PHOTO UNIT 1: A-Z Photography


  1. To photograph making deliberate composition choices.
  2. To apply basic editing to photographs using Adobe Photoshop.


You will create a series of photographs depicting letters using objects.  You will be assigned a word or theme—the objects in your photographs must relate to the given theme.  This assignment will teach you to view the world with a creative eye and to apply photography and Photoshop techniques to obtain better photographs.

If you are assigned a person’s name, you will use unexpected, un-staged items to create the letters of your person’s name.  The more whimsical and unusual, the better.  If the person’s name is a recognizable word, then you may use items that relate to that theme.


Use the classroom cameras whenever possible, but use any camera if you don’t have the camera with you and you find something fun.

  • Use shallow DOF to keep the focus on the object (F4.0 or below)
  • Try shooting in macro mode to find unexpected compositions
  • Look for high contrast—dark against light or vice-versa
  • Keep the background simple
  • Shoot Vertical
  • Be creative
  • Fill the frame
  • Shoot in color
  • Letters can be flipped. Stretched, reversed
  • Do not repeat a photograph to make another letter
  • Ask staff, coaches, or teachers to help you by asking for objects or ideas that relate to your theme.


  • Keep background simple or blurred.
  • Make sure object is sharp
  • Use contrast (object stands out because it is different in color, texture, or shape)
  • Change your perspective/angle.  Get high, get low!
  • Use concentric shapes (shape inside a shape)
  • Use shadows to make object stand out.
  • Use shapes that are unique, unexpected, funny

VIDEO: How to edit your letters in PSD
Please note, for your assignment, crop the images to Resolution 300, Height 6 Inches, Width 4 Inches

A-Z File requirements

  • Duplicate original layer
  • SIZE: Image>Image Size>  Resolution= 300  H=6 inches W= 4 inches
  • BORDER: At bottom of layers palette, find FX.  Go to Stroke (border).  Change the stroke size to 60 pixels.  Leave it black.
  • BLACK AND WHITE: At bottom of layers palette, find the black and white circle.  Click on BLACK AND WHITE.  Adjust sliders until letter stands out more.
  • FLIP: If your letter needs to be flipped, select your duplicate layer and click CTRL+T.  To flip sideways, Go to the options bar, find the W and place a negative in front of the 100% (-100%).  To flip upside down, do the same but with the H.
  • DARKEN AND BRIGHTEN: To make the letter stand out, you will need to darken or brighten certain areas.  Go to the toolbar.  Find the Dodge and Burn tools.  Dodge brightens, Burn darkens.  Perform all edits on your duplicate, not on the original layer.
  • SHARPEN: Go to your upper menu.  Find FILTER> SHARPEN> UNSHARP MASK.  Move only the top slider to the right.  Move it somewhere between 100-250%.  Click on preview to see a before and after.  Don’t oversharphen.
  • SAVE AS PSD: File Name = LetterName_ed
  • SAVE AS A JPG (Quality 12): File Name = FileName_ed


To create a correctly-sized banner to place your letters into, do the following:

  1. Create a new document in Adobe photoshop (File> New)  with the following dimensions:
  2. The WIDTH of your banner: Count the letters in your name or word.  Multiply that number by 4.  If there is a space between words, add .5 inches to the total.  Now add 2.  So, the formula is #(4)+2.  This number is the WIDTH of your banner.
  3. The HEIGHT of your banner is 8″
  4. The RESOLUTION is 300
  5. Turn on the rulers by clicking CTRL+R
  6. Turn on the Grid by clicking CTRL+”
  7. Add guides all the way around 1″ from the edge.
  8. Save this document as : PD_LAST_FIRST_BANNER


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You will encounter these words during the unit.  Write a definition (in your own words) for each word and use it in a sentence correctly


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