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Plan your report

Planning your report well will save you time and help to produce high-quality results.

Select your topic

Your report can be on any subject; a science experiment, a social studies or fine arts project, school activities, or community concerns. The first step is to select one clearly-defined topic. Be sure you have a positive idea of the subject you wish to pursue.


Before you begin taking pictures, collect as much information about your topic as possible. Naturally, the amount of time you spend on research will depend upon the scope of the report and how you plan to use it.

Inadequate research may result in a superficial or inaccurate report. Record each important fact on an individual file or index card.

Organize your material

After you have completed your research, you are ready to organize your report. It's time to arrange the facts you have collected and to determine the kind and number of photographs you need to convey your message. Begin by sorting your index cards according to subject. As you do this, a pattern or framework will usually emerge. Arrange the cards in a logical or chronological order. You'll probably find that you'll want to juggle the order of the cards several times to achieve the best sequence.

While establishing a sequence, think about the photographs you will need. Decide which elements of your story should be illustrated and indicate on a separate index card what each photograph will include.

After you have done this, go back through your cards to be sure you have adequately covered each phase of your topic. At this time, you may want to plan more photographs to eliminate as much copy as possible. Be sure you're satisfied with your organization before proceeding to the next step.

Plan your photographs

Planning your photos before you begin taking pictures will save you time, money, and frustration. Use index or file cards just as you did for the research: one card for each photo. Make a route sketch on each card to show what the picture should include. Next to the sketch, write all pertinent data: message, location, camera-to-subject distance, number of people, and any necessary props. Each card will be a blueprint that takes the guesswork out of picture-taking.

Additional picture opportunities may present themselves on location. Shoot these pictures, too. There is always the possibility that unexpected events will provide human-interest highlights.


By using inexpensive items, you can produce very a attractive and effective project record book, progress report, proposal, school term paper, thesis, or more. There are as many ways to prepare a good report as there are kinds of reports. Here is a basic procedure you can follow. Perhaps you'll be able to think of additional ways to enhance and improve your efforts.

The finished book

Your report should:

How to use photos

Photographs should be a vital part of your report. They can show progress and results; accurately illustrate activities that would be difficult to describe with words alone; and make your report attractive, exciting, and inviting to read. (See 10 Tips for Better Pictures.)

Note: Many reports are being prepared using computers. To use your photography with computers, see KODAK Picture Disk Software.

Assembling your report


Slides, videos and movies are excellent for a classroom presentation. Videos and movies are effective when action is a critical part of your story but are generally more difficult and take more time to product than a slide show. Here's how to produce and present a slide, video, or movie show.




An exhibit of photographs attracts attention, tells your story at a glance, and publicizes your work. Use exhibits in the classroom, at workshops and teach-ins, at meetings, and in locations such as banks, schools, shopping malls, libraries, and town halls.

Helpful hints

Small prints

You can exhibit snapshots made by a photofinisher or ones made in your own darkroom.

Permanent Exhibit. Purchase a large piece of heavy, colored cardboard -- about 30 x 40-inch (76.2 x 101.6 cm) -- available at art-supply stores. Decide where you want to place the title, pictures, and captions. Type or neatly print the titles and captions on pieces of thin white cardboard; file cards work fine. Use white glue to attach the titles to the exhibit board. Then, use the same glue to attach the snapshots. Finally, glue the captions next to the photographs. Your exhibit is now ready for display!

Temporary Exhibit. You can make a temporary exhibit by attaching snapshots to a bulletin board at school. Use double-faced cellophane tape or small tacks. (Art-supply stores offer a good variety.) Or type a caption on a piece of plain white paper and then use white glue to attach the snapshot to the paper. Use a thumbtack to attach the paper to a bulletin board.

Big prints

Enlargements (8 x 10 inches -- 20.3 x 25.4 cm -- or larger) generally are more appropriate for exhibit purposes than snapshots. Mount enlargements on special mounting board available at photo-supply, art-supply, and some stationery stores. A mount provides the print with a boarder that emphasizes the picture. Mounting board also helps to keep the print rigid for a smooth appearance and makes it easier to display. Use white glue to attach prints to mounting boards.

To protect the print from surface scratches and abrasions, spray matte-surface prints with a clear spray. An art-supply dealer can tell you which spray to use. Practice your spraying technique on a spare print. Hold the spray can about a foot from the print and spray the surface with an even, sweeping motion. Repeat the process if the first coat doesn't cover. If you apply too much spray at one time, the print surface will have an orange-peel appearance.

If you want to display your prints behind glass, be sure that there is a slight separation between the picture and the glass. This will prevent the emulsion of the print from sticking to the glass.

Most processing laboratories make color prints on a resin-coated water-resistant paper base. The backs of these prints feel like smooth plastic. If you plan to stack and store your resin-coated color prints, even temporarily, do not write on the backs of them with ink. The paper doesn't absorb the ink, and it may in time transfer to the face of the next print.

Once the enlargement is attached to a mounting board, you can use it for either a temporary or a permanent display. You can create a permanent display in the same fashion as described above for small prints.

For temporary exhibits, you can hang enlargements on pegboards using hooks. On other surfaces, use a strong double-faced adhesive tape or hook-and-loop tape. In school, you can display large mounted prints on chalk trays.