Pittsburgh Education Photographer Terry Clark
As an education photographer, I work assignments and create images libraries for schools, colleges, and universities for use in marketing, admission and branding campaigns as well as university magazines. Commissions may run from a few hours to several days in length depending on the needs of the job.
Photographing for an image library, I work off a shot list, situations deemed essential by the marketing team. Sometimes the list is highly specific, but more often it's designed to allow a degree of freedom to work the scene. With years of photojournalism experience, I've become highly skilled at finding serendipitous moments.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
• How do you like to work?
My preferred method is to photograph in a documentary style. I use the existing light, so I don't disturb or interrupt the class. I carry multiple cameras, each fitted with a different lens, so I'm always ready no matter what I see. I move slowly and quietly. My goal is to blend in, not stand out.
• Will you use flash?
I can, but in most situations, I prefer to work with the light I'm given. Natural light images, especially of classes and labs, are more believable than those where the photographer interjected himself by adding flash. Today's young person is very visually astute have been bombarded with images since birth. They can spot a fake in a blink of the eye and dismiss it as quickly.
The exception is when I'm called on to create portraits. Here, adding light will often tell a stronger story and make a more dramatic photograph. The downside of lighting is the time it takes to set up and tear down. Depending on the level of complexity, lighting a scene can require an hour to create and thirty minutes to repack. Communication between client and photographer is vital during the scheduling phase if lighting is needed to ensure a smooth shoot. Time must be scheduled to do the job right.
• Do you set up your photos?
As a lifelong photojournalist, I prefer not to create pictures. Highly choreographed photos rarely look real, and my goal is to capture slices of the college experience in the most believable, honest way possible. However, that said, there are times when specific images need set up due to time or situational constraints. Student housing photos come to mind. For those pictures, I work as a director and create a scene the students can work through while I capture candid moments as they play out.
• How many pictures will we receive?
It has been my experience you can expect a minimum of 250 edited, color corrected, final images per day of documentary photography. That said, I prefer to under promise and over deliver.
• But won't you make a lot more pictures than that?
Yes, of course, I photograph everything I see. After the job, back at my office, I download the images and edit them for their unique qualities. I have a rigorous procedure for editing down to final selects.
1. The picture must be of the highest technical quality.
2. It must have artistic merit, compositionally, lighting, etc.
3. The image must tell the story of the situation.
As a former picture editor, I have one more thing I am always editing toward, variety. Too many times I was on deadline looking for an image of a specific crop and unable to find anything usable. I never want to put anyone in that situation if I can avoid it, so I work every scene hard to create variation in composition and picture balance.
• How will we receive the photos?
Your final high-resolution images will be JPEG or TIFF files, your choice. The color space will be Adobe1998. Delivery can be an electronic transfer or on a flash drive. Again, your choice.
Another bonus, the images are delivered in separate subject category folders. General classrooms, art, science labs, campus scenics, portraits, etc. This way the pictures are easier to find.
Also, every photograph will have keywords in the metadata to make digital asset management simpler. I will either use keywords from my standard list, or your list if you prefer.
Finally, my file naming protocol helps keep the pictures organized and easily located in the future by using the date of creation, my initials, school name and a sequential file number.
• When coming to campus what else do you need?
A golf cart is a great way to get from one side of campus to another in a short time. It also provides a platform for extra photographic equipment to be carried.
Meals. I prefer to eat at the school's dining hall so I may capture any student interaction I observe.
• How do we book you for our next photo assignment?
Call (412.491.7887) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with a range of dates you would like me on campus, and we'll work out the details. No job is too big or too small.