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Introduction to Digital Photography (Online) (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course will introduce you to the creative controls of working with a digital camera. The course will include both a range of creative, photography and computer-based projects, using Photoshop to appropriately adjust and process images. Students will also be introduced to the elements of developing a photographic visual language and how concepts, ideas, and mood, can be communicated through photography.

Short 1:1 sessions with the tutor will be offered to students once a week within the times outlined below:
Wednesday 11.30-13.30pm 

Course will be delivered via Blackboard Collaborate and Learn

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

By signing up to the course students will be given access to a free Adobe Creative Cloud licence to the suite of software for the duration of the course. Details will be provided after you have signed up for a course.

Ideally students would possess a working Knowledge of Adobe software, but this is not mandatory.

Ideally students will be experienced with and confident using their own computer or laptop. Your tutor will likely be using a MacBook pro for teaching, this may look different from students’ home computers, especially those using a PC.

Special Information

  • Digital Camera with memory card (Entry level Digital SLR / DSLR, Mirrorless camera, or Digital Compact Camera with manual control settings, all suitable).

  • Fully charge batteries and cleared/formatted or new memory card.

  • Computer with wifi internet access and suitable bandwidth.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe. Photoshop.

  • A USB card reader if your computer does not have the appropriate memory card slot.

  • A USB memory stick or external hardrive with ample storage for large image files.

NOTE: Older digital cameras (pre 2010 models) may have limitations for this course.

Materials you will need to bring to the first class:

  • Notepad and pen.
  • A torch.
  • A tripod.
  • A moving object suitable to photograph on a table top or shelf (e.g. a wind up toy).

Content of Course

The course teaching is typically delivered over online weekly class sessions of around 1.25 hours with an additional 20 mins option per week to meet with your tutor, totalling approximately 16 hours of contact time.

Over the class sessions the course will cover:

1. Introduction to cameras and camera handling.

2. Introduction to manual camera controls.

3. Light and lighting.

4. Assignment: Shutter Speed.

5. Introduction to digital darkroom with bridge and Photoshop uploading and working with images.

6. Working with Adobe Bridge organising and editing.

7. Assignment: Still life photography.

8. Assignment: Portraits and photographing people.

9. Assignment: Location Photography

10. Assignment: Photographic seeing and abstract photography.

11. Preparing images for digital output.

12. Introduction to developing a personal photography project.

13. Making digital contact sheets and work-prints.

14. Introduction to mounting and presentation for photography.

15. Image adjustments and adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop.

16. Digital darkroom: digital tools and retouching techniques with Adobe Photoshop.

17. Photography project work: editing, sequencing in Adobe Bridge

18. Colour, tone and contrast adjustments.

19. Informal critique and group discussion of student work.

Teaching method(s)

Ideally you should have;

• An up-to-date web browser (Google Chrome recommended)

• Microphone (ideally headset) and Webcam

• Strong Internet connection

Teaching will be fully online and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the course, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor.Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

For students taking a course for credit you will be required to undertaken work outwith the class, which your tutor will outline, including practical directed study activities and by keeping a reflective Learning Journal. Directed study will include developing further practical work alongside research into a range of suggested artists and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness. Students are expected to demonstrate how their research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks and reflections made within a digital learning journal.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an enquiring approach to exploring a range of photographic vocabularies as a means to communicate creative ideas for a theme or subject, supported by contextual research and references.

  • Show an enquiring approach to using a range of manual and automated digital camera controls, together with using digital imaging software as a digital darkroom to develop a personal body of work.

  • Evidence an appropriate judgement to document, select, edit, print and present a coherent digitally-based photography project.


Core Readings

  • WELLS, L., 2004. Photography: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge

Web Sources

Adobe TV:


Details of the Art and Design assessment requirements can be found on the short course website. Please click on the following link for more information: Submission and Assessment Information

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


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.