I stayed for her whole panel which is something I didn’t do for a lot of others that I photographed. I wanted to try a trick that another photographer taught me last year (thank you Gary Miller!) to ask the speaker and interviewer for one more shot a the end of their session on stage. It's such a quick shot. You have to run back to the stage as they are standing so you can get their attention. You raise your hand and just say, “One more of you two smiling onstage together” and they will do it. It’s how I was able to get a group shot of the Westworld panel with Elon Musk last year. SXSW loves this shot. News outlets also love it. Try it next year!
Another huge thing that happened was Bill Nye hanging out in the audience. When I saw him I knew that I had to get them together. THAT would be the shot no one had. That would be the photo I truly worked for. After Nye had surprised everyone, including AOC, by asking a question from the audience, the selfie takers were in true form. Once AOC stood to leave, they were on him like white on rice. It was difficult, but my photog friend and I corralled him to wait back stage away from the mob to get permission to meet AOC. I finally got them together… and I messed up the photo.
PANIC MODE. You internalize that real quick and stay professional. The first few shots I had taken of them were completely blown out. I had just photographed Nye asking questions from the audience, so my flash was on a crazy power which I think was 1/4 or 1/2 (I always shoot manual flash. Not a huge user of TTL.) I thought I missed it. They were so happy to be chatting with each other that I fixed it and snapped more of them just talking. When they were about to leave I politely asked, “Let’s get one more smiling of just you two.” That’s all it took. That’s the photo that went everywhere.