• The Open University
New

Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio

Learn to make beautiful digital images from scratch with anything from your camera phone to a professional DSLR

Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio
  • Duration10 weeks
  • Weekly study10 hours
This course is part of the Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio program, which will enable you to take your digital photography skills to a professional level.

Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio

Almost everyone has a camera in their pocket these days that would have been the envy of professionals 10 years ago. But it takes more than just pointing and clicking to create truly amazing digital images. This course teaches the theory and practicalities of digital imaging, from how light refracts through the cameras lens, to what makes a visually pleasing scene, to digitally removing unsightly elements from an image. This course has been created in partnership with the Royal Photographic Society and provides the skills to qualify for their Licentiate Distinction (LRPS) in still photography.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    What makes an interesting image?

    • Introduction to digital photography

      This activity begins with a welcome and introduction to this course. We'll explain what to expect and how to set yourself up for success.

    • Images and our view of the world

      In this activity, you will explore and share images as well as discover how photography has changed our perception of the world.

    • Fundamentals of image composition

      In this activity, you are going to discover some new skills to help you create images that catch the viewer's eye.

    • Looking critically at images

      In this activity, you'll find out how to compare and critique images, and how to recognise techniques which have been used.

    • Planning your composition

      In this activity, you'll explore how to enhance your photography with new techniques. You'll also find out how to identify photos as you add them to your portfolio.

    • Week 1 review

      In this activity, we'll sum up the week, try out a practical exercise together, let you know about some online resources that you can access and connect you with the course Mentors.

  • Week 2

    When light becomes data

    • Your digital camera

      In this activity, you will be introduced to Week 2 and get to know your camera's components and features.

    • Light and its properties

      in this activity, you'll discover how to use the features of a typical digital camera to optimise your photography. We'll begin by looking at the importance of lighting.

    • Finding information about a digital image

      Some images contain metadata which you can create and read. In this activity, you will learn how to read this information and how to write new metadata.

    • Working with light

      In this activity, you'll discover that no matter what kind of camera you are using, the key to great images is capturing your subject in good lighting conditions.

    • Week 2 review

      So far, we have looked at how your camera features can help you to capture light. In this activity, you'll review Week 2 and share your thoughts before you finish the week.

  • Week 3

    Working with exposure

    • Visually assessing exposure in an image

      In this activity, we'll introduce you to the week and begin to look at exposure, brightness and contrast.

    • Controlling image exposure before you take the image

      In this activity, you will explore how a combination of different settings can help you to control the exposure of your images.

    • Capturing movement

      In this activity, you'll find out how photographers capture and portray movement. You'll try out two options: freezing the moment and revealing motion with blur.

    • Working with light meters

      In this activity, you will observe how the camera measures light, and use this to experiment in different photographic situations.

    • Exploring and controlling exposure digitally: the histogram

      In this activity, we are going to explore how you can create different effects in an image using the histogram tool in your image editing application of choice.

    • Week 3 review

      So far, we have looked at how to work with exposure when capturing images. In this activity, you'll review Week 3 and share your thoughts before you finish the week.

  • Week 4

    Focus and depth of field

    • Exploring lenses and focus

      In this activity, we'll introduce you to the week and find out about focus, including focal length and field of view.

    • Focal length and camera shake

      In this activity, you'll find out about techniques that you can use to create sharp images, no matter the speed or movement of your subject.

    • Optical and digital zoom

      In this activity, you will learn about different zoom levels and how to work with them.

    • Controlling depth of field

      In this activity, you will learn some rules to help you work with depth of field.

    • Week 4 review

      This week, we've explored how a photographer can use focus and depth of field to crate images. In this activity, you'll review Week 4 and share your thoughts before you finish the week.

  • Week 5

    Enjoying colour

    • Infrared and reflected light

      In this activity, we'll introduce the week, and you'll begin to explore types of light – and how these influence the colour of your images.

    • Sensing colour - eye versus camera

      In this activity, you will observe several experiments to help you see how colours are used in imaging.

    • Sensors in your camera

      In this activity, we are going to investigate different techniques used to provide accurate colour reproduction.

    • Talking about colour

      In this activity, you will be experimenting with how colour perception is influenced by hue, saturation and brightness.

    • Colour expression in digital imaging

      In this activity, we will find out how colour is expressed in digital images, and how photographers can influence the way that colour is perceived.

    • Colours depend on other colours

      In this activity, you’ll see that the way we perceive a colour depends on the colours that surround it, and you’ll find out how to use that to your advantage in your own photography.

    • Week 5 review

      In this activity, we’ll review what you have learned in Week 5 and help you to prepare for what comes next. You have successfully made it halfway through the course. Well done!

  • Week 6

    Displaying images

    • Using technology to display your images

      In this activity, you’ll find out about the wide range of technologies that can be used to display photos, and you’ll see that, to view really large images you might want to project them onto a bigger screen.

    • Printing techniques and devices

      In this activity, we are going to identify various techniques and devices and explain how to print while keeping your colours consistent.

    • Colours when printing your photos

      In this activity, you will get some help with making colour and light adjustments in your prints.

    • Memorising compressing and storing

      In this activity, you will learn about storage and image compression that makes it possible to reduce file size without losing much quality.

    • Week 6 review

      In this activity, we'll review what you've learned this week about printing, screens, compression and storage. You'll also complete your OpenStudio activity for the week and find out what to expect next week.

  • Week 7

    Historic and contemporary innovation

    • Creating photographic opportunities

      In this activity, we'll introduce this week’s themes, which include how photographic developments from history can help you improve your work today.

    • Low-tech photography

      In this activity, we are going to review how camera technology began, and experiment by replicating this older technology.

    • Advanced image composition

      In this activity, we will explore how technology has made it easier to distribute photographic prints, and how creative image composition has given photographers more visual possibilities.

    • Experimental photography

      Now that you can use multiple exposure to tell a story, in this activity, you will find out how to use photomontage to add your own personal touch.

    • Genre-established aesthetics

      In this activity, we are going to see how genres developed and guide yu towards one of your own to focus on.

    • Week 7 review

      In this activity, we'll review what you have learned about historical photography techniques, complete your OpenStudio task and find out what to expect next week.

  • Week 8

    The power of smartphone photography

    • Advantages and limitations of the smartphone camera

      In this activity, we'll introduce the week and explore some of the possibilities that the smartphone camera offers.

    • Knowing your smartphone camera

      In this activity, we'll get to know some of the features of a smartphone camera, and how the applications in your phone can help you to take better photos.

    • Organising your images

      1 billion photos a day are taken worldwide on average! In this activity, we're now going to look at how to edit our images and store them using our smartphones.

    • Social media for your images

      In this activity, we'll find out how social media has influenced photography, and how you might use it as part of your own work.

    • Week 8 review

      In this activity, we'll review what you have learned about smartphone cameras and social media, and find out what to expect next week.

  • Week 9

    Exploring your genre

    • Sharing a panel of twelve images

      This week you will concentrate on creating a panel of twelve of your best images in your chosen genre and preparing for the assessment.

    • Introduction to genre field guides

      In this activity, you'll access the genre field guide for your chosen genre.

    • Week 9 review

      In this activity, we'll review what you've learned this week and get you ready for your assessment, coming up next week.

  • Week 10

    Submitting your photographic portfolio

    • Preparing for your assessment

      In this activity, you'll hear from the course team once more to get you on track for your assessment.

    • Submitting your assessment

      This week contains no new material. You can devote all your study hours to finalising your assessment submission, revisiting earlier parts of the course if you need to.

    • Well done!

      In this activity, we'll sum up what you've learned and sign off. Congratulations on your progress!

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply photographic techniques to create interesting images
  • Produce high quality digital images using a combination of manual methods and editing software
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the internal workings of modern cameras and how they create images
  • Develop your own photographic style and give constructive feedback on others
  • Identify different photographic genres and the most effective techniques used in each

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed for beginners – you don’t need to have existing photographic knowledge or photo editing skills, just a passion for making beautiful images. Whether you want to take pictures with your phone or a powerful professional camera this course is for you

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course you will need a digital camera. This can be anything from a modern phone, to a compact camera to a professional grade DSLR. Access to editing software will be provided with this course.

Who will you learn with?

I am Senior Lecturer in Environment at The OU leading courses on Photography, Renewables, and Climate Change. Fellow, Judge Business School and Senior Associate CISL, University of Cambridge.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

  • Established1969
  • LocationMilton Keynes, UK
  • World rankingTop 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Supporters

supported by

Royal Photographic Society