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ART 2DP3 Digital Practices

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Chris Myhr


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 328

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23930


Office Hours: Fridays 16:30-17:30

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
  • IMPORTANT: There is a $50 studio fee required for ART2DP3. This fee will cover the cost of essential materials and printing necessary for completion of this course. Payment must be made to the School of the Arts main office (TSH 414) by Week 2 of the course.

Method of Assessment:


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 10% by March 16, 2018. The breakdown is as follows:

5%    Mini Project 1 - Due Jan 19
5%    Mini Project 2 - Due Jan 26
10%    In-Class Exercise Portfolio - Due Mar 9 (end of the day)
25%    Major Project 1 - Due Feb 14
35%    Major Project 2 - Due Mar 21
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 Dishonesty

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.

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.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. 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:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

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.

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. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1 Jan 5
Digital image fundamentals
DSLR nomenclature and setup
Understanding exposure
Camera Control Demo 1
In-Class Exercise 1
Quick share session (Time-permitting)

Week 2 Jan 12
Camera Control Demo 2
Composition/Camera control and aesthetics
In-Class Exercise 2
Photoshop Demo 1     Assign Mini Project 1

Week 3 Jan 19
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 Jan 26
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 Feb 2
In-Class Exercise 4
Photoshop Demo 3
Quick share session (Time-permitting)
Major Project 1 review

Week 6 Feb 9
Major Project 1 RAW images due
Understanding resolution/bit depth
Photoshop Demo 4
Work/consultation/printing session
Major Project 2 introduction
Major Project 1 final images due (12pm Wednesday, Feb 14)

Week 7 Feb 16
Major Project 1 critique
Major Project 2 review

Midterm Recess (No Classes)

Week 8 Mar 2
Camera Control Demo 5
In-Class Exercise 5
Photoshop Demo 5

Week 9 Mar 9
Camera Control Demo 6
In-Class Exercise 6
Photoshop Demo 6
In-Class Exercise Portfolio due (end of the day)

Week 10 Mar 16
Major Project 2 RAW images due
Photoshop Demo 7
Work/consultation/printing session

Week 11 Mar 23
Work/consultation/printing session
Major Project 2 final images due (12pm Wednesday, Mar 21)

Week 12 Mar 30
Major Project 2 critique (Round 1)

Week 13 Apr 6
Major Project 2 critique (Round 2)
Course consolidation

Other Course Information:

Booking Equipment:

Students enrolled in the class with a valid MAC ID can reserve cameras, tripods, and other gear for a 24-hour period (and over the weekend). Please familiarize yourself with late policies and penalties.

If you have technical issues accessing the HMC system at the link above, contact your instructor immediately.