Tuesday, March 8, 2016

On cell phone photography: Post your event pics instantly, responsibly

   This is a busy time for news.
   Political rallies are at the top of the list. I know many of you Wayne State students are attending candidate rallies this week, but I've yet to see a single Instagram or Twitter post of your photographic coverage.
   Why not?
   One student lamented he couldn't take a camera because it wasn't allowed. I responded with this: Cover the event with your cell phone!
On Deadlines
   The power of cell phone photography is the ability to post instantly.  Even if you have two expensive DSLR cameras hanging off of your shoulders, you can still snap a quick photo, write a concise caption, and hit send within minutes. This is preferred for spot news, particularly.
   If you're at the event, why wait to post it when you get home, or never? Shoot and send immediately! Think like a journalist. Don't you want to inform your readers in that moment? That's the power of a cell phone, which is an additional tool in your journalism toolbox. You can post a single image, a photo slideshow or videos fast and easy. 
   In fact, I recently did a blog post on Steller, an iPhone photo slideshow app. The piece was on people writing messages on ice at a hockey rink for cancer survivors and those who died. Within 30 minutes of shooting about 15 images and a couple of 15-second videos, I posted the photo story on Twitter, and it had nearly 2,000 views by the next day! 
   Political rallies, spot news, sporting events (see Steller story below) and even news conferences are great places to capture mini feature picture stories with your cell phone.  
   Don’t forget about Instagram! Instagram allows you to be more creative in your event coverage. Shoot short video clips, and capture moments that you typically wouldn’t take with your DSLRs. Use extreme perspective. Get close. Shoot wide. However, don’t use filters if you’re covering the event as a journalist. Keep it real.
   But there is a danger when posting instantly. The ability to make errors, particularly in your captions, is high. So, triple-check your spelling, verify your facts, and double check your venue spelling before you post mistakes. 
   With Instagram, you can edit your mistakes, but not with Twitter. You’ll have to delete your original post and repost. This means your mistake will be up for a long time, and for many eyes to see, before you discover the error.
And here's a Steller feature picture story from a sporting event:
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