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Lights, Camera, Career? Develop Photography Skills with Career & Technical Education

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Campo Verde Students in CTE PhotographyIn today's visually driven world, the ability to capture compelling images is a valuable skill not only for aspiring photographers but for anyone looking to express themselves creatively. The Digital Photography Career & Technical Education (CTE) program offered at five Gilbert Public School high schools provides students with the opportunity to hone their artistic skills and gain valuable real-world experience. This comprehensive program teaches the intricacies of professional photography, equipping students with the technical skills and experience needed to pursue a career in photography.


In this CTE program, students dive into digital photography - becoming proficient with manual settings and experimenting with various lenses and lighting techniques with professional DSLR cameras. They then become adept at using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, transforming ordinary shots into masterpieces while developing distinct editing styles.


With new skills in photography and editing, students are tasked with building their own personal brand. By crafting impactful business cards, building dynamic websites to showcase their portfolios, and leveraging the power of social media, students gain valuable marketing and branding skills they can use to secure professional photography opportunities.


At Campo Verde High’s Digital Photography CTE program, students must be hired by non-family members and provide photography services to clients twice a year by capturing imagery for weddings, portraits, products, and more. In this real-world simulation, students learn the ins and outs of managing a photography business, offering an invaluable experience that not only hones their business acumen but also enriches their portfolios with professional-grade work. By offering this experience to students, they can make better-informed decisions about pursuing a photography career.


“Our goal with this program is to provide students with a skillset they can use for life. By learning the basics of digital photography, they learn a skill that is applicable in many places so they are open to many different opportunities,” said Lindsey Wallace, the Digital Photography teacher at Campo Verde High School. “Photography is a viable career path that will always be open to my students. Even if they don’t choose photography as their primary career, it’s a skill they can use as a hobby that can even make some money.”


Camera Lenses Available to StudentsFour students in Mrs. Wallace’s Digital Photography course also offered insights into their experiences in the program.


“At first I was unsure about the program but it opened my eyes to many different opportunities. Most people think photography is easy but there is so much meaning behind it and we’re able to analyze and interpret that meaning,” said Delyla Aker, a Sophomore at Campo Verde High.


“If I hadn’t taken this class, my photos wouldn’t be as good. The lighting would be off and I wouldn’t know how to add elements to the imagery,” added Jonah Morgan, a Junior at Campo Verde High. “Overall, I like this class. It’s a relaxing environment and photography is a relaxing hobby.”


Arabela Curtis, a Sophomore at Campo Verde High, reflected on what Digital Photography means to her. “My mom was a photographer so I grew up around photography and I’ve always loved it. This program has pushed me to explore different styles of photography, which has given me skills that I’ll use forever.”


Madison Chacon, a Sophomore at Campo Verde High, left a message for all students looking to learn something new. “Give photography a shot. In this program, you’ll learn a different skill that can be used in a lot of places. We have access to take pictures with different props, lighting, lenses, and so much more. If nothing else, you’ll always have those photos and a new skill to fall back on.”


The Digital Photography CTE program is offered across five GPS high schools: Campo Verde High, Desert Ridge High, Gilbert High, Highland High, and Mesquite High. To learn more about Digital Photography and other CTE programs offered at all GPS high schools, visit To explore Mrs. Wallace’s Digital Photography CTE program at Campo Verde High, visit the course website



Student Work:


Roaring Lion

Photo by Aaron Minton




Sunset behind lightbulb

Photo by Arabela Curtis





Photo by Bianca Hurtado




Girls walking

Photo by Brooklyn Linarte




Girl at lake


Photo by Cate Giarrizzo




Ocean reflection in diamond shape

Photo by Delyla Aker





Photo by Ella Eberle





Photo by Jonah Morgan





Photo by Lily Keller





Photo by Madison Chacon





Photo by Mia Frank





Photo by Sebastian Guzman

Story by Tristan Chavez. Photos by Lindsey Wallace