Photography, B.A.

CBU's photography major explores the practice and theory of photography via technical understandings and methodological explorations of the photography medium as applied to commercial, fine art, and social practice.

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Program Intro

Through the introduction of narrative, conceptual development, and Christian worldview, students in CBU's photography program will acquire a unique stylistic aesthetic and photographic voice, leading to a professional portfolio. Best practices, latest technologies, ideation, craft, and business acumen are embedded into the instruction and mentorship – all with the intention of sending graduates out to make an impact for the Kingdom.

54 Units

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18 Required Major Courses
100 % Christian Faculty and Staff

Why Study Photography at CBU?

Get Outside the Classroom

Classrooms are integral but they are a place to stagnate. Whether it is a mountain shoot, internship, studio tour, desert shoot, pool shoot, field trip, speaking engagement or just fellowship, we build a community of designers that connect on campus and off.  Our students learn to understand the power of their work and grow to direct others — then to change others.

Gain Real-World Experience

Living and studying within proximity to the major photographic markets of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, students in CBU's photography program are given opportunities to engage with professionals at industry events, attend artist talks, and view contemporary exhibitions. These real-world opportunities will nurture their artistic practice in their future careers.

Program Details

PHO 330: Visual Storytelling

This course integrates a conceptual framework and narrative structure into the photographic process. Utilizing color, design and visual communication skills to evoke emotion, students will learn how narrative shapes messaging. 

PHO 432: Location Lighting

Students will be able to approach locations efficiently to determine what artificial lighting methods to introduce, to create technically refined photographs.

PHO 499: Portfolio and Gallery

Students will apply the skills necessary for the professional presentation of a completed body of work including editing, sequencing, printing, marketing, portfolio design, and gallery presentation.

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Christopher Kern, M.F.A.

Associate Professor of Photography
Program Lead, Photography

Office Phone: 951-552-8150
Office Location: ABPK B26

Christine Smith, MFA

Lecturer of Photography

Office Phone: 951-343-4442
Office Location: ABPK 26

  • Students will define a unique stylistic aesthetic while demonstrating elements of visual storytelling through narrative, concept, design, and Christian worldview.
  • Students through the critique process, will be able to articulate key formal and conceptual issues in photographic work using language specific to their field.
  • Students will be proficient in studio and location lighting, utilizing tools current in the photography industry.
  • Students will demonstrate a professional digital workflow; from capture, to post-production, to digital delivery and print output.
  • Students will demonstrate a working knowledge of business practices and industry standards relevant to their concentration.

Students continue to be recognized by the industry for their photographic works. Nationally by; Communication Arts, American Photography, and the American Photographic Artists. And internationally by the Lucie Foundation’s International Photography Awards.

2023 International Photography Awards – Official Selection

2023 American Photography 39

2023 Communication Arts Photography Annual 64

2023 Communication Arts Photography Shortlist

2022 Untitled Show – APA San Diego

2022 International Photography Awards – Honorable Mention

2022 Communication Arts Photography Annual 63

2022 Communication Arts Photography Shortlist

2022 American Photography 38

2022 Communication Arts Student Showcase

2021 Untitled Show – APA San Diego

2021 International Photography Awards – Honorable Mention

2021 Communication Arts Photography Shortlist

2021 American Photography 37

Raymond Alva

Going into photography, I just wanted to make cool images, from a commercial standpoint. [A professor] opened my eyes, that I could do this to help people and to actually shed light on God and bring glory to Him.

Raymond Alva '22

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Jacob Gonzalez

My time at CBU prepared me by allowing me to get a head start in this industry. I tried everything I could and learned what worked and what didn’t those four years so by the time I graduated I was ahead of the curve and could easily make that transition to a professional.

Jacob Gonzalez '17
Lead Photographer, Austin FC

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Student Opportunities: ONT Airport Display

Since fall 2022, photographs taken by CBU alumni have been displayed in Terminal 4 at the Ontario International Airport. It's part of their Art at the Airport initiative. CBU has the space for two years. Students’ work will be changed twice a year. “The prompt is to get the photographers' work out there to the public, to engage the community as a viewer and prompt curiosities and start conversations,” said Christopher Kern, photography program director.

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Student Opportunities: Facilities

Photography students can make use of an indoor photography studio, equipment room with various cameras and accessories, a traditional darkroom, and a digital darkroom with 24 iMacs installed with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud and CaptureOne Pro software.

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student with camera in pool

Student Opportunities: Shoot on Location

The classroom is only the start. Each year, CBU photography students arm themselves with cameras and head out to the desert and into the pool for an underwater shoot.

Career Possibilities

The opportunity to secure a job is now more possible than ever because of the shift from agency to client direct work, and the reclassification of the freelancer to an employee. Historically, these positions have been limited to the major advertising markets and to the contracting of freelancers. Studies in photography can lead to a variety of roles within the photography Industry.

  • Photo / Lighting Assistant
  • Digital Technician
  • Digital Asset Manager
  • Photo Retoucher
  • Photo Producer
  • Location Scout
  • Studio / Location Manager
  • Photography Manager / Agent
  • Photo Researcher
  • Photo Editor
  • Art Buyer
  • Curator
  • Gallery Manager
  • Editorial Photographer
  • Ecommerce / Catalog / Studio Photographer
  • Commercial Advertising Photographer
  • Wedding and Portrait Photographer
  • Fine Art Photographer

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Ready to See Differently?

Discover. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test. Our demand of the student is simple. See Differently.