Lesson Plans

Everyday DC: Lesson 3

Everyday DC photographer in action

An Everyday DC photographer in action. Image by Evey Wilson. United States 2017.


Students will be able to identify and practice photographic techniques

Identifying Photographic Techniques:

Using Everyday Africa or Everyday DC photographs from 2017, point out photographic techniques:

  • Focus on how journalists take different kinds of photos to tell stories: portraits, landscape/establishing shots, action shots and details.
  • Focus on angles and how different angles change how a subject is perceived (“bird’s eye,” low level, high level, tilted, “worm’s eye”)
  • Lighting and shadows
  • Framing (rule of thirds, examining what is included/not included in a photo)

As each element is described, students practice using the technique in the classroom (e.g. after teacher introduces lighting and shadow, students take 5 minutes to practice taking pictures that use front/back/side lighting).

Practicing Photographic Techniques:

By the end of class, students are required to turn in four photos: Each photo should reflect one of the skills learned in class. (Students can also do this at home, if desired).


Students identify and practice photographic techniques.

Sample rubric:


Exceeds Expectation

Meets Expectation

Needs Improvement

VA:Cr1.1.8: Document early stages of the creative process visually and/or verbally in traditional or new media.






Educator Notes: 


Document early stages of the creative process visually and/or verbally in traditional or new media.

The Everyday DC cornerstone unit is an opportunity for students to apply photography, photo analysis, and investigative reporting skills to the creation of photo essays that reflect their everyday realities as residents of Washington DC Students will create group photo exhibitions that they feel accurately and responsibly represent their communities. Participating schools will have the opportunity collaborate with DCPS and the Pulitzer Center to select students who will help curate a district-wide Everyday DC exhibition featuring images from all schools participating in the unit.

This photography and curation unit is inspired by the Everyday Africa project created by journalists Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill and supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Everyday Africa, a collection of images shot on mobile phones across the continent, is an attempt to redirect focus toward a more accurate understanding of what most Africans experience on a day-to-day basis: normal life. The project is a response to the common media portrayal of the African continent as a place consumed by war, poverty, and disease.

Additional Resources:

For an easily accessible PDF containing images from Everyday Africa, please click here.

For a PDF containing images from last year's Everyday DC exhibition, please click here.

Through the Pulitzer Center, teachers have the option to connect professional photojournalists with their class in-person or via Skype for this unit. To schedule a classroom visit, or for other questions about this unit, contact education@pulitzercenter.org.

This curriculum was designed by Fareed Mostoufi (Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting) & Andrew Westover (DCPS).

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