Digital Photography & Design Syllabus Intro to digital photography & design

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 blog/website to display their photographic work throughout the year.

Benefits & Credit

  • Fulfills 'f' requirement for Visual/Performing Arts for UC A-G
  • Introductory course for CTE Design, Visual, and Media Arts Pathway
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 Katie Robinson
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

Take a look at what this class is all about.

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. This class is intended for students who plan on taking additional digital media arts classes at HBHS or after college. If you are looking for a solid foundation for creating powerful digital imagery designed to get people's attention, we want you here.


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.

The class is designed around modules (or units) that students can complete at their own pace. Each unit typically has a theme or focus and builds off of the previous unit.

While there are due dates for all the modules, how and when they are completed is largely up to the student. This structure 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.

Privileges (e.g. shooting during class, camera equipment checkout, etc.) are based off of a student’s progress in class so falling behind will result in a loss of privileges.

Image by Natalie Delgado

Optional Lab Times and Office Hours

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

Image by Genevieve 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

  • Assignments- 60%
  • Class Participation and Professionalism- 15%
  • Final 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.

Instructor feedback will also be available on a daily basis in order to get help on assignments before they are due. Students will be required to present their work to the class and engage in evaluative discussions to grow as an artist.

Image by Mia King

Required Equipment

  • None
  • We have everything you need to create amazing work
  • Some students have their own gear but whatever you need, we probably have
  • We have new iMacs, Adobe Creative Cloud, Canon Rebels and a lot more...

Image by Sam Blodgett, Brandon De La Torre, Gaby Gaffney

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.

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 & Brooke Wilson


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 etiquette and netiquette at all times in order to foster a professional learning environment.

Image by Jeff Lester & Zach Haggerty

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