By Vanessa Johnson
Tim Hamilton, the assistant professor for communication at Harding University and former chief photographer for a local station in Little Rock, AR, led this breakout session that provided journalists the tips and tricks to quite literally make sure you "don't miss the shot."
He emphasized the importance of access. Part of the job is to take people, i.e. your audience, to places they normally could not go. A photojournalist makes a compelling story by showing the behind the scenes perspectives. A key component to getting the show is not being afraid to ask for access to those restricted places.
"Know where to be, and where to be there," said Hamilton. Being in the know means being five steps ahead of the news (when you can help it). How can you be ahead of the news? One way is to "arrive early and stay late." Hamilton reflected on another local photographer much like himself that would always arrive early to an event and stay an hour or so after the action has died, simply to ensure that all bases are covered.
The last big idea that I pulled away from the panel and want to share with my photojournalists at The Signal is knowing your equipment. This is vital in making sure that you never miss a photographic opportunity. The world waits for no one and while you are fiddling around with shutter speed and aperture, trying to get the right exposure, the photo op will pass you by. Knowing your gear lets you focus on the creative.
All in all, Hamilton provided a ton of practical advice that can take someone from being an average photojournalist to someone that is providing in depth coverage of an event.