The Diploma in Photography and Digital Imaging is your gateway to a professional career in visual communications. Endorsed by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), this course is taught by leading industry professionals who’ll teach you the communication and technical skills to succeed in the industry. You’ll learn about commercial studio lighting, drone photography as well as skills for commercial, advertising, portraiture, and conceptual photography.

This is a nationally approved vocational course that is recognised throughout Australia.

  • Nationally recognised training
    Nationally recognised training
Midyear applications are now open.

Ready to apply for a midyear start? Go to the application portal. Still exploring your options at Swinburne? Meet us at Open Day.

Skills you’ll learn

  • Client consulting
  • Studio experience
  • Technical photography skills
  • Composition skills

Your career opportunities

  • Freelance photographer
  • Wedding photographer
  • Portrait photographer
  • Art Photographer
  • Media photographer

Further education

Key codes

Hawthorn VTAC code
International student visa

International students in Australia who hold student visas are required to study full-time and on campus. Courses that are taught entirely online are only available to international students studying outside Australia or those in Australia who are not on a student visa. Online courses are not available to international students in Australia who hold a student visa.

Location options

  • Photo of girl dancing with dramatic lighting
    Kade - Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging
  • Photo of three champagne glasses filled with water and drops of coloured paint
    Jaiden - Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging
  • Photo of a girl with a line drawn around her facial features
    Mia - Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging
  • Photo of large glass room within a public building
    Di - Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging


Applicants must produce a folio of digital imaging work that demonstrates the application of technical skills and knowledge equivalent to Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 4 or above (Certificate IV in Photography & Digital Imaging or equivalent). This includes:

  • being able to operate a digital SLR in manual mode, understanding how shutter speed and aperture can be used creatively, and how they affect image quality.
  • understanding lighting concepts and formal lighting styles such as short lighting, Rembrandt, butterfly lighting, etc.
  • understanding white balance.
  • the ability to creatively make images in response to a range of briefs.
  • a basic understanding of design concepts in photography, such as composition, tone and colour.

Skills and knowledge may have been acquired through experience or formal study.

Successful completion of Australian Year 12, or equivalent overseas qualification.

Other requirements

It is expected that:

  • students own their own SLR or mirrorless camera and have some different lenses (at least a 50mm lens recommended to begin with)
  • Students will also require a computer and access to the internet for the facilitation of online classes including video and audio requirements.
  • Online digital units require students to download and use the Swinburne supported software such as the Adobe Creative Suite.
Admission requirements

Meeting the minimum entry requirements for the course does not guarantee an offer of a place. See admission requirements for general information about the admission process.

English language requirements

Satisfactory completion of one of the following:

Need to undertake an English assessment for entry?

A prerequisite for many courses, the Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic) can now be done at our Hawthorn campus.

Credit transfer

Credit transfer is the recognition of academic credits gained through formal study (i.e. units of competency) completed either at another institute or in another qualification. The total amount of credit will vary from individual to individual, based on the unit/s that have been successfully completed. 

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process of transferring the skills and knowledge that you have acquired over your lifetime (irrespective of how they were obtained) against the requirements of the unit.  

RPL is an assessment process that requires you to provide evidence that demonstrates how you meet the requirements of the unit/s. The amount and types of evidence you will need to provide will depend on the unit requirements.

Finding your fit

At Swinburne, we recognise that not one size fits all. If this course doesn’t meet all your study criteria, check out these alternatives.

Course structure

The Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging is a 1-year program delivered over two semesters. Classes are scheduled up to 23 hours week including partially online units. Additional study hours outside of classes are also required to prepare and complete tasks. Classes are delivered as face-to-face practical workshops, individual guided projects, tutorials and online activities.

To attain the Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging, students are required to complete the 17 units listed below.

Core units
Elective units
1-year Diploma
Course hours are estimated and may change based on study mode, unit choice, credits, or enrolment adjustments, total indicative nominal hours: 1100

Your units

Units of study Unit code
Core units
Employ colour management in a digital imaging workplace
Core unit
Apply visual communication theory to photo imaging practice
Core unit
Research and apply photo imaging trends and emerging technologies
Core unit
Explore and apply photo lighting techniques
Core unit
Elective units
Undertake project work
Elective unit
Work with the human form in creative practice
Elective unit
Produce innovative digital images
Elective unit
Refine digital art techniques
Elective unit
Provide freelance services
Elective unit
Capture images using drone technology
Elective unit
Produce technical photo images
Elective unit
Make illustrative photo images for publication and display
Elective unit
Prepare digital images for pre-press processing
Elective unit
Employ specialised imaging technologies
Elective unit
Produce commercial photo images
Elective unit
Present a body of own creative work
Elective unit
Build and launch a small business website
Elective unit

2024 fees

Full fee* ($AUD)


Skills first government-subsidised place* ($AUD)


Yearly fee* ($AUD)


2024 fees

Yearly fee* ($AUD)


Fees are estimates only

Fees published on this page are estimates only and are subject to change depending on individual circumstances at the time of enrolment. The above fees apply for units studied in 2024 only and may change for units studied in future years. There may be additional costs related to learning material and equipment.

Fees are estimates only

The indicative course fees shown apply to international students for the relevant year only. They are based on a standard study load per year. However, please note that fees are assessed according to a student's study load in each semester, and variation to study load will result in an adjustment to tuition fees. International tuition fees are generally inclusive of Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). All fees are subject to annual review and may be adjusted.

Skills first government-subsidised place

This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding. To qualify for a government-subsidised place, you must meet various eligibility criteria. The course you’ve applied for must also be offering government-subsidised places. Swinburne will determine your eligibility by conducting a full assessment of your eligibility during the course application process.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your Swinburne fees in person, via credit card, BPAY, or at Australia Post. Check to see if loans and employer sponsored training are also available.

International students need to pay tuition fees up-front by the relevant due date. You can find the due dates on your Statement of Account.

To pay your fees:

  • log in to My Financials
  • check your Australian bank account details are correct 
  • check your Statement of Account to see how much you owe 
  • pay using your preferred payment method.

Eligibility for VET student loans (VSL)

If you apply for a VET Student Loan, Swinburne must first verify your identity. If you are eligible, we will provide your enrolment information to the government so you can complete the application within their eCAF system.

The VET Student Loan amount for this course is capped. You must start repaying this loan once you earn above the compulsory repayment threshold.

VET Student Loan amount* ($AUD)


Concessions rates for vocational students

Concession rates for Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs are also available if you self-identify as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and qualify for a government-subsidised training place under the Indigenous Completions Initiative.

The eligibility criteria are set by the Victorian Government and assessed by Swinburne in accordance with government directives, which are subject to change at any time.

Student services and amenities fee

This funding serves to improve the student experience at Swinburne. You may use many or just some of the services and amenities that the fee provides.

From 1 January 2024, all Diploma level and above courses will contribute to the Student Services and Amenities fee. Below is the capped amount for 2023 as a guide ahead of fees for 2024 being announced.

Please refer to the Student Services Amenities Fee page for more information.

This funding serves to improve the student experience at Swinburne. You may use many or just some of the services and amenities that the fee provides.

This amenities fee is included within your annual tuition fee listed above. The fee shown in the capped amount for 2024.

Please refer to the Student Services Amenities Fee page for more information.

SSAF fee* ($AUD)


SSAF fee* ($AUD)



Scholarship applications for 2024 are open. Scholarships at Swinburne are about providing opportunity, promoting equity and recognising excellence and achievement. We want you to reach your potential and achieve your life and career goals. 

Our handy guide will assist you to gather documents for your application.

When you apply for a Swinburne course, we automatically consider you for an international scholarship of up to 30 per cent off your course fees – no separate application required! Just apply for your Swinburne course of choice and when we review your course application, we will also assess you for an international scholarship.

Apply through an agent

Most international students use an education agent to help them through the application process. Swinburne has agents all over the world that can help you with your application to study. Search for a Swinburne representative in your country. If your country is not listed, please contact us.

Representatives and agents
Search for agents

Apply directly

Ready to take on a new challenge and reach your academic goals? If you already know which course you want to study and understand the entry requirements, what are you waiting for? Apply online! Remember, you cannot apply direct if you have an active VTAC application.

Apply through VTAC

International students currently studying Year 12 in Australia must apply through VTAC. VTAC is the central office that administers the application processes for places in tertiary courses, scholarships and the Special Entry Access Scheme at universities, TAFEs and independent tertiary colleges in Victoria. 

VTAC is the central office that administers the application processes for places in tertiary courses, scholarships and the Special Entry Access Scheme at universities, TAFEs and independent tertiary colleges in Victoria.

Hawthorn VTAC code
Apply through VTAC
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Open Day 2024