It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these – as in a few years. I get a lot of email questions from younger journalists and people thinking about doing photography, which is awesome, but I wanted to consolidate the most frequently asked ones into a blog post for everyone.
1. How did you get into blogging?
Short answer – it was actually a semester long project for my digital publishing class. Long answer – please see my newly re-written “about me” section.
2. What did you study in college?
NOT photography, ironically enough. My Bachelor’s Degree is in Mass Communications (Journalism) from Towson University. I’m still there working on my Master’s Degree in Professional Writing in Journalism.
3. I study photography but I want to do photojournalism, not studio/commercial photography. What do you recommend?
Then switch your major to journalism. Photography is merely a tool to a greater action. Most people I know who studied photography all work in commercial photography or they work in the fashion business side of things. Journalism knowledge is what will get your foot in the door to be able to document life with a camera. I learned the technical stuff about photography through internships.
4. What kind of gear do you use?
Recently it’s been a Canon 5D Mark III with a 16-35mm f/2.8 Canon L lens. For 35mm I use a Canon A-1 with Fuji Superia 400 film. To see more details of what else I like to use, please see the What’s in my Bag? post. Honestly, the best camera is the one you have on you.
5. I really want to shoot for The Baltimore Sun? How can I get my foot in the door?
I interned and was slave labor for four months. Just kidding. I did intern though as apart of their photo staff. Many of us who are freelancers interned first. That’s a good start. Application deadlines happy in late fall for summer internships, so make sure you are aware of them! I would try for any publication though, a newsroom experience is really valuable.
6. I shoot concerts and I really want to get paid for doing so. Any advice?
Hardly anyone just gets paid to photograph concerts, unless you shoot for Rolling Stone (which has been steadily going downhill anyways). You have to shoot everything. I shoot a lot of concerts but I also do pressers, festivals, marathons, portraits, events, etc as well. You have to be flexible to get paid for any type of photo work when it comes to the realm of journalism. No general editor is going to hire you if you only have concert work in your portfolio. Maybe one or two images at best of concert work.
7. Who have you photographed for?
The BSun, Remsberg Inc, The Hippodrome Foundation, Classic Photography, The Picture People, University of Baltimore, USA Today, and ECAN.
8. Why don’t you shoot weddings anymore?
I got tired of people trying to negotiate my prices with me. I also got tired of having issues with people making deposits and acquiring payment. I don’t really like photographing weddings much in the first place, so to me it wasn’t really worth all the stress.
9. Where did you get your cat? What kind of cat is she?
Cassyus was a rescue kitty from Fallston Humane Society. She was about four or five when we got her and she is a Persian breed.
10. What’s your best piece of advice when photographing people?
Get as close as possible – both metaphorically and literally. If it’s an in-depth story, get to know the people, try to emphasize and relate to them. It’ll show in your photos (and writing) if you bother taking the extra steps.