Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

ARTS 152: Digital Photography

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  Course Description

Introduction to digital photographic imagery. Students explore a variety of creative techniques for digital artists and graphic designers. Students learn the fundamentals of digital camera operations, and a variety of creative techniques for manipulating photographic images using Photoshop. Topics include a digital portfolio of images for presentation that includes: still life, self-portraits, documentation, landscape, special effect, surrealism, night photography and more. Digital camera required (minimum of 3 megapixels).

Please Note: This course does NOT meet Arts and Humanities General Education Requirement

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: None



  • London, Barbara. A Short Course in Digital Photography Textbook. 3rd. Allyn & Bacon, 2015.
    • ISBN-978-0-205-99825-8

Digital Camera

You will need an adjustable high-end digital camera, not a point and shoot camera. Recommended: Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) or Four Thirds camera.

Image-editing Software

Recommended: Adobe PhotoShop CC, CS6 or Adobe PhotoShop CS6 Extended.  Other image-editing software may be used, such as older versions of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Gimp, etc. Please allow time for ordering and installation of software.

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

Digital Photography will present an in depth look at the basic techniques of photography:
• How to get good exposures.
• How to adjust the focus, shutter speed, and aperture to produce the results you want.
• How to transfer your pictures to a computer and make sure they are organized and safe from loss.
• How to use computer software to make your photographs look their best.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

Image-editing Software and a Digital Camera will also be required: Please see “Textbook, Software, Digital Camera” Section for Details.

  Course Objectives

  • To learn proper digital camera operation.
  • To learn color evaluation and color correction techniques.
  • To explore experimental lighting and digital special effects.
  • To learn proper resample techniques.
  • To learn basic digital image enhancements using Photoshop.
  • To present digital photographs using basic design principles.
  • To identify the fundamental design elements and know how to use them effectively.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the essential equipment and software needed to produce quality digital images.
  • Create proper exposure by accurately combining film speed, aperture, shutter speed, and depth of field to utilize lighting conditions.
  • Evaluate levels, curves, density and contrast in a digital image.
  • Use digital, burning, dodging, cropping, and toning to improve the look of photographs.
  • Identify the fundamental design elements and know how to use them effectively.
  • Learn to use digital editing confidently.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 1350-1500 90-100%
B 1200-1349 80-89%
C 1050-1199 70-79%
D 900-1049 60-69%
F 0-899 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Weekly Assignments (8) 800 53%
Discussions- Critiques (8) 300 20%
Quizzes (8) 400 27%
Total 1500 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction 20 Wednesday/Friday
Discussion Topic: Critique 1 35
Assignment 1 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 1 50 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 2 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 2 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 2 50 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 3 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 3 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 3 50 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 4 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 4 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 4 50 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 5 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 5 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 5 50 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 6 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 6 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 6 50 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 7 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 7 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 7 50 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Topic: Critique 8 35 Wednesday/Friday
Assignment 8 100 Friday
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 8 50 Saturday
Total Points: 1500

  Assignment Overview

Each student is responsible for

• Completing weekly readings.
• Participation in weekly discussions (critiques).
• Completing weekly assignments.
• Completing a total of 8 weekly quizzes.


Please complete assigned readings prior to working on assignments each week.

Discussions- Critiques

Only one photograph to be critiqued should be posted by Wednesday (11:59 pm) of the assigned week’s assignments and a critique response to at least two classmates should be posted by Friday (11:59 pm) of the assigned week. Each discussion topic (critique) is worth a maximum of 35 points. Your grade will be based on the level of thought you gave the Critique and your responses to other student’s remarks. Constructive suggestions that may lead to improvements to the photographs should be the main purpose of the critique. “Great,” “I like it,” and “awesome” are not critiques. You may say why you like or don’t like a photo but be kind.

Weekly Assignments

After the critique period ends on Wednesday 11:59 pm, the weekly assignments may be posted in the dropbox. The dropbox will be open from Thursday 12:00 am to Friday 11:59 pm. Please feel free to use the appropriate suggestions from your classmates to improve your photography. All photos must be taken after the start of class.

Weekly Chapter Quizzes

Each will be weighted equally toward your grade. Each quiz is worth 50 points. Quizzes should be completed by Sunday midnight. Due to the end of the session - Quiz#8 will be due on Saturday by 11:59pm CT.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Getting Started, Chapter 1.
Introduce yourself to the class in the "Introductions" thread of our class Discussion area, or our "virtual classroom." Include your profession, hobbies or interest, background and any other information that can help us get to know you. Why are you interested in digital photography? Attach a photo of yourself (optional). Introduction is worth a maximum of 20 points.
Discussion Topic: Critique 1
Assignment 1
Photographs demonstrating basic compositional techniques of horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and proportion (rules of the thirds).
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 1
This will cover Getting Started, Chapter 1. Quizzes will be available in the “Quizzes” area of the course. They will consist of multiple-choice questions relating to that week’s readings. They are worth 50 points each. Each assignment is usually due by the following Sunday evening, before 11:59 p.m. CT.
Chapter 2 – Lens
Discussion Topic: Critique 2
Assignment 2
Photographs demonstrating basic compositional techniques of asymmetry (formal balance), asymmetrical (informal balance), framing, shape, and reflections
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 2
Quiz 2 over Chapter 2
Chapter 3 – Light and Exposure
Discussion Topic: Critique 3
Assignment 3
Photographs demonstrating basic camera techniques of stopped motion, blurred motion, panning, and depth of field.
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 3
Quiz 3 over Chapter 3
Chapter 4 – The Digital Darkroom and Chapter 5 – Imaging Editing
Discussion Topic: Critique 4
Assignment 4
Photographs demonstrating documentary techniques of small towns, farms, building, and landmarks.
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 4
Quiz 4 over Chapter 4 and 5
Chapter 6 – Printing and Display
Discussion Topic: Critique 5
Assignment 5
Photographs demonstrating story telling techniques. Expose frames in a sequence that tells a story. Your story must be entirely visual, and easily understood from just the images.
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 5
Quiz 5 over Chapter 6
Chapter 7 – Organizing and Storing and Chapter 8 – Lighting
Discussion Topic: Critique 6
Assignment 6
Photographs demonstrating strong emotional content. Shoot Photographs of abandoned intimate non-living objects and photographs of stranded people or animals.
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 6
Quiz 5 over Chapter 7 and 8
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Chapter 9 – Seeing Like a Camera
Discussion Topic: Critique 7
Assignment 7
Photographs demonstrating night photography techniques such as long exposures, light writing, ghost images, and the transition period.
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 7
Quiz 7 over Chapter 9
Chapter 10 – History of Photography
Discussion Topic: Critique 8
Assignment 8
Photographs demonstrating lighting techniques such as using existing light, simple portrait lighting, using artificial light, and using flash.
Chapter Quizzes: Quiz 8
Quiz 8 over Chapter 10

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Digital assignments (digital photography) should be current and taken with the assignment in mind. Check the time and date on your digital camera. They should be completed and successfully submitted so that they are received by the due date. No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor notification prior to the due date. All late assignment may be assessed a penalty. Any assignment turned in one or more than one week late will receive no more than half credit and will be graded at the instructor’s convenience. There are no redo images. There are no make-up quizzes unless there are special circumstances.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.