Introduction To Photography

Study online the basics of film and digital photography. Learn how images are captured, how to use photographic equipment, processing and developing camera film.

Course Code: BPH100
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Photography Distance Education Course -

  • Learn the basics and lay a foundation for serious photography
  • Lots of Personal Guidance from Professional Photographers
  • Self paced 100 hour course -options to upgrade to a certificate
  • Explore business and career options; or pursue a serious hobby


ACS graduate comment: "I found it to be an excellent course in basic Film Photography. The section on exposure was very clear. I appreciate the diagrams and clear concise directions in developing and enlarging film. The staff were very kind and my tutor was very encouraging and always gave clear feedback. I was very happy with the flexibility of the course. I moved to a different country and was able to continue with the course." Emma Day, USA Introduction to Photography course.

Another comment from one of our Introduction to Photography students:

"Glad I signed up"    G. Gadja

A crucial fact underlies all photography -though many different technologies can produce images, the quality of those images is eventually judged by our own eyes.

Through this course reference is made back to the individual's perception of light through their eyes, and the similarities and differences between the eye and the camera.

Learn about:

  • aperture
  • shutter speed
  • depth of field
  • camera angles etc.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Origins of Photography
    • Introduction
    • Image Formation
    • Lenses
    • Practical
    • The Principle of Refraction
    • The Digital Revolution
    • Photosensitive Materials
    • The Basics
    • More About Focus
  2. Photo Sensitive Surfaces
    • Understanding Film
    • The Supercoat
    • The Emulsion
    • The Backing Support
    • The Anti-Halation Layer
    • More About the Emulsion
    • Understanding Digital
    • CCDS And CMOS – The Sensors
    • Linear CCDs
    • Learning The Terminology
    • Conventional Terminology
    • Typical SLR Film Camera
    • Typical SLR Digital Cameras
    • Digital Terminology
  3. Photo Equipment: Cameras
    • Camera Stability
    • Stabilisation In Digital Cameras
    • Camera Construction
    • Types Of Film Cameras
    • Digital Cameras
    • Digital Equipment
    • Choosing A Camera
  4. Photo Equipment: Flashes etc.
    • Flash Photography
    • Use of Flash
    • Flash Synchronisation
    • Problems Using Flash
    • Flash and Daylight
    • Equipment And Materials
    • Tripods
    • Lenses
    • Type Of Film
    • Black and White Film
    • Colour Film
    • Filters
    • Digital Equipment
    • Downloading Images
    • Installing Software
    • Data Storage
    • USB Drives/Flash Drives
    • RAID
    • DVD Disks
  5. Processing Images
    • All Photography Needs Proper Processing and Care
    • Processing Digital Images
    • File Formats & Digital Images
    • Scanning
    • Storing And Organising
    • Manipulation
    • Photomontage
    • Black And White Developing Checklist
    • For 35mm Film
    • Chemical Solutions
    • Developing Your Black and White Film
    • Stop Bath
    • Fixing
    • Washing
    • Wetting Agents
    • Drying
    • Processing Film
    • Developing Black & White Film: Step by Step
    • Processing Summary
  6. Enlarging and Photo Manipulation
    • Introduction
    • Enlarging Black & White Film
    • Enlarging Paper Choices
    • The Chemicals Involved
    • The Enlarger
    • Contact Printing
    • Creating Your Contact Prints
    • Enlarging
    • Creating Your Own Enlargements
    • Lens And Aperture
    • Toning And Hand Colouring
    • The Digital Darkroom
    • Application Software
    • Editing Photos Digitally
    • Size and Resolution
    • Digital Photo Printing
  7. Lighting
    • Introduction
    • Measuring Light
    • Types Of Light Meters
    • Difficulties Associated with Camera Light Meters
    • Incident Light Meters
    • Effectively Using Electronic Flash Lighting
    • Fill In Flash
    • Studio Flash Lighting
    • Problems With Backlighting
  8. Fault Finding
    • Introduction
    • General Problems When Capturing Images
    • The Camera
    • Light
    • Faults When Using Film & Enlargers
    • Negatives
    • Enlarging & Printing Faults
    • Faults When Using Digital Processing Techniques
    • Editing Digital Faults
    • Digital Printing Faults
    • Other Terminology
    • Importance Of a Manual

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.


  • Discuss the principles those underpins photography and examine the evolution into digital technologies.
  • Explain how photographic images are able to be captured on film. This lesson will also explain how photographic images are able to be captured by digital cameras.
  • Provide you with a firm understanding of how you can work at improving your capabilities with respect to taking photographs. It provides a framework, upon which you will base your work in future lessons.
  • Determine appropriate application for a range of common items of photographic equipment
    • and develop an understanding of how digital images can be transferred effectively from a digital camera
  • Explain how photographic film is developed.
  • Describe the process by which photographic film may be enlarged. Also explain techniques that can be used to process digital photographs within a computer to achieve improved or changed images.
  • Work more effectively with light when taking photographs.
  • To identify and avoid common faults in photographs.

What You Will Do

  • You're given instructions throughout this subject guide to do various things ... you may be asked to contact an organisation, you may be given something to read, or some information to research. Various tasks will be given to you to develop your knowledge and abilities in photography care. Along with these tasks, you will also be given questions to answer at the end of each lesson, which you submit as an assignment to your tutor.


On shutter speeds under 1/125 second, chances of the picture being blurred are high (because of either camera movement or movement of the subject).



If the correct exposure combination on an overcast day for 100 ISO film is F16 and a 30th second, you will risk camera shake.

(NB: When shutter speed or F stop is altered, this doubles or halves the exposure. Both variables thus alter the amount of light entering the camera in the same proportion; but in different ways).

Instead of F16 at a 30th you could choose one of the following:

  •  F11 at a 60th (You determine this by doubling the light via the aperture and halving the shutter speed...the result is the same).
  •  F8 at a 125th of a second
  •  F5.6 at a 250th of a second.

By operating at F8 or F5.6 we can reduce the chance of camera movement.


If you want to freeze movement in a picture (eg: If you are photographing a moving person or animal), the lowest speed you should use is a 125th second.

If there is rapid movement or movement closer to the camera, then the photograph needs to be taken at a higher speed.

To stop a car speeding past at 75 kph for example, you would need a 1000th second whereas if the same car was moving towards or away from the camera a minimum speed of 1/125th would be acceptable.


Everyone's ability to hold a camera still varies, as does every situation where you photograph moving objects, so despite recommendations, it is only experience which will teach you what minimum speeds you can use in different situations.

What happens when the meter tells you to set F stop at 2.8 and film speed at a 15th second; and F2.8 is our maximum working aperture. We have no choice but to follow the meter's direction. If we had expected to shoot in dim light, we could have used a faster film (ie. with a higher ISO).

The other option is to hold the camera still and not photograph anything with much movement.


Camera movement can be reduced the following ways:

Tripod and cable release.
Your finger pushing the shutter button can move a camera on a tripod. By using a cable attachment, you can release the shutter by pressing a plunger in the cable, greatly reducing any chance of camera movement.

Sit the camera on a solid object.
Sitting the camera on top of a wall, fence, table or some other solid object, and composing your picture from that point.

Using a timer mechanism to release the shutter.
If the camera is sitting on a solid object or a tripod, you can set a ten second delay so the shutter releases without you pushing it and risking movement.

Lean your body against a wall,  fence or some other solid object when taking the photograph.
This reduces body movement.

Stand with your legs apart
This gives greater stability than with legs close together.

Breathe out slowly and evenly as you press the button
This gives less movement than if you hold your breath.


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?

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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.

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More information is here

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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.

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

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