Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mailbag: Photog etiquette


I'm about to start my first job and luckily the station uses photogs. I was curious about the working relationship; how much stuff does the reporter carry, how much input does the photog have, etc.


Dear Newbie,

Well, glad you asked instead of walking into a station like you own the place.

The most important thing to remember is that you and the photog are a "team" for a day. On your way to the story you should discuss your approach, who you might interview, b-roll, etc. The photog usually has some ideas you haven't thought of, as they are wired differently than reporters and see things from a different perspective.

When you arrive at your location, you must at least carry the tripod and offer to carry the bag of extra batteries, mike stands, extra tapes. Many photogs just want the reporter to grab the sticks and nothing else. Just grab the tripod and ask, "Need help with anything else?"

When you're done asking questions of an interview subject, it is nice to turn to the photog and ask, "Do you have anything?" He might want to ask a question of his own.

On your return to the station, ask him what shots he thinks work well, what nat sound he liked, etc. Then if you can, watch the video together when you return to the station.

Oh yeah, buying a photog a cup of coffee, a cold soda, or lunch once in awhile works wonders. Shooters will go the extra mile for reporters who share the load.


My ND just hired a brainless idiot for our anchor opening instead of promoting someone from the staff. There were many competent choices (I think I'm one of them) yet he went for the babe. What do I do?

-Smart Girl

Dear Smart Girl,

Well, this happens quite often. Welcome to "life is not fair." If you get passed over a second time, or already have been, time to move on.

As for those who have trouble spelling "IQ", well, you might as well be nice to her. She'll probably end up being a network anchor and put in a good word for you. She might also be a nice person. You don't have to be a member of Mensa to be nice.

Grape Dude,

What's with the color of this blog? Pink?

-Manly man

Dear Manly,

First, I'm too old to be called "dude."

Second, it is not "pink" but "wine." When I was setting up the site my wife (The Southern Martha Stewart) wandered by and commented that "grapevine" needed an appropriate color, hence the current hue. (Get it? Grape... wine....)

By the way, as far as I'm concerned my home office has red walls and a beige ceiling. But the little color charts tell me it is "Late Tomato" and "Ursa Major."

Apparently if you strike out in the news business and can write well you have a future in the paint industry naming colors.

You've got questions, the Grape has answers. Or at least opinions. Send your questions to If you'd like a private reply just indicate it in your message.


turdpolisher said...

Back when I knew him, the Grape One always carried the tripod. He even said he bought me ice cream on a steamy day. But I think it was a freebie from the joint with the new yougurt machine we featured in the kicker that night.

We need more reporters like you, bro.

joey flash said...

newbie - become an expert in the art of the lavalier and i'll make your tape shine. also, the news car is my office, not your limousine. i don't mind stopping in for the occasional errand once in a while, but when you get in my car with a "to do" llist, it's time for you to start picking up your dry cleaning on your own time...

...oh yeah, all those diet coke cans, cookie wrappers, and mcdonalds bags from lunch? clean up after yourself or i'll start hiding sardine cans in your cubicle!

TV News Grapevine said...

I think the ice cream was free too, but it was the thought that counted.

joey flash said...

don't insist on carrying the tripod every time. sometimes i like to carry it, because having my arms full helps me avoid handshakes during cold and flu season. also, carrying just a camera can lead to hunchback syndrome...