High School Photography Class Assignments For History

Low Key Photography

Objective: Learn how to expose for effect. Also learn how to use available light to create low key photos.
What is due? 5 photos using low key lighting.

Low key refers to a style of photography that utilizes predominantly dark tones to create a dramatic looking image. Low key lighting intensifies the contrast in an image through intensely reduced lighting. I am challenging you to achieve a low key look without studio lights. One way to do this is to use two separate spaces. One space needs to be darker than the other space. For example, you can turn the lights off in a room and use the window as the light source. Try to keep the light from hitting the background, and purposefully underexpose the photograph.

​Concentration Statement

What is due? 1 paragraph

In 100 words or less:
  • Clearly and simply state the central idea of your concentration.
  • Explain how the work in your concentration demonstrates your intent and the exploration of your idea.

  • A strong concentration is one with a clear focus on an idea or theme.
  • The focus remains central throughout the portfolio and the progression or transformation of the idea or theme is evident.
  • The work invokes a response in the viewer as it is engaging in form and in content (Sunday, 2011).

A concentration is a body of related works that: grow out of a coherent plan of action or investigation; are unified by an underlying idea that has visual and/or conceptual coherence; are based on individual interest in a particular visual idea; are focused on a process of investigation, growth and discovery; and show the development of a visual language appropriate for the subject.

A concentration is NOT: a variety of works produced as solutions to class projects; a collection of works with differing intents; a group project or collaboration; a collection of works derived solely from other people’s published photographs; a body of work that simply investigates a medium, without a strong underlying visual idea; or a project that merely takes a long time to complete.


Objective: Learn about pre-production work in planning a creative photo shoot, taking the planned photos, and editing them. Also, learn how to use layer masks in Photoshop.
What is due? 1 levitation photo completed in class, which is made up of at least two photos (subject and then background).

A great set of instructions can be found here for taking the photos and editing them. We are doing the levitation photos that involves using a stool or box on which to rest the subject. Use a tripod and manual mode. After you focus on the subject, switch the lens to manual focus. You'll take one photo of the subject resting on the support (i.e. stool), then remove the support and subject and photograph the environment without changing any settings.

The video below shows how to do the Photoshop steps to combine the two images.

Photographer Presentation

Objective: Learn to identify photographers' styles, critique their work, and if applicable, identify concepts the photographer explores.

What is due? A 5 minute presentation to the class. This presentation is open to however you want to do it (PowerPoint, Google Slides, the photographer's website, video magazines, etc.). Find a photographer that inspires you. You need to explain why you selected the photographer, what their style is (show plenty of CLEAN examples), critique their photos (are the photos technically good, artistically good, interesting, etc.), and identify the concepts or ideas the photographer explores (if applicable). Feel free to ask the class questions and lead a discussion.

When you critique their photos, here are some things to think about:
1. How is the technical quality? Let’s start here before we get to the more subjective issues of composition and emotion.
  • In focus? (or if not, was that intended?)
  • Exposure: Is it too light or dark? Are there blown out or underexposed areas? Do you consistently have dark, moody photos? Why?
  • Use of depth of field to control the viewer’s eye.
  • Use of contrast? Too muddy or too much contrast.
  • How was lighting handled?
  • How do the colors look?
2. How’s the composition?
  • What principles of composition does the photo or photographer use?
  • What should and shouldn’t be in the frame?
  • Where is your eye drawn to?
3. How is the emotional appeal?
  • What emotion do you feel when you look at the photo? Or lack of?
  • Did the photographer connect with his subjects or do they look tense, posed or stilted?
  • Does the photograph tell a story, or part of one?  (It could be as simple as, “here are my kids who I adore” or “here’s my dog catching a frisbee.” Or a very deep one such as, “this is what poverty looks like, right in my hometown.”)
4. What is the photographer's style?
  • What techniques/lighting/lenses/props does the photographer seem to frequently use?
  • Any specific mood that occurs in most of the photos?
  • What kind of words would you use to describe most of the photos?
  • What makes this photographer different from other photographers?

You can use the class' website to find a photographer, Google one, or use this website to find one.

​High Key Photography

Objective: Learn how to expose for effect. Also learn how to use available light to create high key photos.
What is due? 5 photos using high key lighting.

High key refers to a style of photography that utilizes predominantly light tones to create a bright and airy looking image. Use bright lighting to blow out most or all harsh shadows in an image or expose the photo for that effect. I am challenging you to achieve a high key look without studio lights. One way to do this is to use two separate spaces. One space needs to be brighter than the other space. For example, you can stand in a room with the lights on, use the window as the background light source, and expose for the subject. Since the light outside the window will be brighter, when you expose for the subject in front of the window, it will over expose the background. A second way to do this is outside. Stand on the shaded side of the subject and expose for the shaded side. Then make sure the sky is the background, which will over expose it since you are exposing for the shade. You can also use something white as the background and slightly overexpose to blow out the detail of the white background.


Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Reflected Landscapes

Objective: Learn Photoshop selection tools.
What is due? 4 photos.

Get 4 photos that will show an interesting composition if you make a geometric selection and rotate the selection. Most examples on the internet are landscapes, but photos with buildings, people, cars, etc., can also be interesting.

Photoshop instructions:
  1. Open the photo in Photoshop.
  2. Create a selection with either the rectangular or elliptical marquee selection tool. Hold shift to make a perfect square or circle when you create the selection. If you also hold Option on the keyboard, the center of the selection's shape will be where you click and expand out on all sides.
  3. Press command j to copy the selected pixels on to a new layer.
  4. With the new layer selected, press command t to rotate the layer. Press enter to accept the transformation.
  5. Erase parts if you want it to blend in.
  6. Repeat as desired!

Advanced options:
  • Create more advanced geometric shapes by using the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
  • Add a slight drop shadow to layer with the shape on it by clicking the FX button on the bottom of the layer panel.
  • Erase parts of the new layer to have it blend in.

Shutter Drag

​Black Light Photos

What is due? ​5 photos.
Objective: Experiment with a different type of light and paint that reacts to black light.

Experiment with the black lights and paint to create interesting portraits or images. Be creative and try something new!

Focus Stacking

What is due? 3 completed images.
Objective: Learn the technique of focus stacking for macro or product photography.

The video below goes over how to take the photos an combine them in Photoshop. Here are written steps for combining the photos in Photoshop:
  1. From Lightroom, click Photo > Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop. (If you aren't using Lightroom, in Photoshop, click File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack​. Click Browse to find and select all of the photos. Check the box "Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images." Click ok and wait.)
  2. When it's done, select all the layers.
  3. Click Edit > Auto-Blend Layers...
  4. Pick the "Stack Images" option, and check the "Seamless Tones and Colors" box. Click ok and wait.
  5. Double check the layers masks to fix any errors by painting black or white with the mask selected.
  6. Edit the photo in Photoshop or save it and take it back into Lightroom!


 What is due? 10 photos around the school.
Objective: Force yourself to look at things differently. You've all seen the school and environment around it. How can you use minimalism to show it differently?

​Minimalism is a style that refers to anything that is spare or stripped to its essentials, or you can say it is characterized by extreme spareness or simplicity. For photography, the focus is on one key element and the rest of the composition is generally clutter free. Here's a good, brief article about minimalism in photography. Here is another set of good photos showing minimalism.

Prisms with Portraits

What is due? 10 portraits. 5 in indirect light and 5 in direct light.
Objective: Learn how to use a prism to create visual interest with a portrait.

A few different ways to use a prism:
  1. If you use a prism in direct light, you can get the refraction (rainbow effect) of light and have those colors either shine on your model or hit the lens.
  2. Place the prism close to the edge of the lens so it creeps into the frame. That will give interested reflections or light patterns that come into the photo.

​A few other things to help achieve the look before is to use a fixed lens that has a wide aperture and shoot where you will get bokeh from background light sources.

I'd also like you to practice paying attention to the environment that you use in your portraits. You might think the school is boring to take photos in, but use that as a creative limitation to force you to think differently like the video below.

Block Poster

Still Life

What is due? 2 photos.
Objective: Create two still life scenes to photograph. Photograph one scene with a hard light and the other scene with a soft light to learn how to control light for different effects.

Photographers are concerned about 3 things with light.
  1. Brightness - Another word is intensity. You control the brightness of light by moving the light closer or farther away (remember the inverse square law!). Or if possible, adjust the brightness with a setting on the light.
  2. Color - Every type of light has a different color temperature. Try not to mix different types of lighting so you can easily correct color in Lightroom or Photoshop.
  3. Contrast - A light has high contrast if its rays all strike the subject from nearly the same angle and low contrast if its rays strike the subject from many different angles. A shadow with sharply defined edges is called a hard shadow. So high-contrast light sources are also called hard lights. A shadow with no clearly defined edge is called a soft shadow. So low-contrast light sources are also called soft lights. You control the contrast by the size of light. A small light source is always a hard light source and most large light sources are soft ones.


Shape & Form

What is due? 10 photos.
Objective: Experiment using the plastic to show shapes and form. This eliminates color and texture and places the focus of the photograph on the shape of the subject. This will also force you to concentrate on how to have the light help you shape the subject.

​Creativity Exercise 1

​Sparkly Background/Product Photos

What is due? 7 photos
Objective: Practice creating an interesting product photo by using common items.

Use the provided tinfoil and your cell phones to create interesting photos. You can use your cell phone for an interesting reflective surface and use another cell phone as the light source for the small products and background. Crumple up the tinfoil to create bokeh as well as an interesting background. How far away should the tinfoil be? Where should you shine the light? What settings blur out the background the best? Experiment and try new things.

Automotive Light Painting

 ​Creativity Exercise 2 - Stuck for 5

​Studio Lights

Posing & Fill Light

​Dispersion Effect

Dodge & Burning Portraits

What is due? 1 practice photo (provided), and 1 photo from your studio portraits.
Objective: Learn how to dodge (lighten) and burn (darken) locally and globaly to enhance portriats.

Dodge and burn can be subdivided into local (think micro, pixel-level) and global (think macro, sculpting & contouring). Each subdivision has its own goals and challenges. When you're performing local D&B you normally determine the area that needs corrections while being zoomed out. Then you zoom in very close and even out the values of different parts of the skin to achieve an even surface look. Global D&B, or sculpting & contouring, your goal is to add volume and more dimensionality into our 2-dimensional image. Contouring is the art of expertly highlighting and shadowing the correct spots on the face in order to accentuate and bring out the subject's best look.

Photoshop steps:
  1. After you've cleaned up the skin with your basic retouching tools (such as Clone Stamp tool, Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, etc.) and possibly some Frequency Separation add two Curves Adjustment layers on top of your Photshop layer stack.
  2. Pull one Curve slightly up (brighten midtones), name this layer "Dodge" and invert the layer mask color to black (Command (CTRL) + I).
  3. Name the other Curves Adjustment layer "Burn", pull the Curve down (darken midtones) and invert the layer mask color to black (Command (CTRL) + I).
  4. Use your paint brush and have white as your foreground color. You will work with soft brushes set to a very low opacity or flow. Paint on the dodge layer to brighten parts on the image and paint on the burn layer to darken parts of the layer.
  5. Build the effect up gradually! When you're finished, it's a good idea to lower the opacity of the layers because you probably did too much.​

Do you want to get even better are dodging and burning portraits? Read these articles:


Camera Hacks

Brenizer Method

What is due? 2 images
Objective: Learn how to create a specialized panorama to achieve a shallow depth of field with a wide angle of view.

The Brenizer Method is a way to create a specialized image with a shallow depth of field but wide angle of view, and it was popularized (though not created) by the photographer Ryan Brenizer. Similar to a panorama, Brenizer Method portraits consist of several photos stitched together to make one image. The objective of the Brenizer Method is to achieve a very shallow depth of field with a lot of background blur and bokeh. This shallow depth of field is only possible through layering images together.

To achieve this you need to use all manual settings - white balance, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Most importantly, though, your focus needs to be on manual or stay locked throughout the process. You will be stitching the images together in Photoshop, and it will not work if the camera automatically changes the focus for each shot. It will also look bad if the white balance changes between each shot, too. We wouldn't want a bad looking photo now, would we?

When taking the photos, I would start from left to right, top to bottom - similar to the way a book is read. Make sure you overlap each photo by at least a 1/3 to ensure Photoshop knows how to stitch the photo together. If taking portraits, make sure that the subject's face isn't cut off. Ensure the exposure, white balance, and focus remain the same throughout the process.

After importing the photos into Lightroom, select the series in the film strip and then click Photo > Edit In > Merge to Panorama in Photoshop. Leave the settings in the Photomerge dialogue box to what it's set (Auto, and Blend Images together checked) and click Ok. Wait. Then crop and edit either in Photoshop or Lightroom.


Objective: Learn how to show think creatively about how to show the theme "relationship" through photos in a difficult environment (school).
What is due? 10 photos. Each photo shows a different type of relationship, such as love, friendship, nature and human, pet and owner, hands and objects, or something else creative.

Use different techniques that you have learned to show the theme "relationship" in an interesting way. The 10 photos need to be about different types of relationships.

Pixel Stretching

Shape & Form - Water

What is due? 5 photos.
Objective: Explore the shape and form of water by controlling shutter speed.

Use the cup to experiment throwing water and photograph it with a fast shutter speed to create interesting forms and shapes.
Objective: Practice framing subject and adding depth to your photo.
What is due? 5 awesome photos that use framing.

Be creative with the frames that you use. Go beyond doors and windows. What else is in your environment that works as a frame? Can you hold something in front of your camera? Also, notice that when the frame is close to the camera it adds depth to your photo.
Objective: Practice shooting in manual mode and showing everyday objects in an interesting way.
What is due? 26 photos. Each photo of is something that starts with a letter in the alphabet. So one photo of something that starts with an A, another photo of something that starts with a B, and so on.
Photoshop Instructions:
  1. Duplicate background layer by pressing command j or right clicking on the layer and click "Duplicate Layer".
  2. Select the duplicate layer and press command t to start transforming it.
  3. Right click on the image and click "Flip Horizontal".
  4. Rotate the image and line it up with the bottom and one of the sides.
  5. Use the Polygonal Selection Tool to select the area you want to keep
  6. Add a layer mask.
  7. Repeat if you want the effect on both sides.
  8. Clean up the sky and add any details that will make it even more awesome.
Objective: Learn how to control the on-camera flash for special effect.
What is due? 5 photos that show experimentation with rear curtain sync and shutter drag.

Shutter sync is when the flash fires during a photo. If the flash fires as soon as the shutter opens, it is called front shutter sync. If the flash fires right before the shutter closes, it is called rear shutter sync. To decide between the two, ask yourself if you want the motion to be behind the movement or in front of the movement.

To learn more about rear curtain sync, you can read this article here or read this one here (better examples). You can see some good examples on this website to help get your creative juices flowing. This article and video is by a photographer who uses this technique, too. Not only can you move the camera while taking the photo with a slower shutter speed, you can also zoom in or out to create some cool movement.
Photo by Brandon Woelfel.
 What is due? 1 poster.
Objective: Learn how to create your own poster on a normal printer and learn more about exporting from Lightroom for print.
  1. In Lightroom, find the photo you want to enlarge as a poster.
  2. Click the Export button or File > Export.
  3. In the Export dialogue box, make sure under File Settings you check the box to Limit File Size To: and fill in the blank to 2,500. Under the Image Sizing change the resolution to 300 (See screenshot to the right).
  4. Double check you know where the poster is being exported and then click Export.
  5. Go to blockposters.com
  6. Click the Get Started button.
  7. Click the Upload Your Image button then find your image on the computer and click Choose.
  8. Customize the size of your poster by choosing how many pages wide you want the final poster to be (5 is too big for in-class) and if you want the pages to be portrait or landscape.
  9. Keep the paper format as Letter (U.S.) and each page should have borders.
  10. Check the "I have read and accept the terms of service" box.
  11. Click the Create My Poster! button.
  12. Open the downloaded PDF and print it on the color printer.
  13. Cut off the borders and tape them together, or tape them together with the borders, but overlap them so have the same white space
What is due? 2 images.
Objective: To experiment with typography and layer masks in Photoshop to have the text interact and flow with the elements in the still life image.

Use 2 of the images form the Still Life assignment to complete this assignment. You will learn (relearn) how to use layer masks, install fonts, and control type in Photoshop to create two interesting images. Fonts have moods and styles. Use them to match your scene. You can download free fonts from dafont.com.

Photoshop Tips/Instructions:
Masking Text
  1. Click the Type Tool and choose the font, color, and size (feel free to download a font and install it on your computer).
  2. Type your word or saying. Position the words. You might need to put each word on its own layer. Experiment with the Leading (space between lines) and Tracking (space between letters) to get the type how you want it (see image on right). To find that panel, click Window > Character. If needed, resize with Cmd T or click Edit > Free Transform.
  3. Have the text layer selected and add a layer mask by clicking the little square icon with the circle cut out (see image on right).
  4. Paint black on the layer mask to hide parts of the text to make it look like it is behind objects in the photo. Paint white to bring back parts of the text.
Creating Shadows on Text
  1. Create a new blank layer by clicking Layer > New > Layer. Make sure this layer is above the text layer.
  2. Clip the layer to the type layer by right clicking on the words of the layer and selecting Create Clipping Mask.
  3. Use the brush tool to paint shadows on the text. Adjust the brush size, hardness, and color to match shadows.
  4. If needed, lower the opacity of the layer and/or click Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to help it match the shadows in the photo.
Create Shadows Under Text
  1. Click the fx button on the bottom of the Payers Panel and select Drop Shadow. (see image on right).
  2. Change the opacity, angle, distance, spread, and size to match the shadows in the image. Click OK.
  3. Right click on the words "Drop Shadow" under the text layer and select Create Layer. This will separate the drop shadow on to its own layer.
  4. Fix the drop shadow layer by erasing parts that shouldn't have a drop shadow. Look at where you used a layer mask to find those areas.
What is due? 9 photos
Objective: Practice creativity by photographing the same object as your group. You will each take turns taking one photograph but you may NOT take the same photo that anyone else has in the group. Each photo has to be different. You may not use another person or yourself in the photos. Use the provided objects as your subjects.
What is due? 1 completed image.
Objective: Learn about light painting an object (car) and how to blend the images together in Photoshop.

​The video below has the instructions on setting up the camera, taking the photos, painting the car, and editing the photos in Photoshop.

Key points to remember:
  • Auto focus on the car and then switch to manual focus so focus doesn't change between photos. 
  • Set your f-stop around F/11.
  • ISO 100
  • Use a long shutter speed (maybe around 10 seconds).
  • Don't get the light between the part of the car you are lighting and the camera.
  • Pay attention to the highlights and reflections after you take the photo. Do you like them or want them little different?
  • Dark clothes are helpful.
  • In Photoshop, get all the images open in the same document.
  • Select all the layers, then click Edit > Auto Align Layers.
  • Change the blending modes from all the layers to Lighten except for the background layer.
  • Add a layer mask to hide parts of a layer you don't want visible, like light streaks or reflections of lights you don't like.
What is due? 20 photos
Objective: Practice seeing things differently and practice being creative when you are limited in the space you are you and the time that have there.

You will be placed in a location for 5 minutes. You cannot take selfies, each photo has to be different, and you cannot move out of the location until the time ends. Time yourself and practice challenging yourself to see things differently.
What is due? 5 photos.
Objective: Experiment with studio lights to try to get different results by changing light modifiers, light intensity, light distance, light angle, and posing.

The photos need to be 1 butterfly, 1 loop, 1 rembrandt, and 1 split lighting. The 5th photo needs to use more than 1 light source. Try to replicate the lighting on a photo that you like.

Watch the three rules of lighting to understand how light works.

On the following video, watch from 6 min to 12 min. http://masterbeautyphotography.com/mbp2/

One of these portraits will be used for the Dispersion Effect assignment.
What is due? 5 photos
Objective: Learn how to use fill light in the studio and practice posing.

The purpose of the fill light is to soften the shadows from the key light. The ways to adjust the brightness of the fill light can be the distance from the light to the subject or change the intensity of the flash. If the fill light is too bright, it will flatten out the portrait. If the fill light is not bright enough, you won't see any change. Typically, the fill light is at a 90 degree angle from the key light, but you may experiment to achieve the look you want.

I also want you to practice posing. Pick one of the following to practice with while you pose:
  • Spine
  • Weight distribution & feet
  • Joints & 90-degree angles
  • Collarbone, chin, & eyes
  •  Gaps
What is due? 1 photo.
Objective: Practice using layer masks and brushes in Photoshop.

The video has the instructions on the bottom. Be creative and add your own twist to this effect by using different types of Photoshop brushes or putting separate elements into the image.
Local D&B is normally applied in tiny dots and lines, while the global D&B will be represented by large areas painted with a soft brush. Example by Jesús Vilca.
Contouring example: lighten white areas and darken the brown areas.
What is due? 10 photos
Objective: Learn how to create custom bokeh and take great photos with bokeh in the background.

Bokeh is out of focus light in a photograph. The shape of the bokeh is determined by the shape of the aperture. So you can create different shaped bokeh by cutting paper and covering the lens with it to create a new aperture. It is also very helpful to have a fast lens (a lens which has a very large aperture like f1.8). Remember the relationship between how close the subject is and how far away the background is to create a shallow depth of field.

What is due? 10 photos
Objective: Learn and experiment with different ways to create flare or visual interest in a photo.

Here are a few ideas:
  • Use a plastic bag to create fake light leaks and haze. You can also color the bag to add color to the haze like the examples shown. Article here.
  • Use a reflective surface close to one edge of the camera to create a reflection, bokeh, or light streaks.
  • Use sunglasses to tint the color in the photo.
  • Use a flashlight or cell phone light for lens flares.
  • Use a prism to create reflections or refract light. Articles here and here, and photographer on Instagram that uses this technique here.
What is due? 5 photos.
Objective: Learn how to investigate the construction of a digital image through creative means.

The results of this effect highlight the nuances of a digital image and explore the action of altering photographs through non-traditional means. Pixel stretching is one way to investigate the construction of a digital image through creative means. The process involves selecting a single row or column of pixels and stretching them out over an image to create a warped, surrealistic visual effect.

Photoshop Instructions:
  • Duplicate your Background layer in the Layers panel by right-click on the Background layer and select Duplicate Layer. It’s important that you don’t apply the pixel stretching technique directly to the original image in case you need to revert back to earlier stages of the project.
  • On the tool bar, select the Single Marquee Tool. You may have to click and hold down the mouse over the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee Tool until it reveals a small menu.
  • Click on an area in your image that you think is interesting. A dotted line stretching across your image will appear. This outlines the row of selected pixels that line up with the point you clicked on.
  • Click on Edit in the menu bar and select Free Transform. You can also select Free Transform by right-clicking on the dotted line of the Marquee Tool.
  • The cursor will appear as two opposing arrows when you hover over the Marquee Tool line. Click on the line where the opposing arrows appear and slowly drag the cursor down over the image.
  • You’ll see that whole row of pixels will stretch as far as you drag the mouse. When you’ve finished stretching the selection, press enter and there you go.

Tutorial found at https://digital-photography-school.com/pixel-stretching-photoshop/


You will start a (pretend) photography business either by yourself or in partnership with one of your peer students. Create a Powerpoint Presentation to present to the class and include the items on the list below:

* Business Name

* Your name as sole owner or names of people in the partnership

* The type of photography you specialize in, and the types of jobs you intend to get.

* Samples of work you would like to produce for your clients.

* What type of equipment will you be using and how much will you be  spending on equipment? (Go to B&H.com to look for equipment)

* How much will you charge? Will you offer packages?

* Your (pretend) web site address

* Who are your inspirations?

* Where will you conduct your business? (which state will you live, will you work out of your home or rent office space in which location)

* Branding: Your business card (Make your business card a 3.5 x 2.5 document in Photoshop)

* Marketing: Include a slide about how are you going to advertise and get jobs in your field?

* Market Research: How much money you would like to make in your first year of business, and how much you foresee making in 5 years, and also in 10 years.



Assignments due Friday, March 2


-Go to a dark place to shoot for this assignment (back studio). Put the camera securely on a tripod and put your shutter speed at 20 to 30 sec (not 20th of a sec…but 20 full seconds). You must put the camera on self timer to avoid camera shake. Shoot on manual and try your fstop at 8 or 11. ISO at 200.

-Pre focus on Manual focus mode, because the camera will not in autofocus!

-Wave finger lights in front of the frame during the exposure and check out the results!

-Post 1 to 3 Painting with Light photos you took and edited on your blog. Critique:  Find an amazing painting with light photo on the Internet and write a paragraph about how you think the photographer achieved the result and why you think it is so eye catching.



Use bounced external flashoff camera and sync cord, to take some nice portraits of your favorite teacher. Edit and post your best portrait and write a 3 paragraph reflection in academic language explaining why you like and admire this teacher. Give details, reasons and examples as to why you chose this teacher. Samples below:



Photograph a part of the body, or something, which shows shape and form. Think about getting great QUALITY OF LIGHT and make your composition a strong one. In the caption section of your image write 10 words to describe your final image.



Look online for photographs from this years winter Olympics. Find a few photos (3-5), which you think are absolutely amazing. Post them to your blog and explain under each photo how you think the photographer shot the image technically. Also talk about the composition and why the image is so successful.




Look at magazine covers online and post 3-5 covers you like and explain why these covers attracted your eye. Then create a magazine cover (9×12 @ 300 res)using your own photographic image. Include the name of the magazine and a list of articles, which would be within the magazine. Make it look as authentic as possible.



Read this online article and on your blog write three paragraphs explaining the main points in the article and at least five things you learned from reading it.




Use the Canon digital camera and an external bounced flash to photograph portraits on location. Set your camera on Manual, Auto White Balance, ISO 400, F8 @ 60th of a second shutter speed. Photograph at least 10 portraits and post your top 3-5 edited bounced flash portraits to your blog. As a writing critique answer the following questions on your blog in a separate post. Samples below:

-When would you use external flash?

-What does flash synchronization mean?

-What does ETTL mean?

-What will happen when you shoot faster than the camera sync speed?

-Why do photographers bounce the flash and use a diffuser?

– What is a slave?

-What should you do if your image comes out too dark or too light?



In this assignment you are going to go on a virtual vacation. Find a location online where you would like to go and digitally put yourself into that location. Make sure to match lighting and color balance to make it look realistic as possible. You must add 3 props into the scene (sunglasses, shopping bags, friends to go with you, etc…) Make your new document for all the elements in the image a 12×8 150 resolution. include 1-3 sentences under your photo when you post it to explain why you would like to go on this vacation.





Read this entire article on beginning strobe use and then write a three paragraph reflection on your blog detailing what the article is about and the most important things you got out of reading it.



Photograph 25 portraits in the studio using the strobes and colored gels in the background. Edit your portraits in Lightroom and make cosmetic retouches in Photoshop. Post 9-12 final portraits on your blog. Writing critique: Find a portrait online that was shot with studio strobe lighting and write 20 sentences to describe the subject and their personality based on the photographers version of them. Evaluate the lighting used in the photograph and how you think the lights were arranged to get the results. Samples below:



-Go online and research the meaning of HDR photography. Create a blogpost explaining what the term HDR in photography means and ways to achieve successful results.

–Look online for an HDR image and then make a blog post about one image that impresses you and why? Include the image in your post.

-Photograph 5 different exposures of a landscape (on Manual) for this assignment. One at the perfect exposure, plus one and two stops underexposed and one and two stops overexposed. USE A TRIPOD for this!

-Save images in a folder and open Photoshop>File>Automate>Merge to HDR Pro

-Select your five landscape images and press ok. Photoshop will compile your images into one HDR image.

-You will probably need to do more adjustments to make it more vibrant and saturated. You should bring in cool clouds from the Internet to blend into your sky. Post to blog with a list of the 5 exposures you used to create the image. (MASIL) Samples below:




Take 50 different photos of the same subject. Vary the lighting and composition of your photographs. Edit your photographs in Lightroom and post the BEST 20-30 photos to your blog as a gallery.




Watch this Tedtalk on how photography connects us and on your blog make a post summarizing, critiquing, judging and evaluating what you got out of watching the video. Have at least 3 paragraphs




Photograph several images of yourself or someone else in the same location, and put them all together in Photoshop to make it look as if you (or they) are relating to themselves in some way. Use one of the photos as the base image, and move the other subjects in the base image to create a unique photo for this Am I Talking To Myself assignment. Writing Critique: Make a blog post called My Inspiration and list 15-20 things, which inspire your creativity. Sample student work below:




1. Your Portfolio

Put your best work together in a Portfolio. Use Powerpoint to present your portfolio to the class. Your portfolio should consist of (at least) 12 slides. 1 Intro slide with your name on it and 10 slides of your best work to date (1 image per slide). The last slide should contain a quote that is meaningful to you.Put in my flash drive or email me at caucrg@fusd.net, by Tuesday December 5. Also put your portfolio images on your blog as a gallery.

2. Self Portrait with Text

Take a tripod and DSLR camera on self-timer mode and photograph a few self portraits (photographs you take of yourself). Edit your favorite photo in Photoshop and include some text within the image to create a mixed media selfie. In the caption section when you post include the MASIL and for a critique make a list of 25 words or phrases to describe yourself. Student samples below:



Photographer Research Project (due Tuesday, November 28)

You will produce and present a PowerPoint Slide Show about a professional and influential photographer of your choice. The project is to have 15-20 slides and include the information below, and at least 10 photographs. You can choose from the enclosed list or pick a significant photographer of your choice. Questions to answer when doing photographer research project are below. Email your presentation to caucrg@fusd.net or put in my flashdrive by Thursday, November 16.

  1. What is the photographer’s real name and year he or she was born? Is he/she still alive?
  2. What is their style of photography (ex: photojournalism, editorial, documentary, advertising, portraits, magazine, sports, war)?
  3. Are there any special photography techniques this photographer uses in his/her work?  (Think about composition, depth of field, history…)
  4. Who does the photographer work for?
  5. What type of cameras and lens does this photographer work with, and why?
  6. What type of lighting does this photographer primarily use and why?
  7. Who are some of your photographer’s early influences?
  8. Are there any interesting stories about this photographer or his/her work?
  9. What do you like (or not like) about their work, and why did you select this photographer?

Robert Mapplethorpe – flowers, portraits, nudes  *

Annie Leibovitz – celebrity portraits    *

Danny Clinch – musicians     *

Edward Weston – black and white nudes,landscapes

Ansel Adams –  black and white landscape

Cindy Sherman – self portraits      *

Diane Arbus –  strange and different portraits     *

David Lachappelle – unique portraits *

Imogen Cunningham – black and white

Eliot Porter – color landscape

Alfred Eisenstadt – candid photojournalism

Linda McCartney – musicians in the 60’s

Herb Ritts – celebrity portraits     *

Henry Cartier- Bresson -candid street, the decisive moment

Andy Warhol – bizarre

Robert Frank -street

Mary Ellen Mark – portraits    *

Eddie Adams – war, photojournalism

Robert Capa – war

Paul Strand – black and white

Lewis Hind – child labor

James Nachtwey – war    *

Irving Penn – fashion, still lifes      *

Richard Avedon – portraits

Margaret Bourke White – early photojournalism

Lee Friedlander – black and white candid

Harold Edgerton – motion

Sebastiao  Salgado – photojournalism

Weegee – street photojournalism

Mark Seliger – celebrity portraits     *

Jerry Uelsmann – photo montage     *

Dorothea Lange – documentary

Anne Geddes – children

Kim Anderson – children

Nigel Barker- Fashion

William Wegman – dogs

Man Ray – rayograms, fashion, portraits in the 20

Arnold Newman – environmental portraits     *

Steve McCurry – National Geographic portraits     *

Danny Lyon – street and documentary

Brad Mangin – sports

Neil Leifer – sports


New Assignments due Thursday November 9

1. Candid Moments with  Captions (3-5 Photos with captions for each)

Photograph candid moments and edit your images in Photoshop. In the caption section of each photo you post write a caption including who, what , where and why. include your technical info for each photo (MASIL) For a critique look at the work of photographer Henri Cartier Bresson ,who captured the “decisive moment”. On your blog post 2-3 of his photographs and write 10 sentences about his work and your opinion of his timing, composition and ability to capture the perfect moment. Student Samples below:

 2. Define these 35 words in a word document and then copy and paste your definitions in a blog post titled Photography Definitions:

pixels, image resolution, megabyte, megapixel, gigabyte, jpeg, raw, tiff, png, white balance, histogram, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, aperture priority, shutter priority, bitmap, exposure, watermarking, optical zoom, digital zoom, bracketing, light meter, image stabilization, noise, lag time, hot shoe, fisheye, macro, telephoto, wide angle, DSLR, dynamic range, exposure compensation

3. Mirror Imagery

Photograph an interesting photo with lots of lines. Put the edited photo in a new document and make a copy of the image to flip to make mirror imagery. Either 2 or 4 images would work for the mirror image. Post to blog. List 10 words to describe your photograph.




Read this link about Portrait Lighting and on your blog write a synopsis of the key facts you learned when you read the article in 2-3 paragraphs.




Read this link on white balance and on your blog write a one paragraph synopsis of what you learned from reading the article. Under that list all the white balance settings and at least one sentence about each.


Use the studio backdrop (white or black) to photograph PORTRAITS of classmates.

Use the tungsten “hot lights” to light the portraits

Make sure to put your white balance on TUNGSTEN and shoot at ISO 400 or 800. Go right up to the subject and meter them on MANUAL.

Take at least 12 photographs and edit them in PS. Post anywhere between 6 and 12 portraits as either a gallery or individually.. Include technical info: MASIL

Critique: Find a studio portrait online and write a list of 25 words you would hashtag the photo if you posted it on Instagram. Include the photographers name if possible.

In a separate blog post, answer these questions: 1. What is the purpose of the main light? 2. What is the purpose of the fill light? 3. List the lighting patterns.



-Look for images which represent letters and create a word in photographs

-Edit your photos in PS and then make a new document to put the word in.

-Make your document 16×8 2oo resolution and fit your images in to make the word. If you need more space go to Image>Adjust>Canvas Size and resize bigger.

-Save as a jpeg and post to your blog.

-Critique: List 5 valuable things you learned in Photo class so far this year.





Make 5comments on the homepage of the blog. Be more specific with your comments and tell what it is  you like or do not like about the work. Be constructive with your criticism.


-For your Pop Art assignment you should photograph an object, which is POPULAR IN THE CULTURE TODAY.

-Make 4 copies of the photo you chose, 4×6 or 6×4 (200 res) each, labeling them Warhol 1, Warhol 2 and so on… (you can change the size in PS in IMAGE>IMAGE SIZE  (6×4.5 or 4.5×6 is ok too. Just make your big document 12×9 or 9×12 if you do that)

-Work on each picture separately, experimenting with filters, gradient maps, colors, patterns, and more….make sure there is contrast between the subject and the background!

-When you complete the 4 individual photos, merge the layers in each.

-Open a new document in Photoshop, 8×12 or 12×8 (200res)…or 9×12 or 12×9 if your individual shots are 4.5×6 or 6×4.5

-Move the four individual photos into the new document.

-Save as a jpeg and post with critique.

-Critique: Research and answer these questions about an interesting pop artist. Post one of his or her works with your answers to the following questions.

  1. What is Pop Art?
  2. Why is this artist’s work considered Pop Art?
  3. Describe some of this artists work.
  4. Why did you pick this artist and why do you like his/her work?


Create a Photoshop Collage 12×9 or 9×12 300 resolution representing your favorite color. Include a photo of yourself, the color you select and some writing about why this is YOUR color. Perhaps add a tint of your color. Post to blog.



Research what jpeg and raw file formats are, and the differences between them. Write a three paragraph reflection comparing and contrasting them both on your blog.





-Read these online article about capturing action and motion photography and write one or two paragraphs stating what you learned about action and motion photography techniques..



-Take photos outside that capture ACTION SHARP. Try to “capture the moment”.  Shoot at the shutter priority mode and auto focus AI SERVO . Make sure your shutter speed is above 125th of a second. ISO 400 Take several photos and post your favorite 2 action shots, edited in Photoshop.

-Take action photos inside trying to capture MOTION BLUR. Try to “capture the moment”.  Shoot at the shutter priority mode and auto focus AI SERVO mode. Make sure your shutter speed is 60th or below for more blur. Use a tripod to make sure stationary objects are not blurred. Take several photos and post your favorite 2 shots , edited in Photoshop.

-Include technical info on all photos: MASIL

-Find 2 photos online, one showing action sharp and another showing motion blur. Guess what shutter speeds, f stops, and lens were used. Post as critique.

Samples below:


1.Take a new photo for this assignment or use one of your existing edited photos.

2.Make a new document 11×14 or 14×11 @ 300 res

3.Move your photo into your new document and size to fit.

4.Add a quote, poetry, song lyrics or your own words to your edited image. Make sure to put a layer style with your text.

5.Post to your blog




-Read these two links and write two paragraphs explaining in your own words what depth of field is in photography and the ways to control depth of field when shooting. Call this blogpost: Depth of Field Explained.



– Go outside and take two photographs of the same subject, trying to get two different depth of fields. Remember to first format the memory card, set WB to auto and ISO to 400, and be on Manual focusing. You will set the camera mode to AV (aperture priority). Make sure to focus on the same subject for both shots you take.

-In Photo #1 You will get a shallow depth of field. Zoom out to the longest focal length of the lens which is 55mm. Set the aperture on f5.6 (the widest aperture at 55mm) and take note of what the camera sets the shutter speed at. Make sure it is not below 60th of a second. Get in good and close to your subject

-In Photo #2 You will get a good depth of field. Put your lens at 18mm ( which is the widest lens mm on your lens). Set your aperture at f16, and take note of what the camera sets the shutter speed at. Make sure it is not below 60th of a second, or open up the aperture to f11. Stay a bit further back to get a better depth of field.

-Repeat the depth of field activity 2-3 times to make sure you get it right.

-In the lab, edit your photos for maximum impact and post each one (good and shallow depth of field) to your blog(large photo size). Include the technical info in the caption section of each MASIL (Mode, Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Lens mm)

– For the critique for this assignment you are to find two photos online- one which shows a good depth of field and one which shows a shallow depth of field. In the caption section when you post them guess at what you think the aperture, shutter speed and lens mm was for each photo.

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