REAL Events — REAL Photography

REAL Events — REAL Photography

DCTC Photography students cover True Blue Gala

by Erica Schaaf
Banner photo by Donald Chalfy

A new style of learning is happening in the Visual Communications department at Dakota County Technical College. Over spring semester 2013, a Special Events Photography class has kept both first- and second-year Photography students busy and learning in a different way. The new course gives students real-life experiences in planning, training and taking photographs at two major DCTC events: the True Blue Gala and DCTC Graduation Ceremony.

Bill Eilers teaching Special Events Photography students (photo by Donald Chalfy)Special Events Photography sets itself apart from most other VCOM courses as students have a chance to take on specific roles that they apply both on and off campus. For each special event, students are given specific functional “hats” to wear, including photography, editing, graphic design, Web management, sales and marketing, and project management.

Instructor Bill Eilers brought the concept to life with the hopes that it could morph into an ongoing class for future students. “This apprenticeship-style training gives students hands-on experience,” said Eilers. “It’s a win-win. The college gets a stable of willing and eager students, and the students get to apply their knowledge to significant, real-world projects.”

The class meets in person every week as well as online to plan, share ideas and solve problems before each event. Four of the 18 students have taken on project management positions to assist in planning and coordination. Photography and Entrepreneurship/Small Business student, Patrick Haley, regards Special Events Photography as a boon for students seeking professional experience. “I love this course,” Haley said. “As a student and a business owner, I can tell you that this kind of teaching and learning really works. I’ve learned as much or more in this class as any I’ve ever taken.”

Special Events Photography students (photo by Amy Thureen)The first of two major events that Photography students are covering is the True Blue Gala, a scholarship fundraising event that was held at Brackett’s Crossing in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday evening, April 11, 2013. Eight student photographers captured a full spectrum of images, including professional shots of the ballroom décor and setup, arrival of guests, the gala’s Recognition and Awards programs, and group shots of attendees. Within 24 hours of the event, students had their images edited, retouched and submitted for DCTC marketing purposes, including display on the college website as well as in college publications.

The second event will be the DCTC Graduation Ceremony, which is scheduled for May 17, 2013, at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minn. The class is currently finalizing details for photography duties and post-production, the latter involving the editing of thousands of photos to showcase the very best. Graduation portraits will be uploaded to a website for graduates, family and friends to purchase. Proceeds from the sales will fund scholarships for students in the VCOM department.

True Blue Gala Gallery
All photos by DCTC Photography students


For more information about Photography at DCTC, contact: