Website Design

A website design course at the University of Wyoming

Tag: introduction (page 1 of 3)

Week 1: First Law of Usability and How to Learn HTML

Krug Introduction

A usability consultant identifies problems with websites. You will benefit from knowing about usability as a website designer and future employee of a company/non-profit that has a website.

Krug outlines seven key words that define usability:

  1. Useful: Does it do something people need done?
  2. Learnable: Can people figure out how to use it?
  3. Memorable: Do they have to relearn it each time they use it?
  4. Effective: Does it get the job done?
  5. Efficient: Does it do it with a reasonable amount of time and effort?
  6. Desirable: Do people want it?
  7. Delightful: Is using it enjoyable, or even fun?

Krug Chapter 1: Basic Usability

Most important usability concept: “Don’t make me think!”

You want to build a website that is OBVIOUS and SELF-EVIDENT to the user and does not require thought.

For example:

  1. Navigation is easy to find, understand, and use.
  2. Web pages give a clue as to where the user is and what page they are on.
  3. Links standout from the normal text color, yet coordinate with page colors.
  4. Link text gives a clue as as to where the user will go once they click on it.
  5. Consistent navigation across the website enhances usability.

Questions that you DON’T want your user to ask:

  1. Where am I?
  2. Where should I start navigating?
  3. Where did they put ____?
  4. What is the point of this page?
  5. Why did they label it ____ when they really meant _____?
  6. Is that an ad or part of the website? –> Although, “native advertising” is hugely successful nowadays.

R&F Introduction: How to Use This Book

This is a conversational, fun, and memorable HTML book. The introduction has a few key points that I’d like to emphasize.

Embrace the silliness, graphics, and conversational style. They are novel and fun. You will remember them more.

Embrace the struggles. We learn when we struggle and fail. Get yourself to think more deeply and critically when you fail.

Embrace the redundancy. We will create the examples in the textbook. Then, you must apply these concepts and skills to your own website. It’s redundant, but it will stick to your brain more.

Embrace the ambiguity. There is often no “right” or “wrong” way to design something. There are many approaches to achieving the same overall result. However, there are design principles that matter and should influence your work.

Embrace the details. On the flip side, details matter. There is a “right” and “wrong” way to write code. One missing backslash or colon can ruin your website.

 

Social Media Management for Journalism, PR, and Advertising

How Social Media is Used by the Big Three Media Fields

Social media is for you. The aspiring journalist, sports commentator, marketing executive, advertising director, or public relations manager, all of these fields rely on social media now.

You can use social media:

  • To help you create a presence and voice
  • To promote your stories or your products
  • To search for story ideas and sources
  • To network with others in your field
  • To engage with your audience, start a conversation

No doubt, social media is changing our media world. Let’s review some resources.

Please choose to review either the journalists, PR, or advertising sections below. Review each link in your chosen section. Write down 3 things that you’d like to share with the class about what you learned from reading these articles in your section.

There are also some helpful hints that could apply to journalism, public relations, and advertising. Keep up to date on these hints for social media at Social Media Examiner. Here are some of the most helpful posts and lessons that I’ve discovered on this website:

Critical Analysis and Comparison of Two Organizations’ Social Media Management

Blog Post #8 Due on Fri. Nov. 4 by 11:59 p.m. | Presentations of Results on Monday and Wednesday

For Blog Post 8, you will write a critical analysis and comparison of two organizations’ social media management styles. Download Blog Post 8 for details. Here’s the short version of the assignment:

  • As you sit down to do your analysis, be sure to review these links above that we’ve reviewed.
  • Use the specific advice offered in these articles as you conduct your analysis.
  • Examine the 6 major social media platforms noted in the assignment: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
  • Take notes of your experience. Your notes should be grounded in the advice from the articles. Your notes will be the basis and foundation for your blog post.
  • Answer all required questions in the assignment (broadly speaking, you must compare the organizations’ social media presence, suggest three reasons why each organization is using social media effectively, and three pieces of advice for each organization).

A Focus on Twitter: Basics to Understand Before Your Live Tweeting Assignment (Blog Post #9)

Know the basics. @username, #topic, and RTs (retweets).

Establish a voice. There is a lot of noise out there. To get engaged and get noticed, you’ll need to decide what “face” you want to reveal to the Twittersphere.

  • For me, @klandreville, my twitter voice is related to political communication and news research, teaching, and education.
  • For @Anna_Rader, one of our guest speakers, her voice is “NPR junkie, music lover, cinephile, Wyomingite, nerd. Digital Media Coordinator @WYPublicRadio and Digital Producer of @HumaNatureShow. Opinions are my own.”
  • Brainstorm about your Twitter voice.

Once you have a voice and identity in mind, find similar people to follow. To engage with a like-minded community, search for people to follow at “Who To Follow.” Twitter will suggest some people after you write your identity summary and begin posting.

Share and gather information. For professional use, you can use it to quickly share and gather information real-time (e.g., promote events) with people interested in your writing, journalism, company, etc. Retweet relevant information to your field as well. Retweeting build followers.

Brand management. You can use it to hear and address praise and complaints about your writing or company. Search for your favorite (or least favorite) companies to see how they’re using Twitter and Facebook.

  • For example, Southwest is known for their fantastic customer service. Twitter and Facebook only help that image.

Contribute to the community. Actively search and share information related to your field. Followers will be happy and more informed. And they may retweet, which brings you more followers.

  • For example, AEJMC (a nonprofit mass media association) shares valuable information about journalism, multimedia, public relations, and advertising to followers.

Start a story and use visual writing. Live events can be tweeted and facebooked while on the scene. Stories you’re working on can be previewed with tidbits and snippets of writing. Direct people to the full story. Use strong verbs, adjectives, and visuals.

  • For example, Joanna Smith, a Toronto Star reporter covering the Haitian earthquake, wrote a series of earthquake-related tweets. She created an unraveling narrative through each snapshot.
  • “Was in b-room getting dressed when heard my name. Tremor. Ran outside through sliding door. All still now. Safe. Roosters crowing.”
  • “Fugitives from prison caught looting, taken from police, beaten, dragged thru street, died slowly and set on fire in pile of garbage.”

Engage with the community. There are live chats via Twitter. It can be a learning environment. Retweet all relevant information to your field.

  • For example, there are live chats on Twitter about journalism. Search for #journchat.
  • For example, ask questions relevant to your field. Laurel Papworth (@SilkCharm) asked, “Dear #PRChat PR people how is #BigData affecting your industry relationships with journalists? #Journchat #RunningScaredYet? :P”

State your opinions, but be professional. Everything you say on Twitter can be retweeted (unless you have your settings on private). Facebook profiles can be viewed (and I assume that they can be hacked too). Everything lives forever online. All of your tweets can be searched (see SnapBird). Be paranoid about that.

  • For example, one student was tweeting about dislike of a professor’s course and the professor engaged the student to suggest what the professor should improve. You be the judge about the conversation tone.
  • Student Tweets: (1) UUUGGGGHHHHHH She is working my nerves!! I hate new professors!! (2) I swear [professor’s name] is too much for me! (3) Soooo I can’t talk too bad about my professor on twitter anymore…because now we have to follow her ass!!
  • Professor: @StudentName After reading your multiple tweets about your disappointment in my teaching style, what would you recommend I do differently?
  • Her follower responded: Double yikes! I hope your student realizes you are also followed by PR execs who make hiring decisions…”

Represent. One tip from Intel Corporation’s social media guidelines:

  • “Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Intel employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Intel by our shareholders, customers, and the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and managers. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Intel’s values and professional standards.”

Crowdsource. Use followers for information. Make a call or solicit them for information.

  • Find anecdotes and exemplars for stories. Denver Post did this to find the human face to their story on parents stealing their childrens’ identities and then raiding their credit.
  • Collect data using Google Docs to create a Google Form. Then, share link on social media for quick, informal surveys. Denver Post used this technique to find people live-blog their responses to the first 2012 presidential debate in Denver.

 

Picture1

The Denver Post crowdsourced for their article on parents stealing their children’s identity.

 

Social Media Management. Monitor social media across Twitter and other platforms with the following tools:

More Advice from Twitter Experts at the BBC Journalism Academy: Below is a summary of the best tips.

  • Keep tweets simple.
  • Promote your content and work. Ask a simple question and link to the content. The idea is to intrigue, not give away all the content.
  • Avoid “clickbait” which is perceived as a marketing ploy and game to people.
  • Do not tweet too much of one side of an argument. It appears as if you are promoting them. Be balanced, even with Twitter content and attention.
  • Do not use too many hashtags (limit to two). It drowns the message.
  • Use images and videos if they add to the content. No stock photos or mundane photos.
  • Be helpful, open, honest and authentic. Be funny (in a professional and clever way) and social.
  • Think dialogue, not monologue.
  • Don’t retweet without reading and checking the retweeted content first.
  • Check the grammar and spelling!
  • “The don’ts? Don’t tweet angry, vengeful or drunk. Always be yourself.”  — @tomfordyce, chief sports writer @BBCSport

Live-Tweeting Practice

We will practice live-tweeting another speech: Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality to the UN.

Report from a journalistic point of view. Type out your tweets and try to keep them less than 140 characters.

Audio Storytelling

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio journalism. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story.  Let’s listen to the audio profile and discuss what you like and dislike about the story. Could this story be told better with any other style or method? Note that for the upcoming two assignments, you will interview a classmate (or someone else) for 5 minutes and then edit the audio to 2 minutes.

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story. First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

This American Life provides great long-format audio stories, usually about feature stories.

Audio Profile Project

Please download the instructions for the Blog Posts 6 and 7 – Raw Audio Profile and Edited Audio Profile and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

SoundCloud

In our unit on audio, you will use Soundcloud to share your audio files on your blog. Let’s register and do a tutorial.

Practice Audio Recording with Your Device

Let’s practice audio recording and getting the audio files off our devices and onto the computer. The biggest complaint that students have about the audio unit is having trouble getting the audio off their device and onto the computer in a workable file format. So, please do that now.

Record yourself counting to 10 with your device. Next, get the recording off your device and onto the computer. Attempt to open the file in Audacity. Then, attempt to upload a file to Soundcloud.

WordPress Setup and Workshop

First, it’s important to know that there are different types of blogs. Let’s visit these examples to see how people in our field are using blogs. Most major news organizations have journalist-authored blogs. For example, The New York Times has a large directory of journalist-authored blogs. My personal favorite is the LENS blog of photojournalism.  There are also many public relations oriented blogs as well: Cision, Bulldog Reporter, and and Holmes Report are a few top PR blogs.

For your blog, you’ll be posting your class assignments here to showcase your journalistic work, but I strongly encourage you to also post your thoughts, comments, goals, brainstorming ideas, etc. on your blog to practice your online writing skills and showcase your media work.

To be more successful with your media career, you need to create a brand for yourself by working hard at creating solid media stories. Let’s read to some branding principles.

Part of creating a brand, or a good reputation, is to know how to showcase your stellar ideas and high-quality professional work. So, feel free to post other professional material or thoughts to your blog, in addition to your required assignments for class.

In the end, you’re competing with hundreds of other students for those media jobs. Let’s take a look at recent journalism job and PR job postings.

So think of your blog as like a continually updated “live” resume and portfolio. Google yourself right now. What website pops up first? If you post to your blog frequently, then your blog may pop up first (which is what you want). You want employers to find your blog when they Google you. So keep updating it!

And you may want to connect your blog to your greater online presence. Post the blog link to your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other online presence you have.

Blogging Workshop

  • Create a WordPress account
  • Create an “about” page
    • Your name.
    • Some demographic information, such as where you are from and what your family is like.
    • What the purpose of this blog is (e.g., it’s to showcase your storytelling work).
    • Some interests and what you like to do in your spare time.
    • Your career goals.
  • Linking to other web pages
  • Posting photos and inserting other media or files

 

Write Your First Blog Post: See Your Blog 1 Assignment

  • Create a new post
  • Using categories
  • Using tags
  • Saving drafts
  • Publishing the post

 

Guidelines To Follow For Blog Writing

  • Update frequently
  • Write in the first-person (i.e., “I think) and use conversation-style that shows your personality
  • Provide specific headlines
  • Provide links elsewhere to helpful information
  • Allow readers to comment and comment back to readers
  • Are ongoing conversations among members of a community
  • Can be your professional portfolio, journal, or brainstorming session
  • Embed photos, video, audio, and other multimedia features
  • Are relatively short, usually less than 800 words

 

IMPORTANT: To log in to your WordPress blog, you can visit your blog url plus a “/wp-admin” at the end of the url. For example, to edit my blog, I go to “http://uwyojournalism.com/wp-admin”.  Alternatively, you can sign in through WordPress.com.

Last points: If you need any help setting up your blog and I’m not available for question, then try an online tutorial.

Introduction to Multimedia Production

Welcome!

About Me

(Education, Professional Goals, Hobbies, Family)

About You

(Name, Major, Year, What do you hope to learn in this course?, What’s something fun you did this summer?)

Why This WordPress Blog?

We’ll use this class blog to post course materials and students’ work. Course materials include assignment guidelines, rubrics, and the syllabus. See our page, COJO 3530: Fall 2016 on the sidebar.

We will also use WyoCourses for grades and quizzes, in addition to the assignment instructions and rubrics.

Plus, I require YOU to keep a blog, so I should keep one as well for our class.

What Will We Do?

Let’s take a look at the syllabus and find out.

What Do You Know?

Let’s get started. First, a fun news quiz. Let’s see how much you know about local, state, national, and international current events. And no peeking for answers on the Internet.

What Should You Know and Why?

Second, visit The New York Times multimedia page to get a taste of what the future of journalism looks like. Take 10 minutes (I’m timing you) and explore anything that grabs your interest.

What did you explore? What was interesting and engaging ? Did you quickly leave the story, or did you spend a long time on the story? Why?

These are the critical questions you need to be asking yourself whenever you read ANYTHING now, especially when you engage with multimedia stories. If you want to be in the business of telling and selling stories, then you need to develop the critical thinking skills to understand what makes me (the reader/user) keep reading.

In this class, you’ll begin to learn the basic skills that are needed to succeed in multimedia communication. I say “communication” in addition to “journalism” because I strongly believe that even if you aren’t a journalism major, you will learn from this class. If your career interests lie in public relations, marketing, advertising, or public affairs, you will learn key skills in multimedia that will help you get a job.

Multimedia Production on Your Blog

In order to promote your media career, I require students to maintain a professional blog throughout the semester. You can show potential employers your multimedia work through this platform. Please visit former COJO 3530 student blogs (see left-hand column) for ideas about your own blog. You’ll also see what kind of storytelling that you’ll be engaging in during the semester.

This class is a big step in the right direction for your journalism or media career. I hope you’re excited!

So let’s set up your WordPress blog now. You need to submit your Blog Post 1 and About Page Setup by next Thursday.

***A Word of Advice: Proofread your writing. Like, seriously proofread. Writing that has spelling, grammar, typographical (e.g., typing a word twice or writing “if” instead of “it”), or capitalization errors (e.g., writing “i like news”) is not “A” work (see the grading rubric–a “B” is the highest grade you can get if any of these errors is made). Your multimedia story may be fantastic, but if your blog post writing has any of these errors, you lose credibility with your audience. Thus, I read your writing VERY carefully, and I’m always looking for these errors. Don’t make them, please. ***

First Day: COJO 4530

Students of media, journalism, and strategic communication (e.g., PR, advertising) need to diversify their skills. This class gives you a platform through which to share your work and add HTML, CSS, and Dreamweaver skills to your resume. You’ll create and design your own portfolio website to house your professional work. Get psyched, get inspired! This is fun stuff! Here are some examples of what I mean by portfolio website.

Student Example 1 | Student Example 2 | Student Example 3 | Student Example 4 | Student Example 5 | Student Example 6

DyannDiercks

Course Blog and WyoCourses Website

You can find all of our course materials on this blog as well as our WyoCourses website. I’ll post all of our course materials and assignments here, under the COJO 4530 tab in the left-side navigation column.

Now let’s review the syllabus (found on the COJO 4530 tab and the WyoCourses website).

 

Thoughts on Your News Diets and About Pages

News Diet Suggestions

  1. Avoid complete news customization: Be careful not to go overboard on news customization (e.g., apps and aggregator websites that let you edit out stuff that you don’t want to see). Part of being a communication major is having a broad knowledge of your world and current events. If everyone in the world only viewed news that they wanted to, and avoided “bad” news or news that they didn’t like, then that creates an environment where it’s hard for people to relate to one another and understand/communicate about their common world around them. Push yourself to expose yourself to different points of view and news that you may be uncomfortable with. You will learn more that way.
  2. Consume news that makes you uncomfortable: News can be depressing. Yes, that’s frustrating and sad. News may even make you feel guilty for living in such wonderful country where we don’t have to worry too much about widespread famine, genocide, mass kidnappings and rapes, and horrid poverty. I get it. I hate watching that news as well. HOWEVER, to be a responsible citizen of our world, and to really, truly appreciate our world, we need to push ourselves to watch the news. My personal belief is that it makes us more understanding, compassionate, and conscientious human beings.
  3. Talk to people about the news: The more you start conversations about current events and the news, the more viewpoints and perspectives you will hear. You should always be eager to learn from people whom you agree AND disagree with. BUT, ensure you use a non-combative and non-aggressive tone and demeanor. No one wants to feel like every political or news discussion is a high-stakes presidential debate.
  4. Share news stories on Facebook and Twitter: Start a conversation (online or offline) with your friends and family about the news. Play “devil’s advocate”, just to exercise your mind in the process of recognizing and understanding others’ viewpoints.

 

 News Sources To Try This Semester

  1. New York Times
  2. PBS NewsHour
  3. Al Jazeera America
  4. BBC News
  5. Laramie Boomerang
  6. Branding Iron
  7. Casper Star-Tribune
  8. Denver Post
  9. Washington Post
  10. Wyoming Public Media

 

Mechanical and Technical Suggestions

  1. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
  2. Add links.
  3. Add images and photos.
  4. Focus on correct usage of commas, colons, and semicolons.

 

About Page Suggestions

  1. Add your resume.
  2. Add a professional photo of yourself.
  3. Link to your LinkedIn account. Don’t have one? Make one. Connect with me. I can endorse you after your (hopeful) success in the course.

 

The Art of Gathering Audio

Gathering audio that is clean, clear, and crisp is no easy task. This post outlines some hints for you to consider before you conduct audio interviews. It is developed from the hints listed on MediaStorm’s audio training page.

Know Your Equipment: Be comfortable operating your audio recorder. You should know where the buttons are without looking at it. You should know what all of the buttons do. If you’re uncomfortable with the audio recorder, your subject will be as well.

Location: Find a quiet location with little background noise. Find a spot with soft surfaces that absorb sound. A couch or fabric chair is better than a wooden chair. Cover a table with a blanket. A car with closed windows is a great location. Avoid hallways and large rooms that echo.

No Ambient Noise During Interview: While you do want to use ambient noise in your audio story, you don’t want the ambient noise to interfere with the person speaking to you. Avoid consistent background noise by picking a small quiet room with carpet and soft chairs. If using the TASCAM, try using to foam covering to see if it helps quiet ambient noise. You want to collect ambient noise separately and not fight it during the interview.

If Ambient Noise is Unavoidable: Press the record button before you begin the formal interview. Allow the recorder to collect the ambient noise without anyone’s voices interrupting the ambient noise. This gives you clean ambient noise to insert into any pauses during the editing process.

Get Close: Put the microphone about 2 inches away from the person’s mouth if you’re recording at a moderate “rec level” (about 5-7 on the TASCAM). You can put the microphone farther away if you’re recording at a higher “rec level” (about 9-10).

Use Headphones: Put your headphones into the headphone jack on your digital audio recorder. Hit the “record” button. Now ask the person to talk. Ensure that you can hear the person clearly. If you can’t hear them clearly, put the microphone closer to their mouth and/or increase the “rec level” to a higher sensitivity. Keep the headphones on your ears during the whole interview. You’ll know exactly how the person sounds the whole time.

Speak Up: Ask the person to speak up and speak louder if you can’t hear them properly and clearly when you have your headphones on.

Don’t Fidget: Do not fidget and play with the audio recorder while gathering sound. The audio recorder picks up the noise when you rub your hands on it. Avoid this by not fidgeting.

Focus: There’s many things to think about while conducting an audio interview. Can you hear them clearly? What are they saying? What’s my next question? Where is the interview going? How can I take the interview in a different direction or somewhere I hadn’t planned if they say something interesting?

But Also Engage: Listen to the person. Make eye contact (don’t look at their mouth). Seem genuinely interested in their story. After they’re done speaking, stay in silence for a moment. They may add more detail to their thoughts. Empathize with them. Share information about yourself with them. This will help them ignore the microphone and their surroundings.

Uh huh: Don’t do it. Avoid saying those filler words during an interview. You don’t want YOUR voice recorded when the person is talking. Instead, nod, smile, use eye contact, and learn forward to encourage the person.

Ask Explanation-Needed Questions: Don’t just ask, “How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a journalist?” You’ll get the answer, “I few years ago.” Ask questions that need more explanation, “What inspired you to become a journalist 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 that may need a narrator’s explanation.

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?”

There is no better way to learn audio reporting than by trying it out for yourself!

Audio Storytelling and Journalism

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio journalism. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story. After we complete a few audio journalism assignments, you will put together an audio slideshow, like this one, using the software Soundslides. Let’s listen to the audio profile and discussion what you like and dislike about the story. Could this story be told better with any other style or method?

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting; it’s a story about the need to increase vaccinations among teens and tweens. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story. First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

This American Life provides great long-format audio stories, usually about feature stories.

And, due to our guest speaker during the last class, you now know about Wyoming Public Media and what types of jobs you can do there.

Audio Profile Project


Please download the instructions for the audio profile project and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

Practice with Recording and Editing Audio


This is not a graded assignment, rather, these assignments are in-class assignments that are designed to help you practice and familiarize yourself with your digital audio recorder and with Audacity (the free audio-editing program).

Photography Basics

For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on photography and photojournalism. First things first, we’ll learn about the basics of photography and forever-useful creative devices.

Creative Devices for Composition

Good photojournalism begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. 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).
  5. 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 on skin.

 

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as five more suggestions of my own. Some of these are also mentioned in Ch. 7 in the book as well.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Experimentation: Example
  11. Color: Example
  12. Texture: Example
  13. Establishing Size: Example
  14. Contrast: Example
  15. Focus: Example

 

Let’s take a look at some photos on The New York Times Lens photography blog and talk about what kind of devices their photos use.

A note about your rights and duties as a photographer.

  1. In public, you can photograph anyone or anything. If they approach you and request you don’t take their picture, you may respect their request; but, keep in mind that they are in public and they cannot expect any privacy in public (i.e., you can keep taking their picture).
  2. In private residences, businesses, and property, you should get permission. They may not allow photography. **You can always ask for forgiveness rather than permission, though.**
  3. If people ask why you’re taking photos, explain it is for your class blog and schoolwork.

 

Writing Captions

Your subjects’ age and job description are optional in your captions.

If you shoot people, then get names and put them in captions. [Many students neglect this. You NEED names. Unless the person is too far away or completely unrecognizable in the photo.]

A well-written caption adds value and context to the image instead of merely describing the contents of the photo. Consider including information that goes beyond the obvious.

If you capture an event, then who are the key players in the photo and event? When was the event held? What was the purpose of the event? Where was the event held? Why should the viewer care?

If you capture a portrait or photo of a person, tell the viewer more about the person or context of the photo.

(Example of a caption with a person in the photo) Kristen Landreville teaches the Online Journalism class at the University of Wyoming on Tuesday afternoon. She is a professor of communication and journalism and is in her second year of teaching.

(Example of a caption without a person in the photo) Yellow fall leaves litter the lawn on Prexy’s Pasture on Tuesday. The first official day of fall was Saturday.

 

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