Diploma of Photography Course Outline

Module 1 Cameras & Lenses

Get to know the author, George Seper, before he introduces you to the world of professional photography as it exists today. This module is an extensive look at the equipment you will use, covering cameras, how they function and when to take advantage of the broad range of lenses available to you.

Introduction To The Professional Photography Course

About The Author

The Still Image

The Digital Camera

Camera Overview

Amateur Cameras

Phone Cameras

Point & Shoot

Micro Four Third

Bridge & Super Zoom Cameras

Enthusiast vs Pro Cameras

Mirrorless Or CSC Cameras


Recent Camera Developments

Which Camera Should I Buy?

Camera Features

Service & Accessories

End Usage

Parts Of A Camera

Camera Body

Digital Sensor



Memory Card

Important Features Of The Modern Camera


Sensor Size

Frames Per Second (FPS)


Light Meter


Recommendations Regarding Cameras

Some General Observations On Cameras

The Pro Camera

The Small Format Camera

The DSLR Camera

The Rangefinder Camera

A Friendly Caution

Recent Developments In Small Format Cameras

The Medium Format Camera

The Large Format Camera

Small & Medium Format DSLR Features

Interchangeable Lenses

Adjustable ISO

Depth Of Field Preview

Integrated Light Meters

Mirror Locking



Uncovering The Lens

Lens Overview

The Science Of Lenses


Focal Length


Angle Of View

Lens Types

The Normal Lens

Telephoto Lenses

Wide-Angle Lenses

Specialty Lenses & Attachments

Macro Lenses

Extension Rings, Tubes & Bellows

Zoom Lenses

Reflex Lenses

Tilt-Shift Lenses

Lens Faults & Flaws

Spherical Aberrations

Chromatic Aberration

Barrel & Pincushion Distortion

Flare & Vignetting

Advanced Features Of Modern Lenses


Auto Focus (AF)

Image Stabilisation (IS) Or Vibration Reduction (VR)


Polarising Filters

Neutral Density (ND) Filters

Taking Care Of Your Equipment



Practical Lens Choices

Food Photography

Fashion Photography

Portrait & Beauty Photography

Architecture & Interior Photography

Travel Photography

Sport & Wildlife Photography

Wedding Photography

Stay Connected


Module 2 Shutters, Aperture & Their Relationships

Learn how to control your camera and capture the images you have always imagined. George introduces powerful previsualisation techniques and provides an in-depth understanding of the settings available through your camera to achieve what you want, when you want.

Shutters & Aperture

Shutter Types

Focal Plane Shutters

In Lens Shutter

Exposure Stops

Traditional Shutter Speed Stops

Aperture Stops

F/stop Values

The Advantage Of Using F/Stops

Full & Third Stop Reference Table

Aperture & Depth Of Field


What Is Depth Of Field?

Depth Of Field (DOF) Overview

Circles Of Confusion

Perceiving Sharpness


Depth Of Field (DOF) Scale

Hyperfocal Distance

DOF Preview Button

LCD Preview Button & DSLR Cameras

DOF & The View Camera

Digital Sensors & The View Camera

DSLR Shooting Modes In Practice

Manual (M)

Aperture Priority (AV) Or (A)

Shutter Priority (TV) Or (S)

Program Mode (P)

Exposure Compensation


Helpful Guidelines

The Rule Of Thirds

Leading Lines

In The Middle / Symmetry

Negative Space

Use The Foreground

Shapes, Patterns & Repetition


Fill The Frame / Try Getting in Closer

Putting It All Together


Module 3 ISO, Exposure & Metering

Accurate exposure is the basis for all photography and this module draws on methods popularised by the great Ansel Adams, modernised to give you an edge in a competitive world. As a professional or advanced amateur, you will be able to capture any subject consistently and with growing confidence.

Light Meters


Handheld Light Meters

In-Camera Light Meters

Average Reflective Metering

Scenario 1: Light Scenes

Scenario 2: Dark Scenes

Incident Metering

Spot Metering

Digital ISO

Understanding Digital ISO

Increased Light Sensitivity

Digital Noise

High ISO, Contrast & Colour Distortion

Auto ISO

The Shutter Speed, Aperture & ISO Relationship

The 18% Grey Card

Palm Metering

Dynamic Range & My Studio Light Metering Method

What Is Dynamic Range?

A Guide To Using Dynamic Range

The Zone System

An Introduction

The Stepped Greyscale Test

Zone System Basics

RGB & Colour Basics

RGB, Greyscale & Colour Bias

Custom White Balance (CWB)

Overview – Building A Zone Ruler

Compiling Exposure Data In The Zone Table

The Final Procedure, Constructing The Zone Ruler

Mechanical, Old-School Zone Ruler

Photoshop Zone Ruler Construction

Making Use Of Our Test Results

Practical Zone Placement

Lightroom Classic vs. Lightroom CC

Metering Colours & Other Tips

On Light Metering

The Sunny F/16 Rule

Module 4 The Film & Digital Process

A short step back in time provides the basis for effectively working and photographing in a digital world. In understanding what comes before, we are able to take full advantage of the tools we have at our disposal today for ever-improving photographs.

A Brief History of The Photographic Process

The Optical Process

The Chemical Process

Analogue Image Capture

The Composition Of Photographic Film

The Wet Process

Film Fogging

Darkroom Printing

Darkroom Safety

The Digital Darkroom

Early Photo Manipulation

The D-Log E Curve Of Film

Digital Image Capture

Digital Sensors

CCD & CMOS Compared

Tri-Linear Array Scanning Backs

Film vs Digital Capture

Digital Capturer’s Advantages Over Film

Digital Disadvantages

The D-Log E Curve of Digital Sensors

The Histogram

In-Camera Controls & What To Do With Them


Adobe RGB (1998)



Saturation, Contrast & Sharpening

Module 5 Light & Colour

After understanding photographic equipment and exposure, light and colour is explored as defining factors in professional photography. Refine your ability to previsualise, see and think like a camera, then delve into post-production techniques and monochromatic images.

Light & Colour

The Colour Spectrum

Colour Temperature

Early Colour Theory Development

Maxwell’s Triangle & Modern Colour Theory

Additive & Subtractive Colour Systems

The CIE & Lab Colour

Photographic Filters

Useful Filters In The Digital World

The Mired Scale

Wratten Filters

Managing Colour & White Balance

The Colour Temperature Meter

Digital White Balance

Custom White Balance

A Colour Reality Check

Seeing Like a Camera

Colour Perception

Depth Perception

Dynamic Range

Some Useful Tricks


Look Through a Filter

Close One Eye

Make A Fist

Rotate The Image



Setting Shadows & Highlights

Black & White Photography

A Brief Personal Tour

B&W Photography In The Digital Era

Method One: In Camera B&W

Method Two: Camera RAW Saturation

Method Three: Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

Method Four: Greyscale Colour Mode

Method Five: Photo Filter

Method Six: Black & White

Method Seven, My Favourite: Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer

Utilising Colour Channels

The Red Channel In RGB

The Green Channel In RGB

The Blue Channel In RGB

The L Channel In L*a*b

Module 6 Lighting

What is the world’s best lighting? This module takes an in-depth look at natural and artificial lighting and how you can use these to your advantage. Explored in the context of portraiture, this knowledge is applied to all genres of photography and it is a crucial part of any good photographer’s education.

About Light

The Sun


Blue / Amber

Green / Magenta

Light Quality

I Love Daylight

Artificial Light Sources

Using Flash Light

The Safe Use 0f Lighting Equipment

Lighting Outdoors

Time Of Day

The Weather

Lighting People & Small Movable Objects

Fill in Flash





The World’s Best Lighting

The Daylight Look Indoors

Lighting Method 1: Simulated Hazy Day

Lighting Method 2: Simulated Overcast Day

Lighting Method 3: Simulated Full Sun

Continuous Lights

Hot Lights

Tungsten Lighting

Cool Lights

Fluorescent & LED Lighting

Fluorescent Lights

LED Lights

Balancing Flash & Daylight

Flash Duration

Portrait Lighting

Unisex Portraiture Lighting Scheme

The Vanity Index

Lighting People

The Law

Module 7 Refining The Image Process

George explains, through his extensive experience, the commercial realities surrounding photography and methods to help produce the best images you can. Learn from photographers you admire, analyse images to improve technique and recognise what they can be used for.

The Big Question

Commercial Reality

Travel Photography


Magazine Photography

Advertising Photography

The Little Photoshop on The Corner

Back to Business – Taking Pictures

Educate Yourself

Why A Duck?

My Guidelines For Photographing Objects

A Mental Shooting Checklist

Thinking Like A Lens


Color Management In-Camera

Adobe RGB (1998)


ProPhoto RGB

Image Previews

In-Camera Tools

Low-Resolution LCD Color Preview


Exposure Warning

Working Tethered

Improving Your Photography

The Photoshop Trap

Warning, Danger Ahead!

Sticking To A Subject

Be Honest With Yourself

Be Realistic

A Word On Plagiarism & Improving Technique

A Cut–Out Portfolio

A Style To Call Your Own

Staying Current

Module 8 Equipment & Software

Where is technology going and what do you really need to be a successful photographer? Develop a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages that different equipment provides, for now and in the future.

Camera Choices

Format Size

The Small Format Camera System



The Medium Format Camera System



The Large Format Camera System



My Choice Of Camera System

Small Format DSLR System

Small Format Compact Systems (CSC’s)

Medium Format System

Large Format System

Questions & Considerations

Buying vs. Hiring

Buying Considerations


Which Lenses Do I Need

Where Is The Technology Going?

Lighting Equipment

Studio Flash Units

Monobloc Studio Lights

Using Multiple Speedlights

Which Brand Should I Buy?


Tungsten Lighting

LED & Fluorescent Lighting

Second Hand Gear

Computers & Monitors

The Calibration Device

Data Storage

Digital Video Disc (DVD’s)

Disc Do’s & Don’ts

Disk Do’s

Disk Don’ts

External Hard Drives

RAID Arrays

Solid State Drives (SSD’s)

The Future of File Storage

Future Proofing Your Files

My Storage System

The Graphics Tablet

Image Capture Software

Capture One Software

Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom & Camera RAW

Specialty Software Apps

New Technology

Module 9 Retouching, Resolution & Printing

Since the dark room, post production and printing has been a defining part of all photography. This module addresses how to get the best out of your images when it comes time to edit and print your work.

Image Retouching Software

Adobe Photoshop (Ps)

Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic (Lrc)

Capture One Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro 2020

Affinity Photo By Serif

Other Image Editing & Retouching Tools

The Interesting Issue of DPI & PPI

Image File Size… How Big Is Big Enough?

Output Devices & Resolution Requirements

Photo Quality Inkjet Printers

Offset Printers

Lines Per Inch & DPI Conversions

The Professional Print Lab

Computer Monitors

Email & The Internet

Dot Gain

Your Workspace

Work In RGB



Gamut Warnings

The CMYK Colourspace

Bit Depth

Colour Channels In Photoshop

File Formats For Digital Imaging & Printing

Camera Raw



Print-Bound Images

PSD – Photoshop’s Default File Format





JPEG 2000

Other Random File Formats

Working With 16 Bit Files

16-Bit Capture & ACR

Converting 8-Bit Images To 16-Bit

16-Bit Editing

Photoshop Retouching

HDR For High Contrast Scenes


Photoshop Toolbox

Quick Masking

Photoshop’s Densitometer

Adjustment Layers


Every Digital Image Requires Sharpening

Unsharp Mask (USM)

Traps For Young Players

My Sharpening Methodology (Overview)

Selective Sharpening

Camera Raw Image Adjustment Basics

Camera RAW Tools

Adobe Lightroom Classic Image Adjustment Basics

Do Your Prints Look Like The Screen Image?

Greyscale Print Test

Calibration – The Whole Shebang

How to Construct a Greyscale Box In Photoshop

Module 10 Photography Business & Studio Essentials

Working in a studio has many advantages for a photographer. Whether this is full time or only a passing requirement of your photographic practices, it is important that you are familiar with a studio space and the equipment it contains.

The Photographer’s Studio

Do I Need A Studio?

Hiring A Studio

Studio Sharing

Living In

How Big A Studio Do I Need?

Working From Home

The Perils

The Joys

The Wedding & Portrait Studio

In Your Studio

The Question Of Daylight

Ceiling Height

Colours & Decorating

The Floor

Poly Boards

Must Haves


Bus & Train Routes



Hiring Out Your Precious Studio

Start Small

Where To Begin

Life & Business

The Rubber Meets The Road


The 5 Year Visualisation

The SWOT Analysis

The Business Plan


More On Money


Usage Rights


Business & The Taxman



Module 11 Portfolio & Area Of Specialisation

Constructing a portfolio is one of the most important tasks a photographer carries out. This is ever-changing and must develop as your photography develops. George explains the process and how to put your best foot forward in all circumstances.

Where To Begin

Selecting A Specialty Area

Fashion & Beauty


Weddings & Family

Nudes, Boudoir & Glamour


Landscapes, Travel & Resort


Products & Still Life

Architecture & Interiors

Art Photography

Industrial & Corporate


Real Estate & Drones

The Photographer’s Assistant

Continuing Education

Career Path Suggestions

Fashion & Beauty


Weddings & Family

Nudes, Boudoir & Glamour


Landscapes, Travel & Resort


Product & Still Life

Architecture & Interiors

Art Photography

Industrial & Corporate


Image Libraries

The Professional Portfolio

Look At The Work Of Other Photographers

Look At Stylist’s Portfolios For Ideas

How To Find The Right People To Schmooze

Talk To Photo Agents

Be Ruthless – Do Not Dilute Your Portfolio

Is One Folio Enough?

Get Other Opinions

Think About Your Presentation

This Is Where To Spend Money Wisely

Some Ideas On Marketing Tools

A Newer Portfolio Approach

Advantages Of A Tablet Style Portfolio

Disadvantages Of A Tablet Style Portfolio

The Professional Website

Module 12 Photo Agents / Picture Agencies: How To Get Work & Keep It

As a professional or advanced amateur, creating a style to call your own can help set you apart from the masses. Be an individual, work smart as well as hard and photography will be a lifelong passion as well as a rewarding career if you so choose.

The Photographer’s Agent

The Role Of The Agent

The Photographer / Agent Relationship

How To Find A Photo Agent

Avoid Mixed Agencies If You Can

Be Prepared For Your Interview… You Only Get One Chance

Fees & Charges

Agency Politics

Don’t Argue!

Photo Libraries & Picture Agencies In Conclusion

Protecting Our Profession

How To Submit Images

Getting Work & Keeping It

Do Your Homework

Write Down Names In The Lift

Sell Yourself!

Going It Alone

Befriend The Art Buyer...

Social Media





The Future

A Final Word


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