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Intro to Photography & Photo Essays

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1 Intro to Photography & Photo Essays
Design for Journalists Summer 2013

2 What is a photo essay? A set or series of photographs that tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer Typically accompanied by written text and published as a book or special feature in a newspaper, magazine, or online. When printed, typically arranged in a one- to two-page spread.

3 Choosing a good story idea
There is activity and/or people doing something observable (e.g., not a meeting story). It is visually rich (e.g., lots of color, decoration, contrast, rhythm, motion, scenery, etc.). There are lots of different situations taking place and/or a variety of interesting moments (i.e., not a bunch of different people repeating the same thing). The idea is emotional and/or humorous. It features rich character or personality.

4 Photography 101: General Great photographers always consider the following when taking pictures: Composition Viewpoint/angles Lighting Motion Direction There are a variety of ways to approach each

5 Photography 101: Composition
*How each object is arranged in the frame* Rule of thirds Layering Balancing elements Repetition Framing

6 Composition: Rule of Thirds

7 Composition: Layering

8 Composition: Balancing elements

9 Composition: Repetition

10 Composition: Framing

11 Photography 101: Viewpoint/Angles
*The position from which you take the photograph* Eye level: Shows subject(s) straight on High angle: Shows subject(s) from above Low angle: Shows subject(s) from below Bird’s eye: Shows subject(s) from directly above Slanted: Shows the horizon on an angle

12 Viewpoint/Angles: Eye level

13 Viewpoint/Angles: High angle

14 Viewpoint/Angles: Low angle

15 Viewpoint/Angles: Bird’s eye

16 Viewpoint/Angles: Slanted

17 Photography 101: Lighting
*The way in which light is used in a photograph* Natural/available lighting Artificial lighting Fill lighting Back lighting Side lighting

18 Lighting: Natural light

19 Lighting: Artificial light

20 Lighting: Fill light (combo)

21 Lighting: Side lighting

22 Lighting: Back lighting

23 Photography 101: Motion *The way in which movement in a photograph is
shown to the viewer… adjusting the shutter speed allows photographers to capture motion** Frozen field of vision Blurred field of vision Blurred background, subject in focus Blurred subject, background in focus

24 Motion: Frozen field of vision

25 Motion: Blurred field of vision

26 Motion: Panning to blur background

27 Motion: Motion blur to blur subject

28 Photography 101: Direction
Every photo moves in a certain direction Reft to right Right to left Forward Backward, etc.

29 Direction: Moving right (left to right)

30 Direction: Moving left (right to left)

31 Direction: Moving forward/toward viewer

32 Direction: Moving backward/away from viewer

33 But how do you create a great photo story?
Not every sequence or collection of pictures make a good story There are specific formulas you can follow when you start shooting to make sure your pictures tell a good story Life Magazine’s photo story formula Poynter’s 5-shot sequence

34 Life Magazine: Photo story formula
Photographers were required to bring back the following eight key photo types from every photo story shoot: An introductory shot or overall shot, such as a wide angle or an aerial. A middle-distance or “moving in” shot, such as a sign, street, or building A close-up, usually hands, face or detail. A sequence, or how-to shot. A portrait, usually environmental. An interaction shot of persons conversing or action portrayed. The signature picture- the decisive moment, the one picture that conveys the essence of the story. The clincher or goodbye shot, signifying the end of the story.

35 Life’s Eugene Smith: “Country Doctor”
Life Magazine photographer Eugene Smith is credited for creating the magazine’s photo story formula In his photo essay “Country Doctor,” where he profiles a small-town practitioner in the 1940s, each of the shot types described in the photo story formula can be found Click here to view the essay in its entirety

36 “Country Doctor”

37 “Country Doctor”

38 “Country Doctor”

39 “Country Doctor”

40 “Country Doctor”

41 “Country Doctor”

42 “Country Doctor”

43 “Country Doctor”

44 “Country Doctor”

45 “Country Doctor”

46 “Country Doctor”

47 “Country Doctor”

48 “Country Doctor”

49 “Country Doctor”

50 “Country Doctor”

51 Poynter: 5-shot sequence
Shot one: Scene setter Shot two: Medium shot Shot three: Portrait Detail Action (source:

52 Shot one: Scene setter Where is your story taking place, and what does it look like? Is it a building, a town, an old southwestern graveyard? Place your audience in the action by taking a photo that shows it all.

53 Shot two: Medium shot Let’s start to hone in on the spot of your action; the area of the building or town or graveyard where your subjects are. This shot narrows your story’s field of view and should bring you closer in.

54 Shot three: Portrait Who is your main subject and what does he or she look like? This can be a traditional head and shoulders shot or a wider shot that shows the person’s surroundings.

55 Shot four: Detail Detail shots work especially well for transitions, but can have great storytelling potential all their own. What are the pictures on someone’s desk? What books are they reading? What’s that post card they have tacked to the wall? All of these things tell us a little bit about our subject and are great elements to have in a photo essay or multimedia presentation.

56 Shot five: Action Action shots show your subject doing something. This is the shot some photographers spend an entire shoot trying to perfect, often amounting to the same shot being taken 30 times. Photos of your subject in action are essential in audio/visual pieces.

57 Preparing for a shoot: Shooting script
Life magazine was best known for nailing down the photo story first. Life staffers, from editorial to art departments, would collaborate on story ideas, select a topic, and research it to the fullest, thinking ahead to what images they thought the story might bring. The script encouraged a photographer to prepare for what content they might come across while shooting, so that they could better find the unusual or unique pictures. Don’t force anything you script to happen. This is simply meant to prepare you for what might happen.

58 Preparing for a shoot: Storyboarding
Storyboarding forces the photographer to visualize what each frame of their photo story will look like. Once you have your shooting script/shot list developed, you can then take the content you plan to gather for each photo and decide how you are going to visually place that content.

59 With that said, you should…
Brainstorm what content you might get by writing out a shooting script/shot list. Visualize what the photographs might look like by creating a storyboard. Apply a variety of the photo techniques discussed (different compositions, lighting, angles, motion, directions, etc.) Try to collect the 8 key photo types used in Life’s photo story formula. Also try shooting using Poynter’s 5-shot sequence as a guide.

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