Jumping up and down isn’t typical behavior in the office, but to show the effect of slow and fast shutter speeds jumping, waving arms and impromptu jigs were par for the course during the Intro to News Pictures classes held last week by Tokyo Chief Photographer Michael Caronna.
L: Hugh in midair on fast shutter speed R: Hugh in midair on slow shutter speed
Staff from Editorial and Business departments at Thomson Reuters in Tokyo learned about composition, shutter speed, aperture and the legal implications of photography during the half-day session. Most importantly, they learned why they should never, ever, under any circumstances, even think about using the ugly, deer-in-the-headlights, demon red-eye producing flashes on their cameras.
No flash here, just light from a cloudy day.
The goal of the Intro to News Pictures sessions was to help staff turn any point-and-shoot camera in their hands into a useful tool for taking strong photos that accurately and beautifully depict a scene. On its own, a camera is just a hunk of plastic and metal. Sure, anyone can push a button and take a snapshot with today’s technological marvels, but it takes a photographer to consistently produce pictures that people want to look at.
This is not a boring composition.
By taking control of shutter speed and aperture, participants learned during Intro to News Pictures how to make their cameras take more than snapshots. They learned to freeze motion, or emphasize it with blur through the shutter speed choices they make. Participants also learned how to draw attention to the important subjects in a photo, through creative use of composition, depth of field, and sensitivity to shape and form.
This was our tool for the session: A Canon G9
But working the camera to produce a sharp, beautiful picture is only half the job. News is about people. People talking, people doing things and people not really terribly excited about having a camera pointed at them. To address this, dealing with camera-shy subjects and helping them to understand what, as news photographers we are trying to accomplish was also covered in the session. Moving portrait subjects into better light, planning photos before the shutter button is pressed, and being wary of the legal dangers lurking in captions and in handout photos were also important topics.