Austin DigitalPhotography School
I want to harness the power of images.
One day, you picked up a camera. And you’ve never put it down. You were captured by the magic of telling stories with pictures. There’s a market for people who constantly find innovative ways to fill the world with their ideas, impressions, and insights. And the Digital Photography School at The Art Institute of Austin, A branch of the Art Institute of Houston, can help you make a positive impression when you’re ready to match your talents against the competition. From the very start, we’ll guide your development, both creatively and technically. You’ll work with technology similar to what professionals use—it’s a step-by-step process that’s all about preparing you for a future when you can do what you love. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty* who are focused on your success.
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.
Meet our Alumni
Hunter LawsonGame Art & Design , 2014Read More
Software Developer at Terrific Studios
Hunter Lawson is a software developer at Terrific Studios, a company that assists clients to create and successfully implement games. Based in Houston, he’s responsible for programming the foundational systems for the various projects at the studio. Hunter enjoys the challenges of his career and says that the best part of his job is having the ability to bring an experience to life and put it into the hands of someone else. “It’s about as magical as it can get.”
Hunter believes that creative people can change tomorrow’s world. And he adds that there’s “nothing on this planet that I would want to do more than what I am doing right now.” Looking to the future of his industry, Hunter states that virtual and augmented reality will become more and more integrated into daily life. “That, mixed with our increasingly powerful phones, is definitely going to change the way we live.”
Hunter, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute of Austin, says that his instructors provided real-world experience that helped him to transition into his current job. “There is nothing that I value more than their guidance, wisdom, and friendships. They always raised the bar and then helped me to reach it. I hope to one day be able to carry that on to students of my own.”Read More...
Jarren MooreGeneral Education , 2014Read More
Web Developer for Arts & Labor
Jarren Moore is a web developer for Arts & Labor in Austin, Texas. He’s responsible for designing and developing websites, IT and network support, and cloud resource management. Jarren is excited to be in a profession that blends both right-brained and left-brained thinking. “I enjoy being creative and technical at the same time,” he says.
Jarren adds that he has a mentor at Arts & Labor who pushes him to learn new coding languages. “[My creative heroes] push me to be better and succeed. [They encourage] me to try new approaches to challenges I face.” Looking to the future in his industry, Jarren believes that responsive development will continue to be an important part of website design. He also believes that websites are moving toward a more story-based experience—not just presenting information.
Jarren, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of Austin, says that his education provided a strong foundation for teamwork and problem solving. “It helped me to realized that I can reach out to colleagues and mentors to work as a team. In reality, you always work in a team environment and functioning well [in a team] is key to a project’s success.”Read More...
Kyla Michelle HarringtonGeneral Education , 2015Read More
Kyla Michelle Harrington
Junior Digital Artist at Mighty Coconut
Kyla Michelle Harrington is a junior digital artist at Mighty Coconut, an animation and visual effects studio specializing in original and branded content, in Austin, Texas. She’s responsible for rotoscoping, painting, and compositing. “I enjoy the ability to hone in on specific skills still while learning and practicing new and hardly used skills. The industry offers so much for me to touch on and explore,” she says.
Kyla’s creative inspiration comes from working alongside other artists. “We really do thrive off of each other.” She adds that her profession is constantly evolving—there’s always something new and challenging to learn. “Whether it is a new technique or a new program to achieve the unachievable, [I] am constantly in awe.”
Kyla, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics from The Art Institute of Austin, says that her education touched on many different courses and skillsets that made her a versatile artist. She also credits the professional instructors with bringing real world experience* into the classroom. “With instructors and advisors from the industry, I was able to get hands on learning with practical, useful information.”Read More...
Leah GerardMedia Arts & Animation , 2014
"[The path to my career] wasn't always fun or easy. It's hard work."Read More
Associate Project Manager at Kabam, Inc.
Leah Gerard is an associate project manager at Kabam, Inc., a San Francisco company that creates free-to-play games. She’s responsible for production management. “I enjoy the culture and freedom that the video game industry give me. My choices make a difference,” she says.
Leah finds creative inspiration in the world around her and says that her heroes are people who never give up. She recommends that current students understand that the industry is demanding, telling them that “trends come and go. Keep learning.”
Leah, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of Austin, says that her education taught her how to communicate in a professional environment. She also cites the professional experience* and leadership of her instructors. “The teachers pushed me to be better.”Read More...
What Will I Study?
Show me how to tell stories. One frame at a time.
Photography isn’t a hobby. It’s a craft pursued by hard-working, talented professionals who share not just a curiosity about the world, but a commitment to constantly adapting and improving. The Digital Photography curriculum will sharpen your creative edge and technical skills as you study:
- Digital Photography
- Color Management
- Studio Photography
- Location Photography
- Digital Darkroom
- Natural & Artificial Light
- Digital Image Management
- Editorial Photography
- Documentary Photography
- Business of Photography
- Studio Techniques
I'm looking for my proving ground.
At the Art Institute of Austin, a branch of the Art Institute of Houston, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Digital Photography degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. It’s a daily struggle to champion your ideas and earn your place among the best in your profession. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we’ll support you along every step of your journey. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field, as well as internship possibilities. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.
Meet our Faculty
Adam FangsrudAudio ProductionRead More
When I wrote and directed my first short film, the most satisfying parts of the process were working on the sound design and composing the music score. That’s when I turned my focus to sound—and I haven't looked back since.
In fields like sound design, electronic music and audio post, the only constant is change. I’m as enthusiastic about learning as I am about teaching. And because I continue to work on real-world projects and keep current on all the technological developments, I’m able to make sure my students are ready to produce quality mixes to the latest specs.
I always encourage my students to break out of their comfort zones, whether that means mixing a genre of music they're unfamiliar with, or working in an audio discipline they didn't even know existed. Pushing themselves to broaden their interests and perspectives helps beginner students evolve into well-rounded graduates.
Collaboration is critical to audio post-production and sound design. When Audio Production students work with Digital Video & Film Production students on a film project, for example, the results are usually head and shoulders above the quality of projects that don’t involve that kind of teamwork.
It's not enough to just have passion, and it's not enough to just have drive. Students who excel are both passionate about their art and driven to take the concrete steps to realize their aspirations.Read More...
Meg MulloyDigital PhotographyRead More
Every freelance photography assignment I complete adds depth to my knowledge and experience, because each one presents new challenges and interactions. I always share stories about projects—and the tips and techniques I’ve picked up—because students need to see how problem-solving and thinking on your feet are constants in the life of a working photographer. It helps connect what they learn in the classroom to what they can expect after graduation.
In my top-level Image Manipulation class, students work together to create an ad campaign. They come up with a concept together, plan their pre-production—choosing locations, casting models, sourcing wardrobe and props—and then produce the images as a team. What I love about the assignment is that they get a glimpse into a commercial shoot and see all the roles other people, beyond the photographer, play in bringing even a single image together. I let them take the lead, and I make suggestions on how to strengthen the idea or the photo, either on set or during post-production.
Working together across programs deepens students’ appreciation for the various skills and know-how it takes to create compelling work. When Photography students work with Culinary students, they see what goes into making food that doesn’t just taste delicious, but looks appetizing in a photo. Working with Graphic Design students, they see how much deep design knowledge goes into a seemingly simple logo or brand identity. And teaming up with Fashion students, they can grasp what a difference it makes on a shoot to have someone with a trained eye working as a wardrobe stylist.
Doing good work and continuing to build the skills that strengthen that work are important. But the way to launch your career is by showing your work to anyone in the business who’ll take the time to look.Read More...
Chase QuartermanGraphic & Web Design
"The bar has been raised. You need to constantly get better."Read More
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something creative. In elementary school, I was always drawing characters from my favorite cartoons. In high school, I drew comic strips for the school paper and helped teach art classes to younger kids. In college, I discovered my love of design and oil painting, which grew during a semester in London. The act of making something is truly fulfilling.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
My classroom is basically a client/creative setting. I am the "client," and I give creative briefs to the designers. I pull directly from my personal client experience—both good and bad—so we can discuss it class. I let them know that the profession is more than just creativity, it’s also about developing business, networking, and communication skills.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring, and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
One of the most difficult assignments for students is the personal branding project in Portfolio 1. It’s their chance to "brand" themselves. They design a logo—symbol and typography—for their website, portfolio, business card, and collateral. It requires some soul-searching about who the student really...they have to encapsulate their entire self into one simple mark. It seems impossible at first. But eventually, they find something to latch on to. It’s a tough challenge for them, but it’s truly gratifying for me when a student finds what they’re looking for.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
No designer is an island. The reality of the industry is that designers work with art directors, copywriters, creative directors, in-house bosses and clients of all kinds...the creative pro has to be a diplomat. I remind students that most rock bands break up because of creative differences—and the same can be true in our industry. The key is to build bridges, encourage one another, share differences of opinion, and respect the other person. It’s all about establishing camaraderie—and creating amazing work.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Have a big, visual appetite. Be inspired by film, animation, books, typography, magazines, apps, billboards, websites, nature, packaging, signage, textures, industrial design, architecture, posters, everything.Read More...
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
I believe that when students know what’s out there, and they get a little intimidated by the amazing work being produced by their "competition," they work hard to get better. The bar has been raised. You need to constantly get better.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I find that the sense of community in the classroom isn’t only important for the students’ creative life, but my own. The discussions, the energy, the critiques are all catalysts for exploration...and I use them when I'm dealing with clients. I hope this creative "community" extends beyond each student's time in my classrooms.
Working on game based training for the military has exposed me to things I never thought I would be doing when I started at The Art Institute of San Antonio. Sommer Bostick
Media Arts & Animation, The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, 2014