The world as we know it would suffer greatly if press photographers and journalists relaxed their vigilance. Not only would historical landmarks slide away into oblivion, but the emotional and artistic impact of events such as benefits, community services, tragedies and comedies, victories and defeats would remain open to only the select few who actually witnessed or attended the events. History would disappear. Because of this important role, the members of the press must always remain prepared.
Success as a member of the press takes practice. And to succeed in press photography, you must not only acquire the proper Press Credentials, but you must wield them often as well. Without the proper credentials, when the important events arise, you have no chance to cover the event. It’s too late to procure these credentials after the news breaks. Once you have press credentials, you need to use them immediately in a variety of events.
Although many photographers dream of placing their first picture with organizations such as Associated Press (AP) or the New York Times, every press photographer STARTS at the bottom. This not only allows you to gain confidence and experience in using your first set of credentials and experimenting with various types of recording and reporting, it also builds your reputation and adds to your portfolio and resume.
To build your confidence and to gain experience, use your credentials in attending events which may not even interest you. You will then feel seasoned for the major events when they occur. For example, if you desire to cover Pro football, attend several high school or local college games to break you into the sports scene. If you want to break into the celebrity scene, begin by photographing local actors or public figures.
Anything new tends to both frighten and excite us. Thus, rushing headlong into a new situation could throw off your ability to concentrate, negatively alter your behavior, and, most importantly, negatively affect the quality of your work. Imagine stumbling upon that spur-of-the-moment, once-in-a-lifetime event and realizing that you left your Press Credentials at home. You could end up standing outside while a famous celebrity grants a rare, spontaneous interview to the press.
Whether for the rare news breaking event, or for small events such as a high school football game, you should arrive prepared. Your equipment, preparation and familiarity with the event speaks for you. Every event and every shot you take may evolve into a potential dream position. Because every occasion could lead to the ideal job, remember to use your privileges wisely. Refrain from using passes for free admission or to gain access for personal reasons. Keep up with the accepted mode of conduct the appropriate dress codes, and appropriate behavior for each event. You would expect to act differently at a hockey game than at a fundraising ball. Research each event so that you can blend easily into the environment.
Today, you can access the International Freelance Photographers Organization – IFPO, which will offer you opportunities to gain approved access to on-site situations and which will aid you in researching rules and regulations. The IFPO Press Programs are designed to get you and your camera directly to the scene that allows you to capture the winning shot that magazines will clamor for. With the proper press credentials you attain the ability to prove yourself in the realm of press photography.