Pin Me

How to Teach Digital Photography to High Schoolers

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Shawn S. Lealos•updated: 5/31/2011

New technology, social media, and a constant influx of sight and sound dramatically change the way we communicate and prepare messages. Here is a look at how you are going to develop an educational plan for teaching DSLR photography to high school students.

  • slide 1 of 5

    Beyond Art Education

    The Photographer Visual communication has become as important as linguistic types. High school was traditionally a place where messages were crafted in papers and essays, stories and articles. Today it is important to integrate all kinds of elements from networking to web development so that students will be able to enter the changing world. Digital photography lessons for high school students is increasingly important, both because of the need for the average worker to have the ability to capture professional images and because professional photographic technology has become more economically practical for the average consumer. Here is a look at how you may put together high school photography lessons that will help your students succeed.

  • slide 2 of 5

    Assignments

    Professional education is based on the digital SLR camera model, which is the technologically evolved version of the more standard SLR form. The only other option would be point and shoot digital cameras, but these would only be good for learning image framing and would not give them the fundamentals of how professional photography should work. Your digital photography lessons should be fundamentally based around how to work with the technology of the camera and how to express their vision through it.

    To do this you should alternate assignments that will first give them an understanding of different imaging functions as well as different visual elements. For example, one of the best high school photography lessons you can do is to give them an assignment that will show them what different shutter speeds will do. You can ask them to photograph like images or scenarios with different shutter speeds, aperture settings, and ISO numbers. This will give them a concrete understanding of how these different elements will work together.

    Beyond these you can move into different general schools of photographic thought. You can assign portrait work, abstract photographic images, constructed image, photojournalism, and other elements that require them to think and then create their own interpretation of that tradition. It is best if it is then brought into the class and critiqued with the elements that have been taught in mind.

  • slide 3 of 5

    Photo Editing

    Photo editing is no longer an extra process put on top of the work in a professional photography lab. Today it is an essential part of the photography process, and understanding a photographic workflow is going to mean putting the photos through one of these programs. Learning Adobe Photoshop is going to be a fundamental part of digital photography lessons for high school students as it is part of how they will consider their images and the vision for how they will look in the end. These will also end up being one of the most clearly demonstrated skills they can use in a professional or high end academic environment.

    A computer lab used for multimedia or publishing of some form, such as for the yearbook or student newspaper, will likely be the best place to run students through the process. The use of free tutorials for digital photography will help here more than they would in the field since they can work along with them as they do their regular photo editing. Since high school photography lessons are not going to be at a fully professional level, and instead much more of an overview, you do not have to worry about doing through every area of this process.

  • slide 4 of 5

    Equipment

    The best way to teach anybody anything creative is with a hands on approach at all times. You will want to have demonstrations at some level,DSLR Camera  and free digital photography tutorials if you can find some that are useful, but the students will learn best if they are actually working with the camera. This means what is best is to get lower grade DSLR cameras so that you will have a larger number of them. They have to be a reasonable enough quality so students will get high quality images and will know how to work with professional cameras, but you do not need to go with the highest end available. You will also want to make sure that you have enough money to use multiple lenses as this is going to be crucial for the students' developments.

  • slide 5 of 5

    References

    Photos:

    DSLR Cameras

    The Photographer

    Source: Author's own experience.