Syllabus: Photo Journalism

Photojournalism Scope & Sequence 18 Week Class

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.  Except for those videos, worksheets, etc. not created by me and are not available from my site via MediaFire.

Resources:  Short Course: Digital Photography Using The Camera, Short Course: Photographic Workflow, One Minute Tip: Photoshop Wednesday (CS), Teacher Training Videos Photoshop, The Digital Photography School (dps), Jodie Coston Lessons Morguefile, Digital Photography 1-On-1 by Adarama (also available on iTunes), Tamron Lenses Photo Videos,,

Notes:  All PhotoShop 7 Lessons are compatible with PhotoShop CS, CS2, CS3 & CS4

Week 1:

Course Introduction/Equipment Use Agreement, (PDF Version)

Lesson 1:  What is a Photograph/Who is a Photographer?, (PDF Version)

Lesson 2:  What is a Camera?  Development of Cameras, (PDF Version)

Week 2:

Lesson 3:  Camera Safety, (PDF VersionHow to Get Your Camera Back (dps),

Lesson 4:  Privacy Law For Photographers, (PDF Version)

Week 3:

Lesson 5:  Camera Operation: White Balance, (PDF Version), Into To White Balance (dps), White Balance (DP 1on1 #13), White Balance (Tamron #10), White Balance (CamColor),

Lesson 6:  Camera Operation: Holding The CameraHow To Reduce Camera Shake (dps), How To Hold A Camera (dps), Shutter Release Technique (dps), Shoot it Like A Marksman (PetaPix),

Week 4:

Lesson 7:  Camera Operation Parts of The Camera, Digital Camera Modes (dps), Battery Life (Photofocus), DSLR (FrontBack) {Photography for Dummies}

Lesson 8:  Exposure Triangle: ISOThe Exposure Triangle (dps), Exposure Triangle (DP 1on1 #16), Metering What is it? Why?(CamColor), Camera ISO (Tamron #7), Effective Metering (Tamron #5)

Week 5:

Lesson 9:  Exposure Triangle: Shutter SpeedThe Exposure Triangle (dps),  Exposure (Photography 101.5), Jodie Coston Lesson 2Jodie Coston Lesson 4,   Shutter Speed (Tamron #4), Aperture(Tamron #3),

Shutter & Aperture SimulatorFilm Speed SimulatorCamera Shake Simulator, CAMERASINTERACTIVE: Virtual CameraAperture & Shutter Priority (dps) Photo 101 Lesson 6: Shutter,

Lesson 10: Exposure Triangle: ApertureAperture (Photography 101.5), Aperture on the Lens (DP 1on1 #14),

Week 6:

Lesson 11: Saving Digital Photo Files (Megapixel Chart), Bit Depth (CamColor), JPEG Lossy ExampleWhat does JPG, TIF, etc Mean? (dPs),

Lesson 12:  Basic Photo Composition Part I, (PDFRule of Thirds (dps), Fill The Frame (dps), Rule of Thirds Grid (PC/IE) (Mac/Firefox), Jodie Coston Lesson 1,

Lesson 12 B:  Basic Photo Composition Part II, (PDFPhoto Composition Part III: The Golden Mean, (PDF),

Week 7:

Lesson 13: Photoshop (PS) Basics:  The Toolbar (Photoshop Toolbar Reference)

Teacher Training Videos Photoshop

(Tools Videos in Quicktime .mp4 files: PhotoShop Wednesday Tips #1: Reset Tools, #2 Tool Shortcuts, #4 Zoom, #13 Clone Stamp Tool, #14 Pattern Stamp Tool,  #16 Move Tool, #21 Eraser Tool, #26 Gradient Tool, #27 Blur, Sharpen, Smudge, #29 Eyedropper, Etc., #30 Shape Tool, #31 Pen Tool)

Lesson 14:  PS Basics: Levels for Photo Toning, (Lesson 14 PDFUnderstanding Histogams (dps), Understanding Histograms (CamColor), Using Levels in PS (CamColor)

Week 8:

Lesson 15:  PS Basics: Cropping

(Tools Videos in Quicktime .mp4 files: PhotoShop Wednesday Tips #5 Selections 1, #6 Selections 2, #7 Selections 3, #8Selections 4, #15 Cropping, #41 History)

Lesson 16:  Photos That Informed The World (PDF),

Week 9:

Lesson 17:  Photo Faking: Do Photos Lie (PDF),

Resources:  YouTube Photoshop Makeover, YouTube Dove Real Beauty, InStyle Virtual Hair Makeover,

Lesson 18: Shooting Candids (PDF),

Week 10:

Lesson 19: Rules For Writing Captions (PDF),

Lesson 20: How To Write A Caption (PDF),

Week 11:

Lesson 21: Lighting & Flash (PDF), Shooting With In-Camera Flash (dps)

Lesson 22: Using Depth of Field (PDF)

Resources: How To Take Sharp Photos (dps), How To Get Shallow DOF (dps), Jodie Coston Lesson 3Depth of Field (Adarama DP 1on1 #12), Depth of Field (CamColor), Tutorial from Tutorial 9 about DOF,

Week 12:

Lesson 23: How To Crop People

Lesson 24: Basics Cut Out Backgrounds (2 periods) (zip file) (Photoshop Lasso Tool PDF)

Week 13:

Lesson 25:  Shooting Sports (PDF), Jodie Coston Lesson 5,

Lesson 26: How To Shoot Sports (FootballVolleyballCross CountryBasketballSoccer (Futbol)TennisTrackGolf,SwimmingBaseball & Softball), dPS The Art of PanningUsing Shutter to Stop Action (DP 1on1 #18)

Week 14:

Lesson 27: Using Layers in PS

(Tools Videos in Quicktime .mp4 files: PhotoShop Wednesday Tips #34 Layers Pallette 1, #35 Layers Pallette 2, #36Transforming Layers 1, #37 Transforming Layers 2, #38 Transforming Layers 3, #39 Layer Masks)

Lesson 28: How To Keep Your Camera Clean, Dirty Sensors (dps), Cleaning A Lens (dps)

Week 15:

Advanced Photoshop Practice

Week 16:

Advanced Photoshop Practice

Week 17:

Advanced Photoshop Practice

Week 18:

UNIT 1 TEST:  Lesson 1-8

UNIT 2 TEST Lessons 9-16

UNIT 3 TEST Lessons 17-22

Assignment 1: White Balance & ISO

Assignment 2:  Angles & Rule of Thirds

Assignment 3:  Using Light

Assignment 4: Candid Walkabout

Assignment 5: Personality Profile

Assignment 6: Shooting Action/Sports

Assignment 7:  Out of Class Shoot Due (Alternate Assignment: Portrait Photos: Portrait Guide (, 10 Ways To Stunning Portraits (dps), 6 Steps To Great Group Shots (dps),

Caption Writing Exercises:  Caption Interviewing Ex. 1Ex. 2 Caption Writing Ex. 1Ex. 2Ex. 3Ex. 4Ex. 5

Cropping Exercise Instructions, Photo ABCD

Project 2:  Cropping Candid Photos (.zip file)

Photo Critique Form


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your lesson plans with your fellow photojournalism teachers. It is so helpful to know that 1) I’m going about digital photoj the same as others and 2) to get ideas for better ways to teach and new ideas for lessons.
    Thank you,
    Rachel Pellegrino
    Yearbook & Photojournalism Adviser
    Coppell High School
    Coppell, TX

  2. Exelente entrada, aguante el futbol !!!

  3. I am a yearbook teacher with no photography class. This site is giving me at least a little confidence that I could get one started. What kind of equipment do you reccommend for the kids and do you plan to post the rest of your units and lessons?

    • I’m glad that I can help. I’m not holding out some of my lessons, but the ones that are not posted are not there because the materials are usually ones that I haven’t created or put into some kind of useful form for others. I do plan on posting more materials and lesson ideas, but that is usually a summer project. But keep me in your RSS reader. I promise to post in my main feed anytime I do a major update to my lesson materials.

  4. We homeschool our kids and are looking to start a yearbook for our homeschooling association. Unfortunately with the cost of curriculum going through the roof, our budget is extremely tight. What is the minimum amount of investment that we can get away with and still produce a quality product?

    • I guess that depends on how many copies you are planning to print and how much each parent is willing to pay for a book. You might look in to Friesens – a Canadian company as well as “self publishing” the book through a vanity printer. has several partners who do small print runs and also do on-demand printing.

      The real cost of producing a yearbook is the software to create it. InDesign is pricey, even at $199 for an Academic copy. You might talk to some of the yearbook companies for curriculum – Taylor, Jostens, Walsworth. A local rep might be willing to give you some curriculum, or help you find some local schools who have older materials they are willing to part with. I’d also look into the JEA bookstore. They have a lot of great journalism curriculum materials.

      If you already have a digital camera or two in your group and some decent computers, you might be able to do this for the cost of a few copies of InDesign – which would be reusable for several years. And then the cost of printing the books.

      • Has the association considered paying a retired advisor to get you started? In the long run, that might save you money. Or one of your churches might have a member who is a retired journalism teacher who would volunteer to get you started. Finding an experienced person to start with will save you hours and agony. In print media (part of the language arts curriculum), the state includes Journalism I, Photojournalism, Advanced Journalism Yearbook I, II, & III, Advanced Journalism Newspaper I, II, & III, & Independent Study in Journalism. I’m not familiar with required credits for homeschool graduation, but an accredited campus can elect to allow students to use one year of Advanced Journalism in place of one year of English. Whatever your requirements are, I would still have a student-based production of yearbook rather than parents working on it. You see amazing growth in kids who produce publications. As teachj said, the costs are in computers that are fast enough to make the work pleasurable, and desktop publishing software. My school uses Walsworth Publishing, and they offer package programs for smaller schools. These packages vary in price depending on # of pages, # of books, and amount of color used in the book. Advertising – senior ads and business ads printed in the book each year help pay for the book also.

  5. First of all, I really appreciate your making so many resources available. I’ve taught for 31 years and plan to teach a new class next year . . . digital photography & design. The PowerPoint presentations that I downloaded to review are great. However, the images will not show . . . apparently because you use a Mac and I use a PC. It says that I need QuickTime and a tiff uncompressed decompressor. From everything I’ve read, there’s no workaround from the PC end. In the future, maybe you could also save the file as a .pdf for download. It appears that is about the only way for it to display the images. Or, do you have another suggestion for me???

    • I will try to make as many as possible available as PDF downloads. I’ve run into the same problem myself as I am a Mac user in a PC district. Thanks for the support and I appreciate the feedback.

  6. amazing website..thanks a lot!..The lessons and tutorials will help me
    in improving my skill in photography…and in the publication

  7. What an amazing resource! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. This is a wonderful resource for journalism teachers. I really thank you for all of the great ideas and ppts.

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