Digital Photo I Syllabus 2015-2016

Digital Photo I Syllabus 2015-2016

Digital Photo I Syllabus 2015-2016

MVROP / Mission San Jose High School
Instructor: Bruce Farnsworth


Course website: In construction

Instructor’s professional website:

UC “f” credit approved


Course Description/Objectives

By the end of the year, students will have competencies in these areas:

From the MVROP “Course Flyer”

Study of digital photography encourages conceptual thinking and creativity. Explore hands on digital photography fundamentals to include: Adobe Photoshop, lighting, set design, studio configuration, camera operation, software interfaces, color management, photo editing, and compositing.

Course description from Mr. Farnsworth, Instructor:

Part One of the course provides fundamental competencies in digital camera, dSLR and cellphone camera use, photographic design, working practices and digital manipulation. Students will become conversant in the making, uploading and editing their work in a professional workflow. Participants will learn strategies for making better photographs of people in a variety of settings. Students will demonstrate understanding of photographic design and get hands-on experience with a range of equipment such cameras, lenses, strobes, scanners, printers and image capture devices. Many of the assignments in semester one are exploratory, offering practice of new techniques with grading based as much on effort as final product.

Part Two of the course will move towards specialized techniques for photography in industrial, professional and media settings and the development of a personal portfolio. Students will develop skills of the professional marketplace. There will be increased emphasis placed on larger personal projects to meet specific goals and the use of visual arts concepts and terms to describe, refine and present work.

Students will be introduced to all aspects of the photography industry such as selecting/testing/maintaining equipment, developing a market segment, image-making, editorial workflow, intellectual property and copyright, marketing/social media/networking, photography website design and preparing/submitting/pricing/selling work. Students will be exposed to hands-on skills in commercial photography, including use of 360-degree views, high-speed/intervalometers, photomicrography, museum/conservation methods, product photography, and other areas.

Students will produce a portfolio of their photography, complete a resume, write a letter of intent for employment, and complete an employment or internship application. In coordination with his technical advisors, Mr. Farnsworth will be developing select opportunities for student internships in the second semester and following the course.

PHOTOGRAPHY is Visual Learning

I want my students to develop critical thinking skills as they learn to conceive, compose and refine visual images, and they will expand their visual literacy as they reflect on the outcomes of their work using the language of the visual arts. Students will investigate the work of other artists, participate in art-based critiques and prepare work for presentation, publication, contests and/or local exhibits.

Several investigations support the impact of photography study in improving

cognitive skills across the curricula. Furthermore, in today’s marketplace, employees can attain a competitive advantage in professional internships and career positions if they can also contributions ideas that are illustrative and creative (“right-brain”) in nature.

Photography in your child’s life

Today, many teenagers are eager to improve their photography and discover new ways to create and share their images. Building on that enthusiasm, my goal is to help students identify their photographic interests and prepare them for career and technical arenas where advanced skills can give them a competitive edge.

Students will begin with the foundations. Early studies will include the principles of design and photographic composition. We will survey the growth of digital photography and discuss its contributions to society. The curriculum for MVROP’s Digital Photography I adheres to both the California State Content Standards for the Visual Arts and follows current trends in the applications of photography in industry.

Career & Technical Education: A Professional Orientation

Digital photography and imaging are integral to the hi-tech industries of the three districts we serve, the Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. These uses relate to patent development, documentation of production workflows, manufacturing analysis, engineering processes, product design, publicity, advertising and media.

For this course, I will draw on my professional background as an editorial and documentary photographer as I encourage students to adopt a working approach that strives for both technical precision and aesthetically pleasing images. My feature and assignment credits include such magazines as National Geographic and Smithsonian and I will bring these editorial standards to the classroom at Mission San Jose. Students will make use of professional studio spaces and learn the same workflow I use to edit my professional work, using Adobe software (Bridge, Photoshop and Lightroom) as the facilities are renovated on campus.

In all student project work, I weave in relevant discussions of the ethical, legal and practical implications of digital photography. Students will get advice for publishing their work. The program curriculum and offerings will be expanding with additional infrastructure to teach commercial photographic and studio strobe applications in the fields of industry/engineering, medical/health sciences, innovation and marketing. Plans are underway for guest speakers from the industry and one or two field trips are also in development. I place an emphasis on mentoring and coaching students so that they can produce images that are personally meaningful, technically precise, and aesthetically pleasing.

For program and curriculum design, and the selection of related equipment, software and didactic materials, I will rely heavily on an advisory panel familiar with applications of photography in the career and technical sectors of the region.


A variety of formats for learning will be offered to help students meet the course objectives, such as live demos, online tutorials, projects, lectures, hands-on exercises, mini-workshops, guest speakers, film/video, class presentations, group critiques, case studies and supplemental readings.

Again, one or more field trips are anticipated for the second semester of the course. More details, and the corresponding permission slips, will be provided so that parents/guardians (and other teachers) have adequate time to plan around these events.

Occasionally, students will study the work of another photographer on the Internet, in printed media, or on DVD/videos. The photographers’ works may include “nudity” or other content that may concern parents or guardians. A study of any photos studied in class is only for the purpose of studying a photographer’s style, viewpoint or technique. In the classroom, I encourage students to be respectful and tolerant, celebrate creativity and promote intellectual freedom.

Additional, a list of the instructional videos to be used in the classroom will be prepared for students to bring home to their parents/guardians prior to any showing.


Students who earn a C grade or higher will receive a Digital Photography I Certificate of Completion from the Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program (MVROP).

GRADE BREAKDOWN (approximate, unweighted and subject to change)

(Late assignments may be turned in for a 15% lower grade)

This course in digital photography relies heavily on both shared and private drive spaces established within the MVROP Google Drive storage. Lessons, tutorials, sample images and other information are provided to students in shared class-wide folders. Students create electronic folders for the storage and submission of assigned work which is shared privately with the instructor. Assignments, with instructions and due dates are also posted on the classroom each day in class.

  • 40%: Projects (commercial photography and studio projects, photo essays)
  • 40%: Daily Assignments (exercises, completion of Photoshop tutorials,

assignment prep activities, reflections, critiques)

  • 10%: Work ethic and attendance
  • 10%: Semester final exams

A+ / >100 / B+ / 87 / C+ / 75 / D+ / 67 / F / <60
A / 93 / B / 83 / C / 73 / D / 64
A- / 90 / B- / 80 / C- / 70 / D- / 60

Required Text

At this time, there is no required text to be purchased by students for the class, however instructions draws frequently from live demonstrations, selected readings and tutorials. Currently in development is a platform for online, computer-based of video-tutorials for Photoshop and Lightroom and related Adobe software.

Each student will need to bring a one-inch, three-ring binder and five sheet protectors for his/her portfolio project, which will commence at the beginning of the second semester. The portfolio will include a resume, completed job application, one outstanding work sample/project, and a certificate of completion for every student earning a grade of “C” or better.


Adobe Creative. (2014) Adobe Photoshop CS6: Classroom in a Book. San Jose, CA: Adobe Press.

Curtin, D. (2004). The Textbook of Digital Photography (3rd ed.) Marblehead, MA: Short Courses, Inc.

Freeman, M. (2004). Digital Photography Expert: Close-up Photography: The Definitive Guide for Serious Digital Photographers. Asheville, NC: Lark Books.

Klasey, J. (2002). Photo & Digital Imaging, Tinley Park, IL: Goodheart-Wilcox.

Lewis, G. (1994). Photojournalism: Content & technique (2nd ed.). NY: McGraw Hill.

Resnick, S., and Spritzer, J. (2013) D65’s Lightroom Workbook: Workflow, Not Workslow in Lightroom 5. Miami, FL: D65.

The majority of class readings are found in The Textbook of Digital Photography, selected references in class, or online. The following topics are among those that may be researched by students and for which they may need to go online and consult websites. Students will have specific instructions to find images that are relevant to current assignments.

  1. History of photography / historical images
  2. Tutorials on techniques and technical aspects
  3. Genres of photography
  4. Professional photography business practices
  5. Issues & trends in digital photography today
  6. Developing an area of specialty / marketable work
  7. Leading photographers in various genres and subjects
  8. Employment readiness and proper conduct

Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program

Career-Technical Education

Expected School-wide Learning Results (ESLR’s)

Upon successful completion of MVROP courses and programs, each student will demonstrate:

Workplace Basic Skills and Behaviors

  • Apply skills learned in class
  • Analyze information and make decisions
  • Communicate verbally and in writing
  • Work independently and as a team member in a diverse workplace
  • Work reliably, responsibly, and ethically

Career Technical Skills

  • Demonstrate occupational competencies
  • Use appropriate technology
  • Understand and practice occupational safety standards
  • Demonstrate an awareness of how a business or industry functions

Job Employment Skills

  • Develop a plan to achieve career goals
  • Use effective job search strategies
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of lifelong learning
Classroom Rules and Student Responsibilities:
  • Be on time and come prepared – students must be in their seat when the bell rings and stay in seat unless dismissed for other activities
  • NO FOOD OR DRINKS (with the exception of bottled water, capped and kept on the floor) will be allowed in MVROP buildings, classrooms or MVROP classes conducted at local high schools.
  • Safety and responsibility – Any behavior that endangers others, school facilities and equipment can result in permanent removal from the class.
  • Be respectful – Show respect to yourself, your peers and your teacher.
  • Cellular phones in class –School policy prohibits the use of cell phones in class. However, cellphone cameras will be allowed for appropriate photography and image uploading during assignments.
  • Hall pass / Restroom use – Restroom breaks are discouraged during the first and last 10 minutes of class. Students must carry the official photo pass of MSJHS Room E7 when authorized to be outside the classroom.

Note: All students are expected to be familiar with and follow the student policies of Mission San Jose High School (MSJHS), the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) and Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program (MVROP).

Attendance Policy

Mission Valley ROP’s mission is to prepare students for employment and career preparation via post-secondary educational opportunities. Just as in business and industry, where employees are expected to show up on time every day, MVROP students are expected to show up on time every day. If your home high school has no school, a minimum day, or an optional student event that may conflict with your Mission Valley ROP class, you are still expected to attend your Mission Valley ROP class.

Make up assignments will be given for excused absences only, which include medical, legal or bereavement circumstances. Failure to complete make up assignments will adversely affect your grade. If you are tardy or miss a Mission Valley ROP class multiple times, you will lose units of credit and your grade will be adversely affected. Be advised that credits are earned by attendance only and cannot be made up.

Students must arrive on time to class. Talking on a cell phone or having personal conversation outside the class is unproductive and will be considered a tardy. Tardiness reduces instructional time and is disruptive to the classroom. Tardies may prevent the student from receiving a course certificate.

Perfect attendance certificates will only be issued to students who have no absences or tardies. There are no exceptions.

Deficiency Notices

These are issued when it is evident that a student is in danger of failing or has earned a C-. In addition, parents will receive a telephone call and/or letter from the instructor.

“I” grades (Incomplete Grade)

“I” grades are issued on rare occasions and only for emergencies and special circumstances. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the work by the deadline stipulated in the Student Contract Form.

To receive an “I” grade, the student:

  • Must have demonstrated great effort in the class
  • Should have completed 80% of the class work;
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Must have good attendance, and positive work habits

Failure to submit incomplete work by the deadline will result in an automatic “F” letter grade. The instructor will not be responsible for reminding the student of his/her responsibilities.

Academic Honesty Policy (Cheating is prohibited)

Mission Valley ROP is committed to preparing students for the workforce by imparting both technical skills and business acumen. Mission Valley ROP does not condone cheating. Any student caught cheating on an exam or copying the work of another student will be given one warning and a failing grade on that assignment. Any subsequent incident will result in termination from his/her Mission Valley ROP program, a failing grade, and loss of credits.


There is no shop fee for Digital Photography I (2015-2016) as all equipment, software and replenishables will be provided to the students.

Student Cameras

Students are not required to purchase a digital camera as most assignments can be completed with dedicated classroom cameras or student cellphone cameras. However, if the student has existing access to a small digital camera for his or her assignments, that can certainly facilitate productivity.

Welcoming the donation of digital cameras

Should a family member, neighbor or coworker of a parent be upgrading a digital camera, the MVROP Digital Photography program at MSJHS will gladly accept a donated camera to increase the number of cameras available for students. NOTE: Donated cameras should be accompanied by the corresponding proprietary battery(ies), battery charger and perhaps one or more memory cards (with photographs transferred/removed prior to donation).

Students will benefit from the following materials for class

  • Digital Photo Camera
  • (Point & Shoot/DSLR - Whatever the family owns is fine)
  • One notebook for class notes and instructions.
  • Pen, pencil and highlighter
  • One folder - for handouts

Classroom printing of images

The classroom has two professional color printers capable of making prints to 11x17 inches on archival, gallery-quality digital inkjet printers.

Selected “exhibit quality” photos will be printed by instructor at no cost for classroom displays, photo shows, and competitions. I encourage students to make or record their images at the highest resolution possible in the event they may want to publish, exhibit or compete with their work.