Interview with Mr. Smith

Written by Lily Dunn

Photography is a competitive field; what advice would you give an aspiring photographer as a way to make their work stand out? And why?

My advice would be to get as much experience as you can, meaning take as many pictures as you can whenever you can and as many different areas as you can. And then my advice would be to find what you are most passionate about or best at, maybe they’re the same maybe they’re different in terms of photography. Like for me, I think I have a pretty good eye when it comes to sports, so I feel like my sports photography is pretty good. So, once you kind of find your niche that’s probably a good way to do it. And if you’re passionate about an area chances you’re going to put more time and effort and passion into that.

As Communications Manager what do you believe is the most challenging about your job and why?

The most challenging part about my job is communicating to the outer audience people who are not involved in Dominican itself what makes Dominican special and different. The reason that’s hard is because it’s not a formula, there are no three words that describe what makes Dominican a good school. A lot of people who go at least understand the community and understand all of the support that you get from this school, but it’s really hard to convey to people who aren’t at Dominican currently. So, the hardest part for sure is using the limited amount of space or time people are willing to give to marketing to try and tell them what makes Dominican special and different from the other schools they might be looking at.

Which DHS event do you believe most embodies that sense of community and spirit?

Two pop into my head. KnightWalk is an event that embodies the spirit of the school. People get very excited and are all about Dominican and a lot of school spirit. The other one would be Open House where we will get volunteers from the community, people that don’t even have kids here anymore that volunteer their time that come in and give tours or talk to families that are considering high schools, and they will give their time to tell them why Dominican is special to them. So I think that’s a great example of embodying that idea of what we try to tell people what Dominican is all about.

When photographing for any events, for example knight walk what are some factors that you personally use to decide who you photograph.

The first thing I am able to use now having been here for almost 5 years is experience. I’ve taken thousands of KnightWalk pictures now over the years and I know which ones work and which ones don’t. So being able to draw on experience is a big help and I know that’s not always typical, but from a KnightWalk Perspective I know usually what works out best. But, the other thing I say any photographer will tell you that especially when you’re taking candids at an event of some kind for every hundred pictures you take you might get one good one. So my philosophy is take as many pictures as possible to capture what I can. And then you’re bound to find a few good ones that stick out and embody the spirit that you’re looking for. And the kids are all hams, when you work at a high school and they see a camera in front of their face they’re going to give you different poses and spirit that you’re looking for in a picture. They know that if they want to have their picture posted somewhere they’re going to have big a smile on their face when they walk past me with a camera.

On average how many pictures do you take at each event and of those pictures how many of them actually end up making it anywhere?

For KnightWalk for example I probably end up with 800 pictures to 1,000. And then of those I usually pick about 40 to 50. Or like for example I do a lot of basketball games, and for a basketball game I probably take about 300 to 500 pictures depending on how long I’m at the game. And 20 pictures are usable. Because when it’s action shots like that so many of them are going to be either their eyes are closed, they look weird, it’s blurry. When you’re not putting people in place and they’re always moving that’s why you have to take so many. So yeah, its kinda like a 1 to 20 ratio almost. For KnightWalk I usually end up with somewhere between 40 and 60 pictures that I like.

About the author

Lily Dunn