In my last post, I shared my final piece of homework and thoughts from author Laura Jane Williams’ Don’t Be A Writer, Be A Storyteller course. I love taking courses and continuing to learn new things. And around the same time I finished the writing course, I also received my Photography Diploma certificate from The Photography Institute!
I love photography. And, though I can’t imagine ever becoming a professional photographer, I hope I keep improving as a photographer. I don’t have a great DSLR at the moment, but I had the time and the money to do a professional photography course. So, I decided to bite the bullet, buy a photography course and get cracking.
Earning a Photography Diploma from The Photography Institute
Who is the Photography Diploma online course for?
Firstly, The Photography Institute is a worldwide company and they have different websites for different companies. I think they select tutors and tailor information specifically for different nationalities.
As the name suggests, the ‘Professional’ photography course is aimed at giving any photographer, from beginners to intermediates, all the knowledge and practice they will need to become a professional photographer.
Though I have no intention of becoming a professional photographer, I did like that it was a professional-level course. I wanted a general, all-encompassing photography course that wouldn’t leave anything out. The course covers the history of photography, all the settings on a camera and even teaches you how to set up a photography portfolio.
What exactly is included in the Professional photography course?
The photography diploma consists of 12 modules. All the modules are taught via a hefty pdf, and the best part is you can keep them all for your reference. If you finish the course and a couple of years later realise you’ve forgotten half of it, you can read through everything again! Make sure you download everything from the course before you finish because everything disappears once you’ve received your certificate.
Every module has an assignment you must complete and submit before you can move onto the next piece of homework. At the start of the course, you’re assigned a tutor who will mark your work and you can ask them any questions about photography throughout the year.
You can also use your profile on the website as a portfolio (I wouldn’t though. Just get a website, their portfolios look really unprofessional) and be a part of the Facebook group (which I still am). You can also sign up for the student version of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite whilst you’re completing the course. This is awesome because Adobe is really expensive so if you’ve never had the software before, now would be the perfect time to try it.
Once you’ve finished the Professional Photography course, you can enrol in an advanced module for £125. These advanced modules allow you to continue your photography studies by specialising in a subject you would like to pursue like portraits, events or wedding photography. I personally really like the look of the Landscapes and Travel Photography module and I think the cost is reasonable.
Is The Photography Institute an accredited course provider?
Though I’ve not researched other online photography courses extensively, I will say The Photography Institute seems to be the most accredited, official online-only photography course out there. They’re accredited by four different education authorities including the UK Register of Learning Providers.
The photography courses’ official-ness was one of the main reasons I enrolled. I wanted an official certificate I could present to employers if I needed to and something to put on the CV that said: “I know what I’m talking about.”
It’s a legit Photography Diploma, too. Or a certificate. Really, it’s whatever you want to call it. Considering this qualification is vocational and requires a significant period of time to complete (up to one year) the qualification could be called either.
How much does the photography course cost?
I won’t sugar coat it, the cost of this photography course is pretty steep. The Photography Institute allows one year to complete the course (with paid extensions available) and costs £649 if you take a weekly payment plan of £27.04 for 24 weeks or monthly payment plan of £108.17 for six months. The course costs £599 if you pay the whole lot up front.
I was super lucky. I had my eye on this course and signed up to the newsletters. In August 2017, The Photography Institute had a sale and I enrolled for only £324 and paid in monthly instalments of £54 for six months.
Honestly, I don’t think I would have paid any more for this course. It’s a fantastic course and I know a heck of a lot more about photography now. But in reality? My photos haven’t improved much, but that’s probably down to my lack of practice.
Ideal Camera Equipment for the course
Technically, you can enrol in this photography course with a point and shoot camera and nothing else. I think the course would be a massive waste of money if you didn’t have a better camera. And you’d be better off spending that money upgrading to a DSLR or CSC.
I personally think this is the minimum equipment you need for this photography course:
- DSLR/Compact Systems Camera with kit lens
- Another Lens (doesn’t matter too much what it is)
- 18% Grey/White/Black colour balance card set (like this one)
My Tips for Completing your Photography Diploma course with The Photography Institute
- Just do it. I read every day on the Facebook group that someone got stuck on a module, couldn’t be arsed working it out and then whoopsie… six months later the course is about to expire and they have seven modules left. JUST DO IT. I never got 10/10 on any of my modules because that doesn’t matter. I did well enough and I actually finished the bloody course.
- Get out there and practice as much as possible. One of the main reasons why I’m not a great photographer after completing this course is because I don’t practice enough. , sure. But I don’t like to try new settings or techniques in case it fails and I don’t have any half-decent photos. So, make sure you put some time aside for lots of practice sessions where it doesn’t matter if you screw up.
- The course will be too in-depth and science-focused for a lot of amateur photographers. The parts of the course that teach the science of photography and the technical elements of the camera can be really, really dry and hard to follow. Believe me, I’m not very science-minded. I don’t believe you need to take most of this in to complete the course (I certainly didn’t) and you have all the information on pdfs if you want to refresh your knowledge. This is a professional photography course, so if you’re really just looking for handy tips and tricks I suggest you search YouTube instead.
And that’s my honest review/thoughts from studying for my photography diploma from The Photography Institute. Have you completed a photography course? Let me know in the comments below!