Had my last day at work on Friday, made them kladdkaka (kinda Swedish version of the brownie) baked in the microwave (surprisingly yummy – never tried that method before – but didn’t have an oven at work, only a micro, and it’s best eaten warm imo) along with ice-cream.. got farewell-pressies (among them this photobook, Traktorland, which I’m truly looking forward to look in/read when time allows) and…well….simply didn’t get to wrap up everything I planned to wrap up before I left.
I’ll freelance for the paper, but suffice to say, it won’t be the same as being there every day, attending the morningmeetings, going through the last issue of the paper commenting what’s good and what’s bad and noting what editing mistakes we’ve done, what could have been done better, listening in to discussions on how to solve certain cases, having great colleagues around me (I’ll miss working with them), being told to just grab the camera and run for it (well ok, the latter – not too often – it’s a small & peaceful island we’re living at :P).
I’ve learned a lot the last year. And I still have a lot to learn.
Some of the more or less useful things I think I’ve learned…that I can come to think of right now..
- Always take more than two different motifs (ok, I have to admit – usually I’m ok/good at this, doing three or more diff. motifs – it sort of depends on the case, but yes – other times – uh, not so much) in case of followups/a case being put on the cover.
- Always try to add generic photos/motifs the paper can use for their archive, especially of people like politicans and stuff…
- Don’t frame too tight – allow room/air around the subject(s) in case of funny cropping/the title/headline being added to the photo (for covers).
- One thing I wish I did more of – experiment w/the flash and/or the reflector. I still can’t get rid of the feeling that I need to be effective (and well, I do), which means fumbling with the flash, finding better locations, angles, etc – it usually makes me nervous, it makes me think the subjects wishes me to just get done with it….hm…yeah.
- I’m still a docuphotographer at heart. I love it when I’m allowed to just focus on documenting the events unfolding, whatever it may be. I also feel this is where my strength as a photographer lies. Being able to snap on the fly, no matter what location, lightsituation or whatever – I deal with it and it usually goes well (not without some internal cursing though ;p). I’m trying to think more of the composition when snapping, but when having the choice between perfect composition and capturing the right moment – I chose the latter. But I’m practicing!
- I don’t like intruding. Or feeling like I’m intruding. (Which’s not too good if I want to be a real pressphotog, I guess, because you might be faced with situations where you just have to do your job. And I will. Just won’t enjoy it I guess.) I’m usually more like – “ok, I need to move around this”, when in some cases it’s actually ok for me to tell the subjects to please mind the camera or whatever. I’m sure I can work more with myself regarding this.
- Also linked to the above: I’m more of an observer. At the local festival recently, Lost Weekend, I several times watched another photog…hm…instructing his subjects to be more… "RAWR” sorta, encouraging them to be more wild, act out, for the camera. I understand it makes for a more exiting and fun motif, but personally, I’m not there – yet? I think it’s fun when people approach me and wants me to take their photos, and maybe act out for me on their own initiative, and I’d usually laugh encouraging, but to act the way I got the feeling the other photog was acting? I dunno. Different ways of working for sure, and hey, it worked for him.
- I do however, need to practice and get better at how to interact and make my subjects at ease and help them out when they actually ask me “how do you want me to be” for the photos. It can’t be that hard (??), but I still haven’t mastered that (far from it) and it sucks! :p
- For “boring” stuff like, need subject in front of whatever (s)he’s talking about, I tend to have one thing/motif I’m leaning against, a safe thing. Especially when I’m just sent out to snap the photo alone, because the journalist already interviewed him/her over the phone – meaning I can’t get a photo of the subject during the talking which usually gives a more natural photo. I dunno. I should try mix it up, try different things.
- I’ve become fairly good at looking at the environment and determining which ISO I need to use in order to be able to use the lowest acceptable shutterspeed and still get a good result. I still suck at determining the WB-environment, though. (Am ordering an Expodisc asap, hopefully it’ll be an asset in these situations).
- I still need a better way to organize my photos – i.e. – I still take too darn many photos making it too difficult for me to be more effective when it comes to select photos for post-processing. I’ve been slightly better since FotoStation at work had this licenselimitation forcing us to have to delete lots of photos and stuff (just dupes/photos we wouldn’t use), making me take (sometimes) too few photos for most simple cases, but still…for events like Lost Weekend and stuff – ugh – took too many darn photos, spent too much time postprocessing figuring out what to delete, what to keep and what to actually postprocess… I’d love to have some seasoned photog to ask for advice and stuff – but the times where I’ve met other photogs it’s been..well, I’m too shy to actually ask or talk work…(besides…the one time I did attempt to, back in the beginning the first time I met another pressphotog at a location, the photog in question was pretty snappy making me feel stupid for even trying to ask/chat so I’ve been
a bitwary since. BLeh. I’ve later learned he’s sorta just like that (maybe he’s as shy as me? cough), but still..). Nevertheless..this knowledge – of how to do the whole thing more efficient – is valuable for high-paced situations/workplaces and one I really need to learn.
- I still need to practice spots/actionphotography more. I truly adore the 70-200mm lens, but let’s face it, it’s darn difficult to get the perfect closeup-shot of some footballer grimacing running around. Sorta. To hit the right focus spot on…which’s pretty important… sure, I’ll just do some not-so-close-shots, it’s much easier to do the focus right then, but I really want to master the closeupfocusmovingthingie! Same thing w/the panning-technique – I know how to do it (at least I believe I dp) – but still, it req. too many attempts before I’m happy w/the photo..
- I love shooting at festivals/concerts! =)
- Being a full-time photog is bad for personal shooting (at least it has for me) – I have so few photos of my own children from the last year – ugh!
- I enjoy writing – and have been having fun writing most of the cases I’ve done for the paper. But I’ll be the first to admit it’s darn difficult to have to write and take photos at the same time, at least for me who wants to do well in both areas. Seriously, it does affect the quality of the whole package/finished product. For me, it has meant I’ve usually downgraded the photo-side of the story, focusing on the story/interviews/observations. So yes, all respect to those who have to deal with it every day (which means – pretty much all local newspaperjournalists and an alarmingly increasing number of journalists have to multitask these days – hey – you need to write, shoot, film, edit for photo & webcast and god knows what more these days), and especially those who manages to do both/multiple things splendidly. Hm. Yeah. More on that later maybe, as I’m toying with the thought of writing about this for my master thesis.
- Seeing other newspapers seemingly having different views on what’s allowed/ok for editing photos..hm… I dunno. I know my photos could be cooler sorta if I was allowed to edit them differently. I think. Although yes I know – using flash makes lots of difference when used right and I could have been way better at that.
Hmmm..might look like I’m complaining about a lot of things, but believe me, I am not – I am merely trying to evaluate myself and what I have learned and hm…I know I am an above average photog (but really, it’s not that hard to actually try to learn the camera and the basic stuff now is it? which is merely what I’ve done sorta), but I also am aware I have so.much.more to learn. And I want to learn more!
Hm. Planned to share some scrappy stuff, but feel this post should be devoted to this only. Back later w/scrappy stuff! Busy editing weddingphotos (unfortunately I can’t share – bummer – lots of gorg photos! :p) & working on my PACS stuff..! Want to wrap’em all up before univ starts!
Title: Nightwish - “Bye Bye Beautiful” (I’ve become ridiculously obsessed with Nightwish lately…:p)