Beginning Digital Camera – Syllabus

Digital Photography – The Camera: Syllabus
Charles Bandes

This course is designed for the beginner digital photographer, but perhaps one who is familiar with the fundamentals of traditional photography technique. We will cover the basics as well as advanced digital techniques.
The course is designed to be a mixture of technical instruction, shooting, and discussion of student work. Each session will be structured with these three goals in mind.
Weekly assignments are critical to the success of our class – please try your very best to complete the assignments and to bring prints to class for discussion and review.

Course Overview

Week One:
– Introductions
– Introduction to digital cameras and their parts.
– Differences between point and shoot cameras and SLR cameras and why one
– may be preferable to the other.
– The very basics – shutter speed, aperture, ISO

Assignment One: Getting Started
Read your camera’s manual thoroughly and familiarize yourself with the menus and controls available to you. As we all have different types of equipment, we cannot spend class-time to go over the specifics of any given piece of equipment, so mastering the features of your camera are a job for you to complete.
Shooting: Work with your camera in fully manual mode. Learn to focus, learn to control the shutter and aperture. Try the full range of ISO settings and learn how this affects your shooting. Subject matter is up to you – bring in images that show us what you are interested in photographing.

Week Two:
– Review student work from last week’s assignment
– Continuation of basic camera technique and camera anatomy.
– Discussion of framing and other concepts critical to photographers
– Where you point the camera
– When you hit the shutter
– Where you put the edge of the frame

Assignment Two: Point of View
The idea of this week’s assignment is to think about the first question – “Where do you point the camera?” Choose a subject – it could be a place, an object, a person, an idea… Photograph your subject from a huge variety of angles, distances, points of view. Think about making as many different images of your subject as you can – in super-close, far far away, from above, from below, from inside, from angles I haven’t thought of yet… Take at least 30 frames, no two alike. Bring evidence to class 😉

Week Three:
– Review student work from last week’s assignment
– Discuss how to judge proper exposure and explanation of bracketing.
– Discuss visual concepts
– Depth of Field
– Camera Shake
– Sense of Motion
– Noise

Assignment Three:

Week Four:
– Review student work from last week’s assignment.
– Discuss natural light and how to look at it. Photographing at different times of day.
– Discuss how different light sources affect color
– Discuss how to adjust/affect color your white balance settings

Assignment Four: Light and Color

Explore the creative possibilities that color makes available. Try experimenting with your white balance settings for creative effect. Explore the different moods that color can produce, work in a variety of different types of light, adjust your white balance and ISO to best effect. Make images that are about the color in them.

Week Five:
– Working with people
– Posing/lighting
– We will be taking pictures of one another tonight
– Technical lesson – shooting in RAW mode

Assignment Five: The portrait assignment

Find a friend, a family member, a gullible cooperative stranger and have them pose for you. Make portraits that address these three things:
1. The person’s appearance
2. The person’s personality/character
3. The person’s environment
Try to think about all three while you are shooting, but any given image might address only one at a time.

Week Six: More Portraits
– We will have a model in class this week
– Discuss lighting, posing
– Mostly shooting
– One-on-one conversations to discuss the project for next week

Assignment Six: Personal project

Suggested Reading Materials:

Zen and the Art of Archery – Eugen Herrigel
The Photo Book – Phaidon Press

One thought on “Beginning Digital Camera – Syllabus

  1. Hello, I came across your Blog while doing some research for the best slr camera to use to start out with in photography. I was wandering if you could give me some advise on this subject. I am on a budget, so please keep this in mind. I also was wandering if you knew of any photography classes to learn more in this field. Please let me know if can help. Thanks, and have a great day
    Tiffany Bolster

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