Syllabus Download:

Art 129 Scheinfeld Fall 2017



Course Description: This introductory course provides a theoretical, technical, and aesthetic foundation in digital photography. Students learn technical camera usage and principles of design through shooting assignments that focus on the correlation between photography composition and conceptual intent. Lab exercises and demonstrations develop basic digital skills using software to modify and enhance images for digital output and presentation. Theoretical readings, writing assignments, group critique and visual presentations of contemporary digital photography help contextualize the student’s work and facilitate the development of analytical skills with an emphasis given to the vocabulary of photographic viewing.

Course Textbook: While the experience of learning photography and basic post production skills is fun and will change the way you see the world around, please be aware that photography and this course are expensive and time consuming. The textbooks, software training, camera, tripod and other supplies are expensive! I will offer suggestions on how to make it less costly, but please be prepared for each class and come with the supplies and tools required.

Required Text*: The Nature of Photographs | Shore, Phaidon, 2007
Available online through Amazon or at the Westchester Community College Bookstore *Assigned and selected supplemental readings are available to the students through photocopied material given from the instructor and the course website. 

  • Student Learning Outcomes & Objectives
    At the conclusion of this course, students will:
    ✪ Understand and utilize basic features of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera.
    ✪ Label and explain the basic functions of a DSLR camera.
    ✪ Create photographs with correct exposure.
    ✪ Create photographs demonstrating basic understanding of photographic concepts such as composition, exposure, depth of field, and shutter speed as they apply to a digital camera.
    ✪ Create photographs demonstrating understanding of composition, exposure, depth of field, and shutter speed.
    ✪ Evaluate the use of basic photographic concepts such as composition, exposure, depth of field, and shutter speed in selected photographs.
    ✪ Use photographic vocabulary to verbally analyze, interprets, and evaluate self-created photographic work and the work of classmates.                                                         ✪ Create photographs demonstrating an ability to communicate concepts/ideas/feelings
    ✪ Define and explain the relationship between form and content in photographic images
    ✪ Critically analyze and “decode” photographic images, and evaluate the relationship between form and meaning.
    ✪ Create photographic images that make effective use of formal elements to communicate meaning.
    ✪ Print and Professionally Present Photographic Work.
    ✪Produce a final print portfolio demonstrating mastery of printing methods and presentation techniques.

Course Requirements: All students are expected to attend class each week prepared and enthusiastic toward learning about learning new digital photography skills. Throughout the semester you will be assigned multiple projects (in-class and out of class). Each project will explore different aspects and ideas about photography using digital applications. In each assignment you will be expected to balance creativity and concept.

You are required to complete these assignments on deadline and will be expected to participate in class discussions. I will expect a high level of creativity and thought from each of you and a highly active level of interaction as a collective group. Your work will be reviewed in class and critiqued on a regular basis. Since time is of the essence, I encourage you not to focus so much about the “success or failure” of your assignments, but about the evolution and development of your observational abilities, thoughts and skill sets in completing the projects.

Assessment: This course is about exploration; the final outcome is oftentimes not the most valuable component but the means of discovery. Assessment will be based on the following:

Assignments (5)                                           150 points

Projects (3)                                                    300 points

Final Project                                                  200 points

Written Exercises                                         100 points

Quizzes (2)                                                       50 points

Attendance/Time Management                 100 points

Final Exam                                                    100 points


Attendance: This is a challenging digital photography class. It requires multiple hours per week of time outside of class for shooting, editing, reading, writing and research. You will learn through critiques, lecture, in class hands on exercises, reading assignments, taking notes, research, and practicing the craft of photography through weekly shooting assignments.

This is largely an experiential, laboratory type of class.  If you are not in class then you are missing important participation in projects and activities for which there is no possible make-up.  The grade reduction (gauged by attendance), even to the point of failing the course, is based on that missed work or lack of participation in the course.
If you miss class, it is your responsibility to hand in your previous weeks homework, to obtain missed project instructions and/or general information from your peers.

Late Submissions and Make-Up Policies: All work is expected to be complete by the due dates. Unless otherwise specified, work is due the beginning of the class period.

If work is one class meeting late, the grade will be lowered by one half-letter grade.
If work is two class meetings late, the grade may be lowered by one full grade.
If work is three or more class meetings late, the grade may be lowered by one and a half grades and so forth.

Required Materials and Supplies: 

  • 1 DSLR camera (at least 10-12 megapixels) with manual operations is required for the class. Canon and Nikon are very reputable camera brands to keep in mind as you look for a camera to purchase or borrow from a friend/family member. Your camera must be able to shoot RAW.  You can process RAW in Photoshop CS and Adobe Lightroom.  You cannot process RAW in Photoshop Elements. If you are still uncertain about what to purchase and want to talk to a knowledgeable salesperson I suggest going to B&H or Adorama (in the city). Another good place is Bergen County Camera (New Jersey). You’ll surely get the attention you need, and avoid a lot of traffic. Ask a lot of questions; pick up the camera and see how it feels in your hands.
  • Your Camera’s Instruction Manual
  • USB cord
  • A tripod (not necessary but it might come in handy)
  • At least 2 Digital Storage Media Cards for your camera: at least 4 gigabytes each
  • 1 External Hard Drive/Flash Drive (at least 4 GB of memory) for transferring your print files to a print station/instructor’s computer
  • Paper for printing assignments and final project – We will discuss this in class mid-semester.
  • 3 ring binder or notebook (for journal/notes)
  • 5 X 11 plastic sleeves for storage and presentation of assignments(sheet protectors: for journal)
  • Avery Classic Presentation Book, White or Black, 12 pages (final project


  • External Hard Drive – 250GB or greater (get in the practice of backing up all of your digital files).
  • Card reader for downloading images to your computer specific to the card used in camera. Some cameras may need this, particularly older camera models.

Things To Think About: You will need access to a computer (and a printer) for some projects, including the Final and Project. If you are unsure about this, come talk to me anytime.

Policy On Data Loss and Working With Computers: This course requires the use of digital media for storing and transmitting required coursework. Learning good data management practices constitutes a portion of the class agenda. As such, computer failure or other forms of computer data loss will NOT be accepted as a legitimate excuse for late work.

Working with computers is always a risky business as some computers can behave unpredictably, especially in experimental situations. Each student must act responsibly and make back-up copies of personal data at every convenient opportunity. The safest way to do this is to copy data to a portable medium that can be stored in a secure location. Simply making extra copies of files and storing them on the same hard drive is not enough. Loss of computer data will be interpreted as personal irresponsibility. Each student is expected to take precautionary measures and make copies of personal data during and after each work session.

Topic Outline

Date                                       Class Session                              What Is Due/Happening

September 11 Introduction to Photography & Assignment: Documentary Walk and Draw Your Camera


Suggestion: Shoot Images for Documentary Walk for Lab Time next week where we will go over the basics of getting your photos onto a computer, etc.



Draw Your Camera due next week

September 18 The Act of Observation and

Assignment: The Nature of Photographs (text book)


Introduction to Camera Raw/Manual Mode


Draw Your Camera (drawing) due today.


Homework: Documentary Walk images due and The Nature of Photographs Written Assignment


September 25


Composition, Looking and Talking about Photographs

& How to Make a Contact Sheet

Assignment: 100 Photos


In-Class Critique of Documentary Walk

and The Nature of Photographs Assignment Due.


100 Photos

October 2 Transfer, Adobe Bridge/Camera Raw


In-Class Critique: 100 Photos


Project 1: Portrait or Landscape (Assigned)

In-Class Critique: 100 Photos


Homework: Project 1: Portrait or Landscape.

October 9 Pictures are Pixels

Metering, Tripods & How

Your Camera Can Work for

You. The basics of Photoshop.

Continue to work on


Homework: Project 1: Portrait or Landscape.

October 16 The Self-Portrait, Writing about Photography

& Continuing to Photoshop


Assignment: Self-Portrait “Zombie Style” and Traditional

Project 1 Due: Portrait or Landscape.


In-Class Critique of Portrait or Landscape Project.


Homework: Self-Portrait “Zombie Style” and Traditional

October 23 Self Portrait Composites – and Photoshop Open Lab,

Critique and Project 2: Research Project Assignment

Self Portrait” Zombie Style”/Self Portrait “Regular Style” Due.


In-Class Critique of Self Portrait Assignment.


Homework: Research Project Due next class session

October 30 In-Class Presentations of Research Project


Shutter Speed/Depth of Field and Working Lab Day and Depth of Field

Homework: DOF


November 6 In-Class Critique of Depth of Field Assignment.

Motion and More

Quiz #2

Project 3: Intro to Photographic Series

Homework: Photographic Series
November 13 Working+ Output, Printing and Saving for Web, Printing Demo, Photoshop for Improving Images and Working Lab Day Project 3: In-class lab time for Photographic Series


Homework: Photographic Series

November 20 Resizing, Resolution and Critique.


Photo Shoot: Around Campus


Introduction to Project 4: Conceptual Portraiture (multi-part final project)

Part 1: The Preparation

Part 2: The Photographs

Part 3: The Essay

Project 3: Photographic Series due.


In-Class Critique of Photographic Series.



Homework: Part 1: Prepatory Writing for Project 4.

November 27 Visual Analysis, Genres and


Working Group and One-On-One Discussion’s for Project 4.


Homework: Part 2: Photo shoot of the “thing” and the “place. Prepare for informal critique next week.


Next Week:

Informal critique of “thing” and place.”– students should bring their camera, usb cord, working photographs/files and be prepared to informally review projects with instructor.

December 4 Informal Critique (not optional)


Lab Day for Project 4 Continued one-on-one time with instructor.


Homework: Part 3: Photo shoot of the “person.”


Next Week:

Final Critique next week of Project 4. Come to class prepared and follow all instructions (given out in class/downloadable on the class website). Review instructions for assembling project before you come to class.

December 11 Project 4: Conceptual Portraiture (CP) Final Critique


Final Exam Review



Homework: Visual Analysis essay due (printed out and on a disk with (4) CP images due at the beginning of next class).


Study for Written Final Exam (9:15 – 11:15 am)

December 18 Visual Analysis Essay Due and Final Exam Have a great winter break and keep photographing!

 Class Conduct: This class will be conducted in accordance with the college’s Student Code of Conduct. Behavior that is disruptive to the class or that interferes with instruction will not be accepted.  For more details about the college code of conduct please visit the college website:

Cell Phone Use and Texting in Class: As a courtesy to other students, all cellphones should be turned off or set to vibrate at the beginning of class.  Students should refrain from texting during class lectures and activities.  If you must send or receive a message during class, please leave the room quietly to minimize interference with class instruction.  If you cause a distraction by texting in class, you will be asked to leave the room.

Academic Honesty: This class will be conducted in accordance with the college’s standards of academic honesty. Cheating, plagiarism, or any other form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Students are encouraged to visit the college website for an excellent overview of plagiarism, and tips on how to avoid it:

Students with Disabilities: Westchester Community College provides services for students with documented learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, visual, hearing, and other health impairments.  To learn more about the support services available visit the college website:

PLEASE NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to modify the course content (readings, assignments, tests, etc.) as the situation dictates. The instructor will inform the students of any such changes via email and/or class announcements.