College Of Wilderness Knowledge


Photos are used everywhere. This course is designed to help you take better photos, to capture a moment or memory, to tell a story, or to convey a feeling. Good photos are a combination of technique and ability. First we will cover the technical parts of a camera and it‘s operation. Then we will discuss light and its color, size, and direction. Then we will learn about proper exposure. Additional subject covered are: composition, depth of field, white balance, tripods, storing photos, photo adjustments after taking the shot, sharing photos, support equipment, and photography careers.

We will study the basics of photography in the morning and in the afternoon take photos to practice your skills and develop your photo project. Then we will get together to work on and show your projects to the others in the course. A laptop will be available to review your photos. Bring the Photography Merit Badge pamphlet that you read, a merit badge worksheet, and a scoutmaster signed merit badge card. Bring your Boy Scout Cyber Chip for your grade, if you have earned it. Bring a digital camera with a removable thumb drive or a USB cord to share photos. A camera with manual control is preferred, but point and shoot cameras will work. Be dressed to spend half the day outside shooting photos. Depending on the weather, consider bringing: long sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, shoes or boots, jacket, hat and gloves, sun screen, and bug spray. An optional evening/night photography session will be offered

The course is limited to 8 participants.

Photography merit badge requirements (2016 revision)

  1. Safety. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while working with photography and what you should do to anticipate, mitigate, prevent, and respond to these hazards. Explain how you would prepare for exposure to environmental situations such as weather, sun, and water.
    2. Show your counselor your current, up-to-date Cyber Chip.

  2. Explain how the following elements and terms can affect the quality of a picture:
    1. Light—natural light (ambient/existing), low light (such as at night), and artificial light (such as from a flash)
    2. Exposure—aperture (f-stops), shutter speed, ISO
    3. Depth of field
    4. Composition—rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, depth
    5. Angle of view
    6. Stop action and blur motion
    7. Timing

  3. Explain the basic parts and operation of a camera. Explain how an exposure is made when you take a picture.
  4. Do TWO of the following, then share your work with your counselor.
    1. Photograph one subject from two different angles or perspectives.
    2. Photograph one subject from two different light sources—artificial and natural.
    3. Photograph one subject with two different depth of fields.
    4. Photograph one subject with two different compositional techniques.

  5. Photograph THREE of the following, then share your work your counselor.
    1. Close-up of a person
    2. Two to three people interacting
    3. Action shot
    4. Animal shot
    5. Nature shot
    6. Picture of a person—candid, posed, or camera aware

  6. Describe how software allows you to enhance your photograph after it is taken. Select a photo you have taken, then do ONE of the following, and share what you have done with your counselor.
    1. Crop your photograph.
    2. Adjust the exposure or make a color correction.
    3. Show another way you could improve your picture for impact.

  7. Using images other than those created for requirements 4, 5 or 6, produce a visual story to document an event to photograph OR choose a topic that interests you to photograph. Do the following:
    1. Plan the images you need to photograph for your photo story.
    2. Share your plan with your counselor, and get your counselor’s input and approval before you proceed.
    3. Select eight to 12 images that best tell your story. Arrange your images in order and mount the prints on a poster board, OR create an electronic presentation. Share your visual story with your counselor.

  8. Identify three career opportunities in photography. Pick one and explain to your counselor how to prepare for such a career. Discuss what education and training are required, and why this profession might interest you.