Course Description

If you feel that Photoshop is intimidating, this may be the class for you. Structured to be interactive and to use PS tools and techniques in real-time, this class is formulated to break through any anxiety that the complexity of the program may cause. This eight-week course will take you through real-life Photoshop applications. This is not an advanced class but an introduction to the tools and techniques for adjusting photographs. The class includes photographing weekly assignments. Each week a new Photoshop tool or technique will be used as a hands-on experience. For some sessions, students will be all be assigned the same image and then through classroom exercises, we will begin to use basic and more advanced PS tools to create adjustments to the image. One objective of the class is to give students the confidence to continue to explore PS on their own. We will use raw tools and understand why shooting Raw is advantageous. Other topics are using PS itself for adjusting colors, layout, framing, cloning and most of the initial tools to create high-quality images.

Course Outline

Week 1. Photoshop first view. The in-class project is “Abstracts” and we will photograph around Harper College. We’ll return to the classroom and open our images in Photoshop. Take-home assignment for Week 2 is “Self Portrait”.

Week 2. Using Photoshop Raw Tools. We will explore the tools available in PS Raw including color adjustments, highlights, and shadows, image and lens adjustments.
An image will be provided and all students will work on the same photograph step by step using each of the tools. Students will create their own adjustments following the direction of the instructor but will be allowed to choose how they want to make the adjustments according to their own personal choice.

Student’s previous assignment “ Abstracts” and “Self Portrait” will be projected and critiqued. Assignment for Week 3 is “Still Life”.

Week 3. Exploring Photoshop Menu Bar, Tool Bar, and Workspace. Students will work on previous assignments in class. The instructor project a photograph and with class interaction, we will make initial adjustments. Assignment for Week 4 is to “show motion” - this can either be subject movement or camera motion.

Week 4. Color adjustments. We will explore the various tools for adjusting colors of an image both in the Raw filter and the various choices in Photoshop, and we will discuss the pros and cons of each color adjustment tool. The same photograph will be made available for each student and they can make their own personal choices for how they want to express the color of the photograph. This is a hands-on process, the instructor will show the tools on the projected screen and students can follow along on their computers. Assignment for Week 5 is “Light”.

Week 5. Transform tools, crop tool, cloning tool, dodging and burning tool. Each of these tools will be explained and then used for working on students’ images from previous assignments. We will critique photographs from the previous week’s “Light” assignment. The next assignment is a photograph for Multiple Image Merging.

Week 6. Multiple images merging or composting. We will explore the techniques for selecting or masking parts of images to create a unique photograph of combined elements from two or more photographs. The next assignment is to photograph an image to be turned into a Black and White photograph.

Week 7. Black and White. We will use various methods of dropping colors from the last assignment and explore some of the detailed adjustments Photoshop offers for creating a high quality black and white photographs. Assignment for Week 8 is to complete at least one image for framing.

Week 8. Finished print for framing. In this final class, we will frame an image and have a classroom critique of the completed photograph(s). The rest of the class session is to review the topics we’ve covered and to discuss how students might use PS on their own after having this base knowledge of the program.

Please note that because of the complexity of PS, this class outline will be flexible to assure that you are comfortable with the initial, basic operations and that specific topics and questions raised by students can be addressed.


Chicago’s Best Photography Teachers
If you’re suspicious of photographers who want you to invest in a trip to Kauai in order to take beautiful landscape shots, you’re already more perceptive than most and perhaps you just need to get to Harper College. A photographer in the U.S. Army and a graduate of Columbia College, Harold Rail makes a living in photojournalism, commercial, and creative photography, so the man has the chops. A decade's long dedication to Zen Buddhist practice informs his images with knowing nano-second captures of infinity – and, honestly, where else can you get the combo of experience and artistry? Rail champions the art of photography teaching affordable classes for children, teenagers, and adults at Harper College. See the eccentricity and enthusiasm that blooms in his photographic work on exhibit at the new Hyatt Centric in Chicago, too.
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