Tag Archives: photography

Big Issue Online Journalists – Week Two

Week Two


Week 2 of Poached Creative and The Big Issue journalists and photography class in Poole started with Jessie (Poached Creative) giving us a run down on what we were going to be doing for the following 5 weeks. I felt a tingle of excitement as I’d not done any work or training for a while now and the thought of getting involed in something worthwhile was just what I needed.

Week 1 had been a great start wih us all getting to know each other and jumping straight in with a talk on journalism by our guest speaker Ann Luce from Bournemouth Uni. We then paired up to do a NIB story together which was a lot of fun so this week I felt all set to learn more and get creative.

Straight after Jessie’s chat our guest speaker Sophie Bowdler arrived to give us a lecture on wedding photography, Sophie being a great example of someone that had made a huge success from learning photography. When Sophie was just 15 she knew she wanted to be a photographer and after leaving school started working for a local photographers agency learning wedding photography. Ten years later Sophie has her own wedding photography business and is now well known throughout the area for her outstanding coverage of weddings. When she started her business she was charging £300 to £600 per shoot and in just 3 years has grown to the point where she can charge anything from a £1000 to £1700 per shoot, I thought that was pretty impressive so wanted to pick up on everything she could teach us.
Sophie stared by outlining her business strategies and how she’d got to where she was today, after that it was all about getting “the shot” and using her camera (Nikon D600) to do the work. I found it very interesting that a lot of people getting married did not want Sophie to use a flash in the church, churches being quite dark and dingy inside made this a challenge which Sophie overcame by using her camera’s light/shutter speed and ISO settings. We learned that using natural light gave a much better colour balance to the photo’s and created a more natural looking picture and when shooting outside often shot her pictures facing into the sun and using her flash to highlight her subjects instead of having the sun behind her. This made a lot of sense as people facing the sun tend to squint and scrunch up their faces trying to keep the sun out of their eyes. Sophie also told us how she trained up an assistant to take pictures of the groom and guests so that she could concentrate on the bride and getting the main shots of the day. Typiclly Sophie would shoot in the region of 1500 photographs at a wedding which she would then filter down to around 100 to 120 for the main album. The main thing was getting the important shots just right because with a wedding there are no second chances. We stopped for a break and chatted amongst ourselves about Sophies pictures and success for 10 minutes and then Rob our photography tutor gave us a run down on the importance of light/colour balance, cropping and exposure.

Friday started out with us all getting excited about our field trip into Poole to do our photo essay, we broke up into groups of 3 or 4 and discussed what our photo essays would be about. I was with Helen and Jamie, Helen decided she was going to take pictures of the birds that are a common sight in Poole and titled her essay “They’ll do anything for chips” while Jamie was going to concentrate on people using their cell phones and he appropriatly titled his essay “Cellular division in Poole”. I decided my subject would be about dementia as I’d seen an elderly gentleman who suffers from dementia in the library that morning and just the day before i’d noticed an empty shop now being used to highlight dementia in our society. Unfortunately my subject in the library had left and then chatting with the people in the dementia society’s shop I discovered I would not be allowed to take pictures of people suffering from dementia that were visiting the shop. I then decided my subject for the day would be the other students doing their photo essays. We all rambled off into Poole high street to find and shoot our chosen subjects, the streets were quite busy and offered up a huge selection of photographic opportunities. We took our photo’s and headed back to Poole Library’s seminar room to enjoy a huge lunch made by Jessie (Poached Creative) and her mother, great sandwiches and plenty of sides and drinks filled us all and gave us the energy for the afternoon.

Back to work, we downloaded our photo’s to pc and learnt how to use Picaso 3 to edit our pics, once done Rob helped us upload to bigissueonlinejournalists.wordpress.com We then wound down with Rob doing a small presentation of our combined works.
I can’t wait for next weeks class now!


Filed under Big Issue online journalism South West, Dave C, Trainees blog

Week 2: Introduction to Photojournalism

Pic: Sana Amos. William, Zoe, Gordon and Declan during Thursdays photography excercise.

Pic: Sana Amos. William, Zoe, Gordon and Declan during Thursdays photography exercise.

By Sana Amos

After our great start, I was looking forward to this week as I am not a woman of many words but give me a camera and I will be lost in my own surreal world for hours. To say the least I was very excited to get started and learn to combine photos and words.

Once everyone arrived and had a hot drink in our hands, our tutor Zoe kickstarted our 10am Thursday session with an old style pub quiz about, you guessed it, photojournalism! Divided into two groups, we quickly got into the competitive spirit. It was really fun and insightful as I felt confident with the technical aspect of photography but learnt new information on the history of journalism such as war propaganda pictures. The rule is no alteration should be made to any journalists photographs, as you have to show what is really there, so not even a small tweak. After marking each other’s answers, Zoe concluded with a short presentation. Oh, and yes our group won! Continue reading

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Week 5: Trainees at work, photos by Chris

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Week 4: Case studies and interviewing social enterprises

Pic: Chris Cain. Oxford Street

Pic: Chris Cain. Oxford Street

By Chris Cain


Today we started by looking at ‘case studies’, which is a more relaxed way of telling a story. They prove very useful to charities and social enterprises because they focus on either one person, or a project, within a wider story. They inform and educate the audience simply and accurately.

Our journalism tutor Glenn took us through interviewing techniques, which was extremely worthwhile as there is a lot to consider before, during and after an interview. i.e. preparation; such as your questions, journey planning, timings and the approach you take during the interview.

Our photography tutor Zoe also did something similar with regard to photography, again emphasising the importance of doing your research first, along with your writing partner, so that the images taken at the interview are appropriate and that they are in context to the wider story. Continue reading

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Week 3: Photography week blog

Pic: Patrick. Frances out on location in Central London.

Pic: Patrick. Frances out on location in Central London.

By Frances Deacon

Since starting the course I have hardly been able to contain my excitement about photography week, as I have only recently gotten into photography I knew I was going to learn a lot and pick up some awesome tips along the way.

First up was a quiz containing a series of questions with some fancy words I hadn’t a clue what they meant. Luckily I had two photographers on my team who had a fair idea of things like ‘the golden ratio’. I now know this is when you divide the composition of the photograph into thirds. I also learnt about shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Continue reading

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Photography week: day 2


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September 21, 2014 · 10:55 am

Week 3: Photography day 1

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September 21, 2014 · 9:04 am

Week 2: A quick personal view by Adrian

Pic: Frances Deacon. Adrian hard at work at the Big Issue online journalists HQ.

Pic: Frances Deacon. Adrian hard at work at the Big Issue online journalists HQ.

This is a quick personal view written very much under the kosh. Just 45 minutes to go and I do want to have a good break before we go, because I haven’t really managed to have one yet.

We’ve learnt, or maybe in some cases re-learnt, how to write the basics of a news story, plus doing bits of photography for it. Stories need some of the 5 “w”s – who, what, where, why and when. And sometimes an “h” – how. Always aimed at a particular audience. Continue reading

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Week 1: Thrown straight into the deep end

Pc: Ve Perryman. Fellow trainee Frances, in the St Giles garden, Dalston.

Pc: Ve Perryman. Fellow trainee Frances, in the St Giles garden, Dalston.

Week one of the Big Issue online journalism course has flown by so quickly. While I started the course with a bit of an idea of what to expect I didn’t realise exactly how much I was going to learn.

I have never been involved in the media side in any of my previous jobs as a youth adviser and english teacher, so news reporting, writing and using social media are areas that are totally new to me. Continue reading

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Final Big Issue journalism course finishes on a high

After another successful course, trainees interviewed each other to find out what they thought of it and if it’s worth continuing.

The Big Issue secured funding for four six-week courses that have now been completed, but given its success its hoped new funding can be found.

John Watts, a former screen-writer, who has secured a work experience placement at homeless charity Broadway’s press office since finishing the course, said: “I learnt loads and totally stimulated my enthusiasm for [journalism] and can’t wait to get out there and do it for real. If you want to go into journalism the hands-on practical skills will seriously benefit anyone doing the course.”

During the year-long programme the course has developed a balanced and accessible schedule for people from a range of backgrounds with a range of experiences, but all united in their desire to get back on their feet and into work.

Most of the trainees already have an interest in writing or photography and want to develop it further with a view to getting work experience and ultimately paid work. Others appreciate the importance of developing their communication skills whether it be for business, the media world or their personal life.

Seb Taylor, who has toyed with photography as a hobby for years and has since got his first gig as a festival photographer at the Wickerman in Scotland, said he hoped the course would continue. He said: “There’s a hell of a lot of talent out there, but people don’t know ways into doing this and it’s been a fantastic way to do that. Now I’m set up with the tools to know what to do next.”

The course is based around producing real content to publish online so trainees learn how to write in different styles: news, features and blog-posts, and for specific audiences. They also learn how to use a camera: from composing a good shot, using the built and natural environment for effect and how to take the dial off ‘automatic’.

By week two the trainees are out and about taking pictures for a photo-essay and by week three they’re interviewing people for actual news stories. While some theory is taught before the practical sessions, it is after and on reflection the majority of it is learnt.

Throughout the course the importance, relevance and use of social media is integrated: from using a blog to finding stories on Twitter to getting them read on Facebook. Technophobes are broken in gently.

By week six the trainees have the basic skills, knowledge and confidence to try their hand in the real world, so we end the course preparing them for work: from coming off benefits, creating a portfolio, becoming a brand, building a network and nailing down a 12-month ‘career’ plan.

And it seems to work.

Trainees who have completed the programme have gone onto study for a professional journalism qualification, produce videos for charities, work at the Big Issue, freelance for news agencies, volunteer in press offices and become a festival photographer. All have attributed their success to the course.

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