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Online Photography Course to Start My Business: Darrell Studies from New Zealand

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: February 15, 2017

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Are you wanting to add new skills to your already broad range of experience? We spoke to Darrell Nichol, an Open Colleges student studying online from New Zealand about her venture into professional photography.

Darrell Nichol from Miramar, Wellington is part way through a course called the Certificate in Digital Photography, studying online with Open Colleges. Darrell first became interested in photography when she was inspired by a trip to her childhood home.

“I took a trip to my birth place, Christchurch, with my husband and I discovered how damaged it was after the earthquakes.” Darrell found that she was quite prolific, remembering, “I took a lot of photos, and so many of them told a story, so I knew I had to learn to take better photos.” This notion ignited the dream.

The Flexibility of Studying an Online Course in Photography

open colleges student story photography

Most of us want to gain new skills but the further we get in our career, the more responsibilities we seem to have! “I also have a full-time job and children,” Darrell explains. “It’s great to be able to get all my jobs done, and then sit down and do my study.”

The online study format is growing year-on-year as more people require the flexibility that it offers. In fact, the latest Faculty-Focus survey demonstrated that the online education industry had about 6.1 million students studying (at least) one online course, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year.”

Previous to commencing her online course, Darrell did some work in the professional photography industry. She had experience with imagery prior to study. “I completed a photography course in New Zealand, but it was through a photography institute.” Darrell found that she wanted to focus more on her specific digital passion; and wanted to gain additional skills, so she looked to online study.

Camera Courses, Adobe Lightroom and Learning DSLR

open colleges student story photography online

The course covers the usage of the Adobe program Lightroom from the same company that created the world-famous Photoshop program. Darrell managed to expand her skills while studying online from New Zealand, at her own pace. “I learnt more functions in Lightroom, and more about my camera,” she explains.

Lightroom is essentially an image management and editing program. Using Lightroom, photographers are able to work through their images from import, to sorting and organisation, to processing, and then all the way to export and sharing on the web, according to the Adobe Blog.

“I wanted to be a teacher when I was at school but ended up in the construction industry and 14 years later, I am still there,” Darrell says. “I find photography a good ‘out’ from the daily fight of my job.”

Open Colleges student story New Zealand

Ultimately my dream goal is to be a well-known, laid back photographer, but another goal would be to be well respected in my current job and to get much better at it.” Darrell was able to contact other students via Facebook where there is a dedicated page for Open Colleges Photography students. She also found speaking with her trainer Antony very helpful. “Direct contact with Antony was beneficial and helped (me progress).

Read Open Colleges trainer Antony's article on Life Pixel Blog "DSLR Cameras: Why Their Days Are Numbered (…And It’s Not What You Think!)". 

Fresh Goals for a Photography Career

open colleges student story darrel nichols

Darrel has big plans for her future, now that she is progressing steadily through her course. “In the beginning, I would like to do events part-time,” the student explains, “but maybe eventually it would be good to do photography work full-time…. But only if I could imagine leaving my current job!”

For Darrell, the best part of the day is discovering new ideas that she can put into practice. To find out more about Darrell's professional pursuits, head to DM Nichol Photography.

To find out more about studying online with Open Colleges, Australia’s leader in online learning, head to the Open Colleges website to search for a course that’s right for you.



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.

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