ASSIGNMENT: The Portfolio

Your final portfolio is due on eLC by 12 noon on Wednesday, May 8. That is an absolute deadline – at noon, eLC will stop taking in work, even if you have started the upload before then it has to be finished by then. Please do not tempt fate on that day – get your portfolio in early.

Your portfolio is ten images that you made this semester, fully captioned, cropped and appropriately toned. They should show a variety of image types (long, medium, closeup, portrait, news, feature, etc.) to demonstrate the competencies you have mastered. Look for great light, good moments, clean compositions and storytelling.

That last part – storytelling – means a lot. It also means images without stories don’t belong here, so nothing from the Nouns & Verbs, 36 Faces or Depth of Field assignments.

You may have packages of 2-3 photos from the same subject (each image will be considered as one image), but those photos need to work as a package. You can use images from your multimedia project so long as they are not the same or substantially similar.

Do not, under any circumstances, submit images that bring your ethics into question. No friends, no family members, no fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, no one from clubs, churches or other organizations you’re a part of. An image with a provable conflict of interest issue will result in a grade of zero.

To submit, create a folder titled LastName_portfolio and inside that put your ten images plus the final version of your multimedia project, compress it and upload it.

Things to watch out for …

  • Not saving files as true JPGs – We’ve seen many images come in as Photoshop (.psd) or raw files, make sure you are doing a Save As out of Photoshop and setting the Format pull down to JPG. Just changing the extension will not work. Images not saved as a JPG will not be accepted.
  • Errors on your captions – Have someone proofread your captions. Refer back to the handout from earlier this semester, all you need is two sentences, to style, with your credit info and their contact info properly formatted. This is a bad place to be giving up points.
  • Having your caption in the wrong field – In the Adobe software, your caption goes in the Description box. Don’t put it in the Keywords field as that will be considered a missing caption.
  • Not properly naming your images – Double check to make sure the coding is right: six digit date code, your initials, story or assignment name, sequence number. We’re still seeing some images coming in with camera-assigned or improperly formatted file names. Improperly named files won’t be accepted.
  • Not having ten images – Silly, but it happens.
  • Turning in images that are not sharp – By now, you should be able to recognize an image that is sharp or not sharp. Look for fine detail, if it isn’t there it isn’t sharp.
  • Turning in images that are not properly exposed – Same thing, if it’s significantly under or over exposed, it doesn’t belong in your portfolio.

I’ll be around most of this week and next, if you want me to look at some work drop me a note and we’ll find a time to do that.

ASSIGNMENT: Multimedia

For this assignment, you need to produce an audio slideshow that is 90-120 seconds in length. This project should bring everything you have learned together in one portfolio quality story. This is due on eLC by 12 noon on April 23.

Every image should be technically flawless – sharp, properly exposed and with good color rendering. Every image should be exceptionally well controlled – a dynamic composition with great background and edge control. And every image should add some level of knowledge to the viewer’s understanding.

The audio should be clean (think carefully about where you interview) and have some natural sounds layered in.

You need to choose a person to profile – think about someone who is newsworthy, who does something visual and who exists in good light. (I can’t stress this enough: don’t torture yourself with fighting low light situations. Don’t choose the night watchman, don’t choose the early morning chef at your favorite diner. We won’t care how amazing her story is if all your images are a wreck.)

On your first visit, pay attention to who they are and why they do the thing they do. Look for interactions, look for details. Start thinking about what your story is, what are the key elements.

On your second visit, plan on doing your interview. Find a quiet place to record – that may not be where they work. Sketch out in your head the questions you want to ask them. Remember to be flexible – if you come in with seven questions written down and stick to those seven, you might miss a great opportunity to tell a story.

After listening to your interview, start thinking about how the audio will be sequenced together – do you have visuals to match what they say?

The third visit should be to round out your photos and collect the nat sound pops that will add life to your story.

Once you have all that done, edit your audio. Use the videos and handouts on the Tutorials page, I’ll answer questions if I can. Once the audio is exported, start getting your images together. Crop and tone them in Photoshop, saving them into one folder (preferably the folder with your exported audio).

Once they’re done, you’re ready to get into Premiere and build your audio slideshow. Again, the Tutorials page has videos and a handout.

Build it, tweak it and export it. It’s due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, April 23.

Warnings: Based off of past classes, these are the things that hurt:

  • Waiting to decide – if you delay, your options on subject matter narrow and you end up trying to force a bad idea
  • Waiting to start – if you delay, you won’t have the images you need
  • Waiting to record – if you delay, they may not be available
  • Waiting to start production – as a general rule, a minute of audio will take you an hour of editing; video production will take longer
  • Waiting to export – video rendering takes a long time unless you have a high end computer, do not wait until deadline day to do this
  • Waiting to upload – your internet connection is not that fast, this will be a big file, akin to the size of Nouns and Verbs. Plan on uploading the night before at the absolute latest.

Happy to answer questions as they arise, but be aware I may take some time – I won’t be answering emails at 3 a.m. on deadline day. (Unless something has really gone wrong in my life … which is possible.)

ASSIGNMENT: Multimedia and Check In

Choose a person to profile. Think about who has an interesting story, one that involves visual interactions, preferably in good light.

You want to make sure you have the ability to go back to them to add to your visual report. Do not chose an event or someone about to embark on a journey – you’ll need to make 3-5 visits would be my estimation.

Think about visual variety constantly. What does the space they exist in look like? How do they interact with that space? Look for relationships – the best images in the Smith Country Doctor story are the ones of him interacting with the patients. You will need some details, as well – your final story will be 90-120 seconds long so you’ll need 15-20 photos total.

Start listening as you document.

Start the process. Don’t delay – shallowness shows.

April 14 will be the first check-in, April 23 is the final deadline.

Finishing Out

Alright, here’s the schedule and deadlines for the remainder of the semester:

  • Tuesday, April 9 – Event, Second Try is due at 12 noon
  • Wednesday, April 10 – Copyright and Business Practices (please prepare yourself psychologically, this can be a rough day)
  • Sunday, April 14 – Multimedia Checkin (3-5 images from your story, to make sure you’re making progress and have something you’ll succeed at) due at 10 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 16 – Features are due at 12 noon
  • Wednesday, April 17 – Review second round of Events and Features in class; discuss the Portfolio
  • Tuesday, April 23 – Multimedia Story is due at 12 noon
  • Wednesday, April 24 – Review Multimedia Story in class, say our farewells
  • Wednesday, May 8 – Final Portfolio is due at 12 noon

Questions, comments, concerns? Send them along.

ASSIGNMENT: Features

Johnson Mark 024

Two feature photos, due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, April 16.

Look for a great moment, a telling slice-of-life image that speaks to what living, studying or working on the UGA campus or other area is like. This is to be a found moment – meaning it’s not from a scheduled or regularly occurring event. This is why you carry your camera everywhere, waiting for those little moments that makes us feel our world a little more.

Light matters: use a different type of light in each photo (hard, soft or, perhaps, diffused). Moments matter, relationships matter, story matters.

To get a sense of where the industry thinks we are with features, you can look at results from the NPPA Monthly Clip Contest.

I promised you more on Dave LaBelle, so here are all of the videos on him that Francis Gardler did:

Wait until you get to Chapter 2 … powerful stuff.

Now that you’ve fallen for him (everyone does, it’s okay to admit it), head over to order your own copy of The Great Picture Hunt 2. It truly is the greatest community journalism book.

He has also now published a novel about his mother, it’s with me on this trip.

ASSIGNMENT: Event Coverage

Due on eLC by 12 noon on Tuesday, March 19, is a package of three to five images. The images can come from either a calendared news event or be related to an ongoing issue in the community.

The event or issue needs to be something the community must know about, something that will empower them to make decisions about their community.

You should be reading the local news publications (the Athens Banner-Herald, the Red & Black) and listening to local news media (WUGA) to know what’s happening in the community, that will help inform you and guide you to a newsworthy topic. You can also cover this wherever you are over spring break, we’re not going to be fussy about geogrpahic location.

How else could you handle this crosswalk safety story?

At The New York Times, George Etheridge has a nice package of photos about a food cart operator who is trying to connect with high school kids. This goes beyond just a food story.

Even better is this Caitlin Ochs (and others) piece about what makes a New York City kid – this gets to who kids are and how they see themselves in society.

Think about what’s going on locally – concerns about decisions being made in Washington, access to local politicians, building and grounds maintenance as the winter months end, the impact of construction projects on students or local residents. The UGA calendar is full of things that can work.

What Do We Lose? And a Deadline Change

We had some discussion at the end of today’s class about being a staff photojournalist, mostly from the point of being a staff photojournalist. There’s another side to that equation, though – how does the loss of photojournalists impact communities?

There’s been some research on that, studying the types of images that were published by the Middleton, N.Y., Times Herald-Record from before and after they laid off their photography staff.

In looking at the weather, I’m not confident extending through the weekend will make a huge difference, but I’m going to extend the 36 Faces deadline to Sunday at 8 p.m. You may need to scramble during breaks in the weather.

ASSIGNMENT: Depth of Field and Lens Compression

130903 mej lights 0050

Four photographs with the same composition, altering the focal length and the aperture as follows:

  • Widest focal length, widest aperture (~ f/3.5)
  • Widest focal length, aperture between f/11-f/22
  • Longest focal length, widest aperture (~ f/4.5-5.6)
  • Longest focal length, aperture between f/11-f/22

In the wide angle images, you need to have a primary subject within four feet of the camera. (Generally speaking, in a horizontal image, your primary subject would be shown from their waist to just above their head.) If you don’t, you may not see the full effect of lens expansion and compression. Remember that you need to physically move yourself between the first two and the second two so the primary subject stays the same size in all four images.

Captions count, don’t forget to collect that information while you are making the images.

Due on eLC as a compressed (zipped) file by 12 noon on Friday, February 22. Full resolution (no need to run through the resizing routine), full captions and the captions will be identical on all four.

If you’re still struggling with the effects of aperture and shutter speed, take a look at this Canon simulator – you can play with ISO, aperture and shutter speed to see the effects.

I have a podcast I’d like you to listen to, this one from Rob Rosenthal’s HowSound series. Rosenthal works for Transom, an organization dedicated to making better radio stories. He travels around the country doing week-long workshops that are insanely good – we’ve hosted them twice and, hopefully, will again next summer.

He is brilliant and comical and self-deprecating and insightful … I’m a fanboy, I’ll admit it.

He reached out to ask podcaster Ashley Ahern an uncomfortable question – about her appearance. Go listen.

And if you’re interested in audio storytelling, from public radio to podcasting, Transom.org is the place to start. The tutorials, the gear reviews and Rosenthal’s HowSound podcast are musts as you move forward.

Questions? Send them along, as always.

ASSIGNMENT: 36 Faces

Your next shooting assignment: 36 Faces. For this, you need to make mug shots (top of the head to the top of the shoulders, all verticals and filling the frame with them looking right into the lens) of 36 people you do not know. For each person you need their name, age, hometown, major or job title and one piece of contact information for them (phone number or email address).

You’ll break these into groups as follows:

  • The first 12 are to be shot at the telephoto end of your zoom (the highest magnification, somewhere between 55 mm and 85 mm usually). Four of them should be shot in bright sun, four in open shade and four adjacent to a window.
  • The next 12 are to be shot in the middle of your zoom lens range. Four of them should be shot in bright sun, four in open shade and four adjacent to a window.
  • The last 12 are to be shot at the wide angle end of your zoom lens – and, yes, you will be very, very close to your subjects. Four of them should be shot in bright sun, four in open shade and four adjacent to a window. (And, yes, that is going to put you very, very close to them. That’s the point.)

These are due on eLC, in one zipped folder (you won’t have to resize them) by 12 noon on Friday, February 8. Budget your time accordingly – while you will not be cropping these images, you will need to write captions for every one of them.

I’ve created a downloadable PDF you can fill out as you go along to simplify your life.

In class, I mentioned this Amy Cuddy video on how to boost your confidence – it’s well worth the 20 minutes.

As always, tell me how I can help.