The A Year With My Camera workshop is a perfect self-paced, low-cost photography course suitable for the skills requirement of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. It is already broken down into a whole year of weekly lessons - all you need to do is decide which sections to do depending on whether you are doing bronze, silver or gold.
How to use the A Year With My Camera workbooks for DofE
Each weekly photography lesson has a short description of what to do, followed by a homework project designed to take around an hour to complete. Hands-on tuition is not included - this is a self-guided course. Please download the sample chapter at the end of this post to check whether the format is suitable for you before you buy the book.
A Year With My Camera is a photography course designed to last a year, and split into 2 workbooks. There is a Facebook group to join for questions and support. The course is not exclusively for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, but the weekly lesson format and all-in-one record of progress suits the skills requirement.
You should check with your Leader before you start the book, to confirm it fulfils the skills criteria for your level. You can use this information as guidance:
PREPARATION REQUIREMENT: weekly goal setting included in each lesson. You have one skill to learn per week, and a checklist to complete to verify that you have understood everything. Your overall goal is one you should determine separately. It might be to learn the manual controls on a DSLR, to learn composition and lighting, or to take a photograph good enough to enter into a competition.
ACTIVITY REQUIREMENT: the course is broken up into monthly modules with at least 4 weekly lessons in each. The lessons take at least an hour to complete. You need to be self motivated to set aside the time each week, but the chapters are designed to make it easy to move from one lesson to the next.
ASSESSMENT: you will need to find an assessor. You can show them the workbook and indicate that they do not need to come up with a lesson plan - they will simply need to review your progress as you work through the pre-defined lessons. Ideally they would be willing to help with any questions as well. Your art teacher might help, or you could approach a local camera club. You might already know someone who understands how to use a camera. If you show them the book they will know whether they are qualified to help you.
Bronze - 3 or 6 months: If you just want to use your camera phone, you would do Parts 2, 3 and 4 of Workbook 1, which would take 3 months. This covers Composition, Lighting and Creativity. If you have access to a DSLR camera you can add Part 1 (Technical) which takes 6-8 weeks. If you need another topic, you can choose any of the subjects covered in Workbook 2, to take you up to 6 months.
Silver - 3 or 6 months (possibly 12 if you haven't done Bronze): same as Bronze, but if you need to do 12 months, then both Workbooks will be needed along with a DSLR camera.
Gold: 6 or 12 months (possibly 18 if you haven't done Silver): same as Silver, but if you need to do 18 months then you would need to plan your own programme of learning for the last 6 months. You could consider working on a portfolio, possibly with a view to gaining a qualification, or pick one discipline and devote 6 months to improving your skills.
The list price for Book 1 is £20, and Amazon often has it discounted. The "Look Inside" feature is enabled, so you can flick through the book before you buy. Book 1 has 4 modules: Technical, Composition, Lighting and Creativity.
Book 2 is £25 and has 6 modules: Editing, Using a Tripod, Landscape, Travel, Macro and Sharing.
Download a trial chapter
This chapter is the first part of the Composition module.
Buy the Workbooks here:
Whilst the workbooks are designed as a year-long, self-paced photography workshop with weekly lessons and a built-in progress log, they are not affiliated to or endorsed by The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.