Online Program Overview


Summer College students have the option of enrolling in this program as a 3-credit course OR a noncredit program. Cost will vary. 

Students will earn three college credits towards APH 261: Art Photo Introduction I. This introductory course explores how contemporary artists use photography. Various approaches to art photography are presented to describe, critique or mediate on modern life. Working with digital cameras, students experiment with equipment, techniques and strategies to make their own original work.

This hands-on summer program offers an overview of digital photography from capture to output and exploring the world with a camera. We will discuss both technique and conceptual framework. We start with the technical basics of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, and then we will build on these fundamentals. Once students have a solid understanding of how exposure works, we explore composition, framing, and the expressive possibilities of the medium. DSLR and mirrorless cameras are preferred, but this class will also be able to accommodate students using a smartphone.

In this class, we will be looking at photography from its invention to contemporary art. Beyond just using a camera to capture images, we will work with Photoshop, begin to integrate the workflow of file management, using Adobe Bridge to catalog our images, Camera RAW files, and preparing images for digital inkjet printing. Our daily routine will be packed full of work and fun. Synchronous class time will involve lecture and discussion, and asynchronous time will be for completing assignments, office hours, and virtual class discussions about the images we are making.

  My teacher and TA were extremely knowledgeable and made the class very engaging… In addition to teaching an extensive amount about photography, they also answered a lot of our questions on the Visual and Performing Arts School as well as the admission process. My TA was very helpful in discussing what their experience was in college as well as discussing other options for my interest in photography.  ~ Summer College Photography student, 2018

Program Objectives

  • Develop your portfolio
  • Have an understanding of the principles of exposure
  • Use a beginner image editing workflow of Camera Raw and Photoshop, from capture to printing prep
  • Learn about the history of black and white and color photography
  • Have the confidence and skill to explore and develop your work further

Learn more about Photography:

Program Dates, Times & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program & Technology Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bio

Program Dates, Times & Details

3-week Session II: July 20 – August 7, 2020
Duration: 3-weeks
Live (Synchronous) Session Times: MTWThF, 1:00 – 2:30pm EST


Credit: 3 credits OR Noncredit
Grading System: A-F (3-credit) or Pass/Fail (noncredit)

Please note that this program is also open to Syracuse University undergrads.

Class Size

Class size is dependent on the number of enrolled students and the program capacity. Please email Summer College if you would like to know the number of students in this program.

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be of rising junior or senior status or a 2020 high school graduate. No photography experience is necessary. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

Apply Now!

Program Cost

Program Cost:

  • Online ONLY: $3,085 (3-credit)
  • Online ONLY: $2,500 (noncredit)

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Requirements

Required Materials and Supplies

  • A laptop or desktop computer with webcam is required by students taking this course
  • Reliable internet connection
  • Adobe Suite (provided to students prior to the first day of class)
  • A DSLR or mirror-less camera is preferred, but a smartphone can be used as well
  • A portable external hard drive for storing images (at least 500GB) since image files can take up a lot of space on your computer. This is strongly recommended, though not required.
  • A memory card (if using a non-smartphone camera). More than likely it will be an SD card. Please ask the instructor if you are not sure what kind of card your camera takes.
  • A memory card reader or means of transferring images from your camera to your laptop. Some laptops have built-in SD card slots.

Student Expectations

Progress will be based on growth than set benchmarks. Students are expected to be present and engaged at all times. They are expected to follow directions, and take advice and criticism of their work as a learning experience.

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all synchronous classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Synchronous class will be Monday – Friday 1pm -2:30 pm, which will involve lectures, demonstrations, and class discussion of the work that we make. I will give you exercises and prompts to complete creative assignments outside of class. Potential guest lecturers may include University faculty, faculty other institutions, as well as professionals working in the industry. Virtual tours may include local and national galleries, museums, and other art institutions

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College virtual activities to meet and connect with other students across the world. Check out our Virtual Events and Activities page for more information!

Faculty Bio

Michael W. Hicks

Michael W. Hicks is a Syracuse, NY based artist and educator. He received his MFA in art photography from Syracuse University in 2018 and was a 2019-2020 Artist-in-Residence at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including shows at the Haubrok Foundation in Berlin, Germany, at the SFO Museum in San Francisco, CA and at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art in Utica, NY. His work is in collections at the Guggenheim Museum Library, at Syracuse University Special Collections, and at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA.