Help me get into my school's photojournalism program!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by redrabbit, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. redrabbit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #1
    Hi,

    At my school, we have what is considered one of the best journalism schools in the country. After being admitted, students take two years of general journalism classes before choosing their specific sequence, such as magazine, news-ed, photoj, broadcast, advertising, etc. That time is approaching for me and I want to apply for "Convergence" which is sort of all of the programs combined together, with a large focus on online journalism. Out of all the journalism sequences, this one is the most selective, about 20 students a semester. The general application includes essays and all that, but the professor hinted that if I attached additional media, such as photos of mine, it would help my evaluation. The question is, how should I do this? My friend suggested I go all out and get a professionally printed matte book made with my best photos, but I think that's a bit over-the-top. Right now I'm thinking one of the three options:

    1) Upload the photos to a web gallery generated by Aperture to my school's alloted webspace they give me and attach that url to application.

    Pros: Easy, fast, cheap, and convienent
    Cons: Professors might not look at all the photos, or any of them at all, possible technical errors

    2) Print my few best photos all on a sheet or two

    Pros: Organized, easy to look at and overview
    Cons: Smaller, harder to observe details on smaller photos

    3) Get a few of my best photos printed on individual 5x7/4x6 prints

    Pros: Better prints
    Cons: Might annoy professors

    I am VERY open to any other ideas you guys might have in presenting my photos to the j-school. Any suggestions are very much appreciated!

    My next question is, how many photos? I've narrowed down my favorites to about 60 photos :eek: so how many would you think would be a good number? (I guess it depends on which of the above methods I choose)

    And finally, WHICH photos should I choose?!

    Well, I've narrowed it down to 60. Here they are:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/redrabbit12088/SequenceApplication02

    Which ones do you like? I would love any feedback and suggestions on your picks.

    Thank you ahead of time for all your help! My fingers are crossed
     
  2. zblaxberg Guest

    zblaxberg

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    #2
    I would just send a buncha 5/7 prints. I too am trying to get into a school of media arts and design and you just gotta suck up as much as possible and have a high gpa. However I think my program at james madison univ is going to be easier to get into...
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #3
    To present photos the right way, get a real portfolio and have them printed at 8x10, enclose them with your essays.

    You want to show diversity and flexibility. 15 pictures of the same subject is tedious to look at. I'd say no more than 10 or 12.

    Frankly some of your pictures are really good, and I don't see them being the reason you wouldn't get in. Just remember that you want to show off the picture. A 5x7 doesn't quite cut it, and website is way too informal.

    Out of you pictures I liked 39, 35, 40, 61, 55, 5, 7, 48, and 49. You're looking for pictures that tell stories- hence photoj. Nice shots, by the way.
     
  4. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #4
    I agree with lovesong - buy a decent portfolio binder, and print up 10 or so of your best shots 8x10, and by that I'm referring to ones that tell a story more than just pretty photos. Write good explanatory captions for each photo showing you have an aptitude for communicating. It is a journalism program in the end, right? You have to decide how much it means to you to make the right impression, but if you really want it, it's foolish to skimp. Plus, when those in the position to make the decisions about who gets in and who doesn't, they'll probably be reviewing all the "packages" right in front of them, not surfing some website. Having said that, I'd also do the online gallery where I could display more, since that's definitely how to reach a broader audience much quicker and would fit with the "convergence" track, but I wouldn't rely on it for the admissions process. Cover your bases. Some things still work the old way, I believe. Good luck with your application.
     
  5. teleromeo macrumors 65816

    teleromeo

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    kidnapped by aliens
    #5
    A portfolio with perfect printed photo's mounted on a nice cardboard is the way to go.
     
  6. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #6
    However you choose to display your photos, just make sure that whoever reviews them goes "Wow!", not "Huh?" Good pix will 'leap off' a printed page, or portfolio book or website. 'Frame' them to draw attention to the pix... and not the frames. Good presentation is part of pro photograhy, as is the ability to edit your own work. So just show the very best (even one second-rate shot will 'dilute' the strength of a portfolio). Good luck...
     
  7. rlandrigan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    #7
    If you really want to make an impact, layout a photo essay and attach with your application. A bunch of loose prints will get trashed, a url forgotten, and a big portfolio book tossed.

    It's journalism - a quick, polished, focused photo essay with killer shots and clean layout will sell you better than anything else. Have an online component too - after all, you're pushing for the Convergence option, so build an online version with more features - additional photos, etc. Heck, if you think you can pull it off, design a feature about you - why your vision is unique, why your work is compelling, and what you bring to the craft. use your best shot to illustrate why you deserve one of those 20 slots.

    The truly ballsy way to apply is to integrate the entirety of the application into a insert style color piece - complete with online supplement.

    You're selling yourself here - anything less than all out will be noticed by the profs.
     
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #8
    I agree completely - great idea on the photo essay/layout. If you have suitable software to do this for print (Quark, etc) you can display numerous skills - page and photo composition/balance, writing, editing, and more. If necessary, go out and create an assignment for yourself as if you were on a story for a magazine or newspaper. Design for either one (look at and study good designs and bad ones...)

    An interesting link here on the subject of "convergence" from the National Press Photographers Association site.

    Finally, if you get the time, take a look at this link - it has great contemporary photojournalism winners to review, and learn from.

    Or just go to http://www.nppa.org and explore. It's a great resource
     
  9. MacUserSince87 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    #9
    First the photos... There are some very effective shots there but others which aren't very effective. People photos are all about eye contact. That's what evokes the emotional reaction in the mind of the viewer. If there is no light on the face and eyes eye contact is difficult. So I'd suggest you start by trimming the portfolio in half, then take another critical look and cut it half again to find the best 12 or so you can create a story layout with a theme instead of just presenting a random set of shots.

    Cinema has a very effective framework for telling a story visually which also is a good format for telling a story in stills: wide shots which establish the scene, followed by medium shots to reveal the actors in the scene, then close-ups from different points of view to reveal the action. You've got some nice wide shots of city and medium shots of the street scenes, but not any close-ups revealing the action. So you might want to review your shots, perhaps crop some tighter close-up of hands, faces,etc. and then construct a story layout which has that kind of visual flow to it.

    As for presentation I'd suggest submitting both a print brochure format and creating the same content as a web site burned on a CD attached to back cover. The selection commitee might not take the time to even look at the CD web site in the first round of eliminating candidates, when it gets down to making the final selections they will likely take the time or at least appreciate the effort put into the presentation.

    Chuck Gardner
     
  10. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #10
    While I would agree that people photos are about eye contact, there is so much to be said by NOT having it as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. MacUserSince87 macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    #11
     
  12. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #12
     
  13. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #13
    On the issue of eye contact, it all depends on the "story" behind the picture, and whether it's photojournalism, portraiture, landscape, etc... but clearly I agree that in a news picture where a subject person's face is in the frame, it should be naturally well lit. But the issue of "eye contact" is really not that simple, since there is a distinction between "set-up" shots and "you are there" shots of the real world. Is it hard news, or is it softer, feature-style news, etc., etc. Anyway, it's an interesting subject...

    examples of "no eye contact" which work for me:

    [​IMG]

    folks observing funeral procession below them on freeway...
    [​IMG]

    Unser and Penske discussing problem with car (caption would explain context)
    [​IMG]

    Kids hanging on street corner (subject of story where city was debating new ordinance on this issue)
    [​IMG]

    mother with cancer and young son (newspaper story of survival)
    [​IMG]

    Exhausted fireman immediately after removing headgear...
    [​IMG]

    Eye contact (feature story... portrait style environmental shot)
    [​IMG]

    Anyway, just thought giving some examples might help further this discussion and add to the OP's feedback.
     
  14. yetieater macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Random question: Are you a student at SAS? I saw a couple of pictures taken in Shanghai. Where was picture #32 (two men fighting) taken? Inner Mongolia?

    Edit: Score! Right on both counts. I just looked at your Flickr.

    If you're still in China at this point, I'd suggest you just print out your best pictures. Local print shops are pretty cheap.
     
  15. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #15
    Of the pictures in your gallery that you are trying to whittle down, the ones I like are as follows:

    1
    15 cropped tighter
    17 maybe a bit tighter, adjust contrast, I like the "rim" lighting
    19
    33 post process for better contrast, maybe add some sharpness (if it's there)
    35 same as above
    37 decent character sketch
    38 describes environment fairly well
    41 borderline... but nice exposure on the neon lights - not too photojournalistic
    49 could work in a feature story package... adjust contrast
    56
    58 another character study... play with contrast, etc...
    61 I just like the mood, and overall big picture of this one... sharpness might get you here, though...

    All in all, those are my pics, but don't hesitate to go out and take on a "new" assignment for yourself to maybe add some others if you have time...

    Good luck with your efforts, and I hope you get your spot in the program.
     
  16. redrabbit thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #16
    Thank you to everyone (and "andy" who posted in my picasa comments, I tried to email you to say thank you but could not find any contact info) for your suggestions, advice, and constructive critcism! I learned way more from this thread than I initially expected to and will heed much of it in both the application to the photoj program and in my photography.
     

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