Top 15 Best Photography Schools In Europe

Best Photography Schools In Europe

A degree in photography can be an amazing tool in job searching for photography careers. Other instruction can be shorter studies, multi week classes or even one day seminars. All of the instruction available in photography can be accessed by people in countries around the world.

Some of the best photographic instruction comes from schools in the countries of Europe. From the far northern countries to the scenic, warm beaches of the Mediterranean. While a working knowledge of the local language is valuable, many of the best photography schools in Europe offer courses taught in English. 

Top 15 Best Photography Schools In Europe

1. Istituto Europeo di Design – Italyversity

Istituto Europeo di Design – Italyversity

If you are desirous of an international career in photography or film making, there are few places to go than IED, the Istituto Europeo di Design. With campuses throughout Italy and Spain, IED offers a world class education experience for becoming a word class photographer.

Founded in 1961, the school offers 29 different three and four year courses in the various arts. Courses are taught in English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Not every course is taught in each language, though, so you will want to verify before signing up.

The campus in Rome is where the specialized courses in Film, TV, and New Media are taught, with Italian being the primary language for many of the classes. It is one best photography schools in Europe, or anywhere in the world for that matter.

Other Arts related studies include Fashion, Industrial Design, and Visual Arts.

2. Spéos Paris Photographic Institute – France

Spéos Paris Photographic Institute – France

Founded in 1985 with campuses in London and Paris, Speos has become one of the best photography schools in Europe. 

There are a wide range of courses available and study programs are 5 months, 1 year, and 2 years. All courses are available in English, even in the Paris location. Fashion, Documentary, and Photojournalism are some of the specialized courses offered.

In addition to the photographic aspects of the education, business management is also taught. This allows graduates to quickly transition in to the professional world, being fully equipped for managing their own professional photography career.

Some of the most sought after photographic careers in the world are in France, Paris specifically. Especially in the world of high fashion photography or advertising photography. Being educated in Paris, the heart of fashion, is a great way to get an edge into breaking into that world of art and business.

3. Royal College of Art – UK

Royal College of Art – UK

Originally founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design, it became the Royal College of Art in 1896.

Only post graduate and doctoral degrees are awarded here, so you will have to have completed an accredited degree somewhere before applying. The college is very welcoming and accessible to students from around the world. 

Photography degrees are offered, as are degrees in painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, glass, architecture, and industrial design. The courses are intense, but after completion, students are fully qualified to work almost anywhere in virtually any field of the Arts.

Internationally rated in the top three post grad Arts universities year after year, often as number one, the Royal College of Art definitely qualifies as one of the best photography schools in Europe. 

Academy Award winning director Ridley Scott and actor Allen Rickman are among the multitude of alumni who have achieved international success after attending this school.

4. Vevey School of Photography – Switzerland

Vevey School of Photography - Switzerland

Centre d’enseignement professionnel de Vevey, also known as CEPV, is one of the oldest photography schools in Europe.

Offering BFA degrees or vocational training, graduates are well prepared for a career in photography. With a dual focus approach, students are taught the art and the business aspects of photography.

Courses are taught in French and the school tuition is rather high, especially for foreign students. If you are able to deal with both of those situations, this school will give you an education that is absolutely stellar. 

You will also find yourself being able to make connections in the world of photography and major corporations, since Switzerland is home to many international corporations and banks.

5. Köln International School of Design – Germany

Köln International School of Design – Germany

Established in Cologne, Germany in 1991, the Köln International School of Design (KISD) offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in a wide range of disciplines of the Arts.

An interdisciplinary approach to education provides well rounded training for any of the Arts careers. Knowledge of health, business, work practices, and other things important to daily living in modern society are integrated in with the photographic courses.

Some of the areas of study include Image and Motion, Identity and Design, Design for Manufacturing, Design Concepts, Design Theory, Gender and Design, Interface and Interaction Design, Ecology and Design, Production Technology, Typography and Layout. That’s a lot of areas of study!

Most courses are multi-lingual but be sure to thoroughly research the site to make sure the courses you desire are in a language you understand. Interested in more German schools? Well, we have got you covered!

You can check out our guide here on the best photography and film schools in Germany!

6. European Academy of Fine Arts – Germany

European Academy of Fine Arts – Germany

A well respected photography school, this academy also offers education in painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, and ceramics. 

One of the largest private arts schools in Germany, it awards degrees in a variety of disciplines. With almost everything about the school being German, fluency and understanding in the German language will be vital for anyone considering attending here.

If you are able to study here, the education will afford you the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, Europe, Asia, Australia, the USA. German degrees sometimes carry a little extra prestige in some companies. 

7. Rodchenko School of Photography and Multi Media – Russia

Rodchenko School of Photography and Multi Media – Russia

Founded in Moscow in 2006, this school is free to attend for qualifying Russian citizens.  

Part of the larger Multimedia Centre of Actual Arts, this school provides students with an education in all aspects of working in the field of photography.  Other fields of study include documentary, video art, new media art, sound art,  sculpture, and installation. 

The professors are leading Russian and international artists and educators, teaching three year programs. At the end of the three years, degree students display their work in Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum.

8. Academy of Fine Arts, Munich – Germany

Academy of Fine Arts, Munich – Germany

Reorganized in 1953 under the new name, this school dates back all the 1770 as Zeichnungs Schule respective Maler und Bildhauer academie, a drawing school for aspiring artists.

Munich has long been a center for innovation in the arts, this school fits right in to that history. Masters and Bachelors degrees are offered in disciplines ranging from architecture to art history, and includes a top notch photography program.

Another German institution that easily qualifies as one of the best photography schools in Europe.

9. Gerrit Rietveld Academie – Netherlands

Gerrit Rietveld Academie – Netherlands

Formed in 1926 by a merger of three other institutes, this school offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in photography and other arts. 

This school has developed a reputation over the years of being a great place for independent thinkers in the professional field. Thus, many graduates find success in freelance photography business, as opposed to regular employment in larger firms or studios.

Training in the business aspects of photography are added to a curriculum of art theory, history, and application.

10. The Darkroom Academy, Florence – Italy

The Darkroom Academy, Florence – Italy

An international photography school, this school offers relatively short courses for anyone wishing to break in to or improve their skills in photography. Courses are generally about 8 weeks long. 

Fields of study include digital photography, architectural photography, fashion photography, video production, and web design. You don’t have to be fluent in Italian, but it helps.

Italy is another area that seems to draw in the highest fashion interests, all of which need the highest quality photographers to provide their imagery. There is a real reason why some cities see to draw in certain types of talent. TO capitalize on those opportunities, make good use of friendships and collaborations that you forge here.

11. Gobelins, l’École de l’image – France

Gobelins, l'École de l'image – France

Founded in Paris in 1985, Gobelins is primarily an animation school of cinema, with degree programs including Masters. Both 2D and 3D animation are studied here. 

Many world renown animators and directors in cinema animation have  learned their craft here and gone on to fantastic accomplishments in the world of TV and cinemagraphic animation. 

Basic photography and graphic design degrees are also offered though this school. Especially in the world of animation, this school is one of the best photography schools in Europe.

Animation is a wide open field, being used in TV, cinema, advertising, gaming, and even in scientific research. Outside of schools founded by Walt Disney, this school is a fantastic place to earn a degree in animation.

12. Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture – Finland

Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture – Finland

Located in Helsinki, Finland, this school has been in existence since 1871 and currently awards Masters degrees in the fields of Architecture, Art, Design, Film Television and Scenography, and Media.

Courses are taught in Finnish, Swedish, and English, with traditional classroom instruction supplemented by various vocational endeavors and also seminars. It’s a two year, full time program to gain the Masters degree.

Interestingly, there is no tuition charged for the program, but the school only accepts 10 students per year.

13. WICE – France

WICE – France

A very interesting concept, WICE stands for Where Internationals Connect in English. A wide variety of instructional courses and other activities are organized for English speaking people living in Paris.

Started in 1978, WICE also has courses and activities in writing, cultural studies, and language instruction. 

Courses are as short as one day seminars and can include long term exercises in the various subjects. Everything is taught in English, since the entire program is geared towards Anglophiles. 

14. Paris Institute of Creative Arts – France

Paris Institute of Creative Arts – France

English language courses are available in the subjects of photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, art history, literature, and the French language. 

Associated with Whittier College in California, credits earned for semesters spent here can be transferred to Whittier for completion of BFA and MFA degrees.

Besides traditional classroom settings, field trips are often taken to places like the Louvre, the Normandy, Burgundy, and Champagne regions, Versailles, and Giverny for additional photographic instruction and inspiration.

15. Dejan Kalezic School of Photography – Montenegro

Dejan Kalezic School of Photography - Montenegro

Montenegrin, a Serbo-Croatian language, is the language this school’s courses are conducted in. 

Three main 10 week courses of study are offered: Basic Photography Course, Advanced Photography Course which includes Studio Photography, and the third offering is to design your own course study.

A picturesque location is a great place to study photography, the country of Montenegro is one of the best places for photographic inspiration.  From old architecture, to mountain ski resorts, to pristine beaches, this is a great place to study photography. Provided you can speak the language.

A photography school can offer post graduates degrees or can teach short weekend seminars and workshops. The important thing is the quality and scope of the training. An education for one person might not be the idea of training required by another person.

When considering degree programs, it’s important to make sure that whatever college credits you have will actually apply to the degree program you are applying for. Most schools will accept any accredited previous training, but some are somewhat exclusive.

For instance, a state university or a school that encourages an interdisciplinary approach to education is usually the most open, while an exclusive arts college may have different requirements.