Professional Diploma in Photography (Online Photography Course)

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The Professional Diploma in Photography is the best photography course available online today. With more bespoke Tutor feedback than any other online course, our students improve quickly, using the step-by-step IOP learning system.

The state of the art course platform saves all your progress and feedback, which is available to you as you progress and for as long as you are enrolled on the course. This is a true learning experience, with real Tutors offering real help and feedback on your work. We give you all the tools you need to become a great photographer in your chosen field. 

Perfect for beginners to more advanced photographers, you can tailor this course to suit your needs. If you are a beginner, you will never be stuck. If you are more experienced, we will push you to achieve more. Whatever your photography goals, IOP and The Professional Diploma in Photography can help.

On passing this course, your IOP qualification is equivalent to ‘Qualified Status’ with the Guild of Photographers. This means that when you join the Guild, you will be given Qualified Status without having to undergo the normal assessment required. Find out more here.

What you'll learn

Over 180+ modules plus an in-depth tutor feedback section

→ CPD Certified (80 hours)

→ 11 Practice Assignments with constructive Tutor feedback on 11 Assignments

→ An extra 5 Formal Assignments with the Course Director Tim McCann, spending around 7 hours giving bespoke and detailed feedback on 7 of your photographs

→ Access to CORE (Course Resources)

→ Membership of the IOP® Camera Club Facebook Group for help, support and feedback

Live Tutor Chat and bespoke coaching

→ The most interactive photography course available

→ Unlimited time to complete the course*

→ Start when you like, take a break when it suits and complete in your own time. 

→ CPD accredited Professional Diploma in Photography pdf certificate on completion

On passing, immediate eligibility for ‘Qualified’ status from the Guild of Photographers

Enrolment on this course makes you eligible for a TOTUM PRO card (NUS Extra discounts)

Designed for beginner and intermediate photographers who want to enhance their digital photography and composition skills as well as aspiring professionals looking for a new career in photography. 

One of our guiding principles here at IOP® is in bespoke coaching – this is no ordinary online photography course. Only in constructive criticism can you expect to improve your photography; we provide just that. We are the only photography course out there providing so much bespoke coaching, with five dedicated assignments marked by renowned photography journalist Tim McCann.

* You have lifetime access to the course but you must log in at least once every 12 months to keep your account active

Each unit consists of different types of learning materials to appeal to all students and will be made up of study materials labelled READ, PRACTICE, WATCH, INTERACT.

An Introduction To Digital Photography
This unit provides an essential introduction to digital photography. From equipment to camera types, this unit is an excellent refresher or the perfect starting place for beginners. Unit comprises:

READ » Introduction to digital photography
READ » Understanding photography jargon

WATCH » Important camera functions part 1
READ » QuickStart Guide to Autofocus
INTERACT » Camera lens assessment
INTERACT » Introduction to digital photography Test Questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 1 – Manual

Understanding The Technology Of Digital Photography
A good understanding of the technology of digital photography giving you the knowledge you will need to get off the Auto setting and to gain much more control over your camera.

READ » Understanding the technology of digital photography part 1
READ » Understanding the technology of digital photography part 2
READ » Shooting RAW
INTERACT » Check your knowledge of photography terms

WATCH » Important camera functions part 2
READ » Quick Start Guide to Metering Modes
INTERACT » Understanding the technology of digital photography test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 2 – Modes

Controlling Light With Apertures
Improve your photography instantly by learning about aperture settings, depth of field and exposure.

READ » Controlling light with apertures
INTERACT » Check your knowledge of apertures

A useful chart
WATCH » The Exposure Triangle
INTERACT » Controlling light with apertures test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 3 – Apertures

Depth Of Field And Hyperfocal Distance
A more in-depth unit on this crucial photography subject.

READ » Introduction to depth of field
READ » Advanced depth of field part 1
INTERACT » Advanced depth of field part 2

Mastering Shutter Speeds
The choice of shutter speed has a profound effect on the way that moving subjects are recorded. Discover how to create silky water and how to freeze action shots as well as how to produce impressive results.

READ » Mastering shutter speeds
Quick Start Guide to Shutter Speed DOWNLOADABLE
Mastering shutter speeds test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 4 – Shutter Speeds

Advanced Focus Control
Looking at all the various ways autofocus can be used to best suit not just you as a photographer, but everything you photograph.

READ » Advanced Focus Control

Cracking Composition
In this unit, we look at how to compose a beautiful photograph. You will learn about leading lines, shapes and how to use colour in the composition. This unit alone will change the way you take photographs forever.

READ » Cracking composition
WATCH » IOP® Instructional Video on COMPOSITION
INTERACT » Cracking composition test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 5 – Composition

Advanced Composition Skills
Learn the fundamentals of advanced composition skills from using colour to create a mood using unusual perspectives.

READ » Advanced composition skills
INTERACT » Advanced composition skills test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 6 – Advanced Composition

Using Light Effectively
All the fundamental principles of photography are linked to the use of light. This is one of our most in-depth and detailed units.

READ » Using light effectively
WATCH » IOP® Instructional Video THE HISTOGRAM
INTERACT » Using light effectively test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 7 – Lighting

Holiday And Travel Photography
Make your travel shots memorable with this helpful unit. We look at planning the perfect travel shot and encourage you to consider different perspectives when shooting abroad.

READ » Holiday and Travel Photography
INTERACT » Holiday and travel photography test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 8 – Travel Photography

Landscape Photography
Take stunning landscape imagery. Learn how to use depth and light to create a professional landscape picture.

READ » Landscape photography
READ » Quick Start Guide to Lens-mounted Filters
WATCH » LEE Filters ND Standard Filters (Neutral Density Standards)
WATCH » LEE Filters ND Grads (Neutral Density Graduated Filters)
WATCH » The Big Stopper from LEE Filters
INTERACT » Landscape photography test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 9 – Landscapes

Special Projects
Take your photography skills a step further learning how to shoot panoramas. We also introduce HDR photography to help you produce perfect exposure and teach you how to create a living photo.

READ » Special projects
READ » Quick Start Guide to Dynamic Range DOWNLOADABLE
WATCH » Time-lapse movie examples
WATCH » Living photography

INTERACT » Special projects test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 10 – Special Projects

Black And White Photography Skills
Producing beautiful black and white shots is an art form and requires knowledge and practice. Learn to ‘see’ in mono and take black and white shots to be proud of.

READ » Black and white photography skills
INTERACT » Black and white photography test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 11 – Mono

Perfect Portrait Photography
Take a perfect portrait in any situation., Once you have perfected this technique, expect to be on call for every family event!

READ » Perfect portrait photography
INTERACT » Perfect portrait photography test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 12 – Portraits

Advanced Portrait Photography
More in-depth and advanced portraiture skills for those looking to develop into commercial work as well as those who wish to consolidate their learning from the previous unit.

READ » Advanced Portrait Photography
READ » Posing Guide

Image Editing Techniques
Image editing techniques and skills are vital to becoming a competent photographer. This unit addresses these key skills and offers comprehensive advice on essential editing techniques.

READ » Image editing techniques
INTERACT » Image editing techniques test questions
PRACTICE » Practice Assignment 13 – Editing

Make Money From Photography
We give you hints and tips on how to make money from photography. This unit also includes a tutorial on how to make a photography website from scratch worth up to £2000.

READ » Making money from photography
WATCH » Make your photography website
INTERACT » Making money from photography test questions

Product Photography
Your introduction to making money from product photography, including food, advertising and lifestyle genres, written by a working professional.

Fashion Photography
Your introduction to making money from fashion photography, written by a working professional.

Assignment Section
In this assignment section, you will be set assignments and will be asked to produce seven different photographs. Your tutor will spend, on average, around 7 hours considering your photography, assessing your images and giving you detailed feedback on how to improve. There is no better or faster way to become a better photographer.

Assignment – Composition
Get detailed and bespoke feedback

Your tutor will set you an assignment and give you constructive and in-depth feedback on the composition of your submitted image. The tutor will spend at least an hour looking at your photo and will give you detailed help and advice on how you can improve your composition.
You will receive a mark out of 100% for your image.

Assignment – Landscapes
Get detailed and bespoke feedback

Every photographer wants to be able to take a decent landscape, and this is your chance to see what an expert thinks of your landscape photography. We will ask you to do a landscape assignment and submit your best shot for assessment. Your tutor will spend at least an hour looking at your submitted image and will give you very detailed advice on how your photograph could be improved.
You will receive a mark out of 100% for your image.

Assignment – Portraits
Get detailed and bespoke feedback

Portraits can be a problematic discipline but an essential skill for any budding photographer. Our expert will look at your submitted portrait, giving it his full attention for at least an hour. He will make adjustments and suggestions as well as give specific technical advice based on your needs.
You will receive a mark out of 100% for your image.

Assignment – Black & White
Get detailed and bespoke feedback

The fourth of our compulsory assignments is designed to provide you with a critique to help improve your black & white photography. Your IOP® expert will set you a mono assignment and take time (at least an hour) to view and assess your photograph. He will give you advice on the tonal range as well as help you with any technical areas which could help you improve your mono photography.
You will receive a mark out of 100% for your image.

Final Assignment
Get detailed and bespoke feedback

You will be asked to submit three photos, and they will be assessed by an expert. This assessment is very in-depth and designed to significantly improve your photography. You will receive thorough and personal feedback on each photo you upload. Your tutor will spend around 3 hours looking at your final assignment images.
You will receive a mark out of 100% for each of your three images.

One student said: “The feedback from Tim was worth the course fee alone. I felt that he spent a good amount of time reviewing my shots and thinking how they could be enhanced or improved. I have printed out his responses and find them extremely useful.” Marcus Hurley, May 2016

Certificate And Feedback
In this unit, we ask you to tell us what you thought of the course and provide you with your Professional Diploma in Photography certificate as well as your member badge.

The Professional Diploma in Photography is suitable for all levels. 

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


Perfect for those who are completely new to photography, it starts with the complete basics and develops at an easy pace into more complex photographic concepts.

Intermediate & Advanced
Although you may find some of the concepts simple to begin with, many experienced photographers find it is useful to re-visit the basics. Along with this, there is the opportunity for you to tailor the course to your needs, using the tutor support and assignments.

Aspiring Professionals
This course is perfect for those who want to make a career out of photography either now or in the future.

Any digital camera that allows you to control the manual settings is perfect for this course. Even the most basic compact cameras offer that functionality these days. Look at your camera manual – can you change the aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings? If so, your camera is fine for the course.

Any PC, Mac, laptop, tablet or smartphone is suitable for viewing the course and course videos.
A reasonable broadband internet connection (2mb and above).

Non-essential equipment
The following items would be worth investing in, perhaps in the future and as you work through the course, developing your skills.
They are not essential for the course.

  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera
  • Choice of lenses
  • Image editing software like Adobe Lightroom
  • Tripod and filters

Any questions?

If you need to ask anything
about our Diploma in Photography or other photography courses, read our FAQs

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