Week 1: Day 1 – Photo Series Assignment

All students must photograph 7-10 subjects and ask them, “What is the biggest issue your community is facing today?” The final project must include:

  • A headline, dek and lede
  • 7-10 photos edited in Lightroom featuring 7-10 individuals
  • Captions with each individual’s first name, last name, age, photo location and quote

To submit your project, post your story to the Five Blocks website before class on 5/23.

Week 1: Day 1 – Intro to Photography

Every photographer (i.e. Gordon Parks, pictured above) has their own style and approach to photographing people. Here are just a few very basic tips to get you started:

Be up-front with your subjects
If you decide to shoot a set of portraits as opposed to a set of candids, approach your subjects first, identify who you are, and tell them what you are doing and where your photos are going.

Engage your subjects
Make conversation before, during and after your shoot. Take photos of them not just when they are looking into the camera, but when they are looking away between shots or making their natural facial expressions.

Spend time with your subjects
The more time you spend with your subjects, the more comfortable they become. When you spend time, you build a relationship. When you build a relationship, that relationship shows in the photographs.

Collect a variety of shot types

  • Wide: Includes the subject’s full body and their surroundings
  • Medium: Includes the subject above the knees or waist
  • Tight: Includes the subject, shoulders + up


Country Store on Dirt Road by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Country Store on Dirt Road by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Ex-slave with a long memory is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Ex-slave with a long memory by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Migratory Cotton Picker by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Migratory Cotton Picker by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Consider your angles

  • High: Takes power away from people
  • Low: Gives people power
  • Eye-level: Neither takes power away nor gives power to people


Sick Migrant Child by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Sick Migrant Child by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Grandfather and Grandson at Manzanar Relocation Center by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Mind your backgrounds
Avoid poles, branches, any background elements, etc. that stick out of your subjects’ heads. Reposition yourself so these elements are either to the side of your subjects or out of the frame entirely.

For Fashion’s Sake by http://writingrainbows.blogspot.com/.

Avoid amputating your subjects
Don’t crop your subjects at their joints. Here’s a good cheat sheet for cropping people when frame your photos:

Cropping Guide by https://learn.digitalcameraworld.com/.

Zoom with your feet
When you use your phone (pinch + zoom) or camera lens to zoom in on a photo, the photo loses quality. Always, always, always zoom with your feet when it’s possible.

Week 1: Day 1 – Photo Editing

Lightroom is an image editing software that brings all of the same photo editing functionality offered through the panels and menus of Adobe Bridge and Photoshop and centers them into a single screen to expedite your editing process. If you would rather not work with your own photos, feel free to download and practice editing with this folder.

Here are the steps to editing photos in Lightroom:

Step One: Import Images
First, you’ll need to bring your images into Lightroom. When you import photos, Lightroom builds image previews of the adjustments you make to those photos while you edit them.

  1. Open Adobe Lightroom
  2. Go to the Main Menu and select “File” –> “New Catalog”
  3. Create a folder for your new catalog and save it to the Desktop or your flash drive
  4. Click “Create”
  5. Click “Skip this time”
  6. Go to the Main Menu and select “File” –> “Import Photos and Video”
  7. Click on either the device or the folder where your photos are stored
  8. Click “Import”

Step Two: Filter Images
Next, you’ll want to filter the images from your import. Filtering images allows you to select specific images to edit from the import.

  1. Double-click on your first image to expand it in your screen
  2. If you like the image, hit “P” on your keyboard to flag it
  3. Repeat until you’ve flagged all the images you’d like to edit
  4. In the lower- right-hand corner, select “Flagged” from the “Filter” dropdown box

Step Two: Crop/Rotate
Now, you’ll need to crop and rotate your images. Cropping an image removes the outer parts of a photograph. Rotating an image straightens crooked horizon lines.

  1. Click on the “Develop” tab in the upper- right-hand corner of the Lightroom interface
  2. Click on the “Crop Overlay” tool
  3. Click on the “Lock” icon to lock the original aspect ratio (the ratio of the width to the height of an image)
  4. Drag the corner of the crop box inward to select the area you’d like to retain
  5. Move your mouse outside of the corner of the crop box and tilt the box to rotate the photo
  6. Double-click inside of the crop box to crop the photo

Step Three: Adjust White Balance and Tone
Next, you’ll want to adjust the white balance and the tone of the photograph. Adjusting the white balance removes unrealistic color casts. Adjusting the tone changes the exposure and contrast.

  1. In the “WB” section, slide the “Temp” and the “Tint” sliders left and/or right to adjust the photo’s white balance (to reduce yellow, add blue, to reduce blue, add yellow, to reduce red, add green, to reduce green, add red)
  2. Use the “Exposure” slider to darken or brighten your photo’s exposure
  3. Use the “Contrast” slider to increase or decrease the contrast between the shadows and highlights in your photo
  4. Use the “Highlights,” “Shadows,” “Whites,” and “Blacks” sliders to target those areas of your photo more specifically

Step Four: Sharpen
Next, you might want to sharpen your photos. Sharpening a photo detects the edges of details in the photograph and increases the contrast of their neighboring pixels.

  1. In the “Sharpening” section, use the “Amount” slider to increase or decrease the amount of sharpening applied to the photo
  2. Adjust the “Radius” slider to increase or decrease the area to which the sharpening is applied
  3. Adjust the “Detail” slider to control the amount of sharpening on the details of the image
  4. Adjust the “Masking” slider to mask out areas that should not be sharpened

Step Five: Paste Settings
If you’ve taken a set of photos in the same setting, you can paste the edits you made to one photo to a batch of photos to save you time on editing.

  1. Select the photo you edited.
  2. Hit “Command” + “C” on your keyboard
  3. Click “Copy”
  4. Select the photos you’d like to paste those settings to
  5. Hit “Command” + “V”
  6. Hit “Control” on your keyboard while clicking on one of the images you selected
  7. Select “Develop Settings” –> “Paste Settings”

Step Six: Export
Last, you’ll need to export your photos from Lightroom to your Desktop or flash drive. When you’re editing in Lightroom, you’re only editing previews. In order to use the images you’ve edited in print or online, you need to export them as JPEGs.

  1. Click on one of your images in the film strip at the bottom of the Lightroom interface
  2. Hit “Command” + “A” on your keyboard to select all
  3. Go to the Main Menu and select “File” — “Export”
  4. From the “Export To” dropdown, select “Specific Folder”
  5. Choose the folder where you’d like to save the images
  6. From the “Rename To” dropdown, select “Custom Name – Sequence”
  7. Give your file a custom name in the “Custom Text” box
  8. Give it a number in the “Start Number” box (i.e. “1”)
  9. From the “Image Format” box select “JPEG”
  10. From the “Quality” box, select “100”
  11. From the “Resize to Fit” dropdown, select “Long Edge”
  12. For print images, select 3000px, or for online images, select 1600px
  13. From the “Resolution” box, select “300” for print, or “72” for online
  14. Click “Export”

If you’d like a more in-depth look at Lightroom after you leave today’s class, check out Lynda’s Lightroom CC Essential Training.