Final exam on Wed (5/3) at 5:30 p.m.

Just a couple of notes on the final exam. You should know by now whether or not you need to take it.

First, sometimes there is some confusion about the time. Sometimes people look on the exam schedule and mistake Wednesday class exams for classes that meet once per week in the evenings. Again, our final is at the regular class time. Here is a link to the exam schedule. Scroll to the bottom for the correct time:

SPRING 2017 Final Exam Schedule

The exam will cover material from the entire semester. Like our other tests this semester, it is an open note exam. To help you narrow down your focus, first think about themes and topics that have been consistently reinforced over that time. The questions will come directly from your previous tests. If it wasn’t covered on those tests, it won’t be on the final exam.

However, note that the same material might be slightly different on the final. For example, something that was True/False on a previous test might be a multiple choice question, this time. Or a multiple choice question might become a short answer one on the final. So don’t just try to memorize or remember answers from the previous tests.

I would suggest you skim over the handouts to re-familiarize yourself with the material. These are the posts with the links to the handouts necessary:


Email me if you have any questions, and I’ll see you all Wednesday evening!


Study sheet for last test on 4/19…

Here is a study sheet for the last written test of the semester. It will cover material, mostly after spring break, although there are a couple of handouts/study sheets that were introduced before Spring Break. Here is a link to the study sheet to help you narrow down the topics:

Second-half Photojournalism Study Sheet

Following are the links to the specific handouts/study sheets that you are expected to be familiar with. You REALLY need to download and read these handouts. Simply reading them will help you know where to look for the answers on your test next Wednesday.

The Shooter’s Mantra

Forget Good. Make your photos interesting

Feature Photography

Covering the news: How to approach news assignments visually

Visual Narratives

Copyright Law


Start reading now, and this test should be a breeze!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Assignment 7 – Picture Story/Photo Essay

The Assignment:

Select a topic, issue, or subject and create a visual narrative or photo essay. This is not a “survey” assignment where you simply present a variety of photographs of something. Tell me a story with your photographs and make each picture count! Use everything you’ve learned this semester about timing, light and composition. Utilize the concepts of visual variety. Practice the strategies we learned in order to go beyond the immediate and superficial. Put it all together!


  1. Your story should consist of 5-10 pictures. No more and no less. The goal is to find the “right” number of pictures to tell your story. Again, no more, no less.
  2. Introduction. Write a short introduction for your story to set the stage before you let your photographs take over the narrative. One paragraph should do it. No more than three short ones.
  3. Captions. Strict AP Style is not required for this assignment. You should include sufficient information and enough context to compliment your photos and move your narrative forward. Use AP Style first-reference rules, but – as in a written story – you don’t have to repeat full information that’s been previously introduced.
  4. Post to the WordPress site no later than the end of class on April 26 First, your introduction should be at the top of your post. Don’t skip this step! Then, post your pictures, with captions, one at a time so they can be viewed by scrolling – your first picture should be at the top of your post (after the introduction) and the last is at the bottom, so sequence your pictures accordingly.

NOTE: Please don’t use the gallery or slideshow options – these options often cut off parts of your captions, and captions are extremely important with this assignment.


Make the time to build trust with the people who will be your subjects. You don’t have a ton of time before the end of the semester, so perhaps find a person or subject that you have a certain comfort level with and are interested in. Still, shadowing people with a camera can be awkward at first, for both the photographer and the people being photographed. That’s normal. Keep shooting. If you are photographing people being themselves in their environment, you’ll find that the initial awkwardness fades away relatively quickly and you can really get to work.

Visual Variety! Don’t shoot every picture from the same distance and focal length. Mix it up. And don’t forget your shooters mantra. It will help your pictures communicate more quickly and cleanly. Technique will only take you so far, however.

Concentrate on good, story-telling moments.  Don’t give up on situations until you get one. Pay attention to your own emotions while shooting, and see if you can translate those feelings through your photographs.

Remember 3 + 1. This basic structure will help your pictures become a story instead of a mere collection of images. Remember that your story needs an opening image and a closing image. Keep this in mind while you’re shooting and editing. The body is made up of the pictures in between your opener and closer that develop your narrative. Contained within the body should be your “key” or “signature” shot. Your preceding pictures should build up to your showcase image.

Try out the Life magazine formula. The old Life magazine formula for a photo essay is a good template for building your story and giving it structure. The formula also helps ensure that there is visual variety within the story. You don’t want a series of redundant images.

It is not necessary to include every category in your finished story, but if you try to shoot at least one of each category, you are increasing your chances of having a more dynamic, complete final product.

  1. Introductory or Opener
  2. Medium
  3. Close-up
  4. Portrait
  5. Interaction
  6. Signature
  7. Sequence
  8. Closer or Clincher

Take notes and get quotes while shooting. Incorporate them into your captions to help give your story context and a present a better understanding of your story.

Shoot often, but edit your photos even more often. It is extremely important to evaluate your photos as you move forward. Don’t wait until the end! Be ruthless and objective when editing yourself.

You need to learn the difference between your favorite pictures and the pictures that best express the story you are trying to tell.  They are not always the same. To that end, it’s a good idea get other opinions, especially those from people with photography backgrounds. They can help you be more objective during the editing process.

Evaluate and Re-shoot. This should be a continuing process. Don’t think you’re done after shooting one time. This is the step that distinguishes a picture story or photo essay from a package of photos from a single event. Also, the “Day in the Life” approach is passé and rarely successful as a meaningful story. Avoid this approach. This is a good opportunity to use the Life magazine formula. If you are missing some of the categories, try to fill them the next time you shoot. Your pictures should emphasize the human elements over processes. If your pictures are looking like a “How To” manual, go back and reshoot.  Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Are my pictures visually compelling, or do they look like snapshots?
  • Do my pictures present visual variety, or do they all look like they are shot from the same distance and perspective?
  • Do my pictures have graphic appeal? (Light, creative composition)
  • Am I capturing story-telling moments?
  • Are my pictures emotionally appealing?
  • Have I shot any intimate pictures, revealing something private and unique about my subject?

Some moments, if you miss them, they are gone forever, and you can’t re-shoot them. But, more often than not, there are plenty of recurring elements in any story that can be shot over and over until you capture that element in a compelling way. Insist on that kind of excellence.

Laying out your final story. Aim for a group of five to ten pictures in your finished project. More than 10 is way too much for the amount of time you will be spending on this assignment. Edit tightly. Include only excellent ones, and use the fewest pictures it takes to tell your story. Your story will only be as strong as your weakest photo. These stories will be presented in a linear fashion, by scrolling through your post. Sequencing is important in this type of presentation, so pay attention to the order in which they are presented.

Enjoy what you’re doing! Part of this assignment is to understand the process of visual story telling and the professional standards by which it is judged. But the act and process of visual story telling should be rewarding. Documenting the human condition, even just a little part of it, helps us to understand ourselves. Hopefully, you’ll take some satisfaction from tackling this project.

More on visual narratives … learning the process

This last shooting assignment is a way for you to demonstrate what you have learned this semester. It’s a lot to fill your heads with, especially for those with Spring/Graduation fever. However, as society becomes more and more visually oriented and literate, the ability to create visual narratives can make a difference in your ability to be employed and contribute to a changing society. Hopefully, this assignment can give you a fundamental understanding of the process.

Producing visual narratives is a process. In the real world, it is typically a collaborative process that involves subjects, photographers/videographers, as well as editors and producers who help shape the final presentation. And, of course, all of this is conceived and practiced by keeping our audience in mind. Our work simply has to resonate with our audience – otherwise, we are wasting other people’s time.

This assignment requires you to find people/issues that need storytellers. And for YOU to be the storyteller. As we work our way through this, I would like to function as your editor, but I would also like you to recruit your classmates as collaborators. That way, we can all learn about some of the roles that are fulfilled by both content producers AND editors.

So, with that in mind, PLEASE share progress on your stories – either by email with me, or on this website, or on the Facebook group. I highly encourage you to share your progress with everyone! It might be just one, or two, or three pictures of a particular aspect of your story that you are having trouble with.

By sharing it with everyone, we can all take on the role of “editor.” We can call start applying the concepts we have learned in order to evaluate the work of others. And trust me – that is a role that many of you might find yourselves in, at various capacities in the future. For example, you might be a PR professional, and you are presented with multiple images – by both amateurs and professionals – that could make-or-break your latest promotional campaign. You simply HAVE to know what your audience expects.

In other words, many of you might find yourselves in a position to decide whether or not images have editorial or societal merit – so you need to have a foundational understanding of these attributes. Don’t think of this as a way to be judgmental about your classmates. Instead, look at this as a way to HELP your classmates to better evaluate their work, as well as developing your own sense of visual literacy.

SO – let’s start sharing ideas and progress, in pictures, as we generate our last shooting assignment.

Inspiration and review for your picture stories/photo essays

Reviewing some the materials might help you get started on your final shooting assignment for the semester. Make sure you thoroughly read through the assignment itself, though.

Here is the handout that accompanies the lesson on visual narratives. It contains lists for the formulas that we discussed in class. Referring to this will help you through the shooting and editing process:

Visual Narratives: The art of picture stories and photo essays

Here is the PDF version of the presentation on visual narratives. It might help to review the examples of picture stories we looked so you can see how the pictures work with one another, along with the captions, to create a narrative:

Presentation: Visual Narratives

Here is the key video we watched in class. Again, listen carefully as Dave explains how he discovers what he needs to shoot in order to tell someone’s story. Essentially, by talking to your subjects and getting to know them, they will lead you to where the pictures are. And understand the importance of projection. The best journalists, regardless of the medium they work in, learn how to put themselves in another’s shoes in order to tell their stories. And learn the importance of trust. You will never scratch below the surface and be able to move your audience without the trust of your subjects.


We didn’t watch this in class, but here is a follow-up, companion video to the one above. This is a master lesson in how to approach and think your way through shooting a picture story, in great detail. In the first video, Dave tells us about working with a student during a workshop on a story about a woman caring for her 97-year-old father. In this video, we get to hear an actual, unedited conversation between Dave and the student, specifically talking about how to approach the story, the student’s concerns, and Dave’s advice. It’s like being in the huddle with a master coach, and it offers some keen insight into the thought process and problem solving while shooting picture stories. It’s a little longer, but I highly recommend you find a little time to view it. Great advice on shooting and what to look for. Great advice on editing. Just great advice …

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.



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!

Covering the news: materials from class on 3 /22

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:

Covering the news: How to approach news assignments visually

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!

Presentation: Covering the News

So, review the lesson, then go forth and cover a news event!

Again, assignment particulars to come …