Photojournalism and documentary photography
Time: 10:00 - 16:00
Location: PS - Photography Studio
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
Course Code: VY600
Duration: 5 sessions (over 6 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course has a strong practical base and an emphasis on sharing and discussion. You will learn about the key elements of documentary photography and photojournalism, explore different visual languages and consider how they convey messages. Assignments and practical exercises will enable you to improve your technical skills, develop your photographic style and build up your confidence. Each week we will tackle an aspect of documentary photography and explore it in practice. You will be encouraged to participate in regular discussion and feedback on your own and fellow learners’ work, while working towards your own practical documentary project.
What will we cover?
- Documentary photography as a means of communication
- News images, reportage and photo-essays
- History and tradition, contemporary storytelling and new media
- Questions of truth, objectivity and impact in photojournalism
- Technical choices and their effect on visual language
- Photographing people and in public places
- Practical, ethical and legal issues in documentary photography
- Using editing, captioning and text to create a storyline
- Platforms for showcasing documentary photography.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Present several documentary photography works in different genres
- Demonstrate experience in photographing people and in public places
- Recognize and name different visual approaches within documentary photography
- Analyze natural and available light and apply camera settings accordingly
- Apply picture editing methods to create a storyline from a series of photographs
- Write informative and engaging captions for documentary photography
- Demonstrate an ability to think critically about objectivity and truth in photojournalism
- Recognize and state key ethical considerations in photojournalism
- Demonstrate an ability to give and receive constructive feedback on photographic work
- Produce a statement of intent for a documentary photography project of your own
Getting started What is documentary photography?
News images now and in the past
Group discussion and feedback Use of composition
Photo-essay and the picture story
Group discussion and feedback Use of natural and available light
Place, space and landscape in documentary photography
People and portraits in documentary photography
Legal and ethical issues in documentary photography
Group discussion and feedback
Street photography and documenting events
Editing, captioning and text Storytelling in print and online
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior knowledge of the subject of documentary photography or photojournalism is needed, but this is not a course for complete beginners to photography. It's ideal for those who have completed our 'Beginner's photography: stage 1', or for anyone with a basic understanding of ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance and how to change these on your digital SLR, bridge or film camera (i.e. not a point-and-shoot camera). You will need manual functions on your camera (i.e. be able to change the aperture and shutter speed settings).
You will need to be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and be prepared to take part in group discussion. You should be happy using numbers and able to do simple measurements and calculations.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught via illustrated lectures, workshops and group and individual projects. Regular individual practical projects will also be realised during and bewteen the sessions. While demonstrations and illustrated lectures will guide, advice and teach you, you will benefit from a positive group dynamic where you can share your images and ideas in a supportive environment.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to have a digital camera which has manual settings for aperture and shutter speed. A tripod will be useful but not essential for this class. Please note: This course is not suitable for photography on fully automatic cameras.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit has a vast range of practical and theoretical photography courses. Please search on the City Lit website,
download a PDF or request a printed prospectus from the home page.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to
Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details.
Laura is a photographer, picture editor and photography tutor. She holds an MA in art photograpy and has over ten years of editorial experience from a range of roles. Laura currently works as a freelance photographer and picture editor, specializing in portraiture, travel and documentary photography. Her passion is visual storytelling - making images work together to create a meaningful narrative. Before moving to London Laura worked as a university lecturer in Finland, teaching photojournalism. For the last five years Laura has taught digital photography, lighting, image editing and documentary storytelling to adults from all backgrounds and levels. Her style of teaching has been described as clear, inspiring and approachable. "I think holding a camera is a super power. It makes you see the world from a different angle and pay attention to the smallest details. Learning the technical aspects of photography is really important, but it can be done in a fun and creative way."
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.