For three days this week at Brownwood High School, Classroom 419 is set up as a working photography studio.
The activities inside the classroom/studio indicate it’s as much fun as it is work for instructor Heather Nix’s Photography II students.
“Who ‘Miss Nix-ed me?” Nix called out Tuesday morning, trying to determine which of the chatty students had just tried to get her attention.
Over a three-day period this week, Nix’s students are photographing members of the Brownwood High School student body for for the yearbook and as a fundraiser for the photography and yearbook activity fund.
Three sets of studio lights and backdrops are spread across the classroom — one station for casual dress, and for seniors, stations for caps and gowns and drapes and tuxes.
The photos go to a secure online gallery, where parents are given passwords. Parents can access the photos and purchase them if they choose.
For the past several years, Nix took and edited the photos as Heather Nix Photography. The job has gotten too big for one person, so Nix turned it over to her students for the first time this year.
“Today I am just the problem solver,” Nix said. “I have not picked up a camera. I won’t pick up a camera today. This is all on the kids. This is them stepping up and they’re doing a great job.
“Honestly I was a little worried (Monday) because I’m panicky. You know how there’s a loss of control sometimes, and you’re not doing it yourself, and every conceivable ill thing that you can think of is going through your head. Not that I had any doubt in the kids but you just think what can go wrong. So I was a little nervous (Monday) night. But then we got here, they started shooting and it’s all good. I’m very proud of them.”
In addition to three photographers, other of Nix’s students have assigned roles including checking the students in for their photos, helping them into caps and gowns and tuxes and drapes and helping pose them.
“They’re doing great,” Nix said of her students. “I’m so pleased. They seem to be having fun with it. That’s mostly what I want them to do. I want them to have as much fun with it as I do.”
Nix said her 13 Photography II students were with her last year for Photography I, and most had no photography experience when they started.
Nix’s students are waiting to learn the results of a contest they entered through the Texas Association of Photography Instructors. With 7,000 entries to go through, it will take the judges some time to give their assessments, Nix said.
“I’m having a blast,” Nix said. “It’s fun to see them when they’re in their element. And the same thing with the senior night family pictures last Friday. I was so impressed with how the kids conducted themselves. It was just amazing to see them do it so well.”
In addition to learning about the technical aspects of photography, Nix said, her students learn about topics including advertising, law and copyright infringement.
“But the thing about photography is that it is also an art,” Nix said. “It is absolutely an art and you have to know the elements of art, the principals of design. You need to know about color theory, which we talk about. You also need to know about lighting.
“That’s all photography is — manipulating light and making it do what you want it to do.”