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Fundamentals of Photojournalism [In-Person]

Starts January 24

8 sessions: Mondays, January 24-March 14, 6:30-9:30pm

This eight-week course is designed to teach what it means to be a photojournalist and how to think like one. The various aspects of photojournalism will be covered, and students will learn how to report with a camera. Technique will be learned through studying various photojournalists and examining many examples of the genre, but mainly through course assignments. Caption writing, truth, ethics, and the history of photojournalism will be reviewed.

Weekly assignments will be given and are designed to be challenging yet fun and to learn how to tell a story through pictures. Subjects will range from the regular and everyday to the complex and socially difficult. A strong emphasis is put on the photographers to use personal vision to interpret assignments. The photojournalist is always a witness to the event.

Photographers should expect to be challenged and use their instinct and creativity to accomplish assignments. Changing light and weather conditions are to be expected; there are no excuses in not finishing an assignment, as emphasis on deadlines is important in photojournalism.

No matter what type of photography career you choose – corporate, wedding, portrait, commercial or fine art – your work will be positively influenced by your photojournalistic skills and knowledge!

Course Outline

Week One: Interaction

Week Two: Feature photo

Week Three: General news photography

Week Four: Spot news and environmental portrait

Week Five: Sports photography

Week Six: Multi-photo package

Week Seven: Photo story in a day

Week Eight: Portfolio building

Course Requirements

  • Course materials: DSLR camera and knowledge of how to use it. All students are required to know how to use manual exposure settings and have a working knowledge of ISO, shutter speeds, aperture and depth-of-field, and how to focus accurately. A strobe (flash) is optional but helpful for environmental portrait assignment. Having lenses that can accommodate different situations (fast zooms are ideal) are helpful. Basic editing will be required for assignments (ability to use Lightroom and/or Photoshop for cropping, sharpening and toning of images). If you have a telephoto lens it will be needed. If you don’t, you will need to either borrow or rent one, especially for the sports assignment.
  • A reporter’s spiral notebook is also a good thing to have for caption information gathering. Printing will be required for all assignments. Students must print one 8×10 print for class critique, as well as a contact sheet of images taken for each assignment (details will be discussed during the first class).
  • Optional materials: Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach by Kenneth Kobre. AP Style Book for caption writing and reference.

NOTE: this in-person course is held at FilmNorth, 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, Saint Paul, MN 55114. FilmNorth currently requires proof of full vaccination (initial shots + booster) for all in-person classes and events or a negative PCR Covid test result (required for every class session) within 48 hours of the class/event. In addition, all participants of FilmNorth in-person classes and events must wear N95, KN95, or KF94 masks.

Tuition: $335 regular | $250 member | $190 low-income

Tom Baker is a freelance photographer based in Minneapolis. He has a degree in photojournalism from the University of Montana School of Journalism and has been freelancing since 2007. He has worked at the Havre Daily News in Havre, MT, The Dalles Chronicle in The Dalles, OR, and the Portland Tribune in Portland, OR. His work has been published in the Star Tribune, MPR News, Associated Press, POLITICO, Agence-France Presse, Montana Standard, Draft Magazine, Rochester Magazine, and others.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.




January 24 @ 6:30 pm
March 14 @ 9:30 pm
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Tom Baker
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8 sessions: Mondays, January 24-March 14, 6:30-9:30pm