Photojournalists work in publishing (electronic or print media) either self employed (freelance) or in house (employed by a publisher); contributing images and (in smaller enterprises), writing as well to published work.  Opportunities are relatively strong and diverse for skilled photographers, but for the person who can also write text and process images using software, demand for this mix of skills have been very high.



This course develops the skills essential to becoming a photojournalist. It is a broad based, practically oriented training course that will develop the essential skills required to work in this field. The student will develop a variety of written and photographic work that can be used as the basis for a professional portfolio.

Course Aim

The Diploma in Photojournalism is a broad based, practically oriented training course that will develop the essential skills required to work in this field. The student will develop a variety of written and photographic work that can be used as the basis for a professional portfolio.

Course Structure

This diploma course is made up of 21 modules (1800 hrs total), including:

  • Research Project l and Research Project ll (200 hrs total)
  • 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings (100 hrs).

Study modules

The 20 study modules are listed below:

Freelance Writing
AdvancedFreelance Writing
Publishing l
Publishing ll
Editing I
Introduction to Photography
Photo Practice
Photo Technology
Digital Photography
Photo Lighting
People Photography
Programming Websites (HTML)
Visual Basic.Net
Project Management
Business Studies
Introduction to Psychology
Marketing l

To fulfill the requirements of the diploma, the student must complete all course Set Task and Assignments, and pass an exam for each study module (18 exams).

Industry Meetings

This involves participating in at least 100 hrs of seminars, workshops, committee meetings, meetings of local journalists or photographers.

Detailed outlines of most of these modules can be found on this web site.




A photojournalist may be involved in sports news. One of the main requirements for a sports photographer is to know the sport they are photographing. With an extensive knowledge of the sport- its rules, aims and high points- the photographer is able to anticipate action that is going to happen and therefore capture it in the split second that is needed.

Choosing a good view point where you can capture the action as if you were actually taking part is important to a successful shoot. For example, the bend of a race track as the horses bunch together or the cars slow and skid around the bend.
Make sure you think about your own personal safety as well as how good your shots can be.

One of the problems to overcome with shooting sports is there is often a very busy background and your foreground action can get lost amongst the activity. Often using a large aperture to limit the depth of field to the foreground figures will help with this.

Equipment Requirements

  • A fast shutter speed camera is essential for most sports:
    1/500th second will do for most sports
    1/1000th second is needed for the faster sports such as skiing.
  • A telephoto lens - 180 or 200mm focal length (over a 200mm lens is difficult for action photography as it usually requires a tripod).
  • Faster (say ISO 400) film capture is usually far more suited to sports photography- although slow fine grain film can be used in bright sunny conditions.
  • If lighting is artificial, in an indoor event, you should give consideration to the colour balance (Tungsten film or a 80A filter might be needed).

Freezing Action

The shutter speed and distance from the camera interrelate. Action that is moving towards you or away from you appears to move slower than action moving across your cameras field of vision at a right angle to the lens axis. As a result, shooting action head on can be shot with a slower shutter speed to freeze action than shooting from the side.
For example, a cyclist 100ft from the camera travelling at 30 mph might be frozen by 1/250th second shutter speed. However, if you are only 20ft away the cyclist will appear to be moving faster and you might need a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second.

Sometimes it appears that the action during a sport is temporarily suspended in time, for example when a skate boarder reaches the top of the ramp there will be a slight pause because his upwards motion has finished and inertia suspends him temporarily before gravity pulls him back down again. If you are ready for this pause you can freeze the moment using a slower shutter speed.

Blurring Movement

To blur images to convey motion it is usually best to keep the background sharp or at least recognizable. The shutter speed you chose is dependent on the speed at which your subject is moving. Most movement of people will be adequately blurred at 1/30 sec yet keep some of the image in focus. Shutter speeds slower than 1/30 will blur all or most of the image, and usually you will need to use a tripod to keep some of the background sharp. Remember that action closer to you will be faster than action further away, and that the fastest moving parts of the body will be the most blurred. If you are blurring action outdoors and the light is bright you will want to use a slow film or set your digital camera at its slowest IOS.


By using the panning technique you can create the effect of movement by shooting a relatively sharp subject against a blurred background. To ensure a crystal clear shot when shooting fast sports such as motor racing, start to focus on the subject from some distance away and keep on tracking the subject until it is at the spot on the track where you wish to take the photo. Now, press the shutter button and to avoid blurring the shot, keep on tracking (panning) with the subject until the shot has been recorded. Practice is essential to get this technique right. Panning needs a fairly slow shutter speed and is therefore suited to low light conditions. You can modify this using slow film or camera ISO and or use filters to reduce the light. In general the slower the subject is moving the longer the exposure you will need. At slow shutter speeds you will find a tripod with a panning head will lesson your chance of jarring the camera vertically.



Professional sports photographers realise the advantage digital technology has over conventional photography in this area. With sports photographers racing to get their images into newspapers and magazines as quickly as possible, digital images can be sent down the line directly to the picture desk, cutting out the time it takes to process and deliver images.

The amateur sports photographer will also find digital photography more convenient. Local sporting clubs have their own websites and are always looking for images to promote their club, and you could be asked to take pictures of winners and team group shots which can be easily be downloaded onto your computer and printed with an ink jet printer.

  • Use the digital technology to your advantage. You are not shooting through rolls of film, so go ahead and take extra digital photos at a sporting event
  • A long telephoto zoom is practically essential at sporting events. Unless you are a professional and commissioned to take photos at an event, allowing you sideline or bleacher access, you probably will not be seated as close to the action as you'd like. A long 7+ or higher zoom can make the difference between good and bad photograph.
  • Set the digital camera's shutter speed as fast as possible to handle photographs with the available light. This reduces the chance of 'camera shake' if you are unable to use a tripod. Study your digital camera manual for assistance in changing the shutter speed
  • After you have pressed down on your digital camera's shutter, it may take a few milliseconds before it is pressed down firmly before a photo is recorded. This is called shutter lag time.
    The lag time increases during the camera's auto focus process. Decrease the lag time by setting your camera to manual focus mode or by keeping the shutter button halfway down, already auto-focused on a particular area.
  • To take fast photos without flash, your camera must have an abundance of available light. In some circumstances, such as sporting arenas or night-time outdoor games, this may not be the case. To help compensate for the lack of light, you may want to consider increasing your digital camera's ISO settings to 200 or higher if you can get away with it without introducing too much grain (noise) in the film. In low light situations where shutter speed is a must, you may require a digital SLR that can take high-quality photos at ISO settings such as 400 or higher.