How to Teach Digital Photography
Happily, you don’t have to be an expert! All it takes is a little bit of research (or an available unit study) to help you teach your student.
- the history of photography
- key Individuals that have had a significant impact through their photography
- various fields in which photography is used
- the science of photography
- how to compose a photo
- the basics for using whatever camera your family has on hand (Ben shoots with this Canon Rebel)
Learning Objective: The History of Photography
Firstly, you’ll want to decide how far back in history do you want to take this?
Using a history timeline to help teach the milestones of camera inventions over the years can be a super useful. And be sure to have your students have the Cross in the middle of the timeline to represent Christ as the focal point of history (His Story).
Consider and ponder:
- Before cameras, what might “photography” have looked like?
- How can photography be used for the glory of God?
- Is photography a “truth teller?” Does the camera ever lie?
Learning Objective: Key Individuals
When studying Key Individuals, you can look for inventors who altered camera technology over time. And you can also look for Key Individuals who have been involved with turning photography into an art form.
Especially though, have your students research about different inventors and photographers in relation to how they’ve impacted history or the lives of others through their work.
Additionally, these Key Individuals may be added to the history timeline for photography. Be sure to have life dates included. Create a biographical sketch using notebooking pages for details on the life and work of each individual they study.
Consider and ponder:
- Does the inventor or photographer have a worldview? What is it?
- How does his or her worldview impact their craft?
- How might your teen make an impact as a key individual/photographer in history?
Learning Objective: Various fields in Which Photography is Used
- Advertising Photography. This can be super fun for individuals who love composition and lighting to help brands sell products or services. Possible job opportunities are: advertising agencies, marketing firms, and design studios.
- Editorial Photography. If your student is geared toward magazines and such, he or she may enjoy this field! Possible job opportunities are: magazines, newspapers, and book publishers.
- Flat Lay Photography. Now this has a different take on things. For instance, objects are used and the photographer comes up with the visual layout and design. Then they take a topical photograph of the objects. Often times this is freelance work in which brands and/or bloggers may purchase photos.
- News Photography. Similar to an Editorial Photographer, News Photographers provided photos which are for news stories or news programs. Possible job opportunities are: newspapers, magazines, and television broadcasters.
- Portrait Photography. If your student prefers photographing people and/or animals, this may be up their alley. Possible job opportunities are: working for a portrait studio or small photography business owner, owning a small photography business themselves, or being a freelance photographer.
- Scientific Photography. If your student is aiming for a degree in science, he or she may be interested in combing it with photography. Possible job opportunities with this special combo: working for universities, hospitals, research organizations, or curriculum developers.
- Sports Photography. Well, this is a given. Possible job opportunities in this field are: specialist sports publications, websites, and sports sections of magazines and newspapers. Usually, these photographers are working on assignment.
- Ask your student which field of photography they are most interested in and why.
- Encourage your teen to practice photography in each of these fields, maybe even build a portfolio.
- Research and record how each of these fields of photography might fit on the historical timeline.
Learning Objective: The Science of Photography
This can get pretty in-depth. But have an enjoyable time with it! Below are some possible areas to cover:
- Film. Depending on how “ancient” you want to be about this topic, chemistry and film development may be of interest.
- The way the camera functions.
- Functionality of the camera lens.
- How the camera operates.
- The internal electronic anatomy of a camera.
- Compare/Contrast how different digital cameras and lenses function from each other.
Possible Things Holding You Back from Teaching Digital Photography
Look, I get it. For all of those wonderful things to learn, time is limited. If you’re not familiar with the details for these learning objectives, you may be nervous about teaching digital photography. Or maybe you don’t have the time or energy to invest in doing the research needed to put your own unit study together. But, you don’t want to have your student miss out on this fun study!
Homeschool Photography Curriculum
Thankfully, you don’t have to know everything about photography. Your role can be one of encourager and fellow investigator. You might even discover you have a love of photography. There a couple of (homeschool mom approved) solutions to help you and your student be successful.
High School Photography Elective
Ben chose this Photography Course for his high school elective.
Topics covered in this 30-week online photography class include the functions of the camera, composition and elements of design, stretching your skills, and more. This is a 1/2 credit course in Electives for your high schooler and a great follow-up to the unit study mentioned above. Ben also included the Photography Challenge, which was a super fun and organized way to hone his skills.
Both Photography and the Photography Challenges courses require membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com but is well worth the yearly cost of the membership (plus there are more than 450 other courses to choose from for all grades – one membership price per family for all courses for all of your students). Use the code BENANDME for a huge discount on the monthly membership. You’ll get it for $10.95/month (regular price is $24.97/month and there is no contract; you can cancel anytime. If you prefer a little longer commitment, you can use the code benandmeq to save 45% on the quarterly membership.
If your teen is interested in taking his photography hobby to the next level, consider some business and entrepreneurship courses as well. Courses such as Business Plan Creation, Image Editing and Creation, and Starting a Microbusiness for Teens, Internet Entrepreneurship for Teens, and Accounting 101 are also offered with a membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Digital Photography Unit Study
Digital Photography is a great introduction to photography for your beginner photographer. This handy-dandy, hands on digital photography unit study for homeschoolers, written by Amanda Bennett, is perfect for your middle schooler interested in learning more about photography.
Topics covered in this 4-week study include:
- The science of light and lenses.
- The history of photography.
- Camera basics.
- Composing a photo.
- Famous photographers and their work.
- Applications of photography.
- Working with a digital photograph.
It’s a great place to start learning and will quickly get your student using their digital camera. I love that it covers history and famous photographers for a more complete learning experience. Ben completed this unit study in middle school and soon he was bitten by the photography bug.
30-Day Photography Challenge for Teens
One last resource is our 30-Day Photography Challenge for Teens. I created this photography challenge to help your teens hone their photography skills. It includes information on different photography techniques, with several photo challenges for each technique. You’ll also find a free printable to help them keep track of their work!