Qualification - Certificate In Photography

Course CodeVPH002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours


Learn about:

  • The Technology
  • The Art
  • The Business

To realize your full potential in this exciting industry, you need to not only have a foundation in photographic knowledge and skills, but it's also important to differentiate yourself in order to have an edge over your competition (Which is one reason why we have built elective modules into this course, to allow each student to develop a slightly different mix of experience and skill).

Student Comment 
 "I do learn a lot! Compare to the photographer training here in Germany, which you make by working with a professional photographer for 3 years and 1 day school a week, you learn a lot more.  By making this course you have much more topics and subject areas to handle, than by working in a studio and doing the same thing - for example: portraits - every single day. What I think is best - the assignments often need more background information than given in the subject guide, so you have to look it up and learn a lot more than you would if everything would have been given.  And because I run my own business as a photographer, the freedom to handle the course whenever I find the time, is just great!" Certificate in Photography student, UK/Germany 


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate In Photography.
 Introduction To Photography BPH100
 Photographic Practice BPH101
 Photographic Technology BPH201
 Photoshop VIT202
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 6 modules.
 Travel Photography VPH005
 Photographing People BPH102
 Digital Photography (Short Course) BPH202
 Landscape Photography BPH203
 Photographic Lighting BPH204
 Wedding Photography BPS206

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate In Photography is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Example of a Typical Course Structure

The certificate consists of six modules:

Introduction to Photography

  • Discuss the principles those underpins photography and examine the evolution into digital technologies.
  • Explain how photographic images are able to be captured on film. This lesson will also explain how photographic images are able to be captured by digital cameras.
  • Provide you with a firm understanding of how you can work at improving your capabilities with respect to taking photographs. It provides a framework, upon which you will base your work in future lessons.
  • Determine appropriate application for a range of common items of photographic equipment and develop an understanding of how digital images can be transferred effectively from a digital camera
  • Explain how photographic film is developed.
  • Describe the process by which photographic film may be enlarged. Also explain techniques that can be used to process digital photographs within a computer to achieve improved or changed images.
  • Work more effectively with light when taking photographs.
  • To identify and avoid common faults in photographs.

Photographic Practice

  • Compose photographs in a way that matches a predetermined aim.
  • Explain a variety of ways to take better photographs of people.
  • Explain a variety of ways to take better photographs of landscapes or other natural subjects.
  • Differentiate between appropriate use of colour and black and white photography.
  • Create varied visual affects through the use of special techniques.
  • Explain a variety of ways to take better illustrative photographs.
  • Explain a variety of ways to take better photographs for use in print or electronic media.
  • Determine the nature and scope of business opportunities in photography.

Photographic Technology

  • Describe in technical terms, how an image forms when a photograph is taken.
  • Explain the nature of light and how this relates to the finished photographic product.
  • Describe how sensitivity of a photo sensitive surface and its development affect the photographic image.
  • Explain sensitivity relates to development affect the photographic image.
  • Explain the composition and manipulation of white and coloured light to create different photographic images.
  • Discuss the chemical process that occurs in producing a colour film photograph.
  • Explain how the photographic image may be manipulated by using optical filters or other camera attachments, other than lenses.
  • Explain how the photographic image may be manipulated by using lenses.

Digital Photography

  • Describe the scope and nature of digital photography
  • Select appropriate equipment for use in digital photography
  • Explain how technology enables digital images to be captured.
  • Compare different digital cameras and select an appropriate camera for a particular application.
  • Control the effects created in a digital photograph which you take.
  • Describe techniques which can be used for digitally capturing images from film photographs, or graphics.
  • Explain how digital images can be transferred effectively from a camera (or scanner) onto another device (eg. a computer, video monitor, television set, etc).
  • Describe techniques that can be used to process digital photographs within a computer to achieve improved or changed images.
  • Explain how digital photos can be manipulated and changed to produce altered images.
  • Discuss the scope and nature of special effects that can be created with digital photographs.
  • Identify how and where digital photography can effectively be used.


  • Open digital files using Photoshop
  • Resize images and save them in multiple file formats
  • Create original graphics using the Photoshop tools
  • Manipulate individual elements of a graphic composition or image
  • Improve the quality of an image (clean it up) by applying modifications
  • Apply interesting filters and effects to images or compositions
  • Prepare your files for the web, print or email

Photographic Lighting

  • Discuss the scope and nature of lighting as relevant to photography.
  • Describe how different light sources will affect different images in varying ways.
  • Describe how different filters can be used to create different lighting effects.
  • Identify the differences between different types of light meters.
  • Describe the range of equipment which can be used to help achieve more desirable light conditions for photography.
  • Explain contrast and how to compensate for imperfect light conditions.
  • Explain how to use tone to create the desired final image.
  • Distinguish between utilisation of light in a studio and on location.To view detailed outlines of each of the modules click on the modules above, one by one.
Good Photography involves both Art and Science
Photography has changed considerably over the decades; and will no doubt continue to change. Anyone can take a photo but capturing an appropriate image that is exceptional, requires a lot more skill and knowledge than what the average amateur photographer has.
You need more than just good equipment.
  • You need to understand the physical science that makes that equipment work; and the way to use that equipment to best advantage.
  • You also need to understand the principles that underpin artistic expression
This course provides you a foundation in both the artistic and technical aspects of photography; and helps you connect with the photographic industry. It improves your prospects for building a business or getting a job in professional photography; and lays a foundation for further learning. 
Understand the Technology and You will Take Better Photos
Consider shutter speed, for example. Shutter speed is the length of time the shutter remains open, allowing the light to act on the film. 
To understand shutter speed, it is necessary to understand what a shutter actually does and is.  The shutter is a mechanical device that allows for the exposure of the film and comes in two main varieties; leaf and focal plane. 
The focal plane shutter is made up of a number of blades, in two distinct sets that travel across the plane of the film. The first set, in the inactive position completely obscures the film. On the firing of the shutter, the first set travel either down or across the film horizontally to open the shutter and expose the film or sensor to light. At a controlled interval – the selected shutter speed – the second blind or curtain is released and completely obscures the film again. 
This common shutter design is inefficient – but cheap to install.  It has a problem with faster shutter speeds where the second blind leaves its start position and is attempting to close the shutter while the first blind is still travelling across the film. This causes great problems when using flash because it means that only a strip of the film is exposed while the flash is firing.
Leaf shutters are not ‘at the film plane’ but are built into the lens itself, just behind the aperture. When a SLR camera using a leaf shutter is fired, a series of blades, from 5-8 go through a process like this: 
  • shutter release is pressed,
  • the shutter blades close to obscure the film, 
  • the mirror is flipped to open, 
  • the aperture blades close to the selected f/No.,
  • the shutter blades open for the required duration and then close,
  • shutter is re-cocked and the mirror lowered to the start position at wind on  (For a non-SLR with a leaf shutter, the mirror action is removed)
The actual shutter speed, measured in seconds or fractions of seconds, is the duration that the shutter (of either type) is open to expose the film/sensor to light.
Because the shutter is open for the entire duration of the exposure, flash will synchronise to the maximum shutter speed of the lens. However, leaf shutters tend not to go faster than 1/500th of a second. 
The shutter on a camera is responsible for controlling the movement in the photograph. The shorter the shutter is open for, the less light that can get in. The longer the shutter is open for, the more light the camera is exposed to. 
To blur the subject and create a feeling of action and speed in a shot, use a slower shutter speed e.g. 1/8th of a second. To create a crisp picture with little or no blur, use a faster shutter speed e.g. 1/1000th of a second.
Here is a representation of fastest through to slower shutter speeds on a typical camera:
Fastest 2000 1000 500 250 125 60 30 15 8 4 2 1 Slowest
‘Stops’ are the difference between each shutter speed. 
A fast shutter speed actually captures a moving object very quickly. The movement is literally frozen and held fast, so the picture is very sharp with little or no blur.
A slower shutter speed exposes the camera to more light as the shutter is open for longer. Because it is open for longer, the movement of the image is captured, which can create the blur of movement which is great for action shots.
  • 1/2000th of a second = crisp shot of a moving subject (no blur). Static shot which completely freezes the action to produce a very clear shot.  
  • 1/8th of a second = blurring of a moving subject creating a feel of action.
Different shutter speeds can create interesting effects. Try experimenting with shutter speeds to see the results. It is important to know and understand how to use shutter speeds to their best effect for the subject at hand.
On shutter speeds under 1/125 second, it is difficult for a photographer to hold a camera steady enough to avoid movement of the camera during the exposure. The chances of the picture being blurred are high (because of either camera movement or movement of the subject). This is somewhat dependant on the lens being used; a long focal length lens presents more of a stability problem than a wide angle lens. If using a very long focal length lens; 300mm and above, use a tripod or monopod to steady the equipment.


Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

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