The majority of the time when I go out for a shoot, I prefer to go solo. It makes it easier to get the photos that I need when I don’t have any extra bodies and voices to try and work around (getting the perfect photo and then realizing your coworker is in the shot is not the greatest feeling in the world). However, there are times when it’s really great to have another person around.
When I went to take a portrait of Bill at Bumping Lake he was originally pretty straight faced. Most people are when you first put a big camera up in their face. Since I had a reporter along with me, she was able to chat with him while I waited for him to shake off the uncomfortableness of being in front of the camera and show some genuine emotion.
Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of patience and a properly positioned coworker.
I grew up in Selah. It’s the place I learned, returned and now raise a family within. This year, I had the honor of covering my hometown parade. It was an emotional day because it was my last weekend representing the Yakima Herald-Republic as a photojournalist and having my work on parade, literally.
It’s a bit hard to describe, but some photojournalists try to be a fly-on-the-wall, observing and documenting moments to help tell a story while not being noticed. With all the cameras, gear and stuff to help do our visual storytelling — being discrete is challenging, especially at parades.
At parades I gave up on being discrete. I walk up and down the sidewalk, ducking between people, crouching and standing on objects to get a better vantage. It’s hardly fly-on-the-wall.
To get the different angle or better perspective I put myself out into the parade with the goal of visually taking a reader to a place they would not expect when they see my photos.
To get off the wall and out in the action, my camera is oftentimes smashed against my face. It’s a comfortable barrier between me and who I am shooting. Being behind the viewfinder also wipes away the stage fright of being so visible while working.
Which brings me to Saturday. My love of covering Selah days was muted by my roll as a photojournalist all morning — until my family came into frame.
While walking the entire parade route and amidst a middle school band, my family photobombed a series of photos. It stopped me dead in my tracks.
I chuckled and smashed my camera harder against my face because I instinctively wanted to hide the tears welling up behind the viewfinder.
Right then, the joy I have of being a journalist was reflected in the faces of my children, wife, parents and grandparents.
– TJ Mullinax
The annual Playdate Magazine baby issue cover is usually a lot of work to be original and of course photograph the cover baby in their best light.
Watch the video below to get a sense of how ambitious and crazy we were when shooting the 2013 version that included eight infants under a year old all at the same time.
A full gallery from the photo shoot can be found here.