Patrick Smith. Major: Mass communication
Photojournalism is about telling stories truthfully, in a way that draws readers in. Photo credit: Dave Hoffman

Above: Patrick photographing the Ravens game against the Titans             photo credit: Dave Hoffman

Patrick Smith '09, a two-time Utah Photographer of the Year, is a freelance photojournalist in the Baltimore-Washington area. He received an Award of Excellence for his sports action photo in the respected Pictures of the Year International contest in March 2010.

You started interning at The Baltimore Sun last summer. How did you get the job?

"I got a call in April to come down and interview. I started mid-summer and was there through October. The staff is very talented and knowledgeable and they helped me to becomeMan in silhouette against a tan background a better visual story teller."

What prepared you to work for The Baltimore Sun?

"I'm a self-taught photographer. I learn from my successful failures. I try new things and have been freelancing throughout college. In addition, I was the photo editor at The Towerlight (TU's student newspaper) for the past two years."

What was your first day as an intern like?

"After getting introduced to editors and staff photographers, I was given my first assignment. It wasn't hard-hitting news, but I had assumed I'd be shadowing one of the veteran shooters the first couple days, so I was nervous. I shot my first assignment, filed it and then hung around getting to know everyone. Although it doesn't sound too exciting, I was so ecstatic to be there."

Johns Hopkins lacrosse player celebrating a victory

What is your work schedule?

"Typically, I work Tuesday through Saturday and average two to three assignments a day. But news is always changing, so things alter, my hours shift and my assignments vary. There really isn't a typical day for a journalist, but if one thing stays consistent, I know I'll meet someone new and shoot pictures at some point in my day."

 

Is photojournalism different than other kinds of photography?

"Yes. Photojournalism is full of strict ethics. It's all about being honest and capturing subjects for who they are and telling their story truthfully, but also in a way that will draw readers in.

"In photojournalism there is no staging of photographs or manipulating them in Photoshop. The reader expects the facts, no visual lies."

How do you prepare for a photo shoot?

"I think about compositional elements like line, shape, color and light. But most important, I focus on finding the decisive moment."

What type of photograph is your favorite to shoot?

"Although I like shooting athletics for various reasons, it's usually the stories and features I live for. There is nothing like being willingly let into others lives and telling their story. It's a special circumstance when others completely open their life with you and allow you to photograph it."


What is the greatest challenge for photographers today?
"Right now, the hardest thing is staying on top of the business. There's a lot of change in the newspaper industry. Everything is transitioning into Person riding a bicyclemultimedia and online content among other things. So learning new technology all the while bettering your images is also a challenge."

What are your career goals and plans?

"Before I graduate in December, I'll be attending The Eddie Adams Workshop, a four-day meeting of top professional photojournalists and selected students.

"In the long run, I hope to work as a photojournalist somewhere in the world. I live for photojournalism and traveling, so anything that involves having my camera in my hand, seeing the world, meeting new people daily and informing people with my photographs would be ideal."

Where can we see your work?

"On my blog. I started a blog when I transferred into Towson in August 2006 as a way to remember the photo assignments I enjoyed, found difficult or thought had a great story. My friends David Hobby and Brian Stelter had successful blogs, so I decided to try it out. I love to share my work, and have a way to look back and see how my work has progressed."

 

Related links

Patrick Smith's Blog

Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies

Transfer Admissions

Award of Excellence: Pictures of the Year International contest

The 68th Annual Pictures of the Year International Competition


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