The AP has a long history of devoting expertise and resources to capture the best photos. We’re asking you to be a part of that by sending us the news around you via the Send Report feature available on the downloaded version of the MNN for iPod Touch and iPhone.
A recent example of great citizen work came after the Minnesota bridge collapse. Because savvy citizens quickly uploaded photos to sites like Flickr and Facebook, and agreed to share their images with AP, we provided those images as part of our coverage.
With Send Report, you can send images directly to AP editors. The feature can be found at the bottom of any story. Hit the icon (bottom middle), fill in your information, attach your photo, write a description and send. It’s important to provide your contact info. We’ll need that if we decide to use your photo.
All photos submitted to the AP are vetted by editors, like Jim Collins in New York. Jim first determines if the photo is newsworthy. “We’re not just looking for pretty pictures,” he said. “We’re looking for pictures that capture a news event of a highly unusual situation from places where, for whatever reason, we haven’t been able to get our own staffer.” Then, a team of editors decide if the photo is legitimate and, if it is, the AP makes legal arrangements with the contributor to use the photo. Here’s AP’s policy on handling electronic images:
AP pictures must always tell the truth. We do not alter or manipulate the content of a photograph in any way. The content of a photograph must not be altered in PhotoShop or by any other means. No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph. The faces or identities of individuals must not be obscured by PhotoShop or any other editing tool. Only retouching or the use of the cloning tool to eliminate dust and scratches are acceptable. Minor adjustments in PhotoShop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction (analogous to the burning and dodging often used in darkroom processing of images) and that restore the authentic nature of the photograph. Changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that substantially alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning.
If you find yourself in a breaking news situation, try to find the best angle for a photo. Brian Horton, a longtime AP photographer, says the difference between a great picture and a good one can be an instant. “When you make pictures, think about pictures you have seen in the past and what made the good ones stand out in your mind,” Brian said. A person in the picture gives the reader a point of reference on scale, Brian said. Getting up on a ladder or down on one knee gives the reader a different perspective on how the person fits in to the scene. Good composition is the key.
— Arian Celeste Smedley, Mobile Editor