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PHOTO 77 — The Refined Image: An Introduction to Post-Capture Editing

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jan 24—Feb 28
Time: 7:00—9:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 26
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $365
Instructor(s): Joel Simon, John Lambert
Limit: 45
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—9:00 pm (PT)
Jan 24—Feb 28
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 26
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Joel Simon, John Lambert
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Have you ever wondered whether the photograph you see is what the camera saw? Do you ever ask yourself if an image has been digitally enhanced? In this course, we will learn about post-capture edits and whether, when discreetly used, they can present a more accurate or compelling portrayal of our experience. Through live demonstrations, carefully choreographed exercises, and lectures, we will explore some of the most common and accessible modifications we can make to our images. We will discuss and practice exposure, cropping, contrast, white balance, and color saturation, among other editing enhancements. We will then turn to a more fundamental question: What changes should we make to an image and why? We will consider what makes an image compelling or evocative and explore how modern editing tools can create stronger imagery. We will discuss the concepts of visual integrity and visual literacy and the ethics of photo manipulation. Diving more deeply, we will explore the boundaries of photojournalism, visual storytelling, and the convincing depiction of pure fiction in an artificially intelligent world. This course is designed for anyone interested in using the common suite of post-capture editing techniques to enhance their photographs. By the end of the course, students will gain a better understanding of both the nature of these adjustments and, perhaps more importantly, when and how to use them to refine and strengthen their images.

All skill levels and all cameras, especially mobile devices, are welcome. The instructor will use Adobe Lightroom Classic for demonstrations. Students should have access to some form of photo editing tools, including the native photo apps on mobile devices and a variety of free online options.

Documentary and Fine Art Photographer

Joel Simon studied with Leo Holub and has worked as an editorial and fine art photographer for four decades. He has lectured on more than 65 trips with Stanford’s Travel/Study program. His work has been published in Vanity Fair, Time, GEO, Condé Nast Traveler, STANFORD magazine, and Sunset. His work can be viewed at joelsimonimages.com.


John Lambert has been photographing for over 50 years. He has a background in engineering and has embraced both digital capture and editing from its earliest beginnings, developing digital workflows since the late 1990s. Lambert has received numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious Yosemite Renaissance competition. His work can be viewed on Instagram @brightonjel and at lambertphotographic.com.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.