- Activity: The First Step of being a Photojournalist.
- Photojournalism Tips
- Ethics of Photojournalism
- Review the Blog Post 3 Assignment on Photojournalism. (At least one photo is due in class next Wednesday. Skype guest speaker AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post Photojournalist)
- Activity: Brainstorm for Blog Post 3.
- Prepare for the quiz 1 on Friday.
Activity: Getting Up Close and Personal (and Uncomfortable)
Photojournalism (and journalism) can be very uncomfortable. It is essential to push yourself through these uncomfortable moments in order to gain your source’s full attention, trust, and confidence.
- Find someone in class who you have not spoken with before. Get really close to their face, like 6 inches apart.
- Take turns describing your favorite creative devices photos in your Blog Post 2 (Such as: Why is it your favorite? What about this photo is powerful?). Talk for at least 30 seconds.
- When I announce it, find someone in the class who you are friends/acquaintances with. Get really close to their face, like 6 inches apart.
- Take turns describing your favorite creative devices photos in your Blog Post 2. Talk for at least 30 seconds.
I forced you to be uncomfortable as part of a class assignment, and you did it because you had to.
Now, take that forced push to your photojournalism assignment.
- Be prepared to be uncomfortable moving around a scene, taking photos of strangers.
- Push yourself to be calm, focus on using the creative devices, and see the unique angles and moments of the scenes.
How do you do this? Lose your ego and stop caring about “looking silly” or looking out-of-place with a camera.
If you are uncomfortable talking to someone or uncomfortable behind the camera taking photos, your source will be uncomfortable talking to you or uncomfortable in front of the camera.
In short: Be comfortable with yourself. Otherwise, forget about capturing real moments.
More Photojournalism Tips
The creative devices tips still apply to photojournalism. Other helpful hints are found below. Many of these highlights are found in Chapter 6 in Journalism Next.
- Have a working camera with you at all times. Even a smartphone is acceptable.
- Have one clear subject in your photo. The subject should be in focus and stand out from everything else in the photo. A street is not a subject. Seven people walking down the sidewalk is not a subject. One person walking down the street is a subject. Note: This rule is sometimes meant to be broken. You can take great photos of a mass crowd or a group of people, however, more skill is required. It’s easier to stick with the rules as you’re learning. Then, break them later when you know what you’re doing more.
- Act natural. Make yourself comfortable and invisible.
- Move around without violating Tip 3.
- Be patient and don’t rush.
- Take a lot of photos. For every subject, take at least 10 photos. **I can’t emphasize this enough. Move around and take a lot of photos!**
- Place subjects so that they are moving or looking into the photo, rather than out of it. For example, if a person is pointing to the right, be sure this person is at the left of your photo.
- Keep the light behind you so the subject’s face is lit (unless deliberately creating a shadow out of the subject).
- Avoid using the flash as much as possible. Use natural light.
- If you’re shooting sports action, then avoid evening or low-light conditions (the photos will be blurry)!
- Be aware of the background. Make sure there are no trees or objects protruding from your subject’s head or limbs. And, make sure there are no photobombs.
Ethics of Photojournalism
According to the President Emeritus of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Alicia Wagner Calzada, photojournalists must live up to a high standard because ethics are “what sets us apart from art and advertising.”
She notes that when journalists are reporting, they should not cave-in to pressure from people who ask, “what do you want me to do?” Journalists should instruct people to continue their behavior as if they were not present.
Photojournalism is capturing history the way that the stories actually unfolded. You are telling the story with images. You are not supposed to manipulate the story. These are reasons why there is a code of ethics.
💡According to the NPPA Code of Ethics:
1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
“But sometimes it is not the photographer who manipulates the scene, but rather the organizers of media events through what is known as a “photo opportunity,” where the subject(s) of a picture are asked to pose for the photographers — politicians shaking hands for the cameras or victorious athletes holding up their trophies.
While these scenes are real, in the sense that they actually happened, they should be clearly captioned as photo opportunities for maximum accuracy and transparency.
The same accuracy is also necessary when describing portraiture — those occasions when photographers pose their subjects for formal portraits.” — Santiago Lyon, vice president of photography for The Associated Press
3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
5. While photographing subjects, do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
“But there is another type of image manipulation — when a photographer orchestrates a scene to fit his or her own narrative by asking the subject(s) to do things they would not ordinarily do, or by asking them to repeat things they were doing prior to the photographer’s arrival.” — Santiago Lyon, vice president of photography for The Associated Press
7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.
Photojournalists Are Demanding A #MeToo Reckoning
The photojournalism field is dominated by men, and there are problems with sexism and harassment in the field.
“Photojournalism needs to face its #MeToo moment” — Kainaz Amaria, a visuals editor at Vox and formerly with NPR.
In an interview on Weekend Edition Sunday with NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Amaria says that 85 to 90 percent of the news imagery we consume is created by men. Last year, 90 percent of the lead images that The New York Times ran on its front page were made by men.
💻Editing in Photojournalism
For more details, you can read Ch. 6 about managing and editing digital photos.
The basics of editing include:
- Tone and light adjustment
- Saving for the web
You can accomplish these tasks on many programs, including the subscription-based Adobe Photoshop (although, free on UW student computer labs) and free online software like Pixlr.
In your Blog Post 3 Photojournalism assignment, you are limited to these minor photo adjustments.
You should only edit photos to better reflect how the event actually occurred in real life. Use your memory to guide you. Err on the side of no editing than over-editing.
What NOT to Do: Breaking Ethics Codes
Following ethics codes is about establishing and maintaining the trust of our audience. The cases below illustrate when that trust was broken.
- Brian Walski from the LA Times combined two photos to create a more aggressive and confrontational presentation of the situation.
3. Klavs Bo Christensen, a Danish photojournalist, was disqualified from a photo competition because of using too much color saturation.
Review the Blog Post 3 Assignment on Photojournalism.
🤔💡Activity: Brainstorm for Blog Post 3.
Take a few minutes to brainstorm what photojournalism opportunities you’d like to engage in. Check out the WyoEvents calendar on WyoCourses or the Community Calendar on Wyoming Public Media. Think about where you can go to get good feature photos and sports photos. Once you have an event or photography idea, please take a few minutes to anticipate what may happen there and what you should take photos of. This is what “real” photojournalists do. They are assigned events and issues, and they must decide how to visualize the story.
Write down some ideas about:
- The “cover-your-ass” photos — (Phase used by AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post photojournalist) These are the absolutely necessary photos that you need in order to just “have the basics” covered for the event. Think about these photos as the more obvious shots.
- The creative photos — These are the shots that really show off your skills as a photographer. How can you use creative devices, perspective, your own movement/location to take memorable shots?
Remember that we are taking photos of strangers and we aren’t posing people in photos. We need at least one non-sports feature photo and one sports photo (feature or action). The rest of the three photos are up to you. Raise your hand if you have any questions during this brainstorming time.
How to Prepare for the Quiz 1 on Friday
- Note that attendance is required. All the quizzes will need to be completed in the scheduled class meeting through Wyocourses.
- What to expect: All the questions are from the class content, including lectures and important points from the textbook.
- Tips for Quiz 1:
- Review the course blog posts for the general content as well as the categories of photography and photojournalism;
- Review the key points in Journalism Next Chapter 6 on Photography.