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CCOG for ART 140A Spring 2023

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Course Number:
ART 140A
Course Title:
Introduction to Digital Photography
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces basic skills, techniques and concepts related to digital photography as an art-making practice. Covers introductory level technical approaches to digital photography (e.g. manual camera controls over exposure, focus and composition, digital editing, fine art printing and presentation). Requires access to a digital camera with manual exposure controls; DSLR or mirror-less camera systems preferred.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Solve problems in the art making process using a variety of strategies for making photographic images and prints, which demonstrate an introductory level of skill in the processes, techniques and materials associated with digital photography.
  • Participate in a critical dialog about ideas and issues in digital photography using industry vocabulary and self critiquing skills.
  • Interpret and critically evaluate prints from many cultures to initiate a life-long process of studying the diverse perspectives of the human experience.
  • Express connections to personal experience through a digital photographs with awareness of the standards and practices established by both contemporary and historical artists.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of Visual Arts is essential to the development of the individual and one’s meaningful participation in society. At the heart of artistic practice is the ability to organize experience and recognize its meaning. The creation of artwork and appreciation of aesthetics is a source of great pleasure and also a valuable means to effective visual communication. Participating in Visual Arts is an important way for individuals to connect to the past and respond to the present with a stronger sense of engagement with culture and society.

Course Activities and Design

Students will engage in studio work during and outs of class time to critically engage with the practical studio application of skills, techniques and concepts in addition to lectures and presentations, demonstrations, critiques, group discussions and activities.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Actively engage in studio work and complete all projects and homework assignments on time
  • Develop photographic images, prints and projects that are aesthetically and formally challenging and demonstrate the student’s evolution through beginning level ideas and processes.
  • Demonstrate sound foundational level photographic technique and safe and efficient studio habits with respect to the communal environment and equipment
  • Participate in discussions and critiques. Take an active role and make contributions applying concepts and terms used in the discipline.
  • Evaluate both technical approaches and conceptual directions in photographs through comprehensive responses, critique, self reflection, written assignments and peer review.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Visual communication
  • The photographic image as a tool for expression
  • Explore new directions in digital photography.


  • Formal and aesthetic considerations
  • Connections between content, form and meaning
  • Consideration of presentation materials, prints and technique


  • Better understanding of the digital medium, the specific possibilities and challenges inherent to digital photography and the reasons for their exploration
  • Historical knowledge of photography
  • Awareness of the wide spectrum of photography’s influence and impact on daily life


  • Foundational methods and strategies for developing and completing photographic images
  •     Technical knowledge of the camera, lens and manual exposure controls
  •     Aesthetic effects of the use of lens, shutter and aperture for creative control
  •     Essentials of Lighting; design and modification
  •     Strategies for generating Ideas
  •     Processes for printing and displaying images
  •     Curating images and prints
  •     Best practices for print presentation; matting, mounting, installation
  • Digital tools
  •     Management and organization of files
  •     Basic workflow and editing in industry-standard software  (ie: Adobe CC/ Photoshop)
  •     Non destructive editing practices
  •     Post capture editing options - exposure, contrast, density, color
  •     Layering, masking, use of blending modes and adjustment layers
  •     Best practices for color management and viewing environments
  •     Basic considerations for printing via a photographic printer
  • Critique and self-reflection strategies for evaluating images and prints
  • Studio Safety