Welcome to POCS and let's get started! The course aims to provide the basic knowledge of how to shoot good quality scientific photos. We provide a step-by-step guide on how to shoot photographs for scientific use, whether it is an online publication, a print media, a presentation or a poster. Together with course leader Tiina Puputti you go through the photography essentials, familiarize yourself with necessary photography equipment, camera settings, learn to work with scene composition and lighting.
Enrolment. The course is open for all Aalto University members and fully independent. You can start our course any time by clicking 'Syllabus' and then 'Self-enrolment' buttons. Finish your self-enrolment by using the enrolment key: POCS. The enrolment is temporary and lasts for 6 months. You can enrol again if needed.
If you skip the enrolment you will not be able to see quizzes, so if you would like to get a full learning experience and test your knowledge, please consider enrolling before starting the course.
POCS structure. We divided our course in 4 modules. The first two modules give you the understanding of how the camera works, what are the settings you might need to pay attention to when you photograph, and how you can use your photo equipment to make a good-quality images to present your research. Event though those modules contain a lot of theory, they still are full of practical examples and tips.
The last two modules are built around practical demonstrations. You could see what photo and light setup used and observe the whole photography workflow from start to finish. We guide you from setting up the samples' composition, to working with light and support equipment to make the final photograph.
How to study? The course progresses from more simple to more complex, so we recommend you reserve more time for the last two modules of the course. Every module has a few video tutorials, assignments and quizzes to test your knowledge. The further you proceed, the more time you might need to spend on practising, but the final load is really up to you. This is the great thing about online education - you are in charge of your own time and schedule!
The basic recommendation on the independent course schedule is the following: 1 week for module 1, 1 week for module 2, 2 weeks for module 3 and 2 week for module 4. So, all in all, the course could be completed in one study period. Please note that there are no credits appointed to the course completion if you study independently.
We prepared assignments for all four modules that are directly related to the module's tutorials. Assignments are helpful if you would like to practice what has been discussed in the course videos, memorise your camera settings, and learn new practical skills, so do not skip them! We would recommend do not rush and proceed with the course by watching the videos and completing all the assignments in order we design it to be.
Quizzes are another important part of the course. In every module there are a few of them. They are quick and informal assessment of your knowledge, so you can check your progress. If you do not see quizzes it might be that you haven't enrolled in the course.
Remember, photography skills are something that will stay with you for the rest of your life, and you would be able to use the knowledge of this course literally anywhere. We really hope you will enjoy your time here. When you complete the course please remember to submit your feedback.
Equipment you need to start the course:
A photo camera, preferably a DSLR camera and a suitable lens. Instead of photo camera you can use the smartphone, but we recommend the camera.
A camera's user manual, printed or digital version.
Tripod (you might need it already for module 2).
The rest of the equipment we introduce in the tutorials are optional, but highly recommended. We assume that you do not access to a professional photography studio, so we show how you can do a great photos in your everyday environment: classroom, lab or even at home. Try as many tools as you can, and at the end of the course you will understand better what you might need in your photography practice.
Important: If you are a researcher or working with materials, remember to follow the Aalto University safety guidelines. You can find them here.