Monday, April 8, 2019

Project 6 Cinemagraph

For this assignment, you will produce a cinemagraph, which are still photographs where minor and looped movement occurs.  Cinemagraphs are usually published in the GIF format, becuase it is an image format that can store a looped animation while displayed on the web like an image (meaning it requires no plug in to play, nor does it have playback controls like a video would).  It creates an interesting inbetween effect where the image is not quite a photo and not quite a video.

We will be using this tutorial in class, however there are others out there.

Out of class, take a short video of yourself or something moving. Have the video file ready for class on Wednesday April 10th. Due end of the day Wednesday, email to me the final gif file...(flickr doesnt seem to support them)

Do not do anything too complicated with the movement, try to make it so one aspect of the image can be isolated without anything else interfering.  Try a couple different scenarios. You MUST MUST MUST have a stable camera set up with a tripod or something.

Then we will take the video and create the cinemagraph in photoshop.  You will be working on the cinagraph itself on Wednesday in class April 10th.

Some helpful hints and tips:
  • Remember that for this sort of GIF, you want to show some sort of subtle movement; you want to create the intrigue of “what a nice photo—whoa, it moves!!”
  • Besides showing some movement, you also want to make sure you have something in your scene that stays consistent to contrast and emphasize that movement.
  • Try to think of a scene or movement that would be fairly easy to loop since your final GIF will be set to loop forever.
  • Your scene can involve a person but it doesn’t necessarily have to.

Examples are easy to find...

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Project 5 Uncanny Valley

"The concept of the uncanny valley suggests humanoid objects which appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit uncanny, or strangely familiar, feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers."

"uncanny: having or seeming to have a supernatural or inexplicable basis; beyond the ordinary or normal; extraordinary"

This next assignment is based off the word uncanny.  You are to construct one image that looks completely realistic at first glance but shows elements of an uncanny presence, or impossible, spiritual, or surreal situation. 

You may use Photoshop to composite your image from your own source material.  You must use all your own images, nothing drawn from the internet. 

You will present your one image to the class finished at the start of class, April 8th.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Final Book Project

As of now you should begin focusing and shooting for your final. Your final should be an exploration of a topic that you select that you can invest time and research towards. This will be your homework for the rest of the year, and I expect the work to reflect the quality of a project that has been worked on and refined as much as possible. Every image turned in should be amongst your best work, and the photos should work together cohesively to explicitly illustrate your ideas contained in your research.

You will be designing a book in Blurb that you will create and publish. Your book may be a narrative of some kind, a documentary work, have text or not, whatever you like…but I do want you to consider the wide appeal of this book. If you want to make a book about your family or your friends partying, then you must consider adding enough content to make it interesting enough to catch the casual viewer.

What is due?

You must have your Blurb book sent to be printed by the last day of class (May 2nd). Your blurb book must have a minimum of 25 photos. For the final in this class we will meet and go over your book design before you send it in to be printed. On 5/2 you must also turn in a folder of your final project photos. This can be done through the cloud, or on disc, or you can just copy your files on my lab computer when attending the final class day. This project is worth 500 points.  The final book is not the only thing you will be graded on. You will be expected to shoot every week and participate in class discussions for full credit on this project.

The schedule....

1. You are to create a short paper (500 word minimum)  by April 1st on what you plan on doing for your final project. This paper should clearly state the objective of your project, possible shooting strategies and locations, technical requests, and about a paragraph of historical research that must cite at least two photographers whose work/ideas somehow parallels yours. You may use any source to find photographers, but I recommend Lensculture.  I am not going to stress perfect grammar or style, although I expect a paper written at least at high school level and readable. This is worth 50 points.

2. Weekly Flickr Progress Reports: You will be expected to upload at least 25 images a week on your assigned topic. These must be uploaded by the end of the day on Monday (4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29)
These check ups are worth 50 points.  They must be done on time (by 11:59pm on Monday) or no credit will be awarded.  I reserve the right to give partial or no credit if I decide the images you take are not geared towards your final project abstract.

3. We will have an inclass group discussion/critique of your work on Wednesday 4/17. Attendance and participation in this discussion is worth 50 points.

4. Final Critique: The final class day will be May 1st.  You must turn in a folder to me of your book images, and I must have proof that you have paid for your book.  (printed receipt would work).  Come to class that day and turn in your photos and receipt.

Your book will most likely not be ready for the final in terms of being printed, so all I need to see is the receipt you have created the Blurb file and have sent it off to be printed.  You may ship it to your home address.


This project is worth 500 points. Breakdown: 200 points for the final work, 200 points for the check ups, 50 points for the abstract and 50 points for participating at the critique.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Photo class cancelled Wednesday 3/20

I have to be out of town today so there will be no class.  See you next Monday

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Project 4 In Class Assignment - 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 receive a grade bump on an assignment or a free absence. 

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 3/4 1pm 


Monday 3/4 2:30pm 


Wednesday 3/6 1pm


Wednesday 3/6 2:30pm


Portrait Lighting Guide

Homemade Lighting Setups

Studio three point lighting video

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Project 4 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 three 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 (2/27) More info coming...
  3. In class studio lighting assignment (1 final photo): portrait taken on either 3/4 or 3/6 with the studio strobe lights in the Digital Media Studies Lab in the Grant Building room 240.   We will be using the green screen and putting in different backgrounds in photoshop when we meet as a class on 3/18 after spring break.  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 3/18. 


Part two of this assignment will be done in class on Monday 3/4 or Wednesday 3/6, 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 2/27. 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, February 4, 2019

Locations Picked so far...

Abigail - Bisque River
Brittany - Mineral Wells Hotels
Chelsea - Cora Courthouse, Comanche
Claire - Claire Hotel, Glenn Rose
Dan - Indian Gap
Hunter - Beattie, TX
Jeffery - Clairette Cemetary
Kaitlinn - Dinosaur Valley Park
Kalie - Hippodrome Theater
Kodi - Alico Building
Miranda - Bluff Dale
Shannon - Lake Mineral Wells Park
Wesley - Indian Gap

Project 3 Landscape Study

For this assignment you will serve as photojournalist and artist.  I (your instructor) will be the photo editor, and you will be the photojournalist working on the  assignment entitled "The Cross Timbers outside Stephenville”.

What/How do I turn this in?

Part 1: Seek approval of your idea through me in class, no more than 2 people are allowed per location. Turn in a one page abstract of where you will be shooting to your instructor via email before the end of the day Wednesday, Feb. the 5th.  Must be at least one page and include the basic historical importance of the area and how you plan to describe that through images.  (50 points)

Part 2: You will turn in 10 images (minimum) to Flickr in a set entitled "project 3" by the end of the day Monday, Feb 18th. (100 points)

Part 3: You will do a 10-minute presentation of your work in class on Wednesday, Feb 19th based off the subject you choose.  Your presentation should include a Powerpoint slideshow along with relevant historical data to supplement your images.  You will be graded based on the quality of your presentation's research and the engagement level you have with the work.  You are required to have at least two CREDITED sources in your presentation, be it a book, magazine, website, or interview.  (50 points)

Why are we doing this?

I want you to think about the details in your photographs that tell the story, that imply the narrative of a place. Photographers must know their subject before and after they shoot it, and sometimes it requires research, and knowledge of a place. Even historians are constructing a narrative with words of a place. Maybe it is about the history of a place, maybe it is more your own personal encounter with history that is the true story. What information can you put in your photograph that makes more than just a random field, or barn? Think about the details that set the scene of the story you want to tell. If there is an interesting event going on there, Like the Commanche Pow Wow, than document that.  You will also be learning how to shoot in available light.  

Possible locations

Who was George Bernard Erath? What is up with those wind turbines popping up in the Northwest? Every actually stop at a Texas roadside marker? Where did people see the aliens? How did people migrate here? Where does the railroad go and how was it used? Why is Thurber a ghost town? Where is the chalk on Chalk Mountain? Why is there a headless woman haunting Alexander, TX? What's the hub boob about the strip club in Proctor? Where is the biggest rocking chair in the United States? What do people do on a Saturday night in Morgan Mill? Where is their the grave of an unidentified girl in Silver Spring? Who is Dale and how can you tell he is bluffing in poker in Bluff Dale? Where does the roller derby team play? What goes on in Comanche, Deleon, etc...etc...

Apps to help you when you are shooting on the field

The Photographers Ephemeris

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday videos

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Monday, January 28, 2019

Project 2 Exposure Checklist

This assignment comes in 3 parts, each one covering an important aspect of camera exposure. Each part will be due the next class

Part 1 Aperture (30 points)
Explore the aperture settings on your camera. Take 6 images, creatively exploring your camera's aperture settings. You can use either aperture priority or if you are comfortable the manual setting. If your camera has limited option setting try using the cameras presets. The objective of this assignment is to become familiar with how aperture affects your images and depth of field. 1 image of a closseup subject using a small aperture (ex. f/2 to f/4)

1 image of a far subject using small aperture (ex. f/2 to f/4)
1 image of closeup subject using large aperture (ex. f/16 - f/22)
1 image of a far subject using a large aperture (f/16 - f/22)
1 image demonstrating shallow depth of field
1 image demonstrating deep depth of field

Bring these images to class Wednesday 1/30

Part 2 Shutter Speed (30 points)
This part of the assignment is meant to explore creatively shutter speed control in your camera. Set your camera to shutter priority mode, or choose from the presets that best represent shutter speed control, and take 6 images changing the shutter speed control. Explore and creatively capture the effects shutter control will create. To best understand how shutter work make notes on the scene light, the subject, and the aperture. Take as many pictures as you like, the more, the easier to edit the ones you like the best. Submit 6 images that best capture these situations:

1 image slow shutter fast moving subject. (Ex. lower then 1/8s)
1 image slow shutter slow moving subject. (Ex. lower then 1/8s)
1 image fast shutter fast moving subject. (Ex. higher then 1/250s)
1 image fast shutter slow moving subject. (Ex. higher then 1/250s)
1 image blurring to show motion.
1 image panning to show motion.

If you have camera only with presets, try using the presets capturing fast and slow moving subject to see if you can simulate some of th eshutter effects. (Ex. portrait or indoor preset for fast moving subject; or sports preset for slow moving subject.) 

Bring these images to class Monday 2/4

Part 3 Review

Take an additional 10 images, documenting your home.  Consider your most successful attempts at playing with your exposure, and replicate them here to make interesting images that show us a new look at the place you know best.  If you struggle with any of the exposure times, try putting your camera on a tripod or changing the ISO to get a more forgiving exposure time.  

Bring these images to class Monday 2/4

Depth of field apps for your phone

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Project 1: Scavenger Hunt

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

'it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice at something to be good at it" - Malcolm Gladwell

For our first project, you will be given a list of 25 words or phrases. You must create a photograph for EACH word/phrase. You will be graded on concept and completion, composition/technique, and creative approaches to each response. 

Shoot a MINIMUM of 10 exposures for EACH WORD. This doesn’t mean that all 10 exposures have to be masterpieces, or 10 unique and different images. The point of asking you to do this is to get you used to making lots of photographs, and to encourage you to try many things when brainstorming how to photograph your idea. Try a couple of different ideas; don’t just make one photograph for your word and move on. 

What is due? 250 exposures due in class Wednesday Jan 23rd.  Bring your camera with the images on them

If you are feeling stuck, try making a “word map” for each word or phrase. I always start with the definition of a word/phrase first. We will draw one together in class.

Here are your words:

1. Unexpected
2. Lines
3. Sharp
4. Blue
5. Hard
6. Round
7. Fabric
8. Busy
9. Smelly
10. Beautiful
11. Translucent
12. Wrong
13. Monochromatic (but not black and white)
14. Tiny
15. Something that you love
16. Veins
17. Framed
18. Wet
19. Young
20. Old
21. Tilted
22. Silhouette
23. Cold
24. Giant
        25.   Something that you Fear

You may immediately have an idea for each word....I want you to avoid that one and consider your second or third ideas. Most of us will have the same initial idea when approaching a theme or idea for a photograph. this idea will likely end up being cliche and unoriginal. Think hard about how to approach your word/phrase creatively. Think of your idea as an onion. Your first idea is the outer layer. I want you to peel back the layers to get to the center—your unique, considered idea.

This means that it takes a lot of practice and perseverance to develop your own eye as a photographer and artist. Don’t cheat yourself by not allowing enough time to try new things and experiment.

Photo Compisition Tips

20 Composition Techniques That Will Improve Your Photos - PetaPixel

Photo 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 the five things you like to photograph most, or see in photographs? 7. What are at least five things you don't like to photograph, or see in photographs? 8. right now, take a selfie, or ask a partner to take a portrait. Feel free to find an interesting background. Cut and paste this into your email service that you use regularly and send it to with the selfie attached

Class Syllabus Spring 2019

“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 50 plus images a week, and will catalog those images. 
  • You will become technically proficient with the workings of your camera.
  • You will become proficient with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop on the Mac.
  • You will learn about the history of photography as an art, be able to exam and critique the work of yourself and others, and you will learn how to effectively communicate your ideas both visually and verbally.


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. A subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud is not required but recommended.
  1. A working digital camera (A digital SLR with removable lenses, manual settings, and shoots in an uncompressed digital format 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.)
  2. Memory card for camera, at least 8 gig
  3. 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.
  4. Final Project Printing – to be announced

The estimated cost for this course will be around 50 - 100 dollars (if you already own a camera)


Schedule Subject to Change

Week 1 intro to camera function and digital processing, scavenger hunt project
Week 2 – composition, digital photo editing, manual camera settings, exposure checklist
Week 3 – pixels and digital output, photography history 101, archival techniques, composition
Week 4 – landscape photography, advanced digital output landscape 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
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. More than 6 absences is an automatic fail. 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. 

This is a list of Projects from last year that we might be doing in this class (tentatively )
  1. Scavenger hunt project
  2. Exposure checklist, perform a list of manual exposure tricks
  3. Studio Lighting Assignment, perform a series of works exploring lighting techniques
  4. Landscape/Photojournalist Assignment, explore a topic related to history and place
  5. Mimic the work of a famous photographer
  6. Night photography excercise
  7. Narrative Assignment, create a series that tells a story
  8. Final Book Project, create a self directed body of work that will printed and bounded.

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?

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:  Nikon D5000 Digital SLR Camera, Canon Digital Rebel SLR Cameras, Portable Studio Lighting Kit, Strobe Flashes, Tripods, Video Cameras, and more. 

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.


Tarleton State University expects its students to maintain high standards of personal and scholarly conduct.  Students guilty of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary action.  Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on an examination or other academic work, plagiarism, collusion, and the abuse of resource materials.  The faculty member is responsible for initiating action for each case of academic dishonesty that occurs in his or her class.

Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person’s materials or images as one’s own), is impermissible and a violation of academic honesty. Turning in work made before this class, or from other classes, is also a violation of academic honesty. Disciplinary action may be taken beyond the Department of Fine Arts.  All work turned in for this class must have been made during this class!


It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities  Act (  and other applicable laws. If you are a student with a disability seeking accommodations for this course, please contact the Center for Access and Academic Testing, at 254.968.9400 or The office is located in Math 201. More information can be found at 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