I tried to practice Arizona Republic photographer Rob Schumacher's tips: I looked for light, shot from a different angle, and scoped out the entire room for the best vantage point. I started on the opposite side of the room, from where the light was coming, and thought I had some good shots, but ended up on the other side and noticed the Cronkite School logo up high on the wall. I thought it'd make a good background for Leona and sat down to take the picture. I ended up taking 4-5 because she was writing, and I thought the pen was important (remembering Schumacher's similar photo with his subject holding a visible cigarette). I was impressed by Schumacher's story about how he got the blue moon photo by planning ahead for months (http://www.schumacherdigital.com/), and I'll definitely try to plan for photos as much as I emphasize planning for articles.
Above: While others scurried to take notes and photos, Leona O'Neal of George County High School in Lucedale, Miss., manages her assignment with calm and grace.
Sequoia High School
Redwood City, Calif.