A few weeks ago, we had an assignment in photography to do an “A Day in the Life of…” (where we would basically have to follow someone around and show what it’s like to be them for a day). The subject?…A school principal.
On the day I was supposed to photograph my principal, I made sure I was early to the Career Center so that I could get the right camera and lens that I would need. I decided to go with a 50mm prime lens. Equipped and ready, I made the LONG journey to Patterson Middle School (actually it was only about a 5 minute walk from my photography class).
When I got to the school, I had to sign in and have my picture taken (to go on their records). After talking with the Principal’s Secretary, I found myself in the Principal’s office.
Meet the Principal:
This wasn’t the first time I had met Mrs. Balzer, but it was my first in-depth look at what a middle school principal does, so I was excited to see how the rest of the day would go.
Part of the assignment called for an environmental portrait of our principal. So, while she was working, I just simply asked Mrs. Balzer to look up at me for just a second. She smiled for the picture really well, and I was really satisfied with how it came out. The fact that there was a lot of natural light coming in from the window was a plus.
Not too long after being in her office, a parent came in that needed to speak with Mrs. Balzer. I could tell that it was serious, so I decided to take advantage of the time away to roam around the front office and take a couple photos. I actually took more than just these few, but I decided not to post them.
After the parent left, I headed back to the office. There was a teacher that came in to talk with Mrs. Balzer. I thought these next few photos were funny since it looks like the teacher was “in trouble.” In reality, they were just talking with each other about an idea that Mrs. Balzer had.
Here’s the same teacher and one of Mrs. Balzer’s assistant principals.
After the teacher left, Mrs. Balzer talked for a while with her AP.
After a while, the bell rang. Honestly, at first it didn’t register why they were getting up. But, as the photographer, I followed them anyway, camera in hand. It wasn’t until we had actually gotten into the hallway that I realized they were going to monitor the halls and greet the students as they walked to their next class – just a few of the daily duties of a good principal.
Here is Mrs. Balzer talking to another one of her assistant principals.
After the tardy bell rang, it was back to the office.
I wanted to take more photos, but at more creative perspectives and angles. So I tried moving around the room more, using the reflections in the glass table and picture frames that were on the walls, and going out of the room itself to try and be more creative. There were many times were I would take a picture, sit on one of the chairs, and just look around the room for a while and see where I could place myself for another shot. There was no rush, so I took my time.
There were other things around the room that caught my eye as well, so when I wasn’t photographing Mrs. Balzer, I was focused on those.
Then it was time for lunch.
One of the teachers really wanted her picture taken, so she posed with Mrs. Balzer.
There was also a student that Mrs. Balzer talked with for a moment in the hallway.
On one of the last stops of the day, we went to the assistant principal’s office.
Spending half of the day with Mrs. Balzer was really fun. It was also good practice for me as well. Since I used such a fast lens and didn’t find myself having to shoot in any dim light, lighting was not a problem for me. The post processing/editing part of this assignment did not take much time at all. If I had to do it all again, I would really consider using a telescopic lens (not for the entire day though). Several times I found myself having to get somewhat close to get tightly cropped photos since the prime lens’ zoom is fixed. Even though this forced me to have to move and be a little more creative, I’m still curious to see what some of the results would have been with a lens that would have allowed me to back away from the scene a little more and make me a bit more “invisible.” Other than that, I had a blast.