Online Microcredential in Creative Arts & Media

Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio

Navigate the fast-moving technological developments in digital photography and build a professional portfolio you’re proud of.

Created by

The Open UniversityThe Open University

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Endorsed by

Royal Photographic SocietyRoyal Photographic Society

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Take your digital photography skills to a professional level

Most people own a camera that would’ve been the envy of professionals 10 years ago, but it takes more than clicking to create amazing digital images.

On this microcredential, you’ll explore the theory and practicalities of digital imaging, from how light refracts through a camera lens to what makes a visually pleasing scene.

As well as theoretical work, you’ll tackle a series of hands-on assignments designed to progress your technical and artistic skill and share them with a supportive online community.

You’ll use your work to create a photography portfolio for professional work in photography.

What skills will you learn?

  • Digital image capture technologies
  • Advanced techniques and photographic practices
  • Image capture
  • Photo editing
  • Critically evaluate images
  • Develop a professional portfolio
  • Communicate vision and intent
  • Images and social media

What you will achieve

By the end of the microcredential, you’ll be able to...

  • Apply photographic techniques to create interesting images in a genre of your choice
  • Produce high quality digital images using a combination of manual methods and editing software
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the internal workings of modern cameras (including smart phones) 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

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

To join this microcredential, it’s recommended you have a basic understanding of photographic techniques and digital photo-editing and have basic computer skills.

You’ll need a camera that creates images as digital files and it should have some controls and settings (eg shutter speed, aperture or automatic settings). It is possible to complete the course using a smartphone with a reasonable camera.

You’ll also need photo-editing software on your computer, smartphone or device. You’ll use a variety of commercial and free software including Photoshop, Affinity and others.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential is designed for competent photographers who want to take their skills to the next level and improve their photography as part of their professional work.

If you want to move from photography hobbyist to a professional level photographer, this course will support you to build the tools, knowledge, and portfolio to get there.

Please note this microcredential closes for enrolment 16 March 2020.


What happens before, during, and after your microcredential.

  • Before learning

    You'll have access to our online welcome area where you’ll be able to start conversations with your fellow learners and read any announcements or information relating to your microcredential.
  • Course

    From 30 Mar 2020

    Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio

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

    10 weeks
    10 hours per week
  • After learning

    Once you’ve successfully completed the microcredential, you’ll receive your academic credits from The Open University.

What you will receive

10 UK credits at Undergraduate level from The Open University

Find out how credits work and where you can use them in our FAQs.

A Certificate in Photography from The Royal Photographic Society

The certificate is free to members of the Society or available for a small fee for non-members.

Learn more about this organisation

Additional benefits

If you wish to continue your studies, the microcredential has been designed to give you the necessary basic skills to tackle The Royal Photographic Society Licentiate Distinction (LRPS) in still photography.

You may also wish to discover more about the Associate (ARPS) Distinction and submit your body of work to be recognised for its creativity and communication.

What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are designed to upskill you for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. You’ll earn transferable academic credit to build towards a full degree, or your microcredential can stand alone as an independent qualification.

Learn online with a leading university

Complete online courses led by expert tutors over 12-16 weeks with a dedicated group of professionals.

Complete project-based assessments

Test your understanding with online tutor-marked assessments and exercises.

Earn a professional credential

Finish your learning and pass your assessments to gain an accredited qualification.

Advance further in your career

Use your microcredential as evidence of your specialised skills and progress further in your industry.

Learn more about the Common Microcredential Framework

Career-focused learning by 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

This microcredential is endorsed by Royal Photographic Society

This microcredential is presented in partnership with The Royal Photographic Society. The RPS is the United Kingdom's leading photography organisation.

Delivered by expert academics

Georgina Holden

Georgina Holden

Hi, I am Georgy Holden, I am a Senior Lecturer in Design and Innovation at the Open University and I lead the qualification in that subject. I have been taking photographs all my adult life.

Stephen Peake

Stephen Peake

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

Michael Dodd

Michael Dodd

I am an ecologist and photographer working at the Open University. Some of my papers are here:
and photos here:

Jon Rosewell

Jon Rosewell

I am a senior lecturer at The Open University, UK, where I develop and deliver distance learning in a range of subjects.

When would you like to start?

We aim to run our microcredentials every few months. Join on the date that suits you or register to hear from an enrolment advisor about future runs and updates.

Speak to an advisor

Not sure if this microcredential is right for you? Fill in your details below and one of our enrolment advisors will be in contact to provide you with the information you need to make a decision.

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Frequently asked questions

We can accept payments made by card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or PayPal via our online system.

You will have 14 days from the day the course starts to apply for a refund. You can find more information in our refund policy.

Microcredentials are designed to fit around your life and timezone.

There may be live events as part of your studies, but these will be recorded and can be watched afterwards if you aren’t online for the live broadcast.

No, microcredentials are designed to be taken anywhere in the world. You won’t need the right to study in the country where the university offering the microcredential is based.

Microcredentials are stand-alone products, designed to meet specific learner and employer needs and offer a credential ‘in their own right’. However, those awarded by the Open University do have a credit value at undergraduate or postgraduate level, and so may indeed be used towards qualifications (eg a Bachelor’s Degree, Diploma of Higher Education or Post Graduate Certificate) at the Open University, or potentially at another University (subject to the agreement of the receiving institution).

To get your microcredential credit recognised towards a qualification at the Open University, see our Credit transfer information. Please note that, at the time of writing, credit transfer at the Open University is only possible in multiples of 30 credits (ie two 15-credit micro-credentials, or three 10-credit micro-credentials). Different institutions will have their own policies. As the Open University expands our microcredential offer, we will recognise smaller credit chunks and update our credit transfer policies, so there will be various opportunities to use your microcredential towards a qualification in the future if you so choose.

Want to know more? Read the microcredential FAQs, or contact us.