Photographing meetings

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The key to documenting meetings well via photography doesn't start with the actual taking of pictures. It starts with the editing, the curation.

Editing Photographs

Not post-processing. It's the selection / curation process.

Take lots of photos. Then:

Delete photos where people look bad — e.g. eyes are closed, mouths are open
Quickly flag photos you think are good for whatever reason. Include duplicates if you can't decide
Resolve duplicates (i.e. choose only one photo from a series of duplicates)
Craft a story
Look for a diversity of people and perspectives
Pick your strongest photos. Be disciplined!

As you practice editing, be conscious of what makes a strong versus weak photograph. Remind yourself of this before your next session taking photographs. Be nice to yourself! Great photography takes practice!

Taking Photographs

  • Get close!
  • Take wide photos
  • Take artifact photos to help tell the story
  • Take environment photos to help tell the story
  • Take photos of everyone
  • Capture all artifacts
  • Capture emotion
  • Take interesting compositions
    • Don't center compose everything
  • Group photo!
  • Posed photos of people together
  • Portraits


W. Eugene Smith concocted this formula for telling stories through photographs for Life magazine:

  1. Introductory or Overall: Usually wide-angle or aerial shot to establish scene.
  2. Medium: Focuses on one activity or one group.
  3. Close-up: Zeroes in on one element, like a person's hands or an intricate detail of a building.
  4. Portrait: Usually either a dramatic, tight head shot or a person in his/her environment.
  5. Interaction: People conversing or in action.
  6. Signature (The Decisive Moment): Summarizes the situation with all of the key elements (character, action, theme) in one photo.
  7. Sequence: A how-to, before and after, or series with beginning, middle, and end.
  8. Clincher: A closer that would end the story.