Pretending to be a Photographer


Like the last time, I was in a predicament the other day. I needed a photographer four hours before their shift started on Friday. This was not ideal by any means.

I tried to wiggle a time that would work, but I was stuck. I had to improvise. I decided the day before that I was going to take the pictures. I knew it wasn’t going to be hard, but I was still nervous.

The picture was for this story: In case of emergency Towns to prepare for the worst during statewide disaster drill.

I think I called Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Director Noel Waite, wearing the white shirt, six times the day before to make sure he was going to be setting up the equipment for the “drill.” Waite was nice about it, and was more than happy to have me run around and take pictures while he was making sure they worked.

I had no idea Public Works Director David Goftstein, wearing the blue shirt, was going to be there, either.

It actually worked out better than I thought. I showed up, introduced myself and just started taking pictures. I was talking to both of them the whole time. Listening to them talk and, aiming my questions at the right times, to make sure I wasn’t bothering them. It was actually really neat. They took the whole “drill” really seriously and were grateful enough to let me be a bystander while they worked.

I took about 40 pictures. They were all the same. None were anything to write home about. I’ve never seen so many pictures of phones in my life.

When I got back to the newsroom, I had one of the photographers take a look to pick the best ones. He found one and that’s the one you see at the top of this post. It’s nothing fancy.

It was front and center on the front page.

It feels good to help the paper out. I am starting to get more and more confident taking pictures. It would have been nice to have a photog there to “guide” me, but it’s not a perfect world. You have to deal with what you get and work from there.

I still get nervous, though. That will go away over time, I hope.



4 Responses to Pretending to be a Photographer

  1. I am definitely going to try and make sure the staff can pick up a camera and take pictures for their stories. There has always been a time where a picture of an event or story would have been ideal, but a photographer wasn’t available to help. I too have this problem with not being skilled in photography. A journalist should have the ability to take photos as well, and be a multimedia journalist. Because of the transition into digital media, we should all have skills in every area. Great post Jon! Keep up the good work, proud of you.

    • Thank you for the kind words. My camera is pretty easy to use, so, I think I am going to make more of an effort to learn about photography and take more pics. It is the only way I will learn. Talking is one thing, but doing is another.

      The staff will hate you for it, in the beginning. By the end, they will love you for it. It will look nice on a resume, too.


  2. Pingback: Transitions « Just Starting Out

  3. Pingback: More Pictures, More Stories « Just Starting Out

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