8th November 2009 – I got to meet Zainal Abdul Halim whom is a seasoned photojournalist working for Reuters. Zainal, whom had been doing plenty of different photographic assignment in many places including The Afghan War was invited by John Shum (from Sony Malaysia) to give a Photography Talk for the Alpha community. The talk was held at Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
The talk starts from 1pm and it was 3 hours long; It tiring, but inspiring. From the talk itself, it clearly tells how far Zainal would go in taking good photographs. He shared all his past assignment photos, experiences, as well as explaining the do and don’t as a photojournalist. His assignment photos can be found in his online portfolio. He shoots with mainly 17-35mm and 70-200mm lens. There’s too much to share, and I don’t know where to start.
The few key items I remember from this talk
  • Always look for a clean background when composing (background centric)
  • Look up high and look down low for interesting composition
  • Anticipate the flow, go a step ahead
  • Close up to the subject for impact
  • Rule of third!
  • Put everything into a single shot (photo for the news)
After the talk, it becomes clear to me that not everyone can be a photojournalist. It’s a tough job and obviously there is no second chance in a shot. All shots done by a photojournalist are not suppose to be tempered; only a minimal exposure leveling and cropping is allowed. Risk is also a factor as a photojournalist put their lives in danger if they go on an assignment in a war zones. For that, I respect them on their bravery to tell story with actual graphics for the public.
Photo shooting session after the talk
Overall, it was a great knowledge sharing session given by Zainal. More importantly, thank you Sony Malaysia for the effort in organizing this with just a minimal fee of RM 10! Besides the inspiring talk, at the end of the session we have model shooting by the pool side. I wasn’t much in a mood for shooting models, thus I head back home for a nap after taking a couple of shots:P