Distance Education Course in Photographic Technology

Learn about  the technical aspects of photography, from image formation to photographic equipment. Develop insights into camera types, lenses, filters, colour, light, and the sensitivity of film or electronic surfaces that record the image.
This course is equally relevant to digital and film.
This is a fascinating area of photographic study which any good photographer needs to understand in order to not only take good photos, but also identify and understand problems when they occur.

Distance Education Course in Photographic Technology

  • Learn about the equipment and science of photography
  • Understand how cameras, lenses and other equipment works and can be used
  • Understand the properties and behaviour of light
  • Learn from qualified experts, indulge a passion, or develop your career

Course Content

There are eight lessons in this course, as follows:

1. Image Formation

Interaction of light with matter (Reflection, Absorption, Transmission, Deviation, Dispersion), Lenses (6 main types -Double Convex,. Plano Convex etc), Understanding movement of light, Image formation in a camera.

2. Lighting

Characteristics of light (Spectrum characteristics, Overall Output, Consistency, Efficiency, Illumination, Quantity, Economy etc); Natural Light, Artificial Light (direction, intensity and colour); Generating Light (From Burning, Heating, Spark or Arc of Electricity, Electrical Discharge); Lighting Equipment (Tungsten Filament Lamps Tungsten Halogen Lamps, Fluorescent Lamps, Flashbulbs.

3. Sensitometry A (ie. Film Sensitivity)

How a Negative is Created; Film Contrast Characteristics (medium, low or high),Resolving & Grain, Speed, Light Meters

4. Sensitometry B

Luminescence range, Scatter affect, Under & over exposure, Callier coefficient,, Difuse & parallel illumination

5. Understanding Colour

White light, Primary colours, Subtractive colour, Short & long wavelengths, Colour differences in negative and positive film.

6. Chemistry of Colour Photography

Colour chemistry, Colour image development, Alternative methods of image formation and processing.

7. Optical Filters and other activities

Applications for different filters, for special affects, comparing with and without filters.

8. Lenses

Wide angle Lenses, The Standard Lens, Telephoto Lens, Zoom and Macro Lenses; Applications for different lenses

Course Aims

  • 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.


Duration: 100 hours


Polarising Filters
These will darken a blue sky and improve the colour saturation of non-metallic objects that have a reflective surface.
A polarising filter is also useful with any shiny reflective objects in the camera screen. For example for more vibrant colour use it with wet rocks, large glossy leaves on trees and plants, or calm rivers or lakes. The filter softens the harsh specular highlights in these objects.

Ultra-Violet (for colour film)
These remove the slight blue cast that occurs most noticeably in landscapes and is invisible to the human eye. It improves the clarity of the image that may sometimes be lost to light distant haze. 

Red Orange and Yellow Filter (for black and white film)
These filters darken the sky and make the clouds appear lighter however the detail of vegetation will be reduced. The effect is due to a filter allowing passage of its own colour through while restricting transmission of its complimentary colours. The red filter, therefore, reduces the passage of cyan light to the recorded image. This means a blue sky will have almost no image recorded and appear almost black. Orange works in the same way, however it has slightly less effect than the red. Yellow has an even lesser result. 

ND filter
Neutral Density filters are used for blocking the light on a scene. This comes in very handy on some landscapes where you want to capture movement in clouds or water. This filter comes in different degrees of light stopping ability ND 1 through to ND 8.  The reading ND1 being 1 stop of light blocked capabilities to 8 stops of light with the ND8. An example where this is useful is during the harsh sunlight of midday. The scenario is you want to capture some of that lovely water movement in the ocean. The problem for you in this instance that there is too much light in the scene and even at f22 aperture you still may be at 250 sec shutter speed. Adding an ND8 will block that light. This allows your shutter speed to drop to around one second, so that now the wave will have that wonderful movement captured!

Graduated ND filters.
This is a similar filter to the Neutral Density Filter and again they are available in different levels. The difference with these filters is that they are graduated from the edge to the centre. At the centre the graduation fades, as this is where you place your horizon or edge of the sky in the image. In effect what you are doing here is applying ND filtration or blocking the light from the sky. What this does to the exposure is hold back the brightest part of the image, so that the foreground exposure can be correctly exposed as well as the sky.  This helps capture a fuller, dynamic, tonal, range of the scene and is it is more realistic than what the eye actually saw.

Infrared Filter
These filters are very dark to look at and come in a variety of strengths. They are used to mimic the look of infrared film with digital cameras capturing electromagnetic radiation. These filters are able to capture hidden light, that heat radiation often caused by the sun. For example: trees absorb a lot of sunlight so are warmer than the ocean, so the trees will appear light in the image and the water dark. Quite different to the visual spectrum we see day to day.

Using Filters and Post Processing
Many of these filters used in digital photography today have been bought across from the times when film cameras were the only means of creating an image. Today with the vast range of digital cameras some of these filters are not required as the result can be achieved in the post processing.
Some of the filters commonly used in film photography that are hard to mimic in digital photography are the Polorizer, Infrared and Neutral Density filters.