Photography Merit Badge Requirements and Worksheet

Photography Merit Badge

Photography Merit Badge

January, 2013

Requirements for the Photography merit badge:

  1. Explain how the following elements and terms affect the quality of a picture:
    1. Light-natural light/ambient, flash
    2. Exposure-aperture (f-stops), shutter speed, depth of field
    3. Composition-rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, depth
    4. Angle of view
    5. 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. Describe how computer software allows you to make adjustments to a digital photograph after it is taken.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Produce a picture story using the photojournalistic technique of documenting 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.
    2. 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.

Photography Worksheet

 Mar 07, 2014 - Jim Ewins
Where is the history of photography? Where is there a short description of darkroom (film) photography. The material and requirements appear very shallow, especially in comparison to other merit badges. The text could just reference books on the subjects with a few questions in the worksheets to indicate comprehension.
Mar 26, 2014 - Alan
I agree with Jim.  A little bit on the history of photography would be nice.  Also, I really think that for 99% of the population, digital photography is more relevant than film photography.  I think leaving out ISO as a factor in exposure is a big oversight.  Depth of field is a consequence of aperture and focal length, but I don't believe it should be categorized under exposure.  Also since digital cameras are what most people use, I think white balance should be brought up.  I also think that photographers should understand RAW vs jpeg file formats and the pros and cons of each format.

No mention is made of lenses, focal length and what a big factor they are in the final product.  I didn't realize what a difference they made until I bought my first professional quality lens.  I think there could be at least one section devoted to lenses.

I hope that I haven't offended anyone.  I am just trying to increase the quality of material presented.
Mar 26, 2014 - Scouter Paul
@Jim and @Alan - I certainly hope both of you are Photography merit badge counselors.  Scouts learn much, much more from mentors that are experienced and passionate about the topic than from someone just "getting them through the requirements".
Adding additional topics that you feel are relevant to discussions and experiences is OK to do.  The whole idea of having adult counselors is to make an environment where scouts learn from adults.  You just shouldn't add any requirement that a scout know or demonstrate that additional information or skills.
Apr 22, 2014 - Rick Rose
Just to tag on to the other suggestions for additional material--I would suggest a discussion of the effects on image quality of film/sensor size, and, in related fashion, the meaning of "crop sensor" vs "full frame," "medium format," and so on.
Dec 30, 2014 - Art Ewing
I agree with Jim and Alan that the merit badge is weak.  Available light is missing.  I agree that white balance should be included.  The badge should be workable on a smart phone which is today's Brownie.  There should be more on editing digital photos with a computer since a darkroom is history. Use of a computer software should not be a problem, since the counselor will likely have it.  The merit badge should make the scout aware of what he can do with photography as a life long hobby or a profession, and it should be fun to do.  In the 1970's scouts made pinhole cameras, and saw pictures develop.  Although this is no longer practical since materials have changed, there is plenty of plenty of magic still in photography, particularly in digital editing..
Feb 28, 2015 - Mark Kodra
Exposure is missing ISO. Exposure is f-stop, shutter speed, and ISO. Depth of Field has nothing to do with exposure.

This whole course needs to be rewritten.

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