Covering the cuts protest: You don’t need an expensive camera to take great photos

Posted on March 30, 2011 by

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By BEN WHITELAW

Cuts protest

Photos courtesy of Seb Wheeler

This is one of the fantastic shots taken by journalism student Seb Wheeler at Saturday’s cuts protests in London.

Seb, a photographer and reporter for news site East London Lines, spoke to seeing stories about  the importance of using tools you know well, even if they don’t cost the earth.

Amateur journalists operate on a shoestring, so when covering something as momentous as a 450,000 strong demonstration in central London, it’s important to go equipped with tools that are thrifty but effective.

I believe in good ol’ fashioned photo-journalism as made famous by the likes of the Magnum agency, so use a Nikon D70S digital-SLR to take photos that are (hopefully) informative as well as creative.

My camera must be over six years old but it still does a great job, and you can get them for around £150 on Ebay these days. I take as many shots as possible for upload after the event.

But, in order to be the first and set the agenda for the protests, Seb emphasised the need for something smaller and faster that could connect to the web and upload in seconds.. a smartphone.

However, if you wait until you get home to upload photos (if you’re not lucky enough to be based in a nearby office or equipped with all the latest portable computer gear), then you’re going to miss the chance to set the news agenda.

I’ve recently invested in a smartphone and would thoroughly recommend either a Blackberry or iPhone, which can now be obtained fairly cheaply. I can now take and tweet images in an instant and on the fly, uploading shots taken just moments before.

The pictures have a rough, spontaneous feel to them, but they serve to illustrate what’s going on right around you. And you can counterbalance them with the arty Digital SLR ones later on.

More than anything it seems that a willingness to get stuck in a vie for a shot is what matters – you can have all the equipment in the world but if you don’t want the shot, someone else will get it before you do.

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