Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


The course supports students in their transition when stepping out to the working life by providing them transferable skills, tools and practical knowledge of how to operate professionally and self-contained in their own fields. Students gain understanding of various needed operations and conventions in the professional fields of free-lancing, visual culture and arts.


On a successful completion of this course the students are able to:

  • present and promote their work to diverse public
  • knowledge the significance of their own work and brand as well as the importance of their intentional future development
  • market their work sovereignly (the emphasis here is on advertising and editorial work)
  • sell and price their work to various clients
  • critically read different types of exhibition contracts
  • analytically discuss copyright issues
  • search varied information on matters concerning their professional and artistic praxis, e.g. grants, residencies
  • work independently on one's own initiative



Credits: 4

Schedule: 15.04.2019 - 09.05.2019

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Heli Rekula

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Heli Rekula

Contact information for the course (valid 25.03.2019-21.12.2112):

Teacher in charge: Heli Rekula, +358 50 3290017

Course teacher: Heli Mäenpää, 50 5110 765 

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course covers various aspects and factors that need to be taken into account when working independently and professionally in the field of photography, visual culture and arts. The Self Promotion -section, led by Heli Mäenpää, introduces students to their own marketing and brand management tools and gives them instruments to increase and maintain their own network visibility and portfolio quality. The course helps students to find their own line of commercial photography in the world. The course also examines commercial photography management criteria, such as access, sales, pricing, and billing.

    The Presentation Skills -section is used to practice the various speech performance techniques that are needed already during the studies, including the presentation of the thesis.

    Other topics covered by the Working Life Skills -course are copyright issues and various contract practices related to organizing exhibitions and working in collaboration with galleries. Additionally, the course aims to cover, other professional practices relevant to the visual art and freelance work, such as residencies and grants.

  • Applies in this implementation:


    Heli Mäenpää 15.4­–8.5

    • Self Promotion
    • Heli Mäenpää is a teacher and a coach to artists when it comes to marketing, branding and promotion. 
    • + + + Each course participant is also entitled for 2 private coaching sessions with Heli M.

    Pauliina Perttuli 18.4 & 24.4

    • On presentation, interaction and communication skills
    • Pauliina Perttuli is a teacher of Speech Communication at Aalto Language Center

    Minna Ainoa 29.4

    • On IPR – Immaterial Property Rights
    • Minna Ainoa is Producer for the Department of Media, and she takes care of the Visual Communication Design study projects. She has wide experience from the illustration (pseudonym Helmi Sirola), fashion retail, advertising, and design fields - both from the employee and the entrepreneur viewpoint.

    Ece Pazarbaşı 2–3.5.


    Touko Hujanen 24.4

    Maria Rehbinder 29.4

    Tuula Hämäläinen 6.5

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course consists of lectures, experts' presentations, visitations, assignments, group work and discussions, independent work time, individual instruction, feedback and evaluation. The course demands 80% attendance, and completion of the given assignments and tasks.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    4 ects equals a total of 108 hours of students' work. The total hours are divided into lectures, group meetings and discussions, independent working time, individual instruction, feedback and evaluation.



Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    To be defined by the teachers of the course.

  • Applies in this implementation:

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    DOM-E3011 Self Promotion 6 cr

    DOM-E3004 Presentation Skills 3 cr

    DOM-C1007 Professional and Legal Practices 3 cr

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The second year MA Photography students are prioritised. If possible, also other students of the Master's Programme in Photography may be accepted in the course either in enrolment order or by requested application letter.

Registration for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Registrations through WebOodi.

    The order of priority is as follows:

    1. students for whom the course is compulsory for their major/programme and who have scheduled it for the current academic year in their personal study plan (HOPS)

    2. exchange students for whom the course is a part of his/her officially approved learning agreement and scheduled to be taken during the current semester

    3. students for whom the course is compulsory for their major/programme and who have not completed it yet

    4. students, for whom the course is part of his/her major s or programme s alternative studies and has been scheduled in the student's PSP (HOPS) for the current academic year

    5. students, for whom the course is part of his/her major s or programme s alternative studies and who have not completed the requisite number of credits for alternative studies yet

    6. students for whom the course is compulsory for their minor

    7. students, for whom the course is part of his/her minor subject s alternative studies and who have not completed the requisite number of credits for alternative studies yet

    8. students who have applied for the course through a student mobility scheme (internal mobility within Aalto University, flexible study right (JOO) studies etc.)

    9. other students

  • Applies in this implementation:

    This year the course doesn't cover topics such as freelance and artists' taxation. You find good information on this in the web. 


SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    4 Quality Education

    5 Gender Equality

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


Further Information
Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Classroom teaching days: April 15, 16, 18, 23, 24, 25, 29; May 2, 3, 6, 7, 8

    Teaching times: 9.15–16.00/17.00

    Lunch break: 12.00–13.15

    Classroom: Väre L102; with exception M102 on Tuesday 16.4 and R016 on Tuesday 7.5

    The detailed schedule will be posted to course participants in MyCourses. Some minor changes in the schedule may take place before and during the course.


Registration and further information