Online Microcredential in Creative Arts & Media

Digital Photography: Discover your Genre and Develop your Style

Take the next steps in your photography journey by exploring different genres and finding your photographic style.

Created by

The Open UniversityThe Open University

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In collaboration with

the Royal Photographic Societythe Royal Photographic Society

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Explore different photographic genres, styles, and approaches

Created in collaboration with the UK’s leading photography organisation, the Royal Photographic Society, this microcredential will give you a broad overview of a number of photographic genres and the knowledge, skills, and techniques to create better photographic narratives.

Build your photography skills and learn how to work to a brief

This course will encourage you to explore different areas of photography to help you identify where you want to develop your creative photography skills, confidence, and knowledge.  Some of the subjects covered in this course include:

  • ‘Things’ – including product and food photography
  • ‘People and events’ – exploring portraiture, sports, and photojournalism
  • ‘Environment’ - looking at wildlife, buildings, architecture, and landscapes

You will learn how to work to a brief and how to prepare and take images to create a body of work within these subjects that tell a visually cohesive story. You will discover how your approach to taking or displaying an image can affect how it is understood and explore the conventions related to particular genres.

Develop a photography project that realises its intent

Building on your basic photography skills, you’ll start to understand what it means to be an intentional photographer as well as how to think about and write a Statement of Intent that explains the purpose and objective of your portfolio.

This course is delivered on the FutureLearn platform and you will also access Behance, a third-party image sharing site by creating a free account. This site is used to share your images with co-learners and develop your photographic eye by learning and practising how to give feedback on each other’s images.

Learn from experts, with The Open University and the Royal Photographic Society 

Created by The Open University in collaboration with the Royal Photographic Society, you’ll learn from current thinkers and experimenters who specialise in particular genres and approaches to photography.

Throughout the course you’ll take part in weekly activities to support and consolidate your learning. You will share ideas and experiences with co-learners, building skills, confidence and knowledge from peer to peer feedback and weekly challenges to experiment and explore your new creative approaches, techniques and practices, and the concept behind your intent.

At the end of the course, you’ll submit an assessment which is marked and graded by subject matter experts. The assessment requires you to submit a set of 12 images and a statement of intent. You will also be required to show how you have worked with others in the group, evidencing feedback on other students’ work.

The FutureLearn social learning experience is designed to encourage learners to interact and benefit from a stimulating learning community. On-course mentors encourage collaboration between learners and offer guidance. Feedback on images throughout the course will come from your co-learners. After you’ve completed the course you’ll receive detailed, personal feedback on your assessment from academic and subject matter experts.

This course replaces Digital Photography: Creating a Professional Portfolio (OU course code: TZFM200.) It is a completely new course, however the assessment is similar in shape and level. If you have any questions, please contact us prior to enrolling.

What skills will you learn?

  • Genre specific field skills
  • Critical reflection 
  • Visual awareness
  • Researching and working to a brief
  • Giving constructive feedback
  • Intentional photography
  • Confidence in visual literacy
  • Collaboration with others

What you will achieve

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

  • Recognise photographic genres/areas and their conventions, styles and approaches
  • Create a set of high quality (visually and technically proficient) images in your chosen subject genre that communicate a clear narrative
  • Communicate clearly in writing about your individual photographic approach to your chosen subject
  • Use information technology to organise and publish your images online
  • Use communication skills to participate in online discussion areas
  • Confidently use a digital camera to construct a photographic narrative to communicate the intention of your photographic portfolio of work
  • Create high quality images that show a high level of craft, creativity of approach and appropriate artistic vision
  • Create a professional written Statement of Intent that explains what your portfolio is about, the purpose, objective or intent of the work
  • Engage in peer assessment of images online

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

To study this microcredential, you should be able to operate a camera in semi-automatic or manual mode and will have a solid, theoretical, and practical understanding of the basics such as ISO, shutter speed, exposure and depth of field. You should have access to a camera where you are able to take pictures in a manual settings mode. You can use a smartphone, providing you have an app that allows you to take manual control of the camera’s settings.

It is expected that you will have an intermediate level of understanding of a digital photography workflow and intermediate photo editing skills.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential is designed for competent photographers who have had some prior learning on the basic technical skills needed to take photographs, either from a formal qualification or from practical experience.

This microcredential is not suitable for complete beginners who need to develop basic technical skills and understanding of photographic theory. Beginners should consider completing an introductory course, such as Digital photography: creating and sharing better images.


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 read any information relating to your microcredential.

  • Course

    From 28 Oct 2024

    Digital Photography: Discover Your Genre and Develop Your Style

    Take the next steps in your photography journey by exploring different genres and finding your photographic style

    10 weeks

    10 hours per week

  • After learning

    Your submitted assessment will be marked and graded by subject matter experts and you’ll also receive personalised feedback on your work. You’ll continue to have ongoing access to the course materials.

What you will receive

10 UK credits at Undergraduate level from The Open University and a Certificate

Academic credits are awarded on passing the final assessment. These will be at undergraduate level 5 of the Framework for Higher Education (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) / level 8 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

A Certificate in Photography from the Royal Photographic Society
The certificate is free to members of the Society or available for an additional £12 for non-members.

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

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. Your microcredential can stand alone as an independent credential, and some also offer academic credit to use towards a degree.

Learn online with expert instructors

Complete online courses led by experts over multiple 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 credential.

Advance further in your career

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

Career-focused learning by The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

This microcredential is in collaboration with the Royal Photographic Society

The RPS is the United Kingdom’s leading photography organisation.

Delivered by experts

I am Professor of Climate Change and Energy at the OU leading courses on Photography, Renewables, and Climate Change. Fellow, Judge Business School and Senior Associate CISL, University of Cambridge.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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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 about future runs and updates.

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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. If this Microcredential has any non-refundable costs they will be stated in the ‘Overview’ section above. You can find more information in our cancellation and 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 courses designed to meet specific learner and employer needs. Those awarded by The Open University have academic credit value at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, and, if appropriate, this may be used towards selected Open University qualifications. For more details, including eligible qualifications, visit The Open University’s Counting microcredentials towards OU qualifications page.

The credit awarded may potentially be used at another university, subject to the agreement of the receiving institution.

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