New Zealand Diploma in Photography (Level 6)

With a focus on self-initiated projects, entrepreneurship and live briefs from real clients, this programme is a mentored beginning to work. Build technical photography and videography skills alongside business capabilities to work with clients. You will graduate with a professional, industry-ready portfolio to help showcase your talent.

About the programme

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. 


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 the 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 a 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 your own professional workflow in a chosen context.
  • Effectively present a body of work to an identified audience, incorporating relevant sustainable and cultural principles.
Career opportunities 

At the end of this programme, you'll be ready for 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. 

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

Further study options

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


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.