March 23, 2017 Leave a comment
March 23, 2017 Leave a comment
One way a professional visual journalist distinguishes his or her work – from the noise created by billions of images on social media – is by creating visual narratives. Learning how to create and use multiple images to capture the spirit and relevance of a news event is how we start. Start practicing the concepts of visual variety. And learn how reading the visual and social cues around you can lead you to the pictures you need to tell the story.
DUE on the website: April 4, by 5:30 p.m.
The Assignment requirements:
Create a three-picture package that captures the spirit of a news event.
Choose one of these options, unless otherwise approved:
When: Thursday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Georgia Avenue – In front of the University Store
What: Translated as the “Festival of Colors,” Holi is a traditional holiday celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs. Holi Festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of good over bad. It is a socio-cultural festival during which a wide range of colors are smeared over each other as a mark of love and belonging, and to welcome the spring season.
Advice: The “big” moment is when participants throw colored powder on one another. But the event goes on for two hours. See if you can explore the interaction and convey the culture significance. Try to help us learn how celebrating foreign cultures is important, especially on a University campus.
When: Saturday, March 25 at 8:00 a.m.
What: This is a 5K run to benefit the Statesboro-Bulloch County Breast Cancer Foundation. It’s a little like Holi (see above), because participants get pink powder tossed on them during the course of the run.
Advice: If you are a morning person, get there early! The tossing of the colors makes this 5K a little different, so that’s an important aspect to photograph. However, see if you can photograph something that tells us who this event is beneficial to, or how it is beneficial. For example, find out if there are breast cancer survivors who are participating and concentrate on them for a while. Also, start exploring the culture that surrounds these types of running events. They are very popular. Ask yourself “why?” and see if you can photograph people or details that give us a clue about the popularity.
When: Saturday, March 25 at Noon
Where: Georgia Southern Recreation Activity Center (RAC) in the top rope and cave areas.
What: Georgia Southern University will be hosting its 9th annual collegiate bouldering competition for the southeast. This is a very cool event and worth checking out.
Advice: Climbing and bouldering is an activity that generates a certain culture with its participants. So make sure you shoot photos that convey that part of the event.
When: Sunday, March 26, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
What: The Botanic Garden will be hosting a Children’s Festival, featuring learning stations, music, entertainment, etc.
Advice: This is a great event at a great location. Try to avoid making too many pictures of children just being “cute.” This is a family event, so look for family interaction, not just pictures of cute kids doing stuff. Show us what they are actually learning about – ecology, botany, etc.
When: Thursday, March 30, 5 p.m.
Where: Leave the Russell Union Rotunda and walk down the pedestrian at 5. p.m. Here is last year’s route: Turn left between Foy & Carruth. Cross over the street to walk towards Centennial Place. Turn left to walk towards Main Dining Commons. Once in front of Main Dining Commons, Turn left to walk towards side entrance to Russell Union. Walk through the center of the union up the stairs and back to the Rotunda to end the walk. You might want to check out whether or not the route has changed ahead of time!
What: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® is an international program that aims to raise awareness and encourage communication about gender relations and sexual violence. Men throughout the campus and local community are invited to walk in red high-heeled shoes to draw attention to the issue. All proceeds are donated to the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center (SRSAC) where free assistance is offered to victims.
Advice: Start covering BEFORE the beginning of this event! As people gather, you can capture moments as people dress for the event. Understand who might be significant and newsworthy participants, and focus on them in your photographs. Observe how many folks participate, and see if you can represent that in your package – Timing, light, and composition still count in long shots/scene setters! Detail shots, closeups, and interaction are also important. Help us connect with the participants and see if you can express an emotional connection with the purpose/spirit of the event.
When: Friday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
What: Enjoy an exciting atmosphere with various genres of music and lots of food. This is one of the biggest events of the year that you, your family, and friends will be sure to enjoy. Get your ears and taste buds ready!
Advice: Please note that if you want to shoot pictures of musicians performing onstage, you might need to arrange for clearance ahead of time! Again, look for pictures that convey the atmosphere and other activities surrounding the event. Look for things behind the scenes, too! (For example, setting up the venue, crew and roadies working behind the scenes, etc.)
When: Saturday, April 1, 9 a.m. – Noon.
Where: Downtown Statesboro, Charlie Olliff Square at the Sea Island Bank parking lot
What: The opening community farmers market for the 2017 season. Local farmers and artists provide their products and wares to local residents. Product/service booths, entertainment, activities, etc.
Advice: Get there early to find parking. And don’t be late. Participants start packing up and leaving right at Noon. There should be plenty of opportunity to produce a 3-picture package to represent this event. Again, avoid the trite types of photographs produced by cute kids pictures. Family is a big theme here, but see if you can explore the types of family themes produced by vendors. Farms and artistic pursuits can be family endeavors, too! How do they relate to the public?
When: Saturday, April 1, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
What: The Botanic Garden will be hosting it’s annual Spring Plant Sale. Garden enthusiasts from all over the region will congregate, shop, an interact.
Advice: There are many interesting plants that can make fantastic backdrops or foregrounds, but concentrate on the culture and the interaction of the garden enthusiasts and the staff at the garden.
Grades will be based on how the pictures communicate as a whole, not on individual pictures. Start practicing the concept of visual variety. Make each photo count. You’re package is only as strong as the weakest photo!
Assignment Grading Criteria
- 25%: Captions
- 25%: Technical (exposure, focus, color balance)
- 13%: Shooter’s Mantra/Composition/Light
- 12%: Visual Variety
- 25%: Content (moments, storytelling, uniqueness, effort to go beyond the obvious)
NOTE: If weather becomes an issue, keep this in mind: weather is NOT an excuse for missing an event, unless the event is outright cancelled. If the event is staged regardless of the weather, you should still cover it. Weather can be part of the story.
Your three selections are due on the class website no later than 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 4.
TIPS for shooting events from our lesson on Covering News:
Understand the story – What’s newsworthy about his event, what’s going on, and why should it matter to my audience? What interpersonal dynamics do you observe? Who are the characters and what are their roles? What is the mood and the energy of the environment? Can you pick up on the visual and social cues presenting themselves to you? If you can answer these questions, you can begin to put yourself in a position to capture key moments before they happen. Observe and anticipate!
Set the scene – Shooting an overall shot can give our audience a sense of scale for the event and how story elements relate to one another. Don’t settle for a boring wide angle shot with no focal point, though. You still have to capture your audience’s attention. Find an unusual or interesting angle. Use creative composition. Incorporate moments into your composition, if you can.
Shoot symbolic pictures – Details can help tell the story. Composition is extremely important with detail shots. Don’t make mindless “product” shots. Utilize depth-of-field (or lack thereof) and use light effectively.
Watch for the human side – Don’t simply shoot pictures of people “doing stuff.” Emotional appeal is where we set the bar as photojournalists. Capturing emotion and interaction is key. If the event is fun for participants, your pictures should reflect that. If the energy is tense, you pictures should reflect that. Again, photographs can be symbolic. Capture the essence of the event with storytelling moments.
Highlight the sidelights – Look away from the obvious action. Whenever there is an audience or bystanders at an event, their reactions can often tell an important part of the story.
Get behind the scenes – There’s usually a lot that goes into an event that most people don’t see. Try to share some of that with your audience. That might mean having to sell yourself to gain that kind of access. It never hurts to ask.
Steer clear of the pack – Don’t settle for the shots everyone else is getting. Dare to be different!
Come early, stay late – This is a good way to get behind-the-scenes pictures. Sometimes you can capture moments that are more revealing and instructive when the spotlights are turned off and the TV cameras aren’t rolling. Trust me – I understand the time limitations of college students! If you can’t afford to be there early or late, then choose ONE! Be there early, or stay late. You will reap the benefits.
Get the facts – IDs are a must, but don’t stop there! Don’t forget to gather enough information to help people better understand the context in which your photographs were made. Don’t simply describe the action that’s already obvious in the photo.
Practice visual variety – Explore your subjects! Don’t shoot everything from the same perspective and angle. Explore each scenario you photograph. This will be a major part of your grade!
March 23, 2017 Leave a comment
I will post the particulars of your “Events” assignment shortly, but for now, please review the content of yesterday’s presentation before you head out to cover an event.
We’ve spent our time developing fundamental basics and practicing them up to this point, but now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of photojournalism and daily visual news coverage.
First, here is the handout that accompanies yesterday’s presentation. At first glance, it appears to simply reiterate the class presentation, but please take a few moments to read it. This handout probably articulates some of these concepts a little more thoroughly. It might be helpful to read through the handout to put yourself in the right frame of mind before you shoot your Events assignment:
And here is the PDF version of the class presentation (with presenter’s notes, as usual), in case you want to review it. If you were not in class Wednesday or had to leave early, make sure you view the full presentation so you can see examples of the concepts we explored and better understand the assignment!
So, review the lesson, then go forth and cover a news event!
Again, assignment particulars to come …
The skills we want to develop for this assignment are learning how to find and photograph enterprise feature photos. Can you find the unusual or unique in your community? Can you tell everyday stories with a visual twist? Can you begin to incorporate TLC into your storytelling photographs?
DUE: Tuesday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m.!
Generate an “enterprise” feature photograph. In fact, generate TWO.
TWO feature photos are required for credit.
- On Campus. It can be student life. Faculty or staff can be the subject. Maybe an event on campus. It’s up to you.
- Off Campus. You need to get outside your comfort level and explore life away from school. Maybe your mechanic is feature-worthy. Or your favorite barista. Go where people gather. Read the newspaper or a website to find out what’s going on around town. Gotta work? Take your camera. Have to go home for the weekend? Take your camera.
As always, full AP Style captions are required with each picture.
Be creative! Use Timing, Light, and Composition (TLC)
- Can you show us something unique about our community with storytelling moments? Can you convey a timeless or universal message with a photograph?
- Can you use light to draw attention to your image with dramatic shadows or contrast? Can you use the characteristics of light to help tell your story?
- Can you go beyond the Shooter’s Mantra and create a memorable image or present a unique perspective or point-of-view with creative composition?
Show us a “slice of life.” Make us laugh. Make us cry. Amaze us. Enlighten us. Entertain us. Confront us with something we should care about.
People should be the focus of your pictures. No pics of animals or scenics without people in them! Not for this assignment, at least.
Take your camera with you everywhere you go! You should be doing this anyway. It’s a must for photojournalists. You never know when life will present an unforgettable moment to you – news or feature. Be prepared, and you might be rewarded.
Be careful about photographing animals and children. Avoid trite and cliché photographs. This WILL affect your grade. Capturing moments and using the Shooter’s Mantra will weigh heavily into your grade. Most of all, STAND IN FRONT OF MORE INTERESTING STUFF! If you’re not interested, your audience won’t be, either.
PLEASE NOTE: Features are ALWAYS candid. No posing. No coaching. No staging. You may interact with your subjects to get their information or to get permission to photograph them. However, you should strive to have as little influence on your subject as possible. Feature pictures should be honest and REAL.
Your two feature photos are due on the website no later than Tuesday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m.
The following will be evaluated when grading this assignment:
25%: Captions – AP Style!!! Re-read the post/handout if you must. Don’t leave out the necessary information. Context is extremely important with feature photographs. Can you make your photograph resonate with your audience? Why should they consider your photograph to be newsworthy or a lesson in humanity? Is there any relevant background information or a quote you can include?
25%: Technical quality – exposure and sharpness count. Picture that are blurry and/or too light or dark are not publishable.
25%: Graphic appeal – Use the Shooter’s Mantra. You must demonstrate control of what’s going on inside the images you present. Don’t make me search for what’s most important. In addition:
- Use of light – Can you use light help to set an appropriate atmosphere or tone for your photo? Can you add graphic appeal by using shadows and contrast?
- Creative composition – can you go beyond the Shooter’s Mantra and and create a memorable image or present a unique perspective or point-of-view?
25%: Content –
- Moments – Again, expressions, gestures, body language, actions all help tell the story. Without moments, your pictures are just snapshots. Remember, light and composition can help create a moment, too.
- Originality – Beyond moments, the originality of your content will be a factor. Can you show us something most don’t get to see? Or can you present something common in a unique or moving way?
TIPS FOR YOUR FEATURES ASSIGNMENT
Read the handout on Feature Photography! The presentation was to help you get started and to see examples. Make sure you read the handout for additional information and inspiration.
Sometimes it’s hard to define just what a feature photo is. Try starting here:
“Single photographs, candid and unposed, that reflect the human experience, celebrate life, or chronicle a cultural trend.”
Like I said, it’s a starting point. It’s okay to use your imagination, though. Think about what you are trying to say with your photos WHILE you are shooting. Not afterwards. Are you documenting something or someone you think others might find interesting? Are you trying to symbolize something that has universal appeal? You need to think about these things while you are shooting. Don’t shoot dull photographs and then try to make them interesting with your caption.
Review the handout about Interesting Photographs! This can give you some ideas about how to find something or someone interesting to photograph. You should be carrying your camera with you everywhere you go, but simply cruising may or may not produce an interesting picture. Find out what’s going on in your community. Don’t simply shoot two scenarios and call it quits, either. Try shooting anything and everything. Practice makes perfect. Then pick the best two pics that meet the criteria for the assignment.
Remember these attributes, especially, of a good feature photographer:
- Be curious
- Be prepared
- Be patient
Have fun! This is a chance to visually explore the world around you. Experiment. Take chances. Be original! Forget “good.” Make your photos interesting!
First, here is the feature photography handout/study material:
Read through it before you start shooting feature pictures. It will help you think through this assignment and give you some ideas about what to look for. And speaking of what to look for, you might want to read through the last handout, as well, because there are a lot of tips about how to generate enterprise ideas:
The requirements for your Features assignment will be in the next post. Like I said, I don’t expect you to work over Spring Break, but if you see something interesting to shoot, it could be a great opportunity to fulfill the Off-Campus requirement.
Also, you don’t have to wait until the next class to begin shooting your On-Campus feature pictures, either. Start looking and shooting as soon as you get back, or even in the next day or two before you leave. You never know when life might present an interesting photo opportunity!
That said, enjoy Spring Break!