Collin College





 Peter Calvin

 Peter Calvin

          Collin College Photography Department teaches historic and contemporary photographic practices and offers training for students to pursue a career in photography. Introductory and advanced classes in film and digital photography emphasize both commercial and fine art approaches to composition, lighting, design, and style. Students have the option to earn a Certificate - Commercial Photography, AA - Emphasis in Photography, AAS - Commercial Photography Specialization, or transfer their credits to a four year university.


          The Photographic Arts Lab and Digital Photographic Arts Learning Center provide materials and facilities for students to experience equal-opportunity, professional-level access to photographic equipment and processes. Paired with a tightly focused curriculum, students learn how photography impacts social history, become engaged in critical theory, challenged to contribute original research, and empowered to enter the industry with a competitive edge.


          With a team of 4 full-time faculty, 10 associate faculty, a full-time lab manager, and student assistants, the Photography Department hosts a series of events throughout the year, including speakers, workshops, field trips to museums and galleries, portfolio review observations with FotoFest Biennial, group exhibitions, and photo demonstrations with the local Girl Scouts. When classes and homework are over, students can get involved with the Obscura Photo Club to organize various events centered on service learning and community involvement.


Peter Calvin

Elizabeth Mellott

Byrd Williams

Full Time Professor

MFA: Texas A&M Commerce

Office: SCC K240


Discipline Lead|Full Time Professor


Office: SCC I203


Full Time Professor

MFA: SMU      c BBA: TCU

Office: SCC H206



Professor Williams' "Proof" is a finalist for the 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award!



Associates of Arts - Emphasis in Photography - 60 Credit Hours


Associates of Applied Sciences Degree in Commercial Photography - 60 Credit Hours



2016-2017 AA - Photography Catalog Entry

Certificate of Commercial Photography - 36 Credit Hours






2017-2018 Commercial Photography Catalog Entry



          The state-of-the-art photography facility is one of the best in the state and includes a 19 workstation digital lab with 27" iMac desktops, five Epson 3880 and nine Epson R1900 printers.  The printing and scanning lab has Epson 4000, 4800, 4900, 7880 and 9900 printers capable of printing up to 44" wide, and both Epson and Imacon scanners.  For traditional photographic processes, there is a 20 station archival darkroom with Beseler 45MXT Enlargers, a film processing room, and an alternative process lab. A finishing/matting room ensures that students can present their work in a professional manner.






Collin College's OBSCURA PHOTO CLUB is a recognized student organization that promotes the sharing of photographic knowledge and pictures. This is achieved through seminars and events that are organized by the executive team. Above all else, we encourage our members and everyone in general to get out and take pictures. Past events include group exhibitions in Dallas, and attendance at The Fotofest Bienniels hosted in Houston and The Society for Photographic Education conferences.


Q: I'm just starting the program and I've never had any formal education in photography before. How should I begin?

A: There are two introductory courses in our program: ARTS 2356 Photography I/Darkroom (Film) and ARTS 2348 Digital Photography I (Digital). These courses deal with camera operation, composition, workflow, photographic traditions and contemporary issues in imaging. They both have a 5-hour per week blend of lab and lecture where you produce artwork in class with instructor supervision.


Q: What if I only want to learn digital photography (or) What if I only want to learn film photography? Do I still have to take the darkroom (or) computer course?

A: Students simply wanting to learn the basics of one aspect of the medium are welcome to take the entry-level courses that meet their needs and stop. If further, intermediate or advanced level study is desired, however, both of the introductory courses are important. This is because we believe that, for any serious photographer, particularly one with fine art aspirations, knowing the basics of both the chemical and digital aspects of the medium is critical.

Beyond the first semester, though, students may use their choice of film or digital cameras to complete most of the assignments in most of the program's courses.


Q: What kind of camera do I need? What else do I need to supply?

A: Students in most photography courses are required to supply their own camera, but the department can provide a 35mm format film camera for students enrolled in ARTS 2356 Photography I/Darkroom.

Film cameras must use 35mm format film and be capable of manual exposure control. Three 35mm cameras that we currently recommend are the Nikon FM-10, the Pentax ZX-M and the Ricoh KR5 Super II. All of these are good, basic cameras that can be operated in a fully manual mode. Other cameras similar to these exist and, if the camera can be operated in a fully manual fashion, it will be fine for the course.

Digital cameras should be able to capture at least 5 Megapixels, be capable of manual exposure control and must be able to shoot a "RAW" file.

Digital cameras that we currently recommend are the Canon EOS Rebel T6i and the Nikon D3300 SLR as we have check out accessories for these two brands. There are a number of other excellent manufacturers available that will work fine as long as they meet the above criteria. One example is the Sony Alpha a58 DSLR.

As for other supplies, students are responsible for providing film, printing paper, camera/computer recordables and a few incidentals like scissors. The Photography Department supplies all chemicals, ink and specialized equipment.


Q: I've been involved in photography for (fill in the blank) years and I'm wondering if I have to take the beginning course(s) (ARTS 2356 and ARTS 2348)?

A: The answer is, "It depends". It depends on whether you have basic camera skills (the ability to understand aperture, shutter speed, composition, focal length, depth of field and other basic camera concepts as well as what is a "good photograph") and, more importantly, basic darkroom and/or computer skills. There is also an "acclimation" to the medium that provides an aesthetic grounding essential to advanced courses.

Passing by the ARTS 2348 course would suggest that you also have a grasp of Adobe Photoshop and general image to print "work flow" concepts.

Passing by the ARTS 2356 course presumes that you can process and print black and white photographs in the chemical darkroom with little to no review. You should have a solid background in black and white darkroom techniques and be able to produce a high-quality print.

If you have these skills and aesthetic sophistication, then you could choose to bypass* these entry-level courses. Most students, however, are happiest when they go ahead and take one or both of the foundation courses, even if much of it is a review. It is our experience that nearly all students should start with the entry-level classes.


*Please note that if you are completing a degree with a concentration in photography or commercial photography, you will need to take ARTS 2348 to meet requirements.


Q: I have the basic camera, darkroom and computer skills that are mentioned above; what course should I take next?

A: You should start with ARTS 2357 Photography II/Darkroom (Intermediate film course with medium and large format) or ARTS 2349 Digital Photography II (Intermediate Photoshop course with professional workflow).


Q: I want to take courses only on nights and weekends. Can I get a degree or certificate this way, or am I going to have to take day classes?

A: Courses that the Photography Department offers are taught during both day and evening. Advanced courses with fewer sections are less prevalent and may require some schedule adjustments. While most of our courses are offered during the week, a few of them are taught on weekends. Check the current Semester Course Schedule for a list of what weekend courses are available for a given semester.


Q: I don't want to take a class, but I'd like to use your darkroom or computer facilities. Is there a fee that I can pay? Can I rent your darkrooms or studios?

A: Our labs and studios are for the express use of students who are currently registered in a Photography Department class. They are not available for rental at any time. If you want to use the facilities, you must take a credit class.


Q: Prerequisites: Are they really required?

A: The courses that have prerequisites have them for a reason. The instructor expects that all students who enter the classroom have an understanding of the prerequisite materials. Some courses are impossible without proper grounding in foundation skills. If you strongly feel that you have these skills and have not been through college/university level courses, you must see the department chair for evaluation.


Q: Can I take several photography courses in one semester?

A: Photography courses are very time consuming. It is strongly recommended that students take no more than two photography courses per semester.






Please email with any questions you have about the department.