Reader Question: Tips To Help a College Newspaper Staff

Photo by Vincent Pastore

Today’s reader question comes from Nicole Balbone, another photographer I know in the NYC area that is still in college. Nicole is the photo editor of her school newspaper and wants to give some pointers to her staff: so she turns to me. I’m a former News Editor of my college newspaper and former Editorial Director (and President) of my college radio station. Hit the jump for the reader’s letter.

“I know that you are good with this kind of stuff that is why I am asking.

Can you help me comprise a list of things that help you take good photos? My Photo staff needs some tips.
1. No SITTING and taking photos
2. Thing before you click.
Thx sooo much!


The Elements of Photojournalism


Well Nikki, there are the elements of photojournalism to keep in mind. You can tell them to always shoot what’s newsworthy/important, the emotional, the intimate and the unusual. The shot above is a great shot for something that is totally unusual. Something that could also be unusual could be some spoiled food in the cafeteria (just make sure that there is a timestamp on the photo.)

Blind Photographers like me may recommend anything by Focal Press to help you guys out. I learned on Kenneth Kobre’s Photojournalism book. They make great books and I always somehow or another find myself reading them in Borders.

Predict Actions

Knight Smashes Standard

College newspaper journalists need to apply those principles to lots more though. For example, there are loads of sports games. In these, you need to focus on a subject and predict what will happen. Right before it happens you need to press your shutter button down and capture what is about to unfurl. That’s how I shot the photo above.

Zoom With Your Feet

Toga Fighers

If your staffers are using little point and shoots then tell them to zoom with their feet. Getting up close and personal to the action makes for great photos. Using the zoom on your point and shoots raises the F-stop and doesn’t always allow for faster moments to be captured like the one below. When I shot the photo above, I was less than three feet away.

Go For What’s Real

The Recession in New York City

Every college has some problem of some sort. Maybe it’s parking issues, or food or visual evidence of a dangerous curve around a bend etc. Go for those. To be a photojournalist is to be amongst people and to capture what life is all about.

While you’re doing this, don’t be shy.

And remember the golden rule of taking photos: learn to disarm someone’s anger with a smile and kind eyes. And be timely, especially with the world of the web.

Send in your reader questions to ChrisGampat[at]

What other tips can you provide for the staff? Let us know down below.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.