Richard Shoaf

Home » Buisness » Counter-Terrorism to Weddings (part 2) “What skill sets translate?”

Counter-Terrorism to Weddings (part 2) “What skill sets translate?”

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By Richard Shoaf, Founder/Photographer, RS7 Studios & STCI

Last time I talked about making the leap from CT to photography.  This time I will discuss the 7 key elements that directly translate from one profession to the other.

1)            Training and Education:  Essential in both professions and the concept of being a “lifetime student” is critical.   “Iron sharpens Iron” as you will here over and over from our team at RS7 and STCI.  If you work and train with the best you will become and remain the best.

Shoot House - Range Day 2

Shoot House – Range Day 2

2)            Planning:  As for any commercial photography/cinema project, wedding or emergency operation, prior planning prevents poor performance.  The “peter principal” is still just as germane as in any profession.  Conditions change, (lighting, weather, schedule et. al.), plan for it. Know your location, scout the high ground and plan your shot.  Own the High Ground.

Wedding Venue Scouting in Ft. Myers

Wedding Venue Scouting in Ft. Myers

Get to the location before the opportunity presents itself.

Get to the location before the opportunity presents itself.

3)            Exercise & Trade Craft:  When scouting locations and planning your shot you need to train like you work.  Don’t simulate conditions, get out there in them and see how you will perform.  Get out and shoot in the cold and heat to see how you and your gear respond.  When it is raining see how you can adapt you and your equipment to perform when needed.

Get out and work on the location before you need to preform.

Get out and work on the location before you need to preform.

4)            Logistics:  Sun Tzu “ The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…”  You can be the best photographer or CT operator in the world but without the right equipment, at the right place, and at the right time you are useless.   Know your gear.  Stage your gear and prepare your gear.  Recently at a wedding we pre-staged lenses and spare lighting units forward from our location so as we progressed we would have them where we needed them.

5)            Accuracy & optics:  Sighted in your primary and secondary weapon it is mission critical.  Checking your optics and calibrating your focus sensors is just as important to a sport or wedding photographer.  You want your images to be tack sharp if at all possible.  Sometimes conditions do not allow for this however this should be your goal.

Range Day 1 - STCI - HazSWAT Operations

Range Day 1 – STCI – HazSWAT Operations

6)            Think then Act:  Observe behaviors and know when to take the shot.  As you observe people you can tell when and how the will act and when they make their motion to move you will be ready.  There is no reason for a professional to lock in and shoot 11 frames a second to get lucky for an image (save some sport photography – that’s another article).

7)            Develop unique skill sets:  This somewhat goes with training and education but you want to have a specialization and the ability to be a generalist.  You should have a base foundation of skills across multiple disciplines to translate into your work.  You also need to develop your specialization and hone your craft so it stands out from others.

In short, work and train hard with the best while developing your craft.

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