In March, PhotoWorkflo published a post analyzing some important results from the 2018-2019 State of Photographic Education Survey, conducted by the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) in partnership with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).
In that post, we focused on the survey responses identifying areas in higher education photography programs where the most improvement is needed; business education was the overall standout. We then put out the call asking photography programs how they help photography graduates prepare to be business-savvy artists. The first to answer was Daniel Kariko of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

Tell us a little about your role at ECU? How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching at ECU for the past 9 years. My role has progressed from Photography Area Coordinator to Assistant Director of the School of Art and Design and coordinator of our undergraduate programs. I teach half time at this point (3 photography courses a year) and work with all aspects of our undergrad BFA programs from recruitment, through curriculum development, to graduation.

Artist Daniel Kariko: Sun Room Corner, August 26th [Owlet Moth] from the Project Suburban Symbiosis: Insectum domesticus

What has your photography career been like? Is it primarily fine art? Do you ever work commercially?

My career has been primarily academic, within the fine art field. I started working at Florida State University (Non-Tenure Track) immediately after my graduate school. I have never worked commercially, other than the occasional wedding early on…

Did the SPE/ASMP survey results surprise you? What is your perception of business education for photography higher education students in general?

Not many results surprised me, but I am happy to see that the majority of survey participants still tend to be tenured or tenure track. That could be due to the organization bias. There is a great amount of adjunct faculty, and I would like to see the longer timescale on that field- Whether the pathway of those in Adjunct or Non-Tenure Track positions leads to permanent academic positions, or not.
I feel that business education for photography is crucial in some form for our students. We provide a lot of it through our capstone courses, but if there’s an opportunity I always encourage students to seek out their own resources. However, where we fall short in art school is providing information for business planning and money management.

Your college has a unique program offering for students who want to learn how to run their own business when they graduate. Can you tell us about it?

The ECU College of Business offers 4-course Entrepreneurship Certificate, aimed at future small-business owners. Here is a description: The multidisciplinary Entrepreneurship Certificate is designed for non-business majors and appealing to anyone who may either operate their own for-profit or nonprofit business now or in the future. It is also helpful to those who will have careers working in small/medium sized firms or in related fields. The following four courses are required:
FINA 3500 – Money Management for Entrepreneurs
MGMT 3500 – Entrepreneurship Essentials
MGMT 4500 – Entrepreneurial Business Planning
MKTG 3500 – Entrepreneurial Opportunities & Marketing

Does your photo program teach students specific business skills like writing contracts, copyright, and licensing?

We cover the basics of copyright, contracts, and grant applications in our senior classes. We tend to change the focus, based on the interests of our photo students’ cohorts.

Do you encourage your students to participate in any professional organizations?

Yes- Mostly Society for Photographic Education SPE, American Society of Media Photographers ASMP, and in the past Professional Photographers of America PPA.

You have been an active member of SPE and are currently serving on the national board, what would you say to new students considering becoming a member?

I feel that my particular career direction benefited immensely from my SPE membership and the contacts I developed over years. I think it is a great resource for early career photographers.

Are you a member of ASMP?


What additional advice would you like to share with students who are about to graduate to help them be business-savvy photographers?

Sign up for some entrepreneurship courses! If not at your university, a community college near-by will likely help you develop a business plan. Write at least one business plan in your college career.