CO 305 Photography Fundamentals spring '24
Class meets: Wednesday: 8:00am – 10:45am
Tuesday: 11 – 2 pm, or by appt.
Wednesday: 11 – 12 pm, or by appt.
Peter Smith, Master Lecturer, Journalism
Cell: 617 548 0109
This course welcomes all students from the College of Communication and those throughout Boston University. This course teaches students traditional shooting and editing skills using a DSLR. CO 305 Photography Fundamentals covers camera operation, image processing, tagging, caption writing, and publishing. Assignments will be processed in black and white during the first half of the semester; color is introduced later in the course. We will cover the basics of file management and creating a photo portfolio.
Teamwork will help create a productive environment; partners will act as peer editors and support. We will focus on aesthetics, light, and moment and complete ten assignments to strengthen photo technique and editing skills in preparation for documentary challenges.
The ten shooting assignments in CO305 Photography Fundamentals cover portraiture and basic lighting, panning and stop action, controlling depth-of-field, advanced lighting (with and without flash), color, night photography, photographing an environmental portrait and a selfie, producing a ten-picture photo essay and creating an Adobe Portfolio.
CO 305 Photography Fundamentals covers the basics of Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Portfolio during class workshops. We will learn about digital hygiene, nondestructive editing, color correction, image toning, sharpening, tagging, caption writing, and understanding resolution.
RULES AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
Photoshop tools may not be used in this class to alter the meaning of an image. Cropping is not allowed, but students must straighten the horizon’s image. Students will upload assignments to the class Smugmug account.
We will use a DSLR camera, which will require a storage card (minimum 32 gig). A 50mm prime lens or a zoom lens can be set to a 50mm focal length. Students are required to have a suitable laptop computer and an external hard drive. A camera will be needed for the second class. Handouts are available for all assignments.
Handouts designed for this class will cover shooting and editing technique
Daily read – pick one from below,
or substitute any large city paper/news site.
New York Times
REQUIRED SOFTWARE provided by Boston University
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Week One: Jan. 24
Meet and Greet. Why did you elect to take this class? Tell us about your gear: camera, flash, tripod, computer, external hard drive.
Review the syllabus and basic camera settings of aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, ISO, and lens speed. View gallery of past student workhttps://buphotojournalism.smugmug.com/JO305/Best-of-16/.
To reserve camera equipment, click here.
Bring a camera and SD media card to class next week.
Learn about the exposure triangle.
Review Canon camera settings, Keynote Presentation.
You can reserve photo equipment from FPS in the basement of COM for up to one week per reservation.
Week Two: Jan. 31
Review camera operation.
Photograph the face of an individual (a) in bright sunlight, (b) on a cloudy day. Bring an SD card and camera to class to review camera settings and make exposure decisions using the camera’s light meter.
Portraits: 10pts (exercise: lighting, aesthetics)
Week Three: Feb. 7
Review editing workflow
Bring an SD card and an external hard drive to class with assignment one to download files to your Smugmug gallery. We will discuss tagging, converting files to black and white, and exporting high-resolution JPEGs. We’ll review the Adobe Lightroom Classic browser and its functions.
Week Four: Feb. 14
Images from assignment 1, Portraits, are DUE and must be uploaded by the end of class.
Choose a general scene with infinite distance apparent in the background with a person 6 feet from the camera. Shoot (a) with a wide aperture and (b) with a small aperture. Use your camera’s meter to establish correct exposure by adjusting your shutter (no slower than 1/50). You can use ISO for further adjustment.
DoF: 10 pts. (exercise: aesthetics)
Week Five: Feb. 21
Substitute Monday’s Schedule, Presidents’ Day
Week six: Feb. 28
Images are DUE from assignment 2, DoF
Photograph Stop Action and Panning
Use fast and slow shutter speeds to freeze and pan action
(a) someone walking down steps (b) a bicycle in motion (c) car traveling on Storrow Drive
Creative shutter: 10pts (exercise: documentary, aesthetics)
Week Seven: March 6
Images from assignment 3, Creative Shutter, are DUE. Upload to Smugmug.
Turn in 3 examples of flash technique: (a) two heads using direct or bounce light, (b) fill-flash with direct flash (in front of a backlit background, (c) interior bounce flash portrait. Use a hotshoe flash for DSLR.
Week Eight: March 13
Week Nine: March 20
Images from assignment 4, Flash, are DUE.
Shoot night scenes of (a) incident light and (b) reflected light night scenes (tripod essential).
Night: 5pts (documentary: lighting, aesthetics)
Week Ten: March 27
Photograph silhouette, a backlit subject – expose meter for the bright background.
Silhouette: 5pts (exercise: lighting, aesthetics)
Week Eleven: April 3
Shoot a color photograph with strong color contrast and process that image in three ways. Second, use a daylight setting for your white balance, shoot photos with heavy overcast for blue light, or shoot with warm light from sunset. Use color to enhance the mood of the image.
Color: 5pts (documentary: lighting, aesthetics)
Week Twelve: April 10
Images from assignment 7, Color are DUE. Upload.
Create a ‘best of’ gallery.
Self Portrait Gallery
Self Portrait handout
Self-portrait (taken inside without a flash).
Self: 5pts (exercise: lighting, branding)
Week Thirteen: April 17
Images from assignment eight, Self-Portrait, are DUE. Upload.
Environmental Portrait Gallery
Environmental Portrait Handout
Photograph an environmental portrait of someone you do not know and who does not work for BU.
Environmental portrait: 10pts (documentary)
Week Fourteen: April 24
Review the online Portfolio requirement and add the ‘photo essay’ page.
Assignment nine, Environmental Portrait, due.
The Photo Essay
Photo Essay handout
Finish shooting narrative photo essay.
The images should be uploaded to Smugmug and presented as a gallery on Adobe Portfolio.
Final photo story: 20pts (documentary)
Week Fifteen: May 1
Assignment 10, Photo Essay Due
Upload ten captioned photos to Smugmug and Portfolio
Review Adobe Portfolio: 10pts (publishing)
Review Photo essay
There are a total of 11 projects due during the semester. They are weighted as follows:
- Portraits:10pts (exercise: lighting, aesthetics)
- Focus:10pts (exercise: aesthetics)
- Creative shutter:10pts (documentary: aesthetics)
- Night:10pts (documentary: sense of place)
- Flash:5pts (exercise: lighting: aesthetics)
- Silhouette:5pts (exercise: lighting, aesthetics)
- Color:5pts (documentary: lighting, aesthetics)
- Self:5pts (exercise: lighting, branding)
- Environmental Portrait:10pts (documentary)
- Final photo essay:20pts (documentary)
- Adobe Portfolio:10pts (publishing)
- Grades are based on quality, content and punctuality of work submitted. Late assignments lose one grade point (A to B) for each week they are late.
- Assignments that are not turned in receive an F.
- The final grade is an average of all weighted grades received during the semester.
- Assignments are DUE at the end of class.
B : 3.0
C : 2.0
D : 1.0
F : 0.0
Percentage based Scale
A : 93-100
Each assignment is graded on the following:
• Technical (40%): Camera (exposure) settings and focus. Toning adjustments and sharpening.
• Demonstration of assignment concept (40%)
• Captioning and other metadata (20%)
- For the final photo essay – technical, concept, and text/metadata will be weighted equally.
- Adobe Portfolio will be graded on two galleries (best work and photo essay); about me page.
LEARNING OUTCOMES: After shooting 10 assignments, students will be able to:
- Shoot portraits, freeze action, create motion through panning, photograph incident and reflective light at night with a tripod, and use a flash.
- Produce well-toned, tagged images and publish them online.
- Produce well-framed, strongly composed images that are properly exposed with good use of lighting, all to industry standard.
- Communicate with strong black and white photographs and be capable of producing a color image that is color-corrected and has thoughtful use of color.
- Understand the broader concepts of photography.
- Gain photographic visual literacy, with the ability to deconstruct how an image was created and to better understand a photograph’s manipulations, biases, and narrative.
- Develop a strong visual awareness and strong observational skills.
HUB Learning Outcomes
Communication: Digital/Multimedia Expression (one unit)
Throughout this course, students will learn the fundamentals of visual communication through digital photography. Students will use a scaffold approach to build visual storytelling skills using a digital toolkit they will work with throughout the course. They will learn to produce and manage digital assets and to shoot and edit digital photographs. Students will produce digital images and sequences to publish in an online portfolio.
Students will develop skills and concepts to produce photo stories in the area of their interest. Students’ creative skills will progress during the semester through class exercises, assignments, and in-depth visual projects.
- Learn Digital workflow: assignments one, two, and three.
- Learn Visual Storytelling: assignments ten and eleven.
Intellectual Toolkit: Creativity/Innovation (one unit)
Students will learn to step out of their comfort zone and communicate with people of different backgrounds to complete their assignments. They will build visual communication skills throughout the course and must use a creative approach to connect with their subjects. Students will also acquire creative skills as they learn to compose a photograph, understand the properties of color and light, create a visual story, and edit/produce a final creative product that will connect to their audience.
Creativity and innovation involve risk-taking and the consideration of multiple strategies. By following composition, framing, and lighting rules, students’ work will begin to take professional form and improve in aesthetic value. While students are encouraged to view online examples and follow assignment criteria and concepts laid out during class lectures, there will still be a need for some trial and error when shooting photo assignment work. Students should allow time to shoot multiple situations of each assignment to improve outcomes and to make the editing process more valuable.
When documenting people in various situations, creative results will sometimes depend on your ability to communicate with your subject to connect with them, create a comfortable working relationship, and capture decisive moments. So, taking the time needed to communicate with your subject and shoot multiple situations is important.
Through the iterative process, when students might re-conceive/revise/reshoot in response to feedback, here is the methodology used in CO 305 to learn and continue to improve skills and concept understanding:
As each assignment takes a scaffold approach, the weekly evaluation comments that students receive allow them to re-conceive their approach on the next assignment. With each assignment, students continue to build their skill sets to improve the quality of their work. Students are encouraged to attend office hours if there is any confusion about assignment expectations and may also come to office hours to have work reviewed. This will allow you to reshoot or re-edit work before the assignment is due. Students are also encouraged to drop in during office hours to say hello. My office door is always open during office hours, posted at the top of your syllabus.
During class lectures, students will see examples of successful work shot in prior classes. A link on the syllabus will take you to assignment examples. In many cases, we will workshop key concepts, allowing you to receive immediate feedback on your work. After each workshop, we meet back in the class to answer follow-up questions on camera settings, color and lighting, framing, and assignment concepts. Class workshops are provided for portraiture, depth-of-field, stop-action and panning, flash, color, environmental portraits, photo essay, and online portfolio building. The workshops are held in the classroom, on the BU campus, or throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, such as the North End, Chinatown, Fort Point Channel, and the Boston Common. Students receive immediate feedback on their work during the workshops, and all workshops are preparation for assignment work.
In addition, students will post the best assignment work to their online portfolio, due at the end of the semester. While the portfolio assignment is only worth 10 points, if you take the time to redo any assignments for your portfolio, students will see an improvement in their work and final grade.
If a student has difficulty in shooting, editing, or submitting assignment work due to illness, equipment failure, or any reasonable issue they have had with the assignment, a re-do may be possible.
Further, students are encouraged to text or send an email if they have any follow-up questions.
- Creativity outcome with compositional concepts: assignment one, portrait.
- Innovation outcome in connection with the subject: assignments nine, environmental portrait; assignment 10, photo essay.
- Creative aesthetics outcome, including lighting: Assignment Four, night; Assignment Five, flash; Assignment Six, silhouette.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT PARAGRAPH FOR SYLLABUS
-Boston University is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment. Title IX and our school policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, which regards sexual misconduct – including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We understand that sexual violence can undermine students’ academic success and we encourage students who have experienced some form of sexual misconduct to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they need. Confidential support and academic advocacy resources can be found with the Center for Sexual Assault Response & Prevention (SARP) at http://www.bu.edu/safety/sexual-misconduct/.
*Note: Your department may have additional language they require or recommend you include. Please follow those instructions when appropriate.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PARAGRAPH FOR SYLLABUS
-BU has strict guidelines on classroom behavior and practices when it comes to treatment of students and guests on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability, genetic information, military service, national origin, or due to marital, parental, or veteran status. Discrimination for any of these reasons is prohibited. Please refer to the Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy for more details.
*Note: Your department may have additional language that they require or recommend you include. Please follow those instructions when appropriate.
POSITIVE CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE PARAGRAPH FOR SYLLABUS
-At your discretion, please alert me to anything related to preferred pronouns, preferred name or nickname, or any extenuating circumstances or trigger warnings (personal, medical, etc.) that might impact your classroom experience. I want to make sure you have the most positive experience in the classroom as possible. If work that gets shown in this class, professional or student-generated, offends you in anyway, please mention it in class or talk to us privately about it so that we can all learn from each other. This is not to say we will ever restrict freedom of speech or water down an aggressive or edgy idea, but we want to discuss anything that someone deems troublesome or offensive.
DISABILITY AND ACCESS SERVICES PARAGRAPH FOR SYLLABUS
-If you are a student with a disability or believe you might have a disability that requires accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability and Access Services (DAS) at 617-353-3658 to coordinate any reasonable accommodation requests. DAS is located at 25 Buick Street, on the third floor.
STUDENT ATHLETICS PARAGRAPH FOR SYLLABUS
-All student-athletes should be provided with a sheet from Student-Athlete Support Services regarding absences throughout the semester. These sheets should be handed in as soon as possible to avoid potential conflicts and so arrangements can be made to provide for missed lecture notes, classwork, or discussion.
ACADEMIC CODE OF CONDUCT PARAGRAPH FOR SYLLABUS
-All BU students are bound by the Academic Conduct Code. Please review to ensure you are acting responsibly and ethically in regard to your academics.
- Support services: https://www.bu.edu/com/resources/current-students/student-support/
o In addition to the resources on this site, please know that we are here to help you find the resources to help you get through stressful times.
- COM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: https://www.bu.edu/com/about-com/diversity-equity-inclusion/
- BU Newbury Center for First-Generation Students: http://bu.edu/newbury-center
- COM Writing Center: https://www.bu.edu/com/for-current-students/the-com-writing-center/
- BU Dean of Students office: https://www.bu.edu/dos/; any student who is experiencing food or housing insecurity and believes this may affect their performance in the course is urged to contact the Dean of Students for support.
In addition, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable us to provide any resources that we may possess.