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Pressing Record: A Photographer in the Videography World

Ramstein Air Base, Germany --

I am an Air Force photojournalist and videographer.

From June to October 2014, I attended the Basic Photojournalist Course at the Defense Information School on Fort George G. Meade, Md. for my technical school. It was a very stressful four and a half months, but I made it through to my first duty station at Ramstein.

Ever since I raised my right hand, there has been talk about combining the photojournalist and broadcast career fields that fall under Public Affairs, and several months ago my superintendent came up to my desk and told me I would be heading back to DINFOS to take another course; only this time it would be a three and a half month course to learn videography.

At first I was apprehensive about returning to DINFOS. I remembered how stressful the photography course was, could I really go through it all over again? What if I was terrible? The Air Force would be investing time and money to send me to this course, what if I failed?

I forced myself to push these doubts aside, and as I did I started to feel excitement. While this course may be tough, I was looking forward to the challenge.

Three other Airmen and I were chosen amongst our peers to be the first ever to receive official training in both photojournalism and videography. We were to be the guinea pigs that decided how some aspects of this merge would go in the future.

In the last few days of January I found myself back at Fort Meade walking the halls of DINFOS again. I was enrolled into Video Production and Documentation Class 010-16. It was a much different class from the one I went through for photojournalism.

There was not only the difference between photography and video, but my photojournalism class was comprised entirely of Airmen, both students and instructors. The VPD Course was originally only for Marines and Army, and my fellow Airmen and I were added in to see if this is where the Air Force wanted to send Airmen in the future.

It was a unique and rewarding experience to work in a joint environment. While there was some good-natured ribbing between the three branches, I was glad to have had the opportunity to work alongside the Soldiers and Marines in my class.

In this course I learned basic composition and lighting techniques, various rules to follow when shooting video and how to piece your shots together into a well edited video using Adobe Premiere. When your job requires you to produce something that is subjective, you have to have thick skin when it comes to getting critiques. My instructors were tough, but fair, and I learned a lot from them.

I consider myself very lucky to have been selected for this training. When the inevitable merger comes to fruition I will already be a step ahead of my peers and avoid having to try to learn a new skill through on-the-job training.

I also enjoyed undertaking a new challenge and furthering my education within my career field. There are many Airmen throughout the Air Force that may also face the challenge of learning a new skill because of a merge within their career field.

I was fortunate to receive official training, but several Airmen in my office have taken the initiative to learn all they can about video or photography before the merge begins. It is through initiative and motivation such as this that the Air Force continues to grow and expand as a whole.

Now that I am back at Ramstein, I look forward to being able to use my new skill for real world applications instead of only for the classroom. I hope to do well as both a photojournalist and videographer and prove it was worth the Air Force’s time and resources to send me to the course.