Stacey has been a journalist for nearly a decade, working most recently as the associate editor of the "Miramichi Leader" in New Brunswick.
Four Simple Newspaper Photography Tips
Photography is key to newspaper journalism. Photographs sell papers. When walking by a newsstand, the front page photo is the first thing a consumer sees. A good photograph will cause the reader to pause, pick up a newspaper, and read the headline. It will draw them into the story and cause them to dig deeper.
At one time, many newspapers had healthy budgets that allowed writers to write, while giving photographers a chance to capture the moment. However, over the years that dynamic has changed in many newsrooms. With fewer staff photographers on hand, reporters are often sent out, camera in hand, expected to return to the office with something worthy of the front page.
In fact, many journalists are expected to collect the entire package when covering a story, often returning to the office with a notebook of quotes, video to edit, and photos to download.
Most have no formal photography training, and at times, their photos reflect this.
But with a few helpful tips, a willingness to practice, and learning how to develop an eye for photography, any writer can take award-winning photographs worthy of the front page.
Tip #1: Take Community Photos
Not every photograph has to scream hard news; sometimes, the best photos capture everyday events. Take advantage of a slow news day and focus on the people in your town - take a drive, find a park or community barbecue and get creative, capturing a subject using interesting angles and using a colour that will make a splash on the front page.
Impromptu stand-alone photos also give novice photographers a chance to experiment and connect with community members. Even if your obligations don't allow you to step out of the office during a regular workday, carry a camera with you when you're off the clock - the best community photos are often unplanned events.
Tip #2: Focus on the Focus
Sometimes, it isn't easy to produce a thought-provoking photograph to help tell a story. In the example above, the setting was a gym, the lighting was poor, and there were no props besides the subject and his small bracelet. By changing the focus, you take a seemingly dull photograph and bring it up a notch, making it more likely for a newspaper to play the story in a more prominent position.
Tip #3: Focus on Timing
When covering a story or event, getting the photo you need to make an impact can take time. That's why it's important to be patient. Even though a deadline is looming, sometimes five minutes can make or break a story. Editors are much more forgiving of you cutting it close if you come back to the newsroom with an excellent photo.
Tip #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty!
If a photo just isn't working the way you hoped it would, sometimes changing your perspective will help! Start by getting on the ground, or by standing on a chair, or moving the subject 90 degrees. Sometimes all it takes to get that perfect shot is to come up with an unusual and eye-catching perspective.
Suzanne Michaels on September 17, 2017:
Hi Stacey - Good information, great suggestions - and valid!
Thank you so much :)))