UTS Help Center employees personally assist with laptop troubles

This slideshow, in conjunction with an issue story, is meant to paint a story about the services offered by the DU University Technical Services Help Center and highlight the technical skills of UTS Help Center employees. Through pictures of the Help Center and shots of employees assisting customers with laptop problems, the complimentary technical services provided at the Help Center can be showcased and a series of valuable services emphasized. I accomplished this by beginning with a chronological set of photos meant to visualize the walk-in laptop appointment process.

By shadowing my roommate Casey Litow, an electrical engineering major with a computer science minor and a UTS Help Center consultant, I was able to capture him working directly with customers and their laptops first-hand. This emphasis on Casey and his day-to-day responsibilities at the Help Center again helps in communicating, both visually and textually, the helpful tech support skills of UTS employees. By focusing on Casey and his interactions with customers and their laptops, I was able to couple the services offered at the Help Center, explained in the issue story, with the interpersonal human interaction involved on the job.

At first, I encountered some difficulty in taking meaningful, interesting pictures of human subjects at the Help Center because my article centered on the details of technical services, not the people performing them. After thinking about the UTS Help Center procedure and the integral role employees play in it, I was able to gain permission to shadow Casey throughout a two-hour shift on a relatively calm Friday afternoon.

I tried to focus on what Casey was doing and photograph him from a variety of angles while he worked with customers or laptops. I took quite a few pictures of the actual makeup of the Help Center as well (desk setup, sign-in station, chairs, storage areas, etc.), but ultimately decided to give the slideshow a more human feel in contrast to the issue story. I also snapped some photos of other employees working at the Help Center’s telephone operating center, with permission from supervisors, so as to provide a human face with the voice on the telephone.

As far as actually taking the photos, I found that playing with angles and trying to invoke a depth of field in the picture contributed to getting a decent shot. Along these lines, I also tried to actively put myself in a position to snap a picture at a unique angle while still keeping the rule of thirds in mind. Also, getting as close as possible to subjects often created a nice shot with interesting contrast. If shooting this scene again, I would still try to keep these basic photographic principles in mind since they did help to some degree.

Because I was shooting with an iPhone 4, a few of the pictures were not as sharp as I would have liked and I wasn’t able to effectively zoom in and still capture a detailed image. I also found it difficult to emphasize depth of field in some of the images and discovered a difficulty in finding appropriate angles due to the phone’s small camera and its natural disadvantages to DLRs.

When it came to selecting photos, I tried to organize and publish pictures representative of the chronological order of the appointment process. After this, I tried to take pictures and provide additional written information about UTS statistics and services. In addition, taking multiple photos of one subject allowed for me to exclude blurry or unfocused photos and select the clearest ones I could. I also focused on selecting pictures which could accompany important text appropriately in a way where the image worked with the caption.

By shadowing a human subject, I was able to provide a second dimension to the issue story and paint a visual portrayal of UTS employees providing services in action. I also gave a visual representation of the actual contents of the Help Center and a look into the behind the scenes areas for readers. Because of this, I saw the issue in a different light which illuminated the technical and customer service skills of the employees rather than a recitation of statistics and facts about available services.


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