July Photo Tip of the Month: Get Closer

KPCC reporter Priska Neely wins Photo of The Month. Her image is a great example of why getting closer makes a better picture!

Every month, I send out a photo tip to the KPCC staff! Here's this month's tip:

Priska's winning image is a great example of getting closer. Instead of snapping a far-away picture from the house seats, she got on stage to capture the moment.

Break this bad habit: "I'll crop it later.”

When you amplify sound recorded from far away, it sounds bad. The same goes for images! Zooming and cropping on your phone just leads to crappier image quality.

Zoom with your feet!

You get close with your mic, the same goes for your camera. Get close to your subject! Sometimes that means getting in their personal space and that's OK. Making good pictures is physically awkward.

AAJA-LA Mobile Photo Workshop

On Wednesday evening, June 28, I led a mobile photography workshop for AAJA Los Angeles at Opodz in Little Tokyo, with sponsors Spitz and Kenu. Thank you to all who joined us! Below you'll find the presentation slides and links to the photo editing apps we talked about.

The presentation

Everything on social media and the internet has visuals. So how do you stand out from the crowd? This presentation breaks down how to make a good picture with your smart phone.

You don’t need expensive equipment to capture the moment. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn simple steps to making better pictures on your mobile phone and which apps are best for photo editing.

Let's make portraits!

The hands-on workshop included a photo walk where everyone broke up into partners and took portraits of each other!

Apps to download

Here are some of the apps we discussed at the end of the workshop. Keep using #aajalaphoto to share your experiments!

Snapseed (Free, iPhone and Android): simple, user-friendly photo editing app.

Filterstorm ($3.99, iPhone and iPad only): more advanced photo editing app, supports adjustment layers.

Photoshop Mix (Free, iPhone and Android): more advanced photo editing app.

Afterlight ($0.99, iPhone and Android): has more subtle filters than Instagram's.

Image Blender ($3.99, iPhone only): make double exposures!

Layout from Instagram (Free, iPhone and Android): make photo collages!

5SecondsApp (Free, iPhone and Android): make GIFs from videos in your photo library!

June Photo Tip of the Month: Layering

KPCC's Leo Duran having fun with me at the Ice Cream Museum!

KPCC's Leo Duran having fun with me at the Ice Cream Museum!

Every month, I send out a photo tip to the KPCC staff! Here's this month's tip:

What exactly does "layering" mean?

Sadly, this doesn’t have to do with cake. 🍰

There are three parts to a photo: the foreground, middle-ground and background. The goal is to make sure there's something in each of those parts that contributes to telling your story.

Layering is important because it allows the viewer to instantly draw a story from it (you know, the whole “picture worth a thousand words” thing).

Think about your favorite iconic news images – they probably all use layering.

Challenge: how does Nick Ut use layering in his “Napalm Girl” photograph?

Check out this educational blog post to learn more!

May Photo Tip of the Month: Peak Action

I miss shooting sports 🏈 😭

I miss shooting sports 🏈 😭

Every month, I send out a photo tip to the KPCC staff! Here's this month's tip:

Making a good picture is all about anticipating a moment of peak action.

Did you know your iPhone can shoot in burst mode? Your phone can shoot 10 photos in a single second!

Go into "Photo" mode on your camera app and hold down the shutter button to trigger this.

Later, you can go through those images and pick your best ones.

Pretty cool. To have even more fun with it, turn those burst photos into a looping GIF!

Presentation Slides: Web Video Inspiration

Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho was homeless in São Paulo, Brazil, for nearly 35 years, and became locally known for sitting in the same spot and writing every day. In April 2011, he was befriended by a young woman named Shalla Monteiro. Impressed by his poetry and wanting to help him with his dream of publishing a book, she created a Facebook Page to feature Raimundo’s writing. Neither could have expected what happened next.

This presentation breaks down how web video can be different from traditional broadcast video.

Web and social media video present more opportunities for experimentation – pushing the envelope on traditional stand-ups, story structures and B-roll sequences.

Chris Dean’s heart stopped when he was two. He died but he came back. When Chris was five, his father was murdered, riddled by more than 20 bullets in a gang shootout. At age 18, Chris gained national attention when he introduced President Barack Obama at his high school graduation.

Included in these slides are examples of experimental video storytelling and what channels to follow for further inspiration.

I led this presentation at the USC Annenberg School for Journalism and at the Cal State Fullerton College of Communications.

Presentation Slides: Experimental Visual Storytelling

Coffee Cinemagraph Some inspiration, as profiled by This is Colossal: Kitchen Ghosts make amazing cooking cinemagraphs!

This is a hands-on workshop I led at AAJA Los Angeles' V3Con on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the Japanese American National Museum.

Visual storytelling means more than just video and still images. This presentation looks at examples how GIFs, cinemagraphs, and slow-motion and time-lapse videos can be used to tell stories in unique ways.

These slides include mobile apps to experiment with to make 360 images, double exposures and mirrorgrams.

Presentation Slides: Five Steps to Making a Good Picture

"There's a difference between taking pictures and making pictures," says photographer Matt Brown

This is a hands-on workshop I led at AAJA Los Angeles' V3Con on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at the Japanese American National Museum.

I also led this as a five-minute Lightning Talk during the AAJA National Convention in San Francisco. Investigative journalist Jake Adelstein and Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Lin were willing volunteers!

Expensive equipment doesn't make a good picture. You must put thought into the photo-making process. Here are five steps to making a good picture.

This is an interactive activity. Pick two volunteers: a photographer and a subject. Show how a portrait evolves as your photographer puts thought into the photo-making process.