Tips for shooting breaking news

When all heck is breaking loose, how do photojournalists know what to shoot and for how long? WBFF’s Darren Durlach, the 2009 NPPA TV photographer of the year, has his own way of staying focused on a spot news assignment: he talks to himself.

Now that he’s won the most prestigious TV photojournalism award there is, Durlach might be forgiven for thinking he’s all that. But he doesn’t. “If mistakes were cool, I’d be Miles Davis,” he says. “I look at my stories the next day with a clear mind and always see things I should have done better.” His response: “Make a mental note and move on.”

One reason Durlach has done so well at a young age is that he doesn’t think of himself as “just” a photographer. He may stand behind the camera, but he also asks questions and gathers information. “To excel in this craft, you must not be afraid to fully immerse yourself in the story and be involved in every part of the process,” he says.

Durlach’s winning entry in the POY competition demonstrates his range, from breaking news to longer turn features. “Superior shooting and editing, strong commitment, strong inspirational character and emotion,” is how one judge described “Shane’s Story.” Watch the entire entry, and pay particular attention to the way Durlach has planned his shots so he can edit for eye movement in the piece, “Ghosts of the Civil War.”

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