Digital Photography
Art 82 - Section# 8858- Petaluma
Summer 2006

Room 215

Class Schedule:
Lecture / Lab, Tues./Thurs. 9:30 - 2:00 PM
Office Hours: 8:30 to 9:30 by appointment.

Instructor:  John Sappington -


Course Syllabus

Online Syllabus (this page):


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 aesthetic and technical mastery.
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:

"Photoshop CS2 for Windows and Macintosh", Elaine Weinmann, Peter Lourekas, Peachpit Press 2005

"The Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers", Scott Kelby, New Riders Publishing, 2005

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

Alternate Technical Texts:
, Barbara London, John Upton, Ken Kobre, Betsy Brill, Prentice Hall

, Revised Edition, Henry Horenstein, Russell Hart Prentice Hall

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.


20% of student grades will be based on class participation. Students must attend class in order to effectively participate.

70% 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.
Lab Orientation

File Transfer Procedures
Beginning Camera Function


  • Email with your current email address - include SRJC Digital Photo Fall 05 in the subject line.
  • Locate and Read Camera Manual - Cover to Cover
    make notes in journal of questionable functions, settings, usage.
  • Set Camera to highest resolution / lowest compression

Bring Camera to second class meeting with cables (usb/firewire)




Adobe Photoshop CS2 -
What's New Brief and New Features Expanded


Diane Arbus
Gary Winogrand
Ansel Adams
Robert Frank


Masters of Photography - Good starter site for Analogue Masters

Freestyle Photographic Supplies

Camera Reviews
Week 2


Digital Technology

Camera / Scanner
Scanning Procedures

Transferring images from camera/media to system.


Camera Operation - Exposure basics

Photoshop Introduction

  • File Browser
  • File Types, Format



Bracketed Exposures -

Choose 2 subjects and make 5 bracketed exposures of each.

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.


Camera Manuals continued - start journal with questions/notes from the manual.


Man Ray
Edward Weston
Edward Steichen
Paul Strand


Nicolas Nixon
Mary Ellen Mark - current feature photographer for New Yorker magazine / journalist/art photographer
William Eggleston

Review Photograms and Montage works... Click Here


Week 3


Adobe Bridge - Introduction

  • Image Size / Resizing
  • Resampling

Layers Introduction

Contact Sheet

  • Cropping
  • Selections
  • Layers
  • Embedding File Info

- Custom Digital Contacts / Composites

- 3 Subjects - 9 minimum shots exploring the subject presented
via contact sheet II with customized layout and concern for creating a story of the object.


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 ... ?

Shooting Field Trip - 3rd or 4th week


Handout - Processing a digital image (*best practices)


Uta Barth
Shoichi Aoki
Pablo Ortiz


-- B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio (
-- Blue Pixel’s (
-- Extensis (
-- GretagMacbeth (
-- Lexar (
-- Nik Multimedia, Inc. (
-- Wacom Technology ( weekly website photocontest, free open mempbership and other membership for contests., can set up your own online gallery that can be critiqued

Week 4



  • Adjustment
  • Photo Filter
  • Curves
  • Levels

    Clipping Masks
  • Burn / Dodge
  • Clone
  • Healing
  • History



Camera Raw

Understanding Digital Raw Capture

Raw Capture, Linear Gamma, and Exposure

Why precise exposure is now even more critical when shooting digital raw.

Camera RAW Description

Supported Cameras Page


Russell Brown Tips & Techniques
Image processor for Photoshop CS


Jeff Wall
Andreas Gurtsky
Sophie Calle
Gregory Crewdson
Thomas Demand


Week 5


Field Trip + Critique


Flash and working with Ambient Lighting situations

Photoshop: Printing

  • Resolution (review)
  • File Preparation
  • Color Management
  • Color Modes



Sherrie Levine
Cindy Sherman
Richard Prince


Electronic Frontier Foundation

Intellectual Property Online: Patent, Trademark, Copyright

U.S. Copyright Office


The Free Expression Policy Project

Week 6


Photoshop: Web Output

  • Image Ready
  • Optimization
  • Automation Techniques

Legal - Copyright

Protecting your work and respecting the work of others.

Final Critique




Flash Gels and Diffusion material
This book has alot of filters for diffusion.

This book has more colors.

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