GRADES: 9, 10, 11, 12

Prerequisite: None
Length: One trimester/one-half credit (may not be repeated for credit)

Course Description

In this course, students will be introduced to the basics of digital photography including: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, depth of field, camera operation, handling & safety, light quality & quantity, composition and professional photo editing software. Students use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom to create various independent and group projects.

Course qualifies for Fine Arts and Career & Tech credit.

Click here for a course guide video.

Learning Goals (Standards and Grading)

There are five overarching standards with several sub standards. Student performance will be assessed on the sub standards. Each sub standard is assessed on a 4 point scale per Evaluation Rubric. Evaluation rubrics can be found on Google Classroom and here (to follow). All sub standards need to be passed with at least a 2 to be able to pass the overarching standard.

  • 4 = Distinguished (in Skyward 100%)
  • 3 = Proficient (in Skyward 90%)
  • 2 = Basic (in Skyward 70%)
  • 1 = Below Standard (in Skyward 50%)

Standard I. Photography Basics

  • I.a. History of Photography
  • I.b. Careers in Photography
  • I.c. File Formats & Sizes
  • I.d. Copyright & Ethics

Standard II. Photography Equipment

  • II.a. Camera Body Parts
  • II.b. Camera Operation
  • II.c. Tripod Basics
  • II.d. Lens Basics

Standard III. Composition

  • III.a. Rule of Thirds
  • III.b. Simplicity
  • III.c. Leading Lines
  • III.d. Perspective

Standard IV. Exposure

  • IV.a. Shutter Speed
  • IV.b. Aperture
  • IV.c. ISO
  • IV.d. Lighting

Standard V. Adobe Photoshop

  • V.a. Create a new document with appropriate settings.
  • V.b. Navigate, organize and customize the application workspace.
  • V.c. Import assets into a project.
  • V.d. Use layers to manage design elements.
  • V.e. Modify layer visibility using opacity, blending modes and masks.
  • V.f. Make, manage and manipulate selections.
  • V.g. Export or save digital images to various file formats.

Standard VI. Workflow and Work Habits

  • VI.a. Demonstrate the multi-step process of workflow as it relates to image capturing.
  • VI.b. Demonstrate the multi-step process of workflow as it relates to image output.
  • VI.c. Demonstrate time-management skills and consistent meeting of deadlines.
  • VI.d. Demonstrate effective teamwork.
  • VI.e. Demonstrate professional communication skills.
  • VI.f. Show initiative by coming up with unique solutions and taking extra responsibilities.

Required Material

  • Chromebook (provided by the school)
  • iMac (provided by the school)
  • Headphones (provided by the school)
  • Nikon D3500 (provided by the school)

Course Resources

  • Nikon Website
  • Digital Photography School Website
  • LinkedIn Learning Website
  • Adobe Website
  • other texts and websites applicable to the field

Course Calendar


A – Classroom Introduction

  1. Student Questionnaire
  2. Course Introduction
  3. Classroom Introduction
  4. Classroom Computers

B – Photography Basics

  1. What is Photography?
  2. Fabulous Photography
  3. A Brief History of Photography
  4. Careers in Photography
  5. File Formats & Sizes (tentatively)
  6. Phone Photography vs. DSLR (tentatively)

C – Introduction to Photography Equipment

  1. Camera Expectations & Safety
  2. Camera Body Parts // D3500
  3. Camera Operation // D3500
  4. Shapes
  5. Tripod Basics
  6. Focus (tentatively)
  7. Lens Basics (tentatively)

D – Introduction to Composition

  1. Composition Basics
  2. Composition Collection

E – Introduction to Adobe Photoshop

  1. Adobe Photoshop Basics
  2. Color Splash Effect
  3. Miniature World
  4. Warhol Portrait
  5. Doodle Portrait
  6. Double Exposure (tentatively)
  7. Text Portrait (tentatively)
  8. Photo in Text (tentatively)
  9. “Stacked” Portrait (tentatively)

F – Introduction to Aperture

  1. Aperture Basics
  2. Aperture Exposure Series
  3. Shallow Depth of Field
  4. Deep Depth of Field

G – Introduction to Shutter Speed

  1. Shutter Speed Basics
  2. Shutter Speed Exposure Series
  3. Frozen Motion
  4. Blurred Motion
  5. Camera Blur

H – Introduction to Manual Mode

  1. ISO Sensitivity Basics
  2. Manual Exposure
  3. Lighting Basics
  4. Lightpainting
  5. Reflections
  6. Another project

Z – Classroom Checkout

  1. Portfolio
  2. Equipment (Camera) Return
  3. Computer Checkout
  4. Gallery Walk
  5. Knowledge Test (tentatively)