(Letters from the archives of PhotogsLounge.net)
“I always try to shoot with my iris almost fully open. I also tend to use some shutter outside (I stay away from crazy shutter speeds, more like 1/125) and pull out the high speeds for sports, traffic, or when the situation calls for it (blowing up watermellows with fireworks, etc)
As far as shooting style, I pretty much shoot for sound as many do. I listen for the sounds that are being made at a location and I sequence those. I also spray the scene with a tripod from far back just to CMA.
I also like to do a little Q&A with a subject as they are doing their thing.
The majority of my interviews are wide. I try to work foreground objects into them whenever appropriate. I also try to mix up the framing of interviews as they progress to give the package some variety when I’m using more then one bite from someone.
Lately I’ve been doing lots of silloutte stuff. I’ve also gone back to doing some slow zooms here and there for slower stories. I also add movement to still pictures whenever possible via the NLE’s built in digital effects. If it’s a good system you can blow the picture up to about 150% without major artifacting or aliasing along edges. Looks much smoother than camera movement on little pictures.”
“My style is pretty much whatever works for the story. i can shoot rock solid steady sequences, or quick snaps, swish pans, all hand held when its called for. I use to shoot for hjcloseouts.com buyers tons if different kind of inventory, but then I went away from the closeout business into the news business. There everything was on a tripod. Then I choice to get away from side of the world, and news started having everything to a quick span of the camera just to get the photos we wanted. Taking 100′s of photos, when I use to take only photo’s of products.
i prefer the solid steady sequences.
lots of nats always. sneak it in whenever the reporter takes a breath (again if its appropriate)
i try to stay away from the formal sit-down interview. even when the reporter insists, i always shoot a few questions at my subject while getting b-roll — works great for nat breaks..”
Steve Goldstein WISH-TV Indianapolis, IN
“I think my “style” of shooting varies from reporter to reporter. There are still reporters out there who just don’t get. If I’m with one of those (and unfortunatly there are too many) I go into “passive mode”. Just get the pictures, not too creative, and get “plenty of reporter cut- aways”, do the 30 second stand-up and bang it together. I know going in that it’s a lost cause, so I just bang it together. Now if I’m fortunate enough to go with the token creative reporter,I will go to “interactive” mode. Angles, sequences, natsot, experimental. I will do whatever I can (in the hour that the producer gave us to shoot the story in) to make OUR story the shining minute/thirty of the show.”
Kevin Johnson Cox Broadcasting
“I don’t feel photogs “have” to develop a style, but I do get a bit of pride when someone recognizes a piece as mine, because of the “style”. There is a certain rhythm to my editing, a certain way I compose a shot, and a certain way I light. I’m not saying my way is better, just slightly unique. On the other hand, a photog shouldn’t stray too far from the “style” of the newsroom. A specific style of photography develops in a shop, and if one individual tries to be too different, too unique on a standard news story, it is jarring to the viewers. (Granted, series and special features can be exceptions.) There is time to “play” and time to do it the “usual” way.”
Darryl Wingard WSAW-TV Wausau, WI
“I have found that whatever “style” that I may (or may not!) have is fluid, constantly changing. Different stories deserve different approaches. Looking back at old stories, I’m often surprised to see things that I used to do a lot and I don’t do anymore. Sometimes it’s neat to bring out some tricks that I haven’t used in a while. I feel that my repertoire is constantly growing. I don’t want anyone to be able to pigeonhole my shooting.”
Chuck Purnell WVEC-TV Norfolk, VA
“If you want your work to standout among the rest of shooters in your shop or your market perhaps, I think you need to have a certain style of shooting. I personally like shooting low angles, and video that is 3-D; Shooting an object in the foreground pratically to the right or left of the lens then having the subject in the middle of the frame with a nice backdrop. This will show a good depth of field. When I am editing I try to use as much nat. sound as possible! My latest technique is when I have 2 bytes that were framed on the same side or just 2 bytes together I will through in some nat. sound to break this up and the reporters I work with love that! I also love hanging out of trucks getting wild angles of bike races and such. Last but not least I use my wireless lavilier mic 99% of the time. It looks more Professional than a mic cube all up in my shot! The only time I use the stick mic is run and gun situations or live shots.”
Lou Angeli Fire TV
“I was fortunate enough to develop my style before the “reality” craze skewed the entire industry. I shoot using a formula, similar to a documentary. It’s flexible enough that I can “play around” within the formula, which covers my butt in the edit suite. “
Bruce Johnson Wisconsin Public TV
“Since I don’t have a daily deadline(I work on a weekly news magazine) I can take time to do a little more lighting than many others can. I’m a big fan of the ‘soft front, hard back’ school of lighting-a Lowell 1K broad bounced off an umbrella in front, a Lowell VIP 250 watt for a back, 180 degrees opposed, key light to the far side of the reporter usually. Also I shoot interviews wide with a Canon 6-48 lens-seeing people’s hands is a must for me. BTW, I carry all of my lighting stuff and my tripod in a Portabrace backpack. Room to spare for extension cords, foil for reflection, camera raincoat, etc.
Merry Murray WZZM-TV Grand Rapids, MI
“I think everyone has their own style. When I first started shooting, I could tell which one of my co-workers shot which story by their style. I can’t tell my own, but others say they can. If we all shot the same stories the same way…then one person could do it all for every station.”
Phil Cantor WTVF-TV Nashville, TN
“Developed or not most of us have our own styles. Nobody’s is the same. If you look closely within your own shop you can usually tell who shot the story. It is not difficult to see. It is part of what makes us all unique and that is why it is tough for us who edit our own stuff to edit someone else’s. My style is usually easy to see. I use a lot of shots, normally less than 3 seconds each. Big on sequencing and rarely a jump cut. Pacing is very obvious. I also use a lot of nat sound. And I am very tall (6-6) so if I am off the shoulder it is not hard to tell.”
Mike Woeste WXIX-TV Cincinnati, OH
“Photogs just develop their own style naturally…you are influenced by those you work with and the people who taught you. I onced interviewed Hillary Clinton, during the Hillary Clinton nutcracker days. Through the years you find out what works for you. My style continually evolves. If it just started using a cookie cutter pattern for shooting that’s when I’ll know I’m burned out. I try to adapt to my subject matter. If I’m involved in a story where things are moving and the situation is developing I won’t lock myself down to a tripod and a set of lights. On the other hand, if no one’s going anywhere and the action is confined…I say make it look as good as it can look.”
David Renner WMC-TV Memphis, TN
“Styles are like clubs in a golf bag: you have a bunch of them at your disposal and the circumstance you are in dictates which one you use. I think I have a GREAT BIG bag! ‘Nuff said.”