Digital Photography
ART 82 - 4186
Fall 2005

Room 1261

Class Schedule: Lecture / Lab, Wednesday 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Office Hours: 3-4 Wednesday by appointment.

Instructor:  John Sappington -


Course Syllabus

Online Syllabus:


This course is an introduction to approaches and techniques of digital imaging with a focus on the use of the digital camera and Adobe Photoshop. The course will cover the technical and practical aspects of the digital camera, and the use of image editing software (Adobe Photoshop), covering traditional darkroom concerns and exploring the technical particulars and aesthetic potential of digital photography.

This course will present and overview of digital imaging techniques as applied to the art of photography. Traditional and new electronic photographic methods are studied as a vehicle to understand the implication of this medium as an art form. Emphasis is placed on the creative process while exploring electronic image making as a means of communication used by contemporary artists.

Outcomes and Objectives:

Explore digital photography.
Understanding and applicable use of the tools of digital and electronic photography.
Employ creative thinking skills in assessing visual images
Develop skills in manipulating photo images with new tools
Examing past work for relevance
Practice aesthetic criticism

Topics and Scope:

Synthesize digital tool manipulation with photographic images.
Produce work using a variety of digital equipment.
Investigate how digital tools change photographic images.
Analyze the work of current artists and designers using these tools.


1. Scanning Techniques
2. Digital Camera Operations *manual
3. File Management Practices
4. Printing Procedures
5. Text and Image, Alternative approaches to graphic use of photographic materials
6. Presentation Methods *Web/Internet

Recommended Technical Texts:

Photography, Barbara London, John Upton, Ken Kobre, Betsy Brill, Prentice Hall
Photography, Revised Edition, Henry Horenstein, Russell Hart Prentice Hall

"The Photoshop CS Book for Digital Photographers"
Scott Kelby, New Riders Publishing, 2004

Alternate Technical Texts:

Black and White Photography, A Basic Manual,, Little Brown and Company

"The Photoshop Book for digital photographers",
Scott Kelby, New Riders Publishing, 2003

"Photoshop 7 Professional Photographic Techniques",
Janee, Nyree Costello, Gavin Cromhout, Vikas Shah, friends of Ed, 2002

"Photoshop 7 for Windows and Macintosh",
Elaine Weinmann, Peter Lourekas, Peachpit Press 2003

Required Supplies / Equipment:

A 2 Megapixel (or greater) digital camera is required.

Students are required to obtain backup media to store class example files and work in progress.

Optional media types are:

- 100MB/250 Mb Zip disks

- CD ROM/DVD-R, Write-once or Re Writable: Approx. capacity 700+MB

- Flash cards, memory sticks, etc..  

Students are also required to have an e-mail account.  This can be accessed through the lab and may be a free account like those available from Hotmail, Yahoo, Freemail, Excite, etc.  The instructor will assist students in obtaining an e-mail account if necessary.  Students will be expected to check this e-mail account at least twice a week.  General class announcements will be reported via e-mail.


40% of student grades will be based on class participation.  Students must attend class in order to effectively participate.

50% of student grades will be based on the completion of assignments.  These assignments will not be graded for skill or content, but will be evaluated for technical completion. 

10% of the student grade will be determined by the final portfolio presentation.


Students are expected to attend all of every class meeting unless they have received prior permission from the instructor. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class meeting. Anyone absent when attendance is taken will be assumed absent from the class.   If you are late to class it is your responsibility to make sure your attendance is acknowledged by talking to the instructor. 

If you are intending to drop the class, please notify the instructor.  You should not assume that the instructor will automatically drop you because of absences.  If you stop attending classes and you do not drop the class, and the instructor has not dropped you from the class; the instructor may be required to give you a grade of F for the class.

Digital Photography
(subject to change)


Week 1

Syllabus Overview Expectations, Requirements, Objectives, Best Practices.


Minimum 5 images in any form - representing your interests, motivations in photography.

Email with your current email address - include SRJC Photography in the subject line.



Review Course Outline - Digital Photo Outline

Review - Internet Resources

Websites for people who are researching cameras:
Week 2


Digital Technology

Camera / Scanner
Scanning Procedures

Transferring images from camera/media to system.

Begin fundamentals of visual phenomenology / camera technology.



Locate and Read Camera Manual - Cover to Cover
Set Camera to highest resolution
Bring Camera with cables (usb/firewire)



Camera Manuals

Search Artists:

Man Ray

Review Photograms and Montage works... Click Here

Search Sites:

Week 3  


Camera Operation - Exposure basics

Photoshop Introduction

  • File Browser
  • File Types, Formats


First File Transfers


Bracketed Exposures - Choose a subject and make 5 bracketed exposures.
1st exposure according to meter reading.
2nd + .5 half step greater aperture selection or more exposure (over)
3rd + 1 whole step (full stop) greater aperture selection (over)
4th .5 half step smaller aperture selection or less exposure (under)
5th - 1 whole step smaller aperture selection or less exposure (under)

*Be sure to make notes of the exposures in your journal.

Experiment with the shutter speeds + and or - one shutter speed is equal to a full stop.


Keep working on those manuals - reread as you work on the bracketed exposures. Reread ISO controls or sensitivity controls, White Balance.

Search Artist:

Mathieu Bernard-Reymond

Search Sites:

Digital Art Supplies

Freestyle Photographic Supplies weekly website photocontest, free open mempbership and other membership for contests., can set up your own online gallery that can be critiqued - A great site on color and its impact on psyche, the body, the culture, the planet, design, etc.

Week 4  

Slipped from Week 3

Week 5  



  • Cropping
  • Selections
  • Layers
    • Adjustment
    • Photo Filter
    • Curves
    • Levels
  • Paths, Bezier Objects
  • Pen Tool

Review Bracket Exercise
Tour Analy Art Lab



Appendix A - Seeing and Writing 2 - On the Theory and Practice of Seeing - handout
Recommended: John Berger - Ways of Seeing

my travels with diana by mark sink

Search Artists:

International Center for Photography

Recent Exhibitions Archive - ICP

George Eastman House -
Collection organized by photographer

Week 6



  • Adjustment Layers
  • Levels and Curves Continued



5-n-1 - Take an existing file and crop to create 5 different image files. Focus is on re-framing and composing. Not compositing.



Appendix B - Seeing and Writing 2 - On Reading Visual and Verbal Texts -

New York Times Photo archive

Search Artists:

Man Ray
Jerry Uelsmann

Review Photograms and Montage works... Click Here <--

Week 7



  • Compositing



REVIEW: 5-n-1



Appendix B - Seeing and Writing 2 - On Reading Visual and Verbal Texts

Recovered digital photos show tsunami wave


Search Artists:

Diane Arbus
Huger Foote
Uta Barth

Fifty Crows - Social Change Photography

25 under 25: Up and Coming American Photographers

Week 8



  • Burn / Dodge
  • Clone
  • Vectors
  • History




Composite - 1 in 5 - Create one image file from the components or pieces of minimum 5 image files. Create multiple variations on the composition at will.



Week 9



  • Text Tools
  • Batch Processes
    Contact Sheets



5 Best of your work. Open Critique

Preparations for Midterm Interviews


Digital Photography: The Dubitative Image, from Snap to Grid: A Users Guide to Digital Arts, Media and Cultures, by Peter Lunenfeld

"Thinking about photography: Debates, historically and now.", Photography: A Critical Introduction, Edited by Liz Wells

Search Artists:

David Hockney
Larry Clark

Week 10


Mid-Term Critique
20 Images - Selection to talk about...
Directories in order


Evaluation Form (Please Complete and Submit from your home system)



Met Museum Acquires Gilman Trove of Photos

Digital Photography: The Dubitative Image, from Snap to Grid: A Users Guide to Digital Arts, Media and Cultures, by Peter Lunenfeld

Search Artists:


Week 11



- Utilizing Ambient Light
- Backlight
- Flash Modes
- Corrections


Printing Demonstration in Analy - Epson Printer Driver


3-5 images of light. Where light is the central subject or primary focus of the image.
Consider both ambient or existing natural and artificial light sources and utiliting the flash.

Be sure to also experiment with the flash in daylight. What impact does it have ... ?



From Brandon Smith (DVC)- colored gels and diffusion material for on camera flash units...

This book has alot of filters for diffusion.

This book has more colors.

Only have to pay $.01 plus shipping ($4), no gimmick.

Week 12

Photoshop: Printing

  • File Types
  • Color Management
  • Resolution
  • File Preparation
  • Proofs / Printing Options from w/in PSD
  • Color Modes




Printers - Materials - Supplies

PS Print

Preparing files for print - Pagemaker, Illustrator

Digital Art Supplies

order sample sheets....!

Week 13



Digital Photography: The Dubitative Image, from Snap to Grid: A Users Guide to Digital Arts,
Media and Cultures
by Peter Lunenfeld

Scrapbooking Resources

Archiver's: The Photo Memory Store

Scrap Attack—Coddingtown Mall

Scrapbook Garden Inc—Southwest Blvd, Rohnert Park

The scrapbooking megasite

Week 14


Photoshop: Web Output

  • Image Ready
  • Optimization
  • Automation Techniques


Commercial Photographers - Online presence (sampling)
Week 15  


Legal / Copyright Issues

Protecting your images
Respecting the work of others


Additional Reading:

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Intellectual Property Online: Patent, Trademark, Copyright

U.S. Copyright Office



The Free Expression Policy Project

Search Artists:

Illegal Art

Week 16  

Preparations for final.


Week 17   Final Critique

Presentations of selections from individual portfolios 10-20 images.
Beginning at 4:00

Same time same place


Photo Guide Japan

Aperture Foundation