A snapshot into Ms. McKenna’s photography class

Darla McKenna, Visual Performing Art Department, is thrilled to teach both introductory and advanced students photography techniques and skills through a year full of projects. She wants students to ultimately discover new perspectives about everyday objects in order to take more interesting pictures. Not only do her students learn about cameras and different settings, they also learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and different methods of editing photographs.

“Photography is fun because it is very accessible to students. Students who enjoy art but cannot paint or draw can do photography because almost everybody has a camera of some sort. It is very open and exciting and in my opinion, everybody can learn something in this class,” McKenna said.

The beginning course completes 30 projects over a school year, like Spot Color, where students take a photograph and edit the elements so that only a few objects are in color. By the end of this semester, students will compile a portfolio filled with 30 of their favorite pieces.  The portfolio encompasses all the skills and techniques that students are taught throughout the year, incorporating principles and elements of design—saturation, value, proportion, contrast and more—into their finalized pieces. 

Next semester, McKenna plans on teaching students about product photoshoots, still life, logos and design. Some upcoming projects include photographing cars, portraits, and a project called Levitation, where students take pictures of themselves and edit them to make themselves appear as if they are floating in midair. In future years, she hopes to obtain more cameras and printers in order to enable students to learn more about the presentation of their work and to practice photography more professionally. A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera allows students to take beter quality pictures and experiment with settings such as aperture and shutter speed.

“Photography class has really changed my perspective on photography and has allowed me to develop my own style when it comes to taking and editing pictures. There is a lot to learn about when utilizing lighting and composition, as well as editing and using various tools in Adobe Photoshop. Overall, the class has been a really fun experience and I am looking forward to learning more about professional photography in the future,” Sophomore Vy Nguyen said.