Helpful Hints For Inquiry

Recently in school we have been learning about photography, film and audio as our Inquiry focus. The film and audio required a short film to be made and the photography unit required a presentation of your learning through the notes and pictures that you took. We had two weeks learning about these focuses. While making these products we have learnt many different skills. I will be showing you my learning today in this blog post.


In this unit we took pictures using the notes we gathered from Ms. Torney and from instructional videos with quite a bit of context. We also learnt basic PicMonkey skills. We learnt mostly just colorings. Just playing around with cropping, brightness, saturation and angles.


Divide your frame into a tic-tac-toe boards and put your most important elements along those lines of the board. Place them horizontally or vertically on the lines or on the intersecting points.

There is always a foreground, background and middle ground.

When you want the landscape to dominate, put it on the top third. Flip it if you want the sky to be more important during sharing. The more interesting or important thing more weight on the image. If they are both interesting and important, place the horizon line along the middle (great for reflection shots). That is probably the only time you can break the rule. Make sure that the ninths are equal in length. Most cameras have a built in grid.

  • Allows you to unambiguously (without distraction) direct flow towards your piece.
  • It allows direct flow towards the pic
  • If the subjects were more centered, your eyes would travel everywhere, they wouldn’t know where to look
  • It lets you tell your viewer the most important/interesting elements


Leading Lines

In photography lines can make or break you picture. They have an incredible impact on feelings and atmosphere in the photo.

If your line is in the middle of the photo it cab cut the photo in half.

It will have a more impressive look and stronger composition if it starts at the corner of your photograph. Make sure that any lines are obvious. Leading lines can lead your viewers’ attention to the main point and prevent your eye from wandering. Line can make distance look further. Use your lines carefully though, it can move away from the main subjects.



Peace, calmness and a sense of restfulness.

They should be kept as horizontal as possible. Use the rule of thirds. They can strengthen the composition and create patterns.


Action, depth, stimulation. It can help draw an eye to a photo. Present it to the bottom left to the top right to use it best. It helps an eye scan.


Sensuality, elegance, serene sense of balance. The can be used as an s. Any form of a non-straight line can be called a curved line and be used in the same way.


Flow, depth, distance, scale, Our eyes naturally run along these lines where they connect, having them larger at the front and smaller at the end. This creates interest.    


Growth, power, dominance

Make sure to use the rule of thirds. They cannot start from corners.



Joy's PhotoThe idea is to block out the other parts of the scene with something bland. Maybe rocks, building or trees. It draws attention to the subject by blocking the edges to place your eyes on the most important part of the photograph. You isolate the best part and make your eyes see it. It gives it a sense of depth in the picture. It adds diminution into the pic. It doesn’t need to go around the full edge of the image. It can be anywhere on the edge. Just framing one or two sides is fine. A blurred frame will add more depth, while a focused frame creates context (more details and informative). Be aware that it can cause clutter, making the composition crammed and tight. Make sure the frame is defined and distinct. It should stand out from everything else. It does not have to contrast.

Negative and Positive Space:

Negative space defines the subject drawing your eyes towards it.

Area between and around objects in the photo. Sometimes called white space. It has been used in art, design, architecture and sculptors for years. It doesn’t take away from the main subject and is non-distracting. It draws your eye to your subject. It gives your eyes some space so that it doesn’t look cluttered and too busy. It defines and emphasises a photo’s main details. It adds up to a more engaging composition. When used properly it creates balance. It may be hard to create this. Keep in mind that some pictures look better with more texture. It’s basically a non-distracting background.

It is basically the main subject. Usually more interesting.

To overcome the problems of too boring, focus on the gaps around. This forces you pay more attention to your composition you don’t have to be scared of empty space. It can be amazing when you isolate the subject. Make sure the space balances. 


Where you put your camera to shoot can change the picture dramatically. It can make your viewer feel small or big. It can exaggerate the size of the subject and create moods and feelings. Eyelevel isn’t always the best view for your shot. By experimenting with many different perspectives will create many different images.


This unit taught us about various microphones and tripods. We also learnt how to use Corel Video Editing System further and use the equipment in production.

Audio can make or break your film. Amazing actors and cinematic cannot mask horrible audio. It doesn’t matter much if your actors are bad, or your cinematic skills suck, or your storyline is bad. If your audio is bad, people will not watch it. It might even be painful to watch. In my opinion cinematic and audio are the most important aspects of a good film. Good audio is smooth, clear, crisp and mood enhancing. Bad audio may be too loud, too quiet, static sounding or inaudible. Audio is very important for a film. Take extra care with your microphones and audio so that the film is enjoyable for your viewers. I’m not saying don’t take care with all your aspects, but more so maybe try and make the audio awesome so that your film is awesome too!

Also keep in mind what sort of microphone you use in your film. Here are some microphones and their uses.

Wireless Lapel:

Great for long shots, whispering, small talk, interviews and great for subtle voice projection. They are compact, easy to use and very easy to transport. You can use them for at least 25m from your receiver before it starts to fade. The quality is fair. You might have to be careful of it picking up breathing, movement and wind though.

Shotgun Microphone:

Used very often in short distance shots. It is named after the way the mic tends to pick up the direction it’s going and for minimizing background noise. Ideal for interviews, reports and single or small group scenes. These microphones come in some different sizes and variations. These are not very good for long/far shots because it doesn’t catch the audio.

Wireless Handheld:

They are very generic. It’s often held below your chin so that it’s not covering your actor/reporter’s face. They can be used for any type of shot. They are very easy to set up. It only has the receiver most of the time because the mic is the transmitter. Can be held up with stands.


This unit taught us about shot-lists

and scene names. We also learnt Corel Video Editing System to a degree and the basic skills of equipment. Every film has a start, middle and an end. There’s pre-production, production and post-production.

Shot-lists basically are planning out your basic shots, dialogue, order and thing you need to do in the shot. These help loads during production because you knew what you needed to get done. Much like when you’re making an animated movie, you make story-boards to show the basic idea of the film to keep it in order. These are very important because it reminds you and helps you keep on track.

We had groups of 4 – 5 and we made films/tutorials about how to do something we knew how to do or are skilled at. Our group chose a hair tutorial. Our group was made up of actors/models, camera people, editors and lights and area coordinator. It was sometimes challenging ‘cause there were five of us to keep in check but it all turned out fine in the end. We also learnt about voice-overs. We have to only be a fist away from the microphone.




8 thoughts on “Helpful Hints For Inquiry

  1. This is an extremely elaborate post Joy! Wow! I am glad that you have learnt so much already about the amazingly wonderful world of photography and film making. I can’t wait to see your skills develop this year. 🙂

  2. Great job Joy! 🙂
    I like your intro and your description,
    it is a very elaborate post 🙂
    good job!

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