Welcome to level one Using a digital camera, scanner and image editing course


Simon's pics 2006


By the end of this course you should be able to:

Use a digital camera. This will include switching it on and off, changing modes, using the lock down technique, turning the flash and macro mode on and off, changing its sensitivity to light, controlling shutter speed and aperture size, and recording video footage. You should also be able to look at images you've taken on the camera, delete either all or individuall pictures, format your memory card and read the manual.

Transfer pictures to a computer

Create a useful folder structure for organising your pictures

Archive and back up your images on to removable storage devices such as DVDs or CDs

Prepare images for email or web sites

Prepare images for printing at home or via commercial developers

Improve images by adjusting contrast, brightness, colour, cropping and sharpness using photoshop.

Create slide shows of your favourite pictures

Use a scanner

Start thinking about issues relating to composition



Lesson 1

Introduction and induction

Introduce the class

Explain what the lesson will consist of

Go through paper work / health and safety

Hand out and fill in ILPs.

Go through overview of course and work out what student's expectations / needs are.

Talk about note taking and resources. Show pathway to website.

Digital camera section

What to think about when getting a digital camera

Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using a digital camera

Common features of a digital camera

Image editing setion

Discuss image editing software. Talk about 3 main contenders and explain why others, such as paint, aren't good enough.


An overview of the screen

Make a new file, scribble a bit then close Photoshop

Go over lesson


Lesson 2

Digital camera section

The basics of how a digital camera works
Protecting the lens / camera / use the strap and lens cap
Introduction to the "lock down" technique.
Take some pictures then transfer them to the pc

Setting up a folder system for storing digital pictures on a computer

Choose an area of your computer's storage system to build your folder system. This would typically be in "My Pictures" in the "My Documents" folder. However there are safer areas to store pictures, such as on a non system hard disk partition. If you don't know what that means use the "My Pictures" folder.

Firstly you could create a folder with a name such as "Photographs".

Inside this folder you would create a folder for each year that you would wish to store pictures in, for instance, "Pictures 2006" might be a good title. Inside this you would create twelve folders, one for each month of the year. Unfortunately if you simply use the names of months you'll find that the folders won't normally be displayed in a chronological order. One way around this is to put the number of each month before its name. Here's are some examples, "Pictures 4 April", "Pix 10 October", "Pics 12 Dec".

Some people make further folders within each monthly folder, for instance to keep related sessions together, e.g. wedding, birthday, day out, or projects. Perhaps you might name a sub folder within one of the monthly folders "Pics 2006 12 dec 24 christmas Eve" or "Pix 2006 2 feb 14 valentines day".

Once you've created this folder structure you will find that storing your pictures will be far more organised than just dumping them in one folder. This will especially become apparent when you start to back up your pictures to removable storage devices such as CDs or DVDs.

Tranferring pictures from a digital camera to a computer

1 put cable in camera
2 put cable in pc
3 turn on the camera
4 if a window pops up with options choose the yellow "open folder to view files"
5 if a window doesn't pop up go to "My computer" and then click on your camera's icon
6 you should now see some folders
7 click on the appropriate one - normally "dcim" or 100Lyp
8 you should now be able to see your image files
9 make sure the view is set to "thumbnails"
10 to select all go to "edit">"Select all"
11 to select a few files use the "control"+click method
12 once you've selected your images click on edit then copy
13 Navigate to the folder where you store your photographs, in class this will be the "My pictures" folder
14 Go to the appropriate year, then monthly folder and either create a new folder in which to copy the new pictures in to, or just remain in the appropriate month folder.
15 Make sure you're inside that folder
16 Click on "edit" then click on paste and if all is well your pictures will start to copy from your camera on to the storage device.
17 Once the transfer is complete turn your camera off
18 Make sure you're in the "Thumbnails" view (view menu then click on "thumbnails) and Rotate any pictures that need to be clicking on the picture you want to rotate and then clicking on the "file menu" then "rotate clockwise" or "rotate counter clockwise". It is also possible to select multiple files that need selecting by using the CTRL and click technique which allows the selection of files that aren't next to each other.
19 You may wish to rename pictures by selecting them and then pressing F2
20 Remember to end your new name with ".jpg" then press Enter


Photoshop section

A resolution to understand Pixels (Picture elements) get students to create a 10 pixel image then define it to print at A4 then do the same with different size pictures. Demonstrate then try out.

The toolbox and its sections

The options toolbar.

Using TAB, F key, shift and TAB

Creating a new file - basic

Defining how big the "canvas is"

Selecting the basic drawing tools

Saving the image at different points by using "Save as

Lesson 3

Digital Camera Section

Locking down and predictive lock down for dealing with moving targets

Practicing loading images on to the computer.

Discuss and practice copying or cutting pictures from the camera.

Erasing pictures from the camera directly

Formatting the memory card

Organising folders on the pc

Understanding different file types

Digital editing section

Defining a custom workspace

The different palette windows.


Changing brushes

Changing colours

The foreground colour

Erasing and the link with the background colour - The erase tool should be thought of a brush that uses the

background colour.

Changing opacity

Using the magnifying glass to zoom in

Double clicking on the hand and magnifying glass icons to change the view

Undo and history

Preparing pictures for email


1 Go to file "Save as" check the file format is set to "jpg"
2 Choose where to save the file
3 Change the file name, normally this means add words to the file name that tell you it's for email. E.g. "for email"
4 Click on Save
5 The compression slider appears
6 Choose which compression value you want, normally between 6 to 9
7 Click on save


8 Load picture in to Photoshop
9 Go to Image menu
10 Click on image size
11 Check to see whether the width or height is largest
12 If the width is largest change the size to 750 pixels wide
13 If the height is largest change the size to 550 pixels high
14 Once you change the number click ok - double click on the magnifying glass in the toolbox to see the actual size of the image -.
15 Go to File menu and click on "Save"
15 The image is now ready to be emailed

Lesson 4

Digital Camera section

What to think about when taking a picture

Looking at the edge of the frame

Try keeping both eyes open when you look through a view finder, that way you'll catch things which you might miss when one eye is closed.


Taking portraits

Avoid distorting the features of the sitter's face by being too close.

Some lenses can not focus if the sitter is too close

Taking a step back and using the zoom overcomes the problem of focus too.

Thinking about the position and the direction a sitter is looking may determine the balance of a composition.


Take some portraits

Load them on to your pc in to an appropriate folder, rename the files and rotate any that need to be rotated.

Photoshop Section

The initial and most likley editing you'll do to many pictures will entail adjusting the cotast, brightness and colour balance. This can be done using the levels and hue / saturation adjustment tools.

Exercise 1

Adjusting the contrast of one of the pictures you've previously loaded. Save this in to a sub folder called edits and selections.

Exercise 2

Adjust the hue / saturation and lightness of one of the pictures you've previously loaded. Save this in to a sub folder called edits and selections.

Look at on line print services
Look at printing multiple pictures on to one sheet of paper

Lesson 5

Digital Camera section

An exercise in depth of field in relation to portrait photography. Using the lock down technique take a picture of someone in the class, make sure the focus is on their face, and if possible open up the aperture as wide as possible, then take some shots.

An explanation of "depth of field"

See the following links for further reading
1 Depth of field simplified or this one
2 Medium Depth of field explanation
3 Technical http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF6.html

Photoshop section

Selection techniques

To do anything (change, delete, filter etc... ) either a part or all of an image one must firstly select the area

Selection menu and basic techniques

Selection techniques using the selection section of the toolbox.

Stroking, Filling, making shapes basics and stroking

Inverse selection, deselecting, selecting all

Deleting selections

Multiple selections - which includees - Adding to and cutting out selections using the Shift and ALT keys.

Lesson 6

Using a digital camera section

Landscapes and detail. Use your highest resolution when taking pictures of landscapes - This is dependent upon the likely output of your picture, if it's for a small picture on a web page it doesn't matter as much as if you want to print it.


Divisions of an area - The rule of thirds, the directions subjects look in.

Further reading link 1

The direction in which a subject looks influences how the composition works, in this example the figure on the right "bounces" the onlookers gaze back to the figure on the left, who in turn focuses our attention on her eyes and face.

Archiving and writing to CDs

Managing pictures ( Making copies, creating subfolders)
Be aware that some cameras allow you to create folders on your memory card, you may also be able to make copies of pictures which are set at a different resolution to the original. This is useful if you are running out of storage space and need to take more pictures. Firstly delete unwanted pictures, secondly lower the resolution of any pictures you may take from then on during that session. - Check out other ways to lower the amount of memory a picture takes up, settings such as quality and compression will also have an effect - . If you're still lacking storage space you might be able to use the copy function. If you do so, save the new one at a much lower resolution. For instance you may have a picture that doesn't need to be saved at high resolution - approx. 2400 x 1600 - so you make a copy which is 600 x 400 and then delete the original. By doing this you'll have gained enough space to shoot 15 pictures at 600 x 400. A useful feature in emergency situations.

Reminder: Creating a safe haven for your photos on your hard drive. Making files read only. Learning to save a version of a picture as soon as you bring it out of your "Safe haven" folder.

Photoshop section

Opening files the normal way and then using the file browser (basic) and then using the drag and drop technique
Selection techniques
The Selection menu: Selection techniques using the selection drop down menu
Inverse selection,
Introduce Quick masks
Copy and paste
Using hue, saturation, contrast, brightness and levels with a selection,
The crop function

End of lesson 6

Lesson 7

Digital Camera Section

Changing shutter speed and ISO

The importance of lighting - Look for light

Flash guns

Avoiding flash: Set your shutter speed to 1/60 second and if necessary put your ASA/ISO up to 400 or 800

Using Flash
For those of you who wish to get into photography in some depth:
Does your camera have an interface for an add on flash device? This will either be a plug in socket for a "flash cable" or a slide on socket known as a "hot shoe". If you can add a flash gun you'll find a bounce head one can allow flash photos to be taken with a far more subtle effect.
Putting a zoom feature to use

Firstly if your camera has a digital zoom avoid using that feature. If it has both an optical and a digital one then try to only use the optical one. A digital zoom is just an enlargement of a part of the ccd chip that senses the image in your camera, you may as well crop your image and enlarge it in photoshop than use a digital zoom.
If you have an optical zoom however it can be put to many uses. The first one is to zoom in on things that are distant, but it can also be put to less obvious uses. Firstly when wanting to take a close up of someone's face you'll find that if you hold a camera too close it will distort their features and will probably be hard to focus. Holding things close to your eyes makes the things look bigger, the closer they get the larger they look, we all know this - hopefully -. From your eye to about a foot away you will see the most dramatic effect. Therefore if you have a person's nose 7 inches away from a camera lens and their eye is 8.5 inches away the nose will look disproportionately bigger than it should in relation to the eye. The face may even look like a caricature. If you want to overcome this then step away from your subject and frame your picture around their face using your zoom, it'll be far less likely to distort their features.
There is an area between around 3 foot and 1 foot from your camera that many cameras find hard to focus on. If this happens move away from your subject and use your zoom to get the close up you require.
When zooming less light comes in to the camera. The speed of a lens denotes how much light it can let in, a faster lens will be able to zoom in on subjects in darker situations than a slower lens. Remember if you're not able to get enough light to take a picture try zooming out, you might find more light comes through the lens.
If you take a picture using a flash you might find that being close up to a subject washes out (over exposes) the image, if that's likely to happen take a picture from further away using the zoom, that way the luminosity caused by the flash won't be so intense.

Photoshop section

Colour range select tool
This technique is particularly useful when you have an area that's got lots of things in front of it, such as sky or a wall might have.

Sometimes you'll have an area, or multiple areas of a picture that consist of a colour range. For example a sky is often of a similar hue, so if you wanted to select the sky this feature might be useful. Go to the "select" drop down menu and choose "Color range". A window will appear. Choose the pipette with a plus sign next to it and start clicking on the area you want to select in the picture. A black and white image will show you what area will be included in the selection. If too large or small an area gets selected adjust the fuzziness slider and see if that has a positive effect. When the area you want to select is shown in the preview window to have turned white click on "ok". If you find extra selections outside of the area you want have also been selected you can tidy up the selection by using the lasso or polygon or rectangular marquee while holding down the ALT key to de-select those areas. If certain areas within the area you want to select are not selected use the selection tools while holding down the SHIFT key to get rid of them.

The "Replace Colour" function
Here's an orange house

Have a go at changing the colour of the house using the replace colour tool. (Image > Adjustments > Replace colour). If other areas of the picture change colour too then either select the area you want to use before using the replace colour function or lower the fuzziness setting in the replace colour options box.

Lesson 8

Digital Camera section

Macro mode
Composition : Positioning of the horizon line - Angle And height.

Photoshop Section
The lasso, polygon lasso and the magnetic lasso
The magic wand
The history tool
The Canvas Size and image size
A quick introduction to Filters

End of lesson 8

Lesson 9

Digital Camera

The importance of empty spaces and blocks of colour / texture 5
Practical exercise
You may need to make several attempts at the following before you get a shot you're happy with.
1 Take a standard head and shoulders shot of someone in the class. Pay attention to the background. 5
2 Take an "arty" portrait of someone in the class. 5

Photoshop section

Our first glance at layers 10
Introduction to the text tool - notice text appears on it's own layer at first 10
The clone tool 10

Lesson 10

Digital Camera section

Video functions - resolution - time span / memory - making a vcd using Nero - 20
Do you just want a series of postcards or can you make pictures of scenes more interesting by either adding subjects or making more dramatic images? 10

Photoshop section

Colour modes - this links back to scanners 5
Why don't the colours print out as they do on the screen - negative and positive colour mixing - RGB Vs CMYK, optimizing one's monitor for printing - Have I ever bothered? No 5