PHOTOJOURNALISM BASICS: 5

Important Shot Types for News Photographers 

In today’s busy and fast paced media environment, it is often the case that a photographer cannot be assigned to a writer for every news story produced. This does not mean that visuals can be omitted from your work however. Photography forms an important and integral part of the journalism process as it enables readers to get a better understanding of the context behind the story. Photos let audiences see the people you are writing about and quoting, get a perspective of their lives and neighbourhoods and provide a human angle to the writing. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look and some easy and key types of images that you can capture with a smartphone or DSLR camera the next time you are in the field and without a photographer to support your story: 

1. THE PORTRAIT

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Portraits are important because it gives us an up close and personal view of the subject of the story or interviewee. Get as close to the person as you can and capture a detailed image of their face.

2. THE ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAIT

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While portraits are important to show a reader what your subject looks like, an environmental portraits gives a glimpse of who they are. An environmental portrait is created by capturing your subject from a wider angle, providing a view of the environment they are in, be it a home, a town or place of work.

3. THE BODY PORTRAIT

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You might be in a situation where your subject requests anonymity, or you could be wanting to capture the body language of your subject. For instance, nervousness, fear and other emotions are expressed through body language and not always the face. In these cases, try going further in and capturing a part of your subject only – be in their hands, feet or posture.

4. THE STILL LIFE

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A still life photograph or still life portrait is similar to the concept of still life in art, where a painter would depict a vase or bowl of fruit. In the same way a still life photograph is a way to capture a part of the subject’s life without them needing to be in the image. Look at their walls, cabinets, rooms etc and see what you can show the audience about your subject. 

5. THE ENVIRONMENT

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Capturing an environment is a way to tell your audience or readers a little bit about the life and circumstances under which the people you are writing about live. Go outside, capture a street, neighbourhood or town to let people know what life is like for your subject. 

 

Natalie Soysa

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