Digital Photography

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 117

       Course Name: Digital Photography

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces potentials and realities of digital photography. Digital darkroom is constructed and necessary software explored. Content includes fundamentals of photography and their relation to digital imaging, basic electronic imaging principles, and scanning techniques.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify basic digital photographic principles and concepts
  2. Produce digital photographs which broaden the student’s awareness of the different types of digital photography.
  3. Identify basic digital photographic peculiarities in order to understand technical standards for digital photography.
  4. Produce well-crafted and finished digital photographs.
  5. Demonstrate control over the visual organization of images by incorporating basic visual concepts into strong, coherent digital photographs.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Photographic principles
    1. Cameras
      1. Lenses
      2. Focal Length
      3. Diaphragm
      4. Depth of field
      5. Shutters
    2. Exposure
      1. Time
      2. Amount of light
      3. Density
      4. Contrast
      5. Light meters
    3. Color
      1. Color theory
      2. Color correcting
    4. Photographic quality
      1. Full-range of tones
      2. Modulation of tone
    5. Chemical processing
      1. Film development
      2. Photographic print processing
  2. Principles of Electronic Imaging
    1. Pixels
    2. Picture size
    3. Resolution
    4. Byte size
  3. Scanning
    1. Film scanning
    2. Flatbed scanning
    3. CD
  4. The digital camera
    1. Image sensors
    2. Diaphragm and shutter
    3. Focal lengths
    4. Pixels and resolution
    5. Storage
    6. Bit depth
    7. Image file formats
    8. Viewfinder and LCD
    9. LCD and playback
    10. Dynamic range
  5. Digital Darkroom
    1. Computer
    2. Software
      1. Levels
      2. Curves
      3. Color balance
      4. Filters
      5. Cut and paste
    3. Printing
      1. Inkjet
      2. Laser
      3. Dye-sublimation
  6. Form orientated photography
    1. Organic forms
      1. Repetition of form
      2. Dominance and isolation
      3. Soft edge
    2. Geometric forms
      1. Hard edge
      2. Strength and durability
  7. Studio lighting
    1. Direct
    2. Indirect
    3. Key lighting
    4. Strobe
  8. Documentation
    1. Making a record
    2. Exposure methods
    3. Fast shutter speeds and Depth of field
  9. Mounting and Finishing

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lectures and demonstrations on topics that include use of a camera, history of photography, and digital printing. Media presentations also accompany lectures. One field trip and three studio sessions are used. Lab time is scheduled throughout the semester. (See CALENDAR for schedule of class time)
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

  1. Complete shooting assignments
  2. Complete print assignments
  3. Participate in scheduled critiques
  4. Produce 12, 8x10, prints for the scheduled final
  5. Final examination

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Camera:
    A digital camera.  The school has a limited number of cameras for your use.
  2. Tripod: (Large enough to hold your camera)
  3. Inkjet Photographic Paper:
  4. Board for overmatting:
    1. 12 sheets of 11 x14 white museum grade board
    2. 12 sheets of backing board
    3. Roll of cloth tape
  5. Book:
    Suggested source book such as A Short Course in Photography – Digital by London & Upton

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

The final grade will be based upon the following elements and their weights:

Quizzes = 15%
Critiques = 25%
Final Exam = 25%
Final Critique = 35%
Total = 100%

All prints will be evaluated on these criteria:

  1. Print quality
  2. Craftsmanship
  3. Aesthetics and Design

(Questions about the course content and practices must be directed to your instructor)

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.