Fall 2018


Photography Portfolio Review: Taking Your Images from Good to Great (55+)

How do a camera’s aperture and shutter speed help convey the message of an image? When is the emotion of colour more appropriate than the purity of black and white? How can you apply the principle that less is more in framing your shot? What is your vision statement, and how can you cultivate creativity?

We will critique our own images in class, and carry out simple photography assignments over the six weeks of this course. We’ll explore the principles of composition and artistic vision; look at how colour, light and form make a statement; and examine how a single image or a cohesive portfolio of work can tell a story. Finally, we’ll cover a few post-processing principles in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (also applicable to similar post-processing software).

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Week 1: Composition Basics

We learn the difference between how the human eye sees and the camera sees. Each ‘tool’ of the camera (aperture, shutter speed, contrast etc.) can be used to convey a different message, and we explore how to use the camera’s abilities to communicate these ideas.

  • Assignment for next class submission: Colour as an emotion

Week 2: Colour vs. Black-and-White

We explore the power and emotion that a colour image conveys, compared to the purity of form in a black-and-white image. When would it be best to convert an image to black-and-white and what connotations does monochrome have?

  • Assignment for next class submission: Form (black and white)

Week 3: Less is More

We learn how to simplify your composition to the few relevant elements that tell a story. We explore use of framing to create negative space, abstract images or emphasis.

  • Assignment for next class submission: Simplicity

Week 4: Creating a Body of Work

We study different types of series; a linear story rather than a cohesive body of work, and how to avoid repetition and redundancy. Additionally, we see how to construct a “vision statement” that conveys the concepts of the series.

  • Assignment for next class submission: Series of three images

Week 5: Image Review and Discussion

Whereas previous classes comprised a combination of theory and image review, this class is dedicated entirely to image reviews. Students read their vision statements and present their images, followed by constructive critique.

Week 6: How to Expand Your Creative Expression

Summarizing the principles discussed in previous classes, we see how to overcome creative obstacles. We explore the difference between how the left and right hemispheres of our brain ‘see’, and how that applies to art. Also, we discover the principles of creativity introduced by Harvard professor, Shelly Carson, in Your Creative Brain (2010).

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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