Photography HNC

Course code 146W

What is special about this course?

The HNC Photography is designed with flexibility at its heart, to meet the needs of a vibrant photographic employment market, either in self-employment, or working for a business.

The broad ranging units cover different photographic styles; from studio and environmental portraiture, studio still-life, social photography, stock, corporate and library photography, to shooting images in the environment.

You will gain a strong foundation in a range of photographic disciplines, both studio and location-based, that will make you technically competent, while developing your style and creative flair alongside ICT and research skills.

Special features

  • Delivered part-time over two years to meet the needs of a diverse photographic employment market
  • Broad mix of units provide a strong grounding in a range of photographic disciplines, both studio-based and location-based
  • Allows the opportunity to develop your style and creative flair

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above OR
  • NC Photography
  • We will consider individual competence in photographic-based skills, evidenced by a portfolio of at least ten photographs (this can be an electronic or paper-based folio) and you will be required to attend an interview.
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements are encouraged to apply.

Year 1 - HNC

Units include:

  • Photographic theory
  • Portraiture
  • Image editing
  • Studio still life

Year 2 - HNC

Units include:

  • Environmental photography
  • Social photography
  • Corporate photography
  • Stock photography
  • Graded photography unit

How will I study my course?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

From September 2021, it is our intention that physical campuses will be open to all students for access to study facilities, support services and social activities, subject to Scottish Government guidance. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as restrictions shift and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. From September , where practical and safe to do so, on-campus practical delivery will be prioritised in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing, where this is not possible alternative options will be available. The theory elements will be delivered online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. Further information will be provided by your home campus. You will have an opportunity to attend an online induction at the start of the course.
  • Part-time (Structured)

You will learn through a mixture of taught sessions and tutorials, alongside self-directed study/photography time.

How long will my course last?

2 years

Where can I study my course?

  • West Highland College UHI - Broadford

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term-time address in Scotland or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Part-time (per HN credit) £448 £461

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

This course is not available for international students, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK, requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK. For students living in the UK and assessed as international fee status, the following fees will apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Part-time (per HN credit) £468 £482


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

Additional costs

  • You will require a DSLR camera and lenses and will also be required to purchase several A4 journals (approx. £5 to £10 each) and all other sundry stationery, USB drives, memory cards and other small photographic accessories
  • The purchase of several key texts will also be required costing approximately £60
  • You will be expected to purchase professional photographic prints of your work through laboratories such as Peak Imaging and Loxley. The estimated total print cost for year one is £70 and in year two, £100. These costs will be spread over the academic year

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of the course you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to become a freelance photographer working in a broad range of photographic genres and disciplines, as well as being an able candidate for photographic jobs in business.

Can I progress into further study?

You may be able to progress to the second year of an HND in Photography at another institution. In some cases, particularly in the case of mature students, successful completion of the HNC with an overall distinction profile and a first-class portfolio to match, could lead to entry to a BA in Photography.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

Since completing the Higher and HNC Photography courses, I have greatly expanded both my knowledge, technical skills and my passion for photography, continuing to inspire and encourage me on my creative journey. I can highly recommend both to anyone who is considering a career in photography and wanting to learn a broad range of theoretical, practical and technical skills 

One of the best bits about the course for me was meeting with my class mates and being able to bounce ideas off of each other - I will really miss that. 

I have already completed some paid photography work which I would never have dreamt of doing before I started this course. I am now excited to see what the future may hold.

Andrea Sheedy Brown completed our HNC Photography at West Highland College UHI.

Apply for Photography HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.