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Estimated Completion Time

18 weeks


Building on the prior prerequisite course, further develop your photography skills by learning more professional tips, tricks, and techniques to elevate your images. Explore various photographic styles, themes, genres, and artistic approaches. Learn more about photojournalism and how to bring you photos to life. Using this knowledge, build a portfolio of your work to pursue a career in this field!

During this course, you will learn career-related skills and earn a badge for this accomplishment. A badge is a digital certification of your career-related learning that you can share on social media and higher education platforms, or with colleges, potential employers, peers, and colleagues. Select this link to learn more about badges.


Course Requirements

  • A digital camera that offers both automatic and manual control
  • An image editing program (GIMP or something similar)
  • A camera with video recording abilities (camera phone, digital camera, or computer camera)
  • Audio recording device (smartphone, computer program, digital voice recorder)
  • Access to a community of people in your area that are willing to participate in a community art project

Major Topics and Concepts

Unit 1: Photojournalism: Real Life in Pictures

  • Apply the ethical rules of photojournalism
  • Create photos using the “decisive moment” idea of Cartier-Bresson
  • Connect the history of photojournalism to the Pictorialist and straight photography movements
  • Analyze the use of citizen journalists by professional news organizations

Unit 2: Context is Everything: Style and Genre

  • Discern the difference between creative and editorial photography genres
  • Compare and contrast stylistic characteristics of different genres of photography
  • Differentiate between ethnographic photography and authentic cultural expression
  • Analyze photographs by using aesthetic, historical, and contextual cues

Unit 3: There’s an App for That

  • Choose an appropriate workflow and image editing software
  • Describe and use three different types of photo metadata
  • Experiment with post-processing tools like white balance, tone, and color settings
  • Set up a photo gallery on a photo-sharing website that can function as a digital portfolio

Unit 4: Words and Pictures: Composing Meaning

  • Analyze the visual elements in a photograph or other work of art
  • Apply the principles of design to the creation of photographs or analysis of composition
  • Compare and contrast ways of thinking about visual perception in photography
  • Implement an open-ended creative process in photography

Unit 5: Don’t Listen to the Haters: Productive Critique

  • Define the term critique and differentiate it from criticism
  • Critique photos and photo series with multiple tools
  • Utilize constructive criticism to improve photographic artistry
  • Interpret the meaning of photographs through multiple perspectives

Unit 6: Finding Your Peeps: Photography and Community

  • Discuss the importance of photography clubs, today and throughout photographic history
  • Connect the changes in photography to the technological changes that have happened in the medium
  • Distinguish between collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork and integrate the collaborative process into group projects
  • Engage community members in photography projects
  • Assess the artistic voice and style of famous photographers and peers

Unit 7: Digital Video: Production and Post-Production

  • Analyze and organize your process for choosing portfolio photos
  • Tailor your portfolio to the intended audience, whether it is art school, a gallery show, or a client
  • Apply soft skills like adaptability, interpersonal communication, and time management to support a photography career
  • Develop a plan to continue to learn technical skills, business skills, and to grow as a creative photographer, whether amateur, student, or professional

Unit 8: Presenting Your Portfolio

  • Connect your photographic work to that of famous photographers of yesterday and today
  • Analyze your progress and creatively write and revise your artist’s statement
  • Sequence your portfolio in an aesthetically pleasing way
  • Research, identify, and pursue job or avocational opportunities in photography



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


  • Photojournalism
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of photojournalism by describing types of photos taken by photojournalists and creating decisive moment photographs.
  • Photography Genres
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of photography genres by differentiating types of photographic media, analyzing historical photographs from various cultures and creating photographs that represent different genres.
  • Photo Editing
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of photo editing by explaining photographic workflow, summarizing post-processing tools and comparing types of metadata.
  • Visual Elements
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of visual elements by evaluating visual elements in a photograph and explaining principles of design in photography.
  • Critiquing Photos
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of critiquing photos by differentiating critique from criticism and analyzing photographs created by others.
  • Photography Community
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of the photography community by explaining the purpose of photography communities, explaining methods for working with others and evaluating artistic voice.
  • Digital Portfolio
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of digital portfolios by examining photographs as a method of communication and describing the process of planning a photography portfolio.
  • Photography Careers
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of photography careers by describing photography careers and creating a digital portfolio.


Digital Photography 1a

Attend a virtual open house

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.