Photographing for print

I am one of the photographers at the University of Cape Town’s very own Varsity newspaper, which comes out every two weeks. I gained several tips from one of the design contributors today, based on his long experience of taking photos and finding what is suitable in the context of a printed newspaper. I have added in some tips I have discovered elsewhere as well.

Some of these tips may seem obvious, but it is easy to neglect them if you do not concentrate on them. Also, seeing a photo lacking one of these characteristics makes one aware of how important it is.

  • Includes faces in your photo. Not of the back of heads or someone looking away. Don’t cut off the parts of someone’s face.
  • The face or important element of the photo works well in the right third, as our eyes naturally look to that side of the photo. Also, this element should ideally be point to the centre of the photo, rather than past its near edge.
  • Use the rule of thirds when composing photos.
  • Single out a few elements instead of trying to get it all in. When taking photos of a crowd, focus on someone who is standing apart or above the crowd. Or zoom in on someone wearing bright clothes, an interest feature or emotional expressions.
  • It is usuaully not a good idea to have a photo of sign or banner containing text, as accompanies a text article and the sign does not tell you much about what happened. Also, people’s faces are lost when around a banner.
  • When you have photos of someone speaking, don’t choose the photos with awkward expressions or an open mouth.
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