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, discussing the participants’ submitted photos,  and periodic group photo shoots.

Note that there is an optional “Camera Boot Camp” session scheduled for Thursday, March 5 from 2:15 to 4:15 PM at the Temple for anyone that would like some extra help with their camera prior to the start of regular classes (see schedule below).



Pre-assignment (to be completed prior to 1st class on March 12)

Student Camera Survey

Please send via e-mail to coordinators answers to the following:

  1. Make and model of your camera?
  2. What photo editing software, if any, do you use?
  3. Do you have smartphone (e.g., iPhone, Samsung) or a table (iPad, Tab)?
  4. What type of computer do you use (Mac, Windows, etc.)?
  5. Will you be attending the optional Camera Boot Camp on March 5 (see below)?

Pre-Assignment (To be completed prior to 1st class on March 12)

  1. Camera Game: Do you know your camera game and cheat sheet (You will likely need to refer to your camera manual to complete this.)
  2. Understanding Exposure – The Exposure Triangle:
  3. Exposure Triangle Chart (a handy 1-page reference) – Exposure Triangle
  4. How to email Pictures: HOW TO EMAIL PICTURES
  5. Photos to submit for first class on March 12 :  By Wednesday evening March 11 at 6PM, please email to us 2-3 photos that you have taken  of any subject (landscape, portraits, nature, etc.).  Be ready to specifically identify the subject of your photo to  briefly discuss what message you are trying to convey.

Mail pictures to:,, and YOUR OWN EMAIL ADDRESS  (By copying yourself on the email, you can check right away for any problems and correct any mistakes.)

Note: Please bring your camera to the first class!!

** Optional Camera “Boot Camp” – Thursday, March 5 **

  • Optional Camera “Boot Camp” from 2:15-4:15 PM at the Temple, Room 7 (immediately following the Convocation)
    • If you are attending the Convocation, please come from 2:15-3:15
    • If you not attending the Convocation, come from 3:15-4:15
  • Purpose: For anyone that would like extra help with their camera prior to the first class.  If you are already comfortable with your camera or having taken the Boot Camp before, you need not attend.
  • The session is informal and intended to provide individual help



Class #1 – Thursday, March 26

Topic – Technical Part 1

  • Introductions & Course Overview
  • Introduction to the Exposure Triangle
  • Basic camera settings
  • Depth of Field
  • View & discuss submitted class pictures

Homework for Next Class (April 2)

Readings & Videos

  1. 9 Tips for Composing the Perfect Picture –
  2. Composing Good Photographs – composition-07may09 (feel free to skim through this material as it’s fairly long)

Images of “Great” Photographers to Submit – Download 2 images from the internet (do a Google search)  from one or more of the following list of photographers: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Ed Clark, Annie Leibovitz, Alfred Stieglitz, Herb Ritts, Diane Arbus, Art Wolfe, Vivian Maier or Steve McCurry  Be prepared to briefly explain in class (2 minutes maximum) why you picked each image and what makes it a great picture.

Other: Practice Shots

Please try to take some practice shots and immediately “chimp” each image as you take them, checking your playback information display for:  1. the highlights indicator (“blown out” or overexposed highlights are flashing) and 2. the histogram (no pixels should extend off the far left or the far right edge of the histogram).  Please also make sure the shooting gridlines are turned on in your viewfinder when you compose each shot.

We will not be reviewing these practice shots at the next class due to time constraints.

Class #2 – Thursday, April 2

Composition / Review Great Photographers Images

Homework for Next (April 9) Class

1.YouTube Videos to Watch

– ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture Explained –

If you have time also watch: Master Camera Settings: Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO – (This video is 17 minutes long but is worth watching to get you thinking about specific settings you need for different shooting scenarios.)

2. Photos to Submit – 2-3 images using one or more of the compositional techniques discussed in class. Please be prepared to briefly discuss how you composed each image. Remember to “chimp” your pictures after each, checking blinkies (highlights) and using histogram.

Class #3 – Thursday, April 9

Technical – Part 2 / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (April 16) Class

A. Submit 3 Photos:

1.  1 image that demonstrates background blur
Shoot in Aperture Priority and choose a wide aperture (i.e., a small number such as f/2.8 or f/3.5).  If it’s easier, shoot in Portrait mode to get the same effect.  Ideas: portrait of a person or a pet, a flower, any object.  Get close to the subject and leave lots of space behind it in order to create the most blur.  Zooming in on the subject will also increase the background blur.
2.  1 image of any moving subject that demonstrates motion blur (slow shutter speed) or freezes the action (fast shutter speed)
Shoot in Shutter Priority and experiment with different shutter speeds to get the effect you want.  Alternative: use the Sports mode (found directly on your mode dial or “Scene” option) to “freeze” movement.  Sports mode uses a fast shutter speed (the camera chooses the chooses settings).  Ideas: moving cars, bicycles, people, animals, water (out of your faucet), ceiling fan.
3.  1 other image of your choice, preferably demonstrating one of the concepts above

Feel free to submit any of your photos from the Aperture or Shutter Priority exercises below for your 3 submissions.  If find you can’t manage Aperture and Shutter priority just yet, then shoot whatever you want for the 3 photos.


B. This part is optional, but please do try the following Aperture and Shutter Priority Exercises:

B-1 Setup for Aperture Exercises (click on link for full instructions: Class #3 Aperture Exercises-compressed)

  1. Put your camera settings to Aperture Priority and Auto ISO
  2. Find 3 small, similarly sized objects to photograph (oranges, eggs, toy soldiers, salt shakers, drinking glasses, etc).
  3. Line them up in front of you on a table or a flat surface, one behind the other
  4. Put the first object 2 feet in front of your camera, the next 2 feet behind & slightly to the side of the first , and the third object 2 feet behind & slightly to the side of the second.
  5. You want to be able to focus on all three objects and take a photo of them without moving your camera
  6. A tripod is helpful but not necessary

First Aperture Exercise

With your camera set to Aperture priority, focus on the 1st object and take at least 3 shots, changing only the aperture each time.  Make sure you keep your focus point on the 1st object for all 3 shots.

  1. 1st shot – use the widest aperture you have, e.g. f/3.5 or larger (Note: you can also use Portrait mode for a wide aperture)
  2. 2nd shot – use a medium aperture, e.g., f/5.6
  3. 3rd shot – use your smallest aperture, e.g. f/8 or smaller (Note: you can also try using Landscape mode to get small aperture)

Second Aperture Exercise

Using the same set up of objects, take three more pictures using your widest aperture for each image while changing your focus point for each shot. (Note: If you aren’t comfortable using Aperture Priority, use Portrait mode for all 3 shots.)

  1. 1st shot – focus on first object (widest aperture)
  2. 2nd shot – focus on second object (widest aperture)
  3. 3rd shot – focus on third object (widest aperture)

B-2 Shutter Exercise (click on link for full instructions: Class #3 Shutter Exercise-compressed)

  1. Put your camera settings to Shutter Priority and Auto ISO (or use Sports mode to freeze action)
  2. Shoot a moving subject – a car, bicycle, bird, dog, grandchild, jogger, water, a ceiling fan – anything that has motion
  3. Start shooting at the highest shutter speed necessary to keep the subject sharp
  4. Take a 2nd shot with shutter speed 1/2 as fast, for example, from 1/500 to 1/250th
  5. Repeat this 1 or 2 more times, each time cutting the shutter speed in ½
  6. A tripod is helpful but not necessary. Note, though, that it will be difficult to hand hold your camera if the shutter speed is below about 1/50 or 1/60 of a second

Class #4 – Thursday, April 16

Shooting Creatively / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (April 23) Class

1. Submit 3 Photos:  Shoot anything you like but try to incorporate some of the creativity tips discussed in class, such as shooting abstractly or using motion blur (Intentional Camera Movement).  Continue to work on learning to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority for artistic affect.  Finally, don’t forget to chimp your images for sharpness & exposure and look at your blinkies and histogram!

2. YouTube Videos to Watch

–  6 Things You Should Be Doing When Editing Photos:
–  How To Edit Photos Anywhere With Snapseed:
3. Readings
–  Photo Editing Apps for Phones: Photo Editing Apps for Phones for 2019


Class #5 – Thursday, April 23  (Note: This is the last day of Passover)

Photo Editing Part I & Post-Processing / Review Student Images

Homework for Next Class

1. Readings

    • Peterson, Bryan.  “Chipping Away At The Scene.”  From Understanding Composition Field Guide, pages 230-241, Chapter 12. 3rd edition, Amphoto Books, 2012. – Chapt 12 Composition_Bryan Peterson

2. YouTube Videos to Watch

3. Submit 2 or 3 images

– Like last week, shoot anything you like.  You may want to continue to incorporate some of the creativity tips discussed in class, such as shooting abstractly or using motion blur (Intentional Camera Movement).  Continue to work on learning to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority for artistic affect.

– For each image, try to do some basic post-processing using your program of choice: tone adjustments (exposure, highlights, shadows, and contrast), saturation/vibrancy, cropping, and straightening/rotatating (if needed for straight horizontals & verticals)


Class #6 – Thursday, April 30

iPhone Photography / The Decisive Moment & Working the Scene / Review Student Images

Homework for Next (May 7) Class

Submit 2 Photos:

The homework is to really work the scene!

Pick one subject to shoot. It could be a person, a pet, a still life, a landscape  –  any subject that you want to use.

Next, take at least 10 photos of your subject. In each picture, try to vary your perspective: do a bird’s eye view, a worm’s eye view (from the ground), zoom in (for details), zoom out (big picture), use your legs to change your vantage point (back and forth, left and right).

If you’re taking a landscape picture, think about where you want your horizon line.  Do you want to mostly show the sky or is the sky uninteresting and the landscape the most important element in your composition.  Use framing if that’s available, e.g., shooting through tree branches or a hole in the fence.  Really challenge yourself to try to look at your subject in the most ways possible.

Pick what you think are the 2 best the pictures that you took to submit (please don’t submit all 10!).


Class #7 – Thursday, May 7

Snapseed & iPhone Photography – Part 2 /  Composition: Background & Perspective (video) / Review Student Images

Homework for the Last (May14) Class

Submit 2 Photos:

Choose any subject(s) to shoot. The sky’s the limit!

Feel free to incorporate ideas we’ve discussed during the semester for artistic effect:
– Try different Apertures for depth of field & background blur
– Change Shutter Speed for motion blur or to freeze action
Intentional Camera Motion & Zoom Blur
– Try interesting perspectives (high, low, zoom in, zoom out)
– Shoot abstractly

Use basic post-processing where appropriate (cropping, highlights, shadows, exposure, contrast, and saturation)

Class #8 – Thursday, May 14

Gear / A Brief Intro to Night Photography / Review Student Images / Slideshow of Course Images for Spring Semester  / “The Great Empty” Slideshow