President Barack Obama pauses during a health care meeting with members of Congress in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., is seated at left. (Pete Souza/White House)
President Obama
President Barack Obama participates in a town hall meeting on health care insurance reform at Gallatin Field in Belgrade, Mont., Pete Souza/White House

Meshing still photography with video seems like a natural fit. The idea of pulling still images from video footage seems like a logical next step for the professional photojournalist. Additionally, with the need for journalist/photojournalist to be able to wear many hats today, it seems appropriate that being able to edit video should go hand-in-hand with editing images.

Having the right equipment for any job is essential to success. A smartphone (IPhone, Blackberry, Droid, etc.) now makes it possible to accomplish several tasks, in addition to making calls, with one piece of equipment. Smartphone’s make it possible to send and receive email, text messages, instant messages, navigate the web, use GPS tracking, edit Office documents, and a host of other functions. Smartphone’s are an essential tool for journalist when they’re in the field tracking down a hot-story that has to be in by deadline.

Technology that offers professionals the opportunity to do as much, or more, with less equipment to haul around will make the job of the professional photojournalist less complicated and more cost effective.

Has the proliferation of images devalued photojournalism and dulled its influence?

Absolutely not, bringing home, “the shot”, the one you’ve planned for, and laid the ground work for, by calculating the angles, elevation, white light, depth of field, etc., will definitely trump the once-in-a-life-time shot, brought in by a novice who didn’t know what he had because he just, “shot a roll” (film-era colloquialism), hoping to capture something good.

The thing about shooting fish in a barrel is, sometimes you will actually hit the big fish. If you have all the right tools, the gun, the barrel, the water and the fish, all you have to do, as the architect is point and shoot. If you miss, it’s ok, you weren’t expected to hit anything, but if you hit one, well, suddenly you’re the, “cat’s pajamas.”

Citizen journalist/photojournalist are a similar breed, while they lack the proper training to be considered bona fide photojournalist, the quality of digital imaging equipment today, makes it possible for anyone to get that, “perfect shot.” Digital cameras, including SLR’s, now make it possible to set the camera to auto and click away.

The quality of work that comes from top professional photojournalist will continue to amaze and astound. Proper planning goes a long way toward achieving what you set out to accomplish as a goal.

Viewing a still image, either in print or online, allows the reader to view a moment in time, captured forever, and the impact of these powerful images can sometimes move people to action.

While nonprofessionals have given news agencies a lot of material to work with, based on the sheer volume of photos and video footage available, there will always be a need for professional standards, standards which will undoubtedly have to be set by professionals.