Architectural Photography

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 230

       Course Name: Architectural Photography

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Consent of instructor

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course covers esthetic and historical developments architectural photography. Content includes impact on artistic, cultural, social, economic, legal, and political issues; historical survey of architectural photographers, including modern practitioners of the medium. Students will produce a portfolio of work employing techniques and ideas learned in class. Course maybe repeated up to three times on different topics for maximum of twelve credits.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify historical developments and their social relevance to the medium.
  2. Explain esthetic and technical issues inherent to the medium.
  3. Research and produce a photographic project which can be placed in the larger context of the medium.
  4. Identify technical limitations inherent with photographic field work.

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. History of architectural photography
    1. Making a record
    2. Use for preservation of buildings
  2. Types of architectural photography
    1. Exterior
    2. Interior
    3. Details
    4. Objects other than buildings
  3. Technical issues
    1. Light sensitivity - films and digital sensitivities
    2. Color temperature – films and digital white balance
      1. Interior lighting
      2. Exterior lighting
    3. Lighting conditions - direct and indirect light
    4. Exposure
    5. Tonal range
    6. Formats of cameras
      1. Purpose
      2. Use for particular effects
    7. Lenses
      1. Expansion and compression of space
      2. Effects of different focal lengths
      3. Film cameras vs. digital cameras - effects and ratios
    8. Perspective and correction
  4. Esthetics
    1. Color - existing vs. enhanced
    2. Light, form, line, shadow - different types of lighting and effects of each
    3. Depth of field - selective vs. complete
    4. Pre- vs. post-visualization - making a record vs. personal interpretation
    5. Composition
      1. Part of object vs. entire object
      2. Depiction of ornamentation or other details
    6. Personal vision
  5. Social and legal issues
    1. Copyright
    2. Private vs. public property - need for releases
    3. Environmental issues
    4. Photography as a political tool- use for preservation and renovation

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Slide presentations, lectures, and demonstrations on topics ranging from the use of the camera and photographic printing, to examples from the masters of architectural photography. Critiques of student work will be held throughout the term to develop standards and evaluative criteria.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Participation in all critiques
  2. Production of a minimum of 15 overmatted and finished original prints

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

  1. Camera, film or digital.  
  2. Film cameras must be at least 35mm. Format, and digital cameras must be at least 3 megapixels.
  3. All cameras should have all-manual capabilities.
  4. Light meter if the camera does not have a built-in meter
  5. Tripod - One that is large enough to hold a camera steady
  6. Cable release (optional)
  7. For film cameras:
    1. Film
    2. Negative sleeves
    3. Photographic paper
    4. Fiber-base for B&W
    5. Paper appropriate for color RA processor
    6. Towel for darkroom
  8. For digital cameras:
    1. Memory card(s)
    2. Storage media
    3. Ink jet paper for printing
  9. Presentation boards
    1. Museum-grade white board
    2. Backing boards

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Critiques to evaluate student work will be held throughout the semester.  Each print will be evaluated regarding:

  1. Technique
  2. Esthetics
  3. Craftsmanship

The final grade will be based on these elements and their weights:

A. Photographic assignments  60%
B. Paper 10%
C. Final project 30%

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.