The Photograph

Learning Guide 2

Julieanne Kost
… my assumption is that all of us have a direction go in and we have to find that direction the process of working in a medium, with intelligence, over a long period of time.
If I accept this concept, then the only issue is how the class and teacher can help a person to find and go in that direction

–Phillip Perkis

Skills and Concepts

Basic and advanced Lightroom editing techniques

Black and white conversion techniques

Written and verbal critique skills

Lectures and Demonstrations

  1. The Basic Panel in Lightroom
  2. Local Adjustments in Lightroom
  3. Tone Curve and Split Toning
  4. Color Sliders
  5. How to Critique
  6. What Makes a Good Image
  7. Embrace the Remix

Baseline Requirements

  1. An image developed in 5 distinct ways using only the basic panel. (20)
  2. An image converted to black and white in 5 different ways. At least one of your edits must be done solely inside Lightroom and at least one of your edits must be done exclusively with Silver Efex (20)
  3. 5 distinct distinct uses of local adjustments. Use of the basic panel is allowed prior to the application of the local adjustment. Include “before” and “after” images here. (Make edits using basic panel, snapshot/virtual copy/export a “before” image, make local adjustments, snapshot/virtual copy/export an “after” image). Try to use local adjustments in photographically appropriate ways as learning when to deply the tool is even more important than learning how the tool works. (20)
  4. Read the key readings listed below and craft a written critique of an image as described below. (25)

Remember also to complete the shooting assignments. You do not need to turn in any images from those shooting assignments, but you need to complete them.

Key Readings

These articles:

How to Write a Photography Critique

The Four Things

One additional critique article:

Objectively Critiquing Images

How to Properly Critique a Photograph

Learn the Skill of Critiquing a Photograph

How to Critique a Photograph in 3 Key Steps

This article on making prints.

Magnum and the Dying Art of Darkroom Printing


How the Lightroom Catalog Works

Written Critique

You are to find a photograph– online, in a book, or on display–that was created with artistic intent. Put a copy of the photograph into your Sway. Next, write a critique of the image. Think about what you you learned in the Key Readings concerning critique about how to structure your critique. If you need additional structure, you can check out more of Ming Thein’s thoughts on the matter below.

What Makes an Outstanding Image

Ming Thein is a contemporary international photographer working out of Malaysia. He is prolific both in his professional and personal work and he shoots a breadth of subjects. His website is a font of information on technique and all things photography.

He has a lot of thoughts on what makes a good image, including his article, “What Makes an Outstanding Image” (part 1, part 2).

What Makes a Photograph?

  1. Subject
  2. Technical Quality
  3. Composition
  4. Light
  5. Context
  6. Timing

In Class Critique



  1. No rudeness
  2. No competition
  3. No telling the artist what the work means about them
  4. The class chooses what work will be talked about. (Students should feel free to ask that their work be dealt with because they need feedback.) No need to address every work in every class.
  5. If an opinion has been thought-out and is backed with evidence, it carries weight. Dismissing such opinions is intellectually irresponsible.


Inventory > Coalesce > Evaluate

Shooting Assignments

A Practice In Minimalism (camera phone/iPad OK)

Read the article, Minimalist Photography, and take a few photos where you are attempting to minimize the number of things within the frame. You may also want to check out the related post-processing article: Post-processing for Minimalism

15’ Circle (camera phone/iPad OK)

Pick a location. Set a timer for 15 minutes and take pictures of anything within fifteen feet of where you were when you started the timer. Do this three times.

The purpose of this shooting assignment is for you to look at the things around you for a long time and consider ways that you can make those things more interesting.

Inspired by 5 Self Assignments that Teach You to See

Free Shoot (camera phone/iPad OK)

Read What Happens When I Do This? Try random things.

Enrichment Activities

  1. Have a look through Ming Thein’s work Choose one of his photographs and “emulate” it. Remember to Embrace the Remix. (5 points)
  2. The Nik Collection includes three other components for creative editing of your images: Viveca, Color Efex, and Analog Efex. Learn about one of these tools, practice some images, and then create either a written primer detailing the basics of the tool, or create a video of you making an edit while talking about how to use the tool. (10 points)