There aren’t many places in the world where you can walk by an alley, see four people standing in it with cameras, and think very little of it. Columbia, Missouri is one of those places. This is exactly what happened this week when the J2150 students invaded downtown Columbia looking for people to take portraits of.
Overall I’m pleased with the photos I took for this project, considering it was my first photo project for the Missouri School of Journalism. I’ve always thought I had a good eye for photography, so I’m pleased with the composition of the photos. I like to believe this is partly because I’m not afraid to talk to strangers. When I was growing up my mom was the person who constantly talked to strangers at the grocery store. Seeing this from a young age, I’ve never been shy when meeting someone new. I like to think this is a helpful trait to have in the journalism field, and it helped me during this project.
My biggest weakness with this project was altering camera settings for the different environments I was shooting in. I took one portrait in a well lit store, one in a darker store, one in a shady alley, and one in a differently-lit store. Looking back, I should have taken more time to not only modify my aperture (F-Stop), but also the ISO. I’m not afraid to speak to strangers; however, I found myself rushing to take the pictures so that I didn’t inconvenience them too much. Perhaps I need to stop letting the nice guy in me come out so quickly so that I can take more time in order to take a better photo. Actually, I know that’s the case. Journalists are people who have a job to do, not to be everyone’s friend. I need to be courteous and kind, but so what if someone needs to wait an extra thirty seconds so I can modify a setting.
If I retake photos for this project I will make sure to take more time so that I know I properly expose my photos. Essentially I just need to be more patient and take my time. Giving myself more time will allow me to troubleshoot camera settings. Having more time to troubleshoot settings will allow me to properly set the ISO and aperture so that I can create the exact photo I have in mind. It’s all related.
Photography is something that everyone thinks they can do, but few actually can do it well. I hope to continue to learn about photography so that I can be confident in my ability. The more I practice the less time it will take me to take portraits exactly as I want them. If I have more confidence that it will take me less time to find the correct settings, then I won’t have to worry as much about how much I may be inconveniencing the person.
Hopefully this project is the first step to reaching my goal!