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Last week ASCE held its annual OPAL Awards gala, always a glittery and star-studded evening during which the profession’s most accomplished are recognized. Now that the April 30th event has passed and ASCE has announced the winner of the OCEA Award, I am reminded of the importance of providing the right sort of imagery and video to get a point across to the public.
We received an assortment of professionally-shot photos from the gala event itself, photos we requested. While these are well-composed images of well-appointed civil engineering celebrities and these images are valuable for certain historical purposes, the real significance of the gala – to show the world the marvels of the profession – is much better conveyed through our videos and photography of the winning projects. These so-called outstanding civil engineering achievements, OCEAs, are highlighted online in video and still formats, as are many of the projects for which individual award winners were recognized. These tell the stories of these unique structures and projects.
The lesson here applies to ceremonies or events that you may wish to capture via camera: When you shoot photos at a ceremony, make them matter. Ask yourself why you want pictures. Who is your audience and what message are you hoping to get across to that audience, whether online or in print? Will the pictures convey your message?
In addition to shooting an award ceremony – and there is a place for these photos – think about your audience, the recipients of the information you are sharing, and how they will benefit from the excitement of the achievements being recognized. Instead of just taking a picture of the man or woman who wins, good public relations practices tell us to feature the project or achievement being recognized. This is an effective way to tell a story to the public. By showing the excitement, never-before aspects of the winning feat, instead of plaques, ceremonies, or 'grip and grin' shots, you will stir interest and capture public attention.
And when you do take pictures of a ceremony, focus on sharing your subjects' feelings through your photos. Show why the ceremony matters, what it means, and why it is different from every other ceremony.
May 1, 2008