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Basics of Photojournalism: Review & Assess


In this review lesson, students will find and identify photos that they think use a specific composition rule.  Then, students will switch photos with another student in the class, who will try to identify the rule and write a caption to go along with the photo.  During the second day of this lesson, students will take the quiz to assess their knowledge of the basics of photojournalism.


Two 45-minute lessons


Class set: Basics of photojournalism quiz

Basics of photojournalism quiz key

Slideshow: Basics of photojournalism review

Computer access


Lesson step-by-step

1. Online search — 20 minutes

Give students time to find several photos online that they think clearly use a composition rule.  Students can work on their own or with a partner, depending on the amount of computers available.  Students should print those photos.

NOTE: See “Differentiation” section below for an idea of how to review composition errors with students as well.

2. Activity — 15 minutes

Put all of the photos into a pile in the center of the room.  Students should randomly select three photos, then decide if each photo is news or feature, determine composition rules for each, and write captions.  They should also discuss the ways that the photographer composes the photo to also maximize the story behind the photo (or ways in which the photographer doesn’t do this effectively).

3. Class share — 10 minutes

Have students share one photo with the class, including the composition rule they thought was exemplified and their caption.  Discuss any disagreements.  (If specific rules aren’t represented by the photos, make sure those rules also get discussed sometime during the review).

4. Assessment — Day 2

Give students the Basics of Photojournalism quiz.  Students have the entire period to complete.


During the first few minutes of the review day, have more advanced students try to find photos online that exemplify each photo composition error.  Then, during the class sharing time, those students can show the examples to the class and explain why they fit the errors.