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Shoot Your Shot: A Photographer's Guide

At first, photography seems simple, point and shoot, but there is more than assumed. Creating moments, capturing time, and setting yourself up for great results aren't as simple as two steps. Today, you’re in luck. Here are inside tips, tricks and team advice to assure your photography improvement.

Capturing Moments | Source: Maxwell Shavers

Approaching Strangers: Dealing with fears is common while photographing strangers. Uncertainty in yourself and others can cause anxiety especially when approaching someone for the first time. A great tip is to start off by approaching with confidence and being genuine with the individual. Most people wouldn't like to be photographed, but would like to be noticed in a positive way. For example, at the Mothman Festival, I would start off with complimenting someone's costume, explain the purpose of the photo project and then asking for permission to photograph, usually resulting in a yes.


Creating Moments: Preparation is key with photography especially with events. Being aware of the people around you, and decisiveness is vital. Always check that batteries are charged, all the equipment is ready, and that the lens is CLEAN. Approaching every opportunity with curiosity and a genuine interest is an approach that leads to better photographs.


Knowing your Environment: Before an event or shoot, planning out priorities is key. Having mental images of a desired photo concept, knowing the landscape and attractions in the area, and it’s history are great to consider if you're looking to up your photo game. At the last event we photographed, the Battle Days Festival in Point Pleasant, we were constantly looking for a mix of close and wide shots, interactions, colonial costumes, and even cannon firing reenactments. We realized we would need a fast shutter speed to capture these quick moments and to get up close and personal with our subjects. Going from large to smaller events, there is usually a slight different in photo tactics.

Mothman Festival | Source: Andrés Warren

At a past event, in a small room we were easily able to work around our environment, and capture moments by only moving a few feet, and using our zoom while trying not to interrupt the speaker or audience.


Team Insights: “How do you personally prepare for shooting an event?”

With content creation, learning from others is extremely valuable. From constantly learning from my teammates this semester, I reached out to them to hear fresh thoughts. I have found that new perspectives, lead to better insights and photos.


Maxwell Shavers, photographer: “I prepare by going over my bag (chargers charged, multiple SD cards, correct gear). When I approach strangers I approach them like it’s my job. I smile in confidence and ask for their “portrait”. When I say portrait it makes what i’m doing seem more professional and less sketchy (laughs). When I’m confident it leads them to be confident in their response. I really like to use a wide angle lens for shooting events such as that. It’s closer to what a human eye sees and makes moments feel natural and intimate.”


Jeff Boggess, videographer: “ I always make sure I have the necessary equipment and that everything is charged up. You also have to always keep yourself focused especially with video and photography. If you want a good photo or video that captures a moment, finding a real scene that is not set-up is the best you can get.”


My name is Andrés Warren, and I am a photographer for the BrandJRNY brand storytelling team. While not in class I’m listening to Frank Ocean, traveling the world, or capturing and experiencing the “new.” Keep up with the content @andres_warr

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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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