This course prepares for a career in photography, developing knowledge and skills in using a camera and other technical equipment,  processing digital images, and more.
It is a foundation course for working as a freelance photographer, photo sales person, or the first step toward further studies and a career in management. 

Developed by professional photographers to train professional photographers, this course gives you a very sound foundation for a career in the modern photographic industry.
This is a rapidly changing industry; and this course is continuously being updated to meet these rapid changes.

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).

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.

Duration: 600 hours (approximately)

Why Choose to Study an ACS Certificate?

  • We have been taking photos professionally since the 1970's. We have sold photos commercially to magazines, book publishers, web sites and marketing businesses around the globe; and we know what is needed to make money from photos.
  • We offer options to choose electives that you don't find in similar diplomas elsewhere.
  • Certificates are often longer, and more in depth than what is offered at many other colleges (Compare -600 hours). Study more, learn more, go further in your career or business.
  • We focus more on learning (some colleges focus more on assessment than we do -but we believe that what you learn is what makes the difference)
  • More support ... you have unlimited access from tutors in helping you learn ... we often hear from our graduates that this is a major advantage they have found with our courses
  • Exceptional tutors...compare the qualifications and experience of our staff ....after all, it doesn't make sense to choose


Developing your photography skills is obviously the cornerstone for building a career or business however, skill alone does not guarantee any level of success. There are many people who can take outstanding photos who are never successful at making money from their photographs

The secret to success as a photographer is to recognise the full range of attributes that you need to develop. These include:

  • Learn your photography skills, develop expertise and develop a speciality area if possible
  • Build a capacity to find opportunities, whether that is getting a job, developing your own business or something else.
  • Develop an ability to impress, not just with impressive work but also with impressive communication skills. 
  • Be willing to adapt; the world is changing and quickly. 

Learning to take good photos may be achieved through formal or informal studies, experience, or more commonly, a mix of these things.
Qualifications are no longer as much of a guarantee to success as they once were, but learning, and continually improving your artistic and technical skills, are just as critical as they ever were

Opportunities will always exist for photographers, both now and in the future - but those opportunities are likely to keep changing. In today’s world, where everyone is so well connected, it is harder than ever to keep a secret about anything; and whenever anyone finds a good way to earn money from some endeavour as with photography; it won’t be long before many others discover what they are doing and start doing the same thing

  • Become visible and stay visible – If people can’t find you, they don’t do business with you, they don’t offer you a job, they do not buy from you. Promote yourself. Many people worry about privacy or appearing conceited, and do not want to promote themselves; those that don’t are going to be at a disadvantage.
  • Network with potential customers, employers and colleagues. In today’s world, the most connected people get the most business, get the best job offers and see new opportunities before anyone else. Whether you like it or not, it is important to devote time to social media such as Linked in, Facebook and Pintrest in order to be connected. Other valuable ways of networking include: attending exhibitions, reading publications, studying other people’s work, having discussions with others about photos and being involved with photographic organisations, both professional and amateur.