Session 3 Digital Photography

Digital Photography has become a wonderful source of art. Anyone can point and shoot, but we want to focus on the way to take an image where we consider the composition, subject matter, angle and message.

Ohio State Standards Met

5PE Examine designed objects and identify the processes and decisions made to produce them with attention to purpose, aesthetics, social issues and cultural and personal meaning.

1PR Improve craftsmanship and refine ideas in response to feedback.

2PR Manipulate materials, tools and technology in conventional and unconventional ways to create a work of art.

1PR Select, organize and manipulate skills, elements and techniques appropriate to the art form when making art.

2PR Demonstrate increased technical skill and craftsmanship by using more complex processes and materials to design and create two- and three-dimensional artworks.

3PR Use critical thinking and visual literacy to communicate a specific idea.

4PR Present personal artworks that show competence in the use of art elements to create meanings and effects.

6RE Develop and apply criteria to assess personal works for content and craftsmanship.

Rule of Thirds

This ‘rule’ is simply a guideline to give you an optimal composition. If this rule is not followed, it will not necessarily mean that the image will come out poorly, however this will help train the eye for the best way to capture an image.

What is the Rule of Thirds?

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. Example below.


As you’re taking an image you would have done this in your mind through your viewfinder or in the LCD display that you use to frame your shot.

With this grid in mind the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image.

Not only this – but it also gives you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.


The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

An image should ‘touch’ no more than three sides of the image. If the image is something from far away, such as a landscape, then this rule is a little looser. If the image is of one main object the image should fall somewhere on the inside of the grid.

In a similar way a good technique for landscape shots is to position horizons along one of the horizontal lines also as I’ve done with the following shot (I’ll let you imagine the lines).

In learning how to use the rule of thirds (and then to break it) the most important questions to be asking of yourself are:

  • What are the points of interest in this shot?
  • Where am I intentionally placing them?

Keep the rule of thirds in mind as you edit your photos later on. Post production editing tools today have good tools for cropping and reframing images so that they fit within the rules. Experiment with some of your old shots to see what impact it might have on your photos.



Students will understand how to create a composition with their eye using the rule of thirds.

Students will have a stronger understand of what makes up a strong composition.

Applying the rule to photos

Students will be given a digital camera and asked to take photos of subjects which they will need to convey/ display to following:

Close up/ Macro
Action/ Motion

Students will be able to edit these images in photoshop if they need to crop the images for a better result of the rule of thirds.


Students will use the rule of thirds and apply it to images with guidelines.

Students will learn how to look deeper into the image they are capturing.

Students will begin working with Photoshop and begin to familiarize themselves with the program.

Visiting the teaching Artist

Local photographer Allen Doe has participated in taking images for HMS in the past. I hope to bring him to our class to teach a lesson on digital photography. He can show the students how to best create balance in an image. How to make a somewhat ordinary object become the subject of the image.


Students will have a strong understanding of professional photography.

Students will engage in a lesson with a local artist.

Editing Images in Photoshop

I will have students take the images they have used from our first lesson and we will discover the tools and setting in photoshop. We will learn how to make a monochromatic image by adjusting the levels and color setting in a photo. We will add filters to images to see what kind of look they can have. We will use the magic wand tool and levels to adjust selections of color in an image. In the end I will have each student choose their favorite, or most successful image to share with the class.


Students will have a stronger understanding of various tools available to use in photoshop.

Students will successfully manipulate an image to enhance color, change ranges of color and add filters.

Photo Collage, Creating a panorama or Large Image by using many images

This was a lesson taken from the Hudson Studies Lesson we used during NAMTA. Students plant their feet in one place and take a series of images by moving the camera around from top left of their subject moving to the right in a line, repeating in rows until the whole image has been captured. We will use photoshop to put the images together, and stitch them together using the clone tool. Students can also do this using printed images and place them together on mat board. They can use xacto knives and/ or sharp scissors.

Students will use photos and crafting skills to create a large image from many photos.

Students will understand the process of stitching images together either on photoshop or in print.

Photoshop Clones

A classic photoshop trick I love to work with is adding or taking people out of images. In this lesson we will be adding “clones” of ourselves in several areas of a room. This is done by mounting a digital camera on a tripod, and not moving the camera at all. Students take several images of themselves sitting, standing, and even laying down in various parts of one room. We will then take all of the images and using the lasso tool, clone tool and rectangle selection tool to put ourselves in the one room image. This lesson will focus more on the use of photoshop. The end result is a hilarious image of clones in a room.

Students will have a stronger grasp on tools in photoshop.

Students will understand how to manipulate several images to create one new image.


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