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

Home Studycourse

Start Date:  Can be started at any time
Price:  £ 1,200 (easy-pay plan available)
Average Study Duration:  9-18 months
Assessment:  15 practical assignments
Course Type:  Home Study
Level:  Level 4 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, Manchester and Edinburgh areas.

Higher National Certificate course


Learn the practical skills to launch an exciting new career or gain advanced entry to a degree with a fully-accredited Higher National Certificate.

Throughout the course you will complete fifteen practical assignments designed to give you the experience to confidently enter the professional world of photography. Assignments can be completed at any time within a maximum time frame of three years.

Can be studied as a stand-alone course.

See below for a full list of topics covered »

Higher National Certificate Course Study Contents:

  • Welcome Email - 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.

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 the importance of analysing intention 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

Communication in Art and Design


Research how photographers communicate their design ideas to clients and learn a key skill set of techniques that will enable you to produce images of a professional standard to meet a client brief within an advertising context. Indicative content:

  • Preparing photos for web and print
  • Producing a professional portfolio
  • Developing creative thinking to produce specific contextual photographs
  • Using survey methods to understand audiences
  • Evaluating your own skills for further improvement
  • Producing client based presentations



Explore the different ways in which workflow can be organised to allow you to plan and execute and deliver your own projects in the future. Indicative content:

  • Understanding how photography projects can be managed
  • Developing organisational and leadership skills
  • Evaluating the process of monitoring projects
  • Discussing workflow mapping
  • Developing workflow systems
  • Tracking issues and solutions

Individual Project


Apply all the skills you have learned and develop your creative ability by working on an individual project within the context of event photography 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