Assignment 6: Events

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:

Holi Festival

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.

Pink Power Run 5K

When: Saturday, March 25 at 8:00 a.m.

Where:  Georgia Southern RAC Pavilion. [Parking is available at the Georgia Southern RAC Pavilion (3300 Old Register Road) and the Georgia Southern Recreation Activity Center (2687 Akins Blvd).]

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.

Southern SendFest Bouldering Competition

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.

The Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern Children’s Festival

When: Sunday, March 26, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Where:  The Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern University

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.

Walk A Mile in Her Shoes

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.

True Blue Experience Music Festival

When: Friday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Where:  Recreation Activity Center (RAC), Bandshell

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.)

 

Statesboro Main Street Farmers Market

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?

The Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern Spring Plant Sale

When: Saturday, April 1, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where:  The Botanic Garden at Georgia Southern University

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.

Considerations

 

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!

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