Covering meetings and press conferences is never something a photojournalist considers a dream assignment. The options always seem predictable. It is hard to walk into the same scene over and over and try to come up with something different.
And something different, at least for someone competing with Getty Images or the Associated Press, is key.
It is hard to beat the major wires at news coverage. So my thoughts are to not concentrate too much on the expected and try for a different look and feel. For me that means finding the light.
At first glance the hearing rooms on Capitol Hill do not seem to be lit in an interesting way. But there actually is quite a lot of falloff from the subjects at the witness table. This can make it more interesting.
From time to time I will try to use the lights as a graphic element in the photo. Sometimes it works and makes the photo a bit more interesting like in the photo of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.
Even in the Senate TV Studio where a lot of press conferences occur, seems bathed in light. But again, from the right angles, it can be interesting if exposed for the highlights on the subject.
The studio on the House of Representatives side of the house, is pretty much the same, but a much larger space. The photo below was just a happy accident because even with the soft side light, the only thing that makes the photo interesting in my opinion is the two staffers walking in the background.
There are more opportunities for interesting light in the Capitol but you pretty much have to find them and stake them out. There are three or four places that I know about that can be good depending on the weather and time of day. When there is down time and not much going on, I will usually roam these areas looking for something to happen.
The image below is an example. Turned out even better when it won second place in the NPPA regional clip contest.