My first two weeks on the job as a photographer for a metropolitan newspaper have been fast paced. The stress of failure, while still present, is finally starting to loosen its grip on my shoulders. Here are my initial takeaways.
Orientation day is long and filled with information. Remember that when they are snapping your picture for your ID badge that doubles as a press pass, and don’t be tempted to smile like you’re sixteen posing for your first license picture just because you’re excited.
In the field, you are finally in the field! Time to keep your inner goofy excited golden retriever stare in-check. You are eager to talk to people and discover the meat of your story. When you get the chance to talk to your main character show that excitement through active listening and respond. I had a professor who always drove home that a good interview should feel like a conversation. And dogs don’t talk– they drool.
Here is your chance to start assembling what you’ve learned the last four years. There is a mind-blowing amount of information stored in there. You just have to use it. This comes with an overwhelming amount of pressure to do your best work.
On my first assignment at a haunted farm, while riding an oversized tractor, the Zombie Hunter, and snapping as many shots as I could, the light that I wasn’t watching ran out. It was too dark. I lowered my camera and started going through my settings. What more could I do to get the images I needed? I panicked. My brain started racing, making it impossible to problem-solve. I looked at the teenagers managing the attraction. They continued talking and watching the customers. “They know!” I thought frantically to myself. The tractor completed its lap; I took a deep breath and realized I knew how to work around the problem.
The stress of doing my best work met with a small problem sent me into frenzy. When in reality I knew how to fix it, I just needed to trust myself.