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This course begins with the survey of photography history starting with its discovery and ending with present day digital techniques.  Students will learn about modern camera systems and digital imaging using Adobe Photoshop.  Taking and manipulating meaningful photographs will be the primary activity of this class. All assignments and experiences are designed to help students develop an appreciation for the photographic process and how the resultant images can affect us as individuals and a society.



Projects & Concepts
Snapshots vs. Fine Art Photos


Students will take 5 sets of photos. Each set should contain a snapshot version and a fine art version of the same subject. We will work on setting up folders, saving correctly and getting familiar with Photoshop.

Learning to Look

Students will take 14 photos representing each element and principle, and consider the rule of thirds, angles, composition and framing. They will edit the photos by using the crop and straightening tools to make more interesting compositions.

Photo Collage


Students will place the same object into 5 different backgrounds using selection tools and the clone stamp. The end result should not appear to be Photoshopped.

Blurry and in a Hurry

Students will take 2 series of photos focusing on aperture and shutter speed, which will be set up in a row on one canvas. For shutter speed, they will show 5 photos of varying shutter speeds, from slow to fast. For aperture, show 5 images using different apertures, from large to small.

Creating Drama


Students will take 10 photos with various lighting angles and elements. They will experiment by using a flash, no flash and a spotlight, and by having the light source come from the side, front, below, and backlit. They will edit the photos by adjusting the lighting and contrast settings to create varying degrees of drama.

Same Person, Different Look

Students will take 5 photos of the same person in a different setting, with a different look. They should think about posing, props, wardrobe, lighting, background, etc to convey different moods or feelings.

Emotional Photos


Students will take 5 photos that convey different emotions. They should try different poses and angles, and attempt to catch the subject off guard for a more interesting outcome. They will edit the photos to their liking and add various vignettes.

Photo Makeover

Students will makeover one of the portraits they've taken. They will fix blemishes, adjust skin clarity, whiten the teeth and eyes, sharpen the eyes, etc.

VIDEO: Using Camera Raw for Portraits
Color and Mood


Students will take 6 photos focusing on color schemes. 3 should be of color schemes: monochromatic, analogous and complimentary, and the other 3 should be: black & white, sepia and one using a photo filter.

Painting with Masks

Students will start with a color photo, change it to black and white, then use layer masks to "paint" certain areas different colors.



Students will create a memory/dream/nightmare scene using at least: 5 source photos, 1 adjustment layer, 1 layer mask, 1 filter, and 1 layer style.

Glorifying the Ordinary

Students will take 5 photos of everyday objects in beautiful ways. The goal is to "glorify" the ordinary items by using interesting lighting, compositions, angles, etc. They will use all of their previous Photoshop skills to edit the photos as they choose.

Commercial Photo Shoot

Students will plan and carry out a commercial photo shoot. They will submit a series of 20 images, all with company logo and additional text. 

Additional Photography Resources
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