Not many, but some. While rooting around for something else I found a yellowed sheet of paper I must have been handed in grad school by my mentor, Prof. David Sutherland. And so I share it with you …
ARE YOU THINKING PICTURES?
Questions to keep in mind:
- Does the photo communicate quicker, stronger, better or more eloquently than a simple sentence could describe?
- Does the photo have visual content or stop short at story elevation?
- Does the photo go beyond the trite and the obvious?
- Does the photo contain essential information to help the reader understand the story?
- Does the photo have enough impact to move the reader?
- Is the photo clean, interesting and well-composed enough to stand on its own?
- Does the caption information answer who, what, when, where and why, along with other required information (e.g. age and hometown)?
- Are both the photo and the caption information objective and accurate accounts of what happened?
- Is the photo mindless documentation?
- Does the photo communicate effectively? Photos should either move, excite, entertain, inform or help the reader understand a story.
(Adapted from The Columbus Dispatch)
There’s some very good stuff in there, things we don’t think about as much as we should some days. And this isn’t just for shooters – editors and managers should pay attention to the “mindless documentation” that’s being heralded as “citizen journalism.” Information is good, context is better.