Two editors-in-chief try photography: Unfamiliar journalistic medium inspires creativity

On a particularly chilly day in November, editors-in-chief Nora Crutcher-McGowan and Anjali Noel Ramesh set out downtown with the purpose of trying photography for the day, under the guidance of photo editor Desmond Kisida and multimedia editor Joan Kwon. With the additional help of staff writer Ketti Horton, who served as the model for the shoot, Crutcher-McGowan and Noel Ramesh were able to learn the process of photography, taking the photos and editing them.

The photographers

Anjali Noel Ramesh, senior—Co-Editor-in-Chief

This year, I wanted to challenge myself by trying aspects of journalism I was unfamiliar with. I am pretty familiar with writing and editing, but photography is a field I have little to no prior experience in. I enjoyed walking around downtown with the camera and choosing specific locations that caught my eye. Although I had several rounds of trial and error in the process of taking photos, it was an educational experience and I learned to appreciate the art of photography.

Nora Crutcher-McGowan, senior—Co-Editor-in-Chief

As a journalist, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all aspects that go into creating a story, which includes art, multimedia, writing and photography. This is a value I have especially recognized the importance of while holding a leadership position. I have some time this year to explore other forms of journalism, and Anjali and I decided trying photography was something we both wanted to do. I had fun learning about the art from other staff members and hope to learn more about journalistic mediums during the remainder of the year. 

Location one: Missouri United Methodist Church

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1/400, f/1.8, ISO 100 (Anjali Noel Ramesh)


The largest setback I faced when taking this photo was bearing the cold. We wanted to have at least one outdoor environment, but considering it was only about 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside, we had limited time at this location. I used Horton’s height to my advantage and had her stand up for this photo, especially since the doors behind her were extremely tall. Putting her jacket over her shoulder was Horton’s idea, but this move allowed the pose to appear casual and the photo felt natural rather than forced.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1/400, f/1.8, ISO 100 (Nora Crutcher-McGowan)


Like Anjali mentioned, it was extremely cold the day we did this shoot. I was trying to capture as many pictures as I could at this location because of the bold red color of the church door. Horton effortlessly managed the coldness, and I was able to get a good shot of her holding her denim jacket over her shoulder while casually standing in front of the door. I think the door contrasts really well with Horton’s outfit and the otherwise gloomy and brutal fall day.

Location two: Hitt Records

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1/100, f/1.8, ISO 250 (Anjali Noel Ramesh)


Since this was our first indoor location, I had to play around with lighting more than the outdoor photo. The overall ambiance of this location was very soft and subdued, so I wanted to pose Horton in a similar light. I had her flip through the shelves of records as if she was actually shopping and took photos from various angles. The lighting in this photo captured the mellow vibe of the record store and the pose well.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1/100, f/1.8, ISO 1600 (Nora Crutcher-McGowan)


I took this photo in a setting with less natural light than our other locations, making it hard to choose the right place and angle to fix the camera on Horton. Unexpectedly, I caught Horton in an off-moment. I especially like the frame of this photo, as it is vertical and shows how she positions herself against the records as she looks away. The warm lighting and Horton’ts outfit blend well with the appearance of this location, making it look very different from the other two photos.

Location three: Office Building 

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1/100, f/1.8, ISO 100 (Anjali Noel Ramesh)


This was the first non-standing pose I used. I had Horton sit down in the chair and lean forward on her elbows as if she were lounging. Since there was a window opposite the chair, I did not need to change the lighting settings much because of the natural light filtering into the room. I tried various poses in this room, using different props each time, but I felt this arrangement captured the same relaxed tone as the previous photos.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1/100, f/1.8, ISO 100 (Nora Crutcher-McGowan)


We were all more focused and relaxed at the office setting since we were indoors and had the freedom to use the front room, which had a large window looking out onto 8th street. I used this natural lighting to capture Horton sitting down in a more still, formal setting, using the window as both the source of lighting and the background to provide a more urban feel to the photo.  

Have you tried photography before? Let us know in the comments below.