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Photographing Civil Servants

Updated on February 20, 2014
Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0
Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0 | Source

There are many photographic projects and ideas that one can undertake. One of the most satisfying which can lead to, not only great images, but can also provide some excitement is civil service photography.

Civil servants as you probably know are individuals who provide their community with some sort of service. They mostly work for a government body, whether local or national. Contact your local government agencies and inquire about the possibilities and regulations associated with photographing civil servants.

Police officers, fire fighters, mail carriers and utility workers are just some of the people that you can photograph. Photograph them at work and with the wares of their office. Photograph them in their uniform and near their work vehicles. Firefighters and their utility vehicles can offer a photographer and amplitude of excellent and colorful images.

This project does not take into account photographing civil servants while they are performing their duties, but this can also be done. With the exception of police officers and firefighters, most civil servant will gladly pose for you while performing their duties. Keep in mind that some civil servants conduct work that may fall under certain privacy regulations and even though you will be photographing them, there are some situations which may restrict your shooting.

Don't go for the obvious shots, such as a firefighter standing next to the fire truck, capture images of them while at ease and doing common chores. Be polite, remember that they are taking time from their schedule to allow you to photograph them. Don't be pushy and ask them to pose on repeated occasions. The best shots are usually obtained while the subject is concentrated on doing something else besides posing for you.

Try to capture shots that include their work environment and neighborhoods where they perform their duties. If taking shots while your subject is interacting with others ask for permission to photograph, don't take the presence of anyone for granted. Take some shots in close ups, medium and long shots. Focus on some small details as well, especially of vehicles. A good concept is to show your subject with images that recount the daily routine as it develops. Your objective should include telling a story. It would also be a good idea to offer your subjects some copies of your work as a form of gratitude for allowing you to tag along and take their photographs.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Don't approach this project from a commercial perspective; in other words don't think that you are going to take some shots, print a calendar and sell it for a profit as there are many regulations that may make this unfeasible. However, you can reach an agreement with the many professional associations such as the police benevolent association and the mail carriers union.

Approach it from an exposure mentality. Associate yourself to turn your shots into a product and sell this product such as calendar for nonprofit; donate the proceeds to one of these unions or associations or to a non profit association of your choice. Your objective should be to gain professional exposure and to get your work shown. Many of these professional associations will showcase your work free of charge and can lead to future sales from the many contacts which are sure to arise out of this relationship.

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