Digital Photography Syllabus

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Welcome to Digital Photography!  This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of digital photography and teach you how to look at everyday objects through the lens of a professional.  The course will be broken down into the teaching of the four basic components of photography: history, technique, aesthetics, and practice.  You will learn how digital cameras work, how composition and lighting can effect imagery, and how to use photo editing software.  The sequence of instruction will follow this order for each topic we study: instruction (preview), practice, and reflection.  You will be graded based on two criteria: your project work and your performance/behavior (see below).

    PROJECTS GRADE:  Every week we will explore new techniques and themes as they relate to photography.  You are expected to take a certain amount of photographs that relate or demonstrate these themes and submit them to Mr. Kravig for grading.  As the term progresses you will also be expected to incorporate photo editing techniques and get in the habit of titling your photos as well.  General guidelines like compositional design, sharp focus on main subject matter, and proper exposure will be assessed on every photograph that you submit, but we will also explore thematic requirements where your creativity grade will depend on how much variety and effort you use in your approach to the subject (i.e. making sure all of your photos are different representations of the theme).

    TURN-IN PROCEDURES:  On the day that your photos are due you are expected to submit them using the class Public drive as well as complete and turn in a written “Critique Sheet” that Mr. Kravig will use for grading.  Failure to turn projects in on time or with the correct amount of required photos will result in grade deductions.  In addition, until you give Mr. Kravig a complete Critique Sheet your grade will be entered as “0 – Missing” and a deduction of 10% of your grade will result from late submissions.  To ensure you get the best possible grade make sure you meet all project requirements, save photos in the proper location, turn in a completed Critique Sheet, and meet the assignment deadline!

    GRADE ABBREVIATIONS:  Mr. Kravig uses abbreviations for grading your photos to save time.  Some of them are: “★” (great photo!), “X” (no credit, either missing or compositional criteria is not met), “OOF” (out of focus or focus is not where it should be), “↑” overexposed/too bright, and “↓” underexposed/too dark.

    PHOTO REQUIREMENTS:  In addition to the general grading criteria mentioned above it is absolutely imperative that all of the photos you submit this term are originals (taken by you and no one else), are from after the term started (so no old vacation photos etc.), and are in the original format taken with the camera (so no emailed, compressed versions – be prepared to download the images from the source SD card or phone).  These requirements are mandatory and a zero grade will be given to any infractions to them.  In addition, any photos that promote drug use, graphic violence, or sexual content will automatically be marked as “0” and referred to the office for disciplinary action. 

    EQUIPMENT CARE COMMITMENT:  While participating in this class students will have access to an assortment of digital cameras and supplies.  We will be using these cameras in class frequently, and on occasion I will even be assigning students to take them home in order to fulfill homework assignments.  These items (a Nikon Coolpix P530 camera, Logitech carrying case, 16 GB SD card, and USB card reader) have a $300+ value, so it is vital that students treat them with the utmost care and use every precaution imaginable while using them.  When students take cameras home they must do everything they can to prevent damage and store in a safe place - as well as not forgetting to bring it back with the following day!  Students plus their parent/guardian are expected to sign the attached “Equipment Care Commitment” form before being given a camera to use.

    REQUIRED MATERIALS:  In addition to a camera, you are required to bring the following items to class every day:

    • Pencil/pen to write with
    • Folder to store project instructional hand-outs and critique sheets
    • Headphones/earbuds (must be PC-compatible, will use to listen to class tutorials)
    • USB Drive to save files on (Optional, but be sure to back up your project files every day!)

    LATE WORK:  As mentioned above, late submissions will result in a 10% deduction from the assignment grade.  The only exception is if an excused absence prevented you from turning in work on time, but in these instances the student will only have the same number of excused days missed to get their work turned in.

    PERFORMANCE (BEHAVIOR PLUS ATTENDANCE) GRADE:  This class requires you to create art, but that is only part of what is expected of you.  The other portion of your grade will come from your daily behavior and how often and punctual your attendance is.  One of the biggest obstacles facing today’s youth is the ability to identify what is and what is not appropriate in a shared social setting.  In our country every student has an equal right to receive an education in the public school system, but when the negative actions of individuals occur it can interfere with these opportunities and create a classroom environment that is no longer productive.  Every action you make has a consequence, and in a shared space like this class these consequences can affect many – so think before you act!  

    The following rules were devised to help maintain a positive and effective classroom where students can feel encouraged to learn.  Failure to abide by these rules will result in a deduction from your weekly performance grade.  Each week you will start with “5 Performance Points” and if you go the entire week without breaking any rules you will finish with a 100% Performance Grade.  If you break any of the following rules, however, you will lose 1 point per offense and if all 5 points are lost in a week you will be given a 0% for your weekly Performance Grade and also be written up for Disciplinary Referral for your actions.  I will enter brief explanations for these deductions next to your grade in Skyward (so parents please check grades regularly and feel free to contact me if you have concerns).  Simply put, it is very important that you take responsibility for your actions and be prepared for the consequences that will result in any negative behavior!


    1. Come to class prepared and ready to create art!
      • Be on time, have your materials ready, and be seated quietly once the bell rings so you are ready to receive instruction.
      • Any food or non-sealed drinks should be disposed of before sitting at your computer.
    2. Listen and follow the teacher’s directions for work time.
      • When Mr. Kravig is giving instruction there should be no talking to seatmates, no checking phones, surfing the web, etc.
      • When Mr. Kravig is finished giving instruction you are expected to go to work.  This means your phones should be silenced and put away.
      • Listening to music on headphones is allowed but volume must be kept low so it does not distract other students and you can still hear ongoing class instruction as it arises.
      • Absolutely no video, FaceTime, YouTube, or video game playing – no excuses!
    3. Remain in your assigned seat unless on assignment, getting supplies, using the bathroom, or asking Mr. Kravig a question.
      • You should never be wondering around the classroom without an educational reason.
      • You should never leave the classroom without asking Mr. Kravig for permission first.  In these instances you are also required to take a hall pass and fill out the “Restroom Sign-Out” sheet.
    4. Respect your classmates and your teacher’s desire to take part in the educational process.
      • Be quiet while working so that everyone can hear instructions during work time.
      • Raise your hand before asking a question or making a comment.
      • Use appropriate, non-offensive language – no profanity!
    5. Keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
      • Neither romantic nor violent intent is an appropriate excuse for you to touch your classmates.  Although common sense for most high schoolers, every once in a while I’ve had problems…

    WALKING FIELD TRIPS & USING THE REMIND APP:  During the span of our nine week course together I will be asking Photography students to take brief “walking tours” around the community in order to get outside of the school environment so that we can photograph different subject matter rather than being strictly confined to the hallways of UGHS.  These excursions will be announced a few days prior to taking place and will remain flexible depending on weather conditions, however students should be prepared to go out even in colder conditions as long as no precipitation is in the forecast.  While we are out I will ask students to partner with at least one other student, stay within a pre-agreed upon distance of myself and the other students, and to strictly abide by pre-agreed upon times for reuniting with the rest of the class before heading back to the school. 

    I am also asking students to use the “Remind” app to stay connected so that they have a way to contact my personal cell phone should any situation arise while we are outside of the building.  This application is a “safe app” used by many educators and is a great way for students and teachers to communicate with each other outside of the classroom.  I also plan on using the app to reiterate special announcements throughout the term, for example to remind students that there is a quiz coming, to bring certain materials when needed, etc.

    While we are outside of the classroom I will be asking students to conduct themselves in safe, responsible, and respectful manners and in accordance with the Code of Conduct outlined in the Union Grove High School Student Handbook.  In the event that any rules are broken our excursion will be cancelled, we will return to school, parents/guardians will be notified, and disciplinary action will be pursued.  In addition, failing to abide by the Code of Conduct will affect students’ weekly “performance grade” – see the attached syllabus for details on this.

    It is my great hope that this class and these excursions will produce exciting, hands-on learning for students interested in exploring the vast opportunities of digital photography.  By placing great responsibility in our students I am asking for both student and parent/guardian to sign below to pledge that they will take class outings seriously and follow directions closely so that we can all have safe, productive experiences.  Thank you for giving this matter your attention and if you have any questions again please feel free to contact me.