The course Basic Photography Steps is a mixture of knowledge and the practical appliance of information, which is appropriately harmonized and balanced, aiming at developing a complete understanding of the basics of photography. This course was created to allow students to get familiar with the fascinating world of photography and filmography. Although most people do not consider themselves creative or somehow related to creative industries and artistic activities, the influence of art is more comprehensive than it seems. More specifically, people cannot imagine how frequently they face art and deal with it in their everyday life because they do not focus their attention on this subject. Basic Photography Steps course is appropriately structured to clarify the role of art and its different types in the life of every individual and show how vast its influence is.
Basic Photography Steps is a course that was created for amateurs. This course includes theoretical and practical parts, which contribute to developing a complete perception of art and familiarity with its instruments. This course overviews the history of photography, stages of the cameras’ development, advantages and disadvantages of the photographic heritage humanity possess. Moreover, it shares different shooting techniques, which allow both amateur and experienced photographers to express themselves and their artistic ideas via photos.
The choice of literature for the course is, in fact, not limited. However, there are a few books which would be recommended to read. The first one is ‘On photography’ by Susan Sontag, which gives a review of how photography was changing till the middle of the XX century. ‘The decisive moment’ by Henri Cartier-Bresson explains creating the message and translating it through the picture. The third book, ‘Light science & magic: An introduction to photographic lighting’ by Fil Hunter et al. presents perspectives of using the lighting for the photographer’s purposes. The fourth book is an overview of all the essential details of photo-shooting– it is ‘Read this if you want to take great photographs by Henry Carroll.
This course is aimed at reaching several goals for both amateur and experienced photographers. The first goal is to tell students about the history of photography and filmography. The second one is to tell students about different elements of photo-shooting and teach them how to use them. The primary purpose of the course regarding these elements is to explain to students how these factors work and how to manage them to get a particular camera effect. The third goal is to provide students with a choice of cameras and ensure that they have access to the books required to improve their skills in using particular cameras. The fourth and final goal of the course is to make students interested in studying photography, even on an amateur level, to inspire and support them on their way to making art. The course is to broaden people’s horizons and suggest a new hobby to take up, not for teaching specialists.
Although the course rules are not strict, there still should be objectives to assess the students’ progress. Firstly, students should operate the terms and understand the elements related to the technical side of photography. These terms and factors include exposure, ISO, aperture, composition, lighting, and other terms related to photography. The second objective is students’ ability to use different types of cameras (digital, analog, film) and their options for their creative purposes. The third one is students’ ability to use artistic techniques for artistic effects of the photos. The final objective is students’ familiarity with the history of photography, filmography, and cameras. These objectives form the complex understanding of photography as a cultural phenomenon, a hobby activity, and a creative instrument.
Plan for Assessment
This course implies a light implementation of assessment in the studying process. However, all the performance objectives should be controlled to ensure the effectiveness of the course. The objective of understanding and operating the terms may be controlled using tests on the functions of the camera and its settings. The second objective can be assessed via practical exams, for example, an exam with a digital and a film camera, where the student explains why and how he/she uses a particular camera setting. The third objective can be evaluated in the same way, and these two exams maybe even united to save time and defuse tensions. The fourth objective may also be assessed via a test with questions on the history of photography. Another option for assessing the fourth and first objectives is an essay on the materials of the course.
How and Why the Items will Meet Goals?
The item, which is presented below, are explicitly structured to measure the goals of the course and whether students meet them or not. Selection items aim to assess the students’ theoretical knowledge during the course and the questions they focus on history and technical theory of photo-shooting. Response items allow assessing students’ knowledge more thoroughly and in detail, which is why these questions relate to more complex aspects of photo-shooting, where the personal reflection is critical, and all answers are correct. Performance items assess the application of theory; therefore, they concentrate on the students’ practical skills during the course.
Item Validity and Reliability
The suggested items below are valid and reliable enough to meet the requirements of the course. The first reason is that they measure the skills students get, which is stated in the goals of the course. Secondly, the items are based on the course materials only, which makes them accessible for both amateur and experienced photographers, meaning that the skill would be measured according to the given information and training. Therefore, the items are suitable and convenient for both teachers and students of the course.
The course materials do not imply that its students would become professional photographers or even get the desire to become them. However, Bloom’s taxonomy, which overviews the stages of cognitive processes dimension, suggests this direction of events (Revised Bloom’s taxonomy). Regarding this taxonomy, the items listed below would suit such cognitive processes as ‘remember,’ ‘apply,’ ‘understand,’ and ‘create’ (Revised Bloom’s taxonomy). Selection items would meet the requirements of understanding and remembering response items – applying and performance items – applying and creating. Overall, the items meet the requirements of the taxonomy and provide a rational assessment.
The first selection item would be focused on assessing how detailed is the image of the history of photography that the students remember. This item would be formed as a test where a student may choose the correct answer among the suggested ones. The questions would consider years of the appearance of technical innovations which predetermined drastic shifts in photography and names of the most famous photographers who have contributed to the development of the sphere. Other historical facts would also be mentioned, for example, the names of the most used cameras in different periods.
The second selection item would consist of true/false questions, reflecting the students’ ability to understand the terms they were taught and predict their use in different situations. For example, questions would touch on the exposure – which lighting requires which exposure and vice versa. The third item contains alternate-choice questions aimed at revealing the potential of the students to apply the theory on artistic techniques in practical photography. These would include questions like ‘what is required to create a bokeh’ with answers ‘widen the aperture’ or ‘move closer to the object.’ This way, it would be possible to learn how students use the theoretical material.
Response items ensure a more detailed analysis of students’ understanding of the material and, therefore, focus on more critical and complex elements of photo-shooting. Response items would further assess theoretical knowledge, continuing the analysis. The first of the items would be formed as a short case study and refer to using the camera’s settings in different situations. It would contain a description of the situation (lighting; portrait or landscape; indoors or outdoors shooting) and require an answer including all the settings that the student is planning to use.
The second item would be structured similarly but regarding the effects that the camera can make. The question would be ‘what would you use to create a glowing effect?’. The third item would imply a review of a historic part of the course, asking the student to express their opinions on the role of listed photographers in the development of the sphere. This way, the teachers would be able to assess the level of understanding of people’s creativity in developing any art-related sphere.
Performance items, unlike the previously discussed two types, are related to the practical side of photo-shooting. Therefore, the items would reflect the skills that the students got during the course. The first item would assess the ability of a student to use the settings of a camera. This item would be a practice activity, where the student is given conditions and requirements for the result, and he/she takes a photo to meet them. The second item would be formed similarly but emphasizing the ability to use different effects. Finally, the third performance item would refer to using different types of cameras. Students would have to show their photos taken using digital and film cameras proving that they understand the shooting process and can develop it.
Example 1 of Use in Formative Evaluation
The most suitable item for using informative evaluation is one of the response items. For example, a case study may reveal the level of students’ ability to apply their knowledge on the theory of using the settings of cameras. This item suits for assessing how thoroughly and accurately the teacher describes the needed settings for each potential situation of the photo-shooting. Depending on the answers – detailed, with an understanding of the subject, or banal – the level of teacher’s qualification can be evaluated.
Example 2 in Use of the Data from the Results to Remediate Students
Remediating students can be based on the results of these items, as well as assessing teachers. The performance items may be easily realized because a practical example is always more effective than theoretical explanations. Using a performance item related to different camera types can potently remediating students. Comparing the two types of cameras provides a space for the teacher to show the differences between them and explain which techniques work better in which situation. Hence, the student is more likely to remember the given information.
To conclude, the course Basic Photography Steps aims to provide an opportunity for all students who want to get familiar with the art of photography to dive into the world of photo-shooting. This course contains theoretical information on the history of photography and technical appliances and the social meaning of photography. In addition, this course provides practical training, including mastering options of digital and film cameras and artistic methods of interpreting photos.
Revised Bloom’s taxonomy. (n. d.). Iowa State University. Web.