MCOM 407: Use your photos to tell stories

Does this picture tell a story?

Soldier and Lacrosse player at Fort McHenry

A historical soldier and a Lacrosse player pause to talk during Memorial Day ceremonies, 2011.


How about this one?

These are two of the pictures I took at Fort McHenry last Memorial Day.

On the first day of class, many of you said you wanted to improve your multimedia skills. Telling better stories with your photos is the first step to telling better stories with your multimedia.

Consider the photos in this project by Brittani Bowling, who took MCOM 407 last spring:

What we’ll talk about in class today:

Your homework: Starter Story #2

  • Read chapters 7-10 in the Reporter’s Guide to Multimedia Proficiency (it’s a free PDF download). Pay special attention to the “seven simple lessons” on p. 14.
  • Review and study the five-shot rule in video
  • Using a digital camera, shoot a five-shot story, paying special attention to composition: rule of thirds, filling the frame, getting close to the subject. Tip: find an action to photograph! Photograph people actually doing something!
  • Crop, tone and optimize each photo using the instructions in RGMP Ch. 8
  • Write a cutline that follows AP caption guidelines for each photo.
  • Post the photos–in sequence!–to any blog you are currently using for school.


Starter #2 can be on any subject–from a specific subject on your beat to your mom’s secret recipe for lasagna. The point is to improve photo composition. If you do it on your beat, however, you may be able to use the photos in the actual project later on.

This assignment doesn’t require you to create a slideshow, but if you’d like to, you can use SoundSlides, Final Cut Pro, the WordPress slideshow feature, iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.