What has 25 years of experience taught me?

The definition of experience:

The knowledge or skill acquired by experience over a period of time, especially that gained in a particular profession by someone at work. Gaining knowledge.

synonym: skill, knowledge, understanding.


I gained experience through hard knocks in photojournalism. I would get sent out on assignment and be expected to get good photos by only knowing this subject a little time. Another words a quick education.

Example: I would be assigned to go to a school to take photos of a principal that got a special award. In order to get this photo to look interesting I had to ask the principal (who was usually on a tight schedule) a few questions. At the same time I would have to evaluate the way the office, hallways and school looked to see what made the best photo. Then I would also have to evaluate the lighting and backgrounds all to make the photo as interesting to the reader as possible. Oh and I had to make my subject feel comfortable in front of the camera. By the way this had to be done within a few minutes.

I did this day in and day out. Of course all being different assignments with strangers, neighbors, happy, sad or even conflict going on around me. This is called quick observation. I loved doing this because it taught me to pay attention to details of human nature and their environment around them.

I remember an assignment where I had to follow an accused robber walking into the courthouse. We, the media, had to follow him across a busy street with his attorneys in tow and with television cameras getting in my way. Cars honked and came close to the media herd but I still had to get my shot. I was jogging practically sideways, if this is possible, without falling with a camera in my face.  I was probably the shortest of all of the camera people so I chose a low angle. Wow it took the breath out of me afterward. But, I got the shot.

This is experience.

Now I do weddings and other portraiture and I have to do the same thing. The luxury of this is I get to know my subject matter and get a feel for their personality before the big event and I don’t have to jog sideways, most of the time.  However, that experience of hurrying up to get the best shot of the robber plays an important roll in my current photography skills. Being ready at all times.

I attribute it as being a boy or girl scout always being ready. Aiming my camera as if a hunter with his gun or bow, searching  for the best deer or the fattest squirrel.

So when you get a photographer for your wedding or family photo make sure they have experience to capture all those special in between moments. Don’t settle for anything less.

#iamengaged #imengaged #imgettingmarried #iminlove




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