BDIC 391A - 3 credits - online
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Digital photography is an important skill in many majors and professions. It is valuable for illustrating papers, gathering field data, marketing online, documenting research, illustrating environmental beauty and change, creating art, and more. This introductory course addresses both the science and art of photography—technological principles that apply to all cameras (digital or film), fundamental digital camera techniques and practice, concepts/practice in aesthetic image-making, developing a personal vision, as well as an introduction to the styles of famous historic photographers and their contributions to the art and science of photography. Basic imaging software will be briefly covered.

This course requires regular outside shooting assignments in addition to written assignments. The goal is becoming competent with the student's own camera and gaining fluency with photography and photographic terms. No prior knowledge or experience required.  Students must own either a compact or single-lens-reflex digital camera and have or secure its instruction manual prior to the first class.

Topics covered:  Working the camera, understanding exposure, digital concepts (sensors, file formats, ISO, resolution, white balance, storage media, etc.) understanding lenses and focal lengths, composition, visual aesthetics, critiquing work, developing a style, viewing historical and established photographers work, basics on downloading, organizing, and editing.

Note about cameras: Cameras for this course should not be limited to 100% automatic exposure settings, and need Instructor’s approval.  Cameras should have the following exposure settings: APERTURE PRIORITY, SHUTTER PRIORITY, MANUAL EXPOSURE. (DSLR cameras generally have these settings, but please confirm yours.)  If you have questions about your camera, please ask Instructor.  Students without a camera wishing to take this course are welcome to contact the instructor prior to the start of the course for advice about a suitable camera within their budget.  Cell phone cameras are not suitable for this course.

Course Features:

  • Students work online at own pace from any location or time zone.
  • Asynchronous illustrated lectures with voice-over by Instructor available all semester
  • Regular interaction with instructor
  • Phone, email, or Skype contact with Instructor for 1:1 support
  • Course open to anyone - matriculated anywhere or non-matriculated
  • Textbook:  THE PHOTOGRAPHY BIBLE  by D. Lezano  (2012 edition)

For more info:

  • Call UMass online registration:  413-545-3653  and inquire about course “BDIC 391A”
  • Google:  Digital Photography for the Non-Art Major BDIC 391A


Annie has been teaching Photography since 1979:

Annie, helping a student with his camera
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst online credit course (ongoing since 2009)
  • University of Massachusetts Continuing Education (11 years)
  • National Wildlife Federation (18 years)
  • Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA (15 years)
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society (22 years)
  • Springfield Science Museum (8 years)
  • Town of Longmeadow, MA (8 years)
  • Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife
  • McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Family Nature Summits (ongoing since 2007)
  • Firehouse Center for the Arts, Burlington, VT (ongoing since 2006)

Past Courses Have Included:

Annie, teaching a photograpy class
  • Digital Photography for the Non-Art Major (online full semester course)
  • Basic 35mm SLR Photography
  • Wildflower Photography
  • Introduction to Nature Photography
  • Intermediate Photography Techniques
  • Using Photography as a Classroom Tool
  • Basic Exposure & Composition
  • Intensive Weekend Nature Photography
  • Basic Digital Camera Concepts