A yearbook would just be a journal without photos, right? So it’s safe to say that it’s the yearbook photography that makes a yearbook, well, a yearbook. If the photography isn’t fabulous, then all the great graphics, stunning layouts and gripping copy in the world can’t make up for it. Because a yearbook is the one place that proves the “a picture is worth a thousand words” adage.
September is the perfect month to establish the guidelines for your yearbook photography, so we’ve put together a very short but comprehensive guide (with some links to our favorite educational photo site: digital-photography-school.com) to photography that should make make your staff stronger photographers and better photo editors as they begin building their pages.
THE BASICS OF EXPOSURE
- ISO indicates the camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the number, the less light you need, BUT the grainer the photograph.
- Aperture is how wide the lens is open and determines how much of the photo will be in focus. When the lens is wide open, only a little of the photo will be in focus. When the lens is open only a small amount, almost everything will be in focus.
- Shutter Speed is how long the shutter of the lens stays open. A fast shutter speed is necessary to freeze moving objects while a slow shutter speed is fine for stationary objects.
THE BASICS OF COMPOSITION
There are seven rules of composition: Rule of thirds, framing, center of interest, balance, leading lines and curves, pattern and repetition, and camera angle. We’ll take a look at each one separately.
Rule of Thirds
Use this basic guideline for a well-balanced, pleasing image. First, divide the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Then, place the subject at the intersection of any two lines.
When you “frame” a photo, you place objects in the foreground to give the illusion of three dimensions. The most effective framing occurs when the object in the foreground helps tell the story of the photograph.
Center of Interest
Control where the eye goes first by having one dominate element in each photo. This is the subject of your photograph. In yearbook photography, this is most often a person or a group of people.
Giving a sense of balance within the frame does not mean centering your subject. Place the main subject a little off center because it is more pleasing to the eye.
Leading Lines And Curves
Lines and curves direct the viewer’s attention to the center of visual interest. Where the photographer stand to take the picture helps determine the effectiveness of strong leading lines. Curves also lead the eye into a particular point in the photograph.
Pattern and Repetition
While patterns draw the viewer into the picture, it’s the break in the repetition that is most interesting. Sometimes repetition is found with the subjects themselves, rather than in the objects around them. This is the most powerful way to use repetition in yearbook photography.
The best photographers move around their subject, taking shots from above, below and from one side, then the other. Everything from sports to activities to academics will be more interesting with a creative camera angle.
NOW GO PRACTICE!
You’ve got the basics of yearbook photography, so now it’s all about doing it. The more you shoot, the easier it will become to incorporate the basic elements into your frames. And when you return to the staff room and begin looking through your photographs, use a critical eye, keeping each of these elements in mind as you make your choices.
For more photography tips, check out these great websites: