This past weekend I attended the 48th Annual NPPA Flying Short Course in Eugene, OR. The seminar, which first stopped in Boston, MA and then Austin, TX, included workshops on Saturday and the speakers on Sunday. As a beginning photojournalist, the short course was very helpful in teaching me how to improve my photography, allowed me to meet many professionals as well as fellow students, and gave me an opportunity to show my portfolio to many great photo editors. Workshop topics ranged from lighting and photoshop to photo stories and sports photography.
One workshop that seemed to inspire a great deal who attended it, both student and professional alike, was the Sights and Sounds: Combining Audio and Still Images talk put on by Dai Sugano and Richard Hernandez of the San Jose Mercury News. The two explained how they launched and now run mercurynewsphoto.com using programs such as SlideShowPro and Soundslides. They encouraged photographers to add a new trick to their bag, taking along a recorder of some sort to capture audio, both ambient sounds and interviews, of events to create more powerful multimedia packages.
This synergy of different medias was also seen in the presentation by national speaker Brian Storm. Storm discussed his latest project, MediaStorm, which seeks to provide an outlet for well-polished multimedia packages, whether they be still and audio or video or all of the above. Though some photographers seemed intimidated at the prospect of having to learn a new form of story-telling as well as a new technology, like at the Mercury News demonstration, most seemed excited at the prospect of reaching a larger audience and finding more dynamic ways to present their work.
Attending the short course was a very education experience for myself and I recommend it to other photojournalist students and working professionals. For those interested more in multimedia packages, MediaStorm has a great section on how to gather good audio, including what gear to purchase. To see examples of multimedia go to mercurynewsphoto.com. One example that Dai and Richard pointed out was the “Historic Oath” package, which had only one picture from a night’s worth of work run in the paper. Having an online slideshow with audio allowed the Mercury News to tell a more in-depth story and gave the photographers a chance to feature their work.