Harper College

Graphic Arts Digital Photography Certificate

Learn digital photography techniques 

Program factsarts icon

  • Credit hours: 23
  • Stackable to degree: No
  • Potential job outcomes: Desktop publisher, photographer

Sharpen your camera skills with this 23-credit-hour certificate program in digital photography. In addition to learning a variety of digital photography techniques for beginners, you’ll also receive training in the graphic arts, giving you added knowledge and broader career options to explore.

Coursework in this program includes introduction to graphic arts technology, digital imaging, color management, introduction to photography, digital photography and a capstone digital photography project.

Outside of class, you can gain additional experience working in one of Harper College’s three state-of-the-art graphic arts labs, which are all equipped with Mac computers and the latest creative software. On-site printing presses allow you to get hands-on experience in all areas of graphic arts production. Classes are led by knowledgeable instructors who are industry experts in their fields.

Certificate program requirements

This 23 credit-hour certificate program is designed for students interested in specializing in digital photography. This certificate will enhance a student’s current employment position as well as provide new employment opportunities in the graphic arts industry.


Number Course Title Credits
GRA 101 3

Description:  Provides students an overview of past, present and future graphic arts processes including graphic applications for design/layout, imaging, photography, prepress, print and finishing. Direction is provided on occupations in the Graphic Arts industry and the use of digital applications related to producing print materials. Provides a hands-on understanding of desktop publishing software through lab and lecture.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 103 3

Description:  Covers fundamentals of professional digital image-editing software (Adobe Photoshop). Emphasizes skills to manipulate photos using current software tools and special effects filters. Explores program tools, color correction, channels, layers and masks. Computer skills are required for success in this course.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 105 3

Description:  Examines the fundamentals of real-world color theory and management, throughout the entire graphic arts process. Students will explore all color management techniques of input and output devices as well as tools and concepts for successful color control. Focuses on internal workings and technology in color management systems, building a closed-loop workflow. Covers color fidelity, models, and the understanding on how devices interpret and deliver.

Prerequisite: GRA 101 or GRA 103 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 113 3

Description:  Covers advanced functions of digital image-editing software. Emphasizes advanced software functionality, color correction and color management needs as well as commercial imaging practices in a prepress environment. Focuses on different types of image capture and file manipulation.

Prerequisite: GRA 103 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 130 2

Description:  Explores beginning fundamentals of photography, its history, and the development of photography in both commercial and creative usage. Presents a past and present use of photography focusing on techniques and applications in a conventional camera-based environment emphasizing the digital photographic arena.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 131 3

Description:  Explores the techniques and applications of digital image capture, manipulating images in Photoshop and outputting digital images. Focuses on the technical aspect of digital photography, lighting needs, application use and color management basics. Project based instruction utilizing basic photographic concepts, commercially and creatively. A DSLR camera is required for this course.

Prerequisite: GRA 130 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 232 3

Description:  Explores advanced techniques and applications of digital image capture, concentrating on application uses and output. Focuses on different types of digital photography in the graphic arts arena, from product shots, food, fashion and location techniques. Investigates different equipment and color management in a commercial studio environment. A DSLR camera is required for this course.

Prerequisite: GRA 131 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 235 or

To learn advanced digital editing techniques for artistic and technical purposes blending digital photography and photographic editing software. Acquiring the ability to envision a final image and reverse engineer it to better prepare for workflow efficiency. Advanced use of digital editing software as it relates to commercial photography including lighting, scaling, perspective, elements, color use and layer order. Provides the student the experience to better work with clients in a commercial setting.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 232.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 299 3

Description:  Provides the digital photography student with a broad educational experience through observation and participation in an industry environment. Students gain hands-on experience by being assigned to a commercial photography company. Students will be supervised by an industry professional and must report on every work session.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 232 and consent of coordinator.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

Related programs

Students interested in graphic arts design and technology may also be interested in:



Next steps

For more information about the digital photography program, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.

Last Updated: 4/8/24