Field Day Photos

The following info was recently posted to the ARRL Public Relations reflector. Good advice for Field Day.

I was recently reminded of the need to include photos in pre-event publicity but it’s hard to take photos in advance 🙂 Take a lot of photos *this* year for use *next* year.

Here are some suggestions for photos that work in print or online:

Use a fill flash (set flash ON) to light up faces and open up the shadows – particularly taking pictures outdoors in the day when the sunlight will swamp a camera’s auto-exposure mechanics. We’re often wearing hats which cast a deep shadow across the face – a flash will fill that in if you’re a few feet away.

What draws the eye to a photo is color and people doing something, oriented so you can see their faces from the side or from the front. The usual back-of-the-head photos aren’t of much interest to the general public. Get in close and make the photo interesting. Take two or three photos in close succession since somebody (usually me) *always* has their eyes closed or is looking away or acting goofy (always me) or
photobombing or…

High-contrast, in-focus (use a tripod or monopod), high-resolution (at least 1 Mbyte) are important. If you take videos, use the horizontal format, not vertical, and stabilize the camera.

Try to use a “real” camera and not a smartphone unless it’s a very high-quality smartphone camera. If you do use a smartphone…clean the lens…they are almost always fingerprint-y and smudgy.

Antenna photos don’t reproduce well, particularly when reduced in resolution for online publication. The wires and elements just disappear and all you’re left with is a vertical mast and maybe the horizontal boom. Try a closeup of the feed point or tuning unit, maybe? Even so, the public has no idea what those things are. Don’t
count on antenna photos being useful for general publication.

If you take photos of minors, be advised that just about all publications (including the ARRL) require a photo release signed by the parents. Maybe have some handy at the Field Day site. The kids may be the best photo ever but without that release, it will never see the light of day. I speak from experience.

73, Ward N0AX
Also turn off the date/time settings on your camera. It only has to be taken out before publication and may make a difference in the photo being selected.