New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5)



One year full-time; part-time not available

On campus

Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
    28 June 2021 - 16 July 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022

This hands-on programme covers all aspects of photography and moving image production.

It will provide you with the knowledge and skills required for any career in professional photography, video production, moving image or related fields. 

Through workshops, real-world projects and engagement with industry professionals, you’ll develop technical and industry skills across a variety of areas such as camera expertise, and post-production and editing. 

You’ll also start to build your professional skills so can feel confident when responding to briefs and working to deadlines. 

Plus, you’ll learn from experienced tutors who work part-time in the industry and enjoy access to our industry-standard studios and editing software and equipment. 

Graduates will achieve the New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5).

Career opportunities

Graduates of this qualification will have the skills and knowledge for various entry-level positions in many areas within creative industries. With a focus on digital content creation in photography, video and sound, areas can include:

  • advertising
  • food
  • fashion and editorial
  • news media, photojournalism and documentary
  • sports and events
  • weddings and portraiture
  • post-production editing
  • travel and vlogging
  • corporate and commercial
  • stills and video in the film industry.
Entry requirements
Academic requirements 
Those under 20 
  • You must have completed a Level 3 qualification in a related field OR demonstrate equivalent knowledge and skills.
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under the age of 20 who doesn't meet the academic requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed in the programme.
  • You need to submit a portfolio (see Portfolio section below for more info).  
Those 20 and over
  • No minimum academic requirements.
  • You need to submit a portfolio (see Portfolio section below for more info).
English Language requirements

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Selection criteria 

Where there are more eligible applicants than places available, applicants will be selected based on the strength of the submitted portfolio and the above entry criteria. 

Want your existing skills recognised?

If you already have extensive knowledge and skills gained from practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification in the course of your life.

Portfolio and written requirements


Please send us three (3) examples of your photographic work (still and/or moving images).

>  Submit your portfolio digitally as a PDF uploaded to the OP website. Combine your images into a single digital document and save as a PDF.

>  Upload any moving image work to a website (e.g. YouTube or similar) and include links as a page of your portfolio PDF.

There is a 2MB file size limit for the portfolio upload.

Thank you. We are looking forward to seeing your photographic work.

Covering letter

  • Please write a short covering letter to accompany your application. A double-spaced letter of not more than one page (300 words) explaining why you want to come to study on the program and what your relevant experiences have been to date.
Pathways into the programme

If you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, don't panic! Our New Zealand Certificate in Digital Media and Design (Level 4) has been designed to help you bridge the gap. By completing this Level 4 Certificate, you'll gain the academic entry requirements you need to apply for the Level 5 Digital Media and Photography Diploma. 

Additional costs

You need to have:

  • a basic camera for still and moving image (e.g. smart phone or similar, or compact camera) that you can carry all the time
  • an external hard-drive for keeping your digital files (eg. 1TB USB hard-drive)
  • a pair of monitoring headphones and a good quality 32GB SD card (e.g. Sandisk).

You are welcome to bring your own DSLR camera or similar, but we will provide cameras. 

You will study

Our programme combines practical skills in both still and moving image production across a variety of contexts including advertising, portraiture, fashion, events, news media, web TV, documentary, live streaming and vlogging. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • camera expertise including still images, video production and moving images, recording sound
  • lighting
  • post-production and editing
  • image analysis and criticism
  • iterative design processes
  • workflow and process management
  • interpersonal skills including teamwork, collaboration and networking
  • business skills including licensing, permissions and copyright, Health and Safety laws and practices, analysing web data
  • professional skills including working independently, research and problem-solving, working intuitively, responding to briefs and working to deadlines. 

This diploma consists of six, four-week project courses running consecutively and one longer project at the end. The courses grow in complexity and we expect more independence from you as the programme progresses. 


Photographic Techniques 1: The Image

Learn how to apply practical skills of lens-based content creation in portraiture principles.

  • Meet a client brief in relation to portraiture.
  • Select and apply appropriate tools and processes to meet a client’s brief.
  • Reflect on photographic processes and outcomes in relation to meeting the client’s brief. 

Photographic Techniques 2: The Studio

Learn how to apply the practical skills of lens-based content creation in a controlled environment.

  • Respond to prescribed objects with appropriate tools and processes.
  • Document and reflect on photographic processes and outcomes of work. 

Photographic Techniques 3: On Location

Learn how to apply practical skills and principles to the creation of location-based imagery.

  • Design and plan location-based imagery, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.
  • Apply appropriate tools and processes to implement the design.
  • Document and reflect on processes and outcomes of location-based imagery. 

Photographic Techniques 4: The Event

Learn how to apply relevant lens-based approaches and strategies to a dynamic environment.

  • Respond to a dynamic environment by adapting tools and processes to obtain effective outcomes, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.
  • Reflect on the effectiveness of chosen lens-based approaches in relation to dynamic environments. 

Photographic Practices 1: The Tableau 

Learn how to apply practical skills and principles to the creation of a composed scene.

  • Design and plan a tableau for a fixed vantage point.
  • Work in a team to implement tableau designs.
  • Document and reflect on processes and outcomes of tableau designs. 

Photographic Practices 2: Reportage

Learn how to capture live action in order to give an account of events.

  • Plan a strategy for capturing live action, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.
  • Execute a plan to capture live action to present an account of an event.
  • Document and reflect on processes and outcomes of the live action account. 

Photographic Practices 3: Storytelling

Develop a client-driven or self-initiated project that tells a story to an audience.

  • Research, plan and produce a narrative project, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.
  • Document, present and analyse processes and outcomes of the narrative project.
Your workload

This is a full-time programme with approximately 20 hours per week contact time and around 15 hours self-directed study. 

Further study options

This programme provides a pathway into the New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6) where you can develop your photographic practice to a professional level. With a focus on self-initiated projects and entrepreneurship, you’ll build your technical and business skills within your chosen specialist field or industry. You’ll develop an industry-ready portfolio full of your best practice, experience and digital content so you’re ready to hit-the-ground-running when you graduate! 

Or, you might choose to move into the Bachelor of Visual Arts or Bachelor of Design (Communication). Entry to year two of these degrees may be possible.  

Useful resources/links
Student loans and allowances

Full-time domestic students of this programme are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on age and financial circumstances.) Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit:

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