Aperture: Refers to the amount of light that enters the camera. Small aperture means little light is entering the camera. Large aperture means a lot of light is entering the camera.
F-Number (or F-Stop): Also refers to the amount of light that enters the camera. Higher numbers denote less light is entering the camera (i.e., a small aperture). Smaller numbers denote more light is entering the camera (i.e., a large aperture).
For example, at F-22, the lens allows only a small amount of light, and at F-2, the lens allows the maximum amount of light. Each F-number represents a double increase or decrease in the amount of light allowed into the lens. Remember the relationship is inverse (i.e., opposite–when one goes up, the other goes down). On point-and-shoot cameras, you can adjust the F-number with the manual function.
Shutter Speed: Device that controls the exposure time of the photo. The exposure time usually begins at 1/2000 seconds and goes up to 30 seconds. A fast shutter speed is indicated by a smaller amount of exposure time. Thus, a 1/2000 second exposure time is a very quick shutter speed. A 30 second exposure time is a very slow shutter speed. These are some great examples of slow shutter speed photography and fast shutter speed photography.
ISO Speed: ISO speed is the sensitivity of the digital sensor. It is usually expressed with the following numbers: 50 | 100 | 200 | 400 | 800 | 1600 | 3200. These numbers tell you how fast the digital sensor reacts to the light. A small number means that it takes a relatively long time to take a photo, which is helpful in low-light settings and nighttime. Whereas, a large number indicates that is takes a relatively short time to take a photo, which is helpful in sunny conditions.
With point-and-shoot cameras, you don’t really need to worry about the ISO speed, the camera sets it for you. Generally, you want to stay in the low range when you take photos.
Balancing Stops: Since f-numbers and shutter speeds are both measured in stops, keeping balance is easy. If you take away 2 stops from the aperture (f-number), you can give 2 stops back with the shutter speed and end up with the same exposure level.
Resources for Learning Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO Speed
The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the instructions for Blog Post 10 – Video Storytelling.
Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.
Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.
Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.
“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.
Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.
Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?
2. Production (When You’re On-Location)
Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.
Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.
Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.
Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.
Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.
Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.
Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experience with video or unless you have a high-quality video camera. If you decide to use camera movements, see the techniques below:
Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.
Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!
Be Flexible: No matter home much planning you do in pre-production, from deciding who you want to interview to what types of b-roll shots you want, something is bound to not go your way, or the event you’re at will be different than you envisioned. Be willing to change you plan during production based on what is happening at the event in real time.
3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)
Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office), AS 228, and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading a trial version of Adobe Premiere. The IT building has a beautiful Mac computer in the scantron room that has FinalCutPro on it.
Conceptual Editing.You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.
The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.
Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.
Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.
At least 2 sources
At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
Story has a beginning, middle, and end (narrative arc)
Editing is smooth
Video Storytelling for Public Relations, Promotions, and Marketing
Video can be used for a variety of different reasons including journalism, PR, marketing, and advertising, and the way that you edit and shoot a video is a little bit different for each one. In each case you want to be able to tell a complete story.
Journalism: Tell the whole story from all sides. Find opposing arguments for interviews so that viewers can get facts from both sides or multiple sources with different things to say. Add b-roll that is relevant to the story even if it is not the most artsy shot it might be the most informative.
Public Relations: In this case you will probably only be telling the story from one side, the side that the company, department, etc. is on, and you video will likely be positive, factual information about the company, etc. the b-roll shots in this type of video should highlight those positive things that the interviewee is talking about. Example
Promotions: These videos are a lot like advertisements. To make an exciting promotional video, you want eye catching shots, that include whatever it is that you’re promoting. A lot of the time these are artistic shots, or fast pace shots that keep the viewer engaged, and interested. Example
Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes
Example of Promotional Story on a Local Company – Louisa Wilkinson and Taylor Dilts
Example of Journalistic Story on a Non-Event – Hannah Robinson and Esther Seville
Example of a Promotional Story on a Local Band – Kaisha McCutchen and Bianca Coca
Example of Journalistic Approach with No Reporter Narration – Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson
Example of Journalistic Approach With Reporter Narrative – Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson
Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story without Reporter Narration – Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts
Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-event Story without Reporter Narration – Brittany Hamilton and Scottie Melton
Photojournalism is our window to the world around us. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.
The purpose of photojournalism is to capture the people and events that make the news. Photojournalism can supplement a text story or can serve as a stand-alone story.
We remember news stories in images because they are powerful and emotional.
The following categories are defined by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) and included in the Best of Photography competitions. The College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) Awards also use these categories.
Feature (Enterprise): A photograph of a ‘found situation’ that features strong human interest elements, or a fresh view of an everyday scene. A picture that uses humor or focuses on the lighter side of life is well suited for this category. Examples
Portrait: A single photograph that captures a unique aspect of a local figure’s character and personality. Examples
Sports Action: A peak action picture that captures the spirit of a sports competition—either on the part of an individual or an athletic team. Examples
Sports Feature: A sports-related feature picture that depicts the jubilation of victory or the agony of defeat. The event covered should be separate from the game action or outside of the field of play. Examples
General News: Recognizing that much of the daily news coverage is planned in advance, we seek to reward outstanding achievement based on creativity and timing at organized events such as general meetings, promotional events and staged coverage opportunities. Examples
Spot News: An event that is not planned, so the photographer must react on instinct and news judgment. This picture may be of a breaking news event, or a part of issue coverage. Examples
The creative devices tips still apply to photojournalism. Other helpful hints are found below (adapted from Ch. 7 in our book and R. M. Thornburg’s suggestions in Producing Online News).
Have a working camera with you at all times. Recall that AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post photographer, said that the best camera is the camera in your hands.
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.
Take a lot of photos. For every subject, take 10 photos. **I can’t emphasize this enough. Move around and take a lot of photos!**
Act natural. Make yourself comfortable and invisible.
Move around without violating Tip 4.
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 he 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.
According to the President Emeritus of the 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.
Our guest speaker, AAron Ontiveroz, also noted that 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.
Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
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.
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.
While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
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.
Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.
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.
Time magazine made OJ Simpson look more sinister by manipulating the color, burning the corners and shrinking the prisoner ID number on his mugshot. Newsweek did not alter the photo.
While it is great to use a DSLR camera because they produce high-quality photos, you can still capture great photos using your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera.
For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on photography and photojournalism. While it is great to have an expensive digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, it is not necessary for this class. We can still take great photos with our smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras.
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.
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.
Move around to get different angles and perspectives.
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 sunset light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer on skin.
Shooting into the sun will create shadows on your subjects. This creates interesting contrast of color and texture. Alternatively, you could use a flash in order to provide some lighting on your subjects.
A note about your rights and duties as a photographer.
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).
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.**
If people ask why you’re taking photos, explain it is for your class blog and schoolwork.
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 morning. She is a professor of communication and journalism and is in her fifth year at UW.
(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.
Your subjects’ age and job description are optional in your captions.
Blog Post #4: Creative Devices Photography Assignment
Summer Journalism at NYU provides both for an experience you won’t forget. We have a variety of classes for pre-college and college students, and one graduate multimedia production course.
This summer we’ve added three new courses to our already diverse line-up–Sports!, The Profilers, and a classic from our regular academic year, The Beat, with a long-time favorite professor, Frank Flaherty, which runs as a special 9-week course. First session courses start May 26 and second session courses run from July 7 to August 13.
Visit our website for a list of all the courses offered and to find out more about the program. Still have questions? Check out our FAQs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with us on Facebook! Like our page to interact with current and prospective students, ask questions, and to keep up with the latest news about Summer Journalism.
If you are interested in multimedia and would like to study abroad, check out this program. There are opportunities in Ireland, Turkey, Italy, Israel, Spain, and more. Some of these opportunities sound like great experiences!
When you gather audio and photos for a news story, you are making the story more marketable. And as our guest speakers have told us, telling stories in multiple ways makes the story more accessible to your audience. Your story can now be told with images, with sound, or with both. Not only will you have captions for your photos, but you’ll have a voice and ambient noise that compliment the captions.
We’ll be working with Soundslides to combine our audio and photography skills. You’ll be working in groups to get an idea of how to balance everything. It will help to have one person focusing on photography and one person on audio. However, in a future job position, you may to do both tasks, so don’t neglect learning about your partner’s task. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or comments to your partner if you think it will improve the story. At the end of the experience, ask your partner for their advice and tips so that you can excel at the task you didn’t do this time around.
The topic can be on anything! It can be about sports, science, the environment, technology, health, politics, economics, community affairs, the university, or a personality profile.
Basically, you’re doing an audio story with photos. The audio should tell the story in an engaging way and your photos and captions should compliment your audio story. Of course, your audio story should answer the the who, what, where, and when. But, more importantly, your audio should relay information that is compelling and emotional. It should also tell us how and why. It should make us think and feel the story.
Remember that the audience is more forgiving with the photography compared to the audio. If the audio is done poorly with harsh edits and a confusing storyline, then the audience loses interest and forgets about the great photos you have.
The captions should have all the essential information of the photo: who, what, where, and when. A reader should be able to read the captions and understand the basics of the story without listening to the audio.
When you’re on-location and reporting the story, you should consider what to gather first: the audio or the photos. Of course, if you go to report the story with your partner, then you both can get started at the same time. The photographer can take relevant photos while the audio journalist interviews the subject.
However, when you are working alone in the future…
Collect the photos first if:
You think the light is perfect
You think the light will soon fade
You think the subject is quiet and needs to loosen up before the audio interview
You want to get a feel for the subject’s job, hobby, etc. before interviewing them about it.
Collect the audio first if:
You find the subject is nervous about getting their picture taken
The subject is very chatty and is eager to talk with you
The light is not great and you want to wait to see if the light improves
When working alone, you have to accept the fact that you’ll probably miss a great photo while gathering audio, and you’ll likely miss a great quote while gathering photos.
And that’s OK.
More tips to remember for gathering photo and audio together:
Gather more information than you think you need.
If you need to gather a second round of photos, then don’t be afraid to do so. If you need to re-interview the subject after first collecting audio and then taking photos, then don’t afraid to ask for 5 more minutes of their time.
Importance of matching photos with audio.
If you collect a great quote, then be sure to also get supporting photos for the quote. If you collect a great photo, be sure to gather audio from the subject that is related to the photo.
Plan for having one photo for every 7 to 9 seconds of audio.
That will help you determine how many great shots you need while on assignment. Thus, for a 2-minute story, you’ll need about 15 photos on the screen for 8 seconds each. For a 3-minute story, you’ll need about 22 photos. And for a 4-minute story, you’ll need 30 photos. For this assignment, your story needs to be between 2 and 4 minutes.
Keep track of what you shoot and what you record.
If you get a photo of a truck driver starting up his semi, then collect audio of the hum and roar of the semi’s engine. Finally, record the truck driver’s answer to your question of how he copes with the loud noises associated with trucking.
You’ll notice that some of your photos lead to more interview questions and ideas of what kind of audio to collect. You’ll notice that some of your audio and ambient noise lead to more photo ideas.
This blog post was based on MediaStorm’s tips on collecting audio and photos. Check them out for more information.
And please see the Soundslides tutorial on YouTube if you need help with the technology. Here’s another help page for Soundslides as well.
Now that you’ve seen some evidence of what NOT to do, let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop.
Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.
Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.
Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.
Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.
Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.
Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.
Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.
Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.