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Course Overview

In this introductory level, semester-long photography course, students gain fundamental skills to compose high quality photographs through focus, lighting, framing and editing. Emphasis is placed on basic camera operations, photography terminology and copyright laws, compositional techniques, imagine manipulation using Adobe Photoshop, aesthetic analysis utilizing the elements and principles of art, photography careers, and the history of photography.

Evaluation is based on technical skills, quality, completion of assignments, and participation in class discussion.

Course Content

Unit 1: Intro to Digital Images and Camera

Unit 1 introduces students to basic camera operations, terminology, copyright laws and how to navigate the Adobe Photoshop interface. Through tutorials and readings students will understand the components of a digital camera, how to properly hold a camera and basic photography terms. Students will utilize Adobe Photoshop tutorials to learn how to transfer a file, zoom, and close a file. Students will read articles and view videos about Shepard Fairey’s copyright lawsuit and discuss laws and ethics related to the use of other’s artwork and photography.

Unit 2: Composition

In Unit 2 students gain working knowledge of standard pre-and post-production photographic compositional techniques; cropping, rule of thirds, framing, leading lines. Through articles and tutorial videos students will learn how to utilize composition techniques in pre and post production. During live sessions students will discuss how other art forms utilize similar compositional techniques and how photographic rules can be broken.

Unit 3: Selection and Masks

Unit 3 familiarizes students with Photoshop’s editing tools to combine aspects of several images into one. Through tutorials, readings and videos students will learn how to effectively utilize the selections tools, adjustment panel, blend modes and masks. Live sessions will cover Photoshop tips, tricks and shortcuts to photo merging.

Unit 4: Light, Levels and Color

Unit 4 reviews the various characteristics of light and how the position of lighting affects the exposure of the subject in composition. Through articles about different lighting techniques students will learn how to properly illuminate a subject. Photoshop tutorials will teach them how to use the adjustment panel to create non destructive lighting edits. The live sessions will discuss other photographic accessories photographers can use to light a scene and subject.

Unit 5: Focus

In Unit 5 students read articles and watch videos to learn how to utilize the aperture to control depth of field through manually focusing a subject in the foreground, middle ground and background. Students also utilize Photoshop tutorials to learn how to utilize the Photoshop Blur Gallery to create depth of field. During the live sessions the class discuss the limitations of a smartphone’s aperture and workshop utilizing the Canon’s virtual online manual camera settings.

Unit 6: Point of View

Unit six explores the various camera angles like birds eye view, worm’s eye view, straight up, straight down and from the hip. Students watch videos and read about the importance of camera angle to the subject. During the live session students discuss how camera angle can flatter the subject and influence the viewer.

Unit 7: Landscape Photography

Unit 7 explores the technical theories and techniques of landscape photography though the arrangement of visuals within a composition. Students will learn about the history of landscape photography and tips for comping an interesting landscape image though articles. During the live session students discuss the work and process of Ansel Adams.

Unit 8: Retouch and Enhance

In Unit 8 students become more familiar with image repair and enhancement features in Photoshop. Students are also introduced to the ethics of image manipulation. Through articles and tutorials students learn not only how to retouch an image but also ethical implications of retouching. During the live sessions students continue to cover Photoshop tips and tricks to effective retouching.

Unit 9: Macro Photography

Unit 9 explores macro photography techniques to create abstract compositions through sharpness of the subject, lighting, detailed composition and point of view. Through articles students learn about maintaining sharpness, correct exposure and camera angle for macro photography. During live sessions students review technical skills covered in previous units and how to give constructive feedback.

Unit 10: Surreal

In unit 10 students analyze surreal artworks and identify the elements of surrealism; distortion, juxtaposition, combining unlike images and unnatural environments. Through class discussion students and Erik Johansson’s Ted Talk students learn how to create a surreal image collage using original photos and Photoshop. During the live session students discuss the importance of brainstorming and sketching ideas before starting a project.

Unit 11: Careers in Photography

Unit 11 covers the history of photography and the skills needed for a professional photography career in the fields of fine art, portrait, product and photojournalism. Through readings, videos and virtual camera simulations students will learn how to photograph the elements utilizing the principles of design, take a portrait that conveys mood, setup a product shot, and understand the importance of photojournalism. During live sessions, students will continue to explore photojournalism ethics.

Unit 12: Influences

In Unit 12, students will investigate and research well-known photographers and their work to help them develop their own unique style. Students can utilize online readings, journals and videos to research their photographer. During live sessions, students will discuss the importance of studying the masters and reproducing artwork to gain skills and expand one’s style.