Course Syllabus


Doug Johnson (


Course Description and Objectives:

The invention of photography has changed the way people perceive the world, and express their ideas and feelings. In this course students will use their digital camera’s (or phone’s) to look closely at their world, sources for stories within their own experiences, cultural backgrounds, and imagine ways to tell stories using the camera. Photography assignments will stress becoming more aware of what one sees and what can be communicated in a single image, taken at a moment in time. This course introduces the basic tools, techniques and concepts of photographic media. Students are introduced to a variety of methods to shoot, edit, and exhibit their images. Students will explore different subject matter and composition, while completing a series of shooting assignments geared to developing and improving technical and conceptual abilities.

Class time will include looking at master photographers work to help students develop a discriminating eye, learn to deconstruct what they see, and appreciate the importance of photography in today's culture. Students will spend most of their time shooting digital photographs and processing them in Adobe Photoshop. During class critiques students will learn to look carefully at their own work and the work of others and develop the language to articulate what they see.


Students will be assessed on how well their work shows understanding of concepts, craftsmanship, and expression of compelling content. Final assessment will also include students' willingness to experiment and challenge themselves, and contributions to class discussions. The final project will be a professional printed portfolio that you will present this to our class!


EFFORT counts for a lot in this class. If you make the effort, and are passionate about your work, you will do well in this class!


Evaluation ~ Grading Requirements for Credit:

Attendance is mandatory. If you are more than fifteen minutes late you are considered absent. Absences will compromise your final grade. If you are unable to attend class you must speak with me, or email me prior to the class, informing me of your situation. All projects are due on the assigned date. Late projects are penalized at least one full letter grade. During the class critiques everyone is required to attend and participate

We will be covering a lot of material in a short amount of time. During the 5, three hour-long classes, there will be demonstrations that cannot be repeated. Notes are strongly encouraged during the lectures, demos and critiques. Consistency is very important to maintain control of all the variables and to make necessary adjustments. Make sure you work on projects outside of class, during free time, evenings etc.


Most class days, there will be time to shoot, along with demonstrations, and critiques. You must show up ready to work with all of the appropriate materials and completed homework assignments etc. You will be expected to work on the assignment and to produce a reasonable amount of work during the in class time period.


We will be viewing work by master photographers that correspond with each project (posted in our Classroom). For your benefit, you should take notes and/or do web searches to look up those photographers that you find particularly inspired by.


Grading is Based on Several Factors:


Technical: Demonstrated understanding and controlled use of the camera, editing processes (Photoshop) and procedures for the presentation and dissemination of your photographs.

Compositional: Implementation and integration of the compositional and aesthetic principles covered in class.

Conceptual: Controlled and directed use of equipment, materials and compositional principles to support the content of your photographs and communicate your ideas.


Student grades will also be based on the following requirements:


  • Putting together your online final portfolio (posted on
  • Fulfilling class assignments, project criteria etc.
  • Quality of digital images.
  • Organization, originality and creativity.
  • EFFORT and improvement throughout the term.
  • Participation during class discussions and critiques.
  • Come to class on time.
  • Going the extra mile – working during free time, evenings in order to achieve high quality work!



Meetings where we discuss your work. These are designed to:

  • Help classmates resolve formal questions, and refine their work to make form support the content.
  • Provide technical help and input on the creation of the work.
  • Discuss ideas and issues raised by the work.
  • Provide brainstorming suggestions on new directions.
  • Suggest art and artists to look up in relation and to inspire student work .


Cubbies and Lab Fee:

 A 35mm DSLR with a Manual Setting recommended for this class, but an i-phone camera is acceptable. Once we get back into the classroom come October, we will shift gears from Color Digital, to Film, Black & White, Darkroom Photography. 

This year is different due to some left over money from Covid-19, the lab fee is FREE this year!



  • Introduction and overview of Syllabus, Google Classroom, Cameras, and Adobe Photoshop.
  • Intro to Camera functions: Shutter speed, aperture and focus.
  • Assignment #1 ~ VISUAL PATTERNS / RHYTHM / REPETITION & ABSTRACTION (Review Slide Show).
  • Shooting time during class ~ Review Composition, Rule of Thirds etc.



  • Review Visual Patterns Assignment #1 ~ Unedited Photos (Post to Classroom Slideshow).
  • Adobe tutorials. Working in Photoshop.
  • Basic Photoshop image adjustments, and color correction
  • Shooting time outside, Friends & Family Portrait Assignment #2.



  • Review Friends & Family Portraits Assignment #2 ~ Unedited Photos (Post to Classroom Slideshow).
  • Adobe tutorials. Working in Photoshop.
  • Editing time for both projects, Assignment #1, and Assignment #2
  • Replace unedited photos with edited photos in Classroom Slideshows ~ Assignment #1, and Assignment #2



  • Self Portrait Project #3
  • Adobe tutorials. Working in Photoshop.
  • Editing time for both projects, Assignment #1, and Assignment #2
  • Introduce (Adobe) portfolio web site, where you will post your work.



  • Work on Uploading Final Photographs to (email me your link).
  • Adobe tutorials. Working in Photoshop.
  • Final editing time for all projects, Assignment #1, Assignment #2, and Assignment #3

Course Summary:

Date Details Due