On Saturday September 16, 2012, I had the opportunity to follow an actual photojournalist on various assignments. Because of it, I am even more confident about my chosen career path than I have ever been before. Seeing someone in action helped a lot with how to approach people and made me realize people really do like getting their picture taken.
For my job shadow, I followed Mike Mulholland, CMU student and intern at the Jackson Citizen Patriot. Mike has about 6 more credits remaining of school and he said he is glad he didn’t graduate when he was originally supposed to. Then, he would have graduated at the age 21 years old, which he would have felt apprehensive about entering the real world at such a young age. During our day, we covered two farmfests and MMA cage fighting. The cage fighting was definitely my favorite of the day because it was different and exciting. During the farmfest, I watched mike approach people to get their information. Asking people for their information is the most difficult for me because I’m unsure of how to approach someone in that situation. Watching Mike made it A LOT easier because I learned it’s really no big deal asking and most people are more than happy to give you their names, etc. Since he is a student, I could relate to him more. He said photographing for a newspaper is easier because people know where their picture is going to end up, whereas for a class, some people may be a little more hesitant.
I’m also learning to not be afraid to get into people’s faces. That used to be a big fear of mine, but if you act like you own the place, people won’t care that you are taking pictures of them. Also, I noticed Mike was shooting at different angles, which gave the pictures a more aesthetically appealing appearance. After Farmfest, we went back to the office, since we had some time to spare before the next assignment. I would have thought a Saturday would have been pretty busy, but the building was completely empty! There was one other person in the newsroom besides us. I got to see how he edits his photos from narrowing them down to the toning process. I must say, I understand Photoshop better now. He took me through step by step of his editing process. He used what is called nondestructive editing. That is where you make different layers for each edit you make, so you can go back and take off and layer if you end up not liking it. Once he narrowed down to about 18 images, he had me narrow it down to 10 to put in the gallery online.
Once he was done with his images, he took a look at my work. I showed my farm family and sports story and he gave me some tips. He told me to make sure that every picture tells a story. One thing I thought that was really cool was that he belongs in a group that emails each other their photos, which then starts a discussion about them. He said it is good to surround yourself with people who will support you, rather than compete with you. Even though this field is extremely competitive, that does not make it okay to ruin someone’s chances of getting a job, internship, etc. It is best to help others rather than sabotage them. If there’s one thing that from the whole day that I took away from the job shadow, it’s this piece of advice: Don’t shoot or edit to be like somebody else. We need to create our own style so that no one will tell us we shoot like so and so. Aim to shoot like yourself, so you won’t be compared to anybody. Overall, it was a really awesome day being able to see a photojournalist on the job shooting actual assignments. I’ll never forget my experience and apply what I learned to my shooting from this day forward. I won’t be afraid to get up close to someone or approach someone to get their names. I’m super excited to get out there and shoot! Woo!