Photography at AAHS is Not a Typical Elective


Photography electives offer a new approach to academics.

Air Academy’s Photography and Graphic Design classes are quickly becoming one of the most useful electives available to students here at Air Academy. With photography classes ranging anywhere from Photography 1 to The NEST weekly news program, every student is encouraged to take part in photography and design electives.

The program focuses on the composition of photos, including leading lines, contrast, dead space, and intricate details such as photo editing using Photoshop software. 

“[Photography classes] teach students to be observant and aware of the world around them, [to] try to find the beauty in everything, and how to look at the world a little bit differently,” said photography teacher April Mullinix.

Students take regular trips to the surrounding areas on the Air Academy grounds for nature-based photo shoots and are encouraged to take photos at home for extra practice. 

The impact of photography electives is open to interpretation by students at AAHS.

Sophomore Kelly Lazzelle said, “Photography classes give students a chance to express themselves [in a unique way.]” Lazzelle took Photography 1 during the 2018-2019 school year and enjoyed what the elective had to offer.

The AAHS Art program and the Photography program are often compared to one another. While Art electives such as Ceramics 1 and 2 give students the opportunity to express themselves creatively through projects such as clay molding and artwork, photography electives allow students to capture images of often everyday, overlooked aspects of our surroundings, and interpret them to be something beautiful.

“A lot of students are uncomfortable with drawing or painting, and [photography] helps them understand that they can be creative,” Mullinix said.

A key aspect of the photography curriculum is the utilization and increased emphasis on Photoshop software, teaching students skills that can easily be translated into a college degree or career in Graphic Design. Photoshop adds a new element of creation commonly observed in fellow elective classes including Art and Ceramics, or can even be compared to core classes such as Literature. 

As previously mentioned, photography classes count as an art class credit, fitting into the art-like guidelines of composition and creation. Although only one art credit is required for graduation, students are consistently encouraged to enroll in at least one extra Art class, with research often pointing to the benefits of taking extra art classes. 

According to an article on, “Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.” 

With photography classes available to all grade levels at Air Academy, all students are encouraged to give photography a shot, as Photography electives at Air Academy High School offer students an outlet, a place of expression, a source of motivation, and an impressive addition on any college resume.