Dean O'Brien's Blog

Day 6: Working at the Coventry Telegraph 11/4/11

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Monday morning arrives and I get to the Coventry Telegraph offices before they open.  By 9.05am I’m already in the office looking through the diary.  It looks pretty quiet so I wait for the snappers to arrive.  As well as Joe Bailey I meet Hannah the intern.  Hannah comes in one day a week for work experience at the paper and has been giving me some help with various thing.  Its good to be able to talk to someone else who is also looking at getting a foot in the door within the industry.

As I look through Monday’s paper (which is out already)  Joe checks his images from Saturday’s football match.  Images from the matches are sent directly across via FTP.  This saves time and Joe from having to come into the office after the game to edit and process them.  It also ensures that the paper meets it’s deadline.

As the jobs are allocated to the different photographer’s I am back out on the road with Joe again for the day.


We head to Jephson Gardens in Royal Leamington Spa to photograph MP Chris White launching the ‘No to Av’ (alternative vote).  This is to be an outdoor shoot and the weather is bright and sunny.  When we find Chris with his supporters Joe directs them to a different area where the background is richer in colour and less distracting.  Joe checks which direction the sun is coming from and places people accordingly.  To cover himself, Joe takes a range of group and portrait shots to ensure that all angles are covered.


I am given my first solo job of the day.  Ironically it is to photograph a student from Coventry University.  Tim Watson is dying his hair pink and having it cut into a mohawk for Cancer Research.  He is flying out to China and New York to raise money for the charity.  Before going on the shoot I consult Joe as to what kind of images the paper would be looking for.  I decided to cover all bases and take a wide variety.  These include shots inside the hairdressers, some with the staff who cut his hair, some solo images and then some outdoor.  This covers all bases and gives me a large choice to choose from.

The shoot goes well and I head back to the office on foot to get the images uploaded and processed.  Joe checks the images over with me and agrees that I have got some decent ones.  These just have some slight cropping and levels adjustments done.

The only error which I made was that I forgot to get the names of the hairdresser’s who were in the photograph with Tim.  This is vital and I had seen the other snappers do it on all of their shots.  It had just slipped my mind.  Back at the office I still had Tim’s number on the job sheet so after a quick phone call I managed to trace the hairdresser’s and get their names.  The correct spelling of peoples names is also vital, so this is something which I know to double check.  Lesson learnt and rookie error number one is sorted…I move on.


We head off on foot into town to the Lower Precinct where Freemans School of Dance are performing.  They have been practising for the tv show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.  When we arrive there are crowds of people surrounding the dancers and we work our way through to meet the organiser.  Although the dance group is mixed were are only to photograph the boys for this shoot.


We head off to the Transport Museum to photograph artist Ian Cook.  Ian creates art using remote control cars, car tyres and  toy car wheels.  Joe looks around searching for a suitable background and the shoot gets underway.  I assist Joe on this shoot by holding the flash (which is on a off camera flash cord) away from the subject at an angle.  Within 15 minutes we are all done.


Off to take a ‘scene setter’ image of the junction of Allard Way with Langbank Avenue.  There was an accident here so an image of the scene is required to go with the article which will appear in the paper.  Thats the final shoot for today and we head back to the office.

I take on board all what I learnt today.  I head home and decide to slim down the equipment which I am taking with me tomorrow.  That walk across town with a rucsac which weighed a ton was  too much to bear.  Tomorrow is another day and I know that I return with a bit more knowledge than I had yesterday.  As well as a lighter kit bag.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

April 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm

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