Friday, July 31, 2015

Don't make excuses: Embrace photo stories if you want a job

Aaron Mora, 7, son of the Johnston's Fruit Farm owners, inspects his bees. This was taken on the second shoot. These three photos are a sampling of the photo story I am doing on the farm, which ran in October in the Toledo Blade magazine page.

Johnston's Fruit Farm customers pick their own blueberries. Taken on my third shoot.
   Shoot ‘em and leave ‘em. Don't make this your shooting style.
   Students no longer have the option of strictly shooting single assignments. You should be shooting a photo story at any given time.
   There is nothing wrong with being a daily shooter. However, shooting photos stories is important to be competitive among your peers and competitors. These are a few of the excuses that can prevent photographers from doing photo stories:
·      Don’t have enough spare time to dedicate to the project
·      Can’t find a story to like enough
·      The subjects don’t call back
·      Fearful of becoming a pest
·      Getting bored easily
·      It's been done already
   Don't let these excuses hold you back.
   A photo story is the use of multiple images shot over an extended period of time to tell a complete story. It can be as simple as a photo essay of a county fair, or as complex as a multimedia documentary on spousal abuse that includes the use of video and audio.
   These are two reasons I have been dedicating more time to shooting photo stories:
Johnston's Fruit Farm workers in the strawberry field. Taken on first shoot.
1.     I have never entered the Ohio News Photographer (ONPA) Photographer of the Year (POY) competition because one of the requirements is to include at least one photo story.
   Here are the contest rules regarding the George Smallsreed Jr. POY entry:
“Portfolios must contain a news picture, a sports picture, a picture story and pictures from at least two other categories of the entrants choosing.” 
   It’s the lack of a picture story that prevents me from having a chance to win. A friend of mine always tells me that to win you have to enter, and she’s right. So I can only blame myself for sitting back on the sidelines and watching my terrific Toledo Blade colleagues (Katie Rausch, Jeremy Wadsworth and Andy Morrison) win POY contests.
   Contests aren’t everything, and they don't always define your overall skills, but they certainly help get better jobs, better assignments and increased self esteem.
    2. This second reason is actually the driving force to me upping my game. It’s for the students!
   How can I teach students long-form visual storytelling when I hardly did it myself?     
   It is crucial for me to push students to do photo stories. Dig a little deeper into the story. Go back again and again. Develop a relationship with the subjects. Build trust.  
   Shooting photo stories will get them jobs. There is no doubt in my military mind that the photojournalism jobs and assignments will always go to those who do not have commitment issues.  Photo stories, Photo stories, Photo stories. 
   Photographers who can write stories, shoot stills and shoot/produce a video will be much more employable. Actually, if you don't do all of those things you might be unemployable in today's multimedia-cultured world.
    So, now I must make the time to find stories I care about so I don’t get bored and thus will pick up the phone to call the sources so that I can tell their stories. 
   Storytelling is good.
   Here is a story on Mich Fest I did this year. It's a week-long music festival for only women. It was a story I had to tell because it was the last festival, ending after 40 years. 
The video:
The written story:


Jerry Pok said...

Jot down ideas, discussions, quotations or examples as you come across them. If you don't write them down, you will inevitably forget them when it comes to writing up time. This tactic also frees your mind, because you are not trying to remember small points which can block creative thinking. As an alternative, try using small record cards which can be shuffled and sorted out as you plan and write up your essay. This can also be easily done on a computer - but a computer is harder to carry around! More help with essays here custom essay writing service.

Lori King said...

Great idea! Thanks for mentioning it!

Kathy Heisinger said...

Lori, So great to meet you at the Orchard yesterday! I look forward to following your blog and work as well as reading the article you are working on. All the best,