Foundation Course Overview

Full Time

Duration: Eight Weeks

Five Foundation Courses run through the year.
Courses commence on the following dates:

16 January 2019 – 15 March 2019

10 April 2019 – 21 June 2019

10 July 2019 – 12 September 2019

25 September 2019 – 29 November 2019

Time: Mon – Fri 09h00 – 17h00

Cost: R6 402 for applicants from South Africa, the continent or from the Global South (emerging economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia). International students pay R10 801. Please note that a non-refundable application fee of R100 is required on application.

Equipment deposits are currently set as follows:
• Digital camera: R 300
• Tripod: R100


The Foundation course is an 8-week fulltime introductory course aimed at getting you on the road to becoming a professional photographer.

After having completed this course you will be able to photograph and process photographic images (in both digital and analogue format) towards the development of a portfolio of work that begins to focus on a particular area of photographic practice (e.g. social documentary, commercial photography, etc).  You would be in a position to assist a professional photographer under close supervision and mentorship. You would also be able to photograph family and community events, for which you may be able to negotiate the payment of modest (i.e. small) sums of money.  You would however NOT be in a position to charge professional rates for your work, or work directly with a professional client or manage a professional brief independently.  These are skills that you will be developing in greater depth in the context of our Intermediate Course.


The outcomes for the course define precisely what you should be able to do by the end of the course.  While there is a lot of thinking, reading, discussing and debating involved in the course, we believe strongly that the knowledge you acquire must be evident in the work that you actually produce as a photographer. Therefore we seek to measure your learning on the course through tasks that are practical and applied.

By the end of the Foundation course you will be able to:

Practical Technical Skills

  • Take photographs in available and artificial light using a digital camera
  • Organise personal photographic material in physical and digital management system
  • Scan, download and store images in digital format
  • Perform basic retouching, dodging and burning in digital formats
  • Apply and be able to discuss fundamental technical concepts to shooting, exposing and processing photographic imagery (aperture, shutter, ISO, light, focus, definition, contrast, depth of field, tonality, grain)
  • Use word-processing, email and photo-editing applications on an Apple Mac computer

Visual Literacy

  • Explain the concept of visual culture and the basic elements of visual language
  • Perform basic analysis of photographic imagery in relation to content and context
  • Demonstrate visual literacy in verbal and written reflection on own work

Professional Practice

  • Observe basic ethical, legal, safety and security procedures and standards related to working with photographic materials and equipment and photographing in public spaces
  • Demonstrate basic professional skills in interactions with others (punctuality, time management, reliability)
  • Write and format basic professional communications (invoices and business letters) and basic self-marketing material (personal bio and CV)
  • Produce a personal development plan


The Market Photo Workshop employs a comprehensive approach to assessment that is focused on ensuring that you, the learner, are able to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to be a photographer. Each session that we have planned (outlined below) involves learning something new, and through observation and demonstration, the MPW trainers and co-ordinators are able to support you in ensuring that you achieve these results for each session.  Each week there is also an ‘Assessment Focus’ session that concentrates on ensuring that you have grasped all the various conceptual, technical and practical skills that you have been exposed to in that week.

For your final assessment, you will be required produce a body of work in order to demonstrate that you have grasped the basic technical/practical skills outlined above.  This body of work will be presented in portfolio format, and as a small exhibition.  Your portfolio and exhibition will be accompanied by written tasks aimed at demonstrating your grasp of the professional practice and visual literacy aspects of the course and you will be required to do a brief verbal presentation of your work.  Reports will be issued to each of you after week 7 indicating whether you have achieved all the outcomes, and identifying areas of strength and weakness in your work.


Each week is structured around a range of sessions that involve both intensive contact time with trainers and course coordinators, as well as for students to have the opportunity to work independently, shooting and processing photographs, working in the computer lab, and spending time in the library.  Each session with trainers involves an exciting and stimulating mixture of delivery methods aimed at ensuring that you emerge from the course able to confidently and independently apply the skills and knowledge that you have acquired:

  • Presentation/teaching
  • Demonstration
  • Doing/Applying
  • Reflecting/Evaluating/Assessing
  • And written materials to support the above, where relevant

Equipment and Resources

The Market Photo Workshop provides the use of cameras and equipment during your course. Equipment can only be rented between these times: Monday to Friday: 8:45 to 9:00am, 12:45am to 1:15pm, and 4:00 to 4:15pm.

> You will have to pay a R300 deposit to rent a camera. If you damage or lose the camera the Market Photo Workshop will keep your deposit, and you will have to pay another R500 deposit (please see the Camera Rental Policy for more information).

> Please make sure that you know the other policies and procedures of the Market Photo Workshop (for example, payment policy, assessment policy, locker policy and procedures for working in the Digital Station and Darkroom)