There is no strong rule on how much of your subject
should be included in your portrait. Ideally, an informal
portrait will include everything that relates to the subject
and nothing that does not. In some cases, this will mean
including parts of the background because it relates to
the subject. Or, it will mean throwing everything out of
focus except the subjects face. A general rule is to keep
the portrait simple and concentrate on the face.
Quite often it will be the available light that is the
determining factor for adding depth and mood to the
subject. Although formal portrait lighting should be
avoided you should master its techniques. This will give
you an understanding of the various effects of lighting
and the changes they can make to the mood or shape of
a subjects face.
The best lenses to use for informal portraits are
medium telephotos between 85mm and 105mm. A
medium telephoto will minimize the distortion you may
get by working too closely with a normal lens, and it will
allow you to work at a distance from your subjects that
may make them less conscious of the camera.
Always keep in mind that the only reason for you to
take a news photograph is to get it published. A print
suitable for personal viewing may be wholly unsuitable
for reproduction in a newspaper or magazine.
Most print media use the halftone reproduction
process in which photographs are converted into a
pattern of dots. These dots vary in size according to the
intensity of the tone they will produce. In light areas, the
dots are so small they are almost invisible. In dark areas,
the dots are so close together they look like a solid mass
of black. The amount of printing ink applied by the dots,
of course, is in proportion to the light and shaded areas
of the original print.
Because of this factor, photographs intended for
reproduction must be clean and bright. The black must
be strong enough to withstand a little watering down.
Important halftones in the photograph must be separated
clearly, so they will not blend in with each other or
become lost altogether in reproduction.
Therefore, a photograph can be good in content and
composition, but not usable for reproduction because it
is lacking in the following three required technical
elements: focus, detail and contrast.
Focus, as covered in Chapter 11, means that the
subject must be distinct and the image sharply defined
Focus for reproduction must entail extreme sharpness
since halftones lose some of their original sharpness in
the reproduction process.
The halftone will not produce fine detail. Small
detail in a newspaper is usually lost; therefore, detail
must be overemphasized. The most effective way to
emphasize detail is to move in close with the camera and
concentrate on small areas. Any detail that is important
to a photograph should be as large as possible and
adequately lighted by natural light or the addition of
fill-in reflectors or flash.
Contrast is the difference between the light, dark
and the intermediate tones of a photograph. A
photograph with normal contrast will have an image
with a full range of tones from white to black with all
the intermediate grays. The image will be boldly defined
but will not reproduce well. A photograph low in
contrast or flat has many intermediate gray tones but
lacks clear blacks and whites. It has no brilliance or
snap, lacks strength and appears dull. It will reproduce
in halftones as an indistinct or muddy blur. Only a
photograph of normal contrast can be considered usable
for halftone reproduction.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the
techniques used to take sports photographs and
record cutline information.
Sports photojournalists must know the sport they
cover inside and out and demonstrate a keen ability to
spotlight the key plays and players. While luck helps,
more often, anticipation and a good working knowledge
of the event are the foundation of a good sports
photograph. Sports photography captures action;
therefore, you must research the sport before game time
in order to understand some of that action and to be
prepared for it.