Course Description

From the history of photography to advanced skills in Adobe Photoshop, as well as an understanding of current marketing practices, the Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging gives you the technical skills and business acumen you need to successfully establish or enhance your career in photography.

During the course you will:

  • Learn about the history and various genres of photography.
  • Build a marketable portfolio of work throughout the course.
  • Become familiar with pre-production, production and post-production workflow.
  • Learn how to respond to a client’s brief.
  • Master colour management and lighting effects and develop advanced skills in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • Gain an understanding of current marketing, social media and business practices in the photography industry.

Why study this course with us?

  • You will graduate from the course with an online portfolio of work to present to prospective employers and clients
  • The course content is current and relevant, and is both written and approved by industry experts
  • The Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging offers all the knowledge you need to start working in the industry, including both technical and creative aspects to help you develop your practical photography skills, as well as your own unique style
  • Once enrolled in the course, you will receive a membership to the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), Australia’s leading photography body. You’ll have access to digital magazines, business templates and peer reviews
  • You’ll also learn how to market your work – a key skill when building a successful business. The course includes business, social media and marketing topics to help you self-promote your work and break into the industry.

Potential career outcomes

  • Assistant Technician Photo Production
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Photo-Equipment Sales Assistant
  • Photographer’s Assistant
  • Sole Trader in photographic products and services
Course number E1191
Qualification name CUA41115 Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging
Course duration Maximum 12 months
Delivery Method Online
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Knowledge tests, Portfolio of evidence, Projects, Written reports
Awarded by
  • TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010)


There are no formal education entry requirements for this course.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 18 years old.


This course involves reading and undertaking a range of written assessments, as well as engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 10 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 10 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate II level or higher; or
  • 2 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


All users:

  • Microsoft Office 2013 or above
  • Broadband internet connection. Please note ADSL2+ is recommended due to the volume of downloading and uploading large files required by the course
  • 8GB of RAM minimum. 16GB is recommended
  • 1920 x 1080 display with 16 – bit colour and 512 MB of V RAM
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher
  • Adobe Reader XI, Adobe Reader DC or equivalent
  • Access to a printer and associated software
  • Access to a scanner and associated software
  • Digital imaging software
  • File compression software
  • Hard disc storage 1T. or above
  • Back-up: External Hard drive 1T or above

Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or higher (Windows 8 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Mac OS users:

  • Mac OSX El Capitan v 10.11.4 or higher
  • 1 Ghz or faster processor (2GHz recommended)

Digital equipment

You will need access to:

  • A digital video recording device and/or a digital camera and associated software to save and upload video, image and audio files to OpenSpace. Many mobile phones and smart phones include this technology.
  • Software to view online videos and images. Software such as Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Viewer etc. are available as a free download from the internet.

Equipment and tools

It is essential that you have access to a specific place where you undertake your assessment activities. The simulated work environment (approximately 3m x 4m) with available natural light, must include tools, equipment and resources including:

  • A table or worktop with trestles

  • A computer table

  • Anglepoise lamp or other types of table lamp

  • Dry storage space for camera equipment

  • Card sheeting Size: A3 or A2 : white, black and optional silver and gold

  • Aluminium foil (kitchen roll)

  • Props - can be a series of selected objects that are appropriate and effective in an image composition - resourced from learners environment

  • A range of professional lighting equipment and accessories including:

  • Set of Spring clamps and laundry pegs

  • 4-6 socket surge protected powerboard and extension electrical cord)

  • 3 light sources of light to create key, fill and backlight - for ‘Three-point lighting’ set-up (portable halogen 150-250 Watts, Tungsten lights, flashlight or torch or daylight bulbs)

  • 3 tripod stands (for lighting)

  • For unit CUAPHI402 Apply photo imaging lighting techniques, you will need to access commercial lighting equipment depending on your design brief. You will need to source, purchase or hire this equipment.

You’ll also need access to:

  • A Smartphone
  • A Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera (Canon or Nikon are recommended) or a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC) with an interchangeable lens with either a zoom lens or prime lens
  • A camera tripod
  • A memory card
  • A graphics capable monitor for accurate colour calibration (iMac recommended)
  • Models who could be friends or relatives willing to sign a model release form


To successfully complete this course, you will require basic computing skills. This includes:

  • Creating, saving and editing Microsoft Office documents
  • Accessing and searching the internet
  • Downloading and saving documents from websites
  • Uploading documents through websites
  • Participating in online discussions
  • Compressing image files
  • Recording, compressing and uploading videos.


This course requires the use of industry software. You will need to arrange a subscription at your own cost to the Adobe Lighroom Creative Cloud and Photoshop Creative Cloud. Student subscriptions are available at a reduced price. Refer to the Adobe website.

Style kit

All learners are required to assemble a Style Kit at their own cost for one unit: SIRRMER51 Style merchandise for photography, that may include the following items (most can be assembled at low cost):

  • Adhesive gum
  • Cotton buds and balls
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • General cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Hammer
  • Masking, double-sided and gaffer tape
  • Nylon thread
  • Pegs and bulldog clips
  • Pins
  • Pliers
  • Retractable knife
  • Safety pins and paperclips
  • Scissors
  • Soft brush and clusting
  • Spray bottle
  • Tweezers
  • Wet wipes
  • White cotton gloves

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Once you are enrolled in this course, you will receive access to the first Module, which contains the first set of units for the course. When you have successfully completed those units, you'll be given access to the next Module. Modules 1 to 5 have been released and are available. The subsequent Modules will be released on the following dates:

  • Module 6: June 2017
  • Module 7: July 2017
Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements. Please download the course guide for current information about the course and its status.

Note: Courses offered by Open Colleges on behalf of TAFE NSW North Region may include Units of Competency that are graded by TAFE NSW.

Photography: Yesterday, today and tomorrow

You will research a photographer and genre of your choice to spark your creativity. You don’t need a camera for this unit.

Colour, design, lighting and editing

In this module you’ll shoot still life images and learn about lighting, colour and design. You’ll photograph a subject of your choice e.g. a bowl of fruit, dishes, technology (phone/headphones), instruments. You’ll shoot indoors in controlled lighting like you would on a product photography shoot.

  • Research information on colour theory and design processes
  • Communicate ideas through the application of colour and design theory
  • Evaluate design work

Knowing the industry and working safely

This module will teach all about how the industry works! Learn how other photographers work and their place within the industry.

  • Work safely
  • Implement work safety requirements
  • Participate in WHS consultative processes

Producing commercial and innovative images

This module concentrates on commercial photography. You’ll decide whether you want to shoot fashion, cars, or other kinds of products. Alternatively, you can opt to shoot fine art photography. The focus here will be on shooting people and larger objects outdoors.

Processing and archiving

You’ll learn about finishing images by adjusting and exporting them to various delivery platforms and screen sizes, including handheld devices. You’ll also learn about the best ways to back-up and protect your work.

Interpreting and responding to briefs

In this module you will learn how to work and succeed in the photography business – how to start working with clients, how to photograph for others and respond to a design brief, as well as how to develop contracts, work out costing, and receive payment.

Freelancing and portfolio exhibition

You’ll learn how to get work and how to get paid! This module teaches you how to provide freelancing services legally and gives you an understanding of tax invoices, and how to build your business. You’ll learn about invoicing, creating an ABN, the ATO, creating a business name and copyright. By the end of the course you will have a professional portfolio to present to clients. It will include shots from different genres; still life, commercial images, fine art images and digitally enhanced images created using Adobe Photoshop.

  • Promote self to potential clients
  • Negotiate work arrangements
  • Manage financial and business aspects of service
  • Undertake strategic planning



What are my payment options?

Pay in full

If you pay your course fees up-front in full, you’ll benefit from a discount. When you pay in full, we don’t have to spend extra money on administration for tasks such as payment plan processing. Instead, we get to pass this saving onto you in the form of a discount.

ZipMoney Payment Plan

If you need a little more flexibility in your finances, and want to pay off your course fees over a longer period of time, you can switch to a zipMoney payment plan. Essentially, zipMoney pays your course fees for you, and you pay this loan back over 24, 36 or 48 months. As long as you are eligible, you can switch to a zipMoney plan at any time.

Payment Plan

Pay for you course in weekly or fortnightly instalments. By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges payment plans are interest-free.

Find out more

Once enrolled in the course, you will receive a membership to the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), Australia’s leading photography body. You’ll have access to digital magazines, business templates and peer reviews.

Open Colleges offers this qualification in association with TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010). The testamur will be issued by TAFE NSW North Region.

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Weekly and fortnightly payment plans are also available when you pay online.

Click Enrol Now and choose a payment plan or call an Education Advisor on 1300 161 345 for more details.