Photography - Lighting and Composition

What's the course about?

This course will enable you to explore your camera’s full potential and to  develop the skills necessary to use our camera creatively. It’s designed for those who already have a working knowledge of their camera, and want hands-on support to further their skills in photography, learning new techniques and understanding how to take photographs in specific and difficult conditions.  It is an ideal follow-up for those who have attended the course Exploring your Camera, as it will enable you to build on your knowledge of camera functions and increase your personal skills.

You will be encouraged to explore experimental forms of photography as well as developing your own projects and ideas. You will complete the course with a thorough understanding of the principles of digital photography and a portfolio of work which you can use to demonstrate your knowledge and skills.

NB If you are not familiar with using a DSLR’s manual controls, we recommend that you attend the Exploring Your Camera course first.

What will I study?

Learner hours: 17.5

Over 7 weeks, and through tailored exercises, you will explore key concepts in photography and develop a better understanding of how different types of cameras work.

Teaching methods and course structure

WeekTopicLesson aims
Week 1The Origins of Photography
The basics - Aperture/ISO/Shutter speed
In this lesson we will look at the birth of photography and how, when and why it originated. We will then have a re-cap of the essential camera functions, i.e. aperture, shutter and ISO with the intention that everyone will learn how to shoot on manual mode.
Week 2Contemporary photography

Introduction to studio photography
In this lesson we will look at contemporary photography to gain an insight into the creative potentialities of photography. We will then learn how to set up a studio and take a series of photographs using studio lighting.
Week 3Lenses

In this lesson, we will learn how to use our photographic lens or lenses.  There are many ways to effectively use a zoom lens, if this is the only one we own. We will explore how a variety of lenses are used from a technical and creative perspective.

There are a multiplicity of ways we are able to focus with our camera. We will learn those aspects of focusing which relate to your brand of camera, enabling you to focus faster and more effectively.
Week 4LightingIn this lesson we will look at what is perhaps the most important aspect of photography.

When we take a photo, we are essentially capturing light, and the way we approach this plays a huge part in how our images turn out. We will look at the different types of natural and artificial light and how it is possible to modify and control light for maximum effect.

This will include working with natural daylight, reflectors and studio flash.
Week 5PortraitureIn this lesson you will learn how to take successful photographs of people. This will include formal and informal portraiture, how to pose people naturally, to elicit character and emotion from your subjects, and also how to take photos of small groups of people.
Week 6Composition
Still life photography
In this lesson, you will learn the fundamentals of composition. There are a wide variety of approaches one can take but the underlying aim is to compose your photos instinctively to you maximise the mood/message you are seeking to obtain.

There will be a still-life workshop utilising all the skills learnt in the course so far. You will set up a still-life to learn more about product photography and also to  express yourself more creatively.
Week 7Recap
Adobe Lightroom
In this final lesson, we will re-visit all the topics, techniques and themes we have looked at throughout the course. This will give everyone the opportunity to master aspects which may not have been clear.

Everyone will import a selection of their images into Adobe Lightroom and will learn to make the required modifications which include saturation, vibrance, colour temperature, cropping, and sharpening and re-sizing.

Where will I study?

Mode of delivery: Face to face

Our address is The School of Creative Arts, College Lane Campus, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB.

For Maps and Directions please visit our helpful  ‘Where to Find Us’  page. Further details are sent by email when you have booked.


Please note; you will need to bring your own DSLR camera for this course as well as using university equipment.

Key Staff

Course Tutor(s)

Richard Tresiter

Booking deadlines

Bookings for all Creative Arts Short Courses will be reviewed two weeks before the start date of each course. This will allow the Short Course team to determine whether a course has met the minimum number of students needed for the class to run. If a class has failed to recruit, the class will be re-scheduled and you will be informed. Where relevant you will be offered an alternative class. If the course has met minimum numbers, bookings will stay open to the course start date or until it has met maximum numbers.

We encourage you to book early before the deadline to avoid disappointment.

Bookings for all short courses need to be made online through the Universities’ online booking system, before a course commences. You cannot enroll or attend a class on the day the course starts, without prior arrangement.


If for any reason you change your mind about joining us after you have accepted the offer, you have a legal right to cancel your contract to study with us within 14 days. This cancellation period therefore ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which you accepted our offer. Find further details of our cancellation terms here.

How to apply?

Start DateEnd DateDayDay and TimeCostLink
17/01/202328/02/2023Tuesday19.00 - 21.30£235.00Apply online
07/03/202302/05/2023 Tuesday19.00 - 21.30£235.00Apply online

*(exc 04 & 11 April, Easter break)

Contact us

If you wish to discuss this or any other creative art short course please contact the Short Course team on 01707 285327 or complete our short course enquiry form.

Nick Thomas, Short Course Coordinator,
School of Creative Arts