Photographing meetings

From Faster Than 20

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:

<chklist> [] 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! </chklist>

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.