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Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Sophomore Kaylie Clem reflects on her journey through photojournalism.

Photojournalist comments on personal growth

Sitting in advisory my freshmen year, I had already chosen to be a photojournalist as a sophomore. The requirements to become a photojournalist is to create a portfolio to showcase your skills.

My folder was full of pictures of flowers from awkward angles that I was so proud of. At the end of my sophomore year looking back at what was turned in, it’s unbelievable. Those pictures are embarrassing now.

Besides learning how to properly hold a camera, I needed to master the skill of working it. At the beginning of the journey, pictures were often discolored, over or underexposed, blurry and quite frankly boring. Besides mastering the photo aspect of photojournalism, next came the journalism part. Out of utter confusion, my poor teammate Lauryn Tucker repeatedly had to answer what “dumping the photos” meant and where they were supposed to go.

Knowing and changing settings along with ending an event with more than one decent picture are now easy. Through the guidance of photo adviser Kori Friesen, I’ve grown into an eager photographer who takes hundreds of photos at sporting events just to get the perfect shot with the ball in the picture.

The photojournalism team has impacted me in so many ways. Playing sports helps players learn what working as a team means, however, in the world of journalism, it’s taken to a different level. It’s so much easier to accomplish a project when you work as a team. Completing a project in a timely manner is essential or else the news is no longer newsworthy.

Again, this is another skill I became more efficient at: time management. That is something that will be taken away from high school and used in my professional life.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

There are many aspects of this photo which are incorrect. Through my growth, these mistakes are less common.

One of the biggest learning opportunities I experienced was on the New York trip in March. Through the trip, the necessity of teamwork was made clear. Our days were jam-packed with activities and the whole Feather team was staying up late working.

Some of my favorite memories are from the time spent working past midnight in hotel rooms. As a photojournalism team, we learned that when everybody takes on a role, one person’s job is cut into sixths.

This concept wasn’t left in New York; we were never stronger as a team than when we returned home. That is a life skill I will take with me forever all thanks to The Feather.

Another valuable learning moment happened on the sidelines of the soccer field in the rain. The circumstances themselves acted as a chance to learn as well as the fast pace of the game. This was my first time shooting soccer so my nerves were a little shaky.

Besides it being the first time, as I made my way to the field, raindrops began hitting my head. It takes very little knowledge about photography to know that water and cameras don’t mix.

Thankfully, the rain let up a bit and wasn’t too heavy, though several other games weren’t as lucky. As I sat on my heels taking pictures, Friesen joined me. Never will I forget the time she spent on the sidelines giving advice and encouragement. The advice she gave immensely improved all of my sports pictures.

She told me to watch the ball through the camera and just follow it, and also not to get hit by the ball! During spring sports I often was the only photojournalist available. Therefore, I did most of the soccer and basketball pictures, making my little bit of time with Friesen was extremely valuable!

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

I practice converting an image to black and white with a favorite photo.

In my second year of high school, my future career choices are uncertain. I enjoy photography as well as the journalism side of the job. I may decide to pursue a career in photography just keep it just as a hobby.

Some advice for future photojournalists is to take advantage of every opportunity that you can! It can be very difficult to get everything out of photojournalism if you aren’t willing to go outside your box. From photographing a WWII veteran to standing on stage in chapel, they are all frightening at first. However, these frightening jobs become easy after a while. To view criticism as something positive, not negative is another valuable piece of advice.

When adviser Greg Stobbe would hand me back one of my printed out photo posts with his handwriting practically covering the page, I would feel like a failure. Gradually I understood he marks up your papers because he wants to make you the best you can be; I can not ask for a better adviser/mentor.

It is safe to say that I have come a long way, but there’s still much more to learn. My growth would have never been possible without some special people. Thank you to my team for constantly proofreading my photo posts and helping me when I needed you most.

I would also like to thank my advisers Friesen and Stobbe for always encouraging and believing in me. They gave up their family time to help me outside of school and my growth this year wouldn’t have been possible without these key mentors.

 The images below are a collection of my favorite shots from throughout the year.

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To read more End of the year reflections, read Lauryn Tucker’s article.

For more Feather photos, visit media, photos 2016-17.

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