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News and feature photos


In this one-day lesson, students will explore the differences between news and feature photos. They will learn techniques for shooting different types of photos and then will practice them as a homework assignment.


  • Students will understand the difference between news and feature photography.
  • Students will learn key concepts for improving their news and feature photography.
  • Students will practice taking news and feature photos that are unique and visually interesting.


Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.C Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience and task.


45 minutes


Slideshow: News and feature photography

Rubric: News and feature photography assignment

Lesson step-by-step

1. Introduction — 10 minutes

Give students this fictional scenario: There is an assembly this afternoon where the principal is expected to announce that freshmen and sophomores will be allowed to attend the upcoming prom. (Feel free to change this scenario as needed to get students’ reaction.) Pretend you are the photographer for the assembly. Where will you stand? What will you shoot photos of?

Give students five minutes to brainstorm with someone nearby (or create a list individually).  Then, share with the class and write a list of ideas on the board.

2. Direct instruction — 15 minutes

Use the slideshow “News and Feature Photos” to present key concepts to the class. Students should take notes as needed. Stop to address questions as they arise.

3. Making connections — 10 minutes

Ask students to review their lists from earlier, then discuss. Possible questions for reflection/discussion include:

  1. Would you change anything in your plan about the types of photos, angles, positions that you would use?
  2. Which photos would be considered “news” from that assembly? Could you think of any “feature” photo ideas that you might be able to take in the assembly, too?

4. Practice — 10 minutes

Divide the class into small groups. Give each group of students one fictional school event.  They have five minutes to brainstorm what type of “news” photos they might find while at that event and what types of “feature” photos they could find. Then, have several groups of students share with the class what they discovered. Possible events (feel free to personalize/adapt to fit your school):

  1. Homecoming football game
  2. County fair
  3. Local Relay for Life event
  4. School fair or festival (field day, etc)
  5. Orientation (or a “back to school” day/night)
  6. Field trip to a local museum
  7. Welding class or other specialty course
  8. Mock trial or debate competition
  9. Theater production
  10. National athletic signing day
  11. Pep rally
  12. ROTC event

5. Extension

For homework, assign students to attend one school event or activity in the next week.  During that event, students should capture at least one image they would consider “news” and at least 2-3 “feature” photos to turn in as well. Their photos should meet the requirements from today’s presentation.


For additional practice on the differences between news and feature, consider using a photo essay from local media or an online photo gallery, asking students to determine whether each photo is news or feature and why.

Students who need extra support may be paired with advanced students for the homework photo shoot.

If you don’t have enough cameras available for all students to shoot the homework assignment within the specified time period, encourage students to use smartphones. Or, make this a non-digital assignment in which students describe an event and sketch sample frames of the news and feature images they would capture in a photo shoot.