Covering a candidates for City Council meeting

L/R Marie Willsey, Lori Henry and Shelley Sears are all running for open spot on the city Council, speaks at Roswell City Council Candidate forum held at the Roswell Community Masjid. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 2500, ƒ/4, 1/100]

I went to the local Masjid in Roswell to cover three of the candidates running for City Council office.


I wanted to show that this was pretty historic to show the Masjid hosting the meeting and as well to capture the personalities of those running for office, so that the audience would know about the candidates a little more than before the event. The tiles had Arabic language on them and I included them to show the location of the meeting.

I watched and listened. Each of the candidates running for office was very different from the others.

Shelley Sears was running on her success as a business woman in Real Estate. [Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/4.8, 1/100]

Shelly Sears was no nonsense business personality. She had a very similar approach of Trump. She wanted everyone to no she was not a politician, but a successful business person. She was running on the platform of we need business people running the city and not politicians.

I noticed she leaned forward more than the other candidates and intentionally chose not to use a microphone. This to me was her visually saying she needs no help at all and can handle it herself. I waited for the moment I thought that show her take control lean forward and tell you how she is going to take control was the best way to capture her.

Marie Willsey has been serving on her homeowners association board. She was seeing this as an opportunity to serve just like she has done for homeowners board, but a bigger stage of the community. She just likes serving. [Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/4.8, 1/100]

Now Marie Willsey reminded me of the stay at home mom who is involved in community service projects. She was serving on her homeowners board and loved doing this. She saw many of the same things facing the homeowners as those concerns for the larger community.

All the time when she was talking she was smiling. It was important that she came across as friendly and wanting to be seen as someone there to help you. So, I was sure to capture the smile and the warmth she was conveying to the audience.

Lori Henry had served in the past on the City Council. She wanted people to know she understood the issues that are the hotting topics to the community. She wanted to portray herself as scholared candidate on the cities issues. [Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/4.8, 1/100]

Now the third candidate had been here before. Lori Henry was running at the well educated on the issues candidate. She took issues and explained what needs to change to make a difference.

To capture this I had to look for that expression that showed a lot of thought going into her comments. So I looked for that furrowed brow and intense gaze.

Thought before I shot

As you can see I thought about each person. I felt their presence and looked for ways to capture those things into a visual moment that communicated some of this to the audience through the lens of the camera.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 2800, ƒ/4, 1/100]

However First I …

The very first thing I did was to walk into the room and asses the room technically.

The room had fluorescent as well as tungsten lights. I wrote an earlier blog talking about this here and how to get good white balance.

I basically did a custom white balance using the ExpoDisc and was sure that the shutter speed was no faster than 1/100.

Next I sat on the front row center so I could get a clear shot of the speakers without any distractions. Also I knew I could stand up for a moment and move to the side and get an overall shot at some moment.

I also brought two cameras. The Nikon D5 had a 24-105mm which helped for the over all shot and the three speaking, but then I brought my Fuji X-E2 with the 55-200mm which let me get tight shots of them individually speaking without me leaving my chair.

Once I had all the technical stuff taken care of I then switched my mind over to listening and finding those moments to tell the story.


I call all this my shooting workflow. You need to always get the best technical shot as well as getting the moments to tell the story. There is a process that takes place every single time.

Do you have a process? Do you know why you are taking a photo? Do you know who your audience is for your photos? If you don’t know these answers then you will not be able to communicate much through your photos.