Short Photography Course

Perhaps the best way to gain an understanding of what a short photography course includes is to look at some specific examples. Individuals can purchase CDs or combination CD/book packages designed to be used on the home computer.

These instructional materials might help you learn about equipment - cameras, lenses, tripods, flash equipment etc. - or concentrate on the basics of a digital camera.

Some short courses are printed manuals that provide detailed instructions on how to edit and display photos, both digital and film-based prints. Other programs build on this fundamental information by taking the self-taught individual toward marketing and presenting photography as a business.

Another example is the Short Course in Photography: An Introduction to Black-and-White Photography Technique, 5/E. This course, offered by Barbara London and Jim Stone, presents information in an online-study guide designed to work with printed materials and CDs.

Online Photography Education

The online program includes:

  • tips and techniques for organizing key ideas

  • online quizzes with quick scoring and coaching from the instructors

  • writing activities “to foster critical thinking”

  • and Web links to provide additional information

New York School/Institute of Photography

The New York School of Photography offers a short course called Fundamentals of Digital Photography.

As the course description states,

"The number of people investing in high performance digital cameras these days is rising fast,"

primarily due to declining prices. But even with the best camera equipment, an individual needs to develop skills and knowledge that will lead to great photos.

This short photography course and others like it are intentionally shorter than other photography classes offered by universities, institutes and colleges.

Students learn about:

  • exposure

  • shutter speed

  • aperture

  • photo composition

  • and several other subjects

Lessons are presented in full-color materials. Because it is a fundamental short course, developers didn't include a lot of technical information and terms that only a professional really needs.


The NYIP (New York Institute of Photography) short course is divided into 16 distinct lessons, some of which emphasize editing, archiving, printing photos and other subjects. The institute is considered one of the oldest photography schools in the world but it does present its short course in the most up-to-date fashion.

Materials include the full-color lesson plans, audio CDs, DVD programs, a personal advisor and specific projects that lead to a graduation certificate.

Automatic Education

For those students who want to take good pictures at home and on outings with family members and friends, there are short courses that concentrate only on the automatic mode of your digital camera.

It is intentionally simple. Yet the instruction is completely professional, allowing the amateur student to improve their vacation photos or candid family pictures.

Students learn how to frame photos, how to recognize and use proper lighting, how to use automatic exposure and focus for the best results etc. Instruction also allows students to create some interesting special effects, even in the automatic mode.

Of course, if you take this basic course you will need at least a "point and shoot" camera. A single-lens-reflex camera is great for this course as well.

Prices for this type of course may range from $60 to $200, depending on the source and the amount of material provided. The next step in a short photography course, beyond the automatic-camera course just described, is the introduction to photography. This course takes the student past the auto features and may even include some darkroom or computer-editing time.

Instruction is offered in camera settings, focus control and more advanced techniques such as portrait photography. This type of course may require regular study over the course of several weeks. The cost might be in the range of $300.

If you don't have a lot of time to travel to a class site and you don't have a lot of money to pay college or technical-school tuition, you may want to select one of the many short photography courses offered around the globe. It's a great way to improve your photography skills at your own pace.

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