Editor's Notebook
I spent much of yesterday (after attending the Arlington County Board meeting) editing tons of photos of our prom coverage. It's an enjoyable, if time-consuming, thing to do, because I know readers have come to expect plenty of full-color prom photos in the Sun Gazette.

As our photographers well know, we have certain expectations in how we cover proms, which I think makes our photo coverage superior to most of what I see in the region. (And photographers will also tell you that, when I don't get what I'm looking for, I'm not the most pleasant of people about it.)

A few of my rules for prom photos:

1. “No ugly people.” OK, OK, before anyone gets all bent out of shape, that's just a bit of a joke. It doesn't mean that if you don't get in the paper, we think you're ugly. But we do want to see fresh-faced, happy kids looking right into the camera.

2. Get there early. The last thing I, or our readers, want to see if a bunch of sweaty, bumping, grinding bodies in a darkened ballroom at midnight. Our photogs are told to get there at the start of the night, get some pictures and let the kids have some fun.

3. ”No freak shows.” I enforce this rule about 95 percent of the time. We don't want to be using pictures of people who clearly dressed up a certain way to get attention. Once in a while, I'll break the rule, but try to keep that to a minimum each year.

4. “Boy-girl, boy-girl.” We occasionally run shots of a few students of the same gender together (either boys or girls), but prefer couples shots. I think readers really want to see who went with whom, rather than crowd shots. That may just be me, but, as I tell our staff members when I'm in a particularly cranky mood, hey, my business card is the one that says "editor," so I get to decide.

5. What's appropriate, what's not? Starting last year, it seemed as if showing off ample amounts of cleavage became the trend among some female students attending proms, and it has continued this year. Which begs the question, how much is too much? That's on a case-by-case basis.

While on the subject of proms, kudos to our Kristen Armstrong, who filled in when we had too many proms on one night this weekend, and went out to shoot the prom of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology. She brought back solid pictures, too!

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