Introduction to Digital Photography night class


Dunedin School of Art (P block, Riego Street)

One class per week for eight weeks: Wednesdays 6.00-8.00pm

On campus 

Term one: 21 February - 15 April
Term two: 2 May – 24 June
Term three: 11 July - 2 September
Term four: 12 September - 4 November
You can apply anytime by clicking the light blue APPLY button (directly above the fee shown to the right of your screen). This will take you to our Eventbrite page where you can apply and pay online.

Everyone has a camera, but do you know how to use all of its capabilities?

Learn the basics of digital photography! This course is great for people who have recently bought a camera and want some help discovering what it can do. It will help you get to grips with controlling your shutter speed and aperture as well as an understanding of how ISO, white balance and RAW shooting impact your images. Alongside learning how to use your digital camera, we will look at basic editing in Adobe Photoshop (black and white editing, RAW processing), sorting and filing digital images and post production options for your photos. This class is suitable for beginners.

2022 term dates 
Term one 21 February - 15 April
Term two 2 May – 24 June
Term three 11 July - 2 September
Term four 12 September - 4 November

Please note: There will be no classes on Otago Polytechnic holidays or public holidays. No classes during Easter week of 5 – 9 April. 

  • Monday classes: No classes 21st March (Otago Anniversary Day)
  • Monday classes:  No Classes 6th June (Queens Birthday)
  • Monday classes: No classes 24th October (Labour Day) 
What if I want to attend the same course next term?

If you want to repeat this course, you will need to apply and pay for each term separately via our Eventbrite platform (by clicking the APPLY tab in the top right corner of this page).

Learners under 16
  • We welcome learners under 16 but they do need parental consent to take this night class. 
  • If you are a learner under 16, please do the following:
    • ask your parent or guardian if it's okay for you to do this night class 
    • apply online and tick the box during the application process that says that you are under 16 
    • ask your parent or guardian to send an email to (Art Night Class Administration) letting us know that they're happy for you to take the night class. 
You will study
  • Exposure (aperture, shutter speed, ISO)
  • Camera Settings (white balance, focus)
  • Adobe Bridge Basics
  • Photoshop Basics (black and white, RAW processing)

Please note: This course does include some small homework tasks some weeks.

Equipment required
  • A digital camera with manual settings.
  • A portable storage device (portable hard drive or a USB thumb drive)
  • A USB card reader
  • Notebook and pen (optional)
  • Your camera’s manual, printed or electronic (optional)

Is my camera suitable for the course?

There are three types of camera that are suitable for this course:

  • BRIDGE CAMERAS are digital cameras that bridge the gap between the digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) and the point-and-shoot camera. Like DSLR cameras, Bridge cameras have an adjustable aperture, shutter speed and ISO (however these settings are more limited)
  • DIGITAL SINGLE-LENS REFLEX (DSLR) are digital cameras with an interchangeable lens. They combine the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor, as opposed to photographic film
  • MIRRORLESS INTERCHANGEABLE LENS CAMERA (MILC) are digital cameras with an interchangeable lens. It is called mirrorless since it does not have a mirror in the optical path and instead uses the image sensor to provide the rear image display and/or the image electronic viewfinder.

Which photography course should I do?

This depends on your level and how comfortable you are with your camera. The Introduction to Photography class (Wednesday) has a strong focus on understanding the settings of your cameras and basic Photoshop. The Photography class follows on from the Introduction to Photography class so for this you will want to be confident with at least aperture and shutter priority and a basic understanding of the manual shooting mode. The class builds on the technical skills learnt in the first class with the additions of composition, light, panorama images and solutions for tricky exposures.

Do I need to buy anything for the class?

Throughout the class, there will be items recommended for you to buy. These items are optional. However, you will need to buy a USB card reader for class (where you can buy this item is covered in the first week of class).

Will there be any additional costs during the course?

Yes, there will be a couple of extra costs. However, these will change from student-to-student and will be explained during the first week of class. 

What do I need to bring for the first week?

  • Your camera with a fully charged battery (and its manual if you have it)
  • Notebook and pen
  • Yourself!

Do I need to be a wiz on the computer?

It will definitely help if you have used a computer before as you will be using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop as part of the course (you don’t need previous experience with these programs). If you have never used a computer and are nervous about the computer component of the course, you may wish to complete a computer course beforehand.

I am purchasing a camera for the class what would you recommend?

If you can, a good option to begin with might be borrowing a camera from a friend to test it out first. Otherwise, to benefit you in the long run, perhaps look at getting a DSLR or MILC camera (Removable Lens) instead of a bridge camera. If you go into Jonathan’s Photo Warehouse on George Street in Dunedin, ask them for recommendations for the type of things you want in a camera and your budget. They should be able to point you in the right direction. You can also look up reviews and specs online which might help with your decision from the recommendations given. As for the lens that goes with it, get a single lens kit (better for learning as you won’t need to swap lenses) with a 18mm-105mm lens or something similar.


This class will be run by Harry Simperingham.  

Harry studied photography at Yale University, before going on to graduate in psychology instead. His photographic interests include interrogation of the union right between narrative and non-narrative photography and the irresistible human urge to tell a story about the image. Harry also enjoys using photography and the frozen image as a tool to present the everyday world as it goes unseen by the human eye.


All classes are held in the Photography Studio at the Dunedin School of Art. Please click here for a map.

Go to the main entrance of the Dunedin School of Art at 19 Riego St (off the Anzac Avenue end of Albany St). The Photography Studio is on the first floor, halfway along the main corridor.


For enquiries, please email 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.