Introduction to Digital Photography
Office hours: By Appointment.
In this course, students will be introduced to the basic principles of digitally capturing, processing, and printing photographs that are really worth making. We will cover all the important functions that most digital cameras have in common and we will go through the fundamentals of using Photoshop to refine and manipulate images. Students will learn their cameras' controls well enough to use the manual settings with confidence, and how to make the automatic features work for them instead of against them. We will consider what makes a good photograph both technically and creatively, and we will critique prints made on the Photo department's high-quality Epson printers. Students will need to provide their own digital camera with raw capture capability (DSLR or equivalent), and a portable hard drive (formatted for Mac), both of which they should bring to the first class. (Hard drives will be needed before week 2.) Students registered for the course who are in the market for a new camera are welcome to contact the professor for camera purchasing advice.
Open to Undergraduate and Graduate Students
The lab fee for this course is $100. This covers printer ink, not paper. You will be expected to buy paper to print on.
Chapters from Digital Photography: A Basic Manual by Henry Horenstein (available on amazon) and other selected readings will be assigned throughout the course.
1. Attendance/Participation 10%
2. Research Paper 20%
3. Weekly Assignments 60%
4. Quizzes 10%
The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the technical processes of digital photography. Students will:
• learn how to use digital processes to make pictures.
• learn to see with a camera.
• survive the crazy pace that winter session requires.
• make a portfolio with a variety of projects that challenge their technical and conceptual understanding of photography.
• become better photographers.
Attendance and Lateness:
Attendance is the most important part of the course. Please be on time to classes. Demonstrations will take place at the beginning of each class meeting, missing demos or coming in late will cause you to miss important information and disrupt other students’ abilities to engage with the material. You are permitted one unexcused absence. More than one unexcused absence may result in failure of the course. To have an absence excused you must have a doctor’s note.
Photographers to be Discussed:
www.adorama.com have good new and used cameras
www.bhphotovideo.com great store for cameras, photo paper, etc
www.shadesofpaper.com another place you can get paper
www.americansuburbx.com great way to learn about many photographers
digital camera-with RAW file format, can be borrowed from the Cage
memory card- 8GB minimum
digital photo paper- 8.5”x11” Epson (preferably their professional paper-rated 4 or 5 stars), Canson, or Moab are all good options. You may use either glossy or matte papers. Paper may be purchased from the RISD store, office supply stores, B&H Photo Video, or Shades of Paper.
external hard drive-1TB recommended, suggested brands are WD or LaCie
With each assignment, students are to write up a paragraph or two about the assignment, and how you approached it. What have you learned? What worked for you visually and technically? What issues came up? How did you work through the problems that arose? These short writing exercises will be turned in with your prints in an envelope. Please type and print your response.
Extra Credit or Reevaluation of Assignments:
Extra credit is always available. If you would like to resubmit prints that you have reworked for a better grade please see me. I would be happy to review them.
Week 1:Introductions to Cameras and Processing of Digital Imagery
Monday, January 6
1. Introduction to Course
2. Digital Cameras
3. Practice Shooting in Manual Settings
Reading: Digital Photography Chapter 1 pg 21-47 (on digication)
Assignment 1: Scavenger Hunt
Tuesday January 7
1. Introduction to Digital Work Flow (resolution, color space, bit depth)
2. Camera Raw
3. Introduction to Photoshop
4. Work Time
Bring in external hard drive/thumb drive with photos from yesterday to use for practice
Reading: Digital Photography Chapter 4 pg 95-122 (on digication)
Wednesday January 8
1. Printing Demo
2. Slide Show: Photographers Who Photographed Everything
3. Work Time
Reading: Digital Photography Chapter 7 pg 169-202 (on digication)
Learning Objective: Students will become comfortable with a basic digital workflow so that they can begin digitally capturing and processing images.
Week 2: Choosing a focus
Monday January 13
1. Critique of Assignment 1
2. Color Theory/Color Correction
3. Work Time
Reading: Digital Photography pg 80-93
Assignment 2: Something or Someone
Tuesday January 14
1. How do we use a camera and processing in a deliberate way?
2. Slide Show: Development of Meaning Through Process
3. Feedback Form
3. Work Time
Reading: Digital Photography pg 125-132
Assignment 3: Research Paper
Learning Objective: Students will study the discreet decisions that photographers make to create mood or enrich narrative.
Week 3: Style
Monday January 20
Martin Luther King Day
Tuesday January 21
No class-You will be expected to visit the RISD Library today to choose a book on a photographer that you like. This artist will be the topic of a research paper. You will also have the option to emulate this photographer for Assignment 4. Please bring the book you chose (and any notes taken) to next class meeting. We will discuss your choices. In addition to going to the museum, I would like you to take a photograph of a wall and bring it in tomorrow. Use the rest of the day as an independent work day.
Wednesday January 22
1. Discussion: Photo Books
2. Critique of Assignment 2
3. Slide Show: Copy Cats
4. Retouching in Photoshop
Assignment 4: Homage
Bring a book of the photographer you chose to class.
Learning Objective: Students will learn to define another photographer’s style, and find ways to implement this style in their own shooting and editing.
Week 4: Reality and Photography
Monday January 27
1. Critique of Assignment 4
2. Slide Show: Constructed Photography
3. Layer Blending and Composites
Assignment 5: Fictional or Fantastical Scene
Reading: Essay from the Pond by John Gossage
Tuesday January 28
1. Selections and Layer Masks
2. Shooting exercise
Bring cameras and dress warmly for class today. If weather permits we will be outside for part of the class time.
Learning Objective: Students will use the inherent believability of photography to create a fiction.
Week 5: Solidifying Experience and Tying up Loose Ends
Monday February 3
1. Advanced Photoshop Processes
3. Work Time
Hand in Research Paper
Tuesday February 4
Wednesday February 5
1. Critique of Assignment 5
CDs due with jpegs of all assignments
Learning Objective: Students will leave with a portfolio comprised of a variety of projects that have challenged their technical and conceptual understanding of photography.