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Photography In The Classroom

Charles at the Brooklyn Bridge

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I began taking pictures when I was just 16 years old when I joined my high school yearbook staff. I was a writer before that, but once I got hold of a camera, I loved being able to create something visually in the way I could create something with words. As a photographer it is important to know how to really “see” something. That means actually using your eyes to see the details of something. are a few exercises that will help you learn the basics of photography and hopefully improve the way you “see” the world. All of the assignments here can be used for students in grades 2 and up. Some are more complex than others but each can be modified for age. Cameras may be hard to come by but the assignments are very basic and can be done even with a little disposable camera.

Photography Assignments (click a photo below to see an enlargement)

Create a photograph that focuses on shape and line.
Photograph a monochromatic (all one color) scene. This can be something created by you or a found scene. For instance, blue sky over blue water.  
Take a picture of someone that tells something about them. For instance, if your mother loves to cook, take a picture of her doing that or with some cooking tools.
Take pictures over the course of a day from the point of view of an animal of your choosing. Don’t just think of a dog or cat. Some other options are: snake (low angle shots), a bird (high angle shots). Become the animal!  
Take one picture for each of the following words (you should have 3 pictures):
  • Love
  • Pain
  • Rhythm
Cut out a statement from a magazine and create a picture that best shows the words. It can be one word, a sentence, or a paragraph. Just make sure you are not ruining someone’s magazine!  
Photograph one color on white.  
Photograph one color on black.  
Photograph a sporting event and only focus on body parts. No faces!! This can be any sport, from basketball to double-dutch jump-roping to dodge ball to lacrosse.


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All photographs on this site copyright © Charles R. Smith, Jr., 2003