All projects must be uploaded to your student website in order to be considered complete and ready for grading.
1. Miniature Worlds
This is a great exploration of scale and proportion. Using toys and your school environment, re-imagine the furniture, architecture, and objects to arrange and build new and creative scenes. Experiment with varying depths of field to throw backgrounds out of focus, adding to your illusion.
Great examples can be found at this school's website. Credit and props to Phyllis Burstein!
Japanese artist Tatsuya Tanaka has made a whole career out of doing this. Check his work out here.
Want to take this to the next level? Start adding special effects like Matthew Callahan does in his Galactic Warfighters series!
2. The Egg Project: The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate that each of has a unique voice that is capable of taking mundane, everyday objects and putting a fresh spin on it.
3. Elements of Art and Principles of Design
Take a photo that illustrates each of the Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Value, Form, Space, Color, Texture) and each of the Principles of Design (Unity, Rhythm, Pattern, Movement, Emphasis, Contrast, Balance). Make a page on your portfolio site to display each of the Elements and Principles with a short paragraph about how each photo demonstrates each Element or Principle.
4. Pinhole Photography: Build a pinhole camera and take at least one good, successful picture of it. I define success in this case as an image that is an interesting composition of an interesting subject and it is correctly exposed and the main focal point of the image is in sharp focus.
After developing your image, photograph or scan it into a digital image. Clean it up (crop it, heal or clone stamp out any unwanted spots that need fixing, adjust brightness and contrast to optimize it) and invert it to turn it from a negative into a positive.
Want to go deeper? Check out Abelardo Morell's pinhole work here.
5. Shutter Speed and Panning: Learn to control your camera's shutter speed manually and make necessary adjustments to maintain good exposure (faster shutter speed = less light so you need wider aperture or higher ISO or both. Slower shutter speed = more light so you need a smaller aperture or lower ISO or both.)
Take three panning images of three different subjects at three different shutter speeds- fast, medium, slow. A slow shutter speed = about 1/25th to 1/50th of a second. A medium shutter speed = about 1/100th to 1/320th of a second. A fast shutter speed = 1/1,000th of a second or faster.
Present these 9 images in 3 series on your site as a series of sequences like this:
Series 1: 1 image Slow--> 1 image Med--> 1 image Fast
Series 2: 1 image Slow--> 1 image Med--> 1 image Fast
Series 3: 1 image Slow--> 1 image Med--> 1 image Fast
6. Aperture (f-stop) and Depth of Field (DOF): Use aperture adjustments to control your depth of field. Aperture is expressed in a unit of measurement called an "F-stop." An F-stop is the ratio of the diameter of the aperture compared to the focal length, which is the distance between the lens and the camera's sensor (or film). So a smaller F-stop number means a larger aperture hole. Larger apertures result in narrow depth of field. Depth of field grows as F-stop numbers increase.
You can also manipulate your depth of field by manipulating your focal length. See the video in 'Resources' for more info.
Take four images at wide, medium, and narrow Depth of Fields. Present these 12 images on your site as a series of sequences like this:
Image 1: Narrow DOF-->Medium DOF-->Wide DOF
Image 2: Narrow DOF-->Medium DOF-->Wide DOF
Image 3: Narrow DOF-->Medium DOF-->Wide DOF
Image 4: Narrow DOF-->Medium DOF-->Wide DOF
7. Controlling Light (Portrait Lighting)
Watch the light segment of Fundamentals of Photography, studying the angles Joel Sartore discusses. Then take six pictures using each style of portrait lighting- Front, Side (hatchet), Above (interrogation), Below (ghost), Behind (silhouette), and Rembrandt. Make a page on your portfolio site called 'Portrait Lighting' and make a little gallery that shows your best shot of each style of lighting. Look for correct exposure and edit each photo, cropping them with a consistent aspect ratio. For example, if you crop one photo square, make all of the photos in your gallery square. If you crop to a 4:3 aspect ratio, maintain 4:3 throughout your gallery. Your cropping decisions should be made with the goal of maximizing good compositional choices!
8. Light Painting
Experiment with ISO, long exposures, movement, and artificial light in a dark environment in order to create a light painting. "Pop" flash on people to briefly expose them and freeze them in the frame or spell words or draw pictures in space using a flashlight or glow sticks. Have fun, play with it. When you post your image or images, include a paragraph write-up describing how you created it, including describing your camera settings.
The project requirement is only three good images, but if you got more than three good shots, feel free to post more on your portfolio site.
Since this was a collaborative group project, attribution (credit) works like this- if you arranged or composed or planned the shot, it counts as "yours" even if you are not the subject of the photo.
Light painting isn't new. Picasso was doing it in the late 1940's. Take a look at his approach here.
Here is a great light painting tutorial. Hopefully it inspires you to combine multiple different elements into your light painting designs.
9. Natural Light Landscape
Start by watching this: How to Take a Horrible Landscape Photographs.
Choose an interesting outdoor scene or subject. Photograph the same shot at five different times of day- before sunrise, shortly after sunrise, noon-ish, shortly before sunset, and shortly after sunset.
As you take these five shots, you should not change the composition of the picture in any way. Do not change your camera's angle, zoom, or focus. You should expect to change exposure settings. Make light adjustments using your shutter speed, not your ISO or aperture settings.
I encourage you to check out a tripod to use for this project. If the tripod is in a secure location, you can leave it there (do NOT leave the camera on it if you do this!) If it's not in a secure location, you can mark the ground and place the feet in the same place each time you take your photos. Using a tripod will make lining up your scene each time much easier.
10. Product Photography
Using direct and reflected light to create separation between an object and its background, photograph a white object on a white background and a black object on a black background. No harsh shadows! Here's a tutorial on W&W and one for B&B.
11. Photoshop: Zombie effect!
This assignment is big enough it deserves is own page. See it here.
12. Self Image: Selfies with meaning!
Photographers can use all sorts of tricks (unique camera angles, clever lighting, compositional framing techniques, Photoshop effects, composite imagery etc.) to "spin" an image and give it a new or different meaning. With each image, ask yourself: "What specific thing about myself am I communicating to my audience?" (It may also be worth asking: "WHO is my audience?"
Make 3 Self Image photographs: One showing how you conform, one showing how you express your individuality, and one free choice image. At least one of them needs to be a composite image, combining multiple pictures into one. Check out this slideshow for examples.
Struggling to generate ideas? Take a look at this page. Consider the question: Can you take a selfie without yourself in it?
13. Photoshop: Defying Gravity
Here is a great tutorial. This artist uses both Photoshop and Lightroom. Since we don't have access to Lightroom, disregard that part of the video. Feel free to do things differently-- this tutorial is meant to be a starting point and give you some ideas about how you can do your gravity project. Make at least one finished image where you are defying gravity.
Helpful hint: When you are establishing your source photos, it might be a good idea to place (or have somebody hold) a piece of white poster board behind your head so that sorting stray hairs out of your selections is easier.
14. Contact Sheet
Use a template to build a contact sheet. It should consist of 24-36 images, assembled to create a new or unique composition or to tell a narrative story. Some good ideas and examples can be found here. A template can be found on your resources page.
15. Free Choice
Use one of the techniques outlined here. Write up a paragraph describing why you chose that technique, how you applied it, and at least three new things you learned in your explorations.
16. Automation Station
Learn to use and write scripts to make Photoshop do stuff for you automatically. Instructions are here.
On your portfolio page, post a minimum of one great panorama made through photomerge and one slideshow of at least ten images that you batch-edited with a script you wrote.
17. Fine Art Forgery
Find a non-photograph artwork you love here. Do your best re-creation of the scene that you can, using only your own reference images. (No using other people's content you found on the web.) You may photoshop separate pieces together, but they need to be from images you shot yourself.
Post your work with the following: The original artwork, a paragraph about the artist and the image, your interpretation of the original piece, and an explanation of how you created your interpretation.
Document at least one event (this could be any sports event, play, speech/debate meet, school dance, homecoming parade, academic activity, anything exciting or noteworthy) and submit it to the yearbook via the server folder. Turn in 5 FINISHED photos. Finished means sorted, cropped, edited, labeled with names, dates, and locations. Include a Word document with captions for each photograph. Captions should be one to three sentences long.