Taking Photos

How do we capture a moment?

Award Winning Photos (by students!)

Check out the award winning photos of 2012 from the NSPA- the organization that judges student yearbooks and newspapers from all over the US. Notice how many of them use Fill the Frame. Also notice, you can almost always see the subject’s face, and all the shots are pretty close in.

Preface & Concepts to Know

Open a yearbook, what’s the first thing you look at? The pictures right?

Pictures are THE most important thing.

Photographers normally only keep the top 10% of their shots; so if you’re taking 50, only expect 5 of them to be good enough to be usable, maybe less as you guys are new to this. This isn’t to say that the other shots are terrible. When it comes to making a quality product, we want great, not just good. Takes lots! Fill up the card. Its easier to take more now and be done with it, than to have to come back out.

We’ll be focusing on DepthNegative SpaceBalanceFill the Frame, and to a lesser extent, Unusual Angle for this six weeks. For your first in class and out of class photo assignment, you’ll focus on these. Keep in mind, that when your on assignment, we also need the student’s name, grade, and a quote- for each photo!!

So, what I recommend, when you arrive on location (do this for practice in class too), choose 5 or 6 people who look like they’ll give you some good shots. You’re looking for people who show good emotion, are extra energetic, are interacting with others a lot, etc. Choosing someone because they are your friend doesn’t count. The editors and I will veto pictures if we’re seeing the same people over and over again in the book. We need to try to include as much of the school in the book as possible, not exclude people just because they aren’t our best buds.

Sports or athletics, focus on those who have the ball a lot. Clubs, focus on students who seem to be helping a lot of the other students. Class, focus on students who seem very involved and into the work. Lunch/Student Life focus on students who are very social and are interacting with others. The goal isn’t just to capture the student, but to capture their interaction with whatever they are doing or whomever they are with.

Focus on the five or six people who look like they’ll give you the best shots. Don’t just take a bunch of shots of them all at once. Instead, go back and forth between different people, as time progresses, this also allows you to capture different moments of these individuals. Try to take 2 pictures of each individual using the different techniques (Depth, Negative Space, Balance, Fill the Frame) and 1 picture of each individual using Unusual Angle. Being a photographer requires a lot of on-the-spot thinking, and the ability to read the situation, find the best angles, and take the best shots you can. Don’t bother with posed shots. The only reason you should take a posed shot is to get the people posing to stop posing so you can get pictures of them actually doing whatever they are doing.

If you really think you’re done before the festivity is done, then look over your images on the LCD screen. If you’re seeing quite a few you’re not sure about, then take more.

Don’t even use the delete option when you’re on a shoot, if anything, it just eats up the camera’s battery life and could cause you end up missing another potential shot. Some of my favorite shots have been those I considered deleting, and I’ve missed plenty of other potential good shots because I was too busy evaluating shots on the camera instead of paying attention to my surroundings. You’ll need to capture pictures out of class at least twice each six weeks (only once this six weeks, since the six weeks is halfway through).

It’s also important that you know how to tweak or adjust photos in Photoshop & Lightroom. Use Photoshop Levelup if you’re new to Photoshop (or are really rusty). Choose one to focus on for now, and then you’ll focus on the next one next six weeks. I’ll want to see your before and after works. Most important things to know how to fix:

  • Red Eye
  • Reduce Noise
  • Adjust Color Balance
  • Adjust Exposure
  • Adjust Saturation
  • Removing Blemishes or other distracting elements
  • Straightening Images (Don’t crop, we can crop in the software!)
  • Control focus with blur and saturation

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This entry was posted in YB.

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