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2 Basic Scope / Sequence

Basic Photo Scope / Sequence

Basic Digital Photography 

This is an updated Scope and Sequence for this course offered this school year (2013-14). The standards have been molded around both the Common Core Standards and the Visual Arts Standards in most states. Note that these follow topics presented in the class and don't follow the actual weekly or daily practices or hour by hour outline. Some subjects such as composition are spread out over all the different weeks and units of the class. What this chart provides is the sequence or order of instruction along with the scope or objectives of each section. 

Overall the standards shown in yellow highlight the key objectives for students who complete this program. For full success a student needs to complete at least 90% of all lessons and projects. Emphasis in assessment is on presentation of images and the students evaluation of both their own and other students work. State standards look for students to be able to express their ideas in both subjective and objective formats. 

Photography has two key elements: Subject and Treatment. The majority of this class will deal with the subject and breaking cultural  habits of the point and shoot camera we all carry that breaks away from visual arts standards for communication. 


Unit Topic & Resource


Students demonstrate learning by . . .



Students will. . .

1. Camera Equipment Basics

  • Camera Types Review
  • Video on camera types
  • Key Camera controls Lesson
  • Image Sensors Lesson
  • Using a point and shoot camera or cell phone for simple images lesson and video

Students read a chapter on camera equipment and watch two video presentations on cameras. Each student is asked to find and read their owners manual for their camera. This first unit begins to focus student attention to the tools of the medium.

Identification of controls on their own camera

Share with other students what camera they are using and what they like about its features

Students will be able to identify common controls on a simple camera on a diagram provided

Short Quiz

Forum - Group Discussion

Students will be able to identify key camera controls found on an entry level camera

Students will be able to identify the type of camera they are using for class as well as features of other cameras they might wish to purchase.

Students will be able to discuss what image sensors are in a digital camera and how they effect the files size of the image and the print quality

Students will be able to adjust their camera for basic photography situations in good lighting using Program mode or preset modes. 


California Standard 3.1 - Identify similarities and differences in the purposes of art created in selected cultures.

California Standard 3.3 - Identify and describe trends in the visual arts and discuss how the issues of time, place and cultural influences are reflected in selected works of art.

Students demonstrate the ability to form and defend judgments about the characteristics and structures used to create a piece of art. 

Students evaluate the effectiveness of artwork in terms of techniques of the medium and the challenges involved. 

California Standard 1.1 - Identify and use the principles of design to discuss, analyze and write about visual aspects of a work of art, including their own. 

California Standard 1.3 - Research and analyze the work of an artist and write about the style and contribution to the medium found in their work. 

2. History of Photography

  • Searching for tools to capture images easily
  • Photography as art
  • Photography as social motivator
  • Photography for the home user
  • Digital Era
  • Famous Photographers review of key contributors to the field

In this section students will apply their review of the different periods in the development of photography and examine their own interests and uses of the medium in light of those. Students will demonstrate learning as they clearly explain where they stand on the timeline.

Students will begin to see how photography was influenced by the culture as it grew and how it now has become the reverse where it now tends to influence the culture it is part of. Students will demonstrate understanding by their insight and answer to a forum discussion question

Forum Discussion

Photo Project presented to Forum

Students will be able to identify the phases photography has gone through from invention to modern day digital. 

Students will view Ansel Adams and Dorthea Lang photography and history and identify with one or both in their own interest and use of photography. 

Students will be able to identify the difference between a snapshot with no real subject and a good photograph with a strong center of interest. 

Students will be able to identify the purpose or intent of the photographer in viewing different prints as well as their own. 

3. Image Creation - Subject

  • What is the center of interest?
  • Basic Rules of Composition
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Golden Mean
  • Details and Point of View in a photo
  • Subject placement in frame
  • Getting close to show details

Students will examine the basic concepts of good composition and design found in any piece of art. 

This unit will take the center of interest and its reasons to be illustrated and examine how the subject needs to be placed in the camera frame to best manage the eye of the viewer

Students demonstrate learning in this unit by being able to identify different composition techniques in different pieces of art. 

Students will demonstrate understanding in their own images produced using the basic composition rules. 

Students will demonstrate learning when they can view an image and describe the center of interest and how the eye is either attracted to or driven from it in t he composition. 

Forum Presentation of Images found on web

Photo project finding an interesting subject close to home

Grade Rubric indicating achievement levels and scores

Additional Photo Projects each with text evaluation of techniques use

 Students will be able to identify the center of interest in a photo.

Students will place the center of interest along one of the thirds lines in their own images. 

Students will demonstrate understanding of the center of interest by selecting a subject close to home that makes an interesting, attention grabbing, photo with universal appeal and not just personal, emotional appeal. 

Art submitted for assignments must come with a students self-evaluation of how that image meets the requirements of the assignment. 

Ecology Photo project will show students ability to find and present an image that illustrates how we interact with our environment

Vertical / Horizontal project will demonstrate the students ability to take a simple subject and present it with both a horizontal and vertical composition. Students will be able to identify when and why each format might be used. 

Building Character assignment will demonstrate the students ability to view a larger subject and then find and concentrate on a small detail that represents the whole. 

4. Light and Exposure - Treatment

  • Light Quantity - brightness
  • Exposure variables
  • Light Quality - Direction, color
  • Exposure Control basics
  • Equivalent Exposure
  • The f16 rule of exposure

Photo projects in this unit will emphasize the basic principles of light and exposure and asking students to continue to work on their subject selection and treatment. Students will be asked to photograph a subject that contains dominant geometric shapes and another with patterns and texture as the center of interest. 

Students will demonstrate learning when they can identify the light direction in a photo. 

Students will demonstrate learning when they can identify likely exposure settings and lens choices for a given image. 

Students demonstrate understanding by properly exposing and presenting images in their project submissions. 

Survey of light direction choices

Photo Projects

Students will demonstrate understanding of light quantity and basic exposure by using their camera to produce properly exposed images. 

Students will demonstrate their understanding of lighting by selecting camera angles and times of day for their images that present the subject well. 

Students demonstrate their ability to find and present subjects by looking in their environment for images that emphasize either geometric shapes or textures and patterns as their center of interest. 


California Standard 2.1 - Solve a visual arts problem that involves the use of elements of art or principles of design.

California Standard 2. 3 - Develop and refine skill in the manipulation of digital imagery. 

5. Managing the Image - Treatment

  • Lens choice and point of view
  • Framing with objects in scene to control or manage eye movement
  • Background / Foreground Distractions
  • Using Point of View to change relationship of objects in frame

This section will expand on the treatment options that looks at the background and foreground and removes anything that distracts from our center of interest. 

Students will be able to identify distracting elements in a photo and eliminate or control their impact in their own images. 

Students will change the camera point of view to manage elements that show in an image that might add or distract from the center of interest. 

This section will involve more hands or or project oriented work by the student as they experiment with and apply techniques already covered in lessons

Mid-Term exam testing concepts

Photo Projects demonstrating concepts of point of view and framing

Students will produce images that include objects that frame the center of interest and keep the viewers eye on the center of interest. 

Students demonstrate two or more different points of view of the same subject and describe how each view makes a difference in the way the object is perceived by the viewer. 

Photo projects will challenge students to find images that illustrate an emotion or incorporate reflection as a way of presenting an interesting subject. 

6. Presentation of the Image - Treatment

  • Levels Adjustment
  • Cropping
  • Saturation adjustment
  • Color Correction

This section will deal mostly with the software portion of subject treatment. Using basic editing software processes found in almost any online or downloaded system students will make some minor changes to their images to make them display better either on the web or on paper. 

Students will be able to demonstrate their competency by showing a before and after image showing their work with levels, cropping and color adjustment. 

Students will be able to look at a photo and analyze the process used to create it. 

Students will be able to use at least one software to make basic adjustments that are required on most digital images. 

Photo Projects graded by rubric standards

Quiz will assess students understanding of the processes and vocabulary

Photo projects will demonstrate with a before and after image how a student was able to use editing software to adjust brightness and contrast levels and to crop the image to remove non-essential elements. 

Students will discuss different treatment options in a class forum in which students will all be given the same photo to edit and present to the group. Students will not see each others work until they submit a solution. Students will be asked to evaluate each others as well as their own solutions as to effectiveness. 

7. Advanced Techniques - Treatment

  • Close up or Macro photography
  • Fill lighting using flash or reflector
  • Black and white conversion or de-saturation of a photo
  • Special Effects

Students will demonstrate special techniques by creating an image using close up techniques.

Students will demonstrate use of a fill flash or reflector on an image that contains strong background lighting. 

Students will add to their computer treatment skills by using special effects and / or color saturation editing on an image. 

Photo Projects graded by rubric standards

Forum discussion on techniques used to edit a photo

Photo projects will be the primary mode of assessment. In three different projects students will demonstrate their ability to produce an image using close up, fill lighting and computer special effects. 

Students will apply fill lighting on subjects that require it. They will be able to describe when and how to use it properly. 

Students will experiment with special effects such as desaturation and be able to share with another what the process was and why it might be used. 

8. Final Challenges - Subject / Treatment

  • Silhouette Photography
  • Photojournalism - students will add words to their images
  • Candids of people and animals
  • Posed photography - the things we do all the time with our cell phone
  • Careers in Photography overview

This final chapter will call on students to look at a number of images in discussions where they identify both techniques and their purposes. Students will be asked to interpret what they see in a photo and provide both subject and objective reasons and observations for their view. 

Students demonstrate advanced skills by creation of a silhouette image that uses proper technique and composition.

Students demonstrate photojournalism skills in two projects. In one project they add words to an image in post- processing and in the other they create a story or article that contains images. 

Students understand the potential careers that exist that use photography as either a tool or a main process. Students will know possible training or education requirements for at least one career. 

Projects graded by rubric

Forum discussion on careers

Presentation of photojournalism project via pdf or on web

Students will demonstrate their subject selection ability by presenting an image that is a candid and one that is a posed shot. Each photo will be made with clear choices of camera point of view and lens selection that the student describes in their project presentation. 

Students will connect an image to writing by adding a Bible Verse or Poem to an image. The writing and the image should combine to improve the message of both. 

Students will create a photojournalism presentation in which they write a story or tell how to do something using writing as well as imagery. 

Students will be able to identify several different career paths in a forum discussion. 

The final exam for this class will contain two parts. The first is a test that presents students questions to answer that they have already had in previous exams. No question will be new. The questions check a students ability to understand processes, choices that a photographer must make and vocabulary used to explain techniques. This is a basic class so the concentration will be on the major areas of composition and treatment. Students will need to know the two major elements of a good photograph and be able to demonstrate their use. Part two of the final is the most value in terms of points for the assessment. This final is a photograph that the student has taken recently that demonstrates the selection of a subject and its treatment to present a photo worthy of display. This photo should show their level of skill and thus should be an interesting subject with a clear and identifiable center of interest that has been treated with the skills covered in this course which include composition, exposure and basic print processing.