Incorporating Photography into Your Reporting

“Often, reporters find themselves in the middle of something newsworthy or interesting, so basic photography skills are critical for anyone who considers herself or himself a journalist.” – JournalismNext

The web is a visual medium.

1. Explore

Give yourself an education in photojournalism. Look at books, visit photojournalism exhibitions, and visit photojournalism web sites.

Magnum Photos
NYTimes Lens Blog
MSNBC’s Week in Pictures
Reuters Photos
National Press Photographer’s Best of Photojournalism

2. Use what you have…

…your point-and-shoot, your sister’s camera, and even your cell phone.

See Dial P for Photo

3.  Learn what makes a good photo
To begin to understand why some photographs are better than others, incorporate some basic rules of composition into your photography.

  • Introduction
  • Simplicity
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Lines
  • Balance
  • Framing
  • Avoiding Mergers
  • 4. Learn to organize and manage your images

    Some options:
    iPhoto (Mac)
    Windows Photo Gallery (PC)
    Flickr (Web-based) – need a Yahoo account
    Picasa (Web-based) or Download – need a Gmail account

    6. Learn to edit your images

    Always create a copy. Do not edit the original.

    Photoshop is the standard editing tool. But there are other programs like Windows Picture Editor, iPhoto and Web-based editors like Picnik, Pixlr, and Photoshop Express.

    Learn the basics:

    • Pixels – a visual representation of data in a digital image or graphic (megapixel = 1 million pixels or 3.2 megapixels = 11 X 14 photograph)
    • Resolution – number of pixels per inch (ppi) in an image.
    • -72 ppi for Web
      -200 ppi for newspapers
      -300 ppi+ for magazines

    • Rotate (Image>Rotate Canvas in Photoshop)
    • Save for Web

    Here is a tutorial on How to Resize and Save Your Photos for the Web Using Photoshop

    7. Share your photos

    Sharing your photos gives you an audience, and it can help provide an incentive to keep at it. Many online news sites also accept user-submitted photos.

    Some options:
    Flickr Explore’s Reader Photos
    Capturing the First Day of School
    Documenting the Storm
    Joys of the Window Seat

    8. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    • Don’t know what that button is for? Break out your manual.
    • Look for moments. “Photography is all about the moment.”
    • Think. Tight, medium, wide shots. Where is the light? Rule of thirds?
    • “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”
    • Repetition. Photograph one thing again and again.
    • Take lots of photos. Then take more.
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