To Find Quality Photos, GPJ Visuals Editor Emphasizes Importance of Reshoots

July 16, 2017

GLOBAL PRESS HQ — I have always enjoyed being able to teach others about something that I am passionate about. Photography is my passion. And now, in my role as the visuals editor for the Global Press Journal, I get to exercise my passion by teaching and supporting journalists around the world.

My role at GPJ is to select and lead on the visuals that are published with our news stories. Sometimes, a reporter’s first submission produces the winning photo. Other times, I assign them to reshoot their subjects and the issues presented in their stories to ensure we have photos that are of quality and to our standards.

Reshoots have proven to also be a great way to help reporters improve their photography skills. It is with these assignments that I can employ my passion for teaching. Through reshoots, the reporter must return to the scene of their story with newer and more creative ideas on how and what to photograph. This is extremely helpful for their development because it forces the photographer to look at the same scene at different times and in different ways. And, with that extra day of practice, reshoots usually lead to stronger photos not only for their current story, but also going forward.

A recent photo that was produced through multiple reshoot assignments came from Lucila Pellettieri, our lead reporter in Argentina.

Lucila photographed a museum exhibit in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, which encourages visitors to interact with the art. In her initial shoot, she practiced a technique called motion blur, where parts of an image are blurred to convey motion.

This is one of the initial images that Lucila submitted that showed motion blur practice. Lucila Pellettieri, GPJ Argentina

After this was submitted, we reviewed the images and I offered her feedback on her shots. I was certainly happy to see her practicing the motion blur technique. She had great photos in this initial batch. After I selected the strongest image, seen below, I then realized that Lucila did not have the name of the woman in the photo. This can happen in the hustle and bustle of reporting. However, our style at GPJ is to always name sources in photos, so I felt the best course of action was a reshoot. Although she already had a strong image, the goal here was for her to keep practicing, by implementing the feedback I had given her.

Lucila’s original image was strong, but was missing the name. Lucila Pellettieri, GPJ Argentina

I was thrilled to see that the reshoot paid off. She incorporated everything the first image had, including the motion blur technique. It really struck me as a great use of motion blur too, since the people around the subject are in motion, but the subject herself is in a quiet, still moment.

In the end, I selected this image. It’s crisp, interesting and our subject is identified. Lucila Pellettieri, GPJ Argentina

Reshoots are beneficial to the learning process, and they ensure that our journalistic standards are being met. While it worked well in this situation with Lucila, they’re not always possible. One-time events cannot be reshot, and sometimes subjects can’t be found again or are not as willing to be photographed a second time.

As an editor, my challenge is figuring out whether the reshoot will be worth the time. Since I first learn about a story from the pictures I see, it takes a conversation or two to figure out if the photos can be improved. Sometimes, scenes are just not lit well enough for our cameras to capture, so returning would yield the same results.

In the end, I’ve learned that I will assign reshoots whenever possible because our overall goal is quality, both for our stories and for our reporters’ development. We are not driven by time, though we still acknowledge it as an important factor. But if we have the time, we’ll take it.