Course Overview

This course will comprise both a historical overview of the photographic portrait and an introduction to portrait techniques using a DSLR. Students will learn how the artistic portrait was forever changed after the invention of photography in the mid 19th century and will develop their own series of portraits in the two-week session. Looking at a range of photographers approaching portraiture both traditionally and non-traditionally, students will learn to create a variety of portraits in different lighting conditions, both indoors and outdoors.

In addition to learning camera fundamentals, students will be equipped to consider relevant questions to address in their photographs, and the techniques that will best serve their chosen concept. By the end of the first week, students will have a working critique of their images, giving constructive feedback to their classmates and receiving suggestions to consider for the following week. Participants will leave the course with a series of captivating portraits and the confidence to continue working with the human form.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit or noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a historical overview of the photographic portrait as it has evolved from the 19th century to the present.
  • Acquire the tools to collaborate with the subject and control lighting to compose a captivating picture.
  • Learn how to edit and sequence images while considering light, composition, contrast, and perspective.
  • Learn best practices for file sorting and organizing in Adobe Lightroom Classic.
  • Gather a list of portrait photographers who inspire your stylistic approach with the camera.
  • Create and print a compelling sequence of 10-15 portraits that you are proud of.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: APH 200 / SCN 172

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore*, junior or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate.

Students should have a basic understanding of how to operate a DSLR camera.

*Rising sophomores are only eligible for the noncredit version of this course.

Credit: 3 credits or Noncredit


  • Credit: A-F
  • Noncredit: Pass/Fail



  • Residential: $4,695
  • Commuter: $3,766


  • Residential: $4,095
  • Commuter: $3,166

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session II: Monday, July 22 – Friday, Aug. 2, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
3 Credit or NoncreditClosed
There will be a break between Noon and 1 p.m.

Course Requirements

Required Supplies

A DSLR camera, SD card, and thumb drive is required.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

A typical class day will start with a 40-minute lecture covering a particular genre of portraiture and analysis of artists working in that period. Then, students will break into groups to discuss a set of images I provide and answer a set of questions about the subject, content, composition, lighting, and emotional tone of the work.

For the next hour and a half, students will have a portrait assignment to work on in groups of three. One person will control the camera to adjust the light and exposure, a second person will be the photographed subject, and the third person will direct and compose the subject. The group members will rotate positions for each photograph taken.

For the afternoon portion of the class, students will upload their files to a computer and begin sorting and labeling the images in Lightroom. We will go over the fundamentals of editing images depending on students’ desired effects, image cropping and adjustment, color editing, and printing.

The Friday sessions will serve as critique days, where students will give each other feedback on their images.

Half of one class day will be reserved for a field trip to visit a photographic exhibition at the Everson Museum.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Linda Moses

Linda Moses (b. 1994) is an artist and educator based in Syracuse, New York. She received her BA in Art History from William & Mary and MFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University. Working in photography and video, she researches the intersecting notions of selfhood, family, truth, and memory. Her work has most recently been shown at Study Hall Gallery in Utica, NY, the Syracuse University Art Museum in Syracuse, NY, Governor’s Island, and Villa Heike in Berlin. Her first monograph, “To Know You (Now and Then),” was published by Smog Press in 2023. She currently teaches Photography and Media Arts at Syracuse University and PrattMWP in Utica, NY.