Even though the total number of jobs in the field is gradually diminishing, there are still plenty of opportunities in photojournalism. Being a “PJ” as they’re called in the business, can be very rewarding, but there are times it can be incredibly difficult.
It’s good to keep in mind that every time you show up at an accident scene, a house fire, a war, or another natural disaster that impacts large numbers of people, someone is having the worst day of their life. The last thing they want right at that moment is someone sticking a camera in their face. Yet it is at those very moments, the time’s people feel least like being photographed, that frequently provide the most compelling and moving images. Deanna Addison newborn photography the woodlands tx is located North of Houston, found in the serene setting of Old Town Spring.
Being in that situation is much harder than you might imagine. Sometimes families are numbed by loss and grief and you showing up with your camera almost feels ghoulish. Anyone who has been in the field for any length of time has experienced people lashing out in anger at their presence, sometimes violently. Police and emergency personnel may understand you need to be there and have a job to do, but that doesn’t mean they like it or will be particularly accommodating of your presence. In times of loss, it’s probably not a good idea to give the police any reason to haul in the photographer.
Dealing with your conscience is going to be harder than you imagine sometimes. If you’re being paid to get the shot, that’s what you do, regardless of the obstacles. Besides being your job, sometimes those gripping images taken at times of pain and loss can be the ones that motivate other people to pitch in with money or volunteer in efforts to help out. In some cases, compelling images can lead to changes in the law or a heightened awareness of misjustice.
While it can sometimes abrade your soul to be taking pictures of horrific moments, it can also be those same images that bring relief in the form of aid or assistance.
There are also ways to make getting the shot less painful for everyone involved. Make sure you have the right lens and camera settings for the situation. If you shoot fast and move away from the area as quickly as possible, you can minimize both your discomfort and the trepidation of your subjects.
The more chaotic the situation, the more important it is for you as the photographer to remain calm, reasonable and reassuring. If police order you to stay out of a scene, stay out. It’s better to argue to be admitted from the other side of the tape. If you’re calm and reasonable, eventually cooler heads will prevail and you’ll get your shots. Being able to talk down stressed-out people and make your case calmly intense situations are life and death skills for a PJ.
Having a long lens in your bag is not optional. Many times you can get good shots from across the street or another vantage point that’s out of the way. The farther away you are, the more naturally people are going to interact with one another. The downside is that long lenses tend to compress the shot and flatten out the image visually. It’s hard to beat a good 50mm lens working in close, but a flat perspective is better than a night in jail.
The biggest obstacle is being prepared mentally. If you can stay calm and focused, get your shots as discreetly as possible and then clear the scene, you’ll have a much better experience overall.