— Finish Blogging Workshop, if needed —
Document Your HSI Experience with Photography
Today, you need to start taking photos of your personal HSI experience. At each major event you attend, each activity you participate in, and each silly dorm antic you experience, you should have your camera ready. Start documenting now. Because you want to remember this experience. And believe me, by the time you’re 31 (like me), you’ll forget this amazing experience you had when you were 15 or 16.
During the last week of class, we will edit our photos in Photoshop and you will create a Flickr slideshow to showcase your HSI photography and memories.
Here is a list of photos that I want you to capture for your slideshow. You may have already captured some of these already. But, you should be documenting your activities, events, and dorm life as well.
- The outside and inside of the Wyoming Union
- The outside of the Engineering Building
- Inside our classroom
- The enormity of Prexy’s Pasture
- An extreme close-up photo of something in Prexy’s Pasture
- The “University of Wyoming” sign
- The outside and inside of the dorms: Your room, roommate, dorm food, dorm sign out front.
- Something with the UW mascot (cowboys) on it
- An object from a popular “hangout” location on campus for students
- A brochure or map of the UW campus
- Photo of you with an instructor or PC from HSI
Let’s get started with how to take better photos using Creative Devices.
How to Take Better Photos Using Creative Devices for Composition
Good photography begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.
- Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
- Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
- Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
- Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
- Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer.
- Look Around: Are there any objects protruding from any subjects’ heads? Like a tree or pole in the distance? Are there any potential “photo bombs” around that will draw your attention away from the main subject?
Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as four more suggestions of my own.
- Rule of Thirds: Example
- Balancing Elements: Example
- Leading Lines: Example
- Symmetry and Patterns: Example
- Viewpoint: Example
- Background: Example
- Create Depth: Example
- Framing: Example
- Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
- Color: Example
- Texture: Example
- Establishing Size: Example
- Contrast: Example
- Focus: Example
Let’s take a look at my photos here and you tell me your thoughts on creative devices that I used.
Now that you know how to take better photos, you can avoid cutting people’s heads off and having poles or trees stick out of people’s heads!
Class Discussion & Blog Post: Your Online Identity
Important note: There are no right or wrong answers to the blog post questions and discussion. In fact, more diversity in the class’s opinions is actually helpful. We get to learn more when people share their unique and genuine opinions.
Our first discussion topic today revolves around your online identity. Check out this visual data about what teens are doing online.
Let’s write a blog post about these questions and discuss them as a class. Please answer:
- How does your own online behavior compare to the data that we just examined?
- How many limits do your parents put on your online identity and internet time?
- How do you think your online identity should look for college? For when you want to get a job?
- What privacy concerns exist for you and potential college admissions officers and employers?
- Is it right for a college or employer to reject/fire you based on your online identity?
— My Thoughts —
Be proud of whatever you write on your blog and whatever you share online. You do not want to regret something in the future. Remember, if it’s posted online, it’s there F O R E V E R!
Partner Pair Up
Now that you’re familiar with your blog, we are going to pair up with a partner. Ultimately, you will write a complete personality profile about your partner (and they will write one about you) and post it to your blog.
Along the way, you will learn how to interview your partner, how to write a personality profile about your partner, how to use an audio recorder and editor to insert an audio-interview clip into your profile, and how to take high-quality photos so you can post a few photos of your partner and their HSI experience to your profile.
Sound daunting? Maybe. But, it’s not! I swear it will be a fun experience! And you’ll get a personality profile about yourself out of the process as well.
So let’s pair up! Get to know your partner for a few minutes.
What is a Personality Profile?
There is no such thing as an uninteresting person! Your job in this class project is to:
- Research and interview the person to obtain most interesting tidbits
- Present to readers a ‘snapshot of a life’ using interviews, observations and creative writing
- Convey importance and uniqueness of person
Let’s take a look at some examples of personality profiles from past HSI students:
How Do I Write a Personality Profile?
— Activity: As we review each suggestion below, we will examine the example stories above. —
- Research the person. Your partner will complete a short worksheet about themselves for you to develop questions from.
- Ask interesting and explanation-required questions during the interview.
- Find a theme.
- Write an attention-grabbing lead (i.e., the first sentences of the story).
- Organize the story using these ideas:
- Time frames: Start with the present (e.g., at HSI), go to the past, go back to the present, and end with the future.
- Sections: Use topical areas of the person’s life to organize the story (e.g., Academic Over-Achiever, Adding Volunteering and Academics, & Eye on College).
- However, do not write in chronological order (i.e., “Kristen was born in New Bedford, Mass., and moved to Florida when she was 6. Then, she went to elementary school…).
- Insert biographical information (e.g., age, hometown, high school, family) where and when they make sense in the story.
- Weave strong quotes throughout the story. Include a quote every three paragraphs or so.
- Don’t bury quotes in the middle or the end of a paragraph.
- Use the active voice. OK writing: Kristen was cooking. Better writing: Kristen cooked.
- Ask yourself: Have you answered all of the readers’ possible questions about this person?
- End with a strong quote or paraphrased (i.e., summarized) statement that reflects the person well.
What Questions Should I Ask During My Personality Profile Interviews?
The secret to writing a good personality profile is getting to the know person. We’ll use the GOAL method to learn about our partners and to write our profiles.
G = Goals: What were your original goals? What are your next goals?
O = Obstacles: What obstacles did you face in accomplishing your goals? What new problems loom?
A = Achievements: What pleasure of problems have these achievements brought?
L = Logistics: What background (logistics of who, what, where, when) led to your current situation?
Example Interview Questions
- Describe the activity you selected to discuss. What skills does it involve? How much time does it involve? Who else is involved with you?
- How did you get involved in this activity? What made you decide to begin this activity?
- Who is a big influence, or mentor, to you in this activity? Your parents? Siblings? Coach? Friend? Pastor? Teacher? How have they mentored you?
- Explain a typical ____ (insert activity of story).
- What’s been your best experience with this activity?
- What’s been your most difficult, disappointing, upsetting experience with this activity?
- If applicable, describe a time when you want to quit this activity. Why didn’t you quit?
- What advice would you give to someone who is interested in this activity?
- Recall a major event or moment from this activity. Please describe why it was a major event and how it impacted you.
- What is the best piece of advice that you received about this activity?
- What is your best lesson that you’ve learned from this activity?
- G for Goals: What were your original goals? What are your next goals? Fast forward a decade with this activity, where are you and what are you doing with this activity.
- O for Obstacles: What obstacles did you face in accomplishing your goals? What new problems loom?
- A for Achievements: What pleasure of problems have these achievements brought?
- L for Logistics: What background (logistics of who, what, where, when) led to your current situation?
- Always ask: Do you have anything else to add or that you think others should know?
How Do I Know What To Ask My Partner?
You may be thinking, “This sounds great, but how do I know what to ask my partner? What activity do they want me to ask about?”. That’s where the next activity comes into play.
— Activity: Complete the Short Personality Profile Questionnaire — (Download, Complete in Word, and Email to Partner)
Think about an area of your life that you’re passionate about and that you’re comfortable answering questions about. It could be academics, athletics, volunteering, family life, college preparation, career ideas, hobbies, music, dance, politics, personal struggles, entertainment, etc.
Answer the worksheet questions with that passion in mind. Exchange questionnaires.
Start Writing Questions
Here are a few more tips to think about before you write your interview questions:
Ask Explanation-Needed Questions: Don’t just ask, “How old were you when you first realized you wanted to _________?” You’ll get the answer, “A few years ago.” Ask questions that need more explanation, “What inspired you to _________ and when did you make this decision in your life?” You want the person to answer in complete sentences that clearly answer the question, not short phrases.
Ask Again: Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?;” “Please explain that more in-depth.” “Please say that again, I didn’t quite understand the first time.”
Ask Sensory Questions: “Tell me about…”; “What did it sound like when…”; “How did it feel when…”; “What did it smell like…”; “What did it look like when…”; “Describe the scene for me.”
Last Question: Always ask, “Is there anything else I should have asked? Is there anything else you want me to know?”
— Activity: Start writing questions! —
Aim for at least 10-15 interview questions.
Bring Your Audio Recorders and Headphones Tomorrow!!!!!