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The photography area at NKU prepares you for the world ahead. Whether you plan to attend graduate school or become a wildlife photographer, a business entrepreneur with a camera, a rock magazine visual journalist or an emerging New York artist, our program will help you develop the skills and techniques needed to set you apart from the rest of the photographers in the crowd.

Our faculty are professional educators and working photographers that provide the mentorship needed to tell your story and discover your own unique photographic path. Through their real world experiences in the commercial world, galleries, the street, and business, they’ll help give you a solid background in creative image making, photographic history, aesthetics, and a strong technical background. At the same time you'll learn how to make unique and personal work by integrating skills gained in our multidisciplinary art program.




The photography area features two complete teaching labs outfitted with Apple iMac computers that also serve as open labs for student use when not occupied by classes. The photography studio has dual bays and is outfitted with professional lighting from Profoto. Additionally, students can check out a wide variety of top-quality photographic equipment including lenses for both Canon and Nikon, mobile lighting kits, tripods, and Cintiq input tablets. The print lab that exclusively services art and design students is outfitted with two sheet printers and two roll printers capable of producing the highest quality images from 4X6 inches to 4X6 feet and beyond. From capture to print, the photography area has the resources needed to help students realize their creative vision.

  • State of the art iMac teaching classrooms with sound system and overhead digital projector
  • Cutting edge digital software, hardware, and equipment
  • Well equipped shooting studio
  • Wide range of archival inkjet printing option up to 44” wide
  • Well equipped print finishing room
  • Scanners for film and other 2D media
  • Excellent collection of movies, tutorials and power points on photographic artists
  • Wet darkroom for historical processes
  • Well rounded collection of faculty owned photographic books for student resources

Checklists & Procedures

BFA • Photography Track

The BFA degree is the nationally accepted professional degrees in art and design. These degrees carry a high level of expected growth and involvement on the student’s part. BFA students are not required to earn a minor outside of art and design, so spend more time studying in studios. Upon completion of 60 semester hours* in the university and 27 semester hours in art, majors who intend to apply for admission to the BFA degree option should register for ART 297 Portfolio Review. ART 297 Portfolio Review is the mechanism for faculty to review student portfolios so they may be admitted into the BFA program. All BFA majors are guaranteed a senior exhibition at NKU.


BS • Photography Track

The BS in photography entails a comprehensive art and photography core consisting of 63 credit hours. In addition, students will choose one of three specialization tracks in the form of integrated minors to complete the degree: a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies, Journalism, or Media Informatics. The minor is tailored to the specific needs of photography students and photography related careers. This approach gives students a broad skillset in photography as well as depth in a chosen career path.

  • The Media Informatics integrated minor covers basic programming, web coding, interactive media, and 3MD modeling. Students pursuing this track will fuse their creative art degree with highly sought after informatics skills.
  • The Journalism integrated minor covers ethics and issues in mass media, newswriting, and advertising courses. Students pursuing this track will be prepared for jobs in photojournalism, advertising, or other careers in the media.
  • The Entrepreneurial Studies integrated minor includes coursework in accounting, entrepreneurship, business, and enterprise creation. Students pursuing this track will prepare themselves for freelance work as photographers or starting their own photography business.

Minor • Photography

The minor in photography is meant to give students an introduction to understanding photography. Students take a condensed version of the art foundations core along with introductory and advanced photography courses.

Through in-class demonstrations, students will learn the following technical skills:

  • digital camera operation and control
  • electronic flash operation, studio lighting, location techniques
  • processing, organizing, compositing, and printing digital files
  • mounting and matting photographic prints
  • writing a research paper and creating a presentation

Through lectures and in-class critiques, students will learn the following conceptual elements:

  • concepts in fine art photography including historic and contemporary practices
  • the difference between the way things look in reality and the way it appears and takes on meaning as a photographic image
  • a conceptual framework for looking at, talking about, and creating photographs
  • how to edit a group of images to be presented as a portfolio
  • communication of ideas through still imagery
  • personal interests within the medium


Photography Faculty

Rachael Banks

Rachael Banks
Assistant Professor
Office: FA 406B | (859) 572-5910


Chris Smith

Chris Smith
Office: FA 406D | (859) 572-5423


Be part of the NKU photographic success story and make your mark. Contact us now to schedule a visit to our campus.


Career Paths

Our alumni hold positions as faculty, editorial photographers, award winning visual journalists, national educational leaders, and filmmakers. They have been published in National Geographic, Cincinnati Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Unite Magazine, Business Courier, CityBeat, and many others. The 21st century multi-media explosion along with the emergence of the web, smart phones and digital tablets has created opportunities for photographers, designers and artists like never before. Business and cultural organizations across the planet need compelling visual content for these modern technologies. Combined with new tools such as 3D printing the creative class is helping to revolutionize our world. Here are possible paths your NKU Art & Design education in photography will prepare you for...


Art Consultant

Art Critic/Writer

Art Director

Art Lecturer/Visiting Scholar

Arts Management

Art Supervisor

Art Teacher


Arts Organization Administrator

Auction House Assistant


Curator - Corporate, Museum, University

Development/Grant Writer

Digital Imaging

Director of Visual Arts Program

Fashion Photographer

Fine Arts Appraiser

Freelance Photographer

Gallery Director

Multi-media Designer/Artist

Museum Educator/Researcher

Digital Lab Technician


Photography Lab Technician

Professor of Art


Restorer, Conservator

Special Effects Artist


TV/Video/Film, Cinematography

Visual Resources Curator

Web Designer, Webmaster