Juggling note taking and taking photos can be overwhelming. However, the demand to be a well- round communication specialist (a good writer and photographer) is now the industry trend.
In most organizations and government, communication officers (most of them former journalists) find themselves doing both these tasks when they were so used to begin with a photographer tagging along on their assignments.
When you are on your own, a challenge. What if taking a photo will mean missing to take down a good point from the speaker or when taking down a point you get to miss a great photo opportunity?
Usually the pressure of trying to be perfect when on your own is one step to failing at both; I say
- Plan the story idea
Once you know what the assignment is about, plan the photos around the story idea. If it is a signing, take a shot of the participants signing the document. As for a baraza, take a photo of the speaker with part of the crowd as he greets them. Thereafter, you are free to take notes but once in a while take a shot or two from where you are sitting.
- Take photos during the chit chat
As is with most cases, meetings no matter how serious, participants will always take a minute or two to speak on matter of personal interests. During this moment, they will be laughing and smiling and you are likely to get a great photo. This is free you to take notes as the speeches go on.
- Get the speech
Getting the speech beforehand will allow you to take the photos as they read it. In this instance, get a shot of the reader (often the newsmaker) looking up from the speech. As for the other subjects, as they listen. After the speech, you can now take the notes for the off-the-cuff comments where usually you can find the story angle.
- Focus on the newsmaker
Beforehand, know who when they speak will make the “news”. You can gamble and only take photos of him sitting at the high table or speaking then take just the notes of the other speakers. However, trying to get photos of the different speakers. You may need them later especially when one makes a good point.
- Location of the assignment
Knowing the location can help you plan out your photos; if it’s a bazaar, a photo of the speaker with part of the crowd. At a boardroom, get them outside and take a group photo that way you get everyone’s faces. This will free you to take notes when it matters.
Take your time, always got with your gut and do not be hard on yourself when do not get it right the first time or the second. Practice!
(Painting by Giambattista Tiepolo – Alexander and Campaspe in the Studio of Apelles 1725-27)