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NDI Public Affairs Photo Pointers

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Dagny Leonard

on 7 May 2014

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Transcript of NDI Public Affairs Photo Pointers


It can be hard to tell the story of what NDI does
A compelling photo is a great way to help tell NDI's story
But that is easier said than done.
Here are some examples of typical photos we might get from the field.
Lots of conference tables...
And the backs of people's heads...
But with a few simple tips, you can turn conferences, workshops and trainings into interesting photos that help tell the story of what NDI does.
And instead of a photo like this
You can have a photo more like this.
Let's take a look at some examples from NDI
Images are much better when they have a strong, singular focal point.
Because of the nature of our work, the best focal point is often a person
Tip: Instead of trying to capture an entire room in one photo, try focusing on individuals. It will make photos much more interesting.
Leading Lines
Rule of Thirds
Leading lines are lines within an image that lead the eye to another point in the image, or occasionally, out of the image. Anything with a definite line can be a leading line. Fences, bridges or a shoreline can all lead the eye.
Rule of thirds refers to an imaginary grid drawn across a photo area that breaks the image into nine equal squares. The best focal point for subjects is at the intersection of these lines with secondary emphasis being seen along the lines themselves
If you can pair leading lines with a subject that is placed according to the rule of thirds, your image should be very strong.
Be on the lookout for "action" shots. Your subject doesn't have to be jumping or sprinting for your shot to have action in it.
This shot of Ken meeting with a Georgian minister is pretty boring.
But we planned ahead.
And also captured them as they met, which made it much more interesting.
To find the action, YOU have to MOVE! Don't be afraid to use the "foot zoom," i.e. move around the room! Usually having a camera in your hand will give you a free pass to roam during an event.
Then instead of a picture like this...
Jimmy Carter
You can get one more like this.
Madeleine Albright
Now let's use what we've learned
Instead of trying to capture the whole conference room...
Focus on individual people.
And interactions
If you find yourself in a room like this...
Use that foot zoom and turn it into a picture like this.
Or this.
You can always contact the Public Affairs team at public_affairs@ndi.org
And don't forget to send us your photos!
Or upload them to our Working for Democracy Flickr pool.
You could be the next Photo of the Week winner!
And don't forget, you always have a camera in your pocket.
Use these tips to get better photos on your phone:
Avoid using the flash.
- The flash on your smartphone more often than not will result in harsh lighting and blurriness.
- Instead, try to take advantage of natural light by putting the sun (or other light sources) behind you.
- If you're in a setting that is too bright, try cupping your hand around the lens of the phone to function as a lens hood.
Avoid using digital zoom.
- Using the zoom on a smartphone often results in a lower quality picture. If you want a close-up shot, use the "foot zoom."
- It is better to get as close as you can to take the picture, and then crop out any extra space later -- which will make the photo cleaner than if you zoom.
Here's a photo of Secretary Albright taken on a smartphone using the zoom.
As you can see, it's a little blurry.
Here is a shot from the same distance, that does not use zoom.
And Here is the same photo cropped, so it looks like it was taken at a closer distance, but you don't lose any pixel quality.
Make sure to take high resolution photos, when possible.
Photographs should be at least 150 DPI or 1920 x 1080 pixels.
This will also allow us to not only use the photos on our website and social media, but opens up the possibility for using them in any future films or publications we might create.
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