By Abby Gibbs
Attention all non-photographers and photographers! Always, always, critique your photos. Or ask someone to look at your photos before you send them off into the Web.
At the final critique of the Photo Shoutout competition, I was surprised to see a lot of the same shots, i.e. tons of silhouettes and lots of backs. However, I was glad to see the number of angles my classmates were able to come up with for a 48-hour photo challenge that took place mostly in the rain.
Don’t get me wrong–– silhouettes can be cool as a storytelling aspect. The final photo I voted for (also the class favorite) was a silhouette. Whenever I look at the photo, I love how the stark contrast of the silhouette is distinct from the wooden pillars, which adds to the mood of the story. Also, the worker is doing something, i.e. picking up trash.
It is our job as photojournalists to capture the unexpected, telling the fullest story possible. The other night, I went on a walk to Indiana and captured passengers on a Halloween river cruise frantically waving and bursting with excitement. While the image itself is a little noisy and could be cropped closer, there is a sense of movement.One has to be careful with movement, however. Too much can detract from your subject and little-to-no movement can make an image static. I understand this makes people wary of capturing movement’s fickle nature. But I’m here to tell you that it’s actually pretty easy.
Here’s how you do it.
Like Bradley Wilson, advisor of The Wichitan, I love expression. From stoicism to joy, I find faces to be the most fascinating of any human feature. So why not show that? This is why I can’t understand why a photo where the subject is not facing forward bothers me. Why? It doesn’t tell me anything about the person’s story in the photo.
For reporters, the analogy is simple. In the words of Wilson, “if there’s stuff that doesn’t contribute to it, delete it.”
Much like the editing process for reporters, photos need to be acknowledged with the same degree of tenacity. When seeing an excess of space that doesn’t ‘contribute’ to the photo, crop it. When taking 20 photos of a person, double the number of shots you take and mix up your angles. When shooting, don’t be afraid to interact with your subject to get the entire story. And most of all, always look for the element of your subject that truly defines themselves from another person walking on the street.
It is in these moments, where we can thrive as multimedia journalists. Yay convergence!