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My Experience with Photojournalism

Earlier this year, I started working as a designer for the Kenyon Collegian. I learned InDesign and started off putting together layouts for the newspaper pages, a little unsure of my skills but excited to be part of a new team. It took about two issues, though, for me to come back to not my first but definitely my greatest love: photography. Pretty quickly I was on the photo team, and our weekly meeting to figure out who would take the photos for which article has become a reason to love Mondays.

That being said, photojournalism has revealed itself to be an entirely different field than all the pretty, posed, carefully arranged photographs I’m used to taking. It’s been so much bigger a challenge than I anticipated, but I’ve loved nearly every moment of it. We just won’t ask my roommate about all the times I’ve sat at my desk stressing over editing a photo and exclaiming to her that I hate my job. This new chapter of how I approach my art has taught me a surprising number of things that feel worth applying to the rest of life as well as to photography.

Remember to Invest Yourself in What You’re Doing

If you’re not paying attention, your work will reflect that you don’t care much about what you’re spending your time on. I’ve found that I can’t take any photos worth publishing if I’m not focusing in on what the event is really about. The key to doing anything well is to stay in the moment and invest in it. It’s really easy to want to just get into an assignment, snap a handful of pictures, and move onto the next thing, but I’ve never been as proud of the pictures I’ve taken when that’s my attitude towards something.

 

Value People More Than Things or Aesthetics

Even if the composition or the lighting isn’t totally quite perfect, a photo that captures a real emotion is always going to be better than something flat or lifeless. It’s so much more important to capture images of other people invested in something or enjoying themselves than it is to just get a picture of something like a building or a podium, though of course those have their places too.

 

Check Back in With Yourself Every Once in Awhile, Don’t Be Afraid to Recalibrate

The other day I was shooting a dress rehearsal for a performance that had frequent lighting changes. I’d have great light for a few shots, but once the light changed, if I didn’t go readjust my camera settings there was a pretty good chance the whole next group of photos would be totally off. Flexibility in general is so important in a practice like this, where you’re never sure if you’re going to be able to stand where you’ll get the perfect angle and you can’t possibly expect anyone to adjust the light in the room for you.

 

Trust Yourself

I know it maybe seems contradictory with the previous point, but the most important thing is to go into any situation with the confidence that you are capable of handling whatever task you need to take on or whatever obstacles are thrown at you. It matters most to remember that you’re amazing and that you can do it, whatever it is—especially if it’s something that you’re doing with passion.

 

Image Credit: Writer’s Own

 

Annmarie's a sophomore art history major at Kenyon College, and she really really really loves ginger ale and collaborative Spotify playlists, and she's working on being a better listener. For Her Campus, she both writes and is the photographer for the Kenyon chapter, as well as running the Instagram account for the chapter.
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