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Posted by in Cohort 2014-15, Kartik Sharma | 0 comments

How to use photography and videography as research tools?

When it comes to presenting ground realities of a field based research activity, many times figures and numbers fail to recreate the exact picture. In such cases, photography and videography are effective tools of communicating that information, as it helps the audience to relive the situation from observer’s point of view.

As collecting information as photos, video recording, audio recording etc. require more interaction and intrusion into the lives of subjects, thus it is important to get the people under study, comfortable with the processes, people and equipment involved. Here are some research method essentials that should be followed while an observer is in the field:

  • People are averse to getting into legal issues, and are sometimes afraid of media being misused for personal benefits of observer, To eradicate these misconceptions, one has to build rapport and familiarity of the subject with team of observers, equipment involved, purpose of activity and should establish to locals’why’ their participation is important
  • As the target is to collect natural reactions, equipment should not be a distraction during the interview or observation process. Flashy color of recorder should be avoided, and bulky equipment should be placed such that it doesn’t impact natural settings for a conversation.
  • Some findings may not be apparent while recording, but after going through different sets of recording an observer can derive some conclusions. Thus to prevent from missing on useful insights about habits and culture of locals, observer should go out and capture instances from surroundings where the subject is spending time other than interview process.
  • Smooth operations of equipment and some basic rules to capture media should be kept in mind, this helps to make the collected information most efficient. One example is ‘Rule of thirds‘ that can help a photographer capture more impacting image.

    Rule of thirds helps identify a photographer, where to place the centre of interest. (Courtesy:

    Rule of thirds (Courtesy :

With these points in mind, a researcher can make the most of tools available. It will allow audience to connect directly with the situations in field while going through the report or presentation

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