teaching on the grid / by Jeff Herrity Artist

My partner Leah and I had a fun time working 'virtually' on a project for our Digital Media for Art Educators class. One class session was spent experiencing the 'online classroom' environment and all the pains that comes with it. At first I thought that we would be able to knock this out quickly and without any difficulty, but then the Internet and all things virtual take over. lesson plan screenshot communications with Leah

I'm generally a respond-as-soon-as-an-email-comes type, and I am glad that Leah is the same, we had several email chats about our lesson and how detailed we needed to be. One plus of working with a group virtually is that face-to-face conflicts do not occur, and you can really think about how to respond, instead of a quick in person response. After only a few emails we were able to nail down or idea and flush it out. This communication/working style worked best for us I think because of the nature that we both work. Some groups chose to do video chats and whatnot, but that wouldn't have worked for us, because many times I would be communicating with Leah while lying in bed.

THAT would make for a very strange chat working session. YIKES.

So, our Lesson was geared towards older art students who need to make a portfolio site. I've also created my final project as a 'how-to' website to teach something similar.

Our lesson is as follows:

Lesson Plan: Photos of Student Work, using Photoshop (high school digital art)

Goal: To teach students the basic tasks within Photoshop in regards to photo post-production techniques- students will learn to make basic edits to the photos of their work.

Big Idea: Students will gain an understanding of why images of their work need to be as professional looking as possible in order to properly promote their work as artists and to use the images in portfolios.

Objectives/Outcomes: The Students will:

1. Understand basic mechanics of taking high quality digital photographs of 2D and 3D artwork

2. Learn how to transport digital photos from camera to computer

3. Identify basic tools within Photoshop program

4. Understand how to utilize key tools in Photoshop to apply edits to digital photos.

Teaching Procedure: (pre-work and previous lessons that we are building on: have students make work, and then have a unit where we teach them to shoot the work. They come to class with the images to use for Lesson)


Photo Selection: students will come to class with 50 images. Discuss what makes a good photo of work (lighting, angles, distance)

Based on criteria discussed, students spend 10 minutes selecting 5 images to tweak. Open images into photoshop (2 minutes). Basic tweaks, five minutes per image (exposure, cropping, clarity, noise, sharpness, contrast, how to save/apply same changes to all images). Save image (various formats for web and print).


More advanced image tweaks: masking, modifying specific areas of photograph (backgrounds/shadows), erase tool for skin imperfections, content aware fill, edit group shots to fix blinking

Assign out of class homework to turn in 5 edited images. 

While I'm no serious photographer, I am pretty confident that I can competently teach students some basic skills in shooting their work and presenting it well. I'll post in a day or two my final class project which is the visual step-by-step guide to shooting work and creating a portfolio site.