Digital Photography & Design Syllabus Hybrid Online

Something is happening. We are becoming a visually mediated society. For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through words, but by reading images.

-Paul Martin Lester

Image by Jeremy Westerbeck

Course Description

This course will help students become well rounded in the fundamentals of digital photography and develop as visual communicators. Students will, generally, receive basic instruction, demonstration, and see samples of the desired outcomes at the beginning of each module before having the opportunity to work on assignments. All students will be required to create and maintain a Flickr account to display their photographic work throughout the year.

Image by Cierra Lux
Five areas of instruction will be emphasized:
  1. How cameras work
  2. How composition works
  3. How lighting works
  4. How to use photo editing software
  5. How these elements are used to communicate purposeful and meaningful messages
Image by Devin Carty
Studies show that people remember:

10% of what they hear

Image by Michelle Mlak

20% of what they read

Image by Cierra Williams

80% of what they see and do

Image by Eva Alvarez

Course Overview

While you read about what you will do in this class, take a look at the what Photography & Design students have done in the past.

Who should take this class?

If you enjoy digital media, storytelling, design, photography, and other forms of communication this could be a great fit for you. The structure of this class, as you will see below, is intended for students who want to learn more about this subject and may need to fulfill their VPA (A-G f credit) but want to do this in a more flexible learning environment. You don't need or want bells when to tell you to start or stop learning.

Hybrid vs. Traditional

The main difference between the traditional and hybrid photography courses is when and where course work is completed. In the hybrid setting, the majority of work will be done off campus and independently rather than during a traditional bell period

The amount of work and course topics are virtually identical. Students in the hybrid class should plan on spending about 4-5 hours per week on assignments in addition to the weekly Monday meetings.

Both classes count for VPA 'f' credit and are UC approved.

The hybrid class does not count towards the HBHS DMA PaDi certificate. Students interested in advanced photography classes should probably take the traditional Photography & Design class.

Image by Kayla Winsatt


The structure of this course gives students a lot of freedom in how they decide to complete their coursework and improve as a photographer but it is very important that they stay disciplined and do not fall behind.

This class will meet once per week on Monday in room I8. Exact times will be decided at the beginning of the year.

Class meetings will include the introduction and discussion of upcoming assignments and course principles as well as class critiques (see below). Students are expected to attend each class session in its entirety in order to stay on track.

Each week, students will have assignments and course material that are due on Sunday night. These assignments are geared toward preparing you for the portfolios due at the end of each quarter.

Image by Natalie Delgado

Optional Lab Times and Office Hours

  • Wednesdays from 1pm-4pm
  • Tutorial Tuesday- Friday
  • Other times available upon request

Image by Genavieve Mangold


  1. Basic Camera Settings- ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance
  2. History of Photography
  3. Depth of Field (Depth of Focus)
  4. Portraiture
  5. Action Photography
  6. Still Life
  7. Black and White (Monochrome)
  8. Basic Techniques of Lighting (Including: Front, Side, Back, Diffused, etc.)
  9. Basic Photo Composition (Including: Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Framing Subjects, etc.)
  10. Basic Photo Editing & Processing

Image by Jamie Mizuno

Assignments & Grading

  • Weekly Assignments- 50%
  • Class Participation and Professionalism- 25%
  • Portfolio- 25%

Image by Julia Khan


Creating meaningful work is an ongoing process that requires continual refinement and improvement. Giving and receiving critiques is a major part of this class. It will happen in face to face settings and will also take place via Canvas discussions and Flickr. Instructor feedback will also be available on a daily basis during lab time and office hours in order to get help on assignments while students are actively working on them. Students will be required to present their work to the class and engage in an evaluative discussion about each piece.

Image by Mia King

Required Equipment

  • Access to any digital camera
  • Smartphone, DSLR, GoPro, etc.
  • The best camera is the one you have on you
  • Reliable internet access

Image by Sam Blodgett

Policies and Procedures

  • Read and agree to the Technology Usage Contract
  • Be Professional
  • Be Respectful
  • Be On Time
  • Ask Questions
  • ALL assignments must be turned in on time to receive credit. Assignments submitted to Canvas will only be graded once but students have the opportunity to have their work checked as many times as needed BEFORE the due date.
  • The structure of this class offers a lot of freedom and flexibility but with that comes the expectation of responsibility and effective time management. Since this class encourages the process of learning with opportunities for feedback and revisions it is essential that all assignments are turned in on time. No late work will be accepted.

Image by Tanner Picquelle


See that watermark to the left? She owns this image. I am using it with her permission.

Artistic integrity and current copyright law will be covered throughout the year in order to ensure all student work is original in concept and execution.

Image by Leah Goode


All students are expected to be active participants online and in class throughout the duration of the course. It is essential that all students are aware of and display proper netiquette at all times in order to foster a professional learning environment.

Image by Jeff Lester

For more info contact Mr. Schwab: nschwab@hbuhsd.edu

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