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Taking Pictures for the Web

A good photo can tell stories -- and sell stories. Words alone can't always describe the news that happens.

Photographs can give readers a sight to go with what you write, so they can see the action for themselves.

If you have a good news story with a photo, it might make the difference of whether or not it goes on the front page - or even in the paper at all.


Tips for taking good news photos

  1. Good photos spark a reader's interest. Ensure you know that the picture must relate to your story and enhances your audience's understanding of the story.

  2. Photos that show people and display emotions in them are first-rate - they attract human interest. Everyone will want to read your story to find out more about what happened in the shot.

  3. You should be able to see the people in your picture clearly and closely, and not have to squint to see a person's face. If you want photos that make an impression, take shots of certain people instead of crowds.

  4. All photos need cutlines -- sentences that are found under photos identify the faces, places and activities shown. Don't assume readers will know everything about the photo or that they will even read your story to find out. Give your readers the story behind the picture. Well-written cutlines make photos easy to understand, and tells why both the photo and the story are interesting and important.

  5. Include a byline, which tells readers about the photo. For pictures, they usually come after the cutline - "John Doe photo," or "Photo by Jane Doe." - with or without brackets around them.


Pictures to avoid

The "Grip & Grin"
These are photos of people receiving awards or diplomas, cutting ribbons or passing out cheques. They just do the ‘handshake' pose and smile at the camera.

The "Execution at Dawn"
These are groups of people lined up against the wall to be shot (with a camera of course)! For large groups, cutlines end up being long lists of people from ‘left to right'.

You can avoid these problems by taking photos of people actually doing something. If someone wins an award, take photos of what the person did to win it. Grab the action shots of the special activities these people do.

If you do not have an action shot, put in a head shot -- a close-up picture of the person's head and shoulders, to show readers that your story is centered on someone's actions.


Photos for computers

With present technology, you can take a photograph and make it into a computer image. To do that, you need a scanner. The scanner simply copies the photo into its memory and stores it like a computer file.

Once the photo has been scanned, you can look at it on your computer screen and adjust the size and shape of the photo (a process known as "cropping") or adjust the brightness of the photo. When you have a good-looking copy, you can save the image as a file to go with your story.



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