Photo 2: A photo story

You have two weeks to complete this assignment. That means (in part) that my expectations are high, and grading will be strict and tough. (MuahaHA!) Seriously, you are expected to use the time given to come up with a good story, an interesting story — a truly visual story — and produce very good photos to tell it.

You can also use the extended time to discuss story ideas with me. Or reshoot everything if your first try comes out terrible. Or scrap your original idea and do it all over again. Thus, I have high expectations that you WILL be able to do a good job!

First, make sure you understand what a photo story is. We discussed it in class today, but also, Kobré’s chapter 11 should make perfectly clear what a good photo story consists of. One huge hint: PEOPLE. Stories are about PEOPLE.

Forbidden topics

FOUR (4) story topics are forbidden: (1) animal shelters/animal rescue; (2) homeless people; (3) anything involving “tabling” (ask me if you don’t know what this means); (4) anything about Krishna LunchRead more of this post


WordPress photo gallery example

To create a photo gallery in a WordPress blog post, use the Add Media button while you in the post editor. An overlay will open. In the upper left corner of the overlay, click “Create Gallery.”

Here’s a gallery (it is NOT a photo story):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First you upload your images via the WordPress “Add Media” overlay. Then you create the gallery. Under GALLERY SETTINGS, choose “Link To: None” and “Type: Slideshow.”

You can see these photos and five more in this Dropbox photo album.

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

Blog post 13: Photo stories

The National Press Photographers Association has a monthly contest for its members. Looking at the winners in the “Feature/Multiple Picture” category is a great way to learn more about telling a story visually.

This is one of those assignments where you will select one item and write about it. Please dig around and try to find a photo story that really appeals to YOU. I won’t ask you you to post your selected story in advance, but please make an effort to choose one that no one else has written about.

To view the winners and choose one story:

  1. First go to the 2013 winners page and select any link there (R1, R2, etc., stand for regions of North America).
  2. From the region page, select any month.
  3. On the month page, open the link for “Feature/Multiple Picture.” Only this category contains photo stories.
  4. Choose a photo story to write about.

Read more of this post

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. Read more of this post

Blog post 11: Your camera

In this post you have creative freedom to write about your relationship with your camera.

Include a photo of your camera in the post, and make sure the photo is as wide as the text of your post. No tiny pictures!

Make it personal. Write for an audience of professional journalists. Write in your own voice, as a student. Read more of this post

Blog post 10: Reading assignment

In this blog post, publish your notes from Kobré, chapter 1 (and page vi), and chapter 15. Your notes must appear in the form of two (2) numbered lists, one for each chapter. Write a brief statement above each list to explain or summarize that list.

The goal is for you to highlight or capture the ideas or information that resonated most strongly with you, in a format that other people might find interesting to read.

The list is not meant to represent everything in the chapter. It should represent what was most meaningful to YOU. Thus each student’s list will be different.

Please approach the reading with an open mind, with an attitude that there is much of use to be learned from this book. That’s why I assigned it — I think it’s well written and has wonderful examples. Read more of this post

Blog post 9: Exploring a photographer’s vision

"View Photo Details" For this assignment, you will choose one “Featured Essay” at the Magnum Photos site. You will read the text and view all the photos in the essay slideshow.

No two students may write about the same essay. So, as soon as you decide which essay you want to write about, REPLY TO THIS POST and write the title of the essay and ALSO use the complete URL that points directly to that essay to make that title a LINK. If you are first, you can write about that one. If someone else named that essay first, then you must choose another.

For example:

2012 Egyptian Presidential Election
Read more of this post

Resources for Soundslides

Download and install the free demo version of Soundslides Plus for Mac.

Instructions (PDF): How to upload a Soundslides to Dropbox

Instructions for beginners: Soundslides: A Brief Introduction

See examples of Soundslides stories.

Tips for type of story, audio timing, captions, etc.:


Soundslides stories are great with a combination of natural sound and interviews. For tips on multitrack editing with Audacity, download this PDF.


Audio and photo story

The point of this assignment is for you to combine still photos and audio to create an interesting story. A true story, of course.

An audio slideshow is really a lot different from video, and that’s why the requirement is to use stills. The pace is different — the gathering of the assets is different. You can show a lot of variety and evoke a lot of feelings with a slideshow, allowing the viewer to just experience the frozen moment in each image.

However, it’s very important not to leave any image hanging there too long. A rule of thumb is to allow no more than 5 seconds for any one photo. (See more slideshow storytelling tips.)

The readings for weeks 11 and 12 should give you plenty to think about in the story you choose and how you capture it. You’ll see some examples in class. Read more of this post

Examples of photo stories

Here are good examples of recent still-photo stories to supplement chapter 11 in Kobré:

Unlike most photo stories, the fourth example listed above was all shot in one day. Photo stories often result from days, weeks, months, or even years of work by the photographer. Many award-winning photo stories are shot in war zones or at the scene of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake.

As Kobré notes, photo stories often center on a trend or issue. “A picture story has a theme” (p. 232).

Not only are the individual pictures in the story about one subject, but they also help to support one central point. (Kobré, 2008, p. 232)

A typical student cannot make a photo story about a war or a natural disaster, but that doesn’t rule out the potential for creating a good photo story. Kobré offers a lot of great examples that students can be inspired by.

Above all, a photo story should engage the audience either (1) by showing familiar things in a new light, in a way people haven’t considered before, or (2) by showing something unusual, events or activities people would not normally have access to.

A failed photo story would be showing something many people will have already seen, and showing it in a way that’s not original or out of the ordinary.

The worst photo story I’ve seen was a student effort about the life of a medical student. The problem was that all the photos showed that one student not really doing much of anything: reading a book, working at her computer, microwaving her dinner. There was no insight in the images, nothing original, nothing to raise any new ideas in anyone’s mind.

Is it impossible to make a good photo story from that theme? Maybe not impossible, but the images would need to be very, very special for that theme to be engaging to an audience.

“The life of a medical student” also fails the test presented by Kobré on page 232: “[T]he pictures don’t add up to a story. They remain the photographer’s observations without a story line or central message.”