Journalism Next: Chapter 6

February 21, 2012

Digital cameras provide convenience and portability with the ability to capture photos, review, upload, edit and share on the Web in a matter of minutes.

Photos are made of pixels, a visual representation of data in a digital image. Photo resolution measures the number of pixels in an image. High-resolution images should be compressed for online publication.

The two major classifications of cameras are point-and-shoot and DSLR

  • Point-and-shoot cameras are more affordable, simple and compact with a built in lens and flash
  • DSLR or digital single-lens reflex cameras capture better images but are more complex and expensive, with an additional cost for lenses or flash capabilities

When operating a camera, it is important to be familiarized with basic camera functions such as different camera modes, zoom, flash and view/delete function.

Craig Sailor, former photo editor at The Olympian and The News Tribune shares the following tips on how to take a good photo:

  • Be steady when shooting
  • Fill the frame and don’t leave excessive headroom
  • Focus on one thing
  • Get closer or move around to capture the right angle
  • Shoot action, not poses

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Lighting is critical when taking a photo. Natural light works best but do not shoot in bright sunlight environment
  • Avoid flash or a strong backlight when doing a head shot. Choose a neutral background (dark over light).
  • The more photographs you take, the more chances you have to get the best picture.
  • Do not manipulate images that will mislead or alter the context of a photo.
  • Manage and organize photos by creating a master folder and subfolders.
  • When naming a photo, change generic file names to something recognizable such as the date and subject of the photo.
  • Use underscores to separate words instead of spaces when naming a photo.

Editing: Always edit a copy of the original photo. Basic editing functions include cropping, resizing, modifying resolution and adjusting the tone, contrast and brightness to enhance quality. When editing photos, ask which image can best communicate the message of the topic. iPhoto for Mac and Windows Photo Gallery for PC are free and provide basic editing functions.

Publishing: The size of a photo matters. Therefore, know the maximum possible width in pixels for display on a blog. Sizes should vary among photos. It is important to use the largest display size for the most important photo.

Slide shows: Slide shows represent a story you are telling and should contain at least 10 quality photos. Photos should be organized in a compelling and logical manner to build the story. An effective slide show should utilize captions, have effective transitions, an attention-grabbing opening, logical progression and an ending which concludes the entire show. Slide shows are created best with software such as Photoshop Elements or Soundslides for audio slide shows.

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