POCS - Your research, your photos.

Photography online course for scientists is for all Aalto University members. The Course consists of tutorial videos, assignments, and quizzes. It’s designed for independent learning.

The POCS mission is to help Aalto University members to build their own, unique photo library to communicate their research.

  • 29 Tutorial videos divided into logical and easy-to-follow modules.
  • 19 Assignments based on the functional photography workflow. 
  • 12 Quizzes based on tutorial videos.
  • Takeaways from every tutorial demonstration.
  • Self-evaluation forms for reflecting and analyzing your individual learning process and progress.

1 Module
Camera basics

In this module, we will go through the camera functions that are important to know to get better quality photos technically and to be able to control your equipment.

 2 Module
Photography basics

In this module, we will talk about shutter speed, aperture, f-number, depth of field, ISO, white balance, and most importantly, how to determine the exposure. In the end, we will introduce what is good to know about lenses. Every tutorial video includes recommendations on how to set up your camera when you take photos of scientific samples.

 3 Module
Scientific photos in window light

In these tutorial videos, we do practical photoshoot demonstrations in an ordinary classroom and we use window light for lighting. The aim of the POCS is photography with ease: POCS provides easy-to-apply tips for photography without a lot of equipment.

4 Module
Scientific photos in artificial light

In these tutorial videos, we do practical photoshoot demonstrations in an ordinary classroom and we use artificial light sources for lighting (LED- panels, small-sized LEDs, flashlights, etc.). We use mostly additional equipment which you can borrow from Aalto takeout.

In the last two modules we will demonstrate: 

  • Storytelling: we introduce documentary-, narrative- and commercial-style scientific photography.
  • The key components of technical quality: we are taking photos of matt, glossy, translucent, or transparent samples to show how to emphasize the material’s structure, surface texture, and other qualities.
  • Composition and visualization: we explain how to compose and visualize scientific photos differently in order to emphasize various aspects of your research.


In 2016 professor Robin Ras and his team members, Mika Latikka and Johannes Haataja together with Tiina Puputti created content for the first photography course for the Aalto School of Science. Since then, the photography course for scientists has been held six times in cooperation with the School of Science, Aalto Materials Platform, the School of Chemical Engineering, and Aalto Communications. In 2020 Aalto Online Learning funded the POCS production.

Production team

Photography trainer Tiina Puputti
was responsible for photography content, scripting, hosting, visualization, make-up, hair, equipment, and transportation. In addition, she created content for the shooting assignments, quizzes, and takeaways for the Aalto MyCourses-page.

Producer Valeria Azovskaya
was responsible for project managing, filming, recording, editing, post-production, and graphics and visualization. In addition, she produced text content for the Aalto MyCourses-page. Valeria Azovskaya’s background is in service design, visual and scientific communications. She has been working as an Aalto Materials Platform assistant and together with the Platform’s team developed a series of services to support the Aalto scientific community. She earned her master’s degree in design (Collaborative and Industrial Design major and Design Business Management minor) at Aalto University in 2017.

Thank you

A!OLE, Aalto Materials Platform, Aalto Studios, BicMat, and Aalto School of Chemical Engineering

Prof. Orlando Rojas, Prof. Robin Ras, Dr. Heidi Henrickson, Prof. Kati Miettinen, Doc. Tomi Kauppinen, Marianna Granatier, Luiz Guilherme Garcia Greca, Teemu Välisalmi, and all POCS pilot participants who helped us with testing our course.

Read more.