Several years ago, our daughter became interested in photography.
A real interest, one she thought about every day and one that did not go away!
She spent time researching and talking through her ideas about what she wanted to learn. Home educating, I knew she had the freedom to explore her interest as part of her day—every day—if she desired to do so.
Though I enjoy photography and have a "creative" bent, I had no idea what concepts and skills would be included in a high school level photography course. Therefore, when she asked me what areas I thought would be included in a photography course, I knew I would have to join in the learning.
First, I searched the Internet for syllabi of high school level photography courses. Reading, I discovered common threads. This was a starting point.
Second, my daughter and I brainstormed additional content she wanted to learn. For example, she wanted to upgrade her camera. Researching the pros and cons of brands and features was definitely something she could include in her course.
Third, we talked about what real-life experiences could be added: job shadowing, taking pictures of family members, learning and using editing programs, and shooting seconds for a professional photographer.
Clearly, my daughter’s interest drove the learning. I simply had to be open to the ideas and be ready to encourage her progress.
Before we knew it we had accumulated not only content but resources.
Here is a snapshot of the content we developed.
I. History of photography
- the pinhole camera, daguerreotype, Kodak Brownie camera, film development, darkrooms, Polaroid cameras, flash cubes, and flash bars
II. People of Influence
- Joseph Nicephore Niepce, Loius Daguerre, R.L. Maddox, George Eastman
III. Types of Photography
- portrait, children, pets, landscapes, macro, food, nature, architectural, forensic, sport, science,
- parts and components
VI. Lighting, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Depth of field
VII. Composition, Color, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, and Special Techniques
VIII. Photo Editing
- Photo Shop, Paint Shop Pro, Photo Plus, Pixlr
IX. Analyzing and Critiquing Photography
X. Documentary and Photojournalism
XI. Famous Photographers and Photojournalists
XII. Mounting and Displaying Photography
- enter photography in contests or county fairs
XIII. Digital Photography
XIV. Photography Careers
portrait photography, commercial photography, fine art photography, wedding photography, scientific photography, sports photography, medical photography, forensic photography, nature photography, aerial photography, photojournalism
XV. Photography Licenses
- royalty free, rights managed, stock photography
XVI. Legal, Ethical and Copyright
- fair use, buildings protected by copyright, difference between photography for personal use or commercial use, model/copyright releases, editorial photography as a profession in regards to rights and fair use
The outline above was the jumping off point. Once we had the major areas of study--at least a plan--we could adjust as we went along.
We added experiential learning. Our list of considerations were
Job shadowing a photographer or interning as a photographer's assistant
Working in a camera store
Setting up a darkroom
Creating a yearbook for a school or co-op
Working with a blogger to communicate content visually
Learning mounting techniques.
For learners who appreciate the power of a story, these Living Books may be just the ingredient to bring additional life to the course.
Cameras and Courage, Margaret Bourke-White by Iris Noble, Julian Messner biography
Joseph Pulitzer, Front Page Pioneer by Iris Noble, Julian Messner biography
My daughter's interest led to elective credits, not one but TWO! When she finished these studies, she decided to take an online course.
Once the interest is sparked, there is no limit to where the learning path may lead. Sometimes it is an elective. Other times the study leads to employment. The possibilities of high school electives is endless!
If you will be attending Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) conference May 25-27, you may be interested in the two high school workshops I have been invited to share: Keeping High School ALIVE with Living Books and High School: Mission Possible. In addition, my husband Mike will join me at the podium to share The Real-Life Influence of Family Conversation and my oldest son and I will present an encouraging session, Thank You, Mom!
FPEA is always a highlight of our speaking calendar. Can't wait to see you there!