Manual mode (not) made easy

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Photography. We do it all the time. It’s easy,  you just set the dial to automatic and click. WRONG.

Photojournalists must not just take photos, they must make them. This means considering composition techniques, lighting, equipment choices and more.

I talk to my students all the time about moving beyond automatic. I talk to them about exposure in terms of white balance, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. I encourage them to use the shutter speed or aperture priority modes.

I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on these concepts especially after taking Teaching Photojournalism last semester. However, when I went to take photos for this assignment I realized while I may understand the theory behind concepts, my execution – at least in manual mode- needed some work.

The first week of the assignment I went out and shot my photos only to discover most were over or under exposed and were not useable.

I had to reshoot my images this weekend – nothing like procrastination huh? This time they turned out much better in general. However, a couple shots still proved tricky.

The items I struggled with most were silhouette and panned action. I still don’t feel my silhouette is a true representation, but it’s the best I had to work with.

The items I felt most comfortable shooting were the compositional items as well as the depth of fields as I love playing with those in my photography. Check out my gallery above to see the top 10 photos from my shoot.

Stepping into the shoes of a photographer made me realize that while I love photography and think I’m generally pretty good, I have a lot to learn about seeing the light and how the aspects of exposure work together – especially when I’m the one behind the controls.


Multimedia a must for journalists

Video. Audio. Slideshows. Interactive Graphics. Photos. Text. Social Media…MULTIMEDIA.

The concept of multimedia journalism is not new. It has been five years since the New York Times published its landmark multimedia project, Snowfall, yet multimedia existed before the project launched it into the mainstream public’s eye.

There’s no question that multimedia content can tell stories in ways that traditional print cannot. So if this is the case, why have myself and my students been so slow to embrace it?

The answer is simple… fear.

While I have an B.S. in journalism from a reputable university, multimedia platforms and techniques were not covered in the courses. Since then I have been working in positions where I am a singleton and generally have little funding, or time, for training in these areas.

The honest truth is that I feel inadequate to teach my students about these exciting ways to disseminate information, and so while I might show them a tool like Thinglink  or Storify, and encourage them to try those out, I don’t push them to experiment as hard as I should.  

I am insecure, but also nervous and excited for “Teaching Multimedia.” I am scared I will make a fool of myself trying to record and edit video, or creating interactive items. However, I am willing to take the risk, as I feel if I do not embrace the technology and teach my staff members to do the same, then I will not be preparing them for the real world that is journalism today.

Print may not be dead, but it is only one small portion of the journalist’s toolbox.