Higher National Diploma Live Online

Receive advanced entry to the final year of a degree with a fully-accredited Higher National Diploma or learn everything you need to start your own successful photography business.

Deadline for enrolment:

Start Date


$9,195 (Easy-pay plan available)


Approximately 18-36 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 Melbourne and Sydney areas.

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Study Option
Live Online
Course Location
AQF Level
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.
30 practical assignments
The Australian 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 third or final year of a degree, or enable you to start your own successful photography business. You will not only create, plan and manage your own photography project but understand and analyse the role of branding in photography, develop advanced art direction skills, conceptually explore photographic ideas and experience what it means to work on a collaborative project.

Designed around 30 practical assignments, you will incrementally develop the skills, advanced techniques and 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 36 months, a student studying around 30 hours a week can complete the course in 18 months*.

*Completion time is based on the approximate time it has taken past students to complete the course. Students have up to 48 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
    • Advanced Photography Studies

    Develop your own personalised photographic style and push the limits of your creativity. Explore conceptual ideas and experiment to complete a photography project that reflects your own personalised visual language and approach to photography. Indicative content:

    • Developing your personal style
    • Applying project management techniques
    • Presenting photographic work to communicate a personal style
    • Evaluating audience responses to photographic work
    • Event Photography

    Develop skills in the area of event photography. Understand the importance of planning, networking and developing good codes of conduct in order to successfully undertake a photoshoot for an event. Learn how to:

    • Explore the creative opportunities and ethical requirements of event photography
    • Develop a contract for an event photography project based on client needs
    • Explore event photography techniques and processes
    • Plan, organise and undertake a photoshoot for a local event
    • Use post-processing tools and techniques to prepare final images
    • Present a collection images of an event and collect audience feedback
    • Photojournalism

    Understand the value of photography in current affairs. Examine the differences between photojournalism and documentary photography. Develop a personal approach to photojournalism that considers equipment, ethics, subject interests and research practices. Use your skill-set to complete a photojournalism project. Learn how to:

    • Understand how society and technology has shaped photojournalism
    • Identify photojournalism story opportunities
    • Produce photographs that support a clear photojournalism narrative
    • Explore the ethical issues associated with photojournalism
    • Present work in a format appropriate for online or offline media
    • Commercial Photography

    Understand the role of photography in different commercial industries. Examine the difference between business to business and business to consumer photography. Explore the practices and techniques needed to produce images for commercial photography. Learn how to:

    • Develop a brief for a commercial photo shoot
    • Understand business, legal and ethical considerations in commercial photography
    • Understand the relationship between business branding and the visual language of commercial photography
    • Identify equipment, techniques and processes used in commercial photographic production
    • Use project management processes to undertake a commercial photoshoot that responds to a client brief
    • Use post-production techniques to complete a portfolio of commercial photographs that meet client needs
    • Present photographs to a client and assess feedback
    • Applied Practice - Collaborative Project

    Develop your collaborative skills through the planning, managing and presentation of a collaborative project. You will be given a set-theme for the project that will be based on current trends and up-to-date industry practices. Indicative content:

    • Building collaborative skills
    • Developing a project plan
    • Managing a collaborative project
    • Working creatively in a collaborative environment
    • Presenting collaborative work
    • Evaluating own work and the work of others
    • Professional Practice

    Learn how to analyse the strengths and weaknesses within your own work and develop a career plan with the help of your tutor. Indicative content:

    • Evaluating skills and abilities
    • Exploring career opportunities
    • Creating a career plan
    • Developing a business plan
    • Creating a portfolio
    • Developing a CV/Resume
    • Preparing for presentation/interview


All our tutors are photography professionals working in the industry.

The Australian Academy of Photography

Our philosophy at the Australian 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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