photo school

"The arts equally have distinct departments, and unless photography has its own possibilities of expression, separate from those of the other arts, it is merely a process, not an art. "

Alfred Stieglitz

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Part time intensive photography certificate

Our first fully accredited photography course earning you a SAQA US Certificate, and credits towards a Visual Arts Diploma, should you wish to pursue it and turn this into a career.

visual skills school -  photo course


...certificate photography


To enable you to select relationships and contexts for photography, including the required interpretation, analysis, pre-visualising, conceptualising and capturing of images. On graduation you will be a well-rounded entry-level photographer with a good fundamental knowledge of photography.

You will be able to:


UNIT STANDARD ID 336114: USE A STILL CAMERA TO CAPTURE A RANGE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES PURPOSE OF UNIT STANDARD: To enable a learner to be able to capture photographic images with a still camera. NQF LEVEL: 4 CREDITS: 15

UNIT STANDARD ID 336096: Plan and organise logistical requirements for a photographic brief / assignment PURPOSE OF UNIT STANDARD: The purpose of the learning is to enable a learner to plan and organise logistical requirements for a photographic shoot in either an analogue or a digital photographic environment. NQF LEVEL: 4 CREDITS: 5


  1. Fill in an enrolment form and email it to [email protected] or fax to 086 611 9252.
  2. VSS will send you notification of pro-forma acceptance with a student number and a pro-forma invoice.
  3. Pay the required study fees into the bank account indicated on the invoice.
  4. Fax or email the proof of payment.
  5. You will receive confirmation of your registration with full details of the course you have registered for.

1. Fundamentals of photography

Theory: Practical: exposure - the Golden Formula. Discuss implementations and creative control applicable to this photography segment. Research samples and applications of pinhole photography. The darkroom Set up and take pinhole photo, develop film and make contact print in darkroom.


2. The digital camera

Key DSLR camera features - Buttons and settings. Exposure - speed/time versus aperture. Discuss implementations and creative control applicable to this photography segment. Research Rangefinder cameras versus SLR cameras. Composition, colour and visual communication Available light shoot on location

3. Lens technology and technique

All about lenses: Lens characteristics and selection. Depth of field. Discuss implementations and creative control applicable to this photography segment. Watch “National Geography - The Photographers” and discuss your favourite photographer/genre in a written assignment. Nature photography at nature reserve.

4. Electronic flash

On-Camera Flashes and Studio flashes, applications and science. Discuss implementations and creative control applicable to this photography segment. Compare and illustrate differences between flash and available light photography, discuss advantages and disadvantages of each. Portraiture lighting. Creative studio portraiture and lighting

5. Digital platform for photography

Understanding RAW and other file extentions. Introduction to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and file management. Create ‘Image Bank’ for source and for export with proper key-wording, preferably on an external hard drive. Creative Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Post edit and manipulate own work.

6. History of photography as art

History of photography versus history of art up to Post Impressionism, with emphasis on the creative photographer as an artist. Discuss implementations and creative control applicable to this photography segment. Research the birth of the art salon and compare it to the modern photography salon. Creative filters and in-camera manipulation. Shoot image in style of early modern artist/photographer of your choice.

7. Macro & close-up photography

Close-up and macro photography- science, flash/strobe and specialised lenses. Table-top white/blackline photography. Research and plan food advertisement with applicable sketches. A look at graphic design - formatting and page layout. Food photography for magazine advertisement.

8. Fashion photography

Creative glamour and fashion: Portraiture. Lighting, styling and props. Make up tutorial. History of fashion and glamour portraiture. View VSS DVD on this subject and plan contemporary fashion shoot. Make-up styling and applied fashion photography on location.

9. Photo journalism

Photojournalism Discuss ethics of photojournalism with reference to Kevin Carter’s ‘Vulture Stalking a Child’ photo. Real world photo journalism at shanty town and shebeens in rural area. in theory- nature of photojournalism, the history of photojournalism and ethics. Photojournalism in practice- equipment and techniques

10. Exhibition

Prepare portfolio of photographic images and finalise assignments for completion of Portfolio of Evidence and summative assessment. Digital printing technology processes within the production of digital photographic images. Present and exhibit photo portfolio at end of course exhibition at VSS.