Aim for much better than a ‘snap shots’

Our aim on Wikimedia Commons is to collect as many educationally-interesting images as we can. This means to capture details that illustrate the idea – and not just give a general view.

This year we are encouraging photographers to enter photo essays. Photo essays allow for the photographer, and (through their photographs) the viewer, to explore the full range of activities, ideas, and concepts encapsulated in one subject.

In this context, and taking into account the Wiki Loves Africa 2017 theme of People at Work – with special focuses on Working Women and Rare, Fading or Threatened Traditional Craft, Styles or Ways of Working – a photo essay could be a series of people at the same occupation but in different contexts, or several people of a similar group doing different work, or a montage of images that explores one person going through the process of working, or a montage of images that explores a women-related professional issue.

So, say, if you want to take a picture of a dhow builder in Mozambique – don’t just take one picture of him from far. Instead take several types of pictures … of him doing different things from different angles – and some long shots with some detail shots too. That way you have more to choose from and you have captured the whole story.

Avoiding problems

  • If you are a beginner, check out the common errors to avoid (this relates to buildings, but is also good for people and other images).
  • Please be respectful and considerate to your fellow photographers, and to the people you are photographing.
  • Please be especially respectful when taking pictures of people. You should always ask their permission (if you cannot do it before the shot, do it afterwards).
  • Always ask for permission if you want to photograph people or inside someone’s workshop or property. Stop straight away if you are asked to do so.
  • Do not trespass on private property.

Copyright issues

  • Please do not upload photographs of posters, noticeboards, signs, modern murals, or anything else having text or two-dimensional images that might be copyright-protected. That applies even to text or images that are in a public place and that everyone else is taking pictures of. Ancient wall paintings in churches are fine, as are photos of stained glass windows of any date.