Open Colleges

Landscape Photography Skills: Susie Studies Digital Photography Online from New Zealand

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: February 07, 2017

  Return to blog home


Susie Williams is an online student studying a newly released photography qualification online with Open Colleges. She lives and works in Blenheim, Marlborough, which is “top of the South Island” in gorgeous, picturesque New Zealand.

Photography has always been a passion of mine,” explains Susie, “so I thought I could learn more about using my camera and getting a better finished product, which is why I decided to study online,” she explains. This savvy student was enraptured with the gorgeous scenery of New Zealand after moving there from South Australia.


“I grew up in country South Australia,” explains Susie, “and I worked for eight years at the University of Adelaide in agricultural research. I originally went to uni as a mature aged student, and studied Natural Resource Management.”

Susie’s career took a slightly different turn at that stage where she began working in a more highly scientific field. “That eventually led to me working at CSIRO, where I stayed for 8 years, primarily working with what we call GIS, or Geographical Information Systems.”

GIS is used to assess landscape and rock formations and is a vital part of environmental sustainability in farming, local councils and many more industries. In fact, Susie was able to use her GIS skills in a unique and fun way.

“For the past eight years I have been applying what I learnt at CSIRO to contract my services in GIS out to vineyards in Australia and New Zealand - helping them make decisions using GIS technology.” Overseas, GIS technology has been used in farming and vineyards to collect data, for data management, harvest analysis, selection of prospective planting sites, and determining irrigation requirements, for example. The technology is constantly being improved.

photography student story open colleges

Making Professional Photography Business Plans 

Now Susie has a new five year goal. “I enjoy working in GIS and vineyards but look forward to adding the ‘passion job’ of photography to my professional career as a side line,” she explains. “It’s nice to make a little money out of your hobby!”

“My eventual goal is to hopefully help create some part-time photography work too.” Susie saw a natural fit between her skills so she decided to study online with Open Colleges to increase additional professional skills to enhance her current knowledge.

“I have already gained massive benefits for my own personal photos,” she says, “and yes; the plan is to start up my own sideline business. I am already half way into my first job! I am taking photos for a local landscaping business to help them upgrade their website - it's fun!”

Changing Careers To Work With Your Creative Passion 

In today’s job market, career pathways change and evolve. There is a constant need to learn new skills and acquire qualifications that are relevant in a technologically driven world. So, the best way to protect your employability is to take charge of your own personal development and find your competitive edge.

No matter how busy your day job is, it’s vital that you allocate time to nurture the benefits of online learning.

Open Colleges International Student Story - Landscape Photography with Susie

Embrace your softer skills & hobbies

Raised on a sheep station in rural South Australia, Susie Williams has spent much of her time learning from, and translating the diversity of the Australian landscape. After working eight years specialising in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and viticulture with the CSIRO, Susie launched her own business where she has been consulting with wine growers across Australia and New Zealand.

No stranger to study, Susie has forged an impressive career as an agricultural technician, and when the Williams family made the move to New Zealand three years ago, Susie found the perfect opportunity to diversify her goals. “Since we moved to Marlborough, we get out and hike as much as possible. I’m always taking my camera because the scenery is absolutely breathtaking!”

susie williams photography

“Photography has always been a passion of mine,” she explains. “I thought it would be great to learn more about using my camera for the sake of a taking better pictures.”

Studying for Susie is less financially motivated, and more about exploring new territory. “It’s nice to know you can make a little money out of your hobby,” she says. With a vision for new ventures, Susie has been grateful for the opportunity to study online whilst juggling her own viticulture business along with her three kids.

“The coursework has been very rewarding, informative and well organised.” explains Susie, “I even learned enough that I’m already taking photos for a local landscaping business to help them upgrade their website. It's been really fun!”  

Flexibility When Studying Photography Online is Key

susie Williams photography

Because of her professional and family commitments, it suited Susie to study online. Online learning can offer a great way for people to fit their professional development around their workload, no matter the time, and no matter the place. 

But, it can be a challenge because motivation and discipline has to come from yourself. Remember, the great thing about online learning is that this is a commitment, which is extremely attractive to employers. By attaining an online qualification, you've demonstrated the ability to work independently and efficiently achieving something that was important to you.

We all learn new things every day in our jobs, but there is a difference between just picking up experience and actively pursuing new skills, information and qualifications.

The most successful people know that to achieve their career goals it’s important to be proactive and expand. Check out: photography classes at Open Colleges.

To find out more about Susie Williams Photography head to Susie's website; or susiewilliamsphotography on Instagram or Susie's Facebook business page



Yvette has over a decade of professional experience at some of Australia’s largest media corporations, including Southern Cross Austereo and the Macquarie Media Network. With a degree in Communications (majoring in Journalism), she covers stories on education, new knowledge technologies and independent learning.

Interested in online study?

See what it’s like with our 7 day free course trial.

Find out first-hand what it’s like to study with Open Colleges. Experience our world-class learning platform for yourself and discover how online learning can work for you. There are no obligations and no payment details required.

Start Today

Course areas