1 Yozshuramar

Exams Time Photo Essays

The Photo Essay: An Introduction is available to Australian citizens; and for NZ citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are on-shore in Australia. You will need to have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

There are no pre-requisites. If you require any further information please see the Admission Requirements.

The next offering of The Photo Essay will run from 4th June - 27th July 2018.

Applications will close at 5pm on Friday 1st June 2018.

As a guide, you should expect to spend a minimum of 5-6 hours per week undertaking study in this unit.

On successful completion of this unit you will have:

  • Created, selected and edited photographic images
  • Written expressive, concise, and effective captions
  • Created compelling stories using a sequence of photographic images and words
  • Reflected on your own work using relevant examples of the photo essay

No. The Photo Essay: An Introduction unit is fully online.

You will need to have access to a computer to complete this unit. If you don't have your own computer, perhaps someone in your family or a friend has one, or you could use a computer at your local library, on campus in student areas, or at the university library.

You also require a reliable internet connection. You should expect to download about 1-2 GB of data each month while studying the unit online.

Any camera will be suitable, as long as you have the ability to upload the photos online.

No specific software is required for this unit.

Students will not be able to complete this unit on their mobile phone and it is recommended that if you do not own a computer you organise to borrow one from a family member or friend, or attend your local library.

Your phone camera is suitable for the photography components of the unit.

Generally you can complete the unit work in your own time. Please note that content is usually released on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The unit coordinators may choose to present some content in the form of a live web conference. You will be made aware of this via news items during the semester.

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments will include the creation of an online journal, submission of images, online participation and reflection. There are no exams for this unit.

Anyone interested in improving their photography and writing skills and learning how to combine photography and the written word to create a story.

A broad spectrum of people will find skills covered in this unit useful, from those who are just beginning and are looking to make sense of the photo essay format, to professional photographers, journalists, bloggers and anyone else aiming to strengthen their work and build an engaged audience.

The Diploma of Family History is a course consisting of eight family history units. Students currently enrolled in the Diploma of Family History can study The Photo Essay: An Introduction under the Diploma of Family History as one of four foundation level units. If you have already studied four foundation level units you may undertake this unit under a separate course.

Students studying this unit as part of the Diploma of Family History will receive free access to the Ancestry.com Library. You will receive details about your access to Ancestry.com on the MyLO page once you begin the unit. Students will be able to access this via the Library portal once they are enrolled.

See the Diploma of Family History for more information on further family history units available for study.

From time to time the University of Tasmania offers some units with concession tuition fees. These are generally online units which help increase community awareness and skills in areas such as healthy living and social engagement.

For many potential students, the cost of university study is a significant barrier; and those who haven't studied for some time appreciate the opportunity to develop confidence in their ability to succeed at university without the pressure of tuition fees. In addition, we believe that the development of skills in these units is critical to community advancement and social cohesion –  and these concessions are part of meeting our university's broad community obligation.

Students must enrol in a formal course (i.e. a diploma, associate degree or bachelor degree) to take advantage of these opportunities. Enrolling in a unit will enrol you in the relevant course for that unit. Our courses aim to build confidence and capacity to develop a pathway to success.

We hope that you will be encouraged by the quality and flexibility of these particular units, and the academic support available, to continue with further study and complete a course. We are aware of the need to manage work-life balance, and we offer flexible learning plans that can help tailor a program to suit individual circumstances. We work closely with our students to support their progression through these learning opportunities.

A high proportion of students undertaking these units go on to complete a course. We realise that students' circumstances change due to financial and family commitments and there is no formal obligation to complete a course if your circumstances make that difficult.

It is possible to have a break from study and return at a later date and to change course, if your interests change. We are also planning to develop shorter qualifications such as diplomas and associate degrees which will take less time to complete.

I frequently encourage people who attend my photography workshops to approach the day as though they have been assigned to shoot for a magazine editor and need to provide a strong series of images for a photo essay. One of the locations we visit is the local fresh market here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, so I’ll use images from this market to illustrate the point in this article.

The time it takes you to create a photo essay may be determined somewhat by your chosen subject. If you’re photographing your child’s birthday party, a social gathering at work, or a football match, you will have time constraints. With other subjects, you may have the luxury of being able to return many times over a period of days, weeks, or months to continue building your pictorial story. Whatever you choose as your subject you will be able to apply the points in this article to help you produce a strong series of photographs that a picture editor would welcome.

Approach to making photo essay

There are two main ways of approaching a photo essay – thematically or narratively.

I’ve chosen a series of images for my photo essay here with a thematic structure, showing the market as the overall theme. You may like to choose a narrative structure and tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. To follow a narrative storyline at the markets I could choose to follow someone who arrives to do the buying for their restaurant, follow one of the porters who haul produce for shoppers or spend time with a vendor documenting their daily routine.

Whether you take a thematic or narrative approach, applying some basic guidelines to the way you shoot and how you make your final selection of photos will result in a strong series of images.

You want to look for three types of images; wide, medium, and close-up. By shooting these three image types you will build up a broader perspective on your subject.

Wide Shots

At a market, I’m always looking to capture a great wide shot showing the lively hustle and bustle and feel of the overall vibe of the market. This is difficult to capture because I have no control over what’s happening. It’s important in situations like this to take your time. Find a good location where the lighting and background are pleasing and you will not be obstructing anyone, and shoot a lot. Be observant.

Watch and see the flow of what’s happening and anticipate the best time to shoot. If your chosen subject is more static you might want to include a single prominent feature in some of your wide shots. For example, if you are making a photo essay of your local park, try including one of the park benches, a drinking fountain, or a flowerbed in your wide compositions rather than taking just a wide shot with no main focus.

Medium Shots

Medium shots are best composed with one main subject as the focus, and including relevant aspects of the location as well. These shots will show a more intimate view of your subject, draw the viewer deeper in, and help them connect with your story.

At the markets, I like to shoot environmental portraits, often of the people who work there. Including some of their surroundings supports the theme by developing the context of my story.

Showing the mango vendor with her cart, produce, scales, and umbrella helps build the essay more than if I was to crop in tight and to make a portrait of only her.

Including some action in these shots makes for interesting photos too, as with this photo (above) of the butcher sharpening his knife. Neither of these photos was posed, but sometimes it’s a good idea to take a little control of the situation and ask someone to pause so you can make a portrait.

I asked this fishmonger with the lovely smile tray of smoked mackerel to pose for me.

Close-Up Shots

Coming in close to capture the details will definitely add depth to your photo essay. Look for elements to include in your close-up compositions that others may overlook. Single colors, patterns, and textures all work well as close up shots.

The neatly stacked fish in the blue plastic tub, the basket of (live) frogs, the bundle of soup ingredients for 5 baht and the bunch of flowers made from pandan leaves all add variety and interest to my market photo essay.

If you’re photographing a birthday party your close-up shots may be of the detail on the cake, some of the wrapped or unwrapped gifts, or tightly cropped happy children’s faces. Look for detail shots which fit in with the overall feel of your photo essay.

Other Considerations

As you are shooting, consider how your images will fit in with your overall story. Think about the five “W” questions – who, what, where, when, and why. Answering them with your photos will build up a very good impression for someone viewing your photo essay or picture story.

Traditionally, this market is where the people of Chiang Mai have gotten food. The market is over 160 years old, so it has real character.

When you’re shooting your photo essay be aware of the overall tone and feeling of the situation you are photographing. Become a part of it, not an outsider with a camera, and you will produce more intimate, interesting photographs. If you have time on your side, even consider visiting the location where you’ll make your photo essay without a camera. Doing this will give you a different perspective and may help you connect with your subject more easily.

Choosing Your Photos

Once you’ve completed your shoot and have downloaded the photos to your computer, begin by discarding any that are technically inferior. You don’t want to include shots which are out of focus, poorly exposed, or your timing was off. Remember, you are aiming to please the photo editor of a magazine (just pretend this is the case, even if you are shooting just for yourself, it will help you to have this mindset) and they will reject any images not up to their technical standards.

Take your time to look over your photos. Grouping them into the three types, wide, medium and close-up will help your decision-making process. Compare your photos within these groups and look for the strongest pictures that support your overall story. Think about how they might be laid out on the pages of a magazine and what they will communicate to someone viewing them that is not familiar with the subject of your photo essay. Finally, you will want to choose one main shot to be the feature image. The one you are most happy with that best conveys your feeling for the story you are telling.


So even if you have no aspirations to shoot for a magazine, this is a good exercise to help you put together a better photo essay. Consider printing a book or your completed project for yourself or to share with friends or fellow travelers.

Please put your comments and questions in the space below, and share your photo essay images.


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