Beyond capturing family memories, photography offers a chance to be creative. Many photographers use photography to express their creativity, using lighting, composition, depth, color, and content to make their photographs into more than snapshots. Good photographs tell us about a person, a news event, a product, a place, a scientific breakthrough, an endangered animal, or a time in history.


  1. Explain how the following elements and terms affect the quality of a picture:
    • Light--natural light/ambient, flash
    • Exposure--aperture (f-stops), shutter speed, depth of field
    • Composition--rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, depth
    • Angle of view
    • Stopping action
  2. Explain the basic parts and operation of a film camera or digital camera. Explain how an exposure is made when you take a picture.
  3. Discuss with your counselor the differences between a film camera and a digital camera. List at least five advantages and five disadvantages of using a digital camera versus using a film camera.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    • Produce a picture story using the photojournalistic technique of document-ing an event. Share your plan with your counselor and get your counselor's input and approval before you proceed. Then, using either a film camera or a digital camera, produce your approved picture story. Process your images and select eight to 12 images that best tell your story. Arrange your images in order, then mount the prints on a poster board. If you are using digital images, you may create a slide show on your computer or produce printouts for your poster board. Share your picture story with your counselor.
    • Choose a topic that interests you to photograph for an exhibit or display. Get your counselor's approval, then photograph (digital or film) your topic. Process your images. Choose 20 of your favorite images and mount them on poster board. Share your display with your counselor. If you are using digital images, you may create a slide show on your computer or produce printouts for your poster board.
  5. Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in photography. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for such a career. Discuss with your counselor the education and training such a career would require.


Scouting Literature

Art, Cinematography, Computers, Graphic Arts, and Journalism merit badge pamphlets


  • Burian, Peter K., and Robert Caputo. Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures, 2nd ed. National Geographic, 2003.
  • Busch, David D. Mastering Digital Photography. Muska & Lipman, 2003.
  • Davies, Paul Harcourt. The Complete Guide to Close-Up & Macro Photography. David & Charles, 2002.
  • Eastman Kodak Company, editors. The Joy of Photography. Perseus Publishing, 1991.
  • Frost, Lee. Teach Yourself Photography, 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  • Grimm, Tom, and Michele Grimm. The Basic Book of Photography: 2004 Edition. Plume, 2003.
  • Horton, Brian. Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism, 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, 2001.
  • Johnson, Bervin M., et al. Opportunities in Photography Careers. McGraw-Hill/ Contemporary Books, 1998.
  • Kelby, Scott. The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers. New Riders, 2003.
  • London, Barbara, John Upton, et al. Photography, 7th ed. Prentice Hall, 2001.
  • Long, Ben. Complete Digital Photography, 2nd ed. Charles River Media, 2002.
  • Norton, Boyd. The Art of Outdoor Photography: Techniques for the Advanced Amateur and Professional. Voyageur Press, 2002.
  • Sammon, Rick. Rick Sammon's Complete Guide to Digital Photography: 107 Lessons on Taking, Making, Editing, Storing, Printing, and Sharing Better Digital Images. W. W. Norton, 2003.
  • Shaw, John. John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide. Watson-Guptill, 2000.