• Digital Photography Advanced Course Syllabus

    Course Description:

    Digital Photography Advanced is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art photography. At the end of the term, students will submit a portfolio for faculty review, and in some cases, submission to the College Board for AP college credit. In building the portfolio, students experience a variety of concepts, techniques, and approaches designed to help them demonstrate their abilities as well as their versatility with techniques, problem solving, and ideas. The portfolio is developed within a concentration that investigates an idea of personal interest for each individual student.

    Students will be introduced to new photographers, digital artists, artists, and more sophisticated techniques as points of departure to create work that reflects that individual student's voice and vision. By exploring photographic and digital media with the camera and computer, students will be able to develop a body of work that reflects a range of problem solving and ideas, and develops versatility with techniques to demonstrate their abilities. Students will research, keep art journals, have class critiques, individual critiques, and artistic dialogues that will inspire them as they create.

    There are project requirements, but projects are open-ended enough for students to develop their own styles and modes of expression. The development of the portfolio is an ongoing process that uses informed and critical decision making to assemble a body of works. Work is expected to be of high quality in thought, process, and product.

    Critiques (or “crits”) will be an integral part of the class. They are the way to get the feedback you need to succeed. Do not rob each other of the constructive criticism that will lead to improvement. Debate is encouraged but it must be respectful. It is essential to remember that when we are critiquing your drawing we are not criticizing you as a person. It is helpful to make this distinction for yourself during crits whether we are discussing your drawing or if you are critiquing a classmate’s work. Learning to talk about art is an important skill that we will begin to develop. Your participation in critiques will be considered in your overall class grade.


    Learning Outcomes:

    Encourage creative and systematic investigation of formal and conceptual issues.
    • Emphasize making photographic art as an ongoing process that involves the student in informed and critical decision making.
    • Develop technical skills and become familiar with the functions of the visual elements.
    • Become independent thinkers who will contribute inventively and critically to culture through the making of art photography.


    Student work will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

    1. Quality student work
    2. Ability to focus on particular visual interests or problems
    3. Breadth of experience in the formal, technical, and expressive means
    characteristic of photographers.
    4. Rubric

    Course Structure:

    In this course, students will create a photographic portfolio. This portfolio is broken up into 3 sections which will allow students to show a fundamental competence and range of understanding visual concerns and methods. The portfolio will ask that students demonstrate a depth of investigation and process of discovery through:

    1. Quality
    2. Concentration
    3. Breadth

    Section I: Concentration

    Students are free to work with any idea in any medium that addresses two-dimensional design issues. The concentration should grow out of the student's idea and demonstrate growth and discovery through a number of conceptually related works.

    12 Photographs that demonstrate strong underlying visual idea in
    2-D design.
    Students should be able to answer:

    1. What is the central idea of your concentration?

    2. How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea?
    A concentration should consist of a group of works that share a single theme--for example, an in-depth study of a particular visual problem, or a variety of ways of handling an interesting subject.Some concentrations involve sequential works, such as a series of studies that lead to, and are followed by, more finished works. If a student uses subject matter as the basis of a concentration, the work should show the development of a visual language appropriate for that subject.

    Possible Concentration Projects:

    An exploration of patterns and designs found in nature and / or culture.
    • A series of works that begins with representational interpretations and evolves into abstraction.
    • A series of landscapes based upon personal experience of a particular place in which composition and light are used to intensify artistic expression.
    • Design and execution of a children's book.
    • Development of a series of identity products (logo, letterhead,
    signage, and so on) for imaginary businesses.
    • A series of political advertisements using current events and images.
    • Abstractions developed from cells and other microscopic images.
    • Interpretive portraiture or figure studies that emphasize dramatic
    composition or abstraction.
    • A personal or family history communicated through symbols or imagery.
     *A series of fabric designs, apparel designs, or weaving used to express particular themes.

    Section II: Breadth

     12 Photographs that demonstrate a variety of concepts and
    approaches in 2-D design.

    The student's work in this section should demonstrate understanding of the principles of design, including:

    unity / variety
    • proportion / scale
    • figure / ground relationship


    Successful works of art require the integration of the elements and principles of design. The works in this section should demonstrate the student's visual organizational skills. As a whole, the student's work
    in this section should demonstrate exploration, inventiveness, and the expressive manipulation of the form. The best examples of breadth show experimentation and a range of conceptual approaches to the work.
    *Works that employ lines, shapes, or color to create unity or variety in compositions.
    • Work that demonstrates symmetry / asymmetry, balance, anomaly
    • Work the explores figure / ground relationships
    • Development of modular or repeat patterns that create rhythm
    • Color organization using primary, secondary, tertiary, anal
    ogous, or other color relationships for emphasis or contrast in composition
    Work that investigates or exaggerates proportion / scale Two-dimensional is, in a sense, an umbrella--everything that happens on a two- dimensional surface, regardless of media, is designed.This means that a work of art that is created with film will have aspects of two dimensional designs that contribute to its success.


    The photograph may be well designed, showing:

    sophisticated positive and negative space / shape relationships *visually unified
    • visual balance
    • creative coloring

    The principles of design (unity / variety, balance, emphasis, contrast,
    rhythm,repetition, proportion / scale, figure / ground relationships),
    articulated through the visual elements (line, shape, color, value,
    texture, space), help guide artists in making decisions about how to
    organize the elements on a picture plan in order to communicate content.
    Good design is possible whether one uses representational,
    abstract, or expressive approaches to making art photography.


    Section III: Quality

    Quality refers to the total work of art. Mastery of design should be apparent in the composition, concept, and execution of the works, whether they are simple or complex.

    5 Photographs that demonstrate mastery of design in concept, composition, and execution


    The mode of instruction will consist of:
    Peer Collaboration
    Student Exploration

    Course Resources:

    Adobe Photoshop

    Students Role:

    Students are expected to conduct themselves in a responsible
    manner that reflects sound ethics, honor, and good citizenship.
    It is the student’s responsibility to maintain academic honesty
    and integrity and to manifest their commitment to the goals of
    CTHS through their conduct and behavior. Students are expected
    to abide by all EMSISD policies and regulations. Any form of academic
    dishonesty, or inappropriate conduct by students or applicants may
    result in penalties ranging from warning to referral, as deemed
    appropriate by CTHS and or the instructor.

    Classroom Rules and Expectations are located on the teacher's website.


    Throughout this course students will need to be in close contact with their instructor and fellow students. Students are expected to communicate via email and electronic discussion boards. Therefore,
    students should plan on checking email at least three times a week, and participate in the discussion boards during the weeks they are live.
    Instructors strongly encourage and welcome open communication. Clear,consistent, and proactive communication will ensure a successful experience in this course. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor immediately, if and when a personal situation occurs, that affects his/her performance in this class. Being proactive with communication will result in a quick solution to any problems that may occur.


      Instructor: Michaela Hanna      


              817-232-7112 x 7114


    This course syllabus may change at the discretion of the instructor.