JOUR 3330: Introduction to Photojournalism Syllabus (Fall 2018)

Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Friday 9:05 – 11:00, 11:15-1:10
Office Hours: Friday 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. or by appointment Stanley Leary

This class

Stanley Leary [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/1000] photo by: Robin Rayne Nelson
We are here to learn how to communicate visually. We will do this by learning the mechanics of your digital camera and by learning how to compose a photo that tells a story.

This is photojournalism. Photojournalism is different than documentary photography, social documentary photography, street photography or paparazzi. It is the ethics of journalism that sets it a part. This is telling stories visually. We will have conversations about journalism, community, ethics, communication law, psychology and everything in-between.

I have been teaching photography at other colleges and workshops for most of my career. You will discover there are no magic settings for your camera nor are their a simple rule book to follow for storytelling. Together we will explore how we approach stories. We will do this as a community where your participation is expected for all of us to learn and grow as a community.


Attendance is mandatory. By majoring in journalism, you have chosen a field that requires attendance and demands timeliness. Be in class and be on time. Each unexcused absence or tardy appearance results in a five-point reduction on your final grade. If you think I do not keep up with this, you are sadly mistaken.

Health is important. Life happens. If you are sick or experiencing a hardship in life, please notify me before class and we can discuss whether or not your absence is excusable. Communication is key. Be proactive, not reactive.


Meet them. Failure to turn in your work on time results in a zero on the assignment.


This class will uphold the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics. As with all classes, you are expected to follow UGA’s Culture of Honesty. Familiarize yourself with both of these documents. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse.

Things to note:

  • We DO NOT photograph friends, family or groups we’re involved with on campus
  • We DO NOT stage events or images

*If you think I will not call you out on this, you are sadly mistaken.


Because I am a part-time instructor at UGA, I do not have a full-time office in Grady College. If you would like to discuss anything in person, please come visit me before or after class on Fridays. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss visual things in person.

Your success is incredibly important to me, and if questions or concerns arise that you would like to discuss sooner than Friday, please email me. I always have my phone/email on me, and will be there to help as soon as possible.

  • History of photography and visual journalism
  • Visual ethics
  • The digital camera
  • The mechanics of exposure
  • The equivalent exposure
  • Focus and focal lengths
  • Digital workflow
  • Caption collection and data preservation
  • Composing for an unknown viewer
  • Subject selection
  • Copyright

The end goal of this class is for you to learn how to communicate visually, for you to learn to control a camera, to compose an image and to capture a moment that others will understand. (That last part? That’s the hard part.)

Equipment and Supplies

You are required to have your own digital SLR camera that meets the following requirements:

  • Sensor resolution: 12 megapixel minium
  • Sensor size: APS-C or full frame
  • Controls: full manual control over aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus and white balance
  • File format: JPG
  • Media: SD or Compact Flash card
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • Lens: 3x normal zoom (approximately 18 mm to 55 mm for an APS-C sensor; 24-75 for a full frame sensor)

You will also need to have a laptop with Adobe Creative Cloud installed. (Specifically, you will need Bridge, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. I’ll also recommend you download and install Audacity, which is a free audio editing package. You can use Audition if you like, but Audacity is a little easier to learn.) Please note that the best way to purchase this software is through the University System of Georgia’s Technology Store – it’ll be $75 for a one year subscription as opposed to $240 through Adobe’s education pricing.

The Department of Journalism recommends a Mac laptop as that is what will be demonstrated in person and in video tutorials. If you will be doing a lot of video and photo work, I would recommend a MacBook Pro with 16 GB of RAM and at least 256 GB of storage. You can work with less, but you’ll be happier with more memory. 20% empty hard drive space is recommended for editing with PhotoShop and Adobe Premiere.

An audio recorder will be helpful later in the semester but not required, your phone will work for recording but will impact the quality of your work.

If you cannot afford these items, the department has a financial need application we can work with to help you out. If you have questions about whether you have the right gear, let me know – I speak geek.

As this is a shooting class, you must bring your equipment to every meeting. In-class exercises and shooting assignments will happen. Be prepared.  The #1 Way to Get Better as a Photographer

Your assignments will be graded as follows:

1) Nouns & Verbs (Aug 30, 8 pm) 2.5%
-200 Nouns, 200 Verbs
-Highly recommend you shoot these images outside
How to Nail Exposure using Manual Mode
Storytelling?–I don’t think so

2) 36 Faces (Sep 20, 8 pm) 5%
-Vertical mugshots of 36 individual strangers. 12 pictures zoomed all the way in.
-4 are in bright light, 4 are in the shade and 4 use window light
12 pictures zoomed about half way.
-4 are in bright light, 4 are in the shade and 4 use window light
12 pictures as wide as your lens will let you.
-4 are in bright light, 4 are in the shade and 4 use window light
How to take your best portraits using window light – a beginners guide to digital photography
Open Shade Portraits: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

How to ASK STRANGERS for PORTRAITS (with Jamie Windsor & Pablo Strong)
Great example of how one photographer made portraits On Streets Of New York, The Penitent Pause For A Portrait

3) Depth of Field & Lens Selection (Sep 27, 8 pm) 5%
4 images with the same composition, altering the aperture and focal length
1. Widest focal length, widest aperture (~ f/3.5)
2. Widest focal length, aperture between f/11-f/22
3. Longest focal length, widest aperture (~ f/4.5-5.6)
4. Longest focal length, aperture between f/11-f/22
Depth of Field & Lens Selection
Depth of Field Preview – A tool underused by many photographers
Depth-of-field is more than Aperture
Telephoto or Wide-angle Lens?

4) One Face, One Story (Due Oct 4, 8 pm) 15%
A portrait, completely controlled, of someone we should know about in Athens. SHOW US something about them, tell their story, in a single frame.
One Face, One Story
What is an environmental portrait and what it is not
Environmental portrait needs to explore possibilities 
The environmental portrait
Explore with your subject

5) News Package (Due Oct 18, 8 pm) 15%
A three to five photo package of a scheduled event
*Needs to show visual variety
News Package
Variety is the spice of life
Photo Tips: Covering a Meeting 
Shooting a photo package on a person – Not an event, but gives examples of exploring subject

Photography: Assignment Details

6) Audio (Due Nov 1, 8 pm) Averaged in with Quizzes
Tell a story in 45 seconds, using long, medium and detail sounds
Audio Package
Great examples are on NPR’s Atlanta Sounds

7) Features (Due Nov 1, 8 pm) 15%
Two feature photos – slice of life images that share what it’s like living, working or studying on the UGA campus. Feature – Images and subjects that don’t fit in Spot News, General News, Sports or Illustration. Typically found moments or slices of life. Pictorial images – images that show graphic and aesthetic qualities of a subject with strong emphasis on composition.

8) Multimedia Story (Due Nov 15, 8 pm) 15%
Produce an audio slideshow that is 90 – 120 seconds in length

A story has five basic but important elements. These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow.

Multimedia Package
One of my first SlideShows Chick-fil-A Daddy Daughter Date Night
How to develop muscle memory for photographers

9) The Portfolio (Due Dec 6, 8 pm) 20%
Ten images of journalistic value from the semester. Cannot be the same images from your nouns & verbs, 36 faces, depth of field & lens selection or multimedia story.

10) Quizzes (As Assigned) 2.5%

11) Participation, 5%


I’m here to make sure you learn about visual journalism and to grow as a photojournalist. Your grade is not the most important takeaway from this class. There aren’t honor graduates in life, and your priorities should be in learning instead of a letter grade.

With that being said, I know Grady students are exceptionally bright and strive to do well in the traditional sense of academics. If you receive a grade you are not happy with, you have two weeks to redo an assignment for a better grade (except on your final portfolio & any missed deadlines).

Grading Guideline

A: Professional work. Excellent technical execution. Valuable content. Flawless captions.

B: Journeyman photojournalism. Strong technical execution. Competent storytelling. Adequate captions.

C: Entry level photojournalism. Adequate technical execution. Struggles to communicate. Problematic captions.

D: Not publishable. Poor technical execution. Unclear composition. Incomplete captions.

F: Not publishable. Major technical issues. Content provides no journalistic value. Inaccurate captions. Missed deadline.

General Course Policies

All of the course policies have been collected together on one page, you are required to click through and read them.

Academic Integrity

All academic work must meet the standards contained in A Culture of Honesty. Each student is responsible for informing themselves about these standards before performing any academic work.

The only reason readers continue to support news organizations is because they believe they are credible. All work done for this course must be your own and done this semester. If you are assisted during a shoot, it is advisable to notify the instructor prior to submission.

The ethics of the visual journalist are extremely important and we will use the National Press Photographers Association’s Code of Ethics as a guide. Learn it, live by it.

It is very easy, and very tempting, to digitally enhance or retouch your images. If it is suspected that you have retouched an image to alter its meaning or content in any way you will be asked to provide all of the original files from the shoot. If it is found that you have manipulated the image – either digitally or through subject direction – a report will be filed with the Office of the Vice President for Instruction in accordance with the University of Georgia’s Academic Honesty Policy. Failure to provide requested, supporting information or files will result in a grade of zero and notification to the Office of the Vice President for Instruction.

The course syllabus is a general plan for the course; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary.

Special Needs Students

The Disability Resource Center provides academic services to eligible students who have a documented physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more life activities. Students with a disability or health-related issue who need a class accommodation should make an appointment to speak with the instructor as soon as possible.

Diversity issues in journalism come in numerous forms, from how a newsroom is staffed to how decisions are made on those we document. We will spend time discussing how we continue to diversify the journalism ranks as well as analyzing how we select stories and images for publications. You will be challenged to ensure your visual reporting is reflective of the community you serve and helps bring awareness to those who are underserved or underreported.

Professional Values and Competencies:

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications requires that, irrespective of their particular specialization, all graduates should be aware of certain core values and competencies and be able to:

1. understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances;
2. demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
3. demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications;
4. demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
5. understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
6. demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
7. think critically, creatively and independently;
8. conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
9. write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
10. critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
11. apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
12. apply current tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work, and to understand the digital world.

The Department of Journalism has noted five of these standards that are specific to this course:

1. understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information – We will spend a great deal of time analyzing how the public will respond to your images, including discussions on the differences between snapshots and news photographs. You will make photographs for those who were not there, not as memory triggers.

2. demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity – As discussed elsewhere, we will apply the National Press Photographers Association’s Code of Ethics to all of our work and we will analyze issues that have arisen throughout the history of photojournalism.

3. think critically, creatively and independently – We will discuss how to assess various news situations, seeking out moments that will illuminate stories and not decorate them.

4. critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness – A core component of this class is the belief that journalism is a public act. Most assignments will be reviewed in class allowing you to get feedback from your peers as well as develop your own ability to assess photojournalism imagery. Captions will be critically important, as well, and we will focus on writing accurate and informative captions to give editors the information they need for publication.

5. apply current tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work, and to understand the digital world – In short, we will geek out a bit. We will not use technology to be more creative for individual works but will use it to tell more comprehensive stories. By blending visual and audio elements, we will develop stronger stories.