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Resources include the Photography merit badge worksheet Adobe Acrobat PDF, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.  Prev  -  Next  

Photography requires prior counselor approval for requirement(s) #4a and 4b.

Photography merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1911
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 083
Requirements revision: 2006
Latest pamphlet revision: 2005


Beyond capturing family memories, photography offers a chance to be creative. Many photographers use photography to express their creativity, using lighting, composition, depth, color, and content to make their photographs into more than snapshots. Good photographs tell us about a person, a news event, a product, a place, a scientific breakthrough, an endangered animal, or a time in history.

The Photography merit badge was one of the original 57 merit badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.

Photography requirements

  1. Explain how the following elements and terms affect the quality of a picture:
    a. Light -- natural light/ambient, flash
    b. Exposure -- aperture (f-stops), shutter speed, depth of field
    c. Composition -- rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, depth
    d. Angle of view
    e. Stopping action
  2. Explain the basic parts and operation of a film camera or digital camera. Explain how an exposure is made when you take a picture.
  3. Discuss with your counselor the differences between a film camera and a digital camera. Describe how computer software allows you to make adjustments to a digital photograph after it is taken.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Produce a picture story using the photojournalistic technique of documenting an event. Share your plan with your counselor and get your counselor's input and approval before you proceed. Then, using either a film camera or a digital camera, produce your approved picture story. Process your images and select eight to 12 images that best tell your story. Arrange your images in order, then mount the prints on a poster board. If you are using digital images, you may create a slide show on your computer or produce printouts for your poster board. Share your picture story with your counselor.
    b. Choose a topic that interests you to photograph for an exhibit or display. Get your counselor's approval, then photograph (digital or film) your topic. Process your images. Choose 20 of your favorite images and mount them on poster board. Share your display with your counselor. If you are using digital images, you may create a slide show on your computer or produce printouts for your poster board.
  5. Discuss with your counselor the career opportunities in photography. Pick one that interests you and explain how to prepare for such a career. Discuss with your counselor the education and training such a career would require.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2015 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #620714)

The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Photography is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Photography requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks,
Webelos workbooks, and Cub Scout workbooks.

Requirement resources

1. Lesson Videos: Beginning Photography - How to Use a Digital Camera - Taking Better Pictures - CCD: The heart of a digital camera - Intermediate Photography

Rule of Thirds - Glossary of Photography Terms - Understanding Camera Exposure: Aperture, ISO & Shutter Speed - SLR Camera Simulator

1a. Light (ambient & flash) - Camera Flash, Part 1: Light Quality & Appearance
1b. Great examples of shutter speed and aperture - Shutter speed - Exposure - Exposure Triangle: Aperture, ISO & Shutter Speed - Aperture

Depth of field - Depth of focus

1c. Composition: Rule of Thirds - Wikipedia:Rule of thirds - Leading Lines - Framing - Depth
1d. Cameras vs. the Human Eye - Angle of view
1e. Stopping Action
2. The diagrams you need are included in the Photography Worksheet.

How Cameras Work - Beginner's Guide

3. How Digital Cameras Work - Film vs. Digital - Digital versus film photography
4. The Citizenship in the Community #8 public presentation...of your community
could be given as a Communications #3 five-minute speech
using the techniques from Photography #4b to produce a picture story
and Art #1 to tell a story
which could be developed into the Computers #6e short presentation.
Here is an example of a good photo essay. The BBC News In Pictures site also has several good examples.
5. Careers in Photography

Related awards

Art-related awards
Hobby-related awards

See also

Boy Scout portal
Varsity Scout portal
Venturing portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools