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Film Photography - Beginners (FPP1)

Aimed at those who want to utilise the limitations of film photography to enhance their creative side - no previous knowledge required

Film Photography Project Course


Film slows you down, film makes you think; photography projects slow you down, photography projects make you think. By combining these things, this course aims to improve your creative output by guiding you through a process where you will think more, but shoot less. In a world where we are all drowning in a sea of thousands of average photographs, this guided approach will see your hit rate increase with each roll of film that you shoot.

By utilising a project-based approach, every student is guided through the process of developing consistent and innovative themes in their photography. The goal is to move away from a scattergun approach – one where there is little in common between shots taken – to one where the student begins to understand the importance of a clear and consistent direction to their photographic output.

Assigned project 'Many from one', a single photo with 12 sectional crops

A unique aspect of this course is that it harnesses the creative limitations of shooting film, with the inventive freedom that post-processing in the computer can bring. All film shot will be developed separately in a local lab, and will then be scanned at ultra high resolution using our top of the range film scanners. This will ensure that each negative can be printed, with great sharpness, at sizes much larger than A3 (16x12in).

Course Description

This Film Photography Project Course will bring you through to heights of creative output that you never thought possible. It will do this by opening your minds eye to new creative possibilities, whilst freeing you from the technical constraints normally associated with moving your photography into new and innovate areas.

The fully rounded approach of this unique course brings you through the thought processes required to create and execute high quality photo projects, while also providing solid support through:

  • the understanding of how different films can effect the realisation of your vision
  • how to scan your negatives to the highest quality
  • how to pull every piece of detail from these scans in post-production
  • how to print each scan to the best possible level
  • how to mat, mount, and frame at gallery quality level.
Film photography field trip

Four Personal Photography Projects

Students will produce a number of photography projects during the time of the course. The final project will be hung at an end of year exhibition to take place after the course has finished.

Four Audio/Video Slideshow Presentations

Full training will also be provided in the creation of 4 Audio/Visual slideshows of each of your photo projects, this will include the ethics and issues around use of copyrighted music in your work. Also discussed will be the video file types and their suitability for various social media sharing platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.

Zero Essays

An important feature of this course is that we do not require you to write 2,000+ word essays on your favourite photographer. Unlike other courses at this level, where written articles are regularly required, we simply want you to spend each precious hour of your time giving your technical and creative skills a major boost. This can only be done, in our opinion, by concentrating on what matters; taking and processing pictures.

  This course brings you from...
...shooting with a film camera... checking the negatives... scanning... printing gallery quality... matting, mounting, and framing and exhibiting...

Online Course Content

  • An introduction to historical and contemporary photographic approaches and practitioners
  • How to understand, analyse and discuss a wide range of historical and contemporary photographers
  • Project visualisation techniques
  • Understanding what constitutes a photography project
  • Researching and planning a photographic project
  • Undertake 4 separate photography projects
  • End of course public exhibition
  • Film types and qualities
  • Pushing and pulling development techniques
  • Minimising grain
  • Maximising grain
  • Medium format film and techniques
  • How to properly use a manual film camera
  • Scanning 35mm and Medium Format
  • 2 pass scanning techniques (highlights/shadows)
  • Scanning in 16 bit mode for wider tonal capture
  • Working with an analogue to digital workflow
  • Utilising a 16 bit workflow
  • Dodging and burning
  • Correcting over/under-exposed areas
  • Adjusting for different neg qualities
  • Printing Scanned Images
  • Matting
  • Mounting
  • Framing
  • Creating an Artist's Statement
  • Preparing a Project Description
  • Writing insightful introductions to your photographs

Required Equipment & Software

The following is a list of the equipment and software that each student must have on the first session of the course:

  • Film camera
  • Laptop (Mac or PC)
  • Lightroom (or equivalent)
  • Photoshop (or equivalent)
  • We recommend that all of our long-term students consider Adobe's Cloud offering of Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for €12.29 per month, more details available at this link.


Students will be required to purchase their own film and pay for the developing costs.

This Course Does Not Cover

This course does not cover darkroom developing or printing. The goal is to get you to benefit from the creative possibilities of shooting film, while bringing you quickly into a digital workflow.

Scanning with the edge of the negative frame intact

Who Is This Course Suited For?

This course is suited for those who have a competent level of photographic knowledge, but require a more disciplined environment within which to push their current creative boundaries. While the technical aspects of this course are important, and will be relevant to each student based on their prior experience, the key element will be the knowledge gained by utilising a project based approach to their photography.

Level Of Prior Knowledge Required

Attendees must be familiar with shutter and aperture priority modes on their camera (digital or film). They must be able to understand and control the effect of shutter speeds on various scenes (camera shake, freezing or blurring action) on their shots, and be able to fully experiment with apertures to control depth of field. Prior experience with film cameras is an advantage but not a deal breaker, but students MUST be familiar with Lightroom (or equivalent) and Photoshop (or equivalent).

Recommended Reading & Further Research

A list of important titles are will be provided to attendees once they have booked the course. This list comprises books that will help expand your knowledge and understanding of photography and the creative process as it relates to this course.

Full Colour, Illustrated PDF Tutorial Notes

Full colour, illustrated PDF tutorial notes which are carefully worded and appropriately illustrated are an integral part of our courses. Because lectures tend to have an effect which lasts only a short while, particularly if no notes are give out, we believe our handouts are the key to making your newly gained knowledge much more long-lasting. As part of that philosophy you will recieve detailed notes covering the whole course that will both aid learning both while on the course and in the weeks and months afterwards.

Diploma in Film Photography


The majority of photographers earning a living from photography are self employed, and the majority of these are self taught. As such, a qualification is not a requirement for employment or advancement in this industry. In fact, no-one asks to see your qualifications, they ask to see your portfolio, ask any photographer.. College Degree Courses, by their nature, have to concentrate on many aspects that are irrelevant to the reality of life of as a photographer and rarely leave participants ready for the real world at the end of the course. These courses quite often do not provide training in the latest software or the latest techniques.

We feel strongly that our concentration on the important aspects of photography are key to the success of our long term courses. This course is laser targeted on helping you build a solid portfolio or quality work and gain in-depth knowledge of photography which will stand you in good stead over the rest of your life as a creative photographer.

Course Presenter
The course presenter for this course is fine art photographer, Dave McKane. Dave graduated from the 3 Year Photography Course in Colaiste Dhulaigh, Dublin in 1985, and has over 30 years experience in creative photography. He got his first film SLR in 1982, owned multiple darkrooms, was an early adoption of a scanner (1989), Photoshop (1993), his first digital camera (2002) and Lightroom (2007), he has vast experience in the field of using photography as a creative expressive medium and has held multiple exhibitions of his own photography, mainly in the United States.
Dave's work can be seen in the following places:

Website | Facebook | Flickr | Instagram | Twitter
Course Code FPC1
Modules 32 Modules
Learning Hours 32 Hours
Course Fee $299.99
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