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Photography in Canada


Top-rated colleges and universities in Canada offer photography courses and programs to students who wish to become freelance, event, editorial, or fashion photographers.

Financing College Education

There are a number of options to finance college education, including scholarships, bursaries, loans from credit unions and banks, and government student loans ( Applying for a scholarship is one option to pay tuition expenses. The list of scholarships is long and includes the Arts Council of Surrey Scholarships, John deBlois Memorial Award, and Heather Walker Memorial Scholarship. A second option is to look into government student grants and loans, and the amount offered varies based on living expenses, tuition fees, dependents, family income, residence, and whether the applicant has a disability. Student loans bear interest, and repayment begins after graduation ( Grants are also offered to part-time and full-time students and students with disabilities and dependents. A third option is to apply with a local finance provider or big bank such as the Bank of Montreal or Scotiabank. Financial institutions offer student lines of credit with affordable rates based on budget, field of study, and other factors (


The average salary of photographers is $36,400 a year and ranges from around $35,300 in Ontario to around $46,000 in Nova Scotia.

Colleges and Courses

The School of Communications, Media, Arts, and Design at the Centennial College features a post-secondary program with a length of two years. Students are offered a selection of courses such as architecture and fine art, motion, portfolio development, visual literacy, and others. Possible career paths for graduates include visual artist, studio manager, and event, portrait, corporate, or commercial photographer. Ryerson University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to students interested in digital imaging and visual arts. Graduates can choose from different career options in fields such as arts and editorial publishing, arts and curatorial administration, and web production. The program features courses such as art direction, sound design, and studio and location lighting. Mohawk College features a program in photography to help students master the fundamentals of photography production. They choose from courses such as professional production, creative productions, advanced digital video editing, and advanced digital image editing. Students can also choose from a wide range of career paths in fields such as art direction, video and still editing, fine art, and commercial advertising. Professionals working in the field of video and still production produce music and wedding videos, documentaries, short length and promo videos, and commercial and corporate videos. Mohawk College features a number of programs to help students build up on their skills, including Accessible Media Production, Communications Media Practices, and Broadcasting – Television and Communications Media.

Georgian College also features a program in photography to help students master creative techniques, camera techniques, and video editing. There is a wide selection of courses to choose from, including lifestyle photography, introduction to studio, and introduction to DSLR video. Students enrolled in the photography program at the Niagara College study the fundamentals of digital imaging technologies. Graduates work as studio managers, photo editors, forensic police photographers, digital effects studio employees, and managers and curators of galleries.

Other colleges and universities also feature photography programs and courses, including Fanshawe College, Algonquin College, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Famous Canadian Photographers


Canada is known for multiculturalism and diverse cultural identities, beautiful landscapes and stunning nature, and talented photographers who captured natural wonders, architectural masterpieces, empty interiors, sunsets, landscapes, and faces. Some of the most renown Canadian photographers are Edward Burtynsky, Bob Parent, Yousuf Karsh, Meaghan Ogilvie, and Laura Letinsky, to name a few.

Yousuf Karsh

A famous portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh has done portraits of celebrities and politicians such as John F. Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Frost, Prime Minister Mackenzie King, and many others. In fact, Karsh held more than 15,000 sittings during his entire career, his final sitting being with First Lady Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton in 1993. He received numerous awards such as the Achievement and Life Award, Canada Council Medal, and Order of Canada. He also had honorary degrees from institutions such as the Ohio State University, Ohio University, and Dartmouth College.

William Notman

Born in Scotland, William Notman first joined his family’s business which was on the verge of financial collapse in the 1850s. Suppliers limited credit because the company was in financial trouble and unable to keep up with payments. Struggling to stay in business, Notman manipulated the company’s financial records by making up client orders. This actually resulted in more debt and in 1856, he moved to Montreal. During his career, William Notman captured natural wonders, landscapes, cityscapes, transportation by steam and rail, and more.

Edward Burtynsky

Also a famous Canadian photographer, Edward Burtynsky emigrated with his family from Ukraine when he was just 4 years old. During his career, Burtynsky captured the effect of mining, manufacturing, and other industrial processes on the landscape, from scrap piles to quarries and mine tailings. His photographic series include Salt Pans (2016), Iberia Quarries, Portugal (2006), Makrana Quarries, India (2000), and Oil Canada, China, Azerbaijan, USA (1999 – 2010), among others. Edward Burtynsky has been awarded a number of awards such as the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, Best Feature Length Documentary, Best Canadian Documentary Award.

Laura Letinsky

Born in Winnipeg, Laura Letinsky is a professor at the University of Chicago and a renowned still life photographer, capturing objects such as unwashed dishes, fruit peels, and half-empty glasses. Letinsky has also authored several books, among which Hardly More Than Ever, Laura Letinsky: Now Again, Venus Inferred, and After Alt. The main focus of her work is on domestic scenes and concepts such as color, perceptions, and space. She has held a number of solo exhibitions, including Ill Form and Void Full, Yours, More Pretty, and Still Life Photographs 1997-2012. Her exhibitions have been featured in many museums and galleries, among which the Denver Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and University of Manitoba’s School of Art Gallery.

Other famous Canadian photographers include names such as Lynne Cohen, Richard Harrington, Larry Towell, Jeff Wall, and Paul Nicklen. Lynne Cohen was a Canadian photographer born in Wisconsin who studied sculpture and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin. She also studied at the Eastern Michigan University where she earned a Master’s Degree. Her works have been featured in different galleries and museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and Vancouver’s Presentation House Gallery. The main focus of her work is on institutional settings and empty interiors such as industrial plants, showrooms, offices, laboratories, and public halls. Jeff Wall is also a renowned Canadian photographer who is known for his cibachrome photographs and scenes from the fantasy world like dead troops talking to each other and a picnic with vampires. His works have been showcased in the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Irish Museum of Modern Art, and elsewhere. Jeff Wall has received a number of awards such as the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2008) and the Hasselblad Award (2006).