DIY: How To Deliver Visuals

DIY: How To Deliver Visuals

Got a great story? Photos and videos can’t be an afterthought. This guide will help you determine what kinds of visuals you need to gather, and how to deliver them to your editor at YR.

Start by recognizing photo/video opportunities*

  • Photos of main characters (posed and candid shots)
  • Photos of important places/scenes (establishing shots)
  • Videos related to reporting related to reporting that may have been posted to social media
  • Videos of characters/scenes where movement/action is important to the story
  • Movie trailers, music videos, or promotional stills (for arts/reviews)
  • Screenshots of important texts or emails from sources (flag to editor to see if these are permissible to use)

Types of Visuals for

*Featured Photo (REQUIRED) -

Every post on has to have a featured image for when it appears on the front page. The image must be at least 1120px across, and height should be between 600-900px.

  • Make sure you are providing HORIZONTAL (wider than they are tall) images
  • Deliver as a high resolution .JPG or .GIF
  • Give photo credit to the photographer or person who provided you with the photo.
  • If sourcing a photo that you don’t own off the Internet, search using creative commons (non-commercial, not for adaptation or modification unless you plan to crop) to make sure you have the right permissions. Provide both the URL and the image to your editor.

Supporting Images/Video/GIF

These visuals appear within a post. Here’s how to deliver each type of media:

  • Embedding third party content from YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook - provide full embed codes and social handles
  • GIF - provide either .GIF or embed code if using GIPHY or other site. Aim for at least 500 px across
  • JPG - At least 500 px across. Also provide image credit (original) or creative commons URL
  • Phone video (breaking news) - Provide all raw footage. To determine camera orientation, see guide below. If unsure, shoot both horizontal and vertical video.
  • DSLR video (breaking news) - Provide all raw footage. Shoot at 1920x1080

Phone Orientation matters - a platform by platform guide

Different platforms are optimized for different orientations of video/photo. Ask your editor which platform your story will run. And when in doubt, take both horizontal and vertical images/videos.

YouTube: Horizontal Horizontal

Facebook Live: Vertical

Facebook: Vertical

Instagram: Vertical but knowing it will probably be cropped to a square (1080px x 1080px)

Instagram story: Vertical

Snapchat: Vertical

Twitter: Vertical

How to find/make a good image for

  • Make sure it’s high resolution (vs. a small, low-quality, or pixelated image)
  • Pay attention to lighting (avoid photos that are too dark or blown out)
  • Consider composition best practices like rule of thirds and leading lines
  • For posed character photos (commentaries, personal essays, profiles) provide at least two images: a wide shot and a tight shot:

Wide character shot: The background and the character should be in focus, and the person’s entire body (or at least head to knees) should be visible. Best practice is to take it in a setting that is relevant to the story or gives the viewer a sense of the character of the place

Tight character shot: The person is in focus and the background is blurred (low F-stop). The person’s face and shoulders should be in the shot. The person’s face should be expressive and indicative of the tone of the piece.

Super Important Rules for Field Production

  • DO take photos/videos. Even if you don’t think you’re a good photographer or videographer, images give you and your editor options for a beautiful build. Plus, visuals are valuable for fact checking/scripting later on.
  • Always identify yourself as a journalist. If reporting on a protest or rally, you cannot participate as any form of advocate. Carry photo ID and keep your editor’s cell phone handy.
  • In public space, you have the right to take photos/video. In private space (businesses, residences) you will need to stop if asked--and in some spaces will need advance permission. Since laws vary by state, make sure your recording equipment is in plain view, or talk to your editor if you have something different in mind.
  • Write thoughtful captions. It is your responsibility to write accurate captions for your images. Be careful with language -- avoid assumptions (example: smoke vs. tear gas) and biased/insider terms (ex: pro-life/anti-choice), instead opting for neutral descriptions.
  • Ask for ID. Ask folks their first name, last name, age. In some cases (like when covering protests) you’ll need to see a form of ID. If you can’t verify someone’s identity, you may not be able to use the name in captions -- people make up names all the time! Also ask for contact information (phone, email, social).
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Invest in the diverse voices that will shape and lead the future of journalism and art.
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