Digital Photography
Digital Photography courses available through ACS Distance education. Click here for more information about these courses, or click here to enrol.


Analogue versus Digital – what’s the difference?


Analogue systems record information about the world by creating an analogue of the reality we perceive normally through our senses. For example, when we take a silver image photograph we create a pattern of latent chemical changes in the emulsion layer of the film which through development can be made visible.

 Study Digital Photography with ACS Distance Education

The camera negative, in the case of a black and white image, resembles the original to the extent that we can hold up the image to the original scene and, although the tones are reversed and the colours turned to shades of grey, we can see obvious similarities between the two - so much so that we usually can recognise the negative as a representation in two dimensions of that original scene. The recorded scene is similar to, but not the same as, the original.

If you have ever played a vinyl phonograph record without the sound being amplified, you will still hear, coming from the needle (or stylus) a thin but recognisable version of the music on the disk. This is because the original sound captured by a microphone has been through a series of analogue changes to eventually become the analogue groove on the record which vibrates the stylus to create the sound. Again, the recording is close to, but not completely identical to, the original sound in its form. There are analogue systems where this is much less obvious. For example, analogue audio or videotape recording requires some hardware to make it obvious that the recording contains analogue elements similar to, but not identical to the original. If you have ever seen a sound or video image represented on an oscilloscope you will know what I'm talking about.

Compared to human beings computers really are very stupid. Computers are only capable of recognising two basic states. Computers work with binary code, a system of ones and zeros or 'ons' and 'offs'. Every piece of information that the computer represents as text, graphics or even video is still made up of a code consisting of ones and zeros which are given meaning and value by the computer software. Computers attain their complexity of operation by being incredibly fast at processing these 'on' and 'off' signals and being able to decode them to a logical meaning. The simplest element of the code is a 'bit' which can have the value 1 or 0. If we have two bits the range of values we can represent goes up from two to four as we can have the two bits combined as 00, 10, 01 or 11. Three bits gives us 2 X 2 X 2 possibilities, and so on. The smallest block of data normally dealt with by a computer is a 'byte' (BINARY TABLE) which, at 8 bits, is enough to represent a character in text or to give us 256 colour possibilities ("codes" if you prefer) in a digital image. Digital imaging is literally painting by numbers!

Digital Photography Course - available through ACS Distance Education



An external studies course to develop your ability to produce photographs using digital technology (digital or conventional photography combined with computer software and hardware for processing the photographs).
Duration: 100 hours
(study at your own pace, average time to complete this module is 4-6 months part time)
To understand the scope and nature of digital photography
To be able to select appropriate equipment for use in digital photography
This course is divided into eleven lessons as follows:
1. Introduction To Digital Technology
How images are captured and stored, categories of equipment & software, scope of applications
2. Equipment -getting started; deciding what you need
CCD's, Image Sizes, Raster Images,, Video Cards, Colour depth, Computer terminology etc.
3. Digital Technology
Colour, resolution, sensors ( how technology enables digital images to be captured).
4. Digital Cameras
Image formation, lenses, camera stability, one shot cameras, 3 shot cameras, terminology
(eg.DPI, DVD, Bit, EDO RAM, Plug In etc)
5. Taking Photographs
Principles of Photo Composition, Creating effects, Default Setting, Compression of Data,
Dithering, Halftones etc
6. Scanners
Techniques which can be used for digitally capturing images from film photographs, or graphics
7. Uploading Images
How digital images can be transferred effectively from a camera (or scanner) onto another device
(eg. a computer, video monitor, television set, etc).
8. The Digital Darkroom
Techniques that can be used to process digital photographs within a computer to achieve
improved or changed images
9. Compositing & Imaging - Production & manipulation of images
How digital photos can be manipulated and changed to produce altered images
10. Special Effects
Scope and nature of special effects that can be created with digital photographs
11. Outputs & Applications- Printers, The Internet
How and where digital photography can effectively be used.
You will need access to a digital camera and some type of storage or output device during the course.
This is required so that you can take some photographs on a digital camera and submit them as a print or as a digitised file. An inexpensive digital camera and a printer or 3.5 inch floppy disk would be a minimum. If you plant o purchase a digital camera, but have not yet decided what to buy, it is recommended that you delay buying a camera until you have completed Lesson 3 and commenced Lesson 4. It is also suggested that you ask your tutors advice as to which camera would best suit your needs. Access to a suitable computer is also advantageous but not essential.
Amongst other things you will do the following:
-Investigate software available for processing digital photographs
-Obtain literature on Adobe Photoshop and any two other types of software.
-Compare the different software options which you investigate.
-Develop a check list of what would be required if you were to purchase a digital camera for professional freelance photographic work (such as studio portraits and wedding photography)
-Review photographs you have taken in the past which have not been as successful as you would have liked. Consider what you might have done to improve the way in which the image was taken in each of these. Consider what advantages digital photography might have offered if you had taken these using a digital imaging rather than film.

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The following titles are written by our principal and tutors. Click on any title you are interested in to see what the book covers, it's cost and how to purchase it on line.