Language of the Image

Course Overview

Language of the Image
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is FREE thanks to the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Time Estimate:
This course takes about 1 hour to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Photojournalism is a visual language. Just like stories, there are reasons that some photos are successful and others fall short. When journalists discuss photographs using visual terms, the conversation goes beyond subjective likes and dislikes to address the actual value of the image.

Good photographers think in these visual terms when they are on assignment. They decide the moment to record, what to include, and what to take out. They look for good quality of light, juxtaposition, a point of entry, mood, emotion, and a sense of place in order to best tell the story visually. With experience, it becomes a natural process.

This course will teach you about that visual language. It introduces terms that help develop a visual vocabulary, leading to improved photographs and more constructive discussions of images.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Use the visual vocabulary when discussing images
  • Articulate the journalistic value of an image
  • Make better storytelling images
Who should take this course:

Photojournalists, picture editors, designers, reporters and anyone who wants make better images and use visual language to discuss them.

Course Instructors:

John Davidson

Davidson is a partner in Creative Eye Consulting, specializing in visual therapy for the newsroom. Before leaving in January 2003, Davidson was assistant managing editor/photography and senior editor/visuals at The Dallas Morning News. He has worked at five other newspapers as a photographer and photo editor.

Maria Mann

Maria Mann is managing editor of the European Pressphoto Agency, based in Frankfurt.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 7.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection

This course contains audio, so please make sure you have your speakers or headphones on.