The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Please join us here at 3:30 p.m. ET for the first of our series of CNN iReport boot camp roundtable discussions.
CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill and photographer Matthew Rond will be with us to answer your questions and give feedback on the submissions to our photography challenge. You can be a part of the discussion even if you didn't get to participate in the photography assignment. Just check out Mark's tips and have your questions ready.
We want to spend as much time as we can on questions for Mark and Matthew so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything else at CNN iReport, you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll open comments at 3:30 p.m. ET and look forward to talking to you then.
Hi everyone and welcome to the CNN iReport roundtable.
We're excited to have CNN Director of Photography Mark Hill and photographer Matthew Rond with us today to answer your questions about photography.
This is the first in a series of discussions with the CNN iReport boot camp.
Mark and Matthew will be happy to answer any questions you have about photographic techniques.
Waves Hello :)
Hi. Beautiful pictures above. Lovely, touching story they depict.
Hi all! We're excited to kick off boot camp -- so many of the photographs were excellent!
Hello everyone! It is great to be here in the CNN Newsroom.
hello to all!
Lets get this party started!
Hi all! @teamireport I love the photo essay you chose to illustrate this workshop. Great photographs!
hello everyone from the philippines
Hello everyone! Very excited to be here!
Hello! Thank you for doing this.
Greetings from Southern California!
I'm really loving the wide establishing shot -- which is essential to almost any photo story. The burst of light from a street lamp makes the shot, adding another point of visual interest. I'd like more visual information in the second shot. I'd like to see more of the person holding the bible and how their interacting with the rest of the congregation. The third shot is great, a great moment from the night's proceedings and nice light. Feels personal.
I really like the effort that you put into the assignment. I know how hard it is to find a great story to shoot. Overall, the thing that I want you to see is that when you pick a story, you need to shoot an establishing shot that helps the viewer understand the direction of the story.
Clarification -- I was referring specifically to the above photos.
they're talking about the photos above, posted in this ireport: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-488742
nice job by hbwilsonj!
@Photomark - I have been reading your critiques to many of the photo essays and it seems a few of the comments relate to the limitations of the equipment people used. Because iReport is a citizen journalism site, most folks probably don't have the best cameras or equipment. How important is it to have the best equipment? And how can they maximize the ones they do have?
I did an iReport for the bootcamp assignment. It is called "I feel like squirrel tonight?" I was wondering how you would rate this report? THANKS
Oh! And hello! I'm happy to be a part of this conversation and critique!
I really love the love the story "Church Under the Bridge" by hbwilsonj. The story is established with the opening shot, the medium shot of the bible tells us the subject and the emotion is carried by the 3rd image. Thoughts?
Did you get a chance to go through all the submissions yet?
Hi all - just saying hello. Happily watching. Glad y'all are here.
Hi all......so happy you are doing this photo assignment, it was great to see everyones work!
"Church Under the Bridge" tell a beautiful story. I got a little choked up when I saw it.
What kind of camera was used?
Uh oh, my question listed as posted but didn't show. I'll try again.
@Photomark, I read the critique of most stories and a lot of it had to do with the type of equipment used. Given that most of the iReporters don't have high end equipment and must make do with what they have, how important is the equipment and what advice can you give people to maximize what they do have, which is often a point and shoot at best?
@JoyfulGypsy, someone on the iReport Team has looked at every submission. So many great photos! Do you have specific images that you'd like to discuss? Something you've submitted?
Hey everyone! I'm just learning about this now and I'm really interested. I used to be a photojournalism major and I want to get back to my roots. Excited to see what I can learn here!
@JoyfulGypsy let's see...i don't think hbwilsonj is here with us at the moment, but i see in my notes from when i called her that she used a Canon Eos 7D.
@mcintron. Regarding equipment, it is really easy to say that our equipment has held us back as photographers. Even though I am a professional photographer, I often arrive at a shoot and wish I had a different lens or lighting equipment. Overall, you need to make the best images with what you have. My primary camera is a 5D MKII, which is not a professional, but prosumer camera. Your eye is the most valuable tool in your camera bag.
Heya Matt what did you think about the Swans gallery?
@Photomark: I've had a big ah-ha moment with your comment "shoot an establishing shot that helps the viewer understand the direction of the story" Thanks for the lightbulb!
Welcome JennaLanger, we hope you'll like it here.
I think the 2nd picture is very powerful.
Hi Everyone I guess we are in Bootcamp now.
@Photomark: I love how it goes from sharper focus to blurry. It helps carry the emotion across the photos and almost makes me think the vision is blurred from teary eyes.
I agree. I was drawn to the series of photos for a number of reasons. It reveals a life of hardship that many of us just hear about... yet, the actions and emotions of the church service are exactly the same, and actually more intense, than services in a "traditional" church building. I love that the photographer was able to share this service with us. I'm not sure I would have been able to get in that close...
@Photomark....thanks for your input on Elvis DaPlane, I know it's a simple "snapshot" essay, we had to take the pics on the hush hush because pics were not allowed on the plane.
@everyone - if you'd like some specific feedback or to discuss a specific iReport submission - please include a link when you post and the guys will try to get to as many as time allows. Thanks
Hello everyone...Thanks for doing this!
Almost all the photos are great. I just want to ask whats lacking with my photo. Thanks
Here's the swan pics from @Specularity http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-487927
@thepizzaman. Awesome action, but this series is lacking context and a story that is impactful. Could you have included a wide shot that sets the scene and and another image that helps portray the emotion you felt at the time? A close up of the dead critter ?
@Photomark, as an example, your comment regarding my Big Bambu is that I needed to shoot a much wider shot to show the enormity of it. But with my camera, that wasn't possible. Although, I do have a few shots that show more of it... none show the 'big picture' the way I think you wanted me to.
@photomark. Thanks so much for reviewing the photos. I completely agree that it is not about the camera but its the eye. I still love my point and shoot!
Thanks ElenoreM! Glad to be of service.
Jujmping in (now where's that shot of the pool?!) In general... I, personally as a reader, enjoy something different in every shot, vs dupication. When I submit pjhotos for publication, I want to put captions under them that are separate from those in the story. One reason is that some just look at the photos, and others want as much info as possible; they continue the statements made in the story vs reapeating them. This is contrary to what is the norm? In print - or even on the news, it's possible to post the photos in strategic places so they're relevant to the before and after paragraphs.
This comment is not in ref to the church story. Excellent job of photography and a story is clearly here; love that the bible is enlarged, etc. Peaked my curiosity and made me want to read more. As journalists, that's what we want, yes?
Hi sorry to be late and sorry all I placed didn`t work I will try to improove myself thanks
@KCRep. I totally get that your images were hard to get.
@Specularity -- Yes, taking a look now and am happy to say that I'm really diggin' these. I'd suggest pulling back a little or zooming in further to either further isolate the swans eyes or allow us to view the shape of it's body a bit more -- this image feels like it's "in between" focal lengths but I can see your intent nonetheless with the vertical frame and vertical line of the swans neck. The second shot is GREAT! I love the fact that the plants in the water and their shapes add interest to the picture and mirror the shape of the swans. I love the fact that you captured the swan in the moon in the third image.
@Sherbien send over a link so we can analyze :)
@mpgomatic Hey, welcome to the photopalooza.
Thanks for your comments on my Liberty Bell Mark. I suppose I was focusing too much on the bell, tring to get the "shot" right.
@Photomark how can I use my blackberry bold 8700 to take good shot?
Links are not posting.
Thanks, @nsaidi! I'm hoping to soak it up to see what I can apply to shooting video.
@mcintron. I am not sure what to tell you. It is up to you to tell the story. I have been on the roof of the Met and know the space restrictions. It is your job as a story teller to make a clear picture for the viewer. Anything else is failure.
with all respect may I ask why none of mines worked or were vetted on CNN thanks Larena
"Your eye is the most valuable tool in your camera bag."
Does it really matter what kind of camera you have when getting the real shot comes from what you see through the lens?
Hello. Just signed up moments ago. Look forward to learning!
It is nice to be here. This is my first. From Lagos Nigeria but holidaying in Sittingbourne UK. The time is 2052.
EditorMatt: Since links are not posting, how about taking a look at my "Nathan's Famous Hotdogs" and "A Curious South African Visitor"?
Joyful, I think my whole posts aren't posting if there is a link!
I'll say it without the link... I would like to get some feedback on the Gospel photos I submitted, if that's possible. Thanks!
This is great info, but a little hard to follow since I have to refresh the page every time. Thought about trying something more real-time like embedding a Livefyre discussion?
How do you apply for a photographer's job at CNN?!
Hey Mark, I appreciate the constructive critique and look forward to the next assignment! It's wonderful to have such an avenue for constructive comments.
@alleebeth. I hope that I wrote that I loved your efforts with the Liberty Bell. The shots were really nice! The only thing it lacked was some story elements...
Gosh, I'm sorry everyone - we don't allow non-editors to post links on our blog. (something to do with our spam policies I'm sure.)
But Nicole has a great solution - post the DOC #s to your iReports please. A forgive my bossiness.
What do you think about the new iOS4.1 adding HDR? Will this make more consumers us HDR and what do you think about it with photojournalism? Is it telling the truth?
Thanks for your evaluation Mark regarding the Swans gallery, you should know the 1st shot will be the cover on National Geographic for Oct. story on bird migrations in the Nort east. That was taken athe bird sanctuary in Cape My, NJ
@Photomark Thank you for your comments on my report.
@uray. Shooting good photos with a camera phone is not really my gig. I have never had a phone that could take photos!
IEditorMat's request: I submitted "Feeding Wildlife May be Hazardous to Their Health," first, and , apologies - included the COMPLETE narrative when prompted for it. Duh. Sorry. Did the shots tell the story? How could they have been better? I had several pics of folks feeding them, but chose the one that didn't show their faces for this purpose as I didn't have releases obviously. Was that a good-or bad decision? it's tough when shotting wildlife. You only have a few secs to get it perfect, lest they run away or eat you. Thank you
@JennaLanger Yes -- it's definitely not the best format for a roundtable discussion. It's on our (very long) wish list for future site developments.
Thank you for your patience in the meantime!
@DianeHolman-- Lenses are definitely the most important bit of hardware in your bag. More important that your camera as they'll can allow you to capture a wide scene or get close to something that maybe you normally could not. Sensor size in digital cameras can be important from a quality standpoint and if you can afford a larger sensor I'd do it! It can make a big difference. In the end though, a good photographer makes great photos from whatever equipment they have! Do not get deterred by the equipment you own. Do not think that you can't make great pictures with inexpensive cameras.
Personally I really dug "Legs Of Paris"
Yes Mark you did thanks :)
But this assignment was about the pictures telling the story, is that right? I got caught up in wide medium tight that I forgot to use emotion! I like your tripod idea.
How about this one? 489215
Tyson, ok, here's my doc DOC-489051
Hey Photomark...Could you let me know about the apples?
I have posted my link and question to my ireport
for me was a grea t experience to found a plant with graffiti something I don`t see very often thanks
Here's Sherbien's link:
Joyful, I loved the Nathan's series!
One of the tasks I found most difficult in this assignment was selecting the three.... ONLY three... no more... no less... photos! I really didn't have any difficulty with the first two photos, but I debated about which photo to use for the final "tight" shot for a long time.
How do you decide?
Do you think the instructions for this assignment were a little confusing for some? Many took it literally and shot wide shot, medium shot, in that order...
@DianeHolman. A good camera is helpful, but not essential. Sometimes it is better to have a less complex camera that you know how to use!
I really like your Coney Island!
Thanks for the critique, as to the wide angle, would I get closer or keep the same vantage point but a wider view?
I liked the images in Sherbiens set, but I thought the child on the street, and the poured drink were two different stories.
@mcintron that's great feedback. we'll make sure to keep it in mind for the next boot camp assignments!
@PattyE: That seems like the one of the hardest parts of the assignment. It seems important to think about the shots you want and evaluating the whole scene so you have an idea of the story before you shoot 100 photos.
@ Editor matt.....Thanks for the input. Always happy with what I have and try to use it the best I can.
@JoyfulGypsy-- Regarding "A Curious South African Visitor", we're loving the first, wide shot. Wonderful light -- looks like evening light? How many pictures did you shoot to get down to these three?
And by the way... here's my document number: DOC-489042
(The link doesn't seem to want to post.)
Sorry I'm late. Any comments on my photos?
@Photomark.....My favorite of my submissions was the Accident with the fireman, can you critic it for me.
Hey gang how Normandy France?
It might be best to answer one question, three times. … And mention that it is the story that matters, the images are just paragraphs.
What is the intent of the wide shot in context with the story?
What is the intent of the medium shot in context with the story?
What is the intent of the tight shot in context with the story?
@alisonv. I really like the images, but the images are a bit to heavy on the contrast for my taste. I know that you photographed prints, but all I have to critique is the files you sent.
The images are a nice group,but they do'nt need to be in a group to be impactful. I was hoping to see a wide establishing shot and a tight detail to help tell a specific story. You sent 3 great stand alone shots...
Does this make sense?
What's the criteria for getting this assignment evaluated? The louder you are - the better chance you have?
EditorMatt: Re: A Curious South African Visitor. I was working in South Africa when this assignment came out and I didn't have the time to go out and take a series of pictures specifically for this assignment. I had to use photos that I had already taken a few days before and put them together.
@Photomark. The link below is that of the picture I used the Blackberry Bold 8700 to take. How can I improve this picture?
@JennaLanger - Good advice! When I went out to the beach, I really hadn't planned on specifically what I would photograph. My story unfolded in front of me and 54 photos later...
@ecotraveler -- My biggest question is what is dangerous about humans feeding animals? I understand that there are dangers and that maybe animals get too friendly or bold but your imagery needs to tell that story. Ask yourself, what are the dangers and illustrate those with your photographs. Try shooting very wide as well as close.
Here's Davidrice's photos
@NJSOONERFAN. It was great to see you put so much effort into the assignment! I loved seeing the photos of your family.
thanks zdan. i just need advice so that i have something in mind while taking photos of eid'l fitr later for my ireport.
Photomark, no, I'm not sure I understand you. They were from a concert with various singers. Are you saying you wanted the same group of people shot in three ways? If so, I wasn't clear on that perhaps.
@ photomark...still...about the apples? Doesn't tell much?
Hello...David Bradley from Toronto here...sorry I am late...
@PattyE. Editing is one of your greatest challenges as a photographer. I ALWAYS have someone else look through my selects to help me pick the best shots.
Hi, everyone, sorry late.
Will I-Report allow us to show a burning a Koran if it is in the context of Free Speech?
could someone tell me why my questions are not posting
DavidBradley -check out the 3rd shot
David Bradley here from Toronto...sorry I am late...any comments on my images?
Matt your thoughts
@SWAMPGIRL10 This one did
@mcintron, i think you're right. i just did it like that.
I must say that I'm a little surprised with some of the submissions that were vetted and also with some there were not.
How about posting a comment on all the submissions and explaining why or why not that particular post was not vetted. It would help a lot in understanding your decisions.
@raynardo-- regarding "Hutterites Gathering Corn". I'm obviously a sucker for the wide shot today as that's my favorite. The second shot is nice and gives us some personality of the people involved in the harvest. I would attempt to shoot from several different angles and would particularly challenge you to do so after looking at the third image. Maybe shoot from a low angle, establishing more drama. All three shots look to be taken from the same angle -- from your sight line. Vary that!
Oops. Question I posted is re:DOC 488829.
@Specularity, regarding Nightscapes. … They are all very pretty pictures. But what is the story?
@Davidrice195. Technically it is spot on. What is lacking is a compelling story that the audience will become invested in.
Sorry about the typos. Trying to eat, work and do this, all at the same time. :o)
@ EditorMatt and PhotoMark--- if I could get your feedback/ critique on some of my photos DOC 487909 and DOC 488583, Id really appreciate it! I am an artist/ photographer... and have a love for photojournalism, and am looking to move into that direction.
More interesting stuff I can find. My effort was obviously on the tech side. Thanks
@Photomark - Second opinions are sometimes the best. Good advice!
Do you have any advice on using watermarks or other methods to ID and protect your originals?
Nice shot of Toronto...indeed!
@JoyfulGypsy I tried to reach out to every person who followed the assignment and submitted three decent photos. Not everyone got back to me, obviously, so that may account for the ones you're seeing that you were surprised weren't vetted. And for the people who submitted multiple iReports, I only vetted one or two so that others would have a chance to get feedback.
@PaulaGibson. You need to be close enough that the people are HUGE in the frame. Grab you widest lens and get in the middle of the action. If you are not in the way, you are not close enough.
fun little aside - here're some photos of the iReport desk just now, featuring our awesome pals Mark and Matt http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-490290
LensLord the sun turns that color everywhere in the world
Thanks David off the top of the westin harbour castle
Hey gang Prague
Photomark, I saw your comment (critic) on my photos. I think you have seen those too concret. You should see these better as an art work as on concret story. Composition... colors... As abstract painting. Music and dance are not "a car" or "a cat"...
@rachel8 - Thanks. That answers a lot. And here I was thinking vetted meant thumbs up and not vetted meant thumbs down. :o)
@PattyE I can't tell you whether to watermark your photos for your blog or Flickr or similar, but for iReport, we recommend that you submit them without a watermark. Reason is simple: We always credit our iReporters, both on TV and on the web, and we're not going to use a photo that has a giant watermark on it. So you don't have to worry about that sort of thing on this site!
@alisonv. I want you to enhance the story by changing lenses and moving around. The subject is up to you.
Great suggestion, thanks.
lila too cool
@lila - Haha! Thank you for the "perspective"...! And how appropriate that you shot them wide-medium-tight... lol!
Waves to Mark and Matt!
@JoyfulGypsy no, you should never think that about vetting! there are a million reasons why an ireport does or doesn't get the stamp. just because something's not vetted doesn't make it bad!
My comments and post links are not showing up either
@MNevard-- Your "battles of education" series is really fantastic. First of all, loving the fact that you shot or toned these black and white. Also, LOVING the fact that your using naturally occurring frames -- such as windows -- in your photos. Shooting through these natural frames are giving your photos more depth and interest. Also, love the emotion of the boy with his head down on his desk. Fantastic job! Keep it up.
lila thanks for posting the pics, that was cool!
ok, that was fun Lila :)
Thank you for posting this assignment. It made me think about the pictures I've already taken to see which ones were more impactful. Sometimes when you visit a place you want others to see how beautiful and interesting it is. So when you added the extra element of telling a story in three pictures in made me think pictures are about bring emotion to the viewer.
@Ryn links aren't working -- post DOC numbers, please
@DavidBradley. I like the subject matter, i think it needed more of a story to bring it home. Were there any people in the park that you could have photographed to personify the emotion? Do you need 2 images of the statues to tell the story?
MNevard.... great pictures, very powerful emotions...
@rachel8 - Thank you for your reply! Personally, I prefer not to add watermarks. And maybe I don't have to worry about it as long as I'm careful about where I post my photos. I know I don't have to worry about my photos here!
@lenslord my idea about manila by night is first i est wide shot of manila with high rise but on the streets of manila you can see people sleeping in the streets photo 2 and photo 3 is a representation of the nightlife like drinking.
@markpel. I appreciate the images, but we are critiquing storytelling. For me, storytelling is as important as anything!
@Specularity-- regarding you "Normandy, France" series. The first couple of shots are great! The repeating line/shape of the crosses and intensity of the color is great. The second shot is also wonderful and I'm loving the fact that you thought to look down and shoot those great shadows! Those shadows are creating strong lines and contrast and adding a great deal of interest to the image. I'm a little confused by the third image and am not sure what I'm looking at when I view it. Try shooting this subject from a different angle.
gotta go, but want to thank all of you for this great discussion and for so many interesting assignemnts you come up with all the time.
and a big hug to all the i-reporters.
Thank Matt, in a bunker - Was focusing on the clouds and distance as if I was shooting the canon.
@mskents I agree wholeheartedly that the assignment has helped clarify the 'storytelling' aspect of photojournalism. It was quite a challenge to do it in just three photos and I'm sure that will help us all in the long run.
Rachel. I wasn't thinking "bad"...more like "not good enough"
Would you have time to critique my pictures? I was most concerned about exposure in the bright sunshine reflecting off the beach sand, but wonder if there was anything else I could improve?
@mskents. I could not have said it better!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this assignment and blog. You are all an inspiration to me!
Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion. Your passion for photography and storytelling is obvious and we love looking at your pictures! Keep it up!
Just want to say this was a great assignment. Really learned something.
This a great forum, and great concept by CNN. Hats off to all involved!
@Sherbien - "Manila by night" I understand that all three were at night. But to me that is an unfocused story for three images. … If you had another of the children, it would be a story of street people by night. If you had another image of Neon in a bar, it would be a story about the bar environment. … That is all I meant. Not that Manila at night is not a story by itself, I just think it requires more than three images to tell that story.
Bye, everyone! This was awesome to watch!
thank you SO MUCH for coming today and sending in your pics, iReporters. you all are amazing!!!!
MNevard, I also LOVED the battles of education. Wonderful work.
DOC-489272 not vetted
DOC-489170 not vetted
DOC-489168 not vetted
I turned five posts for the assignment
Two were vetted and three were not
My question is why the two chosen over the other three?
I feel fortunate to have the two vetted just wondering why the choices?
@rachel & joyfulgypsy, for me if my submission is not vetted, i'm thinking what is wrong with my submission so that i can improve my other submission. being vetted or not it should be a learning lesson.
thank you ireport for this oppurtunity.
@EditorMatt. Thanks so much. I was actually teaching and stuck in a rainstorm when I shot these. Shot mostly b/w on my uganda trip. Any suggetions you would have for me on how to move forward in photojournalism are welcome. I do art/ photography exhibits in the city, but Im looking to move more towards photojournalism... like Ed Kashi, ideally. :)
This has been a great discussion. We really appreciate Mark and Matthew taking the time to talk.
The good news is that we're not done with them yet.
We're going to have them work with one of our producers on a video that includes there tips and some of their feedback.
Once we have that done, we'll post it on the site so everyone can refer back to it.
I enjoyed the assignment, always love a challenge, and one of my goals each day is to learn something new. You helped me achieve all three with this project! I'm looking forward to the next one! Thank you!!!
See you next week!
@alleebeth, ...thank you! : )
Great workshop, thanks Matt and Mark! And thanks iReport team for putting together the boot camp. :) Looking forward to the next one.
We're going to shift gears next week and talk about search engine optimization (SEO), which is a way to have your work show up better in Google searches, so more people can see them.
Sherbien - Of course.
@lenslord thank you.
thank you every one
I read everything, more than once, and I looked at every photo story, more than once.
I like some of the stories very much. Eye openers for sure.
I think the round table discussion, as it functioned, was a little disappointing.
Thanks for taking a look at my pics alleebeth and alisonv. I appreciate your feedback. :o)
Thanks everyone. Great stuff. Free photojournalism bootcamp! Everyone's participation, insight, and honest answers.........priceless. Looking forward to more, CNN. Thank you for your hard work and interest. And nice shots Lila.
Did yiu like the firefighters collecting donations I did.
Sorry I missed the blog, but thanks for all the great feedback.
I have enjoyed reading the posts. I love iReports but for me it is a fun hobby. I work full-time and couldn not join you all. Thanks everyone for sharing. I learned a lot just reading your posts!
I just uploaded 10 pictures for the Urban transport assignment but none of the pics have got uploaded, at the same time I uploaded one pic for travel photo of the day, although that has got uploaded it does not show it on my profile
& thank you 4 the opportunity.
Thanks for vetting on one of my photos. Am glad I had one vetted out of many. I love taking photos, and I always bring my camera. The LCD of my cam is actually already worn out. I have to buy a new one.
Thanks for this wonderful opportunity, where I can use my passion on writing and photography.