Cultural Photography

Universidad Veritas

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Cultural Photography

  • Host University

    Universidad Veritas

  • Location

    San José, Costa Rica

  • Area of Study

    Latin American Studies, Photography, Visual Arts

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students must bring a camera for the course

    Minimum specs:
    Compact camera, with multiple scene selections.

    Manual exposure controls (aperture, shutter speed, iso), optical zoom of 3X or higher.

    Entry level DSLR

    Not allowed:
    Cell phones, GoPros or similar.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course name: Cultural Photography
    Code: Phot 2130
    Total count of hours: 48 hours

    The course offers the acquisition of basic photographic skills as a means of cultural exploration.
    Through practice exercises and field trips aiming to apply the information provided through lectures, students will consciously explore Costa Rican culture through the creation of photographic images and essays.
    Students will be able to consciously create photographs that document aspects of Costa Rican Culture through Portraiture and Landscapes.

    -Have a clear knowledge of the basic principles of photography to consciously handle a digital photographic camera.
    -Have a basic notion of the importance and the structure of the photographic documentary essay.
    -Have a basic knowledge of the principles of photographic composition and lighting.
    -Perform basic manipulations through Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw.

    Students will develop creativity and artistic sensitivity for the elaboration and critique of photographic images based on the following subjects:

    Subject 1: Introduction to Photography. History/ The Photographic Camera. / Exposition:

    Subject 2: Shutterspeed and f. stop
    Depth of Field. Definition / Factors that affect the depth of field. Capture of Movement.

    Subject 3: Frozen movement and Panning.
    Photographic Optics.

    Subject 4: Type of lenses/ Focal length and angle of coverage/ Zoom, Macro, Fisheye/ ISO factor / ISO in the digital camera / Intelligent use of ISO in point n shoots. Digital photography: resolution, format
    Documentary Photography and culture.decisive moment The photographic essay/ Types of photoessays/ Investigation of documentary photographers/ The Photographic critique/ Portraiture and Landscapes/ the / Building a photoessay

    Subject 5: Composition. Basic principles of the photographic Composition/ Light.

    Subject 6: Basic use of lighting/ Color Temperature and white balance/ Direction of light
    Digital manipulation.
    Introduction to Photoshop CS4. Crop, Contrast, Color, Selection tools, Layers, Filters/ Adobe Camera Raw/ HDR

    Lesson 1
    Introduction/ History of Photography
    The Camera Obscura: How does a
    photographic camera work?
    Photosensitive materials, Shutterspeed.

    Lesson 2
    The Photographic Exposition part 1
    The Shutter and Shutterspeed
    Factors that affect the shutterspeed in a
    point n shoot camera (EV / Settings)
    The Light meter
    Assigment 1: Light Graffiti

    Lesson 3
    Review Assigment 1 / Critiques
    Movement and shutterspeed/ Types of
    movement- Frozen and Panning
    Practice in class

    Lesson 4
    Depth of field: The fstop
    How does the fstop affects the appearance of an
    The relationship between fstop and shutterspeed
    (Equivalent exposures)
    Assigment 2: Practice types of movement/ P.S 3
    equivalent exposures

    Lesson 5
    Review Assigment 2 / Critiques
    Optics / Type of lenses/ angle of view/
    Characteristics angular and telephotohow
    do they affect appearance

    Lesson 6
    Review Depth of field and exposition
    How to achieve short and wide depth of
    f. stop, lenses.
    Practice in class
    Assigment 3: Angular and telephotolens / 5

    Lesson 7
    Review Assigment 3
    ISO factor / ISO in the digital camera /
    Intelligent use of ISO in point n shoots/
    How does ISO affects the exposition
    Practice in class- Equivalent exposures

    Lesson 8
    Composition part 1. How to take a ?good?
    photograph. Composition with lines/the golden
    mean/ Rule of thirds/ Types of lines: Curves,
    diagonal, Vertical, Horizontal. Composition part 2 /
    Negative space/ Rhythm/Converging lines/ S Curve/
    Conversation/ Angles/ Distortion/
    Assigment 4: Photograph each compositional
    aspect BN

    Lesson 9
    Written Test
    Review Assigment 4 / Critiques
    Assigment 5: Redo the ones that
    weren?t ok for composition 2

    Lesson 10
    Basic use of lighting/ Color Temperature
    and white balance/ Direction of light
    Practice in class

    Lesson 11
    Documentary Photography and culture.
    The photographic essay/ Types of
    Assigment 6: Portrait unknown people
    Investigation of documentary

    Lesson 12
    Review Assigment 6 / Critiques
    Portrait and the different types of approaches
    Assigment 7: Do a Photographic Essay on your Tico
    Family 3 pics

    Lesson 13

    Lesson 14
    Review of Assigment 7. Critiques and
    improvement. Choosing pictures for a
    portfolio/ Upload pics in

    Lesson 15
    Fieldtrip to San José- Practice different
    approaches to people

    Lesson 16
    Review of personal work / Critique
    Lanscape Photography and its importance in
    contemporary art
    Assigment 8: Landscape

    Lesson 17
    Review Pictures of Assigment 8
    Introduction to photoshop CS4: Crop
    tool, Dodge, Burn, Brightness and
    Image Formats (Jpeg, Raw, Gif, Png, Tiff)
    Assigment 7: Change resolution, crop,
    and format

    Lesson 18
    Selection tools / Basic Layers/ Adobe
    Camera Raw and Bridge
    Assigment 8: Digital manipulation1

    Lesson 19
    Final project preparation and review

    Lesson 20
    Final project preparation and review

    Lesson 21
    Final project preparation and review

    Lesson 22
    Final project preparation and review

    Lesson 23
    Final project preparation and review Final evaluation

    The course is theoretical and practical. Lectures will be imparted to present the theoretical aspect of the subjects with visual support and applied practical exercises in the classroom. Students will perform practice exercises to apply the lessons studied in the classroom.
    Students will investigate about documentary photography in order to create personal and coherent photographic series of images.

    Students must have a digital point n´ shoot or SLR camera and a basic knowledge of Mac and Windows Operating Systems.

    Field trips:
    Two day field trips will be on Saturday and Sunday. Participation in field trips is mandatory.
    Attendance to every class is mandatory. If a student gets sick or has some other important problem, he/she has to bring a document justifying their absence.
    After 2 absences, students will fail the course.

    Professors have the right to expel a student from the classroom should he / she:
    1) be disruptive in the classroom
    2) be under the influence of alcohol
    3) behave in a disrespectful way.

    This course is structured for International Students attending the Study Abroad program at Universidad Veritas. However, courses are not exclusive to foreigners so a few native student could enroll in this course.

    Evaluation System:
    5% Attendance and Participation
    10% 1 written test
    10% Investigation
    50% 9 assignments
    25% Final project

    Azoulay, P. (1998). The adventure of photography. 150 years of the photographic imagen. Estados Unidos.. [DVD.DOC.EU 0020]
    Evening, M. (2009). Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers. A Professional Image Editor's Guide to the Creative use of Photoshop for the Macintosh and PC. United States: Focal Press.. [IMF.W 0061]
    London, B. (2002). Photography (7ª ed.). Estados Unidos: Prentice Hall.. [IMF.T 0055]
    McCollough, F. (2008). Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography. United States: Lark Books.. [IMF.W 0056]
    Varis, L. (2001). Digital Photography for Creative
    Professionals: From photo shoot to image output.
    Estados Unidos: Rockport.. [IMF.W 0002]
    Tarantino, C. (2003). Step by Step 004. Digital Photo
    Retouching. Cambridge, Inglaterra: ILEX

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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