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Digital Photography I   Fall 2013   

Art128 /DAR128   11517  14647   Weds  5:40 – 10:20 pm

Location: SANCAT Room CG09

Instructor:  Rae Strozzo


Campus Voicemail:  206-4699 ex. 8723

Office hours: by appointment

Class Blog:

Head of Photography Area:        Ann Simmons-Myers (Sam)                 206-6629

Head of Digital Arts:                   Dennis Landry                                         206-6840

Photography Lab Supervisor:        Karen Hymer-Thomson                    206-6911

Course Description and Objectives:


This class is a class emphasizing the technical and aesthetic issues of photography and how these qualities inform image content.

This class is an introduction to digital photography emphasizing the technical and aesthetic issues and how these qualities inform image content. The course includes history of still photography, applications of digital cameras, aspects of the digital medium, camera and computer equipment requirements, digital still camera, memory and file formats in digital still cameras, digital still camera lenses, proper exposure, light, color, and temperature, using depth of field, using shutter speed effects, proper use of digital photography, lighting for digital stills, elements of composition, how composition in-forms content, photographic rendering, photographic reality, outputting and publishing, portfolio preparation, and career options in digital photography.

The purpose of this class is to develop competency in the digital darkroom through lessons and projects that teach photography and Photoshop skills. These skills will then be applied to developing an expressive visual language. It is the goal of this class to make each student competent in the conceptual, aesthetic and technical aspects of digital photography. Each student will be encouraged to use digital photography to develop a personal vision as evidenced in his or her final portfolio.

Over the course of this semester, you will learn the technical necessities: how to operate a digital camera, manage the image files, and various ways to output the images. You will learn aesthetics and design concepts, lighting techniques, concepts about perspective and color, ways to control – correct – alter your image, and much more. All of these skills, techniques and concepts are of little use, in and of themselves, but combined they will be of great importance. They are the tools with which you will express your thoughts-ideas-feelings-concepts-agendas-opinions-emotions-beliefs. Technique supports aesthetics, aesthetics supports content.

Performance Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to do the following:

  • Identify historical development of various photographic still mediums.
  • Discuss the application of digital cameras in commercial, fine art, and other areas of photography.
  • Explain the theoretical and mechanical aspects of digital photography.
  • Analyze digital photography needs and determine what camera and computer equipment would be appropriate to meet those requirements.
  • Identify the various digital still cameras and specifications.
  • Identify various file formats and memory requirements in digital cameras.
  • Discuss various digital still camera lenses and lens specifications.
  • Demonstrate competencies with manually operated amateur and professional digital cameras, including proper use of basic functions such as aperture, shutter speeds, and light meter.
  • Describe the principles behind the use of the elements of light, color, and temperature.
  • Apply the use of depth of field as a compositional element that supports image content.
  • Apply the use of shutter speed effects as a compositional element that supports image content.
  • Identify the proper use of digital photography.
  • Demonstrate technical and artistic competencies of employing available light on location and studio lighting using a professional quality lighting studio.
  • Demonstrate the use of optical perspective as a compositional element that supports image content.
  • Develop visual literacy and critical analysis of photography as a commercial art and as a fine art.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in rendering form into a two-dimensional image.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in manipulating the illusion of three-dimensional space in a photographic work.
  • Output and publish final media to appropriate formats including prints, Compact Disk (CD), Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), and web pages.
  • Demonstrate skill development in portfolio building including visual demonstrations of technical and artistic competencies.
  • Research career options in digital photography.

Link to Pima course description and objectives

Instructional Materials  

  • Required Text:  Photography: The Essential Way (2008) Barbara London Jim Stone,  John Upton, ISBN-13:  9780136142768
  • Required Supplies: Students are strongly recommended to own or have access to a digital camera with manual exposure control and access to a computer with Photoshop. Professional cameras, computers and software, lighting equipment, and a studio will be provided. There will be additional supply costs in addition to course fees. This will be especially true for your portfolio. PLAN ACCORDINGLY!  You will also need a sketchbook, 
jumpdrive or external harddrive to save your class work.  Jump drives or external hard drives are REQUIRED for use in the digital lab.


  • Recommended Texts and Equipment:  
    • Launching the Imagination by Mary Stewart
    • The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton
    • Photoshop CS6 Classroom in a Book
    • How to Wow in Photoshop, CS6
    • Teach Yourself Visually Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Woolbridge)
    • Digital Camera with manual functions
    • Photoshop CS6 for pc or mac
    • photo quality printer (these start at around $100)
    • extra memory card for your camera
    • card reader
    • cds
    • cd holder
    • lens pen

* *Students are required to access the course homepage, the class blog, and to check their Pima email at least three times per week throughout the semester.

Visual Literacy:

This class is not just a class on technique. It is also a class about making and creating art. In the pursuit of artistic endeavors, it is important to learn about past photographic history and artists. It is also important to look at what current artists are making. This class will involve an art history component that includes lectures on photo history, slide discussions of artist works, and films and videos discussing contemporary artists and their work practices. We do not make photographs alone. We are in a world of image makers. Looking at other works fuels our visual vocabulary and understanding, serves as inspiration for the creation of work, and gives us a place for both dialog and discussion around issues in photography and in the broader world.

Please note: Some of the content of this course may be considered controversial. The class isn’t seeking to change your opinions but to broaden your understanding of what artists make work about. You will always be notified by the instructor when the content of the work includes controversial materials prior to the start of lecture.

This part of the class also includes concept development assignments designed to have students reach for what they want to say with their photography. Sketchbook assignments, journal assignments, and the required show attendance are a part of this portion of the class.


Class Blog:

***All assignments, class notes, important announcements, and class calendar and calendar changes will be posted to the class blog. It is the student’s responsibility to check the blog on a weekly basis to ensure that he/she is up to date on things that are happening in and due for class. A link to the blog as well as the syllabus can be found on the Course Homepage through MyPima. Course Homepage (you must activate Pima CC account). It is the student’s responsibility to download and print any materials from the homepage or blog for his/her needs.

If you miss class, check the blog for any assignments that you may have missed! The class is a hands on class, with demos, lectures, and student participation during every class. Students are responsible for all material delivered in each class. The class material and schedule will evolve out of the needs of the class throughout the semester; it is the student’s responsibility to know of these updates and revisions.

Contacting the Instructor:

I will accept emails at the provided address anytime. I try to check my email daily but please realize that I may not get back to you over weekends. PLEASE NOTE: You MUST contact me via your PIMA email. I cannot and will not respond to emails that are sent to me from any other email address.  Office hours are by appointment. You can also contact me via my school voicemail. Make sure that you leave the number that you gave me permission to return your call to so that I can call you back.  Email is the best way to make contact.

Policies and Procedures

Please read, understand and comply with the accompanying Photography Program and Digital Arts handout on policies and procedures. These policies, as well as any other policies posted elsewhere, or that develop over the semester, are binding.

These policies address requirements and procedures for using the photography program’s and Digital Art’s facilities and equipment. You will need to sign an agreement the you have read, understand, and will comply with the syllabus and the policies and procedures document.   These are also posted on the blog on the procedures page.


Classroom Procedures:

General Behavioral Expectations:  Students are expected to comply with the Code of Conduct. Infractions will be dealt with through formal or informal processes according to College policy. All students are expected to comply with safety rules for the course and will be asked to leave class for non-compliance.

Questions and comments regarding the class content being covered are always welcome. However, all comments are to address qualities of the work, or the techniques, under discussion. All discussion is to be polite and respectful. Personal comments about the artist/student/instructor are inappropriate and disruptive, as is engaging in private conversations or the discussion of other subjects. A student may be required to leave the class for disruptive behavior.

Student Rights and Responsibilities:  By enrolling  in this class, you have specific rights as well as specific responsibilities, a code of conduct, and a scholastic ethics code to follow while enrolled  at Pima Community College. These policies are listed in the current student Code of Conduct handbook on the Pima website.  Read the student Code of Conduct completely and refer to it when necessary. The pima web link is


•    CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: Cell phones and pagers are to be turned off. Text messaging and using personal computers for email or other work during class is not acceptable. You will be warned the first time that you are using your phone or headphones in class. After that, you will be counted absent for using those devices during class time. If the behavior persists, you may be subjected to further action.

Please inform instructor if you have a rare situation that requires you to leave your phone on vibrate.

Please read, understand and comply with the accompanying Photography Program Policies and Procedures.

  • Electronic devices: Electronic devises may only be used with instructor permission. Phone calls and texting are not permitted. Electronic devises may not be used during quizzes/exams.
  • Plagiarism/academic ethics:  Students must be able to show and explain the digital/darkroom processes used in creating work for all class assignments to the instructor. For written assignments, all assignments requiring source material must be sited in order to be graded. Any assignment failing to have proper citing. Students should use MLA style citation. All research done for this class, must be scholarly research. No Wikipedia or other random google citations will be accepted for work in this class.   Please see the  above link if further information is needed about the student code of conduct in this area.
  • USING COPYRIGHTED MATERIALS: Most of the instructional materials you will use in this course are copyright protected. Unless you buy the materials, you cannot download or copy them without the written permission of your instructor or the publisher of the materials. This includes websites you visit when completing assigned course work. Websites usually contain copyright protected material. Your visit to a website cannot include unauthorized downloading or copying, or attempts to bypass any security on the site or any payment system on the site. Please understand that there are serious penalties for the unauthorized copying or downloading of copyright protected materials. If you aren’t sure whether you can copy or download materials, please ask your instructor or a librarian.
  • Complaint ProcedureWhile most disagreements or discrepancies can be resolved directly  between individuals, if there are any complaints concerning individuals, grades or other situations that occur throughout the course, there are College procedures for how those are handled. For  more information please refer to

* See Policies and Procedures for equipment check out and financial responsibilities.

Printing:  The  digital lab will supply each student with 20 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, semi-gloss, luster or mat. Each student is allotted 20  8 ½ x 11 prints.  Each class will do a walk through of digital lab with Lab Aide or Lab Specialist after the second assignment is completed. You cannot print until you have done this.

****Lab Fees are Non-transferable. In other words, you cannot give you prints to other folks in class, nor can you take from other students.  You are also limited to 20 prints.  This includes test prints. Use them wisely!


  • I” Incomplete grade policy: A grade of “I” will be given only in extreme circumstances and must be approved by the department head. “I” automatically changes to an ”F “ after one year.
  • “W” Official withdrawal: Students may initiate withdrawal “W” grade from a course only up to 2/3 into the semester. The specific date is listed in the PCC Schedule of Classes and is announced early in the semester.  The instructor reserves the right to initiate a withdrawal of students with excessive absences at 45th day.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from this class by the College withdrawal date. Failure to do so may result in an “F” grade.


Assignments: For each assignment you turn in, your prints will be graded according to the following criteria:

    1. Work-flow – demonstration of skills and abilities in using hardware and software.
    2. Print Quality – no banding or other printing issues, use of PHOTO QUALITY PAPER
    3. Craftsmanship – Photographs are expected to demonstrate high quality craftsmanship including:, good exposures, and are well presented.
    4. Imagery – Imagery will demonstrate awareness and skillful use of lighting, space, and composition, to express an emotional, intellectual, and/or psychological reaction.

You will earn a letter grade for each assignment, including photographs, mid term exam and other assigned work.  Evaluation of photographs will be based on skill of technique, creativity, and progress displayed in the work.

Sketchbook assignments will be graded as follows:  Assignment fulfilled and on time = 100. Assignment fulfilled and turned in 1 class period late = 80.  Assignments not turned in by 2 class periods after due date = ZERO.  No make up work will be accepted for this portion of your assignments. All in class camera assignments will be critiqued and graded that day. They will count toward your sketchbook grades. These cannot be made up.

Artist and Design Journal will be graded as follows: Entries will be looked at as being on time, as fulfilling the photo and citation requirements, and as having met or not met the written requirements.  Portions not turned in by 1 class beyond the check date will receive a ZERO. No make ups will be granted  for these assignments. Entries should be typed, cited, and include images as directed at the time of the check dates.

Photoshop checks and In class photo and photoshop assignments will be graded the same day of class. If you are in attendance and complete the assignments you will receive a 100. If you are absent, you will miss this assignment and receive a zero. These assignments cannot be made up.

LATE WORK:  Late work, including late to critique: assignment drops one grade level and work must be turned by the beginning of the next class period. Work not turned in by the beginning of the next class period will be given a ZERO. Work is considered late if you are still printing in the digital lab during the start of the critique period! DO NOT turn in work to the art office without notifying me. This policy applies to all class work, not just critique assignments. Do not drop things into the drop folder from the digi lab and do not drop things into the drop folder on a day your are absent and NOT notify me. If I haven’t been told, you should assume I haven’t seen it and  the work is considered to be late.

  • Please remember that you will miss the benefit of having your work critiqued in addition to the grade penalty if you turn in photographs late.

You MUST show your work during at least 3 assignment critique (i.e. turn in a disk with all photoshop layers and/or out of camera file), as well as the final critique in order to pass this class. 

For an assignment to be on time and complete:

  1. images must be shown at critique or due date in the specified format
  2. the digital files must be at the start of critique for that assignment.
  3. Late work will receive a grade penalty as already specified.
  4. Each assignment will require a specific number of images, turning in fewer, or more, images will receive a grade penalty of one grade.
  5. Absolutely no work will be accepted after the start of the final critique.
  6. If you turn in work after being absent for ANY reason, you will lose points. Doctor’s excuses and other documentation is useful for me to have, but will not alter the fact that your work is handed in late.

Redos:  The grade on any assignment can be improved upon by submitting a “redo” up until the last class day prior to final critique.  A redo is a reshoot or reprint that shows that you can, and did, do better on your second try. Complete the current assignment first, and go back and redo as you can. Don’t get behind in the class.

Final Project:  You will earn a letter grade for your Final Project based on print quality, presentation and artistic merit.  This project will be 10 prints that all new work and not from old projects.  The work MUST be mounted or framed, and/or presented in a portfolio box or case.  Ring binders with plastic sleeves are NOT an acceptable format for final portfolio presentation. The work can be presented in another way as long as the planned presentation is discussed with me prior to the final and if that presentation makes sense with body of work. The final will be work that is all one theme or in a series. Students will be required to submit a proposal prior to completing the final and will be required to write an artist statement as a part of that work.

(NOTE:  You cannot pass this class if you do not turn in a final portfolio and attend the final critique and no late work will be accepted for the final).

All work must be done by the student during the course of the semester, and may not be used for another class.

Each assignment will require a specific number of images, turning in fewer images will receive a grade penalty. Anyone late to final critique will lose a letter grade. Anything received after 30 mins have passed in the final crit will NOT be graded.

The DATE for participation in Final Critique is in the syllabus and posted to blog as of the first night of class. Students are responsible for knowing their critique date from the point at which is posted.  Students must notify the instructor of conflicts with this date by the end of September. After that time, it is understood that students cannot ask for  accommodations around the final portfolio date unless there is an emergency or serious illness.  Holiday travel arrangements are NOT an emergency. Students cannot use not knowing their assigned crit date as an excuse to ask for accommodations.

Number of images for each class assignment:

Assignment 1 = two images  (digital files only)

Assignment 2 =  three images (digital files only)

Assignment 3  = four prints  (digital files to be handed in as well)

Assignment 4  = four prints  (digital files to be handed in as well)

Final Portfolio = 10 prints (or more) [and digital files to be handed in as well}


Attendance and Participation: Class participation and attendance is part of your grade.  Students must attend the entire class, participate, and follow all lab policies and procedures in order to earn the maximum points towards their final grade.  Points per class are earned as follows:

  • Attend class on time and remain for entire class
  • Follow all lab policies and procedures, including all safety policies
  • Participate in class discussions, critiques, lab activities:
    • During critiques, give other students honest feedback; follow lab policies; also, have work prepared for all classroom critiques at the beginning of class. These are all important factors in your classroom participation grade.
    • 3 times late to class = 1 absence
      • Tardiness beyond 15 minutes will be counted as absences.
      • You must stay in class for the full class time or you may be counted absent.
      • 2 absences and final grade may drop one grade level
      • Staying only for the first portion of class  only or coming in at break will result in a ½ absence
      • Missed critique will result in grade penalty
      • 3 absences or more may result in termination from the class
  • If emergency, illness, or required travel occurs during class time, please notify me through email.

•    Doctor’s notes do NOT change the attendance policy. You are given 3 absences in the event that life happens. Use them wisely. Even if you give me an excuse, your absences count.

•    Students are allowed to make up one absence during the semester. Please talk to the instructor if you are in need of this option. Students will also be allowed opportunities for extra credit that will be added to students’ sketchbook and photoshop assignment grades.

 Attendance grades will be calculated as follows: You begin class with a 100. For every tardy, you lose 2 points off of this grade. For every absence after the first, you lose 5 points.  Your level of participation will also be recorded and will be reflected in the attendance and participation grade here.

If you stop coming, and haven’t communicated with me, and you do not drop this class by the drop date,  you will receive an F for this class. It is your job to keep up with the class drop dates and to take that action for yourself. If you miss the drop date and then decide to get in touch, I will not be able to help you with this. This is your responsibility. I only give Ws in this class for extreme and well documented cases. If you want a W you MUST contact me.

Final Grade:

Your final grade in the class will be based on the following percentages:

  • Attendance AND participation grade           10%

(Attendance at the final critique is MANDATORY)

(Based on critique participation and classroom behavior.)

  • Midterm                                                                 10%
  • Sketchbook and Photoshop assignments       5%
  • Artist and Design Journal                                  5%
  • Four Critique assignments                                40%
  • Final Portfolio                                                      30%

Final grades are assigned on a scale of

A 90-100% B 80-89% C 70-79% D 60-69%



Academic Accommodations

ADA STATEMENT and DSR ACCOMMODATIONS:  Pima Community College is committed to providing accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in a timely and effective manner.  To request a reasonable accommodation, students must be registered with the campus Disabled Student Resources (DSR) office.  Accommodations will be made based on eligibility determined by Disabled Student Resources.  Services can be requested at any time during the semester.  Requesting services well in advance will help to ensure that resources are available when needed.  Please contact a DSR office at 206-6688 or

Arizona Mandatory Reporting Law

Please be advised that, as a faculty member of Pima Community College, I am required by law (A.R.S. §13-3620), to report, upon reasonable belief, any situation that may indicate that a minor (defined as someone under the age of 18) has been the victim of child abuse (including physical injury and/or sexual conduct).  This duty also includes the obligation to report any previous abuse of a minor, regardless of the current age of the victim to the College’s Department of Public Safety (DPS).