JO305 B1

Basic Photography For Non-Majors B1, Fall 2018

Peter Smith
Senior Lecturer
Office B33
617 548 0109



3:30 – 6:15pm

room COM319

Office hours:



room B33




room B33


In JO305 you will learn basic photography, file management, image processing, and publishing.You will learn the difference between constructed and unconstructed images and the ethics of documentary work. Teamwork is essential in this course to create a strong learning environment. You will work with a partner and other classmates on field trips, to complete assignments, and to get help editing from fresh eyes. 

Teamwork will also create a safer environment as we use Boston as our classroom. Throughout this course we will focus on areas of aesthetics, light and moment and complete a number of exercises to strengthen photo technique and prepare for documentary challenges to capture a sense of place, to document the famous and to define the world around us by creating compelling photographs.

The 10 shooting assignments in JO305 cover portraiture, motion, depth-of-field, hot-shoe flash, night photography color, and you will photograph a famous person, shoot a selfie, produce a 10 picture photo essay and create a blog.

JO305 covers the basics of Lightroom and WordPress.  We will also cover digital hygiene, nondestructive editing, color correction, image toning, sharpening, tagging, caption writing and understanding resolution.


Photoshop tools may not be used in this class to alter the meaning of an image. Cropping is not allowed.  Students will upload assignments to the class Smugmug account.

Photo equipment is available for your use but it is recommended that students have their own DSLR camera if possible, storage card (minimum 32 gig) a 50mm lens or a zoom lens that can be set to 50mm.  Students are required to have a USB3 hard drive.  A camera will not be needed until the second class.  There are handouts available for all assignments.

Laptop and external HD:

Before you arrive to class, be sure to have a laptop that meets COM’s recommended specifications. This link also has a guide to help you choose an external hard drive. Make sure that your external hard drive is formatted to either Mac or Windows depending on your laptop type. Mac external hard drives should be formatted to ‘journaled.’

Adobe Creative Cloud:

You will need to download Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Lightroom for this course.  You can download them once you sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud using your Kerberos username and password. This must be completed at least two days before the first class meeting.

Blog Requirement

Get a blog – if you do not have one for this class go to – WP links


The New York Times (30 – 60 minutes daily)
The New York Times Lens Blog (keep current)


COURSE OUTLINE: Week-to-week

FIRST LECTURE:  September 4


meet + greet

  • students discuss their background and personal class goals
  • pick class partner and exchange contact info


  • syllabus + course requirements + required reading

SECOND LECTURE:  September 11
bring gear (charged battery and media card.)
We will cover camera settings and operation, exposure, filing system and digital hygiene.

PortraitsShooting Assignment 1 – Photograph face of an individual (a) in bright sunlight, (b) on a cloudy day. Bring CF or SD card, external hard drive and camera to class.  We will review camera settings and camera light meter.

THIRD LECTURE:  September 18

Bring CF/SD card to class with assignment 1 to download files to Lightroom Library. We will discuss tagging, converting files to black and white and exporting hi-res jpegs.  We’ll review:

Lightroom browser and functions.

FOURTH LECTURE:  September 25
Images from assignment 1, Portraits are DUE and must be uploaded by the end of class.

Focusshooting assignment 2: Choose a general scene with infinite distance apparent in background with a person 8 feet from the camera.  Shoot at (a) 1/1000 with wide aperture, also shoot at (b) f/16 with slower shutter speed.  Use your camera’s meter for correct exposure.

Images from assignment  2, Focus are DUE.

Creative shutterAssignment 3, Photograph Stop Action and Panning.

Use fast and slow shutter to photograph
(a) car on Storrow Drive (b) someone walking down steps (c) a bicycle in motion

Holiday Schedule October 9 – No class today!

SIXTH LECTURE:  October 16
Images from assignment 3, Creative Shutter are DUE.

Creative Flash Photographyshooting assignment 4  

Turn in 3 of 5 examples of flash technique: (a) two heads using direct flash, (b) fill-flash with direct flash, (c) bounce flash portrait, (d) open flash, direct and not synchronized, and (e) a group of ten people.

Images from assignment 4, Flash! are DUE.

Night Photographyshooting assignment 5  shoot night scenes of
(a) incident light and (b) reflected light (tripod required).

Images from assignment 5, Night are DUE.

Silhouette:  shooting assignments 6:  Photograph silhouette, a backlit subject, set exposure using meter for the bright background.

NINTH LECTURE:  November 6
Images from assignment 6, silhouette are DUE.

ColorShooting assignment 7

Shoot a photo with strong color contrast and process that image three ways – as b+w, as b+w with a filter and as a color image. Second, using a daylight setting for your white balance, shoot photos with heavy overcast for blue light and sunset or sunrise for warm color.  Use color to enhance mood of image.

TENTH LECTURE:  November 13
Images from assignment 7Color are DUE.

Self Portraitshooting assignments 8  photograph a self-portrait (taken inside a building without a flash). Use light to your advantage for best grade.

ELEVENTH LECTURE:  November 20  
Images from assignment 8, self-portrait are DUE.

Famous Person:Shooting assignment 9: Photograph a famous person who does not work for BU.

Images from assignment 9, famous person are DUE.

The Photo EssayShooting assignment Shoot a 10-picture photo essay.  Grad students are required to shoot a ten-picture photo essay for publication.

Assignment 10, Photo Essay is Due.

Assignment 11, blog: Finish blog with two galleries and ‘about me’ page.
The images should be uploaded to Smugmug and also presented as a gallery on your blog.

assignment 11, Blog DUE.

This should be setup and maintained from the beginning of the semester. Proper tags and categories are required for posts (all assignments must be posted.)  An ‘about me’ page and photo galleries are required.

Review in class.


How to be successful in this course

To do well in JO305 Basic Photo, students should show up fully prepared, homework completed, work filed on time and be fully engaged and ready to exceed class goals and expectations.

Cellphone usage is disruptive and discourteous. For a better grade, please do not use during class.

Class attendance is critical for success. Deadlines are non-negotiable – loss of a full grade for each week assignment is late. No credit is given for final project if deadline is missed. Unexcused absence will result in a deduction of points from final grade.

If you are unwell, contact your professor to make arrangements to get caught up on material that you missed. Your partner will also be an important asset in helping you get caught up.

Students must be familiar with college handbook and have a full understanding of expected code and conduct. The academic code of conduct is fully explained at:

Plagiarism is a particular concern in journalism so it is critically important to give attribution of original content and to get permission and give credit.

BU policy on recording in classes

Please note that classroom proceedings for this course might be recorded for purposes including, but not limited to, student illness, religious holidays, disability accommodations, or student course review. Note also that recording devices are prohibited in the classroom except with the instructor’s permission.

Grades are based on quality, content, and punctuality of work submitted.  Late assignments lose one grade (A to B) for each week they are late. Assignments that are not turned in receive zero credit. The final grade is an average of all grades received during the semester.  Assignments are DUE at the end of class.


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.


If you are a student with a disability or believe you might have a disability that requires accommodations, please contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 617-353-3658 to coordinate any reasonable accommodation requests. ODS is located at 19 Deerfield Street, up on the second floor.


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.

Weight, Due Date and Learning



due date

learning progression



Sept 25

aesthetics, constructed, teamwork



Oct 2

aesthetics, technical, Using Boston as a classroom, constructed

Creative shutter


Oct 16

aesthetics, technical, Using Boston as a classroom, constructed



Oct 23

technical, aesthetics,



Oct 30

Documentary, technical, aesthetics



Nov 6

constructed aesthetics,



Nov 13

aesthetic, documentary, Using Boston as a classroom



Nov 20

constructed, aesthetics



Nov 28

documentary, Using Boston as a classroom

Photo Essay




Dec 4

Dec 11

documentary, Using Boston as a classroom,

online publishing


Writing skills are an important component your assignments. Captions are required, Captions for constructed assignments will include who, where and when. Captions for assignments that are documentary in nature will also answer the questions: ‘what and why’. 

Grades are based on quality, content, and punctuality of work submitted.  

Late assignments lose one grade (A to B) for each week they are late. Assignments not turned in receive zero credit. The final grade is an average of all grades received during the semester.  Assignments are DUE at the end of class.

Each assignment will be graded on the following:

  •        Technical (40%):    Camera (exposure) settings and focus. Toning adjustments      and sharpening.
  •       Demonstration of assignment concept (40%)
  •       Captioning and metadata (20%)

Blogs are graded on two galleries (best work and photo story); about me page; posts of all assignments, use of tags and categories. Above rubrics still apply.

Percentage based grade scale

A: 93-100

B+: 87-89.99

C+: 77-79.99

D: 60-69.99

F: 0-59.99

A-: 90-92.99

B: 83-86.99

C: 73- 76.99


B-: 80-82.99

C-: 70-72.99


GPA conversion






















After finishing 11 assignments, students will be able to:

  • Shoot portraits, freeze action, create motion through panning technique, photograph incident and reflective light at night with a tripod, and use a flash.
  • Produce well-toned, tagged images and publish them on their own blog.
  • Produce well-framed, strongly composed images that are properly exposed with good use of lighting.  Work at industry standards. 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 photojournalism.
  • Gain photographic visual literacy, with the ability to deconstruct how an image was created and to better understand a photographic manipulations, biases, and narrative.
  • Develop a strong visual awareness and strong observational skills.

Download syllabus JO305B1_fall2018