Digital Photography 1a - VLACS
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Estimated Completion Time

18 weeks


Have you wondered how professional photographers manage to capture that perfect image? Gain a better understanding of photography by exploring camera functions and the elements of composition while putting theory into practice by taking your own spectacular shots! Learn how to display your work for exhibitions and develop skills important for a career as a photographer.

Major Topics and Concepts

Unit 1: Taking The First Shot

  • Identify and explain basic camera anatomy and function
  • Discuss the main subjects found in photography
  • Explain how to care for and maintain camera equipment
  • Describe how a camera is held and used

Unit 2: Moving Into Manual

  • Explain the significance of file format
  • Identify different types of camera lens and how they function
  • Discuss the workings of a light meter.
  • Discover the importance of exposure and overall lighting effects

Unit 3: A Snapshot of History

  • Explain the difference between art and fine art photography
  • Identify and discuss selected artists who have contributed to the development of photography
  • Identify and discuss general themes and trends in different periods of photographic history
  • Describe the mechanics of early photographic systems

Unit 4: The Nature of Light

  • Identify light sources and describe how they differ
  • Explain how to effectively use available light
  • Describe safe and proper use of photographic tools and processes
  • Discuss the characteristics of color and how they are affected by light

Unit 5: Creative Composition

  • Explain various composition techniques and their effects
  • Identify the appropriate lens for a subject
  • Discuss how a camera lens relates to visual composition
  • Describe the basic components of a tripod and other support equipment

Unit 6: Producing Great Images

  • Identify job titles associated with digital photography
  • Discuss the interrelationship among artists
  • Describe the various stages of production
  • Explain photographic terms and jargon

Unit 7: Manipulation and Management

  • Explain how image editing and manipulation affects the craft
  • Apply design skills to create original works of art
  • Discuss the significance of image distortion in digital photography
  • Define and discuss the boundaries of copyright protection

Unit 8: Presenting Your Work

  • Discuss the key components of a photographic exhibition
  • Create an artistic statement
  • Explain the various ways a print can be mounted and installed
  • Identify the important factors in a budget



Experiences allow students to demonstrate mastery of competencies through various real-world or hands-on learning opportunities, such as travel, service learning, independent study, internships or entrepreneurship. During an experience, students elect to meet all or some of the competencies in a particular competency group (ie. English 1, Economics, Biology, …), as an alternative to taking the course. Each experience is customized to the student’s opportunity. The student works with a VLACS instructor to determine deliverables that demonstrate mastery of the competencies and secures an outside expert to enrich the experience.

In Experiences students will:

  1. Meet weekly with their instructor.
  2. Secure an outside expert.
  3. Plan the experience prior to completing it. Credit is not awarded for experiences completed prior to enrollment and completion of the planning process.
  4. For many experiences, spend time at a business or other location.

Types of Experiences:

Independent Study

By signing up for an independent study, you will be able to direct your own learning, identifying what you want to learn and how you will demonstrate that you have mastered your learning objectives.


Internships allow you to gain professional experience, make connections, and become familiar with a career while working on site with mentors and professionals in a career of your interest.


While travel can be a great experience for learning life lessons, it is also an excellent way to acquire the knowledge and skills that allow you to demonstrate mastery in a variety of competencies. The world is a classroom and travel experiences will connect your real-world experiences to the learning that you seek.

Service Learning

In-Service Learning, you collaborate with members of your community to address issues to improve your community. You will connect your service with discipline-specific content so that learning can take place through problem solving and collaboration.


Starting your own business is a great way to learn. This type of experience allows you to engage in an entrepreneurial experience and receive credit for competencies you master through this experience.

Credits .5

Competency Group Overview

Meets art and ICT graduation requirement


  • Career Connections
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of various careers by researching careers and participating in and reflecting on sessions hosted by professionals working in these careers.
  • Camera Anatomy and Function
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic camera anatomy and function by identifying the parts of a camera and using various camera modes, such as auto, manual, aperture and shutter priority to take original photographs.
  • History of Photography
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of how photography has changed throughout history by analyzing changes in camera technology and how these have impacted photography over time.
  • Digital Photography Careers and Artistic Process
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of careers in digital photography and how photographers plan photoshoots by identifying jobs associated with digital photography and planning a photoshoot using the stages of production.
  • Image Editing and Presentation
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of image editing and presentation by using a photo editing program to manipulate a photograph, explaining the techniques used to enhance a presentation, and planning a photography exhibit.
  • Light and Composition in Photography
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of how photographers use light and composition in a photograph by explaining how light is used in photography, explaining various composition guidelines, and taking original photographs that use various types of light and compositions.



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We offer regular online open house webinars where VLACS staff members provide parents and students with an overview of our programs and answer questions about online learning.