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Street Photography

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This digital photography course will take you on a visual journey around Edinburgh, practising how to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.  It will give you an introduction as to how to document people and places, experimenting with shutter speeds, lighting and compositions to discover the potential of Street Photography.

Please be aware that all of our digital courses that employ the use of computers and Adobe software are delivered on Apple Mac computers.

This introductory course to street photography will engage students through practical exercises and contextual references of contemporary and historical street photography; and introduce students to various trends and styles.

The teaching approach will be instructional, practical, reflective and collaborative, aimed at engaging the students to be inquisitive and experimental. This course is structured around class-based lectures, short supported workshops on location, working to a chosen brief and support to select, edit and present a finalised project. During the on-location exercises, the course will give the students the opportunity to employ and develop their skills in camera techniques, lighting and capturing ‘decisive moments’ on the street.  Back in the computer suite, guided demonstrations and introduction in the editing process will be explored using Adobe Photoshop.

Although this is a non-credit course, students will experience the practical elements of street photography as well as learning the context and meaning of images.

Photographs will be made on location through a walking fieldtrip around the city of Edinburgh and walking for a couple of miles over a 3-hour period. The resulting work will be digitally ‘processed’ in a computer lab equipped with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge.

Please note, this course includes a walking fieldtrip to take photographs around the city of Edinburgh, walking for a couple of miles over a 3-hour period.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Special Information

Essential materials or equipment to be provided by COL:

  • Tables and chairs
  • Computers and access to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge


Essential materials or equipment to be provided by the student:

  • A DSLR camera, or equivalent, ideally with 50mm lens
  • Storage medium for the camera SD preferred or CF card
  • USB cable to transfer your images to the computer
  • Please ensure your camera is ready to use with batteries fully charged and the memory card is cleared. 

Content of Course

  • Students will, throughout the duration of this course, gain competency in street photography styles and approaches as well as image selection. Supported through in-class exercises, these will include:
  • Review of street photography looking at historical context and discussing current trends.
  • Videos of eminent street photographers at work
  • Introduction to camera techniques including Aperture and Shutter setting, depth of field shooting and lighting.
  • Outdoor street photography workshop.
  • Introduction to photographing movement, people, street portraiture, architecture and urban spaces
  • Setting ‘the stage’ and ‘the decisive moment’
  • Basic guide to ethics and photographers’ rights.
  • Developing a series of images based on a brief
  • Supporting your visual storytelling through image selection, image rating and minor postproduction techniques, using Adobe Bridge and Adobe Photoshop.
  • Workflow management and backup.
  • Supportive criticism and the use of feedback to improve work.
  • ‘Show and tell’ exercise, reviewing and reflecting the portfolio of work created by individuals through a group discussion.

Teaching method(s)

Students will be taught as a group, taking them through the various stages of creating a street photography project. Blended learning techniques such as lectures, studio exercises, field trips and group critiques will be used.

The class exercises will give students the opportunity to learn about various features of the camera and refine their ability to confidently capture images on the street.  Peer support and reflection will take place through group discussions and critiques which will focus on the students’ own projects and interests. Established street photographers will be discussed, and act as a means to inspire, but also challenge student viewpoints. This will also allow students to see how their own photography fits into a larger historical context.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Employ a range of basic camera and software skills to create a series of images;

  • Employ a range of camera techniques to communicate creative ideas related to street photography; 

  • Select and present a series of images based on street photography project.


Core Readings

The recommended titles below may be of interest in following up the themes discussed in the course.

  • Finding Vivian Maier. 2014. [DVD].

  • Halsman, P. and Lubben, K. 2011. Magnum contact sheets. London: Thames & Hudson.

  • Howarth, S. and McLaren, S. 2010. Street Photography Now. London: Thames & Hudson.

  • Lubben K. 2017 Magnum Contact Sheets Thames and Hudson Ltd

  • Maier, V., Maloof, J. and Avedon, E. (n.d.). Vivian Maier.

  • Maier, V., Maloof, J. and Dyer, G. 2011. Vivian Maier. New York: PowerHouse Books.

  • Wallace, D. and York, P. (n.d.). Harrodsburg. Dewi Lewis.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.