Certificate in Photographic Practice

Gain the skills to take professional photos. A foundation online course for serious photographers for professional development, to start a business or get a job.

Course Code: VPH004
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Learn to be a Professional Photographer


  • Professional Development for anyone employed in related jobs
  • If you want to enter the profession
  • People that want to enhance their photography skills for pleasure, profit or as part of their work duties.


  • Change careers
  • Enhance your skills
  • Take professional photos
  • Learn to manipulate photos on a computer
  • Learn business skills
  • Learn photographic terminology
  •  Builds contacts

This course develops your understanding, builds your contacts, and improves your ability to produce professional photographs.
The ability to take and process good photographs is handy in most workplaces today.  
Photography is used on web sites, in brochures, in advertising, as a teaching tool, as an art form and much more.  People who understand photographic practice can find themselves employed in photo retailing, publishing, marketing.  They can work as wedding or portrait photographers, or in a whole range of other positions.

This is an in-depth course covering a number of different subjects including photographic technology and starting a small business.

  • Learn to take creative photographs
  • Manipulate images
  • Set the lights so that every wrinkle on your subject's face is highlighted or obscured, every glint in their eye is captured
  • Capture motion, emotion and moments in history
  • Gain experience
  • Sharpen your technical skills
  • Build contacts and opportunities for work


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Photographic Practice.
 Introduction To Photography BPH100
 Photographic Practice BPH101
 Starting A Small Business VBS101
 Photographic Technology BPH201
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 6 modules.
 Photographing People BPH102
 Digital Photography BPH202
 Graphic Design BIT205
 Photographic Lighting BPH204
 Photoshop CS - Beginner To Medium Level VIT202
 Wedding Photography BPH206

Note that each module in the Certificate in Photographic Practice is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Photographic skills are valued in a wide range of jobs

Here are just a few examples of where graduates from this course may find employment opportunities:

  • Retailing -Selling photo supplies services and products
  • Marketing -Photos are used for brochures, web sites, posters, catalogues
  • Media -Electronic and print publications employ photographers
  • Tourism and Hospitality - Photographers can be found working with hotels, theme parks, restaurants, exhibition centres, reception centres
  • Photo Studios

How to Get a Job and Develop a Sustainable Career

A course is only the first step; but a necessary step. What you learn here can give you a valuable start and open up opportunities to enter the profession.

The world will however, continue to change; and areas of opportunity change too.  A good photography professional will develop and maintain an awareness of the industry, build networks (ie. contacts), and have a broad foundation knowledge that allows them to adapt and learn new things continuously throughout their working life.



Photographing any event correctly requires capturing lots of candid shots of people enjoying themselves, the crowd, and people working, performing and generally interacting with each other.  Candid photographs can be taken at any event from festivals, music concerts, and town fairs to sporting events. If you plan to work as a photojournalist, then it is good to practice with candid photography and be able to cover these events, telling the story with your photographs.

In order to cover an event you should aim for lots of variety in the content and plan in advance.


Preparation before an event is the key to a successful outcome, so have your equipment ready for your spontaneous shots.  Take plenty of memory cards, or film if required, and ensure your camera is fully charged.  

The more research of the event you do beforehand, the better equipped you are to capture the important elements of the day. It is important to research:

  • What time the event starts (so you can arrive early), and what time does it finish. 
  • What are the main events happening, so where will the people be.
  • What will the natural or artificial lighting be like.
  • Are there main acts you will want to capture.
  • Are there certain areas of the event which will be beneficial to be situated in.

If you are covering an outdoor event, go to the location it is being held a few days before and find the best possible vantage points to take your pictures and look where you might gain some height, for example a brick wall, a first storey balcony or a viewing tower.

Again if you are shooting indoors you need to research your venue and look for places where you can gain a height advantage.  Also look at where light is coming through windows and decide how you can use this light to your advantage. Think about how you can position yourself so that light will fall on people’s faces instead of behind them.

Whether the event is indoor, or outdoor, you will need to make sure you have permission to gain access to areas where important action will be taking place, and the areas where you will achieve the best shooting spots.  

Tips for candid photography at events:

  • Position is everything so be determined to obtain the best position you can. (You’ll probably be fighting for your spot with other keen photographers).
  • If the event is busy with people it is good to capture candid shots of subjects with other subjects in the frame.
  • If you find an uncluttered background stick with it, and use varying focal lengths to capture different elements within a scene.
  • Include onlookers in some of your images to capture the crowd’s reactions.
  • Stay alert. Sometimes a moment will occur after hours of watching.
  • For low light shots don’t spoil the ambient lighting with flash, instead increase the ISO.
  • If you are photographing something on stage e.g. a circus or dance performance, choose a seat a couple of rows back to show the audience in the foreground and to get a higher viewpoint. With dance shots choose a plain background that contrasts with the performers and be careful with contrast lighting.
  • Capture the audience, people in the crowd or the viewer’s reactions.
  • Behind the scene images are often engaging and give the viewer a more intimate insight into the event and the people behind it.  Take close up shots of performers getting ready.  It can also be good to capture those people behind the scenes setting up and packing away and while people are busy.  Within a series of images of the one event you should shoot different subject viewpoints and distance, to illustrate the event as a whole.


This Course Develops Your Capacity for a Sustainable Career

Some schools teach you to take good photos and stop there. At ACS, this is only the beginning.

We believe it is important to encourage and help you to develop contacts, communication skills, get a good CV and portfolio together, and stay current with developments and emerging opportunities. 



Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Edwards

Professional photographer. Experienced in Environmental and Water Services management. Has traveled extensively for photography projects. John has a BA (Hons) Photography, BSc (Hons) Env.Mgt, PGCE

Rachel Syers

Rachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affairs, and agriculture.
Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea.
Rachel has a B.Journalism.

Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience
B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social).
An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Alexander O'Brien

Alex was born and raised in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. Having been trained in Architecture, Permaculture, Mechanical Engineering, Ceramics, Furniture Design/Construction, Sustainable building and Art,Craft and Design, his knowledge base is broad. Much of his professional work has been designing and making nature inspired spaces, creative reuse of materials, permaculture and natural ecology regeneration.

That being said, in his own words, "....my real passion is teaching. I adore sharing my knowledge and experience. Seeing students progress, and learning, that is my soul food."'

Gaynor Hartley

Dip.Hort.Sc., Cert.Tiss.Cult., MAIH

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