A Snapshot of Being a Volunteer Photographer

 Meijer State Games of Michigan 2017. Photo by Diane Durand

Meijer State Games of Michigan 2017. Photo by Diane Durand

For the contest, photographers come from all over Michigan to shoot events, sports, and athletes. There are three categories in the photo competition: best opening ceremony photo, best sports action photo, and people's choice. The winner in each category wins a $250 Marks Photo and Video gift card. Marks Photo and Video has been a longtime supporter and sponsor of the Meijer State Game's volunteer photo contest.

Before the photo contest, during the first Meijer State Games of Michigan, there were only a couple people taking photos of a few sports. We knew this wouldn't result in the number of  photographs we were hoping to have to record the event so the Grand Rapids Camera Club was asked to come out. 

The Grand Rapids Camera Club was originally established in 1899 and is the oldest continuous camera club in the United States. The Camera Club meets monthly for workshops and competitions with different divisions.

When the Meijer State Games first reached out to the club, Diane Durand was the acting president. Durand spread the word of the photographer need and club members showed up for the second annual Meijer State Games. There was a flood of photos from the events. 

 Meijer State Games of Michigan 2017. Photo by Diane Durand

Meijer State Games of Michigan 2017. Photo by Diane Durand

For Durand, shooting the Meijer State Games was a different experience. Usually a photographer of cars, animals, and landscapes, Durand says "the only time I shoot people is when they're doing sports."

Taking photos at the Meijer State Game is a way to share her own craft with the athletes and spectators, Durand shares. Coming in unbiased to any one sport or athlete, Durand takes photos of everybody and everything and is happy doing so. 

"To me, it's all about the athletes. You want to show their competition and show their happiness or struggle with their sport."

The Olympic style of the Meijer State Games gives photographers, like Durand, the opportunity to be up close to sports they love or want to learn more about. While Durand is on the sidelines, coaches and score keepers share their knowledge of the sport being played. From cricket to curling, Durand remembers sport staff being "willing to talk and offer help with sports you don't know anything about."

Being a volunteer photographer is a different experience for everyone. Whether the purpose is to get up close to a beloved sport or to better photography skills, the Meijer Games is the place to be.

"We're photography people. We're up for the challenge. It helps me improve and it helps the [Meijer] State Games advertise."

To be a volunteer photographer and have a chance to enter the photo contest to win the gift card from our sponsor Mark's Photo and Video, register for media credentials by June 11, 2018.