Digital Media E-5: Exploring Digital Media
Harvard Extension School
Spring 2023
Assignment 6: Photo Essay
Due 4:00pm ET on Monday, March 20
This assignment requires two separate submissions, March 14th and 21st. See below for submission links.
🎥 Watch the assignment Walkthrough video 🎥

This assignment has 2 parts with two separate due dates.

Part 1

For this assignment, we will ask you to put all the previous lessons together and create a short photographic essay choosing a specific location and using photography to investigate it. The assignment consists of two parts; pre-visualization and execution. You will first visit the location and develop a plan of approach, identifying what elements of the location are interesting and how you will photograph those elements. During the execution part you will photograph the location starting with your approach and adjusting if necessary as you investigate with your camera.

During pre-visualization you will visit the location and make some notes about the space. What are your intentions? What is interesting about the environment and how might you capture that in a photograph? How will you use exposure controls and composition to express the space? We want you to approach this project with narrative intent. With that in mind, we are asking you to submit a brief form explaining your intentions before you shoot and no later than 4:00pm ET on Monday, March 13.

Part 1 Requirements

  • Visit your site to pre-visualize it
  • Answer the questions in the assignment before going to shoot
  • Submitted the Part 1 form by 4:00pm ET on Monday, March 13

Part 2

The second part of this assignment is the execution and will consist of you implementing your approach in the location. In the process of photographing the space you may be inspired to change your approach. This is perfectly acceptable and an inherent part of photographic investigation. You will submit 5 photographs that express, describe and provide insight into the location. You are expected to shoot on Aperture Value (Av) mode, Time Value (Tv) mode, or full manual (M) mode. However, there are no exposure or stylistic requirements for individual images. If you edit/manipulate your images after shooting, please preserve the metadata for your lens/exposure controls - we will examine this data during grading. You should use compositional and exposure variation to help express what you find interesting or important about the location. Your photos should be organized in a sequence from one to five. Pay special attention to the order and how each photograph relates to the one before it and the one after it. How does changing the order change the way your audience might perceive the space?

You will have two weeks for this project, so it is more involved than previous assignments. Our expectations are that you will submit 5 of your best images and that you will either spend significant time in your location or return to it in order to experience it at different times. You should expect to shoot several hundred images and only choose 5 of the best. Be careful to think not only about the individual images, but also about the group of images and how they relate. For example, you may have a particularly interesting/personal image that doesn’t fit as well with the group as a whole. Selectivity and careful editing are a large part of this assignment.

Part 2 Requirements

Once you have taken your photographs and made your selections, rename your photographs for submission.

  • All photographs should precisely follow the numbering scheme above:
    • firstname_lastname_assignment6-1.jpg
    • firstname_lastname_assignment6-2.jpg
    • firstname_lastname_assignment6-5.jpg

    For example:

    • dan_coffey_assignment6-1.jpg
  • Shot photographs in Av, Tv, or M modes until satisfied
  • Selected your 5 photographs that are intentionally exposed and thematically impactful
  • Exported images to .jpg format (if not already in that format)
  • Preserved exposure and lens metadata (if you manipulated your images)
  • Renamed your photographs to the specification
  • Looked at (and possibly pre-wrote answers to) the questions on the submission form
  • Submitted assignment and images by 4:00pm ET on Monday, March 20

As always, please email us with any questions!