- Camera operation: exposure, control of motion via the shutter and depth of field via the aperture.
- Printing/output: a basic introduction to techniques for bringing the image from the camera to printed form, whether darkroom-based or digital (and sometimes both, depending on the structure of the course)
- Aesthetic and compositional issues: subject choice, point of view, framing, lighting, etc.
- Conceptual issues: finding avenues for personal expression via photography; what will the student photograph, and why? What ideas does the student want to address in the work?
A related topic: in my current position, Photo I is a requirement for all fine art and graphic design majors. The course also attracts students from interior design, architecture, and various other majors across the campus. This diversity of experience and interests among the students has been one of the real joys of teaching the course this year, but raises a question: how does one make the course relevant and effective for such a diverse population of students? I know I'm begging the question a bit here, as I firmly believe that Photo I is an essential course for anyone entering a visual/creative field... but how do we give photo majors the medium-specific foundation they need and reach out to undecided students, without overwhelming the hapless sculpture major who is simply there to fulfill a requirement?