Job Shadow: Life Behind The Camera

By Marin Munos

Liz has been a photo journalist for over 15 years. © 2018 Marin Munos

When I first picked up a camera, I knew I wanted to be a photojournalist, so it would only make sense that I did my job shadow with a photojournalist. Liz Flores is a photojournalist for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, MN, and I had the honor of shadowing her for the day. Our day together began at 7 a.m. with coffee, lots of coffee. Liz’s first assignment was to photograph an exhibit at the American Swedish Institute. Liz dove right in, introducing herself to the managers and telling them to let guests know she would be taking pictures. She handed me a camera and let me really get a feel for what a photojournalist does on a daily basis. I also experienced the pressure that abounds in this profession. We had about and hour and a half to get the perfect pictures because then we had to get to her next assignment, the Minnesota Twins game. Between assignments, Liz normally goes to a coffee shop and uploads, edits, and sends her pictures to her editor. After completing that task, we went to the baseball game and set up in the pit. We were there for about four and a half hours, and Liz finished by selecting five photos to send her editor. 

Liz has been working at the Star Tribune for thirteen years, and prior to her current position, she worked at a Milwaukee newspaper for eight years. Liz began her career through internships, first with a four-month internship at St. Paul Pioneer Press and then a one-year internship at the Leader Telegram. Liz is fluent in both English and Spanish, which gives her a competitive edge on her fellow photojournalists. On average, Liz has one assignment a day or sometimes two.

Liz was a fountain of knowledge and not only allowed me to ask a number of questions but also gave me a peek into a world in which I want to exist. I not only learned a lot from her in just ten hours, but I also retained a few things that I think will really stick with me. First, people must trust you. As a photojournalist, you need to be able to connect with people; if you need to speak another language to do so then you need to learn that language because that connection builds trust. Secondly, a journalist must be significant. Talk to the people you are photographing, do not just take their picture. You must know the story before you can photograph it. Finally, you must make connections. In this profession, an aspiring journalist must make connections and stay connected with those people met along the way because these connections will be vital to your professional success.

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