Top 5 Photography Scholarships to Help You Grow as An Artist

Creating art has always been an economic struggle. When schools need to make budget cuts it's usually the arts that get slashed first. Why? because it's hard to monetize art unless you're really good at it. To become really good at anything takes time, patience, talent, and support.

The advent of digital cameras has been a creative boon for students. Now that the images are on par with celluloid (at least for still photography) students can spend money on a nice camera and not have to worry about buying stock and processing costs. But editing software and flashcards are not free, heck neither is that fancy camera doing all the heavy lifting.

Therefore in honor with Nikon's recent announcement that it's accepting submissions for "The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship", we'd like to offer you five options for students that aren't limited to the schools you attend.

So, here are five photography scholarships to help students get started on that journey of becoming an artist.

Key Details about The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship:

Open to undergraduate or graduate students in the United States or Canada pursuing degrees in visual arts, fine arts, journalism, film, photography and multimedia/content creation who have completed their freshman year of college or academic equivalent.

Once selected, semi-finalists will be asked to provide a photo portfolio or video submission for evaluation by a selection committee who will identify the ten scholarship recipients.

The scholarships recipients will be selected in June 2018; Scholarships will be awarded for use in the 2018-2019 academic school year.

Eligible students in the U.S. and Canada can apply to be one of ten individuals awarded an academic scholarship of $10,000 USD, to help foster their growth as visual storytellers and content creators.


The Outdoor Writers Association of America -- an organization that seeks to improve the skills of professional communicators who work in the great outdoors -- offers the Bodie McDowell Scholarship. This scholarship is available to undergraduate students studying print, photography, film, art, or broadcasting.

You can win anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 if you demonstrate "clear, significant goals in outdoor communications." Applications are now closed but will open back up in December.


Offered by the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), the Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant awards $1,000 to photography students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Students are eligible if they attend two-year or four-year colleges, art/design schools, or photography schools.

High school students interested in studying nature photography can also apply for the NANPA High School Scholarship Program. Not a college scholarship, this is an immersive education program that takes place during the summer months in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

James Alan logo.png

Another scholarship focused on photojournalists, applications for the James Alan Cox Foundation photography scholarship are due each November.

This scholarship is available to high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students alike. All applicants need to have at least one semester of school left to receive the award.

Other requirements are as follows:

High school students need to be at least a sophomore and have taken at least one photography or related art class. College students or students at technical schools need to have at least one full year under their belt at an accredited school. They must also have taken at least one photography or photojournalism class. Graduate students must be studying journalism or photojournalism.

And here's what you can win:

High school students can win a digital camera. Undergraduate students at a college or technical school can win a $2,500 scholarship, either for video work or still photography. Graduate students can win a $2,500 scholarship for video work only.

If interested, you can apply for this photography scholarship via the James Cox Foundation.

aiga logo.png

The Worldstudio AIGA Scholarship was designed to help minority and economically disadvantaged students pursue a degree in art or design. To win, you should not just show talent and financial need, but also have a plan to give back to your community through your work.

Majors in photography (as well as other artistic disciplines) can win up to $5,000 for school. Here's the breakdown of awards:

The top prize is $5,000 to help pay for school. The basic scholarship amount is $2,000 to $3,000. Or you can win an honorable mention prize of $500 in cash.

Applications for this scholarship closed in May but will reopen in early 2018.