Upland High School – Digital Photography Class


Upland High School

Mr. Alaniz


Welcome to our class page, where you will find great resources and information that will help you be successful in class and your career as a photographer.






I am completely and passionately in love with photography. I enjoy photographing people and creating photo stories, connecting with people, being creative and sharing my keen eye to detail. Several years ago, I devoted my life to photography where I have specialized in photojournalism, portraiture, street photography and social events.



Be kind and respectful to others at all times.
Cell phones, headphones and other electronic devices are NOT allowed during class.
Food, drinks and gum are NOT allowed in the classroom.
Students are to take excellent care of the equipment, computers, keyboards, cameras, memory cards, etc.
If you arrive late, please look for a seat and avoid distracting the other students.
If there is any homework due for the day please place on the table and make sure it’s properly labeled with your first, last name and period.
Follow all the school procedures at all times.
Please remain in your seat at all times.
Copying of assignments will result in a 0 for both parties involved.
You are expected to use the restroom before or after class.  Each student will be given 2 restroom passes each grading period.
You are encouraged to ask questions.

Regular attendance is required in this class.  When you are absent, it is your responsibility to get the missing assignments and turn them in within the prescribed time.  Make-up tests will be given at the end of the grading period only.  Attendance, including tardies, is a part of your participation points.


Always bring a pen, pencil and a notebook where you can take notes.
You may bring your own camera to class but please keep in mind you will be responsible to take care of it.
  A flash drive (USB2.0 or USB3.0) preferably a 64 GB or larger.
(I recommend the following brand, nevertheless you may bring the brand of your choice)


GRADING (Point-Based)

You will need 65 points or more to pass the class. All of your work and participation will give you points to help you graduate the class with the best possible grade.

● Class Participation & Behavior → 10 points
● Class Assignments, Web page and Quizzes → 20 points
● Test 1 → 20 points
● Final Test → 20 points
● Camera Hands-On Test → 30 points

● Extra Credit Assignments → Points are based on the assignment.


Let’s start learning 🙂

This is the main handout we will use for our class



Click here to download the PDF version



Every digital camera has at its heart a solid-state device which, like film, captures the light coming in through the lens to form an image. This device is called a sensor. In this paragraph I explain the different sensor types and sizes.

A sensor is a solid-state device which captures the light required to form a digital image. What essentially happens is that wafers of silicon are used as the base for the integrated circuit, which are built up via a process known as photolithography.

The camera sensor, also known as an image sensor, is an electronic device that collects light information, consisting of color & intensity after it passes through the lens opening, known as the aperture. Shutter speed defines the length of time this light information is collected by the camera sensor.ISO determines the amplification the light information receives as it’s conveyed into the digital world, where it’s stored on a memory card as a picture file.

There are two popular types of image sensors, CMOS sensors (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) & CCD sensors (charge-coupled device) due to the higher performance, especially in low light, and lower cost the CMOS Sensor is found in nearly all modern digital cameras. CMOS Sensors are defined by their physical size ( surface area for capturing light information ) and the number of light information collecting pixels which make up this surface area.

Medium Format (Crop Factor > 1): Largest camera sensor size and usually highest cost. Medium format cameras are usually very bulky and heavy due to the large image sensor contained in the camera. They produce fantastic detail & color at the cost of weight & money.

Full Frame (Crop Factor = 1): Standard for professional photographers & serious hobbyist. Provides fantastic image quality and dynamic range without the added bulk, weight, or cost of the medium format camera.

Crop Sensor (Crop Factor < 1): Cheapest and smallest option. Smaller camera sensor size provides lower quality images with increased noise and less dynamic range compared to larger formats. For many photographers, the crop sensor camera is perfect for their specific skill level or use. They are not bad cameras, they just aren’t as good.




The creative use of the lens gives photography its expressive qualities – they shape the way you “see” the world through the viewfinder. There is an inherent distorting quality to a camera lens, and you have to embrace that to get your vision properly captured on “film” or in the image sensor.

Superficially, a lens is little more than a cylinder containing optical elements that shift about as you focus by turning a ring around the cylinder. But even in its most basic form, a camera lens is far more complex than it might appear.

A lens is more than the sum of its parts. When you attach a lens to a camera, your choice of lens is very much like a painter’s choice of brush. For finer details, the painter will choose a narrow, pointier brush. For cloud-free skies, a broader brush would be a wiser choice. Wide-angle lenses are typically best used for wide-field landscapes and tight interior photos, while telephotos are best for bringing distant subjects closer and for portraiture, though one should never take these “rules” as absolutes.

FOCAL LENGTH: The most important factor in any camera lens is its focal length. This determines which type of lens it is, and what subjects it will be able to photograph. Focal lengths range from just a few millimeters up to over a meter, and can be loosely grouped as follows:

8mm – 24mm Ultra wide angle (fisheye) panoramas and skyscapes, artistic.
24mm – 35mm Wide angle Interiors, architecture, landscapes.
35mm – 85mm (50mm common) Standard General purpose.
85mm – 135mm Short telephoto Portraits and candids.
135mm – 300mm Medium telephoto Close sports and action.
300mm+ Super telephoto Far sports, wildlife, nature and astronomy.

A standard lens is one with a mid-range focal length, typically around 50mm. They have an angle of view which is roughly the same as the angle that the human eye can comfortably view, meaning that they produce images which appear “natural” to the viewer. Standard camera lenses usually have a fixed (doesn’t zoom) focal length and wide aperture, giving them excellent performance in low light. They are popular for a wide range of photography subjects, including landscapes, portraits, and candid shots.

A telephoto lens has a long focal length and provides a high level of magnification, allowing you to photograph subjects at a moderate to far distance. They tend to be bigger and heavier than other types of lens, although modern technological advances have made them more compact and easier to handle. Telephoto lenses are popular for any type of photography where you can’t get near to the subject, including wildlife and sports events. They are also commonly used in portrait photography, where a moderate telephoto lens will provide a natural, undistorted perspective.

A wide angle lens is one with a short focal length. They provide an angle of view beyond that of a standard lens, allowing them to capture more of the scene in a single shot. Extreme wide angle lenses are known as fisheye lenses; these can capture around 180 degrees, making for some intriguing, almost abstract photos.Wide angle lenses are useful for photographing landscapes, cramped interiors, and other subjects which won’t fit into a normal lens’s field of view. Fisheye lenses take this even further, and are popular for photographing action sports like skateboarding and surfing, where their inherent distortion gives photos a dynamic feel.

SPECIALTY LENSES: There are a number of camera lenses which cater for less common photography needs. These include tilt and shift lenses for perspective control, macro lenses and soft-focus lenses for portrait photography.

A specialty lens is used to produce some sort of special or creative effect, and so they have limited use in general photography. However, they can be very useful if you need to photograph a particular subject in a particular way.

A macro lens is one designed especially for extreme close ups! These Macro lenses will show details of fine hairs on insects, water droplets on plants, or detailed shots of diamond rings.  It’s main goal is to reproduce a life size 1:1 image of your subject. Other lenses simply don’t let you get up close to focus so precisely. Variety of prime focal lengths ranging from 50-200mm.

A Tilt-Shift lens enables you to manipulate the vanishing points, so when you’re shooting buildings you can alter the perspective of an image so the parallel lines don’t converge, thus eliminating the distorting quality of the lens.The tilt-shift lens also enables you to selectively focus an image; where only specific portions of the image are in focus and out of focus within the same plane.

PRIME & ZOOM LENSES: A “prime” lens is one with a fixed focal length, while a “zoom” lens is one that can zoomed in and out to provide a wider range of focal lengths. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Prime lenses tend to have better optical quality than zooms, and can usually achieve a wider aperture, giving them better low-light performance. Their lack of moving parts also makes them lighter and cheaper. On the other hand, the range of focal lengths offered by a zoom lens can provide more flexibility, making them suitable for a wider range of subjects.

The choice between prime and zoom depends on your level of experience and the subjects you intend to photograph. If you are a beginner, a zoom lens can be a better choice as it will allow you to experiment with a range of focal lengths to find what you like. For more experienced photographers, the improved quality of a prime lens will usually more than make up for the reduced flexibility.


In class we will be taking photos with the Canon T5i and 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 lenses for the most part.



Memory cards are a popular storage medium for many of today’s consumer electronics devices, including digital cameras, cellphones, handheld devices and other small electronic devices. Flash memory is nonvolatile, that is the memory card will not lose its data when removed from the device, and the cards can also be erased or reformatted and reused.

For most consumers, when buying a memory card you have to consider price, capacity and compatibility. Some devices will support up to a specific size of memory card, and a specific type of memory card as well. Its important to read the information that came with your device to ensure you purchase a memory card that will work in your device.There are a few major types of memory cards that can be used in common electronics, such as a digital camera.

Each of these types of memory cards are different sizes and, as the technology progresses further, we see that over time the cards have become smaller in physical size but grow larger in logical size.



Compatibility – Cards will only work if they are compatible with the proposed camera. For example, a MicroSDXC will only work in a MicroSDXC-compatible slot.

UMDA Rating – Ultra direct memory access enables more rapid write and read speeds. Cards are graded from 0-7, 7 offers the highest performance. Be sure that the speed of your device supports the speed of the card.

Reading Speed – This is the rate at which the images are read or downloaded to your device.

Writing Speed -This is the rate at which the card can record and store the images you capture. This is the most important speed.

MicroSD cards can be used as standard SD cards when used with an adapter.


It’s important to be familiar with read speeds versus write speeds. Manufacturers don’t always advertise their write speeds, so unless a card’s write speed is explicitly stated, any speed written on the front of a card, such as a CF or SD card, is the maximum achievable read speed, but not the sustained read speed. Much in the way a CPU has a base clock speed and an over-clocked speed, sustained and maximum read and write speeds function in a similar fashion. While a memory card may be able to achieve a read speed of 160 MB/s, or a write speed of 90 MB/s, it will rarely be able to sustain those speeds for long periods of time. This is not to say that sustained read/write speeds can’t reach high values. They can, but they won’t be able to sustain their maximum advertised speeds consistently.

Along the lines of speed ratings, it’s also important to be able to convert card speeds with an “x,” such as 1066x, into MB/s. This is accomplished by multiplying 1066 by 150 and then dividing by 1,000. Thus, a card with a speed rating of 1066x has a maximum read speed of 160 MB/s.

When working with SD cards, it’s not uncommon to see things such as the number 4, 6, or 10 enclosed within the letter C, or perhaps a roman numeral I or II, and even a 1 or 3 within the letter U. A 4, 6, or 10 refers to the “Class” of a card, or its minimum-rated sustained write speed. A Class 10 card is rated to never write slower than 10 MB/s, and the number 1 or 3 within the letter U refers to the U1 or U3 speed class rating. U1 is identical to Class 10 and means that a card is certified to write at a minimum of 10 MB/s, while U3 cards have been certified to never write slower than 30 MB/s, with the difference being that “U” cards are designed for SD cards that employ the UHS-I or UHS-II bus.
It’s also important to note that not all U3 cards have the same minimum write speed. A card could be rated U3 and write at 60 MB/s. Along these lines, the SD Association created the Video Speed Class rating, designed to identify cards capable of 8K, 4K, 3D, HFR, HDR, and 360° video. This speed class is just another way of verifying the minimum sustained write speeds of cards, but it goes higher than both Standard Class ratings and UHS Speed Class ratings. It is made up of V6 (6 MB/s), V10 (10 MB/s), V30 (30 MB/s), V60 (60 MB/s), and V90 (90 MB/s).