Articles about "Photojournalism"

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How to crop photos for Facebook and adapt to the News Feed’s latest algorithm change

Lost in the noise over Facebook’s crackdown on clickbait last week was another change to the social network that could impact all news organizations: the News Feed algorithm will now favor link posts over photo posts and status updates.

When you paste a link to an article on your news organization’s page and Facebook automatically generates a preview box containing the story’s headline, a photo and other information, that’s a link post (here’s documentation on making sure the Facebook Crawler identifies the right information for the link preview). Alternatively, Facebook says, “Some publishers share links in status updates or in the text caption above photos.”

Here’s an example of a link post:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

And here’s an example of a photo post:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Facebook explains why it’s prioritizing link posts:

We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions. The link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through. This format also makes it easier for someone to click through on mobile devices, which have a smaller screen.

With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.

It’s easier to click link posts because the entire link preview box is an active link, not just the URL. But link posts have another advantage: the photo window is much wider than it is tall, allowing more stories to fit on vertical smartphone screens at once. It takes longer to scroll through the News Feed if it contains lots of vertical images, so Facebook makes photos attached to links very horizontal. Vertical images are automatically cropped by Facebook to fit the horizontal requirement in link posts.

The advantage of uploading images directly to Facebook is that vertical images aren’t automatically cropped, and users can expand them and zoom in on them for a closer look. But sharing visual content that way might not be a good idea any more unless you have an important editorial reason for doing so.

What size should Facebook images be?

The News Feed tweak means it’s a good time for a reminder that Facebook recommends a specific image size and aspect ratio for images appearing in link posts:

Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images.

Images smaller than 600 x 315 pixels appear as a thumbnail next to the headline instead of above the headline. For non-thumbnail images, Facebook recommends sticking as close to the 1.91 aspect ratio as possible. That’s how you avoid awkward automatic crops by Facebook. If you don’t like the photo Facebook automatically pulls from the article you’re linking to, you can always upload another one with a different crop after the link preview has been generated.

Sometimes, news organizations have a compelling reason to post a story as a photo post instead of a link post. Here’s an example of The Wall Street Journal uploading a picture with a link in the caption so that the graphic isn’t bound by the 1.91 aspect ratio requirement. This graphic would be unreadable cropped down to fit Facebook’s 1200 x 630 window for link posts, but as a standalone, vertical image it looks great:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Facebook says it still recommends “that you use the story type that best fits the message that you want to tell – whether that’s a status, photo, link or video.” But if you notice photo posts start to underperform on your news organization’s page, you might want to think about tailoring more of your images and graphics to meet Facebook’s dimension requirements for link posts and maximize your potential reach.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs'); Read more

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25 years of digital photography in newsrooms: Early adopters look back

Twenty five years ago, Cindi Christie walked into a computer-filled hotel ballroom on Martha’s Vineyard. Then, she didn’t know much about digital photography.

“Nobody did,” she told Poynter. “I work for a company that has many daily and weekly editions and is spread out throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Photographers for my edition, the San Ramon Valley Times, had to have a slide ready by 1 p.m. for a courier to deliver to another office for scanning. We had to hit a specific window of time. Factor in processing time for the film and that meant that our color photos were stale by the time the paper came out. My goal was to look for a way to buy photographers some shooting time while still meeting production demands.”

From right, Mark Wigginton of the San Jose Mercury News, Larry Nighswander of National Geographic World and Cindi Christie of the San Ramon Valley Times work on the front page of the first edition of The Electronic Times at EPW1 in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., in October 1989. (Michael Morse photo)

The first Electronic Photojournalism Workshop from the National Press Photographers Association brought together photographers, industry representatives, editors, designers and writers to Martha’s Vineyard for a week to test out new digital photography equipment. It wasn’t called digital back then, though. It was electronic. Read more

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Vietnam Napalm 1972

Nick Ut’s ‘napalm girl’ photo was published 42 years ago

People | PetaPixel

Associated Press photographer Nick Ut took a photo of children running from a botched napalm attack on June 8, 1972. “I thought she was going to die,” he tells Nate Jones about Kim Phuc, the naked girl in the center of the photo.

Ut’s famous photo shows children, including Kim Phuc, center, running down a highway after a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped napalm on civilians. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Ut got Kim Phuc and other children admitted to a hospital using his media pass, Jones writes. Phuc “was very upset about the picture,” the photographer said. Eventually her fame “paid off,” Jones writes: “The government allowed her to go to school in Cuba, where she fell in love with another Vietnamese student. In 1992, coming back from their honeymoon, the newly married couple sought asylum in Canada. Today Phuc is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador living in Ontario with her husband and their two sons.” She and Ut, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo, remain in touch.

Ut told Michael Zhang in PetaPixel about filing the photo on the occasion of its 40th anniversary: Read more

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Rob Hart

One year after 28 Sun-Times photojournalists were laid off, where are they now?

One year ago today, the Chicago Sun-Times eliminated its photo staff, laying off 28 full-time employees.

Most of them have landed on their feet, according to email and phone interviews with many of the photographers. While they were sometimes hesitant to dwell on the layoffs, the former Sun-Times staffers filled me in on how their lives — and those of the photographers I couldn’t reach — have changed since May 30, 2013. Read more


New service will rate the authenticity of digital images

By the time an image makes its way online, it could have been opened and processed in any number of applications, passed through various hands, and been remixed and manipulated.

Today a new image hosting service, Izitru, is launching to give people new ways to certify the authenticity of a digital image. It’s also a tool that journalists can use to help verify images.

The Izitru website and iOS app can “distinguish an original JPEG file captured with a digital camera from subsequent derivations of that file that may have been changed in some way,” according to the company.

It mixes forensic image analysis with elements of crowdsourcing and human oversight. Izitru also has an API that will enable other services to integrate its technology.

Confirming provenance

The service is a new offering from Fourandsix Technologies, Inc., a company I previously wrote about. It’s founded by Kevin Connor, a former vice president of product management for Photoshop, and Dr. Hany Farid, a leading image forensics expert. Their initial product, FourMatch, was a verification extension for Adobe Photoshop.

Anyone can use Izitru as a place to host their images and to have their photos subjected to a series of six forensic tests that result in a publicly visible “trust rating.” The Izitru iOS app can also take photos and have them uploaded directly to the site. Watch it in action:

izitru: Real photos. Without a doubt. from Fourandsix on Vimeo.

One important note about the six tests the site performs: they are geared toward “proving that a file is the original from a camera, rather than trying to prove it has been manipulated,” Connor said. It’s not about determining whether something has been Photoshopped.

These automated tests help with one important element of photo verification: provenance. You want to know who took the image and whether that image came directly from a digital camera. By shooting with the Izitru app, it ensures the photo is an original from the phone’s camera. The Izitru website can also be used by journalists to upload and test a photo.

“From a journalism standpoint, one of the challenges … is that once files get distributed on social media sites, they automatically get re-compressed and modified to the point that we can’t verify them any more,” Connor told me in an email.

Images are also often scraped and altered, making it incredibly difficult to determine the original creator.

Others have recognized this problem. Scoopshot, a crowdsourced photography service, last year launched a photography app with an authenticity rating system. Vice journalist Tim Pool recently launched Taggly, an app that watermarks and attributes images before they get shared online.

A sample image uploaded to Izitru.

A ‘trust rating’ for images

Connor said that with Izitru they want to “encourage people to verify their important photos before they’re distributed. This uses an evolution of the same technology that is in our first product, FourMatch, but with the addition of five additional forensic tests.”

In addition to those tests, which result in a trust rating being added, anyone viewing the image can push a “challenge” button to indicate their view that the image may not be authentic. Enough challenges will result in Connor’s team doing additional analysis. If they determine the image has been manipulated, they will apply a No Trust rating. (The No Trust rating can only be applied after human analysis.)

Their ratings from high to low are: High Trust, Medium Trust, Undetermined File History, Potential File Modification and No Trust.

“Though we can’t commit to looking at every challenged file, we’ll certainly look at any file that gets a significant number of challenges,” Connor said.

He continued:

At that point, we can apply some of our other tests–such as clone detection, lighting analysis, etc. If we see a reason to adjust our rating, then we’ll do so and add a note to this effect on the page. If we see clear evidence the image content has been manipulated, then we’ll apply a No Trust rating. The Challenge button is a community feedback mechanism for us that will allow us to continue to refine our automated testing approach as well.

It’s only by challenging an image and getting the Izitru team to perform additional tests and analysis that possible manipulation can be detected.

“Unfortunately, the tests that detect specific signs of manipulation can be more open to interpretation, so they don’t currently lend themselves to automated usage by people who aren’t trained analysts,” Connor told me.

The Izitru iPhone app.

Competitive area

Connor acknowledged that the world of photo apps and upload sites is very competitive. People will need to first know Izitru exists, and then feel inclined to use it in the moment when they’re snapping that important or newsworthy image.

That’s why his team also built an Izitru API to enable other applications to connect to the service and take advantage of its analysis capabilities.

“With [the API], sites that are already getting volumes of images uploaded for sharing could integrate our tests and badge the most trustworthy images as they come in,” he said.

Since the product has only just launched, there yet aren’t any API integrations to share.

He did however say that “a stealth citizen journalism startup” has expressed interest in an integration.

It will be interesting to watch whether they can forge partnerships that begin to spread their trust rating, or if partners don’t see this as enough of a value add. Social networks and apps, for example, prefer to verify users rather than play any part in rating or verifying content.

Those aren’t the only possible partners, of course — but they are where images are shared and engaged with on a huge scale. Will any of them see an advantage in building in an additional trust layer? Read more


Eagle huntress photos by 24-year-old documentary photographer go viral


You know those stunning photos bouncing around the Internet of the Mongolian children hunting with eagles? The 24-year-old photographer who took them self-financed his expedition and at first had a hard time selling the images at all.

Asher Svidensky told me in a Skype interview Thursday that he got three offers from magazines in his home country of Israel. One offered him $80 and a byline. The other offered to run the photos for free along with a credit. A third suggested that he pay them $200 to publish the photo essay, because it would help his tour guide business.

Svidensky said he trained as a documentary photographer during his service in the Israeli Army. Since his release, he’s wanted to strike out as a freelance travel photographer. He’s done a lot of commercial and PR work, and served as a tour guide for Israelis traveling through Mongolia and Kazakhstan. “I took a lot of pictures of things I didn’t want to photograph,” he said.

In 2013, he packed his Canon gear, two shirts and a bag and set off on an open-ended trip to Mongolia. He planned to travel through Asia and document a variety of cultures, but Svidensky found himself drawn to the tradition of hunting with eagles.

He spent 40 days on the story. A lot of that time involved knocking on doors, learning the culture, deciphering the story. Ultimately, he decided he wanted to document children learning to hunt at the traditional starting age of 13. “There was no telephone book to say where the hunters are,” he told me. “It was just like a children’s book. You knock on a door and find out there is no kid here. Then you go to a house and they have a kid, but he’s too scared of the eagle. Or the father doesn’t want to go into the mountains.”

Eventually he met Irka Bolen, a 13-year-old boy in training and the main subject of his photos. Together they trekked into the mountains on horseback.

While the photos are breathtaking, Svidensky felt like the story was incomplete. The culture of that region is changing and he wanted to capture that as well. That’s when he discovered Ashol-Pan, a Khazak girl who may be the only eagle huntress in the world.

He went into the mountains with her and her father as well. But the story Svidensky documents is not the simplistic one that’s taken root in social media. The girl was training with her father, but not considered a full-fledged hunter. Her father told Svidensky that he had trained a son before her, but he was conscripted into the army. He would only continue training his daughter if she continued to ask for it.

In his blog, Svidensky quotes the father: “It’s been a while since I started thinking about training her instead of him, but I wouldn’t dare do it unless she asks me to do it, and if she will? Next year you will come to the eagle festival and see her riding with the eagle in my place.”

That nuance was often lost as the photos ricocheted around the world via social media. Most of the news organizations and blogs that have republished them have focused exclusively on the girl, ignoring the ambiguity of her future as an eagle hunter. Some headlines changed the context completely, like “13-year-old Mongolian girl hunts with eagle, has coolest childhood ever.”

But Svidensky isn’t upset. He’s relieved people are seeing the photos at all.

After his initial disappointment trying to sell the pictures to magazines, Svidensky published four images on, a curated photo blog. From there, the U.K.-based Caters News Agency spotted the work and contacted him. Now, Svidensky gets a cut every time the pictures are published. Since the BBC Magazine and radio program have highlighted his work, the images have caught the imaginations of many. He believes he will recoup his financial investment.

“But that’s not what’s important,” he said. “This is my dream to be a documentary photographer. My hope is that through this project, I will get other opportunities.” Read more


UK’s first female photojournalist honored

PetaPixel | Museum of London | The Guardian | Library of Congress

Christina Broom, who died in 1939, was Britain’s first female photojournalist and the documenter of life before, during and after World War I. She also got a late start, the Museum of London’s Anna Sparham wrote Friday.

It was with the fast approaching centenary of the First World War that we considered this acquisition for the museum. Broom photographed between 1904 and 1939 and saw the war through her photography of the soldiers going to and returning from the Front as well as documenting London before, during and after that time. From the outset however I also wanted to focus on this work of a woman photographer; a woman who was unique, intriguing, skilled and largely underappreciated, her story not yet being widely told. That Broom was 40 when she taught herself photography, and that her daughter Winifred made all the prints, is in itself a great story opener.

On Friday, April 4, the Museum of London opened a small display of Broom’s photography, with a bigger display planned for the future. Broom’s images include one of Rudyard Kipling’s son, Jack, who died in the war and inspired the poem “My Boy Jack,” Mark Brown reported in The Guardian, as well as images of the royal family and soldiers with their families.

The collection shows that Broom was a witness to the key moments of early 20th century life in London including being one of only two people allowed to photograph Edward VII lying in state. Her photographs were used extensively by newspapers including the Daily Sketch, Sunday Herald and Evening News, always with the credit Mrs Alfred Broom. Sparham said the images had strength and relevance in their own right but “it is the photographer’s own fascinating story of determination and entrepreneurialism that makes them truly come alive”.

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PoynterVision: War zone photographers a breed apart

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus’ death in Afghanistan serves as another reminder of the deadly calling that war photography can be. Recently, Afghanistan has become a dangerous assignment “on par with the height of the Iraq war or the current situation in Syria,” said Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Niedringhaus and her colleague, reporter Kathy Gannon, were shot by an Afghan police officer while they sat in a car that was part of a convoy monitoring the country’s elections. Niedringhaus died; Gannon was badly wounded, but reported Friday in stable condition.

Just last month, on March 11, Swedish journalist Nils Horner was shot at point-blank range while reporting in Kabul. Ten days later, four gunmen fired weapons in a Kabul hotel restaurant and killed Afghan journalist Sardar Ahmad.

“Where once reporters and photographers were seen as the impartial eyes and ears of crucial information, today they are often targets,” said Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt.

Poynter’s Kenneth Irby, senior faculty for visual journalism, talked with Poynter’s Ren LaForme on Friday about the challenges for photographers covering violent conflict and the courage it requires to walk into situations from which they may not return.

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APTOPIX Afghanistan Election

Anja Niedringhaus: Covering war ‘is the essence of journalism’

AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed Friday in Afghanistan. In her 2012 book “At War,” she wrote about her work, and Nieman Reports shared some of her words: “For me, covering conflict and war is the essence of journalism,” Niedringhaus wrote.

My assignment, regardless of the era, is about people—civilians and soldiers. The legacy of any photographer is her or his ability to capture the moment, to record history. For me it is about showing the struggle and survival of the individual.

Conflict is not all that I cover. I like the Olympics and the World Cup. In sports, there is a start and a finish. With war, the story never ends. It keeps me coming back.

Here are some of Niedringhaus’ photos from Afghanistan from the last week.

An Afghan girl helps her brother down from a security barrier set up outside the Independent Election Commission (IEC) office in the eastern Afghan city of Khost, Thursday, April 3, 2014. Afghans go to the polls to elect a new President on April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
A child pulls a rope which keeps Afghan women in line queuing to get their registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Elections will take place on April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
An Afghan man shouts in support for presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadza as he arrives with others for an election campaign rally to the stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Elections will take place on April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
An Afghan man waits to have his picture taken for his registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Elections will take place on April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
An Afghan soldier, left, and a policeman peek through a window as they queue with others to get their registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Elections will take place on April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
An Afghan woman sits on destroyed school benches as she waits to get her registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Elections will take place on April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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Reuters uses activists as photographers in Syria

The New York Times

Reuters employs rebel activists and “in one case a spokesman” as photographers in Syria, James Estrin and Karam Shoumali write. In interviews with photographers there, they say there are more issues with the wire service’s practices:

Three [photographers] also said that the freelancers had provided Reuters with images that were staged or improperly credited, sometimes under pseudonyms. And while Reuters has given the local stringers protective vests and helmets, most said that the stringers lacked training in personal safety and first aid.

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