Wick Communications

Educating budding shutterbugs

In Photography on 21 Mar 2013 at 4:13 pm

Science and Society Picture Library

I think this is a brilliant idea that might have suffered a bit in the execution. The Wall Street Journal held a live chat last Thursday. It was an opportunity for amateur photographers to send in their shots so that the WSJ’s professional photographers can critique them and offer advice.

The whole thing was arranged around a Twitter hashtag — #photocritiqueWSJ. Participants were supposed to post pictures on Instagram or Twitter with that hashtag and the pros were to respond.

I actually don’t know how it worked. But it looked a little … complicated. You were supposed to RSVP. You had to have enough social media savvy to share photos that way, you had to have read the legal disclaimer saying the WSJ reserved the right to reprint your work, etc. There were four comments on the story announcing the deal – three wanting to know how to participate and one from staff pointing folks to another blog post.

I think this is a cool idea for us inside Wick. Maybe I can arrange something like this and ask one of our terrific photographers to answer questions and provide advice.

The WSJ’s effort probably could have been done more simply. What if you did something like this at your shop? You don’t need hashtags and Instagram accounts. You could just announce it in the paper and ask people to bring in their shots. Maybe run the best of the bunch on a photo page. …

Here’s another idea: You could host a photo seminar. You might even target your invitations to regular contributors – seniors’ organizations, the chamber, the local hospital PR person, etc. Make it for one hour some night, and have your best photographer discuss the craft. Don’t have a true pro on staff? Ask one to come in and lead the discussion.

It might build goodwill, it might result in better submitted photos and it might even improve your own shots


  1. Photography is for everyone. But good or great photography is an art form. When I did regular art courses in college I could force things into perspective, but I didn’t have a natural talent for drawing or painting.

    But with photography and film I found I naturally composed my shots and my photo’s and film were lauded by professionals early on.

    The point is anyone can learn to take a better picture with work. But like other forms of art good or great photography is made by talented or natural artists in the medium.

    There are people who call themselves photographers because they know all the ins and outs of the equipment. But more often than not, they have challenges taking good or great photo’s—they are average because they just don’t naturally see composition.

    Then there are those who are a little lost with all the bells and whistles of camera’s, but once they pull the trigger it is obvious if they have the talent for composition.

    I have found the best place to start is the basics. Speed-ISO-Fstop. Then lenses. Then the extra’s. I’m still learning all that my Cannon D7 can do. I still find keeping it simple is always best. I trained my self to capture single photo’s instead of bursting shots. This has made me more precise and more into the ‘moment’ of the photo.

    I have also found that the majority of people’s hold up with photography is what the equipment can do and produce. Bottom line, with digital you can now play with the settings and come up with standard settings to go in given situations.

    I shoot sports everyday, but I look to national outlets to see what they are doing and then compare to mine. It takes time and practice.

    I would recommend starting with the basics of the camera. From there the talented will soar and the average will get better. Once those basics have some mastery behind them then get into things like, light and shadow, color and composition, portrait and action, depth and field of focus—the artsy side of photography.

    For all reporters and editors—you should always have a camera with you. You just never know when a photo op will present itself.

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