Higher National Certificate Live Online

Attain advanced entry to the second year of a degree with a fully-accredited Higher National Certificate or receive the qualification to become a professional photographer.

Deadline for enrolment:

Start Date


£3,695 (Easy-pay plan available)


Approximately 9-18 months

Work Placement

Graduates of this course are eligible for a one month work placement with a photography company. All placements are made in the greater London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh areas.

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Study Option
Live Online
Course Location
Course Level
Level 4 on the RQF
Entry Requirements
18 years old or over
Note: If English is not your first language, we recommend you have at least level 5.5 IELTS or equivalent. Or, have completed your last two years of schooling through English.
15 practical assignments
The British Academy of Photography has partnered with global educational experts Pearson Education to offer BTEC courses to our 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.

Completing this course will lead to the second year of a degree, or enable you to become a successful photographer by honing your skills to create, plan and manage your own photography projects.

Designed around 15 practical assignments, you will incrementally develop the advanced techniques and a deep understanding of the industry that you need to succeed as a professional photographer.

As a Live Online student, you will attend tutor-led classes online taught by industry professionals. You will also have full access to the Online Learning Centre, which contains course material created by industry experts including instructional videos, written content and assignments.

Our tutors provide all the support, knowledge and in-depth feedback you need to progress through your course and are always contactable through the Online Learning Centre.

On average a student studying around 15 hours per week can complete the course in 18 months, a student studying around 30 hours a week can complete the course in 9 months*.

*Completion time is based on the approximate time it has taken past students to complete the course. Students have up to 36 months to complete the course.

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Class Schedule

View the schedule for the evening classes and the weekend classes in Live Online.


The list below provides an overview of the topics covered in this course.

    • Photographic Practices

    Learn the key skills to operate your own camera in manual mode and to understand the importance of composition in relation to the intended outcome of an image. Gain the confidence to use your camera settings to create the best possible manually produced photographs. Indicative content:

    • Using your camera in manual mode
    • Exploring composition in relation to intentions
    • Exposure manual settings for aperture, focal length, perspective, metering, selective focus, white balance and exposure compensation
    • Using a zoom lens (example 24-70mm/24-100mm)
    • Lighting for Photography

    Explore a variety of lighting techniques to perfect your photo shoots. Gain an understanding of how to analyse your intentions for the shoot to allow you to plan processes and equipment for your photoshoots. Indicative content:

    • Experimenting with lighting techniques and lighting equipment (studio, flash and natural lighting)
    • Developing lighting layouts and diagrams
    • Exploring different types of lighting for different settings and context
    • Understanding lighting strategies and conditions
    • Analysing creative intentions in relation to contextual photography
    • Techniques & Processes

    Develop the techniques and processes that will allow you to successfully tackle photography projects from the first meeting with a client to the final presentation of design work. Indicative content:

    • Understanding client briefs
    • Developing creative ideas
    • Using techniques and processes to realise creative potential
    • Developing post-production editing skills
    • Producing visual diaries for development and presentation
    • Contextual Studies

    Research and analyse key historical eras and movements that will allow you to understand the context of contemporary photography. Indicative content:

    • Understanding the context of historical developments and their effect on modern photography
    • Communication techniques in photography
    • Primary and secondary research
    • Visual and textual analyses
    • Research presentation
    • Critical research analyses
    • Studio Photography

    Explore the practical advantages and creative possibilities of working in a photographic studio. Develop skills in studio practice and create a set of photographs using studio-based techniques. You will learn about:

    • The development of studio photographic practices over time
    • Lighting, sets and equipment used to manage the studio environment
    • Planning and undertaking a studio-based photoshoot
    • Applying post-production techniques
    • Creating a portfolio of studio photographs
    • Printing, framing and mounting photographs for presentation to an audience
    • Location Photography

    Examine the techniques and processes used in location photography. Understand the unique challenges associated with undertaking location-based projects. Plan and undertake a photoshoot on location. Learn how to:

    • Analyse a client brief to identify contexts, logistics, equipment and practices
    • Take reconnaissance photographs, undertake risk assessments and manage permissions
    • Plan and undertake a photoshoot using active and experimental approaches
    • Understand health and safety requirements for location photography
    • Present finished photographs to a defined audience
    • Individual Project

    Apply all the skills you have learned and develop your creative ability by working on an individual project with a set theme and topic. You will be challenged to plan the project from start to finish and to review the skills and processes you used throughout your work. Indicative content:

    • Understanding client briefs
    • Exploring idea generating techniques
    • Developing creative ideas
    • Using techniques and processes to realise creative potential
    • Exploring concepts, materials and processes to develop creative photoshoots
    • Professional Development

    Explore how changes in technology and in response to social and cultural change within the industry impact on the photography profession and the role of the photographer. Reflect on the implications of these changes on your own personal development and career plan. Indicative content:

    • Exploring the development of the photography profession
    • Assessing your own knowledge and skills
    • Identifying areas for personal/professional development
    • Exploring personal career goals
    • Creating a personal development plan


All our tutors are photography professionals working in the industry.

The British Academy of Photography

Our philosophy at the British Academy of Photography is to make high-quality education accessible to all by empowering people to do what they love. Through the power of online and blended learning, our students are able to harness their creativity and practically apply it to succeed in their chosen careers.

Pursue your ambition - because the future is today!

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Choosing the right course

We offer a range of photography courses to suit your goals.

Why not contact our experienced staff for advice, or browse to our other courses.

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