University of Technology Sydney

87669 Digital Photomedia

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks


This subject gives a brief overview of the basic principles of photography, but the primary focus is on students developing their skills to edit, manipulate and enhance digital imagery. Students undertake a series of exercises that hone their Photoshop skills, resulting in an understanding of the ways in which the digital representation of images can be altered and potential ethical implications of digital manipulation. Students are required to explore their skills through a concept-driven project, culminating in a series of images incorporating and expanding on the competencies developed throughout the weekly exercises. Students are strongly encouraged to take their own images and to think critically about the role of the image within the scope of the visual communication industry.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Rigorously and coherently research, process, document and present information to a professional standard.
2. Demonstrate conceptual and critical thinking in the production of a creative concept and final outcome.
3. Develop original visual language evidenced through visual processing in creating an aesthetically resolved final outcome.
4. Apply appropriate levels of technical skill in the use of new forms and/or technologies in visual communication design.
5. Use visual research, analysis and critique to support conceptual approach.
6. Demonstrate awareness and sensitivity of the ethical contexts around the image in visual communications design.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Work cooperatively and professionally as part of a team, initiate partnerships with others, take a leadership role when required, and constructively contribute to peer learning. (C.1)
  • Create designs that respond to their context in formally or conceptually innovative ways. (I.1)
  • Advance ideas through an exploratory and iterative design process. (I.2)
  • An ability to critique your own work and the work of others with reference to standards drawn from contemporary design practice. (P.1)
  • Understanding of academic and professional ethics, copyright and appropriate acknowledgement of intellectual property. (P.3)
  • Source, evaluate and utilise appropriate academic and professional references. (R.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Weekly 3 hours studio with the occasional in-studio lecture. A PBL (problem based learning strategy) is adopted.

In studio lecture
The studio lectures will concentrate on briefing and elaborating on the problem at hand, presenting ideas concerning design, methodology, technology and production, history and context of digital photo media in a visual communications design context

Practical photo media exercises covering the principles of capturing images, the computer based techniques and production process centred around photo manipulation.

Individually students develop their ability to operate effectively as a team member and to improve their interpersonal communication skills.

Students will have time in the computer lab tutorials to develop their projects and receive feedback from studio leaders and their peers. Project-based individual and group learning activities involve practice-oriented research, visual investigation, idea generation, creative problem solving, critical reflection, analysis, progressive refinement and visual, oral and written presentation of completed work.

Students will be introduced to Photoshop software as well as working with cameras and digital photography

Students will engage in off campus practical and online activities, the outcomes of which will be presented and discussed in the studio. One of these activities is experimentation and practice of the exercises discussed in class. Students will be required to bring this work to class for feedback from peers and the studio leader.

Further details about pre-work activities and assessment tasks are described in the program section of this outline and in the project pdfs, available on UTSOnline.

Group Work: This subject features non-assessable collaborative activities in each workshop. This includes opportunities to give and receive feedback on each other’s work within your learning groups, and to collaborate with other students to generate ideas to be used in your own work.

Peer Critiques / Peer Feedback Sessions: Learning to give and receive feedback is essential to your development as a professional designer. In peer feedback sessions you will receive feedback from your group articulating their responses to your ideas, process and outcomes.

Assessment Feedback
Grades, marks and feedback related to submitted tasks will be provided online through ReView. The ReView criteria-based assessment system is adopted in the marking of assessment tasks to provide students feedback on their development of relevant graduate attributes over the course of their studies. ReView also enables students to self-assess to encourage a self-reflective approach to their learning, work and practices.

Content (topics)

This subject will introduce students to the history, ethics, fundamental principles, and theory of designing for digital photo media in visual communication design.

Students will explore methodologies that reflect contemporary practice for digital photo media. In this subject students will be exploring the capabilities of digital imaging programs and how this technology has affected recent visual styles.

Through in-class studio exercises and computer lab tutorials students develop technical skills and knowledge to create their own unique visual language.

Students gain an understanding of the role of digital photo media in visual communication outcomes and gain the ability to use technology to create visual outcomes. Formal assessment focuses on students’ documentation of and critical reflection on the visual process and the quality of the final outcomes.

There are 3 outcomes which investigate and introduce students to the processes of digital photo media design and production. The 3 project-based outcomes are as follows:

- Through observation and research students will analyse and discuss the historical, cultural and ethical issues around digital photo media.
- A suite of digital photomedia exercises that ground students knowledge in digital photography and digital photo manipulation.
- A series of printed visuals in response to the theme “The Evolving Image”.


Assessment task 1: Research and image analysis


The purpose of Assessment Task 1 is to develop your knowledge of the context, processes, technologies and practices relevant to digital photo media practice in a visual communications design context and how to use research to inform your conceptual approach when creating a visual communication design project.

You will do this by researching and analysing imagery and image-makers, their production methodologies and the ethical issues around their work. You will also use your area of research as a starting point for the conceptual approach to your final project (Task 2).

Assessment focuses on thoroughness of research, the depth of analysis and insight into your references and the level of critical thinking as evidenced in your presentation.

Presentation: You will present your visual research explaining why you are researching the particular style of imagery.

Class members are required to contribute to feedback during the presentation.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 5 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, P.3 and R.1

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Assessment task 2: Image series


The purpose of Assessment Task 2 is to develop your skills and knowledge of processes, technologies and practices relevant to contemporary visual communications design practice through creating your own image series.

Assessment focuses on exploration, experimentation and development of visual ideas that build your future capabilities as a professional designer in the context of digital photo media. You are assessed on process as well as the outcome of your project.

You will create your own series of digitally manipulated imagery in response to the theme “The Evolving Image”.

The task is broken into 3 parts

  • Part A - Conceptual Proposal
  • Part B - Prototyping and Tests
  • Part C - Finished art

Presentation: You will print hard copies of you your finished project and show the key process to the class for your final assessment. Class members are required to contribute to feedback during the final presentation.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3, 4 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, I.1, I.2, P.1 and P.3

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

Assessment task 3: Class exercises


In studio you will be guided through a suite of digital photomedia exercises that introduce you to best practice techniques and technical skills involved in creating digital photomedia projects.
The exercises work through a series of production methodologies that reflect contemporary digital photomedia making practices which you will apply to your task 2 project.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:


This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):


Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Minimum requirements

As per the DAB Generic Subject Outline document: The Faculty of DAB expects students to attend 80% of all classes for all enrolled subjects.

Further, pursuant to UTS rule 3.8.2, students who do not satisfy attendance requirements may be refused permission by the Responsible Academic Officer to be considered for assessment for this subject.

Where assessment tasks are to be presented personally in class, attendance is mandatory.

The ramifications of missing class time, or not delivering the required work are significant. The subject's learning objectives are difficult to achieve if students miss classes.