Friday, August 02, 2013

Middlesex Community College Digital Photography Syllabus Mondays Fall 2021

MCC ART144 Section 302 CRN#18289
Location: Online Course
Teacher: Paul Light

781 280 3871

Mondays 2:00-4:45PM

Required reading

There is no required book for this class. 

MCC Catalog Listing
In this course students will explore photography as a visual art and a mode of contemporary communication. The student will be taught to use various techniques to capture, process, and print original photographic images. Through shooting assignments and class exercises, students will create work that documents and interprets the world around them. Examples of current and historic photography will be examined. Professional software is used to edit and organize photos.

Since this is an online class, there will be no printing or discussion of how to print. The printers are part of the school computer lab which we will not be using this semester.

Credit Hour Policy
Middlesex Community College follows the Carnegie Unit for credit. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 45 hours of work for each credit. The most common breakdown for one credit is one hour of class instruction and two hours of homework for 15 weeks each semester. A three credit course demands nine hours each week.

Academic Centers for Enrichment/Tutoring: The Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE) provides individual and group tutoring, and study skills support for all disciplines through eTutoring and Peer Tutoring. eTutoring provides a weekly tutoring schedule where you log-in to meet with a tutor using Zoom web conferencing or a writing assignment can be submitted for asynchronous feedback. If the eTutoring schedule does not fit your availability, you can make a request for a web conferencing session with a peer tutor through the online request form.  To access the eTutoring schedule or request an appointment with a peer tutor, follow the directions on the ACE website at or email for more information.

Instructional Goals/Objectives
1 Camera Use
Students will demonstrate their ability to use the control mechanisms on their digital cameras to produce photographs that have a sense of vision.
2 Basic Aspects of Lightroom Classic and Photoshop
Students will demonstrate their ability to use Lightroom Classic and Photoshop to correct color, contrast, brightness and saturation in their photographs.
3 Digital Printing (this is not part of the online class)
4 Using Photography to Create Fine Art
Students will assess the merits of their finished photographs as art and explain their reasoning.

Class Description.
This class is an introduction to basic photographic principles of using a digital camera and digital editing. All students will be expected to know these principles as well as how to use them in such a way as to produce inventive and original photographs.  

This is an online class that will consist of making digital  photographs and using image editing software. Students will be able to use a digital camera or smartphone of their choice. Students will also be guided through some basic editing options in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. There will be detailed evaluation of students photographs made during the class.

Each class will be divided into 3 equal parts and in the following order 
Part 1  Photographs 2:00 - 2:50
Break    2:50 - 3:00
Part 2  Cameras 3:00 - 3:50
Break    3:50 - 4:00
Part 3  Editing Software 4:00 -4:45

Photographs will be graded outside of class time and given a grade before the beginning of the next class. From 2:00 - 2:50 we will talk about your photographs, my photographs and photographs by established photographers. During the first class we will not be talking about student photographs. This will be followed by a 10 minute break from 2:50 - 3:00 where you are free to go offline. From 3:00 - 3:50 we will talk about cameras. We will begin by discussing any questions that you have about your camera relative to the camera topic we are discussing for that class. This will be followed by a 10 minute break from 3:50 to 4:00 where you are free to go offline. After the break we will talk about image editing software from 4:00 - 4:45.  

Grading and Attendance Policies
All students will be required to produce photographs of subjects and techniques of their own choosing. Students who would prefer assignments from me rather than choose a subject on their own should feel free to ask me. Students given an assignment by me are not obligated to fulfill it. It is a suggestion only.
One photograph is due each class beginning the second class. 

Work will be graded primarily on one's ability to make an inventive and original photograph rather than on technical things like how dark or light the photograph is or how much textural detail is evident.

Photographs passed in late lose 3 points per day. In some special circumstances students will be given an extra class to produce a photograph.

Students will be graded only on photographs produced during the semester. Please do not bring in photographs shot before the class started. Each of the grades will be of equal weight. They will be averaged together to produce a final grade. This average is tabulated after each class and that grade is available on request.

There is no midterm or final exam. You will be given two sick days. After this each absence will cost you 10 points from your grade that week. Each time a student arrives more than 15 min. late or leaves early without my permission 5 points will be deducted from your grade that week.

All grades will be made numerically. The MCC grading system works as follows


The numerical grade is only a working standard. The registrar's office only records letter grades. So, a person with a 93 will get the exact same grade as a person with a 98.

I only give straight A's to students who have gone way beyond the rest of the group and have clearly demonstrated the ability to produce consistently outstanding work.

A- is the grade for work that is somewhat outstanding. B+ is for work that goes beyond the basics of making a photograph and shows some merit. B signifies that you have successfully completed the assignment. B- indicates that the photograph has some deficiencies. C+ is given to photographs that demonstrate a limited grasp of what are the elements that make up a good photograph. Grades below C+ are given for various degrees of deficiency or more often as a penalty for handing in any given photograph after the deadline.

Method of Evaluation
Your grade for each photograph is made up of 2 parts

50% Technical
50% Content

Content is a measure of your ability to observe animals, people or spaces and then turn this into a photograph that is more than a simple visual record of what you saw. You will be judged on (1) choice of distance from subject, (2) choice of camera angle, (3) choice of lighting. In all of these situations I expect bold experimentation resulting in surprising and original visual images.

25% Camera Use
25% Image Editing
17% Distance from subject/Portrait Pose
16% Camera Angle
17% Lighting 

Decide on each of these very carefully. 

A technically flawless photograph that is no more visually literate than an everyday photograph is a creatively worthless photograph.

Assignments submitted that ignore content issues will be given a maximum grade of 50.

One photograph is due at the beginning of each class beginning the second class. Photographs passed in at the end of a class will be graded as one day late. 

A good store to buy photography supplies is Hunt's Photo and Video. Hunt's has several locations. To find the store closest to you see their website. A good place to have broken cameras fixed is Sanford Camera Repair at 1056 Massachusetts Ave. (781 648 2505) - Arlington, MA

You will be expected to do at least 3 hours of work outside of class between each class. Outside work will include taking pictures and editing them. You should tried to take lots of pictures each week and then choose the best one.

September 13
#1 Choosing A Camera, ISO - Shutter Speed - Aperture, Image Editing Software
We will discuss what is a suitable camera relative to individual student budgets, a camera's basic mechanisms, and setting up image editing software.
Homework: First photograph is due next class.
Links for today's class

September 20
#2 Varying Exposure Brightness and Editing Brightness And Contrast
Students will demonstrate the ability to vary exposure brightness and to use image editing tools to control brightness and contrast.
Homework: Second photograph is due next class.

September 27
#3 Shutter Speed 1 and Editing Brightness and Contrast 2
Students will demonstrate the ability to use shutter speed and to use image editing tools to control brightness and contrast.
Homework: Third photograph is due next class.
How to Transfer Photos from Camera to iPhone or iPad

October 4
#4 Shutter Speed 2 and Retouching Editing Tools
Students will demonstrate the ability to use shutter speed and to use retouching editing tools.
Homework: Fourth photograph is due next class.

No Class October 11

October 18
#5 Aperture and Selection Tools
Students will demonstrate the ability to use aperture and to use selection tools.
Homework: Fifth photograph is due next class.

October 25
#6 Aperture2 and Selection Tools 2
Students will demonstrate the ability to use aperture and to use selection tools.
Homework: Sixth photograph is due next class.

November 1
#7 Night Photography and B+W Editing
Students will demonstrate the ability to make night photographs and convert a color photograph to black and white.
Homework: Seventh photograph is due next class.

November 8
#8 Night Photography 2 
Students will demonstrate the ability to make night photographs.
Homework: Eighth photograph is due next class.

November 15
#9 Panoramic Photography and Photo Merge
Students will demonstrate the ability to make panoramic photographs and work with the Photo Merge tool in Photoshop and Lightroom
Homework: Ninth photograph is due next class.

November 29
#10 Wide Angle Lenses 
Students will demonstrate the ability to use wide angle lenses.

December 6
#11 Long Lenses 
Students will demonstrate the ability to use long lenses.
Homework: Tenth photograph is due next class.

December 13
#12  Altered Imagery 
Students will demonstrate the ability to make altered images.

All text by Paul Light is copyrighted 2007 - 2021 Paul Light
All rights reserved on text by Paul Light
Last revised September 6, 2021 


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