My day as a press snapper

Oxford Mail: Simon Reynolds in the Oxford Mail offices and, below, taking a picture on a job Simon Reynolds in the Oxford Mail offices and, below, taking a picture on a job

YESTERDAY we brought to you a day in the life of Oxford Mail photographer Andrew Walmsley. But what is it like for an amateur snapper to spend a day with a veteran photographer? To find out, we gave ex-police officer and long-time amateur photographer Simon Reynolds the chance to spend a day out with our staff I WAS excited to be asked by the Oxford Mail to spend a day with one of their staff photographers.

Although I have been serious about my photography for more than 30 years, you never stop learning and I was sure I would enjoy the experience and learn a lot.

My usual subjects are weddings, dogs and pets. I figured the day-to-day life of a press photographer would be more varied and I was not wrong.

I met my companion for the day, Ed Nix, a resident photographer with years of experience, at the paper’s HQ. He gave me a whistle-stop tour of the paper’s cavernous office.

I saw people at desks with an air of quiet enthusiasm.

I was shown a shoot list for the day, for which Ed and I were responsible. Number one – “Illustrate winter: A frosty scene”.

On one of the mildest days since July, that was going to be tricky. Ed told me not to worry and cheerfully transported me on the first job – a nursery populated by mums and toddlers.

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I was impressed with the way he organised a festive picture from a young and unprepared model before we dashed off to the next job, Sobell House Hospice.

I had never been there before but had read about it. We were there because the staff had been nominated for a prestigious award.

Again I was impressed with the way Ed cajoled willing and not-so-willing staff to pose. I took a few pictures.

Next stop, an ice rink where the Christmas theme continued and then Oxford Castle. This was obviously one of Ed’s favourite places.

En route he told me about the castle and features that may be used in a photo.

The shoot was about the Christmas panto villain the Sheriff of Nottingham meeting the real-life Sheriff of Oxfordshire.

We suggested scenarios but ultimately it wasn’t until we arrived and met the gentlemen that we settled on what we wanted.

It was nothing like we had previously discussed but it worked beautifully.

Again Ed’s practised eye was the key.

In my short insight I think the work of a newspaper photographer is varied, interesting and can sometimes be hard work.

But it is always rewarding and satisfying and what I now know is that dogs are better at sitting still than toddlers.

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