What should be in my photo? What should not? Make photos that tell the story you want them to tell.
All in-person Extension meetings, events and classes are canceled through Friday, May 15.
4-H Photography Project
What you'll do
Tell your story using photography! Learn about equipment basics, taking sharper pictures, lighting and flash techniques, photo composition, approaches, sequencing, and evaluating photographs. Use multiple cameras and even assemble a whole production team.
Photo credit: Sarah K, Benton County 4-H. She took multiple shots and overlaid them using photo editing software. She won a purple ribbon at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair.
Levels of learning
Get started with 4-H'ers in your area
Get started on your own
- National 4-H activity books (for sale)
- Discover 4-H photography activities (free download)
- Photography adventure (free download)
- 4-H Guide to Digital Photography (book)
- National Geographic's "Photographing Your World" (free download)
Smartphone photography 101
Practice judging photography (from Kansas 4-H)
Try judging these photos from Kansas 4-H! Look over each set of 4 photos. Rank them 1-4 and give your reasons. This will help you become a better photographer, too!
- 2017 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2016 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2015 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2014 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2013 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2012 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2011 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2010 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2009 State Fair Judging Classes
- 2008 State Fair Judging Classes
Try different genres
- Portraits: Photograph people alone or in small groups.
- Photojournalism: Display 3-5 photos together with captions. Together, they tell a story.
- Close-up: Print three images taken with a normal lens, macro lens or microscope.
- Light experiment: Take three photos of the same thing in different kinds of light.
Fairs and exhibits
- Photo story of 5-7 photos, size: 3.5 by 5 inches or 4 by 6 inches
- Close-up photographs of different people
- Candid action photographs
- Panorama photographs
- Photographs on common themes
- Computer enhanced enlargements
- Computer screen show
- Studies of seasons
- Contrasts photographs (such as texture, pattern, shape, contrast, etc.)
- Poster showing principles of photography or digital imaging
Minnesota State Fair entries (slideshows)
- How to prepare your photo exhibit for the fair (slideshow)
- What a judge is looking for (evaluation sheet)
- Talent release form in English and Spanish You will need to have these signed by people who appear in your video if it will be displayed at the fair or any other public place.
Your guide to judging at the Hennepin County Fair -- or any county (video)
Some counties require record keeping for fairs.
Extend your learning
Enter your photos into a competition.
Use your photography skills to help a local nonprofit organization tell their story, advertise their services or win a grant.
- Organize a field trip to a local business to see how they use photography to publicize what they do.
- Teach a workshop on photography or image editing at a day camp.
Composing a photo means arranging the things in it. 4-H'ers explain the rule of thirds, how to set a mood, background and subject, depth of field and more.
4-H'ers explain perspective: how you see the subject, where to stand, distance, framing, angle, awareness of camera, orientation.
Future study & careers
Photographers need a good eye, lots of practice and usually take classes to understand their equipment and constantly changing software.
Photography is a 21st century communications skill, useful in any profession. Professional photographers may use their skills in many industries. They may become business owners, contractors or artists.
Reviewed in 2018