Please see the full syllabus inside of Canvas.

TITLE: JRN 204/ART 284, Basic Digital Photography
MEETING TIME: Asynchronous
INSTRUCTOR: Charles Mason
TELEPHONE:  474-7761


Students are introduced to the basic skills of shooting with correct manual operation of a digital SLR as well as introductory editing techniques with Adobe Photoshop. We cover techniques of interest to most any advancing photographer, whether their primary interest is art photography or publication work. Class materials focus on creative vision, composition, equipment and techniques that students practice in the field. Instructor and peer-reviewed critiques provide feedback weekly. Grow as you go. If you have a digital SLR, some basic computer photo editing skills, and a desire to learn photography, this is the course for you!


Students will gain knowledge and hands-on experience in the following fundamental areas of photography;

  • understanding Manual use of a Digital SLR camera and applying exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) to the camera

  • understanding basic editing process and applying techniques with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or other editing software

  • acquiring primary knowledge and skills to producing a basic art series or photojournalistic photo essay


Digital Photography, A Basic Manual, First Edition by Henry Horenstein, ISBN:


Other Readings as provided or suggested by Instructor


A Digital SLR or Mirrorless camera with a standard fixed or zoom lens. You will be required to only use it on manual (“manual setting’ means a camera on which you can set the shutter speed and the aperture). “Point and shoot’ cameras, which set themselves and cannot be controlled by the photographer, are NOT ACCEPTABLE for this course.  Phones are not acceptable for this class, except for the one assignment at the end.  (Anything turned in from a phone will be returned to be re-shot the first time, and denied thereafter.)

You are required to read your camera’s manual and be comfortable with its operation. Given that there could be a number of different models of cameras in use, we won’t cover every operation on each camera – pick up your manual and email me questions if they arise.


Students must have regular access to a computer and the Internet to access online materials in Canvas. Students will be expected to download course material as well as upload assignments.

Students are expected to have basic knowledge of computers — preferably of the Macintosh operating system (or at least the ability to translate PC experience to Macs). This class is not an introduction to computers, but an in-depth discussion of camera use and function, and basic editing techniques. If you are questioning your current level of understanding of computers, please do not hesitate to email the instructor.


Instructor provides verbal and written lecture materials, samples of work that display the specifics of assignment goals, and provides feedback and review based off of assignment descriptions and blank score sheets. Most assignments have a recording explaining example pictures and an audio explanation of the work. Assignment reviews by the instructor are also to be considered instructional as you may turn your work in again, for a new grade. Essentially, you will receive verbal feedback on your work, and you may choose to resubmit new or altered items. Learning is strengthened and additional skills established/reinforced by this rework loop.


Posted in Canvas.


All regular assignments are due at the scheduled date and time on the dates listed. Late assignments are not accepted.

Weekly assignments require weekly use of your camera, your computer, the internet, Blackboard, and in some cases field (outdoor) trips in order to complete assignments. All assignments other than the first require/expect editing. While this class will help you become more proficient with editing a photograph in Photoshop (or Lightroom), you need some basic skills with that software to begin the class.


Students are required to actively participate in the class by sharing photographs on the course website, and ideas and opinions. Non-participation in the required discussion forums or not turning in your critique/reviews for a week will lower your grade.


Each week I make a video feedback of your work, where you hear me critique it and see me work with your images on my computer screen.  This makes up you feedback for the course.  I will send you those, with your grade, as a video link to watch.