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  • Independent Digital Photography

    Independent Digital Photography

Program Code:IDP
Duration:4 Semesters (2 Years)
Start Dates:Fall, Winter,
Start dates are subject to change
Credential Awarded:Ontario College Diploma

Program Description

You’re best suited for this intensive four–semester program if you have a strong interest in photography and image creation, along with a basic knowledge of photography.

You’ll be required to demonstrate an understanding of imaging fundamentals. Throughout the program, you’ll build a strong portfolio of photographic and illustrated images for a wide range of practical business applications. Along with artistic and technical skills, you’ll learn business and entrepreneurial skills. Your hands–on learning will concentrate on the digital realm of photography and imaging. You will be required to purchase a minimum of photography/imaging equipment.

Earn your diploma in Independent Digital Photography and you could become a professional photographer, equipped with the technical skills and business knowledge you need to succeed in this creative and dynamic field.

Whether you're working behind the camera or are working in a technical support role, you’ll be prepared to compete in this evolving market.

Program Learning Outcomes:

This Seneca College program meets the system-wide standards as set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to reliably demonstrate the ability to:

  • Capture professional quality images using the appropriate equipment and techniques.
  • Utilize design elements and lighting techniques to capture images that communicate effectively.
  • Create and edit well-designed and technically sound digital images using industry standards software.
  • Finish and distribute images in a format that meets the needs of the client.
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of images in written and verbal format.
  • Develop a portfolio that demonstrates creative and professional skills and abilities in digital image capture and editing.
  • Communicate effectively with clients and suppliers to provide high quality services.
  • Participate in ongoing professional development and adhere to ethical and industry standards.
  • Develop a business plan for the establishment and operation of a photographic services company.
  • Produce a marketing plan for a new and an established photographic services company.
  • Produce professional quality business cards, flyers and other promotional material for a photographic services company.
  • Perform colour calibration as it applies to Digital Imaging and Illustration.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic contract law and rights as it pertains to selling images for publication.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively work within the digital workflow including cataloguing, archival and backup strategies for images and prints.

Essential Employability Skills:

Graduates of this program are also expected to demonstrate the essential employability skills learning outcomes as outlined on the Ministry of Training, College and Universities website.

Admission Requirements

Program Eligibility:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with:
    • Grade 12 English: ENG4(C) or ENG4(U)
  • OR Mature Student Status (age 19 or older) with the above prerequisite course(s), their equivalent(s), or appropriate Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate program credits (see Academic Upgrading).

Applicant Selection:

  • As this is an oversubscribed program, applicants will be required to attend an orientation session and complete a mandatory $55 pre-admissions screening test. Please click here for a practice test. Applicants will also be required to submit a portfolio of photographic work. A pamphlet with your testing information is available here.
  • Pre-Admissions English Test Exemption - If you have applied to transfer from our Arts Fundamentals (AFD) program, or have completed a College level English course at an accredited post secondary institution in Canada, OR a country where English is the first language, you may be exempt from writing the pre-admissions English test. However, you will still have to complete all program specific requirements (i.e. drawing test, applicant profile, portfolio). If you are not writing the English test, the $55 fee will no longer apply. Please notify Admissions if this exemption will apply to you.


  • Although not required for admission, the following are considered assets:
    • Grade 11 or 12 Visual Arts (drawing, painting, illustration);
    • Basic computer skills, including Windows or Macintosh operating system, word processing (preferably Microsoft Word), and spreadsheet software (Excel);
    • College Art Fundamentals Program.

The Importance of Learning Skills:

Student success in college requires well developed learning skills (such as being able to work independently, participate in a team, be well–organized, develop good work habits, and show initiative). These skills are as important as prior academic achievement. While it is expected that applicants would have developed these skills through previous education and life experiences, Seneca offers support to assist students with further development of these important skills. Seminars, workshops and tutoring are available at Seneca's Learning Centres.


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Your Career

Professional photographers are entrepreneurs. Most run their own businesses, working as freelancers for a wide range of clients across many sectors. Some are employed in key roles at photography studios, leveraging their technical expertise in photo manipulation, restoration and compositing.

Application Process

The applicant selection is a two–step process:

Step 1: Academic achievement (i.e. grades in pre–requisite courses and/or scores in English and Reading Comprehension tests) may be used to select applicants who are eligible for Step 2.

Step 2: Attendance at an Orientation Session, submission of a portfolio of photographic work (Parts A and B), and completion of a program–related assignment.

Applicants who are unsuccessful in Step 1 will be notified by mail, and will not be included in Step 2 of the selection process.

Portfolio Requirements:

To be considered for the IDP program we ask that applicants submit a portfolio (Part A) and a letter of intent (Part B).

Part A. Ten (10) best images, including:

  • two scenics
  • two still life images
  • two portraits
  • one creative self–portrait
  • three other images of your choice

Do not include flowers or pet pictures unless the lighting is extraordinary.

Part B. Letter of intent submitted as a digital Word file where applicants need to demonstrate:

  • they have done some research into the various disciplines of photography, and have a goal in mind as to what they want to do after graduating; or
  • if applicants don't have a specific goal in mind, they should still have a basic understanding of what photographers do, and the options that are available to them; and
  • that they are enthusiastic, motivated, and willing to work hard to learn the craft.

All portfolios must be submitted in digital form. Our selection process does not allow for printed portfolios or non–digital artwork. Images must be submitted as JPEG files, written documents as Word files.

Important note: All files must be submitted on a non–returnable 1 or 2 gig USB flash drive, and placed in a single folder named "Lastname, Firstname, Student number".

Orientation Session:

Orientation sessions are typically held four to seven months prior to the beginning of classes. You will be advised through Admissions as to the exact dates. A tentative guide is provided below:

  • February or March for the September/Fall term
  • October or November for the January/ Winter term

General Education

One of the general education courses must be a literature course, for which EAC150 is the pre-requisite.

For more information, please visit our website at

Important Academic Dates

Please take a few moments to view Important Academic Dates for your relevant term.


Semester 1 Course Name Hrs/Wk
EAC150 College English 3
IDP100 Photography I 3
IDP102 Colour Theory 4
IDP103 Business I 3
IDP104 History of Imaging 3
IDP105 Creativity I 3
IDP111 Digital Imaging I 3
Semester 2 Course Name Hrs/Wk
IDP200 Photography II 6
IDP202 Digital II 3
IDP203 Business II 2
IDP204 Wedding and Event Photography 3
IDP206 Photojournalism 3
IDP306 Creativity II 2
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 3 Course Name Hrs/Wk
EAC409 Print Journalism 3
IDP302 Digital Imaging III 3
IDP303 Small Business I 2
IDP304 Self Promotion and Portfolio Building 3
IDP311 Photography III 6
IDP405 Pro Seminar in IDP - Preproduction 3
XXXXXX General Education Option 3
Semester 4 Course Name Hrs/Wk
IDP312 Introduction to DSLR Video 3
IDP403 Small Business II 3
IDP404 Field Placement 1
IDP406 Independent Project in IDP - Preproduction 4
IDP407 Independent Project in IDP - Production 4
XXXXXX General Education Option 3

Contact Us

For more information, please visit:
Admissions Advisors:
Domestic Admissions Advisor: Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22840
International Admissions Advisor: Salaha Fatima
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 22081
Registration & Records Advisor:
  Sharina Khan
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33008
Program Contacts:
Program Coordinator: Ray Steinke
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33572
Program Chair: Mark Jones
Telephone: (416) 491-5050 Ext. 33488
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