From The Visuals Team: Guidance On Taking Shots With & Of The Stars

Editor’s note: This “Memmo” comes from Ariel Zambelich and Emily Bogle.

As journalists, we sometimes find ourselves in the same room with famous and powerful folks.

We encourage photography of our reporters in action: in the field, in the studio, and occasionally seeking comment from local wild life.

However, we ask that you be cautious about taking photos with the subjects of your stories. Posed grip-and-grin portraits and selfies may be OK for your personal collection (we’re looking at all you scrapbookers out there). But we shouldn’t be using them to promote the journalism we do.

Remember: While we’re friendly to those we encounter (whether they’re famous or not) we are not their friends. Our job as journalists is to report the facts, tell important and compelling stories, and remain detached. Posting that photo of yourself with Sen. Soandso, former President Suchandsuch or champion swimmer Flipandkick can make it look as if you’re on their “side” or are so darn thrilled about interviewing them that someone might question your objectivity.

That said, the Visuals team is excited to work with you to create high-quality imagery to accompany your stories online and to add to social promotion. Loop us in early if you have something that could use visuals – it can sometimes take a little bit of prep to figure out the best way to facilitate.

Here are some kinds of images we’re looking for, in order of priority:

- Portraits of interview subjects when they come to HQ (before or after the interview).

- Environmental portraits of the interview subjects in a place that’s relevant to your story.

-  Action shots of the interview subjects doing the cool thing you’re featuring.

-  Sense of place pictures to show where the story is happening.

- Action shots of the interview happening (in the studio or in the field).

You can take these kinds of shots, too! We’ve got some great resources on the NPR Training website and offer monthly training sessions to help you build up your image-making skills.

So remember: selfies are pictures, too, but they’re not the ideal way to promote your stories.

(“Memmos;” July 31, 2017)

July 31, 2017

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