Digital Photography

Welcome to Digital Photography

Class Overview: Students learn the application of the elements and principles of design through the medium of photography. They learn the history of photography from the chemical revolution of the twentieth century. Students will learn the technical operation of the digital camera, and the use of the select software applications, computers and digital printers to explore the representational, creative and expressive potential of this medium.

Expectations: Each week, students will have a photographic challenge based on a concept or technical theme. It is encouraged to explore your space and environment outside of The Key School. The class will use previous student examples, readings, videos, photographer references, and demonstrations will be used to help students research and brainstorm before each photography challenge. Students are expected to bring cameras to class as well as bring the camera home. Projects can range from a week to two weeks, and students are expected to create a 10-15 series of artwork for each project. A series of photos is a set of images that are presented together on the same theme, edited in the same style, with the images linking. Each Student is required to provide his or her own DSLR camera, but there are some available for use.

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to: 

  1. operate a digital camera using both automatic and manual exposure controls; 
  2. describe the relationship between device resolution and image quality; 
  3. use a flatbed scanner to digitally capture reflective copy; 
  4. prepare digital files for high-end electronic printers; 
  5. transfer and organize digital files using electronic storage media; 
  6. explore Adobe photo editing software (Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom) to edit, file manage, and more.
  7. demonstrate and use available-light techniques; 
  8. use creative shooting techniques (Points of View) for effective visual communication; 
  9. understand grayscale and RGB color space and convert images across the same; 
  10. crop, scale and color correct images for print and electronic publication; 
  11. perform basic image retouching using image editing software; 
  12. produce a digital contact sheet and digital portfolio; 
  13. define and understand digital imaging terms, processes, and equipment. 

Topics Covered in this class:

  • History of Photography
  • Learning to see like a camera.
  • Interpreting photograph and composition.
  • The Digital Camera
  • The Lens
  • Exposure (ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed)
  • Depth of Field
  • Digital “Darkroom” (is a “Lightroom”)
  • Image Editing (in the camera and with software)


  1. Color, Texture, and Shape
  2. Perspective Photography
  3. Depth of Field
  4. Points of View (Seeing one subject in many perspectives)
  5. Long and Slow exposure: capture the action
  6. Portraiture- Capturing the emotion and the story of a person.
  7. Still Life Photography- Commercial Photography and food photography
  8. Panoramas- stitching a photo-Landscapes and Architecture
  9. Composite Photograph- Surrealism Photography
  10. Independent Project- Photography challenge based on a reference artist

Grading Policy:

Late work is accepted but may lose up to 1% per day (not including days the class does not meet, excluding weekends and holidays). If you are absent, your work is due the day you return. The evaluation process will include constructive in class discussions of student work, e.g. critiques. During critiques, students are required to use the appropriate technical vocabulary in order to gain proficiency in speaking about and understanding the subject. Students will be evaluated on their art process, as well as, their product. If you are having a problem with the assignments or have any other issues please speak with me immediately.

The course is calculated by weight percentage. Letter grades will be calculated on the fairly standard scale:

A – Excellent. Inspired growth and/or consistent excellence. Profound contribution to class discussions. Punctuality and appropriate class behavior. Regularly exceeds course expectations. A=93-100, A-=90-92

B – Very Good. Consistent high quality response to assignments. Active participation. Punctuality and appropriate class behavior. B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-= 80-82

C – Satisfactory response to assignments. Satisfactory attendance, participation, and behavior. C+= 77-79, C=73-76, C-=70-72

D – Minimum Passing Work. Unsatisfactory work and participation. Poor attendance and/or classroom behavior. D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62

F – No Credit. Failure to achieve the above. F= 0-59

The breakdown of possible points is as follows:

  • Projects: 40%
  • Research and Homework: 20%
  • Quizzes/ Artist Statements 20%
  • Critiques/Engagement: 20%

Total: 100%

Intellectual Property Considerations

Copying work, written or visual, is plagiarism. Students may use published photographs or the artwork of others for inspiration or reference for their own work, but they may not copy published photographs or other images. Work-based on photographs or the work of other artists must move beyond mere duplication of form and style. It is essential that such work reference these sources only and the primary artistic voice be that of the student. For written assignments, they must use their own words, even if they have cited the source(s) of their information.

Any student caught plagiarizing another artist’s/author’s work, or cheating on a project or test, will be disciplined in accordance with Key School policies.

Your academic and intellectual learning and growth, as well as your integrity as a person, require that all of the work you complete and present be a product of your own efforts. Presenting as your own work that is in any way the product of others’ efforts, or enabling any other student to do so, is a violation of academic integrity standards. This includes failing to properly document or cite others’ work. All such violations will result in serious disciplinary actions. These actions are among those reported to colleges during the college application process.


Because the knowledge and skills gained through the classroom experience are fundamental to all studio/art history endeavors, attendance of all classes for the entire scheduled period is expected. The final grade will be reduced to reflect excessive absences.