In preparation for our classes, you will be given weekly homework assignments consisting of readings, YouTube videos, and individual photo shoots with photo submissions to the class for discussion. Classroom format will consist of presentations of different photography topics and discussing the participants’ submitted photos.  Photo shoots will be done on your own.  Details of the shoots will be communicated in class, with suggested subjects and locations for each assignment.
Note that there is an optional short Zoom meeting session scheduled for Thursday, September 10 at 1:00 PM for anyone who has not used the Zoom video conferencing software before.  The purpose of this session is to make sure everyone is able to login to Zoom successfully and use the meeting attendee screen controls. If you are unable to attend this session, it’s not a problem.  You will be emailed a Zoom link 24 hours prior to the event.


(Click on the following link for a printable PDF version of the calendar:  Beyond the Snapshot Calendar_Fall 2020)


Pre-Assignment for First Class – Due Tuesday, September 15 by 5PM

By Tuesday evening, September 15th, please email 3 of your favorite photos to us that you have taken of any subject that you like, e.g., landscape, portraits, nature, street photography, abstracts, etc.


Class #1 – Thursday, September 17

Topics: Photography and seeing / How do we find our photographic vision? / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (September 24) Class

Explore the ordinary

  • Rest and explore your surroundings for about 15-20 minutes before choosing your subject to photograph. Choose something that catches your attention while exploring.
  • Choose one of the following images: Garbage dumpster, Car, Section of a sidewalk, Parking meter, Wall, Fire hydrant,  or Doorway.
    Or choose something else your prefer to photograph.
  • Create at least 10 photos of one subject that are thematic and cohesive.
  • Send us 3 images (the first image, last image, and your favorite image – please label each image).

Purpose of exercise: Go beyond limiting your ideas of interesting and boring and find new perceptions.

Think of Edward Weston’s Peppers in Black and White!

Class #2 – Thursday, September 24

Topics: Rules of composition / When do we use the rules and when do we create new ones / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (October 1) Class

Exploring the energy

  • Take at least 10 images and when you return home try experimenting with a variety of ways of cropping (using your cropping tool in your photo software) or composing. (If you need help with your cropping tool, please email one of us and we can help).
  • Ask yourself: where is the energy in the image?  In what ways can I  crop that emphasize the energy?  Does the crop help draw the eye in and through the image?
  • Send 2 pictures of cropped photos (before and after).
  • Send 1 picture you previously took that you like – did you follow the rules of composition? Did it work or not work? What would you change and why? Tell us about your challenges.

Purpose of exercise: How a photograph is organized or composed will affect its visual power and it’s meaning. Also, how does the rules of composition affect your image?

Class #3 – Thursday, October 1

Topics: Composing with light and color/ Review Student Images

Homework for Next (October 8) Class

1. Exploring Color

  • Capture color as your first goal. Keep a narrow focus only on color and free from any association (look at colors rather than objects – see the redness of red and blueness of blue without superimposing anything on them. Try to get in close and do not include anything extra. Look with open eyes. Photograph what attracted you.
  • Things not to do: 1) do not take photos that are black, white, gray or beige. look for bold, vivid colors; 2) do not shoot graffiti or graphic designs; 3) do not shoot words or letters or numbers; and 4) do not shoot flowers.
  • Get in close so that you can see what attracted you.
  • When you are attracted to a color, stop and examine what attracted you to the color. Next look through your viewfinder and ask yourself if that is what attracted you.
  • Examine whether it is a vertical or horizontal perspective and take a shot.
  • Remember, if you are struggling to take a picture or you lose track of what attracted you, walk away and start over.
  • Send 2 color images

Purpose of exercise: this exercise emphasizes color.

2. Exploring Light

  • Choose 1 subject and photograph it in different light situations. Try to spend at least 20 – 30 minutes photographing your images. You may want to take the pictures at different times of the day.
  • See the different feelings from the different lighting. See what lighting best expresses your intent. Vary the light from different directions by either moving the object or light source.
  • Explore whether lighting the subject in different ways suggested different interpretations of the image
  • Send us 2 light photos that best express your intent.

Purpose of exercise: this exercise emphasizes 1) light as an essential element of composition and the powerful impact of light on how and what we see. Explore different options.

Class #4 – Thursday, October 8

Topics: Examining the Great Photographers and explore their creative imagery  / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (October 15) Class

Examining Great Photographers

  • Choose a Great Photographer and explore someone who inspires you. (You may choose a photographer from the list provided, or if you prefer, you may choose someone who inspires you. Try taking pictures using some of their ideas that have inspired you. You may want to look beyond individual images and study their work in more detail. See how their images work together.

Send us 3 images using some of their ideas that inspired you and how they influence you and your personal vision.

Great Photographers to Choose From (or pick someone who inspires you)

  1. Sebastiao Salgado                                   12. Alfred Stieglitz
  2. Annie Lebowtiz                                       13. Edward Weston
  3. Richard Avedon                                      14. Imogen Cunningham
  4. Elliott Erwitt                                            15. Walker Evans
  5. Vivian Maier                                            16. Robert Capa
  6. Yousof Karsh                                           17. Roy Decardeva
  7. Steve McCurry                                        18. Henri Cartier Bresson
  8. Robert Frank                                           19. Diane Arbus
  9. Gary Winogrand                                     20. Margaret Bourke White
  10. Art Wolfe                                                 21. Josef Sudah
  11. Phillip Halsman                                     22. Consuelo Kamagu

Youtube Videos to Watch

Ansel Adams – Art of Photography:

Margaret Bourke White – The Great Artists:

Class #5 – Thursday, October 15

Topics: Exploring Abstraction / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (October 22) Class

Exploring Abstraction

  • Choose a subject (object in nature, an animal, person) and photograph the subject in a way in which the image becomes obscure and becomes an abstraction. You may want to move in closer and photograph fragments or move the subject from the context or work with lighting.
  • Have the subject remain abstract but contain enough clues to its identity. Look at the image from all angles and notice what happens.
  • Send us 3 images.

Purpose of the exercise: Since we tend to take the familiar for granted, this will give you the opportunity to find mystery in the familiar.


Class #6 – Thursday, October 22

Topics: Contemplations on a Theme: Telling a story – What do you find inspiring? / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (October 29) Class

Create a story and share your vision

  • Create a story and choose a topic for yourself. (ex. graduations, children playing, pets, flowers/gardens, the current environment, buildings, beaches, reflections or any other topic you prefer.)
  • Using the tools we explored, take 4-6 photographs and create your personal story.
  • Before you share your ideas through your work, go through the photos and find those that have the elements in the pictures that tell the story.
  • Also examine your photos – did you follow the rules of composition? Did it work or not work? What would you change and why?

Send us 4 photos that communicate your vision

To Read

How to tell a story with photography:


Class #7 – Thursday, October 29

Topics: Review Student Images / Slide Show of all images / Wrap up