Boot Camp Part 1: Photography

By Kathryn Vance

On Tuesday, February 9, PRSSA hosted the first part of the three-part boot camp covering a variety of graphic design topics. Led by Tori Lawhorn, PRSSA’s Director of Alumni Engagement, chapter members were walked through a crash-course in all things photography.

20160209_184121-1-1Tori talked about how to use different settings on several types of devices such as point-and-shoot and DLSR cameras. However, what many attendees found to be extremely beneficial was her instruction on how to take great-quality photos with professional camera settings on something we all carry around regularly: our smartphones.

After the lesson on how to configure settings and a quick photography-related vocab tutorial, students were given time to walk around Ernie Pyle Hall and take pictures based on what we had just learned. When we returned to the room, we uploaded our pictures to a drop box account and did a group critique of our photos. This was a great opportunity for members to be able to get instant feedback on their understanding of the skills they had just learned.

When looking at our pictures on the projector screen, it was clear that we had a good understanding of the three key aspects to photography that Tori had taught over the past hour.

  1. Learn the settings on your camera

Whether this be on a professional camera or your smartphone, it is essential that you know what the different symbols on your screen actually mean. A quick review of your camera manual or a Google search can help you get a better grasp on how to get the best image based on your settings. From HDR to f-stop to exposure, it’s important to understand what all these abbreviations and acronyms mean when taking a picture.

  1. Watch your framing

When taking a picture of someone or something, make sure to not cut off part of the picture. Unless you are planning to make one specific detail the focus of the picture, make sure that you aren’t cutting off something like someone’s arms or legs. Remember that what you can see with your eyes is not what the camera sees; always look through the viewfinder to see what will actually be captured in the image.

  1. Follow the rule of thirds

Quite possibly the most important lesson of the night is the idea that your photo should be divided up into a grid of nine boxes. The goal is to make sure that your photos have a focal point right outside the intersections of these imaginary grid lines. By not centering your photos completely, this actually helps to balance the image and draw attention to the subject of your photo. Pro tip: if you’re using a smartphone to take pictures, there’s a setting to add grid lines to help you with this!


20160209_182047-1This week’s boot camp was a great way to kick off an exciting month of learning some graphic design skills that will surely translate to our future careers in the PR field.

Join us next week for our second installment of this boot camp led by graphic design editor for the IDS, Anna Boone, as she teaches us the tips and tricks we need to know about Photoshop.


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