Another day, another event to capture. On today’s political Agenda, the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince’s visit to Downing Street to talk trade and human rights with Theresa May. Outside, angry protests at the war in Yemen and counter-protests welcoming him. Time to capture some live news!
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I enjoy capturing breaking news and you may be interested in an earlier article I wrote entitled, “Capturing Breaking news: Nightcrawler Moment“.
Get there early
Early bird gets the worm and I arrived at the scene super early, along with another photographer. This dude was the Navy Seals equivalent of the photographer, with two cameras, with one of them holding a massive 600mm lens. Also a belt with more gear and a backpack I guess holding his laptop. He was ready for war!
As for me, only my lowly Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens, although I’m staying in London longer than I expected, otherwise I would have brought another camera with a 200mm lens.
London is great, always something going on and I captured some shots of an earlier protest against Turkish forces in Syria fighting a Kurdish faction.
As well as some of the Saudi delegation arriving on the scene.
Submit the first batch
I like submitting a pre-event batch to get warmed up. With some time to kill, I headed over to a coffee shop and tried to upload a mere 35 megs which took me 45 minutes! I was exporting at 4500px on longest side and still dealing with 6-8 meg sized files. Word to self is to either export small resolution files or find another place with a faster internet connection.
Wasn’t a complete waste of time though since I post-processed and keyworded some stock images unrelated to this event.
Some waiting around
After one hour at the coffee shop there was a further hour of standing and capturing touristy sites, such as this one at Whitehall.
Then, finally the protesters starting arriving, just when a few more veteran photographers started arriving with their pro gear.
Finally, it kicks off
From the distance, I saw the protesters stepping off a private hire bus which they had glued some anti-Saudi banners.
They made their way to the designated protest spot in front of Downing Street. I was looking to capture from all different angles, especially from squatting down. This gives a cool perspective which is interesting for readers, making the people look larger than life.
At the corner of my eye, just a few dozen steps away, I could see some Saudi flags. These were the PRO-Saudi persons welcoming the Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. Since I had only pre-keyworded for the anti-Saudi side, I had to later put together another caption and keywords for the pro – not a big deal.
Rush off to upload another batch
I was at the scene for about an hour, capturing from both sides and some from the police lines (heavy police presence). I then rushed off to the cafe and this time exported the images at maximum 1MB, thus making my life easier. I cannot stress this enough, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. I checked the newswires and I was the first one to have images uploaded which helped since I had my laptop with me.
As usual, I submitted to Alamy Live News and Rex Features. Here’s a link to my batches:
- Alamy (protest for)
- Alamy (protest against)
- Rex (protest for)
- Rex (protest against) – some are mixed in with other contributors
Rex features edits tightly, interestingly.
Few minutes later I spot one of my images
What I love about live news is that you get to see the image being shown to the world right away. In this case, the Guardian picked up one of my images and placed them on their live feed (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit).
Then, the Daily Mail picks up three of my images – link here, including on the front cover collage. Of course I’m happy but I’ll be even happier if they’ve gone to print as the royalties are much much higher than digital. I’ll check the new-stands tomorrow.
Overall, a weird and confusing scene – one side with placards saying “stop destroying Yemen” and another “Thank you for helping Yemen”. Whatever side you’re on, the truth is that 10,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict during the past 3 years. I’m happy that I brought more awareness to this issue, in a small way.
Do you have much experience uploading live news and any tips you’d like to share? Comment below!
In addition, I have a question for you…do you have any experience submitting breaking news editorials to Getty Images?
Until next time…
First of all congrats on getting published, and so fast! And indeed, you, your pictures, brought awareness for this conflict that is going on over there. And that, for me, is what photography is about. Showing people about the world around them, the beauty, but also the pain and sorrow.
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That’s why I much prefer this type of photography than generic still life images on white background stock (although have full respect for those who do such work). I enjoy interacting with people and trying to understand the human side of the story, as well as researching the facts.
We live in a fucked up world and tons of stories to tell. Fortunate that UK has a free press, but in many countries this type of journalism may land me in jail!