography Major Courses

The bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in Commercial Photography is a 120-credit hour program that includes a major core of study, general liberal arts classes, a focus on a specialization area and an internship. In our program, students start studying photography and making photos in their first semester.

Classes in this major include:

  • VICO 1000 - Intro to Visual Communication: A survey class in the foundations of visual communication
  • VICO 1421 and 1414 - Introductory classes in photography and design.

Specialized classes in commercial photography include:

  • VICO 2221 - Commercial Photography I
  • VICO 2400 - Illustration I: Digital Imaging
  • VICO 3227 - Commercial Photography II: Fashion and Portraiture
  • VICO 3228 - Commercial Photography III: Still Life and Architecture
  • VICO 4227 - Commercial Photography IV: Business and Studio Practices
  • VICO 4229 - Advanced Photographic Illustration Capstone
  • Students also have the opportunity to take documentary photojournalism, commercial photography, business practices and lighting courses.

Other core classes including electives in visual history, business and communication, and a specialization area of the student’s choosing, all supporting their education in VisCom. Journalism courses also make up a part of this major core of study, and include classes in grammar, writing and strategic communication. Our program prepares students to be well-rounded — and ready for the future.

To add a minor or a certificate as part of your course of study, complete this form.

Internships and Careers

One advisor-approved internship is required for the degree in Visual Communication. Internships should be approximately 400 hours of paid and supervised work in your field. Many students have more than one internship experience prior to graduation.

Additionally, VisCom alumni have had successful careers in the industry in a variety of capacities and have worked and interned for a variety of studios, including BurkleHagen Photography (Cleveland); Matt Reese Photo (Columbus); Versatile Studios (New York City); Power Creative (Louisville, Ky.); DSW Shoes (Columbus); Abercrombie & Fitch (Columbus); Richard Reinsdorf Photography (Los Angeles, Calif.); Matt Reese Photo (Columbus); Sarah Silver (New York City); Sarah Kehoe Photography, (New York City); (Cincinnati); Liz Von Hoene Photography (Atlanta, Ga.); Amazon (Kentucky); Marie Claire Magazine (New York City); Outsider Magazine (Santa Fe, N.M.); One Kreate (Columbus); Santa Fe Photographic Workshops (Santa Fe, N.M.); Danielle Levitt Studio (Los Angeles, Calif.); Athens Photographic Project, Athen, Ohio); Kinopicz American (Columbus), and Westlight Studios (Franklin, Tenn.).

Equipment Requirements and Facilities

Commercial Photography students are required to have by the end of their first commercial photography course (taken fall semester of their sophomore year):

  • A professional-level DSLR camera
  • Two lenses with f/2.8 or faster aperture: one 28mm or wider focal length, and one with a 135mm to 200mm focal length (zoom lenses are also acceptable if fixed aperture)
  • Dedicated electronic flash
  • Professional tripod

Download the Commercial Photography Equipment Requirements [PDF]

Equipment Checkout Room

VisCom also supplies an Equipment Checkout Room with the support of Nikon, Canon, Mamiya Corporation of America and Sony. Students can check out DSLR cameras, lenses, lighting gear, audio equipment, video equipment, a 360-degree camera, tripods other stabilization tools.

A form will be emailed to students every year to gain access to the equipment room. If you did not receive this form or cannot find it, contact Josh Birnbaum at or 740-597-1778.

Computer Labs

The School of Visual Communication uses Apple computers and predominantly the Adobe Creative Suite. We are pleased to provide computer labs with Apple computers, the Adobe Creative Suite and other software needed for classes. These labs also have open hours in the evenings, as do other labs on campus, and have color printers and photo printers students can use with purchase of a print card.

Photography Studios

Within the Schoonover building, VisCom also has two photographic studios available, including state of the art lighting equipment, dressing rooms and a cyclorama (“cyc”) wall.

School of Visual Communication Gallery

On the first floor of Schoonover, the School of Visual Communication runs a gallery. Rotating regularly between student and alumni shows, students can not only show their work, but gain experience participating in the exhibitions.