You are: In charge of marketing for a corporation. Organizing an event. Planning a wedding. Starting a blog.
You want: Beautiful, memorable photos. Images that will grab the viewer’s attention, and hold it. A new head shot. A creative Christmas card.
You need: A photojournalist with daily newspaper experience.
1. Photojournalists don’t make excuses — Things do go wrong, but a photojournalist who has worked for a daily newspaper is trained to do superior work, and quickly. She cannot come back to the office with no photo. The paper is coming out tomorrow, a photo is needed. She is used to operating under pressure.
2. Versatility — What I love about newspaper photographers is that they can do anything. My P-I colleagues often found themselves shooting a natural disaster one day (they all own rubber boots), a concert for the arts section the next day, and then a cake for the food section the next.
3. Consider your moment captured — How much would you pay to make sure that THE moment of your event is captured forever? This is what photojournalists are trained to do every day. At my own wedding, I knew that I didn’t have to worry about making sure our photographer (and friend) was capturing crucial moments. He was everywhere. When I saw the photos, I was delighted and saw new aspects of my own wedding that I had missed.
4. Photo journalists are problem solvers — Tell me, how do you make a photo of a technology company interesting? As a business reporter for nearly five years, I got to profile some really cool companies — but a lot of times, these companies performed a service that just wasn’t visually interesting. But I rarely worried about this — I knew we’d have a publishable photo for the newspaper because the photographer would think of something I never could have.
5. They’re the best of the best — Newspaper journalism is cutthroat. Thousands of people want to shoot photos for newspapers, particularly in a big city like Seattle. However, just a dozen actually get to do it. In short, they’ve been vetted.
Following are links to three Seattle-based photojournalists and companies whose work I can vouch for, and that I respect:
1. Stuart Isett — New York Times photographer, freelancer. He also shot my wedding. (Link to his Web page.)
2. Red Box Pictures — Seattle photography studio business started by former Seattle P-I photographers. (Link to company Web page.)
3. Marcus Donner — Newspaper photographer formerly with the King County Journal. He also teaches an excellent class for amateurs — to really help you get the most out of your point-and-shoot, or higher end camera. (Link to his Web site.)
Why did I write this post?
Newspaper photojournalists are best-kept secrets in terms of professionals-for-hire. They often let their photos speak for themselves, but I wanted to give some other concrete reasons beyond pointing out that they take good photos.
I did not get any money or anything from listing the above photographers. Stuart shot my wedding in 2008 and we paid full price, as any professional deserves.
Also, I’d recently read this story about a U.K. couple whose wedding photos were abysmal, and they sued the photographer. It occurred to me while reading it that I never had any such worries. Because I hired a photojournalist.
And finally, all three photos at the top of my home page index were shot by photojournalists. Their names are at the bottom of the page.