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  1. #1
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    I was just asked to teach photography at a nearby middle school. The school is switching over to a charter school and they kids will be working on community based projects and photography is going to be part of those projects. The school has purchased 6 cameras for the 55 students. I'm still waiting to find out what model cameras the students will be using so I have a better idea of what they gear is capable of doing. From what it sounds like, the cameras are going to be more of the P&S variety so I'm guessing the students aren't going to have a lot of control. Knowing that I'm thinking that composition and vision is going to be more applicable than aperture and shutter speed. It sounds like I will only have 1 hour with the students so there isn't a lot of time to really get into much. Oh, and it's this Friday!

    Does anyone have any suggestions as far as what to talk about?

    I figured the rule of 3rds, leading lines, S curves would be good things to cover. Maybe some basics on aperture/shutter speed, freezing motion and motion blur.

    I know there are tons of things that could be covered but with such a limited amount of time, and limited equipment but I want to make sure I give them information that they can use with the equipment they have access to.

    Thoughts?
    Mike

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  2. #2
    n8
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    sounds cool.
    I'd think making sure to emphasis watching their background would be good, as well as when to flash, and when not to, since their p&s's will have that ability.
    Can I ask what the s curve is?
    mostly Nikon gear

    Feel free to edit my images for critique, just let me know what you did.

  3. #3
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Thanks. Watching the background is already on my list and I will add flash to it.

    When I say S curve I mean using the shape of an "S" as a design element. It can really help to lead the viewers eye through an image.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I've been asked to teach photography - Help!-crw_2018.jpg  
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  4. #4
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    If they use P&S, they may not have the control for stop action and long exposures. Hopefully they will have some manual settings though.
    --Cara

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  5. #5
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by CaraRose
    If they use P&S, they may not have the control for stop action and long exposures. Hopefully they will have some manual settings though.
    My thoughts exactly. I will know more tomorrow once I find out what the school purchased for them.

    I guess I could go into aperture and SS and then describe how the preset modes on the cameras change the settings to achieve a certain look. I have been jotting down ideas as they come to me and will try to organize them into a type of lesson plan once I get some more things figured out. Here is my rough list so far. Feel free to add to it:

    Composition:
    Rule of 1/3rds
    S Curves
    Leading lines
    Room to move

    watch the background

    Flash

    Layering: Foreground, middle, background

    Simplify: Cluttered photographs can confuse the viewer. While it’s tempting to make “sophisticated” images, simple often wins the day. Don’t feel like you need lots of elements to make a great picture. Most of my best-selling images offer a simple subject against a simple background.

    B&W vs Color

    Proper way to hold camera: If you can press your face against your camera when you handhold it, you can stabilize it and reduce the chance of camera shake. The more points of contact, the more stable.

    Keep your horizon level

    when shooting multiple objects, try to shoot an ODD number of subjects such as 3, 5, 7, etc. rather than even. This leads to a more balanced composition

    Read the manual

    Be patient
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    I do not know how old the kids will be, I tell you about my 11 yr daughter, she can find better views in a split second while I might find it in minutes, or not at all, her problems are things like:
    holding the camera still
    setting a focus point and waiting for the camera to focus
    shooting vs very bright light
    getting the photos of the card and uploading them somewhere

  7. #7
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    as well as standard composition you could look at focal length and field of view. most cameras have a zoom and this can be utilised creatively as well. I am assuming these cameras will be digital, so you can show them the difference between a wide angle shot close to subject and a telephoto shot further from the subject. If you can get them thinking about composition and "zooming with their feet" they will be able to make the best use of whatever camera they have. I would also touch of exposure especially once you know what camera they will be using if for no other reason than to point out why a cameras light meter might get things wrong. I would be looking for ways to use the equipment you have to build skills that will serve them whatever equipment they encounter in the future.
    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


  8. #8
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    When I took photography in high school, one of the things he did was give us a "theme" to shoot. We had to turn in 5 shots, 4 of them had to match the theme, one of them was "free" to do anything we wanted. So one week we were supposed to shoot portraits, another "street scene", another nature, candids, ect. I believe we even had one assignment to do advertisements, where you set up a still life shot that emphasizes some product.

    We were shooting film SLRs, but even with point and shoots you could do some of these, and introduce the kids to the different "genres" so to speak.
    --Cara

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  9. #9
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Thanks everyone for the great ideas. I will add these to my list tonight and try to boil thing down to a 45 minute presentation for the kids. If you have any more suggestions, please keep them coming.
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  10. #10
    Spamminator Grandpaw's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    A few thing I might add are these.

    Don't stand too far away from the subject. Fill up the frame but don't make it too busy.

    Don't be afraid to move around to get a better angle on the subject.

    Give them a list of websites they can go to and learn about photography. One I like is this one. This site lets you play with all the settings on a camera and immediately see how it effects the photo. http://dryreading.com/camera/index.html

    Don't cover too much at a time. A good thing to remember is the old saying KISMIF. Make it simple and make it fun, Jeff
    Check out my website Here
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  11. #11
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Thanks for your input Jeff. That website is very cool. I know I have seen it before, but I had forgotten about it.
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  12. #12
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Ok, from what it sounds like, the students will be using the Sony Cybershot DSC-H55.
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  13. #13
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Not bad for a P&S.

    They have focus control, 9 points AF / Center Weighted AF / Spot AF. Teaching them when to use different AF modes is probably a good lesson.

    Selectable ISO means you can show the trade offs of using high and low ISOs.

    Selectable WB, could do a lesson on what white balance is and why we use it. Heh, got any old grey or white cards to see how they did it back in the old days before new fangled digitally thing cameras?

    Actually, bringing in different types of cameras and showing the "evolution" of the camera is probably a good introductory lesson in itself.
    --Cara

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  14. #14
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Thanks for all the suggestions Cara. I'm sure I could come up with an entire semesters worth of lessons for them, but unfortunately I only have an hour... At least for now. It may be possible that I will be going back again later to do some follow up but for now, it's just the one hour. I'm going to take all the suggestions that everyone has given me along with some feedback I got from the teacher this morning and try to put together a lesson plan tonight or tomorrow along with some photo examples. If I get it done in time, I will try to post it here for everyone to look over.
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  15. #15
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    I thought you were teaching a course for a semester.

    Oy, one class? That's gonna be rough!
    --Cara

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  16. #16
    Senior Member JamesV's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    To HAVE FUN.........

    James

  17. #17
    GB1
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    You can probably break photography into two parts: the technical aspects, and the creative aspects.

    The technical side that I would hit first is the way light strikes the sensor and it is captured. (You can relate to film too.) How the lens works. Then discuss quite heavily the relationship between shutter speed and aperture and how they both control the amt of light that strikes the sensor. Also discuss lens focal length, the way shutters work, flash, etc. There's many other technical aspects. I think a photographer has to master the tech aspects before they can really elevate their work. Not meaning that you're completely bound to them, just one of those 'know the rules before you can know when to break them' things.

    The creative side would be a much longer discussion; indeed, it could and should take a lifetime to cover it (ha ha ha ..). I think that's where composition, the rule of thirds, tension, etc come into play.

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    Senior Member arne saknussen's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Is it just one sixty minute class and 55 students use 6 cameras during this period?

    Or is it a one class lecture then go out and take photos and meet again?

  19. #19
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by arne saknussen
    Is it just one sixty minute class and 55 students use 6 cameras during this period?

    Or is it a one class lecture then go out and take photos and meet again?
    As of right now it's a 1 hour lecture for 55 students that will be broken up into 3 classes. So basically the same 1 hour lecture to 3 different groups. The idea is to get them started and give them some tips and inspiration to go out and make photographs for their upcoming projects that will be give to them by their regular teachers. So far this is my only scheduled day to be at the school. As far as the cameras go, when the students get their projects they will be broken up into groups of 3 or so and each group will have a camera to use.
    Mike

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  20. #20
    banished Don Schaeffer's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    yuch--group use of a camera. It ought to be forbidden.

  21. #21
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Yeah, not something I would want to do, but that's what you get with a small town school budget.

    I have talked to a couple photographers I know who have experience teaching. One said to get the basics of exposure down to give them a foundation. The other said to stick with the creative side of things in order to keep them interested. If I get too technical, I'm afraid I'm going to loose them. I'm in the process now of building a power point presentation with an outline and lots of photos.
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  22. #22
    Liz
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs1973
    Yeah, not something I would want to do, but that's what you get with a small town school budget.

    I have talked to a couple photographers I know who have experience teaching. One said to get the basics of exposure down to give them a foundation. The other said to stick with the creative side of things in order to keep them interested. If I get too technical, I'm afraid I'm going to loose them. I'm in the process now of building a power point presentation with an outline and lots of photos.
    Power point is perfect for this situation. Excellent idea - should keep their interest. Seeing some of your photos should inspire them to learn.

    Don't forget to approach the class with the idea of having fun yourself! Makes a world of difference. :thumbsup:

    Good luck Mike......you'll do a fine job. I look forward to hearing about your class. Maybe you will find a few students to tutor.

    Liz

  23. #23
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Thanks Liz. I'm hoping to put finish the power point tonight so I can relax a little bit before Friday.
    Mike

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    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
    Aldo Leopold

  24. #24
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    Something that has not been mentioned yet is to have charged up batteries in the camera and enough memory on the card to be able to accommodate the outing. Another VERY important thing that I always mention to people when using a digital camera is to check the settings BEFORE EACH PHOTO OUTING. How many times have you gone out and the white balance, ISO, or other setting still be set on the camera for the last picture taking event. Not checking and finding out after you have taken your pictures is a real bummer.

    I definitely agree about not getting too much into the technical aspects and focus (HA HA ) on the composition part. Many people are interested in recording events and memories but are not into photography. If they learn how to compose a good picture and take an interesting shot they may later develop an actual interest in photography. If they cannot compose a decent picture then learning how all the settings work, really won't matter. Good luck, you have been given a challenge and I'm sure you are up to the task.

    One more important thing is to keep it fun for you also because if it is not fun for you it won't be fun for them. Get them hooked on photography by emphasizing the fun part, they are already having to study for all their other classes, Jeff
    Check out my website Here
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  25. #25
    banished Don Schaeffer's Avatar
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    Re: I've been asked to teach photography - Help!

    You could have a lot of fun with this.

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