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Question for you photojournalists

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by Otter, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I normally just post in the sports section but I have a question for some of you photojournalists...

    I was asked by a writer to take some shots of a couple African American teenagers for a human interest story that is being written about them for our local paper.

    These two boys, teenagers, have been adopted by a single parent. The story is about how well they have adjusted to their new home and city as well as school and sports. That's all I know about them. I will meet them and the writer this week. I will have my opportunity to shoot them while they are being interviewed at a local park.

    Not sure how to go about this. I figure I will takes shots/candids (not portraits) as they are talking and so on. I am hoping to get a couple shots of either and/or both (and maybe the father) together that says something about them.

    I am looking for ideas and suggestions.

    Thanks for any input you can offer!
  2. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    Without being a PJist, I can relate to this effort because of some work I just did. I did a bunch of pictures of the elders and new members of a local AME church. One of the Afro-Cuban couples came in matching white Cuban-style overshirts, very attractive but brilliant white. Getting a good exposure on their face while keeping some detail in the shirts was a real trial. The dynamic range in a non-studio setting was just too great. I ended up doing a lot of PP work for a non-optimal result.

    So, my best advice, try to guide the clothing choice , aim for the best facial exposure and bracket the shots.
  3. Just to be safe, I would try to take a few candids AND some portrait style photos. You can submit both styles and the paper can choose which ones they like best for the story.
  4. Delta_Mike


    Dec 27, 2007
    San Francisco
    Definitely pose a shot with the dad in the middle and the two boys on each side with the dad's arms around them. Some candids will be a little tricky to get all three in the shot.
  5. Nacho


    Dec 29, 2007
    Salem, Oregon

    Great questions and cool gig. No doubt when you get to know them some ideas will come to mind, but in the meantime, plan on capturing those things that you already noted:

    1. Shot of both together casually interacting
    2. Shot of them with the Parent like Delta Mike suggested, a happy and carefree mood should permeate the shots
    3. It would be great if you could stage a shot near a school (or in the school they attend). That shot would convey the school connection, along with success, and maybe sports if school sports context dominates the shot
    4. If the story will have a section about their struggles to adapt, the challenges they faced, etc., maybe take a shot of the kids in pensive or pondering mood. Something that shows depth of character, discipline, thoughtfulness -- all that has helped them overcome such difficulties
    5. I would take a portrait shot from below, or at low angle, creating the impression of the kids towering, perhaps with the school front in the background, or the school flag pole (imagine a shot that gets the kids -- looming large with the front of the school and the flag pole showing in the background (the U.S. flag is used in such stories about "making it."
    6. Bring a prop for the subjects to "interact with." For instance, a backpack with books (or ask them to bring theirs), an shiny red apple, or even a hacky sack. That may lead to a casual interacting shot, or the props might indicate the school connection, work, etc.
    7. If the kids are different ages, it might be that the oldest has helped the youngest overcome some adversity, etc. In which case, that might be a neat set up for a shot: the oldest one "helping" the youngest (in any case, figuring out what relationship these kids have will be important)
    8. It is a success and "making it" here story. To what do they attribute their success? What is the newspaper's plot line for the story? Chances are the paper will have a linear chronology account, even if a brief one: orphans, adopted, adapting, challenges, growth, success... or some such development. Definitely chat with the writer to see what they intend to do, and then take some shots that visually tell that story.

    Seems like a nice opportunity. My advice would be to bring whatever props you need to create a series of different shots in that one environment (the writer won't bring any of that), especially if that's the only time you'll get to shoot. Finally, if you have not had much opportunity to shoot folks with darker complexions, you might want to consider that light reflections on skin might be more noticeable than in lighter complexions. Look for lower contrast possibilities, and shoot RAW (even if you have to have a quick turnaround for the images, shooting RAW will help you quick-fix any challenges with skin tonalities, etc.

    I hope any of this helps. Post about your experience!


  6. Thanks guys for the great responses.

    I will be doing this Thursday after work. If I get anything decent, I will post a few pics.

    Thanks again.
  7. Hi Joe,
    Use your 70-300VR for candid shots. That way you can be inobtrusive.
  8. Thanks Fred. I was thinking that. Although I likely will use the 300/f4 instead. I'll have less DOF that way and be able to stay out of the way. I'll probably also do some with the 50/1.4 for the same DOF reason.

    Since I haven't done this particular type of shooting, I will do various things in hopes on getting at least one good shot! :smile:

    Thanks again.
  9. Well guys, yesterday afternoon was my appointment to meet up with this writer and the subjects. I left work early to get there. Got there. Hung around for a while. Nobody showed. Called the writer and got a "oh I meant to call you" response. It had been postponed to a time I can't make it (during work).

    Oh well, at least I have some good info from you folks for the next opportunity.

  10. raygun


    Nov 17, 2007
    You asked for my advice.... skip work

    Otter, my suggestion is to skip work for that photo shoot. You have 260 days to make up what you missed at work, but cannot make up missing a human story like you described in your earlier posts...
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