Photo Credit Christine Bentley


Digital Photography Syllabus Sample

Course Description:

Digital photography requires a working knowledge of exposure, composition, lighting and editing techniques. Students will experiment with and demonstrate understanding of a DSLR camera through direct instruction and exploration. Students will be expected to build upon their knowledge with constructive criticism from peers and teacher. Students will be able to create a portfolio as we learn new techniques and build upon new knowledge.  Direct instruction and demonstrations will play a minor role as students will be expected to build their skill and craft through practice.


Visual Arts Content Standards Covered in this class

1.0 Artistic Perception

- Develop Perceptual Skills & Visual Arts Vocabulary

-Analyze Art Elements and Principals in Design

-Impact of Media Choice

*Be able to use academic language written and orally, using the principals of art and elements of art while being a critic on photographs you have taken and those taken by your peers

2.0 Creative Expression

-Skills Processes, Materials, Tools

-Communication & Expression Through Original Works of Art

* Understand the elements of exposure and their relationship, aperture, ISO, shutter speed

* Be able to use and understand manual and priority modes of a DSLR

*Understand lens use and choice for certain photographs

* Be able to create photographs based upon use and knowledge of the proper digital camera settings for freeze motion, blur, motion blur, portrait, landscape, panning, painting with light, long exposure

* Be able to recognize natural lighting situations and when to use them for photos such as open shade and bright light situations

* Be able to use proper photocomposition for differentiating between a snap shot and a professional quality image as well as consideration for overall outcome of the photo such as but not limited to still, candid, portrait, fine art, and action

* Be able to use light modifiers such as a reflector, foam board and scrims

* Understand on camera flash settings and when to use them for desired lighting situations such as direct flash, bounce flash and diffused flash

* Be able to use basic lighting for portraiture to convey various portrait styles such as Rembrandt lighting, ghoul lighting, butterfly lighting, short lighting and broad lighting

* Be able to download, save, cull, sort and categorize images with Lightroom

* Be able to use Lightroom for global edits such as exposure, color correction, cropping if needed, contrast, and spot removal

* Be able to Export images to Photoshop for basic editing skills that include but are not limited to: levels, cloning, portrait fine-tuning, skin softening, and saturation.

* Be able to save photos for web use, and portfolio printing with regard to file size, DPI and PPI

* Have a working knowledge of different kinds of files, png, jpeg, PSD and their use

*Understand the difference of a RAW & JPG shooting

*Understand DPI, PPI, pixels and Megapixels

*Understand the use of Memory cards, flash drives, SD cards, and compact flash speeds and use as well as the different card readers available

3.0 HIstorical And Cultural Context

-Role and development of the Visual Arts

-Diversity of Visual Arts

* Students will research digital photography and it's revolution to the world of photography

* Students will conduct an artist study on a photographer who has impacted either the film or digital world. Students will be asked to choose a photographer of their choice that is part of a minority group.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

-Derive Meaning

-Make Informed Judgments

* Students will orally and in written form develop their own criteria and rubrics for their own portfolio

* Students will critique their own art and that of others in the classroom

5.0 Connections, Relationships Applications

-Connections and Applications

-Visual Literacy

-Careers and Career Related Skills

* Students will explore how technology has impacted photography as part of their history research

* Students will prepare work and portfolios for exhibits


Student Expectations of Learning, Policies and Procedures

We will establish classroom rules together. Once we establish these rules there will also be consequences for inappropriate behavior as well as rewards for positive behavior. There are a few items that are not negotiable:

* Class Attendance. Students are expected to be at class. Each day we will build upon new material and practice your craft.

*Absent students will be responsible to make up missed work and practice. Time will be given at lunch and prep periods for this. Please do not rely on this, as this is not a promise.

*You are expected to complete all assignments on time.

*We will work in a cooperative learning environment. Much of our learning depends on sharing equipment and giving each other feedback as well as working in a small group.

*You must exhibit professional courtesy while giving constructive feedback while discussing the work of your peers.

* You will accept professional criticism as an opportunity to grow

*Academic honesty is vital. Integrity as an artist means you will create original work. Any work that copies another artist will receive no credit. Use your own creativity.


Required And Optional Materials:

Having a DSLR will greatly increase your productivity with classroom assignments and further your understanding. At times we will explore elements that may even allow us to use a simple camera such as your cell phone. Although we have a classroom set, these are only to be used at school. It is to your benefit to be able to practice much of what you learn out of the classroom. Having a camera is therefore recommended but not required.

Students should have a way to store their photos on a portable drive. While your assignments can temporarily be stored on your Google Account and or school account, you may lose storage place quickly. Therefore so you can save your work as well as your "practice" it is best to have a drive.


Course Schedule (Subject to Change)

First Semester

In the beginning of the school year we will be spending much of our time exploring the camera, settings, styles and learning how it all works together. Participation and practice is the most important aspect of semester one.

            1) Overview of the History of Photography Film -Digital

            2) Camera Equipment

            3) Common Essential Vocabulary

            4) Downloading and Saving Photos (Simple Lightroom)

            5) Exploring Exposure

            6) White Balance

            7) Depth of Field and Focus

            8) Exploring Camera Modes


            10) Natural Light

            11) Light modifiers in Natural Light

            12) Using One Light Speed Light

            13) Using Lightroom For Image Adjustments, culling, rating and exporting     for various types of files

            14) Understanding File Types, DPI, PPI Pixels

            15) Photographer Research Project


Second Semester

 Art Principals and Art Elements In Photography are key to the second semester. While we will practice much if not all of the aspects of what we learned in the first semester, now we will create a well-rounded portfolio with completed projects. Well-exposed, creatively composed imagery will be important in this semester. Students will be critiquing work throughout this semester orally with academic language and written as well. Photoshop will also be used with every lesson as ways to make edits and save for final projects.

            1) Exploring Elements and Principals

            2) Landscape Photography

            3) Still Life

            4) Action

            5) Macro

            6) Candid

            7) Portraiture

            8) Lighting Techniques in Portraiture

            9) Creativity in Photoshop

            10) Final Project:

            Students will create a portfolio consisting of 20   photographs and graded     using a rubric.          


In the first semester students will be graded on effort and progress as well as completing assignments. Rubrics will be used to show progress and growth as well as understanding of the content area.

Photographs:                                              55%

Quizzes:                                                       20%

Photographer Research Project:                   25%


Second Semester students will be graded more on the relevance of the assignment. Although students will still be graded on effort more emphasis will be placed on the quality of completing the assignment.

Photographs:                                               55%

Written Critiques:                                         10%

Classroom Oral Critiques:                             10%

Final Project:                                                25%