12 Photos Assignment



All competition artwork requires original sources (photos that you work from). So, unless you work from imagination, the 12 photos assignment helps you get these sources. (Above is an excellent example of using a self-portrait photo with a strong light source for a charcoal assignment.)

(Excellent example of using a pet photo (nature) for an assignment.)




Composition & Elements and Principles or “the way you are organizing visually everything in the rectangle”

Composition Elements

Rule of thirds

Cell Phone Self Portraits 

Mobile phone photo tips

  • These must be original photos but you are allowed to set up a scene and have a friend take the photo but NO ADULTS may take the photo of you or for you. 
  • Cell phones can do what regular 35mm cameras can do about 90% of the time. With the Lightroom Mobile app you can control ISO and shutter speed and white balance and even manually focus. Otherwise all of the ideas of photography in terms of composition and meaning stay the same
  • We may need to print your photos for competition so keep your unedited large photos. Good apps: Photo Editing Apps
  • Try to stay away from overused or unoriginal subjects if possible: https://www.studentartguide.com/articles/avoiding-cliche-art


PHOTOGRAPH 3 Self-portraits

I KNOW YOU HAVE SOME WACKY, EXPRESSIVE SELFIES!! Consider psychological portraits expressing the moment of the subject: intense concentration or quiet contemplation, looking out of a rainy windowpane, or cringing away in fear of something seen or unseen (under the bed), etc. Be Brave! Theatrical! This is your stage! 

  • Extreme close-up or part of your face.
  • Extreme close-up or part of your face and or with hands doing something. Straightening crooked glasses, cutting your hair (pretend only!), eating something, etc.
  • Using your reflection in an unusual surface, something other than a normal mirror. This could be a metal appliance (toaster, blender), a computer monitor, a broken or warped mirror, a car’s rear view mirror or tinted windows. Pinterest has a TON of ideas.
  • Using your reflection in an unusual surface, something other than a normal mirror. This could be a metal appliance (toaster, blender), a computer monitor, a broken or warped mirror, a car’s rear view mirror or tinted windows. Pinterest has a TON of ideas.
  • Dramatic facial expressions, poses, and gestures or action- (like dancing, riding a bike or walking downstairs) close enough for detail.
  • Lighting- dramatic darks and lights

3 Unusual, close up, photos of people

Photograph three or more different people.  Get close, show details. Use props, (like your dad cooking) or wear fun clothing, hats, scarves, gloves, theater costumes or goofy pjs.

3 Man-made structures using extreme angles

Requirements: three interesting vantage points of at least three different structures (buildings, home, barn, cities).

Since we view the world from about 4 feet off the ground. Most images we see are made within that normal range of human vision. In this project you are going to make pictures from extreme points of view—ways of seeing that fall outside our normal viewpoint.

  1. Extreme angles

Bird’s-eye view (looking down from HIGH above)

Worm’s-eye view (looking up from the ground or below)

Forced Perspective (technique that uses the space between your subjects to create an interesting or unusual relationship between them.)

Reflective surfaces

Rusted or weathered 

A building or spot that is part of your neighborhood’s identity like a firehouse, park, church, an empty playground.

Try to convey an emotion with your shot like Andy Wilson’s Covid playground scene: 2021 STATE VASE WINNERS

3- DETAILS of Nature

Photograph nature, focusing your camera as close to your subject as you can. Explore DETAILS found in textures, patterns, shapes, and forms filling the entire picture frame.  

  • Textures: Worn stones, rocks, bark, weathered wood, leaves. You may want to try to contrast different textures in the same picture.
  • Patterns: Branches, trees, roots, water, reeds by water, bark, stones. Explore the patterns that can be found in nature. Look for natural elements that are dramatic.
  • Reflections: Photograph the patterns and shapes of trees and branches reflected in water. Find still pools of water, as well as moving streams, and look for patterns on the surface of the water. Throw rocks into still water and see the patterns you can make.
  • Take the pet photo close-up, use an unusual angle, and limit the background. If you do not own a pet, borrow a friend’s pet or visit the zoo. (Only Art 1 can use 3 pet photos, everyone else is limited to one.)

Rubric: Each item is worth 25 pts.

3 portraits of 3 different people close-up   _______ (25) 

3 self-portraits ______ (25)

3 dramatic views of 3 different structures ______ (25)

3 close-ups of 3 different items in nature    ______ (25)

You can always submit more than 12 if you have some really good ones you’d like to consider for competition, etc. BUT Don’t send me 50 photos and ask what I like, narrowing down and editing the best ones is part of your job 🙂



“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” -Robert Capa


PDF version: Final- 12 photos assignment