The November Monthly Project
Welcome to the November installment of the monthly project series: Advancing Photography. This month’s guest instructor is photographer Jackie DiBenedetto, who joins us for a project about everyday photojournalism.
Remember to continue to apply the skills we have practiced in previous monthly projects. Honing these skills will elevate your work.
About the project series: Advancing Photography
Advancing Photography (AP) is a series of monthly articles on photo.net that explores various topics of photographic practice. Each new project will provide the following for context, information, and background, if appropriate:
– A short insight into a key photographic concept
– Several illustrative examples
– A few links to important historical imagery that demonstrate the concepts
– An exercise to help refine your understanding of the concepts
– An invitation to then add your photos to the bottom of the thread (similar to the No Words Forum format)
At the end of each month, the guest instructor will select the best execution of the project. That photographer will receive a large canvas print of their image from CanvasPop (value not to exceed $100).
We hope that you’ll explore these activities and consider posting your images to share how you applied the article’s ideas and principles. The goal of the AP series is to provide information and exercises to advance and hone your photographic skills.
Note: Canvas print size may be limited to resolution provided unless photographer can send higher resolution upon notification of selection. Alternatively, photo.net may opt to provide a gift card to our fulfillment partner CanvasPop to upload directly to their site. Additional terms and conditions apply.
by Jackie DiBenedetto
Photojournalism is the process of documenting a story or event with your camera. Often we tend to think of it in terms of exotic locations or extreme stories, but in reality photojournalists are everywhere! They’re photographing local marathons and taking pictures of the most recent lunar event. Photojournalism is also a really ideal way to practice any style of photography you’re interested in. Overall, the keys to any good photo are timing, frame, patience, and luck. These requirements are heightened in photojournalism, which makes it an excellent test case. Additionally, photojournalism allows you to focus on whatever type of story that interests you or whatever angle you’d like to use to express that story.
The most important rule of photojournalism is to avoid tampering with the story. A true photojournalist tells the story that’s there. This means no photoshopping an image, moving items in the photo around, and so on. Simply, you cannot do anything to tamper with the validity of the story.
However, you can play with your own camera settings, positioning, shooting times, angles, etc. to make the snapshot a work of art! Thinking about your own positioning and camera frame is incredibly important in photojournalism as it can help convey a stronger message. Think about not just how you stand but where you stand. You’ll want to scope out your setting for the best overall backdrop and then move around to find the best action to fill your frame.
You can see in the images below that the first image offers a general shot of the event I photographed. The frame shows the nature of the event and the activity involved. The second image of the same event dives in to get a photo that evokes a more personal feeling of involvement.
When thinking about telling a story, you shouldn’t only be considering the big picture or the people involved. What kind of detail shots can help you convey your message? After the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013, there was an eerily empty and silenced yet strong feeling in the city. Photos of empty streets, powerful protesting, and symbols of support help to convey this feeling without ever saying outright what they are in reference to.
Similarly, in the following pictures from last Veterans Day (2014), I photographed soldiers visiting a cemetery as part of a ceremonial event to honor their fallen comrades. In an effort to respect the reverence of the event and the privacy of the individuals, I focused images on the details rather than the soldiers’ faces. Oftentimes these detailed, slightly more vague images capture more of a story than the faces ever could.
This month, get out there for any local event or general story you’re interested in! Put your creative side to work without the added cushion of photo editing software. Let’s see what you’ve got!
Over the next three weeks, complete the Everyday Photojournalism project and share your results with us. Look back over previous monthly projects to incorporate some of the skills we have already practiced too. Please post your image in the comments field below!
Additionally, we want to hear your feedback! Are you working on a particular photography skill or encountering a challenge that would benefit from a monthly photo project? Either tell us in the comments below or send us a private message.
To post your image in-line, use the following URL structure in the comments field and simply replace [photo-id] with the photo id number of the image you want to use from your gallery uploads: http://gallery.photo.net/photo/[photo-id]-md.jpg
Alternatively, for an image that is not in your gallery already, you can upload it from your computer and share it in the comments field as an attachment. After clicking “proceed” twice to post your comment, a screen will prompt you to upload a file from your computer.