Teacher In-Service: Outdoor Photography (GMHDRNC)


Photography has always documented events and preserved memories. In this program, learn to use photography in the classroom, whether in science, math, literature or art.

Grade Level:

Teacher in-service

Recommended Setting:

Indoor or outdoor classroom

Outdoor Activity:



Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, Pine Bluff


Education Program Coordinator, 870-534-0011


6 hours

Suggested Number of Participants:

Up to 20


  • Learn the basics of photography and composition.
  • Understand how photography can be infused with science, math and liberal arts classrooms.

Key Terms*:




Shutter speed

*See glossary for definations



Diagram of a camera

Example pictures


Since the camera’s invention, photography has been a tool for artists. This program will bring that art to the classroom with instruction on camera use, the art of composition and incorporating photography into lessons.


  1. Discuss the mechanical and electronic features of the camera. Mechanical features such as the lens, shutter, aperture and focal plane control the focus and exposure of the photograph, while electronic features such as the exposure adjustments and picture modes control the finer points of photography.
  2. The difference between a snapshot and a professional photograph is, more often than not, composition. Explain some techniques for taking better photos.
    • One of the more common composition techniques is the rule of thirds. By dividing an image into thirds horizontally and vertically, the photographer knows where to place elements that will create the most aesthetically pleasing image.
    • Lighting can also make or break a photo.
    • From these simple tips, the discussion will move to the more abstract and creative aspects of outdoor photography, such as the photograph’s point of view.
  3. Photography as a tool for teachers is the most important part of this program. In science classes, a teacher might use photos to bring the outdoors inside through pictures of insects or trees. Another idea is to document seasonal changes through leaf color or the sun’s progression through the sky as seen in the schoolyard. In math classes, photos can show angles through lighting, aperture could teach about the area of circles or shutter speed could demonstrate fractions. For creative writing, a teacher might bring a picture as a prompt or to compliment a story.
  4. The program ends, weather permitting, with a walk for participants to try out their new skills, asking any questions they may have about outdoor photography or its use in the classroom.


  • What is aperture?
  • Why is the rule of thirds important?
  • How might a teacher use photography in a math class?


Aperture – an opening, usually circular, that limits the light entering an optical instrument


Composition (art) – the arrangement of visual elements in a work of art


Exposure (photography) – amount of light allowed to fall on the photographic medium (film or image sensor) while taking a photograph; controlled in a camera by shutter speed and lens aperture


Shutter speed – in photography, the length of time a shutter is open; the total exposure is proportional to the amount of light reaching the film or image sensor