This article was created as part of my Creative Digital Media apprenticeship.


You have been commissioned by a magazine to write an article on photography and its uses in modern society. You will need to compare 3 different outlets/uses for photography such as fashion, architecture, sport, photo journalism, portraits etc. and reference photographers whose work inspires you. (1.1)

Understand Different Applications of Photography

Photography is used in most media including print media and can be used to express opinions and emotions that cannot be expressed through words and is more effective visually to attract viewers or potential customers. Depending on the type of photography used can depend on the emotional level, within advertising, the photograph would be the product in a bright light possibly emphasising it is better than what is is whereas photojournalism is exactly what it looks like as it can’t be altered before the picture and shows real life as it actually is.

Within this assignment, I am going to cover three different uses for photography in media and describe their style, composition, use of colour and techniques and explain their similarities and how they differ from one another. The three uses I am going to choose are photojournalism, advertising and band photography.

Photojournalism is a type of photography which represents real-life events and because of this is not allowed to be edited after the photograph has been taken. This can mean the photographer can use flash, take the photo in a certain angle or configure with any settings on the camera including the aperture to gain focus on what the photographer would like the viewer to mainly focus on. Photojournalism is used in different ways mainly for news, documentaries, social, celebrity, war and politics. Photojournalism helps to tell the story of what is happening in the photo by identifying the timeliness, the objectivity and the narrative and at most aren’t usually aesthetically the best photo to use, for example, they would not be used in advertising as advertising uses editing features to make the product stand out however photojournalism can only capture and represent what is actually going on.

Photography Example 1: Terrible living conditions of children of Syrian refugees (21 photos)

In the photo on the left, the photo shows two children wrapped in coats laying on a piece of torn cardboard against the cold wall on the floor. The photo was taken when the refugees were escaping to safety and tells the story of children going homeless, going cold throughout the night in search of somewhere warm and somewhere safe to live. The photo cannot be edited as otherwise it would not show real life scenarios however with the use of the cameras features especially lowering the aperture to be able to blur the background of the photo and keep in focus the children laying on the ground and the floor and wall. This means they will have to keep in all use of colour i.e. on the girls coats which fits well with the darker background as it makes them more noticeable and is able to pull on a more emotional nerve from the viewer and the way the photographer has captured the photo by the use of the light glowing down on the children. This means that the photographer cannot move anyone or any object within the photo which means they cannot change the composition. However they have photographed the photo in a way which can force the viewers attention to a certain point (the children) and taking the photo at a lower angle and using the wider aperture can give a more emotional impression on the viewer without having anything staged. The photographer has angled the camera well in order to miss out anything that would stop the photo being less than emotional and not focus on the main target of the two sleeping children.

Photography Example 2: Il vincitore del Premio Amilcare Ponchielli 2013

In the photo on the left, a man is carrying his friend who has been attacked in Syria when the FSA attacked. The photo tells the story of a man helping his wounded friend to the hospital. wounded friend to a hospital. The aperture is wide as the main focus is the wounded friend and it slowly loses focus outwards. The people in the background give the photo a balance to show where the main focus is and potentially uses rule of thirds. The use of colour within the photo is done really well as the main showing of colour is the wounded boy’s shirt and more vibrant whereas the other people are dressed more dully and the background has a darker colour scheme with gloomy greys and browns. This could have meant that the wounded man had not had anything to do with the attack as he is dressed more casually rather than in the camouflage. There is no use of composition as photojournalism because it has to be as realistic as possible. The photographer has managed to get the anger in the background of the background people in camouflage g which could be the opposing army, also getting the broken down buildings and broadcasting the poverty within the photo but also the man putting his life at risk to protect his wounded friend. It shows that the environment may be bad but the good in people in the foreground is much stronger.

Photography Example 3: The World Press Photo Features Some of the Most Amazing Photos …

This photo tells the story of air pollution and how bad it has gotten in China. The style of the photograph is balanced as it has the man in the foreground and in the background has other people and buildings: the man in the foreground allows the viewer to know how far away the power stations are and the CO2 emissions are so heavy they take up the majority of the first quarter of the photo yet they are further away from the man with the camera. The closest man also has a cigarette in his mouth which emitting its own pollution into the air making the main focus of the photo being the over polluted area and the near-death of the planet. There is also a motorbike which would also emit its own pollution and shows the viewer how bad it has gotten but how people are still living regardless of the polluted areas which shouldn’t be inhabited as it seems almost too dangerous as the fumes should not be breathed in. The photo has been angled so you can see the different ways that China is one of the worst countries for over use of CO2 emissions. The power stations take up the majority of the photo which give them more impact. There is also a contrast between the CO2 emissions and the blue sky. There is no stated time period of which the photo was taken but it was taken in China. There is no edit on the photograph because of it being photojournalistic however the photographer could have taken the photo so it broadcasts all of the power stations to make it appear as if they take up the majority of the space.

The three photos are very similar to each other as they all show a way of suffering. They all use law of thirds and have a sense of colour that emphasises a certain point in the photography. The photo has been constructed well to emphasise only parts of what the photographer would like the viewer to see and all use a wider aperture to blur the background although this may have been done on purpose to blur it but also guide the viewer’s’ eye to it as the surroundings seem to give the photographs more of a purpose and a story. The are different to which they use different colour schemes to broadcast their real life imagery

We use photography in advertising to show the product that we want to sell and we then glamorize said product in order to make it seem almost better than it is to ensure it sells to the public. Depending on the genre, target audience or target lifestyle, graphics designers may alter the techniques used to show the product in a better light and make it seem must-have or important.

Example 1: Henrik Bonnevier Still life photography | Trendland

The product is Heinz tomato ketchup and Heinz have glamorized the product by using a glass bottle with tomatoes in to make it seem as if the only thing in the bottle is tomatoes and they are natural and healthy. The slogan ‘what you see is what you get’ also enforces this as the only thing you can see is the tomatoes in the bottle. They have given this a minimalistic look to get the viewers straight to the point and make it seem minimal and using the vignette colour filter to make it seem as if it is the only thing that matters, makes it stand out a lot more and shows its importance. The photo also keeps the reflection of the bottle which could show the pureness as it is still tomatoes in the reflection. The contrast of the orange and the white make the advertisement stand out more and helps it catch the eye and the vignette filter helps the white stand out more against the vibrancy of the orange. The reflection also helps the balance of the photo as you can tell where it is in the photo and makes the tomato ketchup seem like more of a higher class, because of the pureness of just the tomatoes and the minimalistic effect, although tomato ketchup is used by nearly all families regardless of class.

Example 2: Just because I like it

The product is L’Oreal Men Expert wash and L’Oreal have glamorized the product by taking the words on the product, the ‘black charcoal wash’ and have used this to give reason to put the black charcoal to the back. The background colours use red, orange and yellow which could signify the fire with the charcoal which could give the impression that it is a ‘hot’ product. The product is almost stereotypical with how it looks bigger and stronger than the charcoal and the fire-like background. It gives more of a manly vibe than a stereotypically feminine so it tells the viewer it is for men before the viewer can read the product. The photograph is very busy and the bottoms dark greys and blacks contrast well with the fiery background and the white top of the tube. The charcoal is also in pieces which could make it seem as if the product is strong and can also help the masculinity stereotype. The photographer has edited this photo with a vignette filter which creates a dark shadow around the edge to make the middle stand out more.

Example 3: Ad Roundup

The product is Kapiti ice cream but has been portrayed in a luxury light as it looks like an expensive, gold watch. The rich gold gives a high class vibe and it makes the ice cream seem classy and expensive. The background fades from the dark black at the top and fades into the white which contrasts well and gives a good colour scheme and could also be to portray the purity of the ice cream. The white of the ice cream and the background bounce off each other and create a classy atmosphere to the advertisement. The white words and logo contrast well with the darker background making them stand out especially from the product. It is small enough to not take over the design yet to catch the viewer’s attention. The idea of having the slogan as ‘designer ice cream’ promotes it being a higher class product more and would make a viewer think, if you eat this ice cream you are better than you are.

Most advertising photos use similar editing tools as they have proved to be more popular with consumers. For example, vignette is used in most advertisements to draw the viewer’s eye to the middle of the page as the corners become almost irrelevant. All photos are very clear and tend to have clearness throughout rather than within photojournalism, photographers may use a wide aperture to blur the background, with advertisement this is not needed as they only need the product because the background is likely to be edited out and recreated to glamorize the product as a natural background might not have the same appeal as a individually created graphic. Photojournalism is different from advertising as photojournalism has no editing other than camera settings and advertising will use as much editing as possible to ensure the product looks the best it can look. Compared to band photography which is more for advertisement and uses more filters such as black and white depending on the genre.

Band photography is a type of photography which is a mix of advertising and portraiture photography. It promotes the band in a good light to showcase their band and their music and uses photography to do this. Band photography is usually more creative and are more personal to the artist than advertising photography: it is also more staged and will be all about the band and won’t have any other distractions. Band photography is mainly biased and put with other band publications i.e. band magazines or websites.

Example 1: Stream Nirvana’s In Utero Tribute Album Featuring Circa Survive & More

An example of band photography is this Nirvana photoshoot. The photos has been taken with the band in a certain pose to represent their genre and the way their band is. This photo is more of a personal appearance of the band and uses a similar vignette shade as used in advertisement to draw attention to the centre where the band is stood. Unlike advertisement though, the vignette is a lot more thicker and the white middle is less visible and they have edited themselves to make them match into the background. The chiaroscuro of their faces show the double sided of their music and can show them in different lights, they are also shown to be more playful but the dark light makes it seem more harsher and possible darker with their genre. As colour has not been used other than a black and white, grayscale filter it could tell the viewer about them, the lack of colour could mean they aren’t with a happier genre or could make it seem empty. It could give the effect that they are more mysterious rather than with colour they would probably look more approachable and their positions and editing effects make them look more intimidating.

Example 2: Top Five Green Day Songs

Another example of band photography would be this from Green Day where they seemed to have taken a photo and then removed the background and made their own behind it or made use of a green screen. They use colour but their colours can also be harsh with the whites, blacks and reds which could signify danger and give meaning – because this has been a personal choice, it is what they want to showcase from their band and what they want the public to see them as which could also help figure out the genre of the band.

Example 3: The Chainsmokers’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ Feat. Daya: Listen to New …

This photo from The Chainsmokers is a photo shoot picture which they have released themselves and therefore is biased to portray them in a positive light. They have used the vignette effect again to bring in the viewers to themselves as the subject and wear the bright white shirts to offer a contrast to the darker background. They are more relaxed in the photograph which can show their genre as more Pop based. They keep the usual black and white in their photos which keeps it classy and modern. The photo is clear but appears vibrant because of the contrast. It is more portraiture than advertisement because in no way it states that it is a band photography however because of the stereotypical band photography style it is assumed and because they are known.

The similarities of the pictures is they all use the same darker theme with the vignette drawing a close to the centre to keep the viewers eyes focused on the main subject (usually themselves). The vignette is similar to the advertisement which does the same thing to the product and makes it more emphasised. The differences between band photography and advertisement is that band photography is a lot more personalised to the subject and promotes themselves rather than an object. Differences between band photography and photojournalistic is that both band and advertisement are staged and photojournalistic is real-time and cannot be altered after the photograph has been taken.

In conclusion, photography signifies an importance within media due to it’s many uses whether this be to promote or to raise awareness of what is going on in the world. Whether edited or not, photography continues to be the main source used within media which can be to get viewers to emphasise or feel emotions that would not be as effective with text. Photojournalism, advertising and band photography are relatively different but can be just as similar as their main purpose would be to promote something – whereas this be a product, a band or what is happening in the world. Although band photography could fall into the same category as advertisement, there is more of an emotional feel to it as it is what the ‘product’ in this case, wants it to feel like and how they themselves want to promote and express themselves to the public rather than it being a third person point of view and someone deciding how to advertise the product. Photo-journalism is to more promote awareness to what is occurring in real life.