Module 2: Visual Storytelling 1 – Photo portraits

This module introduces you to the basics of taking engaging photographs.

As such it focuses on the second learning objective listed in the course overview. But thinking about the power of images also helps us think about some of the broader issues covered in this course, such as the key elements of journalistic storytelling – for example, how do we combine elements like basic information and emotional content? We will also think about photography in the context of changes that are happening in the journalism and media industry and the move to online multimedia forms of storytelling. So at the end of this module you should be able to:

  • take engaging photographs which convey information and emotion;
  • combine images and simple written texts to present a basic multimedia story; and
  • identify some key ways that photography is used in contemporary journalism and media projects.

This module will also equip you to complete the photographic elements of the first major blogging assignment:

  • 3 portraits of fellow students with 100 captions
  • 2 images of university life with 100 word captions

Week 2 face to face lecture and workshop

Lecture: The power of images – photographic storytelling

This lecture will look at the history of photography and some of the key elements which make a compelling image.

This lecture will take place in Building 25:107 Monday 3 March 12.30

All lectures will be recorded and available through the university’s Echo360 system which you can access for revision of material. However I would encourage you to attend the lecture in person because we will be including interactive elements that cannot be replicated in playback.

In preparation for this lecture please read: Pictures that change history: why the world needs photojournalists. This article will introduce you to some of the key ideas we will explore in the lecture. After reading this article jot down three elements that make a photograph a powerful form of storytelling. we will begin the lecture with a quick round-up of these.

Workshop: Thinking about photography

This week’s workshop will give you the opportunity to analyses some creative images and to put what you have learned about photography into practice by taking photographs of each other.

1. Class activity – Review and discuss

After a brief introduction from your tutor you will split into groups of three and review the two lists below that have examples of how you can move beyond basic photography. Discuss with your group:

      • What techniques are most effective and why?
          • When would you use each technique?
          • What type of stories would they suit?

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

10 More Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography

2. General class discussion – Triad report back

3. Class activity – Portrait practice

Now that you have thought about and discussed the elements which can make an exciting and engaging photograph it is time to put these ideas into action. Working in pairs you will use your mobile phones or digital cameras to take three different portraits of each other in three different campus locations, expressing three different aspects of your colleagues personality. You are encouraged to experiment and make use of the techniques explored in the earlier class discussion about elements of creative photography. This exercise is designed to be experimental and fun so take risks and really extend yourself beyond what you might normally do when you snap a picture of a friend. There are no right answers here and no perfect techniques – we often learn more from trying out something that doesn’t quite work than by going down a predictable path.

Remember that professional photographers will take 50-100 images for every one they choose for publication. So take a lot of images of one another. Be creative. Take risks. Experiment.

4. Class activity – sharing of images

When you return to class review the images that you have taken and share your favourite images with classmates.

After Class: review and blog posts

Review the images that you took in class and select the ones that you are happy with and add them to your Flickr feed. We will be using Flickr throughout this course and in a range of journalism courses over the next three years as a portfolio repository for all your photographic work. Refer to the tutorial on how to set up and organise your Flickr account.

Week 3: Online tutorials and discussion


McAdams, Mindy, 2011, 10 Rules for Visual Storytelling, Teaching Online Journalism, 

After you have read McAdam’s tips look back to the photographs you took last week and ask yourself if you could have improved them by applying any of her rules for good visual storytelling.

Online Video Tutorial

Complete the course: Photography 101 with Joseph Linaschke

This link will take you directly to the tutorial for free access via the UOW library database system. You will need to sign in with your UOW username and password – the same one you use for SOLS and email. Once you land on the Lynda tutorial page you will then need to create a separate profile. Navigate to the top of the page and click on “Log In” at the top right and follow the instructions to create a profile.

If you want to do any of the other Lynda courses the procedure is the same. Go to the Library database page and choose “L” for and scroll down to the bottom and you will find the link to – you will be asked to sign in with your UOW username and password and then you will be asked to Log In with your Lynda profile details. So you will always need to sign-in twice.

Online discussion and reflection

Post a 400 word reflection on the Week 3 class forum.

This weeks topic is What makes an engaging photograph? Include reference to:

  • last week’s class discussion and practice;
  • The tutorial; and
  • Two web resources you have found independently that provide tips on good photography
  • At least one example of a good photograph that you can link to on the web.

Make a comment on one of your classmates forum posts. Think seriously about the comments you make and how they contribute to the overall class conversation. Refer to these guidelines for ways of making helpful comments.

Blog Photo posts

Thinking about the skills you have just learned take two photographs that represent university life and put them on your blog. This will form part of your first blog assignment. Each photograph should be accompanied by a 100 word caption. The caption should add to the story of university life not be a commentary on your photography technique.

Review the other images that you took and load other good images to your Flickr portfolio.

Week 4: face to face lecture and workshop

Lecture: Multimedia – using images and text to tell stories

This lecture will look at the importance of images in new multimedia forms of journalism and the creative ways that text and image are being brought together in contemporary web-based multimedia reporting projects

This lecture will take place in Building 25:107 Monday 3 March 12.30

To prepare for this lecture look at the Guardian’s Firestorm site, an impressive multimedia report of one family’s survival in recent Tasmanian bush fires. After looking through the site make a note of the ways that written text is used and the ways that images are used. How do they work independently and how do they work together? We will review this at the beginning of the lecture.

Workshop: Photography practice and permission protocols

In this workshop you will continue to explore and develop your photography skills and build on what you have learned in the previous two weeks.

1. Photo practice – Portraits

You will again work with a fellow student in pairs to take portraits of one another. Repeating this exercise gives you the opportunity to refine your skills and build on what you learned in the first exercise and in the photographs that you took independently last week. Working in pairs you will use your mobile phones or digital cameras to take three different portraits of each other in three different campus locations, expressing three different aspects of your colleague’s personality. Work with someone that you haven’t worked with before so that you gradually build up relationships with a range of people in the class. This time you will also gather stories, quotes and information from each other to write 100 word captions, so as you photograph one another ask each other questions about your career aspirations, life outside university, families, partners, hobbies and interests. After you have taken the photographs sit down for 10 minutes and get some formal interview material – check the spelling of their name, their age, details of stories they told you and some key quotes fro your captions.

2. Permission protocols – consent

Class discussion of permission protocols for public postings.

3. Blog photo posts

Begin this process in class and complete during the week. Begin to post portraits and captions for first blog assessment due week 7