Education Resource

Everyday Africa: A Photographer's Tool Kit

How do photographers take great photos? How do photographers select which photographs to include in an exhibition? And in what order? How can photography be used to communicate a community’s everyday life in exciting ways?

In this video for students, teachers and aspiring photographers, photojournalist Peter DiCampo answers these questions by using examples from the Everyday Africa project, which he founded with journalist Austin Merrill to present a more accurate representation of everyday life in Africa by collecting images shot on mobile phones across the continent.

DiCampo starts with an explanation of the project’s mission and how Everyday Africa has gone on to inspire projects all over the world. He also demonstrates how he takes and selects photos for exhibition on the project’s Instagram feed.

As he scrolls through over a dozen photos of an afternoon at a hotel pool in the Ivory Coast, he points out the following tools that photographers use to take great pictures:

  1. Look for something surprising or interesting.
  2. Experiment with the frame.
  3. Look for a clear moment.
  4. Take multiple photos. Keep shooting.
  5. Get to know your subject.

Next, DiCampo describes how he selects and orders photos for creating a photo story, or full exhibition. As he moves through a series of Everyday Africa images, he identifies how color, the orientation of the subjects and the subject matter of the photos can act as ways to organize photos in an exhibition.

“If you had one picture to represent your community, what would that picture be? How can you look at your own life like a journalist?” DiCampo concludes, adding, “If you don’t become the storyteller in your own neighborhood and start telling the stories of your neighborhood, who else will?”

Contact education@pulitzercenter.org for support connecting with Peter DiCampo and co-founder Austin Merrill and curating a photography exhibition in your community.