Great activity shot.Subject is involved in an activity in the appropriate environment.

Subject actively involved in the environment. This photo creates a good sense of place. Depth is great with the parallel walls of hallway merging into background. I want to know where the subject is going. The photo creates interest.

Great detail shot. I know what this person does and I now want to know more.

It is always great to see students use their phone and their talents in a positive way to tell us good things about someone.  We wanted to give some feedback on what we saw in these projects.  There are some “teaching moments” that we wanted to share with you.

Keep in mind that these suggestions are to a broad audience (K-12).  We all must have the attitude to improve what we do everyday.  Every project is a chance to get better, to grow, to learn.  With that attitude in mind we offer these top ten observations and suggestions to make your story better.

The Story

  • When telling a story about someone else, don’t relate it to yourself (my friend, my papaw, my dad).  Unless the relationship is the story.  Your person has his or her own story.  Everything should be about them, not you.
  • Find the focus of the story.  Many of the essays were a list about the person.  Find something interesting about their personality, activities, affect that they have and give us some understanding.  It is a story, not a list.
  • Leave them wanting more.  Why should I care about this person?  What is interesting?  If you can tell your reader enough that they want to know more you have done it.

The Captions

  • Tell me more.  Since the story was limited to 100 words, the caption was a good place to give more details on your subject.  Add to the layers of information.
  • Add to the photo.  We don’t need to know that this is “Amy on the phone”.  We can see that in the photo.  Give some details that make the photo even more enjoyable for the viewer.  “Amy talks her parents into letting her go to the movies again.”
  • Well written.  Text slang, abbreviations, emoticons and all caps may be useful in emails, phone messages or posters, but not in photo captions.  Sentence mechanics, punctuation and spaces really do help.  Write it out in beautiful language to go with your photo images.

The Photos

  • Worth  1,000 words.  If a picture is worth  1,000 words then seven good images should be worth at least 7,000 words of information to your story.  Each image should give more depth to your central character.  The background, people, actions and reactions in your photo can give us countless details in the story.
  • Copy Cat.  Too many photos were kids making funny faces taken from the same distance.  They are really the same photo.  And they are copies of cliché Facebook and bad family photos.  Give your viewer a unique angle, setting or content. Use wide views, medium views, closeups, detail shots, etc..  Give your reader a variety of  interesting and unique views about your subject.
  • Clean your eyes.  Phone cameras get handled a lot.  Sweaty little fingers and what ever is kept in those pockets get all over the lens.  Clean it off.  Makes a huge difference when you don’t see the subject through dirt covered glass.

And Finally

  • Keep shooting.  Keep thinking.  Keep writing.  Keep editing.  Keep getting better.  Don’t be satisfied with your first effort.  What is the next story that you want to tell?