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ART 2DP3 Digital Practices (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Chris Myhr


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 328

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23930


Office Hours: Wednesdays 9:30am-11:30pm

Course Objectives:

ART 2DP3 is a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of digital photography, including camera operation, image processing, and output for screen/print. Students will work through a series of hands-on technical exercises, in conjunction with independent/collaborative studio projects aimed at exploring the creative/communicative potential of the camera. Studio work will be complemented by a series of lectures, screenings and discussions aimed at developing criticality, conceptual foundations, and familiarity with historical and contemporary discourse surrounding the photographic image in the context of art production. 

No prior experience with computer/photographic technology is required, as this course is intended to prepare students for further study and exploration. Access to a limited number of DSLR cameras will be offered, but students are encouraged to acquire their own device. Contact the instructor for more information.

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
•    Effectively use a digital camera (i.e. DSLR) in manual mode
•    Understand and apply various software applications for image processing and manipulation 
•    Understand and apply approaches to studio lighting
•    Generate independent project work that demonstrates technical proficiency, thought, and creative responses to project parameters
•    Understand and engage with historical and contemporary photographic discourse
•    Articulate ideas and intent in a thoughtful and professional manner
•    Analyze and provide constructive and critical feedback on the work of others
•    Demonstrate appropriate vocabulary and strategies of assessment for photographic imagery

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

•    External/USB storage drive  (formatted exFAT or MS-DOS/FAT)
•    Recommended: DSLR camera with manual mode capabilities
•    Recommended: tripod for DSLR camera
•    Any required/supplementary readings will be available on Avenue to Learn in PDF format

•    This will cover the cost of professional-quality printing necessary for completion of this course
•    Fees must be paid to the School of the Arts office in TSH 414 within the first two weeks of classes. Students with unpaid fees will not have access to printing facilities

Method of Assessment:

Unless otherwise stated, the class will meet in TSH 206 prior to working in other production and/or presentation spaces. For more detailed information, consult the Course Schedule below. Be sure to check A2L News for updates.

Although time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to dedicate a minimum of 6 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations. 

Students taking this course will be expected to arrive on-time at the start of each class, and be sufficiently prepared to work on projects and participate in class activities. Attendance is essential in a dedicated studio course. Unexcused absence(s) will have a negative impact on project and final grades. See the “ASSIGNMENTS & LATE PENALTIES” section for details.

Students are expected to demonstrate an attitude of respectful criticality and active engagement at all times, and contribute to a collegial and productive learning environment. Student participation will be based on performance during peer critique/presentation and formal screening/reading response sessions. It is recommended that students read the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn for more details on criteria and expectations.

The use of cellphones, text messaging, and/or social media sites during class time will not be tolerated. 

Final grades will be determined through the assessment of studio work, as well as the quality of student contributions to discussion and presentation/feedback sessions. Students will receive a midterm grade of at least 20% by Nov 8, 2019. The breakdown is as follows:

10%    Mini Project Portfolio - Project 1 Due Sept 17, Project 2 Due Sept 24
5%      In-Class Exercise Portfolio - Due Nov 12 (end of the day)
30%    Major Project 1 - Due Oct 23 (12pm)
35%    Major Project 2 - Due Nov 20 (12pm)
20%    Professionalism and Participation

Each assigned project will include a description (posted on A2L) outlining overall objectives, specific considerations, submission requirements/formats and deadlines. Student work will be evaluated in terms of:
•    Technical proficiency
•    Conceptual focus and rigour
•    Synthesis and presentation
•    Work ethic and personal investment 
•    Time management and project development evidenced throughout studio production process

Successful projects will clearly demonstrate effort and attention to three key stages of studio production: research/planning, experimentation/development/creative problem-solving, and refinement/resolution. For more information on the assessment of project work, see the rubric pasted below, and the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative investigation, and will incorporate the techniques and content learned and discussed in class. Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skill sets. Detailed descriptions of all assignments will be uploaded to Avenue to Learn.

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format. Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero. Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc). Late studio and/or written work will not receive detailed verbal/written feedback from instructor and/or peers. Extensions for late work, or accommodations for missed tests or tutorials, will be granted only upon the recommendation of a student's home faculty: please take such requests directly to your home faculty's office. 

Each absence (or early exit) from a scheduled critique session will result in a letter-grade penalty on the overall Participation and Professionalism assessment. Absentees from critique sessions will not receive detailed written feedback from the instructor.

Recommendations/appeals for extensions will not be accepted on or after project due dates, and must be received no later than 48 hours before the deadline.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar "Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

The outline below is for orientation purposes only, and is subject to change. Please consult the full and definitive syllabus posted on Avenue to Learn for any potential updates.


Week 1 Sept 3
Digital image fundamentals
DSLR nomenclature and setup
Understanding exposure
Camera Control Demo 1
In-Class Exercise 1
Quick share session (Time-permitting)

Week 2 Sept 10
Camera Control Demo 2
Composition/Camera control and aesthetics
In-Class Exercise 2
Photoshop Demo 1    
Quick share session (Time-permitting)
Assign Mini Project 1

Week 3 Sept 17
Mini Project 1 due
Quick share session
Assign Mini Project 2
Camera RAW
Camera Control Demo 3
In-Class Exercise 3
Photoshop Demo 2
Quick share session (Time-permitting)

Week 4 Sept 24
Mini Project 2 due
Quick share session
Assign In-Class Exercise 4 and groups
Portrait lighting introduction and demo
Camera Control Demo 4
Portrait shoot planning session
Major Project 1 introduction

Week 5 Oct 1
In-Class Exercise 4
Photoshop Demo 3
Quick share session (Time-permitting)
Major Project 1 review

Week 6 Oct 8
Major Project 1 Source Images due (all FOUR)
Major Project 1 RAW images due (at least ONE)
Major Project 1 review
Camera Control Demo 5
In-Class Exercise 5
Photoshop Demo 4
Quick share session (Time-permitting)


Week 7 Oct 22
Major Project 1 RAW images due (all FOUR)
Understanding resolution/bit depth
Photoshop Demo 5
Work/consultation/printing session
Major Project 2 introduction


Week 8 Oct 29
Major Project 1 critique

Week 9 Nov 5
Major Project 2 review
Camera Control Demo 6
In-Class Exercise 6
Photoshop Demo 6
Quick share session (Time-permitting)

Week 10 Nov 12
Major Project 2 RAW images due (at least THREE) 
In-Class Exercise 7
Photoshop Demo 7
Quick share session (Time-permitting)

Week 11 Nov 19
Major Project 2 RAW images due (All FIVE)
Photoshop Demo 8
Work/consultation/printing session


Week 12 Nov 26
Major Project 2 critique (Round 1)

Week 13 Dec 3
Major Project 2 critique (Round 2)
Course consolidation

Other Course Information:

If you require special accommodation for learning or have any special needs please let me know of them as soon as possible in order that arrangements can be made. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with the Centre for Student Development.

The detailed and definitive version of the syllabus will be posted on Avenue to Learn. Students are responsible for consulting this document for the most up-to-date information on scheduled activities, rubrics, etc.