New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6)



One year full-time; part-time not available

On campus 

By February
  • 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

Take your photographic practice to a professional level in this commercially-focused programme. 

Whatever kind of career you want to have across photography, video or film – we’ll support you to become industry-ready; developing a portfolio full of your best practice, experience and digital content so you can hit-the-ground-running when you graduate.   

With a focus on self-initiated projects, entrepreneurship and live briefs from real clients, this is basically a mentored beginning to work. 

As well as technical photographic skills, we’ll teach you the essential professional and business skills you’ll need to get your practice up-and-running commercially. 

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 Photography (Level 6).

Career opportunities

A broad range of freelance, in-house and independent opportunities within creative and commercial 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. 

Graduates may wish to undertake further tertiary study at diploma or degree level in the field of creative arts or business if pursuing self-employment.

Entry requirements
Academic requirements 
Those under 20 
  • You must have completed a Level 5 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. 

Portfolio and written requirements

We require examples of your photographic work (still and/or moving images) and the ways that you develop your ideas. Your examples need to show us your interests and your ability to use a range of techniques.

  • Please send us twelve (12) examples of your photographic work (still and/or moving images).
  • Please 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.
  • Please 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, our New Zealand Diploma in Digital Media and Design (Level 5) is the perfect first step!

Additional costs

You need to have:

  • a camera for still and moving image
  • an external hard-drive for keeping their digital files (eg. 1TB USB hard-drive)
  • a pair of monitoring headphones
  • a good quality SD card (e.g. Sandisk), minimum 32GB. 
You will study

You will learn a range of technical, professional and business skills during this hands-on diploma where you can specialise in your chosen area of photographics: 

advanced camera expertise, lighting, post-production and editing

iterative design processes, image analysis and criticism

client projects, responding to and adapting live briefs

professional workflow and tools

professional contexts – including working in industry, developing your own business, and small business practices

business skills including invoicing, charging, accounting and budgeting. 

The programme consists of four project courses.

1. Professional Workflow

This course will enable you to apply professional workflow to lens-based content creation.

  • Apply professional workflow to meet a client brief, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles. 

2. Client Project

This course will allow you to collaborate successfully on a brief that responds to client needs and produce industry-standard lens-based content.

  • Collaborate as a team on the development and production of a client-driven project, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.

Apply professional workflow to create industry-standard, lens-based content.    

3. Independent Specialisation

Learn how to work independently to construct workflow that will fulfil a complex brief.

  • Respond to external opportunities by designing and implementing a workflow to fulfil a complex brief. 

4. Professional Contexts

Learn how to design, produce and present a commercial body of work in a professional context.

  • Apply specialised skills using appropriate technologies to create professional content.
  • Develop own professional workflow in a chosen context.
  • Effectively present a body of work to an identified audience, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.
Your workload

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

Further study options

This programme provides a pathway into the second year of the Bachelor of Visual Arts or Bachelor of Design (Communication)

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

Recognition of prior learning

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.

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