Photo 1: Practice photographing people indoors

IMPORTANT: All photos submitted for this assignment must be shot between Wednesday morning (Sept. 25) and Monday (Sept. 30) at midnight. Photos must NOT be edited in any way before uploading EXCEPT resizing.

The ability to deliver good images from a variety of real-life situations — this is useful in many journalism jobs.

Almost every digital camera has a variety of settings that will enable you to capture good, clear, usable shots indoors. Learning how to use these settings to get the best results will require you to PRACTICE with your camera.

When you own your camera, and you use it again and again, making hundreds (and then thousands) of shots, you will gradually become good at making the right decisions about these settings. This is necessary if you are going to become a person who can get a good picture fast, when maybe you have only one chance.

Avoiding flash: Indoors, it’s often impractical to use flash.

With point-and-shoot cameras, using flash is almost always a bad choice. Professionals often avoid using flash even with their high-end DSLRs. (Read this for more about flash. NOTE: The tips in that article are great for ALL CAMERAS. Highly recommended.)

Okay, enough preamble. The goal of this assignment is for you to practice — really take your time and PRACTICE — with your camera. Read the manual, use the “manual” setting (not auto, and not “P” if your camera has that), and try out some “scene” settings too.

Number of locations: 3 (required)

  1. All three locations MUST be indoors. They must be VERY DIFFERENT settings — for example, a large lecture hall, a church, a restaurant. You must NOT use more than one restaurant, for example, or more than one classroom.
  2. NO location can be inside an apartment or a house or a dorm. All locations must be public spaces.
  3. Two of the three locations must be OFF CAMPUS.
  4. Photos are not permitted in some locations. Don’t break any laws. Ask if you are not certain.

Warning: Music venues are usually REALLY dark. You can try to shoot in one music venue, but your results might be poor.

Subject(s) of all photos: People (required)

  1. Every photo must have a person, or a few people, as the focus or main subject.
  2. No “standing and grinning at the camera” people. Those do NOT look like professional work. They look like snapshots — horribly amateur. However, portrait shots are okay. Look it up in Kobré if you don’t understand what I mean by “a portrait.”
  3. At least 50 percent of your photos must NOT BE POSED. Therefore, not portraits.
  4. The face of at least one person must be clearly visible in EVERY photo. No exceptions.
  5. If the person (from top to bottom) takes up less than 75 percent of the total height of the image, you are TOO FAR away from the person!

You may do either medium shots or full body, head to toe. Close-ups are also okay.

Here is an example of a portrait, but the person is too far away (she takes up about 60 percent of the height). Get closer!

NO FLASH (required)

It is an unbreakable rule of this assignment: No flash, not even once.

Horizontal, not vertical

Computer screens are horizontal. Video is horizontal. Get used to KEEPING the camera in its horizontal (landscape) aspect — NOT vertical.

For this assignment, I’ll allow five (5) vertical images in your final set of 30. Points will be deducted if there are more than five.

Number of photos: Shoot at least 10 at each location (required)

Use several different camera settings. Review the image after each shot. Try to figure out what to do to get a better shot on the next attempt. (Maybe where you are standing is a bad place because of the kind of light in the room.)

The 10 (or more) shots from one location can be similar — they can have the same person/people in them. The point is to use all the settings of your camera to try to get the best, most professional looking, most natural, most journalistic shot you can get under the conditions that are present. KEEP TRYING until you get a truly good shot.

“Good” applies to the light, the composition, the clarity, AND your subject!

Submitting the assignment

Use Dropbox to create ONE new photo album for this assignment.

Requirements for the album:

  1. Put exactly 30 photos in the album.
  2. Include exactly 10 photos from each of your three locations.
  3. Resize each photo before you copy it into the album.
  4. Save each resized image as a HIGH quality JPG (only the JPG format is permitted).
  5. DO NOT edit or change any photo in any other way. Resizing is the only change permitted.

If you do not already have a Dropbox account, make one (it’s free).

Here are instructions: How to Create and Share a Dropbox Photo Album

Get the LINK as shown in the instructions. Paste that link HERE, as a comment on this blog post.

INCLUDE TEXT WITH YOUR LINK in your comment here. The text must list the three locations, e.g., restaurant, lecture hall, bookstore.


Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m.

Your reply posted here must be submitted before 09:00:00 in order to receive credit.


About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

10 Responses to Photo 1: Practice photographing people indoors

  1. One student asked about the image quality of the 10 photos from one location.

    If you’re trying new settings, some images might be rather poor. That’s to be expected. I would expect at least three images in the set of 10 to be of good or excellent quality.

    If they are ALL good but all somewhat different (lighter, darker, whatever), that’s okay. I would say just choose your 10 best from each location, but I understand that the word “best” makes you not want to include a totally blurry one, or a totally dark one. So let’s say “the 10 shots you think best represent your experience, including the best images you got.”

  2. Qianwen Zhang says:

    Coffee shop/hamburger, barber shop/beauty counter/tattoo shop, library

  3. Yaru Chen says:

    Village commons room/ oaks mall/ lecture hall

  4. Kelly says:

    Reitz Union, Pofahl Ballet Studio, Gainesville Regional Airport

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