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Understanding the Basics of Social Photography

Basics of Social Photography- Sampoerna University

Photography is a vast discipline that has developed for many years. Among many subcategories of it is social photography. Roughly defined, it is a type of photography that focuses upon the technology, interaction, and activities of individuals taking photographs.

From American photographer Galen Stolee, a number of students of Sampoerna University learned directly how to take quality photographs that can tell stories on Friday (4/26/2019) at Sampoerna University campus. Stolee himself is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree at Harvard University, majoring in Social Anthropology.

Based on the submitted photographs at Sampoerna University Library‘s Social Photography Seminar, Mr. Stolee shared his tips and tricks with students on how to produce photographs with messages in them.

The first is overcoming shyness. He recognized the problem as a novice photographer years ago, too. “I’m an introverted person as well. So I tended to take photos from far away without the object’s knowledge. But over time I had to overcome that shyness as I have to talk to people and get permission that I have taken their pictures,” he said.

The second tip is proper lighting. Never take photographs with poor lighting as it only takes away the beauty of objects. “Taking photos at night is a challenge but I like the fact that it pulls us in the middle, where the source of light lies. It’s well done, beautiful and tells a nice story,” Stolee commented on a photo titled ‘Juragan Pentol‘.

Next, make sure a photo can really convey the main message or theme. This is also a strong reason why he named Anggun Siska Hamidah’s photo the best among others. “The photo took the question of the leadership and social responsibility theme. And she did something very different and abstract.” The photo shows three little boys waving hands to the sky, symbolizing the infinite possibility in the future.

A strong caption will not hurt! Stolee sees a caption as a more detailed explanation of a photograph. “Anggun’s photo has a compelling caption that I love so much. It says: ‘Hello, future leaders. Spell our names: Honesty, Integrity, Responsibility’,” he added.

For students who want to pursue a photography career, Stolee advised, “Though the skills of photography are still in high demand, there is a lot of competition right now as everyone has a camera. But if you’re really into photography, consider combining it with some other skill sets because it cannot stand alone. You can combine it with journalism skills, social media skills, and other skills that the world needs.” (*/)