A few times a year, each staff photographer is asked to do a piece for the Life section of the paper. This is sort of our creative free time, to explore something that we think would be fun or interesting to cover. It’s a little breather from the usual, “Go here, photograph this, this is the story” that most of our daily stuff revolves around.
But like all good things, there’s another side to that. It also means that all of the pressure is on us. First and foremost, to churn out a beautiful assortment of images, but to also play around with a longer form video and (gasp) even write an article sometimes.
This takes time, planning, and a lot of organization. My most recent story is on a few members of CWU’s Cosplay and Costuming Club. It’s been super fun to work on. All of the girls have been great about opening up and telling me their experiences, making sure I know when things are going on, and pretending like having someone follow them around for hours with a bunch of camera gear isn’t weird.
The one problem: too much content. There were so many little stories that I wanted to tell and, after spending three months photographing, I had so many photos and videos that it was hard to know where to start to find the core of the story.
This is where it gets fun! I spent a couple of days laying out prints, making graphs, and color coding photos by category. Overall, the prep work saved me a bunch of time in the long run. I was able to streamline my process from there and, eventually, turn out a piece I’m really happy with.
When faced with a biiiig project, this is always my go-to. Brainstorming, color coding, transcribing; it might feel tedious, but it helps you eat that elephant one bite at a time.
A special shout out to Mason, Madison, and Gordon for all of the help, discussions, and tweaking. Behind every polished piece is a pretty great team.
Happy shooting (and editing)!