This past Friday and Saturday I had an exciting opportunity and took it, attending the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar. There were workshops and viewing sessions, portfolio reviews and an expo area, and of course many photographers to meet. To the board of directors of The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar and the staff (all volunteers, I believe) who made the weekend a success: “job well done.”
While I learned quite a bit, and something from every one of the speakers, for me the best part of the weekend was the Sports Photography workshop held by Al Tielemans of Sports Illustrated. Al’s talk was packed with stories and tips, and started with an admonition against an affliction so many photographers have – too much stuff in our bag. “I try to minimize the number of gadgets, or at least unused gear,” he told us. He also talked about being prepared; putting in the legwork, checking out a venue several days ahead of time if possible to know where the good light and bad background will be, and knowing what zones will be best covered by the lenses you’ve got.
After each of his workshop sessions, Al also spent plenty of 1-on-1 time with participants answering questions and looking at portfolios. I was pleasantly surprised with his comments on mine, saying that for my normal target audience my shots are “perfect… nice moments that the parents could only dream to capture on their own.” He went on to give me plenty of pointers on where, from an editorial point of view, I do need improvement. Being more aware of backgrounds for example — “that’s where it all starts” — and some framing and composition hints & reminders. I appreciate all of Al’s input and advice and want to publicly thank him for sharing his time and talent.