When you get it right a photograph can draw people in, emotionally and intellectually.

A captivating image can compel people to read your story.

In fact stories without photographs get considerably less clicks, making it almost essential that you accompany your story with at least one image.

Excellence in photography can take many years of practise and training, but take heart – at least it’s simple to avoid making bad images.

These five simple tips will start you on the path to good photojournalism.

1. Correct exposure

A great example of good exposure by Steven Riggall.

A great example of good exposure by Steven Riggall. Notice how it is pleasing on the eye.

As simple as it sounds, the first step to effective photojournalism is getting your exposure right.

If a photograph is too dark or too bright it will repel the viewer.

The two most important things to remember are: stabilise your camera in low light, and use ISO 100 in bright light.

2. Focus

The selective focus on this image by Libby Best draws the viewer in to the woman's face.

The selective focus on this image by Libby Best draws the viewer in to the woman’s face.

The key subject of your photograph must be in focus, whether that’s just a small detail of a much larger image or a full landscape.

Ask yourself, what are you showing your viewer? What’s the most important element of this image? Then make sure that’s where your focal point is.


3. Context

In this image I capture the march in action, showing how many people are involved and  where they're marching through.

In this image I capture the context of action, people and surroundings.

The key difference between photojournalism and other styles of photography is context. Essentially, you need to show the story, not tell it.

Do everything you can to include all the relevant elements in a single image. This includes the surroundings, relevant people and actions.


4. Emotion

Shirley Way captures the elation of the moment as a new bishop emerges from her consecration.

Shirley Way captures the elation of the moment as a new bishop is consecrated.

Look for ways to convey the emotion of the moment.

Capture people’s expressions, their body language and their interactions.

Get in close for intimate moments and experiment with using selective focus to highlight facial expressions.


5. People

Ili Tulloch conveys her subject's personality in this fun portrait.

Ili Tulloch conveys her subject’s personality in this fun portrait.

People gravitate towards people. Faces humanise visual stories.

Unless there’s a good reason, show faces and avoid the back of people’s heads.



So there you have it. If you show the story with people, emotion and context, your shot is in focus and well exposed, you’re on the way to good photojournalism.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.

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