MADT217 (Social Media Photography), taught by Aaron Draper, is by far one of the BEST college classes at Chico State. Not only does it enhance your photography skills, it also helps your own social media pages grow to where they could actually make money and could become “Instagram famous.” The best part is, you only need a smartphone to take the class! Here are the most important and most valuable concepts that you could learn by taking the class.


Composition is the setup of your picture. In the class. Prof.Draper will teach about the Rule of Odds, Psychic Lines, Framing, Rule of Thirds, and Leading Lines. Most people in the class knew nothing of these strategies before taking it.  

Using leading lines and rule of odds.


Lighting. Is. KEY! There is HARSH lighting then there is soft lighting. This concept seems easy, but it is definitely harder to master.  Not only does the professor give examples using his own work, he lets students practice in class.  He shows you how to enhance your selfies to look even better, and the best apps for editing when changing the lighting just isn’t enough.   

Soft Lighting


Everyone knows that color is important for a picture, but no one  would have ever known that taking a selfie in beautiful nature with lush greens could actually reflect terribly on your skin to make you look sickly. Color is particularly important for any Instagram page, the class had to analyze big Instagram profiles and even create our own for our final in the class. For example this one @chicomyths is based around more dark tones with purples and greens. KimK’s page has more skin tones, creams and a dark purple.

An example of one of the final projects from MADT217


Honestly, most people today that take pictures (everyone with a phone) have no clue what shutter speed or ISO is. The class is a great introduction to it; night pictures were impossible before this. Not only that, but many other creative types of pictures can be done using these techniques such as ghosting, light streaks, and light painting. All of which can be taken using just a smart phone. No DSLR camera needed!

Example of light painting

5.Social Media Presence  

Probably the biggest reason the professor even started the class. Being able to sculpt your social media image is becoming so important in this day and age. This class will subconsciously make you go through all of your social media accounts, deleting anything that is not “worthy” or does not portray you in a perfect way. It is a little nerve-wracking realizing that anyone who is popular on social media probably does this on a daily basis!

Take this class whether Media Arts is your major or not! Use it as a GE or an elective. Whatever you need to do, TAKE IT!

Hope it helps, happy studies!

~Addi B.


Addison Bedford

Student from Chico State. Interested in photography, event planning, and anything mysterious or paranormal.

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