Photo 1 Syllabus

Digital Photography 1   2022-2023

Teacher: Rebecca Cauchon

(909) 357-6300 x16336

Course Description

Digital Photography is a yearlong introduction to the digital camera as an art-making tool designed for students at the beginning level. The course will use digital photography to help students learn and apply the basic elements of art and the principles of design. This course will also provide students with opportunities to extend their knowledge and skills in the field of photography and the use of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Digital Photography will familiarize the student with digital photographic equipment, materials, methods, and processes. Visual problem solving skills are explored through the use of the computer as the main tool for creative expression and communication. Cellphone photography and editing with a variety of phone applications will be infused in the curriculum. Students create their own blogsites as a place to exhibit their projects and portfolio work. Self promotion of student photography is encouraged and beginning social media marketing is introduced. Students can earn certifications in the field of digital photography. Course is articulated with Chaffey College and San Bernardino Valley College.


Exposure Triangle

Camera Modes

Flash Modes

ISO settings

White Balance

Drive Modes

Lens Focal Length

Exposure Compensation

Focusing Options

Depth of Field

Macro Photography



Action Photography

Still Life

Candid Photography

Indoor Photography

Fine Art Photography

Black and White (Monochrome)

Techniques of Lighting

Photography Composition

Photomontage and Collage

Surrealism, Cubism, Impressionism

Image Editing (Using Photoshop and Lightroom)

High Dynamic Range (H.D.R.) Photography

Cellphone Photography and Editing

Beginning Social Media Marketing

Written Photo Critiques: This is a writing assignment that will be attached to all photo assignments. Students will critique one intriguing photograph, which relates to the current assignment and explain what makes it a good photograph. Students will also critique their own work and the work of their peers.

What I am looking for:

Time and effort put into your projects

Interesting and creative ideas

Good technical quality

Participation and active engagement with the material discussed in class

Participation in critiques

Norms for Photo Class:

*Cameras ON during class meetings (please)

*Microphones OFF (unless you are speaking)

*Backgrounds blurred

*Dedicate the class time to your photography

*Be respectful online

*Think about your digital footprint and how it follows you

*Never, and I repeat NEVER steal anyone else’s work,and never plagiarize.

*Work hard for your grade.

*Do your photography and writing assignments and hand them in ON TIME

*Participate in class discussions

*Take care of yourself

*Eat healthy. Exercise. Get outside every day

*Be careful with your words, think before you speak, take your time and listen. Respect your self, your classmates, your educator and environment/community.


Experiential learning takes place in an outdoor or community setting. Through this experience students will develop leadership team building and photographic skills in an environment that is outside the classroom.


Students have artistic freedom within the boundaries of school policy. Promoting drugs, violence, sex, gangs or racism is against school policy.




Projects & Assignments/50%



Exams, Midterm and Finals/10%

Citizenship and Participation/10%

Students may, at any time, return to a previous assignment to add further enhancements and receive a better grade on any project with the exception of the midterm and final.

Course Objectives:

Upon Completion of this course, students will:

– Understand technical and aesthetic differences between traditional and digital photography.

– Make informed choices about composition when photographing and editing digital images.

– Make informed choices about appropriate technologies for use in a variety of photographic assignments

– Analyze and discuss complex ideas in works of art and photography.

– Create original works of art of increasing complexity and skill that reflect their feelings and point of view.

– Describe the relationship involving the art maker, the process, the product and the viewer.

– Demonstrate proper camera and digital processing techniques in production of a work of art

– Understand and utilize the steps in the creative process

– Realize the vast amount of career choices in the visual arts.

. Produce an accomplished portfolio of work and an applicable resume


Introduction to Digital SLR Photography and Cellphone Photography

Learning the Lab

Digital Workflow

Factors to consider in a digital camera

Setting up student blogs for sharing and grading

 Exposure and Light Metering

Learn photography vocabulary: aperture, shutter speed, ISO

Equivalent Exposures

Camera Metering

Camera Modes

Shooting assignment:  Texture

Quiz, grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Lenses and Optics

Learning about focal lengths

Lenses and f stop numbers

Science of Optics


Composition and Learning How to See

Ways to get images with strong composition

Samples of good composition

Shooting Assignment:  Shadows and Light

Shooting assignment:  Alternative camera angles

Shooting assignment:  Framing a subject

Critiquing, analyzing and evaluating photography

Critique Writing

Grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Learning Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom

File Management

Learning the Photoshop and Lightroom workspace

Toolbar and Option Bar

Image Adjustments

Image Extensions

Saving and sizing image

Image Output

Lighting Techniques

Natural vs. Artificial Lighting


Use of Reflectors

Tungstun Lighting with “hot lights”

Assignment: Natural Light Portrait with reflector

Grading rubric, writing critique peer critique and self assessment

History and Invention in Photography

Lecture and Discussion: Pioneers and Early Techniques

Invention and key terminology

Slide Show

Make History Timeline


Depth of Field and Aperture Control

Understand the concept Depth of Field

Technical overview and factors which effect depth of field

Camera operations and modes

Focal lengths and zoom lenses

Shooting assignment:  Comparing depth of field at different apertures and lenses

Quiz, writing critique, grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Action and Motion in Photography and Controlling the Shutter Speeds

Understand and compare Shutter Speed effects

Techniques and terminology of action and motion in photography

Use of tripod under 60th of a second

Setting the ISO higher

Shooting assignment:  Take a photo of both action sharp and motion blur using different shutter speeds

Quiz, writing critique, grading rubric, peer critique, and self assessment

Photographer Research

Discussion, Lecture and Slide Show on photographers past and present

Project:  Photographer Research Project with presentation to share with class

Grading rubric, peer critique, and self assessment

Studio Lighting for Portraiture and Still Life Photography

Lecture and Demonstration of studio hot lights

Key terminology and Lighting Techniques

Lighting Patterns and Ratios

Shooting assignment:  Portraits in studio with hot lights

Shooting Assignment:  Still life and Product Photography

Grading rubric, writing critique peer critique and self assessment

Self Portraits

Learn self-timer camera controls

Explore work by photographers

Realistic vs. conceptual representation

Incorporate words and imagery

Shooting assignment:  Self Portrait with describing words

Shooting assignment:  Conceptual self-portrait

Grading rubric, writing critique, peer critique and self assessment

Photoshop Techniques

Learn a variety of Photoshop techniques

Assignments: Triptychs, Diptychs, Pop Art, Mirror Imagery

Grading rubric, writing critique, peer critique and self assessment

On and Off Camera Flash Photography

Develop understanding of when and how to use flash

Differentiate between direct and bounced flash and the use of fill flash outside

Understand flash synchronization

Use multiple flashes with slave units

Assignment:  On-Location Portrait using bounced flash

Article readings and response.


Grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Candid Photography and Capturing the Decisive Moment

Capturing the decisive moment

Looking at the work of Henri Cartier Bresson

Higher ISO settings, camera and external flash use

Explore newspaper and magazine photography

Shooting assignment:  Capturing a candid moment with appropriate caption

Grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Studio Strobe Lighting Techniques

Explore the use of studio strobe techniques for portrait and advertising photography

Demonstration with student volunteers

Learn key concepts of main lighting patterns and ratios, and flash metering

Assignment:  Studio Portrait

Assignment:  Magazine Advertising Photography with proposal

Quiz, Teacher grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Re-create a Photograph

Research and evaluate a variety of photography from books, magazines and Internet to generate ideas

Assignment: Re-create an existing photograph

Grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

 Blending Art and Photography

Students learn about Surrealism, Pop Art, Cubism, Photomontage, and Photo Painting

Explore the concept of mixing mediums

Assignment:  Extending a Photograph with Mixed Media

Assignment:  Create a work of Surrealism using Photography, Photoshop and Internet

Assignment:  Cubism: Make a Face

Artist matching quiz

Teacher grading rubric, peer critique and self assessment

Output: Printing, Portfolio Presentation, and Exhibiting Work

Explore ways to output imagery

Discuss and compare the difference between inkjet and laser jet printing

Printing Digital Photography

Matting and Presentation

Portfolio preparation and electronic portfolios

Exhibiting work at local galleries

Teacher rubric for final portfolio presentation

Peer critique and self assessment


2020-2021 Schedule




  1. paula ricardo

    Hi! Absolutely LOVE the info/photos/assignments on this blog….I began a photography class in my middle school this year and had some trouble organizing a way for the students to submit the photos to me. At first, we used flash drives….with 180 kids I just couldn’t…I also knew that I did not want them to email me their photos/assignments….how do your students upload photos for you to review and grade???

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