Photography Course - Higher National Diploma (Home Study)
Home Study

Home Studycourse

Start Date:  Can be started at any time
Price:  £ 1,950 (easy-pay plan available)
Duration:  Approximately 18 months
Assessment:  30 practical assignments
Course Type:  Home Study
Level:  Level 5 on the RQF
Accreditation:  BTEC
Entry Requirements:  Must be 18 years of age or older.

If English is not your first language, you must have at least level 5.5 IELTS or equivalent. Or, have completed your last two years of schooling through English.
Work Placements:  Graduates of this course are eligible for a one month work placement at a photography company. All placements are in the greater London and Manchester areas.

Higher National Diploma course


Learn everything you need to start your own successful business or gain advanced entry to a university degree with a fully-accredited Higher National Diploma.

Throughout the course you will complete thirty practical assignments designed to give you the skills you need to succeed as a professional photographer. Assignments can be completed at any time within a maximum time frame of three years. Most students complete the course in approximately eighteen months.

Can be studied as a stand-alone course.

See below for a full list of topics covered »

Higher National Diploma Course Study Contents:

  • Welcome Letter - from the course director
  • Recommended Materials & Supplementary Reading List
  • Initial Assignments and Submission Requirements
  • All Course Content & Instructional Videos

The British Academy of Photography has teamed up with global educational experts Pearson Education to offer BTEC accredited courses to our photography students.

These courses are a recognised route to university, leading to the final year of a degree course or progression on to other professional qualifications.

The Fundamentals of Photography

Unit One

In this introductory unit you will start to develop the skills that enable you to use your camera to capture the perfect moment. You will learn the following skills and techniques:

  • Understand how to use your digital camera
  • How to shoot in manual mode
  • What is exposure and why is it important?
  • Photography composition and techniques
  • Practical photography assignments leading to a detailed portfolio
  • Personal development through continued constructive feedback from your personal tutor

Photographic Techniques

Unit Two

In this unit you will further develop and enhance your practical skills using photographic equipment and techniques. You will explore different techniques and approaches including:

  • Portrait photography
  • Event photography
  • Landscape photography
  • Macro photography
  • Black & White photography
  • Flash Photography
  • Studio lighting photography
  • Long exposure photography

Digital Post Production Techniques

Unit Three

In this unit we deal with post processing and the elements that are involved once a photograph has actually been taken. You will learn how to:

  • Critique your photos and choose which to use
  • Process and develop RAW files
  • Use image editing software
  • Create panoramic and HDR photographs
  • Prepare your photographs for printing or digital export

Ideas Generation

Unit Four

The ability to generate an idea and to think creatively is at the core of any creative project, so in this unit we focus on getting those creative juices flowing. The tasks in this unit should be fun and inspiring while challenging you to think outside their comfort zone, and will lead to portfolio images that you will be proud of. We will cover elements such as:

  • Various idea generating techniques
  • Sketching
  • Brainstorming
  • Mind mapping
  • Experimenting with different camera settings

Contextual & Cultural Referencing

Unit Five

This unit looks at the History of Photography. It examines how we have come to be where we are from a Photographic perspective, in order to give you a complete and well-rounded education on the subject. We will research pioneering photographers and investigate how they have influenced current practice.

  • Early Photography
  • The Rise of Film & SLR Cameras
  • The Rise of Digital Photography

Location Photography

Unit Six

Photography on location is possibly one of the most widely used areas within the industry. Areas such as weddings, commercial, portrait, fashion, video stills, tourism, architecture, brochures catalogues and most advertising are just a few examples of where the photographer is required to be on location. In this unit we will consider:

  • Researching appropriate locations for shoots
  • Understand and assess lighting requirements for a location shoot
  • Use photographic equipment and resources on a location shoot
  • Evaluate the location post shoot

Visual Language in Photography

Unit Seven

In this unit we explore creative experimentation within the field of photography as well as researching visual imagery. You will develop an understanding of the visual context and what implicit or explicit messages are being conveyed within your own and other's work. By the end of this unit you will be able to:

  • Understand the role of photography as a medium for visual communication
  • Investigate ideas, processes and constraints within the industry
  • Explore visual imagery within the visual media industry
  • Produce work demonstrating an understanding of image and text

Professional Practice

Unit Eight

This unit covers the aspects necessary for an aspiring Photographer to set up their own business or work within an established practise. It encourages you to analyse the strengths and weaknesses within your own work and to develop a career plan with the help of your tutors. You will be aware of what is required in the industry from a personal and professional presentation point of view. In this unit we will cover the following:

  • How to take advantage of social media
  • Personal website & blog development
  • Portfolio presentation
  • Business promotional material
  • Career Paths and revenue streams
  • Interview techniques
  • Legal Awareness

Studio Practice in Photography

Unit Nine

The photographic studio allows the photographer to work in an environment where they can exercise control over lighting, sets and equipment. This unit will encourage learners to explore the various aspects of working within this controlled environment with professional practice being an underpinning component. On completion of this unit learners will have the following skills:

  • Understanding of how to employ professional practices within a photography studio
  • Be able to use studio space and equipment effectively
  • Be able to light subjects in a studio setting
  • Be able to use sets and backgrounds effectively

Business Practice

Unit Ten

This unit focuses on giving students an in depth look at business models, setting up a small business and various other components that may be required after completion of the course. This gives learners a good understanding of the various principles behind setting up their own business and we will look at:

  • Business start-up
  • Business practice
  • Intellectual property
  • Financial controls
  • Costing
  • Resource planning
  • Marketing and PR
  • Legalities

Advertising Photography

Unit Eleven

In this exciting unit learners will have the opportunity to explore and gain an understanding of the use of photographic imagery in advertising. By considering the work of others in contemporary practice they will learn how the advertising industry uses these images. Learners will explore their own creative use of photography in meeting specific advertising briefs. This unit will focus around:

  • Understanding the requirements of a client brief
  • Being able to produce creative images in an advertising context
  • Understand legislative and ethical issues within the industry
  • Being able to apply photographic methodologies for an advertising brief

Fashion Photography

Unit Twelve

In this unit Learners will consider the factors that influence fashion photography, and the relationships between designers, audience, content and application of photographic visual language. A vital element within Fashion photography is the photographer's ability to understand and interpret a brief in a creative way. Learners will work through the process of research, planning and shooting for a fashion shoot specifically. Areas covered will include:

  • Sourcing props
  • Lighting and camera equipment
  • Models, sets and location
  • Creative strategy for a fashion shoot
  • Contextual influences in fashion photography

Press Photography and Photo Journalism

Unit Thirteen

This unit aims to introduce learners to editorial photography and allows them to develop their skills by engaging with the processes and techniques that underpin Photo journalism. We will explore the characteristics of press photography by covering themes and applications such as social documentary and reportage. Technical issues in camera and lenses used will be balanced alongside the need to recognise what makes images effective and attention grabbing. On completion of this unit learners will:

  • Understand the requirements of an editorial photography brief
  • Be able to devise a strategy to compete in this competitive sector
  • Understand and comply with relative legislation
  • Be able to produce editorial photography

Critical Study in Art and Design

Unit Fourteen

Personal initiative and an inquisitive mind are key factors in this unit. Learners are encouraged to investigate a period or photographer that has been influential in their development as a Photographer. The overview of the historical periods in the Contextual and Cultural referencing unit completed earlier in the course will underpin their knowledge. Learners will research and analyse their chosen period or photographer to reflect the historical, social and commercial issues that are relevant. Key skills that will be mastered are:

  • Ability to research a chosen topic
  • Undertake primary and secondary research
  • Synthesis of research and information gathered
  • Analysis of research

Specialist Practice in Photography

Unit Fifteen

This unit gives learners an opportunity to develop a cohesive body of photographic work related to their own specialist area of interest and style. It will form a substantial part of their portfolio and give them the chance to consider their future plans and continued professional development. They will be required to analyse where their work could feature in the photographic industry. Key skills learners will master during this unit:

  • Be able to articulate critical contextual statements defining their own individual practice
  • Be able to present a body of work that demonstrates a sustained period of independent self direction
  • Understand how to develop network opportunities for the progression of personal practice into a specific area of the industry
  • Understand how to develop professional practice from a personal critical position

Project Design Implementation and Evaluation

Unit Sixteen

The unit deals specifically with project management. We will consider the various techniques and methodologies required to take a project from conception through to implementation and finally to completion. The techniques and structures surrounding this unit will give learners valuable skills that can be used in all aspects of their work in multiple industries. We will cover:

  • Project selection, project specifications, procedures, project plan
  • Implementation of the project
  • Proper use of resources, problem solving, working to a specific timescale, monitoring and recording progress
  • Evaluation of the project outcomes, applying project evaluation and review techniques (PERT)
  • Record keeping throughout the project
  • Presenting the outcomes