Final exam on Monday, 4/30 at 5:30 p.m.

It’s not too soon to start thinking about the final exam.

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

SPRING 2018 Final Exam Schedule

If you find there is a conflict with another class’ final exam, please let me know right away.

The exam will cover material from the second half of the semester.  Like our midterm, it is an open note exam. To help you narrow down your focus, here is a link to a study sheet for you:

2018 MMJ3333 Final exam study sheet

NOTE: We covered the lesson on Portraits on the class before Spring Break, but it was not included on the midterm. Also note that, in the class presentation, I included a little bit of material form the first half of the semester. I had forgotten about our lesson about light, so your study sheet drops that material from the first half and includes the lesson on light. Go by the study sheet for the material you need for the final exam.


I would suggest you start reading over the handouts NOW to re-familiarize yourself with the material so you aren’t desperately looking for answers during the exam period. These are the links to the handouts you will need for the exam:


Let There Be Light

Interesting photographs: Forget good. Make your photos interesting!

Feature Photography

Covering the News

Remember, as you scan your handouts, look for type in boldface or italics. It is a clue that these are concepts I want you to remember and are likely to be included on the final exam.

Read the study sheet and plan to have it by your side as you take the exam, along with the handouts. I give you some answers, straight up, on the study sheet. Sometimes, I ask questions. If you can answer those questions ahead of time, this exam should be a breeze for you.

Contact me if you have any questions.


Portfolios due 4/23

Class on April 23 will be dedicated to submitting your portfolio. Your final shooing assignment, Events/Visual Narratives, is due on the website by 5:30, before class, as usual.

Your Portfolios will be due by the end of the class period at 8:15 so you can get feedback from me and your classmates before your final submission on the website.

Portfolio requirements

  • Submit your ten (10) best single photographs that best represent what you’ve learned this semester.
  • Submit your photos in a SINGLE post. Post them inline by choosing the “individual image” option, NOT various galleries (tiled mosaic, thumbnail grid, slideshow, etc!!!)
  • Each photo must be accompanied by a full AP Style caption!
  • Don’t forget to put your full name in the title of the post.
  • Select images from assignments 3-7 (no mugshots or depth-of-field pics, please). You may also include any photos from assignments you’ve chosen to reshoot, or photos that you’ve shot for extra credit that demonstrate your understanding of the class material

Portfolio grading criteria

Your portfolio grade will count towards 20% of your final grade.

The following will be considered for each individual image:

  • Technical competence: Focus, image sharpness, correct exposure, correct color balance. This is basic. Is your picture even publishable by minimum professional standards?
  • Graphic appeal: Light, composition, perspective. Did you carefully craft your photograph? Did you build a visual “stage” to help tell your story, or did you just “snap” a picture?
  • Emotional appeal: Storytelling moments, expressions, gestures, body language, mood, atmosphere. This is where we set the bar! Did you try to help us connect with your subjects and tell their stories, or did you just shoot simple “doing” pictures?
  • Intimacy: Did you gain access that the typical person doesn’t have? Did you generate trust with your subject, maybe go behind the scenes? Or did you just shoot what everybody else could shoot with their phones? Effort to go beyond the obvious and expected will be noted.
  • AP Style captions!!! This is a necessary professional standard. Re-read the handout and make sure you have all the necessary information. Without captions, it’s just photography, not photojournalism.

Beyond the above criteria, I will also consider how well you demonstrate your understanding of the class material, as well as improvement, progress and effort.

Editing your portfolio.

Don’t wait until April 23! I suggest you start assembling your work from the semester in one place, such as a folder labeled “portfolio” on the jump drive or external hard drive you’ve used for this class. Do this NOW!

Each assignment required multiple photographs for credit, so you should have plenty of material. You won’t have to include every photo you’ve shot: ten individual shots – no more, no less.

Only submit those photos that represent your very best work. Your portfolio will only be as strong as your weakest photo, so be selective. Don’t simply re-submit pictures from your previous assignments if they were lacking. Crop them if they needed to be cropped. Make sure they are correctly toned. And re-write your caption in AP Style if your initial caption was insufficient.

Use some of the tools (handouts) that I’ve given you this semester to help you with the selection process and to help prepare your images for final submission:

Use the class period to get some feedback about which pictures to include. I am happy to fulfill that role – let me be your editor!

However, I encourage you to get feedback from your fellow students, as well. In fact, do that first before you call me over.

Put a little effort into your portfolio presentation. This is your last chance to make an impression.

Follow up from class (4/16): What’s due, final thoughts

Here is a link to the PDF version (with presenter’s notes, as usual) of Monday’s presentation.

In case you missed class, we went over expectations for the rest of the semester (last shooting assignment, portfolio, final exam) and I presented some final thoughts about what, hopefully, we’ve learned.

Presentation: Final thoughts

More posts about your portfolio and the final exam coming soon.

Class follow-up (4/9) – Covering the news

I tried to squeeze in just a little too much during class, so make sure you review the presentation, especially the part at the end covering your shooting assignment. Here’s the link:

Presentation: Covering the news

Here is the accompanying handout. You’ll need this to study for your final exam. There is some additional material, so you might want to read over it before tackling your shooting assignment, as well:

Covering the News

Let me know if you have any questions. Your shooting assignment will follow soon …

Follow-up on class (4/2): Feature Photos

There were a lot of absences in class, so make sure you look through this material before starting on your next shooting assignment. First, here is the presentation from class:

Presentation: Feature Photography

Read my presenter’s notes and look at the examples. At the end of the presentation is a discussion about your next shooting assignment. Again, take note of the examples so you understand the expectations.

Here is the feature photography handout/study material. While the presentation gives you examples you can look at, this handout goes into more depth about what types of subject matter make good feature photos, and how/where to find them:

Feature Photography

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:

Forget Good: Make your photos interesting!

We watched an excerpt from the following video from travel photographer Bob Holmes, as he explained how he finds a scene, then builds a photograph from what he sees. It’s worth the time to watch the entire video, but the excerpt we watched in class starts at the beginning and runs until about the 2:30 mark:


This is a great lesson in how to find and build a feature photograph. Biggest takeaway: This image wasn’t made in 1/60th of a second, it took half-an-hour to see all the elements coming together, then waiting for the right moment. “Chance favors the prepared photographer!”

So take a look at the presentation. Read the handouts. And watch the video.

Your shooting assignment will be posted soon.


Class (3/26) follow-up: “Interesting” photo assignments, Timing/Moments

Okay. Here are the follow up materials from class …

Now we start fully practicing TLC. Use your knowledge of light and composition to build a stage for capturing storytelling moments. Timing is everything! This is central to photojournalism. Start reciting this little mantra every time you lift the camera to your eye, from now on:

  1. Create a focal point
  2. Control your background
  3. Fill the frame
  4. Wait for the moment

Look over this presentation to review these steps:

Presentation: Timing & Moments

Photojournalist Jim Richardson said,

“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff!”

He was trying to be funny and flippant, BUT he speaks the absolute truth!

Content counts! Remember – photographs, in the context of news, are content, not decorations for text. Photojournalists are reporters, not illustrators. See if you can go beyond the immediate and superficial. This is the handout about how to generate and execute “interesting” photo assignments, as opposed to the type of purely informational “doing” shots that are frequently produced:

Forget Good. Make your photos interesting –Generating and executing newsworthy photo assignments.

Learn the value of enterprise journalism! Trust me, employers are looking for idea people, not those who simply wait for assignments to be handed to them.

Here is the presentation from class. We jumped around a little bit. It includes our examination of creating interesting photo assignments and capturing storytelling moments. It might help to scan the visuals that supported the discussion. It also includes some examples that might help guide you with your shooting assignment.

Presentation: Interesting assignments, Timing/capturing moments

Contact me if you have any questions.

Materials from class (3/19): Light & Portraits

Before starting on your Portraits/Light assignment, you might want to review the material. If you missed class, you really need to look over the material – especially the presentations – or you won’t be able to execute your shooting assignment.

Know what distinguishes a journalistic portrait from a more common understanding of portraiture. Especially review the section about the types of visual cues that can help reveal something about your subject.

Also, understand the characteristics of light and start observing them in the real world, even when you aren’t shooting pictures.

Here are the PDF versions of the presentations (with presenter’s notes, of course):

Presentation – Light

Presentation – Portraits

And here are the accompanying handouts:

Let There Be Light


Also, here is a link to the requirements for AP Style captions. Read over it. Captions are starting to become more important. While portraits require a slightly different approach than typical news photos in caption writing, you still need to adhere to AP style, especially with the “Who” part of your caption. Review the examples of good captions from former students at the end of the “Light” presentation.

AP Style Captions

If you are unclear about anything or have any questions, please contact me right away. I will be posting your shooting assignment shortly. Watch out for it.