Imported from Unit 5 of the Open Ds106 course by Alan Levine

Photo by Jennifer, UMW ds106 student, Spring 2013, see

Photo by Jennifer, UMW ds106 student, Spring 2013, see

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
-Ansel Adams

The photo, quote, and lead for this unit’s ds106 comes from a previous ds106 student’s perspective on photography.

In doing ds106 Daily Creates you’ve already been using photography and drawing skills, plus you’ve had some practice doing visual stories from our Introduction to Storytelling. This unit we go a bit deeper and give you the opportunity to practice telling stories in visual form. We also hope to have us thinking more about story when we use our cameras.

You may go from someone who takes a lot of snapshots or quick mobile photos to one who thinks more about composition, framing, and being more intentional with your photography. Even if you are an accomplished photographer, you can always get better by honing skills or trying new approaches. And we find that people doing this unit’s work come away noticing the world around them in new ways, in more detail.

This uniy most of our work comes from the ds106 Assignment Bank – we strongly urge you to write up your assignments to meet the criteria of being a Blogging Champ— this means not only blogging the visual media you create, but writing about the idea/inspiration behind it and information on how you made it.

Inspiration: How Photography Connects Us – David Griffin (National Geographic)

The Story Behind a Photo

Migrant Mother, 1936, by Dorthea Lange

Migrant Mother, 1936, by Dorthea Lange

Look closely of the most iconic photos, especially to usher an era of photojournalism, and consider what story an image alone might tell. Who is this woman? Where is she? How dod she get here? What does this photo say about the era?

And there is so much to the story behind the photo, and the photographer’s own story. See The Story Behind Dorothea Lange’s Iconic “Migrant Mother” Photograph and How She Almost Didn’t Take It (Brain Pickings).

Consider Lange’s method of note taking; what might she have done given a place to blog and publish her own photos? Is there more to a photo than the photo?

Becoming Better Photographers

Anyone can take snapshots, the question is do you want to elevate your photography skills to produce perhaps more artful, more story full photos?

The suggestions below are borrowed from Twenty Ways to Make Better Photographs. None of Them Involve Buying Gear a free ebook by David duChemin. You don’t need to buy the book, we’ve lifted some key points.

These are of course, very general guides. You get better as you look at your own and others photos. You get better when you think more before you press the shutter. You get better when you try new approaches. You get better when you break the rules.

We’ve assembled many more resources into a web based collection once housed on storify.

Pick at least three tips from these resources and try them as you do your Daily Creates and other assignments this unit. Write a blog post that summarizes the tips you tried. Include: