Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Assigntment 3 - 1 Perfect Strangers

For this assignment you should meet in a crowded area of campus today with their camera. You are tasked with taking at least 5 portraits of perfect strangers that you will post on flickr and you are told to keep track of their names, keep track of how many times they are turned down and even the gender of those that turned you down. 
You should do this for exactly one hour.  Come back to class with your pictures and your notes.  Any photos you take will not be posted online to flickr (unless they say ok) and will only be seen in class.  
As an incentive, the two students with the highest number of stranger portraits in an hour receives a grade bump on an assignment, or a free absense. Posing two strangers together as a couple counts as 2 strangers since it is much more difficult to do.

Photo studio schedule

Please show up on the days you are required to show up.  Try not to be absent as you will miss essential parts of the assignment you wont be able to make up likely outside of class.  Bring your camera and any props you need.  You can change if you need to in a nearby restroom.  Class will meet at the Digital Media Studies lab, room 240 second floor of the grant building (on the new side, to the right of the writing center).  

If it is not your day to shoot, you don't have to come to class, but you should work on the homework portion of the assignment.

Monday 2/5 1pm 

Sara W. 

Monday 2/5 2:30pm 



Wednesday 2/7 1pm


Wednesday 2/7 2:30pm



Project 3 Self Portrait in Different Persona

The point of this assignment is to explore lighting through the art of portraiture. You will take some photos that illustrate your idea of what your created "self" could be. You will take a couple portraits of yourself in a persona of your choosing. Something that is either different than you or an extreme extension of what you would consider to be "you".

The assignment comes in two parts:
  1. Out of class assignment (5 final photos): environmental portrait.  Light source must not be overhead.  Use a sidelight, direct light source such as a setting sun or a lamp at home.  
  2. In class assignment (1 final photo): portrait taken on either 2/5 or 2/7 with the studio strobe lights in the Digital Media Studies Lab in the Grant Building room 240.  Meet in the normal computer lab (Art 110) first, and we will walk over.  We will be using the green screen and putting in different backgrounds in photoshop when we meet as a class on 2/12.  Bring your camera. 
What is due and when?

6 final and edited photos of the assignment to be posted on flickr by the end of class Monday 2/12. 


Part two of this assignment will be done in class on Monday 2/5, Wednesday 2/7, depending on which group you are in. Will split in groups for the inclass assignment, one group working in the studio while the others are give the day off to work on the second part. Groups will be announced in class 1/31. You will be working with Mr. Ireland and the studio lights. Come prepared with costumes and props, and bring your camera.  

Why am I making you do this?

Practically, so you learn how to use our lights and create interesting portraits. Whether for the sake of illustrating a point, concept, or for fun, artists have often photographed themselves in different guises and personas in an attempt to tap into the archetypal schizophrenia of the ego and the fantasy land where creativity resides. Your end goal is to transform yourself into a being which is mundane, glamorous, or otherworldly -- to tow the line of familiarity and fiction.


  • Use a tripod for indoor shots.  
  • Subject should be directly engaged with the viewer/audience—meaning that, in most cases, the main subject is looking directly at the camera. No casual snapshots or man-on-the-street photos where the subject is not aware you are taking their picture.
  • Remove distracting elements whenever possible—declutter whenever possible.
  • Try to pre-visualize the images taking into consideration the way environment, light, pose, clothing, formal considerations, and other factors contribute to the construction of individual identity.
  • Try to think beyond cliche identity

Monday, January 29, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Simple Guide to Depth of Field

Videos from Monday

Dan Carrillo: Daclotype from Patrick Richardson Wright on Vimeo.

Project 2 Exposure Checklist

Take a series of photos.... Make sure to follow the steps below. For the content, I want you to consider documenting your "home" or something like the 100 yard radius around your current home base.  Choose carefully and think creatively, as you have to stick to some rules here. Take at least one photo for each of the following steps below

1. Everything in the picture in focus (deep depth of field)
2. Sharp focus on the subject, but everything else out of focus (shallow depth of field)
3. Bokeh - In at least one photo, nothing at all should be in focus. It's hard to take a good looking photo where nothing is in focus - be creative!
4. Stop action (fast shutter speed) The main subject should be frozen in time, be creative in finding a solution.  
5. Blurred motion (slow shutter speed) The main subject of at least one photograph should be motion-blurred, either due to movement of the subject or movement of the camera.
6. Long exposure (more than one second, maybe low light)
7. Backlit subject (silhouette)
8.  At least one photo must be poorly exposed. That is, most of the image should be either very close to black (underexposed) or close to flat white due to oversaturation (overexposed)

at least 8 images due posted to flickr by the end of the day Monday the 29th

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday Lightroom Tutorials

General Lightroom Workflow
How Lightroom Catalogs work
Importing from Camera or Camera Card
Importing from Harddrive
Lightroom Keywords
Edit Photos in the Develop Module
Publishing to Flickr from Lightroom

Photo Intro Quiz

1. Name you prefer to be called
2. Camera (s) you will use during the semester
3. What is your major?
4. Have you used Lightroom or Photoshop extensively? 
5. Did you accomplish anything noteworthy over the break? 
6. What are at least five things you like to photograph, or see in photographs?
7. What are at least five things you don't like to photograph, or see in photographs?

Cut and paste this into your email service that you use regularly and send it to

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Project 1 A Day in the Life

Show a series of photographs that illustrate the day in the life of a subject of your choice.  You must take at least 50 photos to start with. Your subject could be you or include a model.  You must, through a series of photographs, illustrate a narrative that the viewer can identify as a whole day, so make sure to illustrate that in your work.  

The point of this assignment is to strengthen your compositional skills.  Utilize a strong focal point in each of your shots. You will take 50 photographs, and you must display an understanding of each compositional photo in at least one photo from the series.  You will be asked to label which strategy you used in Lightroom for each photo.  You must try all of the ones below.  

Direct Light Source (front, side, and back)
Unexpected or unnatural viewpoint Dutch Tilt
Creative use of Color
one image must be a selfie

When is it Due?

Due 50 pictures by the end of the day January 22nd (Monday).  Bring in your camera and your camera card, we will go over processing images in class.  

(photo by James Day)

Photo Compisition Tips

Course Syllabus - Spring 2018

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. “
Dorthea Lange


This class will introduce students to digital photography techniques and concepts. Technically, students will learn the proper use of digital cameras, basic and advanced techniques in Adobe Creative Cloud, and professional photographic printing.  Concurrently, students will gain an understanding of the cultural, conceptual and creative ramifications of digital imaging. 

While photography should be fun, it takes time to master the skills. It also takes times and effort to be out shooting with your camera to find the good shots. For that reason, this class requires a substantial amount of OUTSIDE time to be used for assignments. There is an enormous amount of information to learn about camera technique and design software.  The class will move quickly early on to cover all this information.  The culmination of this course is the final project presentation at the end of the semester. 


  • You will practice image composition by shooting around 50 plus images a week, and will catalog those images.  
  • You will become technically proficient with the workings of your camera, including manual exposure settings and light metering
  • You will become proficient with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop on the Mac.
  • You will learn how to critique photographs both technically, compositionally and by the strength of the concept. 
  • You will learn about the history of photography from its origins in science and chemistry to it's current status as an artform. 


Class time will involve:
a combination of lectures and discussions on pertinent issues within the medium
application demos and technical instruction
introduction to other photographers that significantly connect to class projects
field trips and on-location camera exercises
work time for projects
critiques of projects

Outside of class, homework will be mostly centered around shooting images for homework assignments.  The best way to improve in this medium is to shoot as much and as often as possible.  You are expected to work around 2 hours a week outside of class.


Text: There is no textbook.  Any required reading will be posted on the blog. However if you prefer to have a take home textbook, I recommend:  A Short Course in Digital Photography by Barbara London and Jim Stone and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classroom in a Book by John Evans. Http:// is a great site for adobe tutorials. Your own subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud is not required but recommended.
A working digital camera (A digital SLR with removable lenses, manual settings, and shoots in an uncompressed digital format is recommended, as it will give you the most versatility and you will be able to get better results easier.  You may use a point and shoot, but you are expected to understand the limitations of what your camera can do.  Please no phone cameras for everyday use.)
Memory card for camera, at least 8 gig
USB drive ALWAYS back-up your work, you may save things to your lab computer, however it is a public lab so anything is possible, and hard drive crashes are not a viable excuse for late work. 
Final Project Printing – to be announced

The estimated cost for this course will be around 50 - 100 dollars (without buying a camera)


Schedule Subject to Change (and it will)

Week 1 intro to camera function and digital processing, another point of view project
Week 2 – composition, digital photo editing, manual camera settings, lighting life project
Week 3 – pixels and digital output, photography history 101, archival techniques
Week 4 – landscape photography, advanced digital output home project
Week 5 – long exposure photography, night time project
Week 6 – narrative storytelling, photoshop compositing, narrative tableau project
Week 7 -  advanced photoshop compositions, large format printing
Week 8 – photojournalism 101, research strategies, photojournalism project 
Week 9 – preparing images for the web, photojournalism project presentations
Week 10 – abstract for final project, intro to studio lighting
Week 11 – studio (people,still life) shooting, studio project
Week 12 – mimic a famous photographer - research/assignment, mimic project
Week 13 advanced photo techniques, final project
Week 14 final project display (book, website presentation)


1.) Blog: All assignments and required source material will be posted online. Specific Xeroxed articles, tutorials and other online source material will be assigned and posted on the blog as the course progresses. 

2.) Attendance: mandatory at all class sessions. Class moves fast and it is extremely difficult to catch up unless you take responsibility and look up anything you missed. More than three absences (excused or unexcused, they are all the same) lower your final grade 1 grade down each absence. Come prepared for work in class or you will receive an absence. Since most class material is covered at the beginning of class, being notably tardy also counts as an absence. Checking Facebook during class lectures or videos will make you absent for the day.  

3) Projects: There will be seven or eight key assignments in this course. Every week there will be deadlines for those assignments. They are always due at the beginning of class on the deadline date.  Late assignments will not be accepted without approval from the instructor.  

4.) Critiques: Students are expected to participate in class critiques of works, both completed and in progress. As the term evolves, we will orient towards weekly progress critiques. Talking about your work and others is a crucial aspect of assessing whether your images communicates effectively.  

5.) Grading: each project is worth 100 points and will be graded by:
• FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS– 34%- does the project match the online description?
Did the photographer take enough images, are they presented correctly and on time? 
• CREATIVITY – 33%- originality of thought and expression.
Does the artwork show innovation and uniqueness? Did the artist solve the given assignment problem in an expected or unexpected way? 
• CRAFTSMANSHIP -– 33%- attention to detail.
Does the artist skillfully manipulate the images so they look their best? Are all details carefully finished and/or intentional-looking? 

The photography assignments will be due on critique day and graded based on technical (negative and print quality) and conceptual accomplishment (sophistication of idea, creativity, intelligence, thoroughness, and ability to represent an idea). Hard work, self-critique, and determination most often result in high quality work. Participation is a significant component of any visual arts class as it will be in this class. One of the best ways to learn about your work, directly or in relation to the work of others, is to have critical dialogue. This includes but is not limited to: spoken and or written participation during critique, paying attention during critique and lectures (not being on your phone or working on the computer during lecture, crit, or discussion), showing up for individual meetings, and utilizing open lab days.

6.) Equipment check out: A student may check out equipment that is available by the Fine Arts department.  You assume responsibility for the item and you are required to return it before the next scheduled class.  Some of the items we have are: Portable Studio Lighting Kit, Strobe Flashes, Tripods, Video Cameras, and more.  We cannot check out digital cameras for students for the whole class, you must have your own at your disposal.  

7.) Lab Etiquette: Always back up your work. Data loss—from a lost, fried and/or stolen hard drive, or satanic software - cannot be used as an excuse for late or missing work.

Students are not permitted to use the internet or any mobile devices during lectures or student presentations. Cell Phones must be turned off unless instructed otherwise.  You will be marked as absent if I see this rule being broken.  


Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person’s materials or ideas as one’s own), or doing work for another person who will receive academic credit are all impermissible. Turning in work made before this class, or from other classes, is also a violation of academic honesty.  All work turned in for this class must have been made during this class!  I can easily tell using the metadata in an image if your work is not yours, or was not produced during this class.  Breaking these rules may result in a zero point total for the project, and may also further impact your final grade in the course.  Disciplinary action may be taken beyond the Department of Fine Arts. 


It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (HYPERLINK "" other applicable laws. If you are a student with a disability seeking accommodations for this course, please contact Trina Geye, Director of Student Disability Services, at 254.968.9400 or HYPERLINK "" Student Disability Services is located in Math 201. More information can be found at HYPERLINK "" or in the University Catalog.


Please note that some of the photographs we might look at during this course may include nudity, be graphically violent or be politically provocative. Some individuals may find these images disturbing or even offensive. Such works are included because they presented important challenges to artistic traditions and conventions, to social mores, to standards of beauty and taste, and ultimately, to the definition and history of photography itself. Students will not be required to subscribe to any particular theory of the purpose and meaning of photography, nor will they be required to like all of the images shown. However, if you choose to take this course, you will be expected to understand the issues involved and why they are important. Critical thinking in all areas is something I believe in. I want students to be exposed to good work, I want my students to be able to grapple with difficult ideas, and I want them to develop their own sensitivities and skills. If you have any special concerns, please discuss them with me.

{ANY QUESTIONS????!!!!????}

As you've probably guessed, you will have to spend plenty of time in and outside of class shooting, editing, and printing. You should therefore photograph subjects that you consider important or have strong feelings towards. Your projects shouldn’t feel like busy work. Please do not become discouraged if you do not quickly grasp the ideas and techniques discussed in class - photography is a difficult and complex subject that is hard for many people. Making good art always takes longer than you think! Trust the process.

Apply yourself, work hard, develop your skills and exhibit individual growth and you will do very well in this class. I am here to help you succeed, so do not be afraid to ask any questions. I will always try my best to make myself available to interested students. Have fun, keep positive and be creative!

-Chris Ireland