Behind the Lens of a Veteran Photojournalist: How to Tell More Compelling Stories Using Photos


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Resource Media takes you behind the lens with our very own veteran photojournalist and show you how to take better pictures to create compelling and persuasive stories. The adventure begins with storytelling basics and builds on how photos can enhance communications with your key supporters. We will share insights on recommended tools, composition tips and picture-taking techniques that you’ll need to turn your snapshots into convincing stories.

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Behind the Lens of a Veteran Photojournalist: How to Tell More Compelling Stories Using Photos

  1. 1. Storytelling through Photos April 13, 2010
  2. 2. 1 About Resource Media
  3. 3. Communications Strategy Media Outreach Campaigns Environmental Policy Focus
  4. 4. San Francisco Seattle Boulder Kalispell Sacramento 30 Staff 9 Offices Bozeman Portland Salt Lake City Anchorage
  5. 5. Overview: 2 Storytelling Basics Strategic Communications Taking Better Photos Sharing
  6. 6. Why do we tell stories? “Once upon a time…” “There was once a…” “A funny thing happened to me today…”
  7. 7. What makes a good story? Protagonist Mission Tension Resolution
  8. 8. Create a Lasting Impression Sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, New York City on Aug. 14, 1945, vs. following the announcement of V---J Day. By Alfred Eisenstaedt
  9. 9. Communicate by showing, not telling =
  10. 10. Be Strategic Where do you want to go? How will this story and these images get us there?
  11. 11. Know your Audience •  Which audiences do you want to reach with these stories? Why? •  What do you want those audiences to do? •  What will move them to act?
  12. 12. What moves your audience? •  What do you want them to do? •  What will move them to act? •  Appeal to their values By Eric Hurt
  13. 13. Camera Controls 3 The Photo Story Compositional Techniques Advice from the Pros Editing & Cropping
  14. 14. Shutter Speed: Controls how long the exposure lasts Picture a stage curtain: The longer the curtain is open, the more the actors are exposed
  15. 15. Shutter Speed Affects: Action Fast shutter speed Slow shutter speed
  16. 16. Aperture: Controls how big a hole the light goes through Picture a culvert: The bigger the culvert, the more water gets through
  17. 17. Aperture Affects: Large Aperture Depth of field Small Aperture
  18. 18. Landscape: Both foreground and background are in focus
  19. 19. Action: Fast shutter speed to freeze motion
  20. 20. Portrait: Only foreground in focus, background soft
  21. 21. Macro: Allows super close-ups
  22. 22. Nighttime Long exposure, followed by a flash
  23. 23. The Photo Story •  Wide shot --- sets the scene •  Medium shot – the main action •  Tight shot – a detail By: W. Eugene Smith
  24. 24. The Photo Story: •  Wide shot --- sets the scene
  25. 25. The Photo Story: •  Medium shot – the main action
  26. 26. The Photo Story: •  Tight shot – a detail
  27. 27. Photo story: The Green River Clockwise from top left: scene-setter, main action, detail
  28. 28. Example: Photo story, EarthCorps Counter-clockwise from top: scene-setter, main action, detail
  29. 29. Show the world how you see it Compositional techniques: •  The decisive moment •  Fill the frame •  Perspective
  30. 30. “The Decisive Moment” "There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” -- Cardinal de Retz, circa 1650
  31. 31. “The Decisive Moment” •  Set up your “architecture” and pounce •  Look for patterns and rhythms and anticipate Henri Cartier-Bresson
  32. 32. “The Decisive Moment” Which one is more compelling? By Thomas E. Franklin
  33. 33. Fill the Frame Think about what you leave in… …and what you leave out.
  34. 34. Fill the frame—without distractions Shish Kebab Amputated Background Clutter
  35. 35. Perspective Which one is more interesting?
  36. 36. Advice from the pros: “If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” - Robert Capa, killed by stepping on a mine
  37. 37. How many pictures should I take? Ask a National Geographic photographer: During seven weeks of shooting my recent story on wildfires, published in July 2008, I shot...12,000 images. National Geographic staff photographer Mark Thiessen
  38. 38. Editing You’re only as good as your worst photo Which one is best?
  39. 39. Cropping How would you crop this?
  40. 40. Cropping A decisive moment, filling the frame, with no distractions
  41. 41. Some “Don’ts” Don’t… • …be afraid to get close to your subjects. • …only shoot posed photos. • …put all your photos online – edit! • …make people stand with their backs against a wall for a headshot, blasting them with a flash. • …use your flash unless you have to – Mother Nature’s light it better.
  42. 42. •  Set your camera for the shot you’re trying to get (e.g., action, portrait, landscape, etc.) •  Remember the three elements of a photo story and seek Photo out shots that fulfill each element recap: •  Fill the frame with important stuff; leave out stuff that isn’t •  Look for candid, decisive moments •  Shoot a lot, but edit tightly, only showing your best work
  43. 43. Storytelling recap: Think about your audience •  What story do they need to hear? Who’s the hero? •  Personalize their story What’s the mission? •  Make it relatable Where’s the tension? •  Make it real Do you have a solution? •  Show it!
  44. 44. 4 Sharing
  45. 45. Getting the word out What avenues would be most effective in reaching my target audience? What tools are available, as audiences and objectives change?
  46. 46. S h a r e
  47. 47. Some tools for your toolbox
  48. 48. Blogs - Most bloggers don’t have the budget to pay for photos. - Always provide them with the correct attribution and a caption. - Don’t send an attachment.
  49. 49. Pitching the media Timing is key—they want to see the action Ensure access to people and places Pay attention to photo credits Describe the photo opp. in the media advisory
  50. 50. Reuse & Recycle …Your Content!
  51. 51. Remember your goal and your •  audience •  Be purposeful with your photos In Conclusion… o Get close to your subjects (physically and emotionally) You’re only as good as your o  worst photo • Appeal to your audiences’ values Your photos aren’t good if no •  one can see them, so share.
  52. 52. Contact Information: Sian Wu: Matt Brashears: Resource Media 159 Western Ave. W., Ste. 480 Seattle, WA 98119 206-374-7795