Hobby Photography

Learn the tools of taking a good photograph. In this online course you will learn how to use a camera, the effect of light, photographic technique and how to improve your style.

Course Code: APH001
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Become a better Amateur Photographer

Photography is a craft, the techniques and skills of which we must study and practice in order to become proficient.

Our craft has a new selection of tools which we should master in order to create beautiful, dramatic, informative images.

This course can be undertaken by users of both film or digital technologies.

What is different about this course?

  • We put your learning first.
  • You have unlimited access to ask questions -every student is given one on one contact with tutors.
  • Marking papers for us is not about grading you: rather it is seen as an opportunity to nurture your learning and help you improve your photography.

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Origins of Photography
    • Image formation
    • how light works in photography
    • lenses
    • understanding photosensitive materials.
  2. Understanding Film & Cameras
    • Parts of film: supercoat, emulsion, backing support, anti-halation layer
    • film sensitivity
    • Camera Construction
    • shutter speed
    • f stop
    • ASA/ISO
  3. The Camera and it's Use
    • Camera stability
    • ways of reducing camera movement
    • depth of field
    • filters
    • fault finding, etc.
  4. More on using a camera
    • Flashes (electronic & manual)
    • flash synchronisation
    • problems with flash photography (eg. red eyes)
    • using a flash in daylight
    • special lenses
    • photo composition.
  5. Photographic Techniques
    • Planning a photo session
    • Posing for photos
    • Snapshots
    • Water photography
    • The human form
    • Portraits
    • Animals
    • Action
    • Landscape
    • Still Life photography.
  6. Developing your photographic style

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe how light forms an image in a camera.
  • Describe how an image can be captured in a camera.
  • Discuss how you can work at improving your capabilities with respect to taking photographs.
  • Take photos under a range of more complex conditions.
  • Improve your technique for taking pictures.
  • Analyse your photographic skills and develop an increased consciousness of your own photographic style


This course can be undertaken successfully without sophisticated camera equipment; however, you do need the use of a camera. An SLR camera is best, but any camera will do. Over the time you do the course, you need to submit photos (either digital images or processed film - in that case a minimum of 5 rolls of film would need to be shot and developed.

All photos you take, and written work you submit will be returned to you.


Extract from Course Notes:



Choosing a camera primarily depends on four things; how much you want to spend, what sort of photography you will be doing, and how much work you want the camera to do for you and film or digital?

By now you should have some idea of the basic parts of a camera, the aperture and shutter speed, and how they work and adjust exposure, and why various formats are best suited to particular areas of work. This is a good grounding for using the camera but before buying a camera you need a few specifics about features on cameras. Firstly; it is assumed you will buy a 35 mm camera as this format is the most versatile. Considerations against other forms include:

1. the relative expense

2. cumbersome nature of 2¼ square and large format cameras

3. low image quality from smaller formats.


For film photography, 35mm gives you the widest choice of available film and camera, the simplest processing, and the lowest cost per shot for quality photography. A 35 mm can handle almost any photographic situation you will ever encounter. Given that 35 mm seems to be the logical choice for your first camera, the next question is the cost of the camera.

Camera cost is governed by three things.

a) Whether the camera is simple or sophisticated.

c) Overall camera quality.

c) Whether the camera is new or second hand.


Simple or Sophisticated?

There are two main types of 35 mm cameras: rangefinder and single lens reflex (SLR).

In a RANGEFINDER camera the viewing window in the top of the camera is used for focussing and framing, and is calculated to give almost the same view as the camera lens is seeing. These cameras sometimes have interchangeable lenses. Focusing is normally achieved by zone symbols in the viewfinder or by using a split image where the centre of the finder displays two images which converge as the focus ring is turned until they synchronise perfectly; when this happens, focus is achieved. Notable photographers in the field of photojournalism find this method of focus more accurate and faster than SLR focusing. Few cameras of this type are completely manual (i.e. with just a shutter speed dial, aperture dial and coupled meter, the needle of which is centred by adjustment of aperture and speed to achieve correct exposure.) Most new rangefinder cameras have either partially or fully automatic exposure. The finest, however, have manual override, and for a serious photographer they offer the best option.


SINGLE LENS REFLEX cameras used to be the domain of the professional providing interchangeable lens capability and a very versatile range of accessories. Many amateurs, however, now find that the extra cost of the SLR insignificant compared to the benefits an SLR can provide. In a single lens reflex, viewing is performed through the lens via a complex prism and mirror system; as such you are seeing the exact same image which will project onto the film/sensor.

SLR' cameras can take a range of lenses from wide-angle to telephoto. Simple manual exposure SLRs can be bought for relatively small cost and various models provide different levels of automation up to multifunction models that have auto flash or auto aperture or auto shutter speed or auto shutter speed and aperture and sometimes full manual override.



The quality of a camera can usually be related to price. Traditionally the Nikon has always been seen as a little better than Pentax, Canon or Minolta but old concepts of one manufacturer producing better products than another has been dispelled in recent years. All major camera makers produce basic cameras as well as extremely sophisticated, very expensive ones and the digital era has brought about a revolution with Kodak stepping into the field of professional camera manufacture for the first time in decades, to stimulate and excite the digital marketplace and provoke development & research by competitors, and once its objective had been achieved, it announced its withdrawal from the marketplace to concentrate on sensor production other areas, leaving the traditional camera producers and some high technology electronic companies, by tradition outside photography; who feel they have a role to play in digital imaging, to carry on, at an amazing pace, the advancement of camera technology.


The ultimate test of a camera is how it feels ... if the weight suits you, if you find the control layout suitable and the view finder layout logical ... then it may be suitable for you. Try lots of cameras before buying. Pick them up, compare them, and tell the salesman what sort of things you intend to photograph. Don't be talked into something you don't want or aren't sure of. Talk to everyone you know with a camera, and see what they feel about their camera equipment and what they would buy if given a free choice.


New or Second-hand?

This is mainly financially motivated. There are lots of good second hand cameras available. Always check the following when assessing a second-hand camera:

1. The general appearance ... is the body excessively worn or scratched?

How old is the camera? Has it been much used? Has it been serviced?

2. Inside the camera

Are the film guide rails worn or scratched? Or, is the sensor unmarked and fault-free?

3. Shake the camera.

If anything is loose which you can't see a good reason for, then don't buy this camera.

4. Is the lens clean and free from scratches or mould patches?

5. Do all dials seen tight fitting and smooth in operation?

Does the shutter seem to fire smoothly?

Does the aperture open and close correctly?

Do the shutter speeds seem to vary correctly?

6. If possible borrow a flash gun.

Connect it to the camera, set the speed at 1/30th second and fire the shutter with the back open. If the flash and shutter are correctly synchronised, you should see the flash through the film gate.
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
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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.
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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 has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

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 exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. 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.

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Course Contributors

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

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.

Josiane Joubran

CSC consultant with IBM, Software QA Engineer, Course Writer and Tutor. Josiane is an I.T professional with extensive experience with computer hardware and engineering in Lebanon and Australia. Josiane has a B.Eng., Grad.Dip.I.T., Master Info.Tech., MCP, MCSE.

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