Digital Photography
Albertus Magnus College
Jerry Nevins, Professor
Contact Me

Mod 2, 2021, Mod 3, 2021
Mod 5, 2020
Mod 3, 2018 Class Blog
Mod 5, 2016 Class Blog
Mod 3,2015 Class Blog | Mod2 2014 Class Blog

Digtial Editing 101 Video tutorial 

Grading Criteria


” Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman -

______________________________________________________________________________________ Overview:

This course in Digital Photography is designed to develop your skills in pixel
based photographic design The dream of film-less photography his finally
become a reality. Cameras, printers, inks and paper have evolved that are
able to not only match traditional continuous tone photographic quality, but
can also extend and exceed traditional possibilities. In this first introductory
course in digital photography, we will use this power to create, edit, post and
share our images electronically. These tools lend themselves perfectly to an online

About this online course experience:

This is the 15th year that online courses have been offered in the Art Department at Albertus Magnus College. The power of using online portfolios is now proven. The promise and potential of offering a course not bounded by time or space has amazing implications. In a traditional studio art course, there is a very high degree of interaction not only between the instructor and students, but just as importantly, between the students enrolled in the course. Art production is about learning craft, design, history, culture and self expression. Students synthesize these elements to create a portfolio of work that reflects not only their newly developed skills but also is tangible evidence of the more important appreciation of Art within the particular medium studied. There is much subtlety in the process.

The potential pitfalls of an online experience then are about the lack of your direct contact with the instructor and other students. To overcome this, we need to create a lively online community. To that end, I have created an online class blog. Your success in this course depends upon your active participation in this blog. Here you will post your images to share with the class. Use this site to react to other's work, write about your own ideas, and communicate to the rest of the class your successes and challenges faced in working through the assignments. To learn how to post to the class blog, see this. Also, watch the video tutorial I prepared for you on how to post to the blog.

As a studio art course, you will be assessed not by tests or writing papers but mainly by your visual work leading to a final portfolio of images. Your ability to grow in the medium, try on new ideas, learn to communicate using the language of this medium, to appreciate ideas and trends in historical as well as contemporary photographic art will all contribute to your grade.

Course Goals: ·

-To become proficient at the technical aspect of photographing with a digital camera and working with those images including digital editing, saving, sizing and posting those images.

-To develop and practice skills using digital photography tools and the Internet including emailing and posting to a web site.

-To learn to shoot with digital cameras... and learn to maximize the quality of the output from them.

-To appreciate more about the "Photographer's Art" through the study of historic and contemporary trends and to apply that appreciation to your own work.

-To develop the habit of looking closely at the visible world around you in order to represent it in terms of aesthetics and truth.

- To begin to learn about the history and aesthetics of fine art photography and to apply that understanding to your completed assignments.


Discover how to find intentional compositions and expressive light in your camera work.

To understand the use of the primary editing tools found in Adobe Photoshop software.

Understand managing image files... saving, opening, uploading, posting, etc.

Gain proficiency with image editing for maximum image impact.

Learn to edit the light, color balance, contrast to direct the viewer's eye with intention.

Electronic images… their scaling and use: imaging for the Internet


Week 1

Download and install Photoshop. Albertus now offers you a login to download and install Photoshop for free... that is a savings of $120/yr. Use your Albertus credentials to sign into From there you will see the link to download Photoshop.

Here is a broad overview of how to do the class, start to finish. Please watch it... it introduces you to the Blog and the links that are important there... The video is 22 min. and it shows you all you need to know to succeed.

Post an image of yourself on the class blog and tell us something about yourself. Be creative!...shoot a self portrait using the self timer on your camera or more creatively, shoot a reflection of yourself in glass, mirrors, steel, shop windows... what can you imagine? Try using the search term "self portrait" in Google Images. Not to stress about this one though... have fun! E-mail me if you have any issues, problems, etc. Click the "Contact" button above.

Short video on tips for using your phone camera.

Read 10 tips for great pictures at Kodak. Read Digital Camera Controls

Read my article on pixels and resolution.

Read this discussion about the focal length of lenses

Watch this video I made on basic editing for light, contrast and color balance using a student image.

By the end of week 1, you are comfortable with using your camera, moving images around and posting and emailing them. All systems are working! You are getting comfortable using Pixlr or Photoshop is installed and working. You can open and edit your pictures, you know how to post to the class blog, and communications with me and other members of the class are easy.

You have posted a portrait and introduction of yourself to the class on the blog and have done all of the reading.

Read through my syllabus for the Introduction to Photography class offered in the day program as a darkroom course. Pay particular attention to the section entitled "The Classic Approach" Click through the many links regarding cameras, lenses, film, etc. to learn about technical issues in photography.

Week 2

Introduction to Composition

We will learn to use line, mass, value (tone), contrast, color, and selection consciously in the creation of your images.

A big part of the photographer's art lies in one's ability to organize the visual chaos of the visible world. You learn to clarify, simplify and present your environment with intention and control. Here, we will learn to go way beyond "taking pictures", accepting whatever "comes out of the camera", and move to "making photographs" through your careful looking at your subject before shooting.

Reflect on the concept of selection and looking at the edge of the frame to consciously decide what to include and not incude in your image. Appreciate light and form and how that is central to your work for this class.

Video discussion of student work on this assignment. I discuss what I am looking for this week and go over the good, the dull and the ugly....about 13 min long....

Look at the work of Edward Weston. Consider this image:

Edward Weston used his 8"x10" camera to photograph this small green bell pepper set in a simple wooden bowel by window light. Notice how he moved in, and filled the frame with the form of the pepper. The simple elegance and direct presentation of the pepper has transformed it from a mere description of an ingredient in tonight's dinner to an image that is transcendent.

Read Photography—Not Pictorial, Edward Weston, Camera Craft, Vol. 37, No. 7, pp. 313-20, 1930

Browse through Weston's other natural forms.

Take a look at these classic Black and White images which of these ideas can you apply in your own work and editing?

Learn about lenses with this excellent article from B and H.

Assignment: Downtown

Photograph shapes, reflections, light and pattern in an urban or town environment paying particular attention to the shapes you select in the frame and the quality of light on the subject.

Avoid being far away or showing a whole building. Always shoot with natural light. Never use flash in this class... get in close, fill the frame.

Read about Paul Strand.... His work in New York City in the early 20th Century defined how photographers could use new ideas of modernism championed in painting to great effect.

Read The Art Motive in Photography, Paul Strand, The British Journal of Photography, Vol.70, pp. 612-15, 1923

Browse through my portfolio of images from my "Connecticut Towns" project, particularly Stonington and Noank

You may work in black and white. Photoshop makes it easy to convert and tone your images. Adjust the tones using Photoshop's levels editing tools.Submit your best 6-10 images on the blog. (Links in academic expectations below). Post a minimum of 50 in Google Drive.

Photoshop allows better control of where you edit for light... watch this short video on how to edit your images before posting...

Another Video I recorded June, 2013. Important to watch and incorporate into your work.

TECHNICAL: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, how do they relate to one another?

Submit 6-10 of your best, edited in Photoshop images to the blog.

Week 3

Assignment: By the Sea

Look at Weston's work at Point Lobos, California. What kind of light did he photograph under? How did he move in and compose what ever he was looking at?  For each photograph, consider the point of view Weston and the camera position.

Weston got down, got close to these rock forms on the beach. I want you to do the same

Read this short biography of Ansel Adams.Watch this slide show of selected images from his classic work in Yosemite National Park.

Look at these digital books by John Paul Caponigro.

You are to visit the beach, and look carefully at form, light, composition and line. Examine tidal pools, rock formations and sand patterns with the curiosity and freshness of a young child, say a toddler. Move in close, fill the frame..Submit your best 6-10 images on the blog. (Links in academic expectations below). Post a minimum of 50 in Google Drive. If you live well inland and would prefer to visit a waterfall or brook with moving water, that would work too.

A walk by a stream or pond will work for this assignment will work as well for this assignment. The main idea is to get outside and into nature... look at reflections and movement in the water.

Week 4

Shadows and Light

Here is a Google Image search for "shadow and light" Notice how the photographs are about the quality of light... and shadow... how design is central to the content and how the frame is filled.

Or this series at Smashing Magazine... which ideas can you use?

Shadows take on a materiality that is just as strong as the architectural elements depicted, perhaps stronger. Use the widest focal length setting on your lens. Look for shadows as geometric form this week. Start around your home, downtown, or anywhere your travels take you. Look down, look up, fill the frame.

Light reflecting directly off water can be interesting... throw in dramatic clouds...perhaps at sunset... convert to black and white...

Chairs, railings, your back deck, light streaming in through windows casting shadows.... shadows made by people walking downtown...

Read this short Wikipedia entry on Minor White.

Read Equivalence: The Perennial Trend Minor White, PSA Journal, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 17-21, 1963

How can we use light as poetic metaphor?

Submit 6-10 of your best, edited in Photoshop images to the blog. Post a minimum of 50 in Google Drive.

"A very receptive state of mind... not unlike a sheet of film itself - seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second's exposure conceives a life in it". -Minor White

In Windowsill Daydreaming (left), Minor White has found a projection of light rather than shadow to photograph. Can you find a beam of light to photograph?


Week 5

God is in the Details: Altered scale: Large images from tiny object(s) (The macro project)

Read The Photographer's Eye, John Szarkowski, Introduction to the Catalog of the Exhibition

Most of your digital cameras have the wonderful ability to get really close to things and keep it in sharp focus. This is called "Macro" photography. Find out how close your camera can get and shoot everything this week from this distance. My Nikon coolpix can get to within 3/4" of the subject and keep it really sharp. Each camera is different so look it up in your manual. Generally there is a "tulip" icon that you need to press or see in the lcd screen to know you are in macro mode. If you have a scanner at home, consider using it as you digital camera for the week. Scanners capture remarkable detail... better than digital cameras....

Browse through this gallery of amazing macro shots.

Google Image search for "macro photography"

Try scanning a flower, leave the lid of the scanner up. Preview the bed of the scanner then select just the area you want. Only then click scan. Here is where you choose how large a scan you'd like. Since most of our work is posted online, this won't matter... If you'd like to make prints, go back and reread my article on resolution.

If you don't have access to a scanner take a look at:

Chrissie's macro picture a day from Belgium. Simple, do-able....
More Florals.... Visit a greenhouse... how's your garden? Mariam El-Mofty from Egypt. Use the macro setting on your camera, move in close!

Submit 6-10 of your best, edited in Photoshop images to the blog. Post a minimum of 50 in Google Drive.

Week 6

The Digital Portrait

I call this assignment "How to Fry an Egg".... Everyone thinks they know how to do it but when you come right down to it, there is a lot of technique involved and there is plenty of opportunity to mess it up. Watch Jacques Pepin show you how to do this properly.

Watch Video Introduction to the assignment.

Google Image Search for "window light portrait"

25 Inspirational Natural Light Portraits Take a look at these...Which is your favorite? Why? Where did the photographer position themself relative to the light?

"Renaissance" inspired portraits by Ruslan Rakhmatov from Moscow do check these out... his composition, light and expression is what I would like you to aspire to. Seriously. How does he hold the camera? Where is the light coming from? These are fomal and careful images... don't be afraid to slow down!

Browse these images: Where is the light coming from? Where is the photographer standing relative to the light source? Are most of the shots vertical? Where is the head placed in the frame? (hint: never centered)

Maks Danlin from Mod 2, 2014 posted these links to excellent portraits

Here's what I'd like you to do... Find someone you know, love and trust. This can be a child, spouse, best friend, parent... you get the idea. Take them by window light. Watch the light on the face, wait for an open, truthful expression and create a simple but beautiful portrait. (No flash!). Use a piece of white cardboard, a sheet or other white object to reflect light back into the shadow side of the face. Take your time... there's no rush. If your model puts up a fuss, find someone else. Can you do it? This also works without a reflector, the shadow side of the face is just darker.

Use the Photoshop tools to adjust light, contrast, grayscale (if you'd like). Hold the camera vertically, use the telephoto (zoom in) setting on your camera, steady your hand or use a tripod. Don't make your subject smile, just relaxed and truthful. No candids either....Crop the photo like this....

Submit 6-10 of your best, edited in Photoshop images to the blog. Post a minimum of 50 in Google Drive.

Another worthy window light portrait with no reflector. Notice what happens on the shadow side of the face with no white reflector. Notice also that the window itself is not included in the shot.

Okay... you can do your pet... but it's harder... look!

Wonderful video on photographing your pet from DPreview

Listen to this wonderful NPR story on Alfred Sieglitz and Georgia O'Keefe Post to the class blog a short reaction piece in response.

Tips... No direct sunlight, simple background, quiet expression... take your time.Fill the frame. These portraits, if done well will be far better than most commercial work from low end Sears Portrait Studio images up to high end commercial photographers... Most commercial work is over produced and artificial. For your work to be good in this assignment, I am looking for a simple, true, honest and direct portrait... it doesn't get better than that.

Note: The following assignments are for 8 week long classes.

Week 7 Virtual photography trip...The art of photography as you have seen by now includes the judicious selection of line, geometry, proportion and scale... Light is central but also design plays a big role. This project asks you to visit Paris, London or the Sistine Chapel. Zoom around... become the photographer and capture several images that show your sense of design and proportion... Edit in Photoshop for light, contrast and hue/saturation. Post your best 6-10 on the blog and a minimum of 50 to your Drive "dump".

Chinese company captures incredibly detailed 195 gigapixel 360-degree panorama of Shanghai
Published Thursday, January 28, 2021 8:06:00 PM GMT

BigPixel Studio captures highly-detailed panorama images of cities around the world. Its latest image, a 195 gigapixel shot of Shanghai, is so detailed you can zoom in to see people's faces or license plates from the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower.


Tip: zoom in, expecially looking down... Here is a shot of Parisian roof tops from the Paris-26 gigapixels site:

Article about the London immersion

And the site:

Another (maybe better) London...

Sistine Chapel, The Vatican

NYC at night ( you can turn off the Tom Jones music)

150 more linked here:

Zoom in, Zoom around. Find a compelling "shot"... use the snipping tool (windows) or if on a Mac the screen shot of the portion you want is done by pressing Command-Shift-4. A cross-hair cursor will appear and you can click and drag to select the area you wish to capture. When you release the mouse button, the screen shot will be automatically saved as a PNG file on your desktop. 

Open Photoshop and then open your saved files... edit them for light, focal point, etc...


Week 8

Just go shooting! Pick your favorite place to shoot or your favorite method from the possibilities presented here so far. Love the beach... show me more beach images using different light at different times of the day. Love macro work? Keep going.. research the topic more, push harder... explore macro on a rainy day, get in closer, etc... Keep posting to the class blog and to Google Drive.

Academic Expectations:

Post at least twice a week to the class blog. Care about the quality as well as quantity of your creative work, help and collaborate with others in the class, communicate openly with me…. Do your best. Your portfolio posted to the blog will be the tangible evidence of your progress in the medium but your overall contributions will play a role in determining your grade as well. Go shooting each week, post each week, Post everything you have edited to the class blog. Attendance will be taken first thing each Monday morning for the previous week's work. You may replace earlier work with newer work you like better. Your final grade is based on "The Big Picture", that is, how well you have tried to understand the assignment and worked to create pieces reflecting the spirit of the task at hand, your progress in the medium, your contributions through posting comments on other's work on the class blog. Effort counts! Only new work done for this class is acceptable for counting towards your grade. (Pictures from your cruise in the Carribbean last summer, for instance, don't count).

Technical Requirements:

-A digital camera with usb cable to connect to computer usb port or a card reader, connected to your usb port (preferred).

-A reliable internet connection from home. A broadband connection is imperative

-An Intel or AMD CPU with a dual or quad core cpu, windows computer running Windows 8 or Windows 10. Macs are fine too...You should have at least 8 gb of RAM. Your browser should be Chrome. "Chromebooks" can't run Photoshop. Chromebooks will work with Pixlr however.

-Know how to install software, create online accounts, upload text and images, and how to save your work into folders on your computer and how to locate and browse to those folders to retrieve it. If you need help, email me and I can walk you through everything on the phone.

Tradition of Honor: As a member of the Albertus Magnus College Community, each student taking this course agrees to uphold the principles of honor set forth by this community, to defend these principles against abuse or misuse and to abide by the regulations of the College. In art work, that means you have taken all of your photographs and have not appropriated from online sources any of the images presented as your own. Work posted to the class blog or to your Google Drive portfolio will be new work only, taken for this class. I look at the EXIF information on each image posted to Driveso be sure your camera's date is set correctly and that you upload your work from the computer you edited your images on... i.e., don't post to facebook then copy it from there to post to Google Drive.

Tradition of Respect: In our class: 1) Everyone is allowed to feel they can work and learn in a safe and caring environment; 2) Everyone learns about, understands, appreciates, and respects varied races, classes, genders, physical and mental abilities, and sexualities; 3) Everyone matters; 4) All individuals are to be respected and treated with dignity and civility; and 5) Everyone shares the responsibility for making our class, and the College, a positive and better place to live, work, and learn.

Accommodations for Special Needs: Please advise the instructor of any special problems or needs at the beginning of the semester. Those students seeking reasonable accommodations based on disabilities should contact the Director of Academic and Student Disability Services, Aquinas Hall, Room 114 at (203) 672-1050, or email, to obtain a Faculty Accommodation Letter. Albertus Magnus College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In order to respect the independence, rights and dignity of students with disabilities, the College initiates services only after a student makes a voluntary disclosure of a disability to the Office of Academic and Student Disability Services. Students who are approved for accommodations are responsible for approaching instructors in a timely manner to provide faculty accommodation letters and to arrange how accommodations will be implemented. Accommodations cannot be retroactive, so we strongly advise students to make accommodation appointments as soon as possible.

In providing reasonable accommodations, the College shall not fundamentally alter the nature of programs, services, or activities; require waiver of essential academic standards or violate accreditation requirements.



 It is the responsibility of the student to officially drop or withdraw from a course.  However, failure to attend a course for 14 calendar days may result in an administrative withdrawal from the course. The policies on course withdrawals and administrative withdrawals may be found online at

Albertus Magnus College adheres to the definition of a credit hour in compliance with, and as defined by, NECHE commission policy.


Some Day class photo blogs:

Class Blog, Spring Semester 2012 
Class Blog, Summer 2012 
Class Blog, Spring 2010
Class Blog Spring 09

Suggested reading:

Photography And The Art Of Seeing: A Visual Perception Workshop For Film And Digital Photography (Paperback) by Freeman Patterson "On those frosty mornings when I grab my camera and tripod, and head out into the meadow behind my house, I quickly forgot about me..."

Photographing The World Around You: A Visual Design Workshop For Film And Digital Photography (Paperback) by Freeman Patterson "This book about observing and photographing the world around you is a gift to you from my students - hundreds and hundreds of photographers who..."

Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography (Updated Edition) (Paperback) by Bryan Peterson "The human eye sees in much the same way as a 50mm lens, and therefore, the 50mm focal length lens is appropriately called a normal..."

Photographic Composition (Paperback) by Tom Grill, Mark Scanlon "Behind every photograph is an idea..."

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New Dimensions Student, Skye Cornell on the North Atlantic Coast, near Roundstone, Ireland. Irish Journal course, May,2000.

Digital infrared quadtone print.
Jerome Nevins

Photography Magazines
American Photo
B&W Magazine
British Journal of Photography
Blind Spot
View Camera
Camera Austria
European Photography
Nature Photographer
Outdoor Photography
PDN Photo District News
Photo Insider
Photo (French)
Photo Life
Photographie Magazine
Petersen's PHOTOgraphic
PHOTO Techniques
Picture Magazine
Popular Photography
Practical Photography
Professional Photographer
Shots Magazine
Shutterbug Magazine
The Photo Review
Zoom Magazine

Digital Photography Magazines
PC Photo Photography
Digital Photographer
Digital Camer
M.C.Escher, Self Portrait...
although this is a lithograph,
I love Escher's inventive use of space.
Pepper, 1930 Edward Weston
Cole Weston print
Church Door, Hornitos, 1940
Edward Weston negative, Cole Weston print
Paul Strand, New York, 1917
6.75 x 8.5 inch photogravure
Point Lobos, 1930 Edward Weston negative, Cole Weston print
Minor White Pacific, Devil's Slide, California 1947
Princeton University
Snowshadow, Jerry Nevins
Ultra Chrome Print 11"X14"
Winter, 2005
Minor White, "Windowsill Daydreaming” Appeared in Aperture 80, 1978.
ADP Albertus student, RB Thomas, Botanicals 3
16 x 20 Chromogenic Print, 2005

Grey Lilly #1
Diane Vetere, Toronto, Canada

Raul, school assignment...(not from me, jn)
"For my photo class I had to shoot a series of portraits by a window using the natural light from outside. Also, I had to use a reflector (in my case, poster board) to bounce some light onto the face. Here are the results."

Good job Raul....