One Year - One Hundred Assignments

September 02, 2013  •  1 Comment

On September 21, 2012 I shot my first assignment for the Sun-Times Media Group. It was the first time shooting for a local paper and I was excited, nervous and green. It was at Burlington Central 38 miles from home. I covered the football game then got lost in the fog on the way home. I barely made deadline and couldn't sleep that night from all of the adrenaline.


On August 31, 2013 I covered my 100th assignment since that foggy night last year. I have covered politicians, parades, ribbon cutting ceremonies, Christmas brunch with the poor, High School Sports, Minor League Baseball, A Bar Owner, Judges telling bedtime stories to kids. I even took a spot assignment to cover what was thought to be a major sinkhole. Turns out it was only a 3 foot pothole on the side of Farnsworth Ave.


I am thankful everyday for having the opportunity to produce images that tell a story. I have a deep respect for the photojournalist I have met along the way and for the profession as a whole.  I would like to thank Steve Buyansky for giving me that opportunity on September 21, 2012. I would also like to thank Sandy Bressner for giving me the opportunity to cover stories for The Kane County Chronicle.


I try to learn something on each assignment and strive to improve everyday. In the past two years I have taken a number photojournalism classes taught by some of the best in the business.  Scott Strazzante, Chuck Osgood, Peter Read Miller and George LeClaire. If you are interested in learning more about photography and photojournalism I suggest taking a class taught by any one of these four photographers.


Finally While I still consider myself a Rookie Photojournalist  - I will leave you with some lessons learned in the past year..


1.     Always be prepared (Make a Check List)

2.     Be Early (Last thing you need is to miss something cause your stuck in traffic)

3.     Learn from past mistakes (IE Don’t make the same mistake twice)

4.     Check your work before submitting (names, dates etc)

5.     Be invisible.. (No one likes the photographer who stands in the middle of the action ruining it for everyone else)

6.     Less Talk more Photos.. (When at an assignment focus on your work and less chatting it up with other photographers.)

7.     Know your subject (Always do research on who you are covering and learn more about the Sport your covering)

8.     Be on time (There are a number of people behind the scenes counting on you to provide them with information before deadline. If you are late you make their job that much more difficult)

9.     Make sure your images cover the storyline (If there is a rainout, get weather photos. If a star player scores the winning touchdown make sure you have that player framed up)

10. Slow down and Concentrate (You are responsible for what you capture. Focus on making sure your images are clear and composition is good)

11. Have fun and Remember this is an awesome job!

I will leave you with a quote from one of the greatest news photographers in Chicago..

To have that front seat to history and to the lives of people, and tell the story of humanity. Feeling the heartbeat of humanity. The heart of the world, the soul of the world. And capturing that from the cameras of our hearts... And sharing that. I always consider it a privilege.” – John H. White  



1.Bob Shank(non-registered)
Great post, Sean! I just started as a freelance stringer for our local newspaper this past spring and am focusing mostly on sports. I am having a blast and learning something valuable every day! Your post reminded me of my first assignment--the adrenaline was definitely flowing for me, too! Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this blog entry! Thanks!
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