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Upward Bound Tech & Tour - Intro to the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access' Learning Lab

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Language Arts And English +7 Age Levels High School (16 to 18 years old), Adults

Taking a great portrait is more than just taking a quick snap of a face. It requires thoughtful contemplation and a variety of choices by the photographer. We'll examine a collection of photographs that illustrate various principles of portrait photography and that will help students to understand the parts of a digital artifact. 

LENS 1 | One lens to consider when looking at an artifact is its context and the impression it gives you. Using "see, think, wonder" strategies, we consider:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about it?
  • What makes you say that -- what evidence is there for that - on what are you basing your opinion?
  • What does it make you wonder?
  • Why does something look the way it does or the way it is?


LENS 2 | Analyzing great photographs to provide inspiration for your own photography pursuits 

What makes a strong image?

  • angles (eye-level, high angle, low angle, and bird's eye);
  • light and shadow;
  • framing;
  • shot length (long-shot, medium-shot, close-up, & extreme close-up);
  • mood--capturing a feeling or emotion in a photograph; 
  • scale--how big or small subjects look; and
  • sense of place--capturing the feeling of a place. 

Click into each photo and on the "paper clip" annotation icon to read more information (metadata!)

We will then discuss publishing guidelines and other policies that will help students make their best collections.

Tags: portrait photography, decision-making, self-determination, student empowerment, Project Zero


See/Think/Wonder: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

What Makes You Say That?: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Shaquille O'Neal

National Portrait Gallery

Michael Jordan

National Portrait Gallery

Branford Marsalis

National Portrait Gallery

Miles Davis

National Portrait Gallery

Billie Holiday

National Portrait Gallery

B. B. King

National Portrait Gallery

Gregory Hines

National Portrait Gallery

Photograph of The Fat Boys in NYC

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Nas, Queensborough Bridge 1993

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Willie Mays

National Portrait Gallery

Hank Aaron

National Portrait Gallery

Man in a Boat

National Museum of American History

Souk (Market) 1952

National Anthropological Archives

The Great Warrior of Montauban

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Shaq Attaq sneaker worn by Shaq

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Shaquille O'Neal

National Portrait Gallery

Meta Data Example 1

Tracie Spinale

Meta Data Example 2

Tracie Spinale

Sisters Meta Data 1

Tracie Spinale

Academic robe worn by Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole at Bennett College

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Academic robe worn by Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole at Bennett College

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Considering Metadata

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Collection-Making Tips

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access