We Simplify The Technical!

Seasoned photojournalist Andrew West tells us how to capture life in a series of spontaneous moments on Episode 105 of The Understand Photography Show with host Peggy Farren.

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Women’s Photography Weekend Naples May 4-6, 2018

How to Capture the Moment in Photojournalism 

Episode 105 with Andrew West

“It’s about real life.  It’s about grit.  It’s about truth.  It’s what’s actually happening out there.”


– Trying to tell a story or bring awareness to a subject with images.  

– The images are truthful and published without manipulation. (Except for minor alterations in exposure and contrast.)

– Similar in style to street photography.

– Images are taken using only natural light or a flash if needed.

– There is a major difference between portrait photography and photojournalism.

– In a portrait, there is a known connection between the photographer and the subject.

– In documentary style journalism, the photographer is a fly on the wall, invisible, trying to capture the subject as he/she naturally appears, going about life’s everyday activities or reacting to the moment


“You want to use all of your surroundings to make a beautiful picture, but you’re capturing people at their worst.”


Tips and Tricks for Capturing the Moment

– Always have a camera available.

– Cell phone cameras can be very useful, especially in spontaneous situations.

– Andrew always keeps 2 cameras (Canon 1DX) ready with the option of a wide angle (16-35mm) or a long lens (400-600mm) in preparation for either situation.

– Shoot in RAW.

– Use continuous drive mode whenever a flash is not needed.

– Good candid expressions can be difficult to capture.  Shoot a lot of ‘moments’ and pick the best one later.

– Permission does not have to be granted if you’re in a public place.  

– The inside of a business such as a restaurant is NOT considered public.  Businesses will not grant permission for photos of any incident within the building.

– Sometimes the subject does not want his picture taken.  BE RESPECTFUL.  Always.

– In doubt of whether or not your image can ethically be used?  Take the picture and consult with your editor later.

– Depending on the content, publishing an image could impact the subject for the rest of their lives. 

– Try to use natural light an high ISOs.

– Change your angle or position to create the right composition and include or remove elements within the frame. (Nothing can be taken out in post-processing.)

– Have everything ready to go before you enter into a situation.

– Keep your camera and gear settings at your ‘most frequently used’. (ISO, shutter speed, bounce flash)

– Keep batteries charged.

– Cameras and gear should be laid out and easily accessible from your vehicle.

– Know what the story is about – stay up to date with current events around you.

– Keep your ears to the ground – listen to a scanner, other reporters, and news outlets to help direct you to newsworthy locations.


“In almost all situations you’ll miss more than you get.”


You can’t point your camera in all directions at once and capture everything, especially if you take the time to compose your images.


Finding Andrew



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