WK 3 Photography & Photo-editing

UPDATED Sept 2018 / Sharron Lovell

  • Bring your camera, lenses, SD cards, charged batties, card reader, manual
  • Ensure to Lightroom or other photo editing software installed before class


  • M: 10.00 – 12.00 Camera Set-Up
  • M: 13.00 – 16.00 Basic Practice & Basic Practice Exercise
  • M: 16.30 – 18.30 Optional session to support website
  • T: 10.00 – 10.30 Archiving & Meta Data & Photo Editing (Lightroom)
  • T: 13.00 – 13.30 Lightroom Practice + Questions
  • T: 13.30 – 15.00 The Photo Essay. Photo Captioning. Setting Assignment. News Literacy
  • Wed – Fri. Assignment, Edit, and Upload Assignment, Reading & Self-Study

Assignment 1 – Deadline: Sunday Midnight

Shoot an 8-10 picture ‘Day in the Life’ Photo Essay, upload to your digital platform. Your target publication is: Jiemian Vision – http://www.jiemian.com/lists/55.html

Assignment 2 – Deadline: Sunday Midnight

News Literacy Week 2 (What makes journalism different from other types of information?) Readings/viewings. (If English is not your native language you may briefly scan through all readings of all sections and pick two readings from each section to read deeply. You must watch all the videos and the readings you select, you must read thoroughly.

Session Preparation – Pre-reading / watching

Bring your camera & manual, lens, SD cards and have a fully charged battery. Bring your laptop to class and have Adobe Lightroom or your preferred photo editing software installed. Your CC software should be set to the English language. For more guidance on equipment refer to our Recommended Multimedia Equipment List. Be sure you have a working VPN.  No tripod or audio gear needed.

Read and fulfill all assignments outlined in the introduction week –www.beijingimmj.wordpress.com/wk-2-introduction

If you are brand new to photography and have a new DSLR, please view the short video below. Check your manual and watch any beginner tutorials you can find for your specific camera brand and model. If you are already familiar with your camera skip the video below.

This week you’ll be producing a photo essay for your assignment. Watch this video before class for some pointers.

Assignment Brief –  Photography – Day in the Life:

Your target publication is Jiemian Vision – http://www.jiemian.com/lists/55.html

Produce an 8-10 picture photo essay, documenting 24 hours in the life of someone you don’t know. You’ll need to pick a subject who has a visually interesting life and spend a few hours with your subject. For example, you could take photographs of a nurse or recycler at work to show all the various aspects of his or her job. Or perhaps a retiree or a stay at home dad. Be sure to include a simple one or two sentence captions for each image.

Your subject cannot be a friend but can be a friend of a friend that you haven’t met. You’ll need to get permission from someone and follow them through their daily activities. Cheat – and you’ll be cheating yourself. As a visual journalist, you are going to have to learn how to communicate with and gain access into lives of people you don’t know. This assignment is designed to help you to develop your comfort level to photograph people.  The subject will need to understand that it may take some time, but also that you won’t disturb them – simply acting like a fly on the wall. Preferably you’ll follow your subject for a full day or a minimum the 3-4 hours when they are most active. They may be self-conscious at first, that’s ok – tread slowly and give them and yourself time to acclimatize. Wait for them to forget you are there or to get bored of you – that’s when you’ll likely capture the most natural and best images. Don’t think you need to be snapping away all the time, that might annoy your subject. However, you will need to take plenty of pictures to select down a good edit of 10. You’ll need to take a variety of images – you’ll want a

  • decisive moment: an image which summarises the subject and illustrates essential elements of the story. This might be a photo of a nurse with a patient. (sometimes you might frame the shot to provide some context, maybe other patients, the hospital in the background.
  • Establishing shot: a wide-angle, (possibly high vantage point) shot to establish the scene. When you make a photo story your are taking viewers through a journey or story. You need to give them a sense of place.
  • Close-up / Detail shot: to highlight a specific element of the story. These shots can dramatize a story, draw attention to a telling detail. Perhaps you are following a recycler who loops a simple string for his belt loop. Perhaps someone’s hands are worn by their work? Shoot plenty of close-ups.
  • Portrait: This is a story about a person after all – it can be a tight headshot or more environmental portrait framing in a context relevant to the story. Try to capture the personality and character of your subject in the portrait. Portraits are about emotion, not information. A portrait is the only shot that you can legitimately pose.
  • Interaction: focuses on the subject interacting with others.
  • The Clincher: A photo that can be used to close the story, one that says “the end.” Perhaps your subject hangs his hat up for the day. Or you see them closing the shop?
  • Process: You might also show us how something is done
  • Here’s an example of Day in the life type photo essays:
  • Deaf and dumb boxer Liang Yang – www.jiemian.com/article/1142132.html
  • W. Eugene Smith’s ‘Country Doctor’ – http://time.com/3456085/w-eugene-smiths-landmark-photo-essay-country-doctor

  • A day in the life of a nurse in western Ghana – http://www.one.org/us/2016/06/02/photo-essay-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-nurse-in-western-ghana

Assessment Criteria

  • Your essay must be suitable for your target publication – Jiemian Vision – http://www.jiemian.com/lists/55.html
  • Images demonstrate technical competence, with correct exposures, appropriate ISO, and other settings
  • The subject matter is visually interesting
  • Images show information & emotion
  • Sufficient time was spent with the subject to capture variety a day in the life
  • There are a variety of images in the edited sequence, such as a portrait, establishing shot and a detail etc
  • Images are archived systematically. Be sure to download and organize your images into a systemized archive. Tutors will look through your whole shoot briefly (in software such as Lightroom, Adobe Bridge or Photomechanic) this enables us to understand how you worked in the field and give you follow up advice.
  • Images are captioned + have metadata added. A caption is simple sentence or two to describe images. (Remember the What? When? & Who questions). For more information on captioning check out these guidelines by ijnet
  • Images may be adjusted in line with ethical guidelines set by World Press Photo – http://www.worldpressphoto.org/activities/photo-contest/verification-process/what-counts-as-manipulation
  • Images are uploaded to digital platforms with a well-designed online page layout and accompanied by suitable captions in well-written English. The presentation should be well considered. 
  • For intermediate or advanced photographers, we are looking for all of the above, plus very well-composed images with good use of light, as well as a solid edit
  • We recommend editing in pairs with your peer partner.

Class Notes

In class, we discuss photo essays ranging from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or accompanied by text essays. Some photo essays are sequential in nature, and relay narrative in a carefully constructed order, like this one below:

Screen Shot 2016-09-17 at 20.32.20.png

charity water – THE WELL DOCTOR on Exposure. (2016). Exposure. https://charitywater.exposure.co/the-well-doctor

Other photo essays are more thematic and consist of a series of photographs around a central theme. For an example of this check out Hongkong’s illegal micro-apartments for your assignment this week you’ll be creating a more traditional photo essay, it’s likely the narrative structure will be chronological. However, don’t think you need to stick to a perfect chronology.

 Assignment resources:

Steps to help you complete your first assignment:

All assignments have a three step process:

  • pre-production – research online and on your feet! Researching the contextual issue, finding and angle and performing more focused research. Gaining access. Considering the style you will use and doing any practice or testing needed before you shoot. Planning your story & visuals. Consider any ethic or risk issues and plan to minimise all harm
  • production – in the field.
  • post-production – editing, more research, fact-checking, uploading, sharing.
  1. Choose your story.
  2. Do some research online & on foot. Gain access to your subject and let them know what you are doing.
  3. Decide on a style and approach. To do this, you’ll need to look at plenty of photography and photographers, find a photographer or photo series you like and try to emulate that style. To clarify we are not advocating that you copy another photographer’s story and photograph it with the same style. Instead, choose your own subject and see if you can shoot in a preferred style.
  4. Anticipate and plan some shots you might need — think emotion and information.
  5. Go photograph, be sure to spend sufficient time, anything less than 3 hours won’t work
  6. Don’t forget your notebook. Talk to people, find out what’s happening and verify information when you can write down any important facts or quotes for captions.
  7. Select, sequence, adjust + caption + fact check.

It’s very important to be looking at the work of other photographers. Nobody would consider studying art and looking only at the technique rather than artists or art itself. However, many people studying photography focus overly in technique, we’ll be teaching technique in class, but it’s your responsibility to strengthen your own visual literacy and to find which photographers and styles you aspire to.

  • You will find a list of photographers in the photo section of www.multimediatrain.com.
  • These Vice.com videos with photography masters are also worth watching: http://www.vice.com/series/picture-perfect.
  • http://www.Chinafile.com’s Depth of Field section Curated by our very own Cong Yan has a monthly fantastically curated Chinese photojournalism.
  • Here’s a useful podcast and website for finding quality visual journalism and journalists in Asia:

Optional Extra reading:

You may not have time to read through these this week, but the information is here for your future reference.

Print and online news platforms often have multi-picture photo essays covering significant events as hard news or features. Photo essays may be made in a single day or be shot over a very extended period of time. Photo essays cover the whole range of journalism & documentary beats and genres — from sports championships to national disasters. (See on the ground in Israel and Gaza by the NYT) or Marlboro Boys in Time. Also look at online galleries or slideshows like the NYT lens blog such as Saving Rainforests & Orangutangs or Nadav Kanders China’s Longest River. Often a series of photographic images is incorporated into a multimedia story — pictures might be numerous and comprise a key or central part of the narrative such as Philip Toledo’s Day’s with my Father or they might comprise a more minor part like in AP’s Cambodia Diary or images might be used in multiple ways — inserted as header images and click through galleries, for example, NYT’s Snowfall.

Others to view

Also, Check out how photojournalists are using Instagram by looking at feeds by


You’ll find these pointers useful when critiquing work in class.

  • Your essay must be suitable for your target publication
  • Images demonstrate technical competence
  • The subject matter is visually interesting
  • Images show information & emotion
  • Sufficient time was spent with the subject to capture a variety of a day in the life
  • There are a variety of images in the edited sequence
  • Images are archived systematically.
  • Images are captioned + have metadata added.
  • Images may be adjusted in line with ethical guidelines set by World Press Photo.
  • Images are uploaded to digital platforms with a well-designed online page layout

This Weeks PPTs: