Knowing your subject gives you insights to what makes a better photo than just any photo.
My son was a Summerall Guard at the Citadel in the class of 2011. During this time I took more photos of them performing and started to see these moments that I thought gave you insights into how they communicate during a silent drill.
One thing I noticed was the face expressions showed them counting to themselves or when they breathed loudly so those around them would hear. This let them all know if they were together in their counts and their moves.
The Summerall Guard was formed in 1932. Membership is considered a high honor at the military college. The platoon’s purpose is to exemplify, through a unique series of movements based on the old German close order drill, the exactness and thoroughness with which a cadet is trained. The drill, is performed to a silent count. Each year’s Guards take responsibility for teaching the next year’s unit the precise drill.
In sports very similar predictable moments happen as well. I know that if I am covering a team like The Citadel they are trying to get to the goal that they are facing. So even on defense if a fumble or interception happens the players will try and go towards the goal.
I like to stand or kneel in the endzone which they are going so that I can see their faces. If I am on the sideline I sometimes get their faces, but when I am face on to them the percentage of photos with their faces seems to be a lot better for photos.
Their extra effort on the play will be them lunging towards the goal line, which is where I am standing.
The holes that the offensive linemen are creating for the running backs is facing that goal line.
Even if they are stopped, which is most of the time, the expression on their faces shows that often they are putting it all on the line. This type of a tackle photo when the guy just got a first down works well on sports pages.
As you can see in both the examples of the Citadel cadets that if they are on the Summerall Guards or if they are playing a sport it is the face expression that draws the audience into the photograph.
What you are wanting to show as the photographer is the effort and one of the best ways to capture this is in the expressions.
Go here to see more of my photos from The Citadel during Parent’s Weekend.
By the way were were at The Citadel due to request for my wife Dorie Griggs to preach on Sunday. Here is her message if you would like to hear it.
If you are a freelancer or a business owner you might be like me and wake up in the middle of the night sweating from anxiety of how will I pay my bills this month. There is nothing on the books for a while and you wonder will the phone ring again or will you get an email.
Worry 25 I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?
27 Can worry make you live longer?[a] 28 Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. 29 But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth[b] wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. 30 God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?
31 Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” 32 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. 33 But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
34 Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.
So I know that scripture and still I wake up in a cold sweat. My main concern is how to get a paying job from a client or potential client. This is the core issue.
One of the best things about being young was not having these worries. My parents carried those worries for me. I went out and played with my friends.
I think the key to solving the “cold sweats” at night are the same keys to building strong friendships.
One of the coolest things I can remember growing up was when someone knocked on the door and wanted to play with me. Today I still enjoy it when a friend calls me up and asks me to play golf with them.
This feeling of euphoria is one of the most powerful emotions.
What was even better than just having a friend knock on my door was the invitation to do something that they had already made plans. Do you want to go bowling? Some of the best memories are when I had a friend who was creating an experience for me and asked me to join them.
One way to have your “cold sweat” disappear is the client to call with a project. That solves my problem right away. This does happen, but what I have found that solves this problem more than receiving a request is to be just like that friend of mine knocking on the door asking me if I wanted to go out on the lake in their boat for skiing.
You see, most all of your clients also have those “cold sweats” of some sort. They need ideas as well.
Solve your clients problem and you will solve your own
What is your client’s problem? This takes a lot of time to figure out. Steve Jobs solved problems for the world. One of the first problems he solved was a way to carry around a lot of music and help musicians sell their music through the iPod and iTunes.
Another problem Steve Jobs solved was needing a computer with you all the time to be able to solve problems at a moments notice. The iPhone allowed you to search the web right in the palm of your hand.
You need to put your clients first and success will find you. Once you have clients it is much easier to get to know them and learn what their needs are than if they are prospects.
If you do a great job of providing a solution to their problems that you can provide then you are on the way to a profitable career.
Not every solution should involve you. If you are truly concerned for a client there are times that you just will give your client a solution that doesn’t involve you directly. When you do this on a regular basis rather than just one time you will be communicating that you are really looking out for their best interests over your own.
By not always coming to a client with solutions that only you can fulfill but others are better at meeting those needs you become the fixer for them. They will be more likely to listen to you more than if the only time you are coming to them you are the solution.
When you are the person calling your clients with ideas for their problems, you are just like the friend knocking on their door asking them to come and join you on an adventure.
This is written for Mac users. I have found that when it comes to formating a USB drive or even an external hard drive that you intend to share with PC users it is important to know there are many ways you can choose to format the drive.
I will walk you through the steps here which will let you easily share your files with anyone and if they want to they can add files to the drive to give back to you. We had to do this for our Storyteller Abroad Workshops where we had a mixture of Macs and PCs used in the workshop.
We wanted to share photos and videos so we could use this in b-roll and we needed to have everyone’s Adobe Premier project completely saved to a hard drive that we could open on the instructors computers to fix if needed later or if we need to change something due to changes in the storyline.
In your toolbar pick the Launchpad.
Then select “Other” folder.
Inside that folder is “Disk Utility” that you want to select. Another way to select this is to go to Spotlight and type in Disk Utility.
When it launches it you will then go and highlight your drive that you want to format on the left column.
Then in the top center of the menu click on “Erase”.
Name your drive and then click on “Format” so you can see all the options.
You want to pick “ExFAT”.
Next be sure you pick the scheme of “Master Boot Record” as well. The problem is that Apple defaults new partitions to GUID, which is bootable on a new Mac. But Windows can’t read it. You have to manually choose MBR (Master Boot Record) as the partition type, which is bootable in Windows, and then format as exFAT.
Sometimes you might get an error after it attempts to format the drive. Try it a second time and it usually works.
Now you can share your files using a USB drive or hard drive with your clients.
I suggest using this format all the time so that you never get the call that the client cannot open your USB Jump Drive or Hard Drive.
I am one of my favorite customers Raving Fan. For the past 13 years Chick-fil-A has taken one day a year for customer appreciation day. However the cows like to call it “Cow Appreciation Day.”
Being a Raving Fan of Chick-fil-A I wanted my photos to stand out and show my enthusiasm for the brand.
Now everyone is taking photos with their phones and point and shoots of the day. I am competing with thousands of photos. How do you make your photos stand out and look “different”?
The best way I have found is to use a flash off at 45º of the camera axis to create a pleasing light. It also helps color correct giving you excellent skin tones.
Here is the setup where my assistant is holding the off camera flash for me.
Using the flash helps in so many ways. I do not have raccoon eyes from the sun overhead and getting the skin color just right is equivalent to singing in tune.
I am using the flash inside and outside. Also I am just adding the flash to about +1 Stop above the existing light. Sometimes a little less. If you are just above the existing light level the flash can help color correct any color cast.
One more thing that might not be apparent, but I am not lighting the entire scene. I am just adding a little light to the subject only. The backgrounds are all lighted by other light source than my flash.
If you want to make your photos stand out just add a little light to the subject, because just like seasoning a little light goes a long way.
Here is all the gear I used for the photo shoot. All of these links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission from any purchases made using the affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you.
Yesterday I did a few large group photos. The editors needed identification of everyone in these group photos. Within Lightroom you can go to “People” and it will search for all the faces and using face recognition software similar to how Facebook works.
While Lightroom helps you with “face recognition” you still have to get everyone’s names. For an earlier post on how Lightroom “face recognition works here is that blog post.
Here is a link to Adobe Lightroom and PhotoShop software:
By the way I just made the photo with all the people’s names in it big in Lightroom and did a screen grab. In addition to putting the information in the IPTC I also gave them this photo for them to see the identification.
I had each person print their name on a 3.5″ x 5″ card with a Sharpie. Then I made a quick headshot of each person.
After they held up the card I had them put it by their side and did a couple of very quick headshots. I gave all these also to the client. It is a bonus for them, but I needed it to help me to identify people in all the photos.
I also needed everyone to fill out a Model Release. Here is the short form I use on a card stock.
My assistant hands out pens and the cards to make all this go really fast. I use the Software fotoBiz to create the model releases. It comes with the wording as well for the model release. This is a link to the software. I am an affiliate and the revenue from sales helps support this blog.
I hope these tips can help you the next time you need to identify a large number of people quickly in your group photos.
This is the most useful software package I own for my business. While I have Adobe Creative Cloud Suite which I use Lightroom, PhotoShop and Premier Pro regularly, it is fotoBiz X that runs the business side of my work. Here is a link to the software. I am a affiliate of their program. This is an affiliate link which means that I receive a commission from any purchases made using the affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you.
Now for years I knew about the software, but I didn’t use it. I couldn’t figure out the advantages of the software.
Now many years later I regret having not purchased this earlier. Experience started to teach me that I needed help.
When you first open the program you should go to setup and put in your information and if you have a logo put that in as well.
They show you examples of what it will look like on a #10 envelop or on a invoice.
One thing you will need early on is a model release.
Under “Forms and Releases” you will find five difference templates. There is one for:
Adult Model Release
Minor Model Release
Photographer’s Portfolio Release
Simplified Adult Release
It will drop your name or company name into the form and then you can just print it out.
Another problem I was always running into was how do you word your cover letters, late payment letters and even a copyright violation letter? Well the software comes with a lot of email templates that you can use and modify for your correspondence uses.
A question I often had early on and continue today having is what to charge for certain uses. The fotoBiz comes with fotoQuote which will help you with knowing what you should charge not only for a stock use, but also in assignment work. Here is a link to just buy fotoQuote.
fotoQuote was just updated to version 7. This includes social media use now in the latest version.
It has also video and all the possible ways you might want to use it. Now while you may not always get the prices they recommend, these are the prices many are getting in the industry.
By having this information of prices you now have a better idea of the range of a job and what you can quote. I have learned that fotoQuote has helped me more than anything in getting a better idea of a low medium and high price for a job. I just give clients three prices most of the time.
The low, medium and high price quote is based on uses that the client can get as well as how long they may use the images. Without fotoQuote I really didn’t have any idea on how to offer three different prices.
fotoBiz also helps you with creating estimates which then can easily be transformed into the invoice with just a click. You can always just create the invoice as well.
When you sell a stock image the software lets you embed a thumbnail into the invoice with all the information about the sale. It will ask if you want a reminder on your calendar when the usage is up. This way you can then write a letter not to remind the people time is up, but to write a letter asking if they want to extend it with estimates for extending the usage.
You can download the demo and try it for 14 days free of charge. fotoBiz is just $299. This is not a subscription based software. You own it and can use it forever.
I can tell you that this is a software that will help empower the freelancer to know what to charge and help you communicate with your prospects and clients in putting together estimates, invoices and even email correspondence.
FotoBiz® has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so what do you have to lose?
There are a few things that produce such anxiety in my life that physically affect me. Going to the dentist for more than a cleaning produces high anxiety in my life.
My blood pressure rises and my heart rate increases.
This anxiety response isn’t limited to my fear of a dental procedure. My friend Brad Moore posted this just the other day on FaceBook:
The responses Brad received let him know not only did we all suffer from this, some people gave them their solutions on how they have learned to deal with worrying.
When I was studying social work we had to be trained in how to help people with their worries and anxiety. We learned to unpack those thoughts creating an anxiety. Worrying about something can help motivate you to do something whereas anxiety can shut you down.
Let me talk a little more about Anxiety and then get back to worrying.
During this training I learned about two types of anxiety producing thoughts. There are first those things that we have control over and then there are those things we have no control over.
When you let those things you have no control over take control of your thoughts they can freeze you and send you into anxiety produced depression. If you find you have no desire to be motivated then you need to see a clinical counselor like a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.
You could be in this situation not due to how you are thinking but because your genetics and the way your body chemistry is setup. You can be very depressed just because your chemicals in your body are out of balance. There is medication that under medical supervision that can bring you out of that deep depression.
Learning that I need to categorize something as in my control or out of my control helped me more than anything else I learned in the lesson. Once I could determine something is out of my control I knew that no matter how long we ponder it we are not going to do anything but waste our time.
However, there are things we can do for some things that cause us to worry.
One of the ways I addressed my worries was to create separate cases for my lighting gear needs. I have a case for video LED lights, another case with my Speedlights, stands and umbrellas and then this one pictured here for when I need a lot of power and might not have power available.
I still have two other cases which allow me to bring larger number of lights for those big jobs.
Worrying about my gear isn’t the only anxiety freelancers deal with on a regular basis.
Remember there are things out of your control and these are the things that often still keep me up at night.
When these thoughts start affecting our bodies like my time in the dentist chair this can be anxiety producing, which can be debilitating. Anxiety is more like a hamster wheel that spins us around but doesn’t lead us to productive solutions.
Worry and Anxiety come with living
My personal experience has taught me that I will never get rid of worrying and anxiety. Even these tips are not enough. Life can be just overwhelming at times.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. –– Matthew 6:34
I turn to my faith as my way of navigating these times of stress. While scripture tells us not to worry it also has the Lamentations.
A Lament in The Book of Lamentations or in the Psalms may be looked at as a cry of need in a context of crisis. Another way of looking at it is all the more basic: laments simply being “appeals for divine help in distress”.
These laments, too, often have a set format: an address to God, description of the suffering/anguish which one seeks relief, a petition for help and deliverance, a curse towards one’s enemies, an expression of the belief of ones innocence or a confession of the lack thereof, a vow corresponding to an expected divine response, and lastly, a song of thanksgiving.
I struggled with fear and worry for years. But through time, I began to find that the things that once would have sent me down an anxious spiral, no longer had the same effect. It didn’t happen quickly, but over days, months, years.
I read words – of life – of truth. Soaking them in, over and over, praying them out loud. Until they became so familiar, they replaced the other things in my mind that I’d battled against. There’s nothing magical about words and verses, but there is power through them.
“My God, My God, Why?” –Psalms 22:1
I see the laments as a time where we complain to God about something that just isn’t right in our eyes. We then go on and make a request from God.
What I want to emphasize here is that the writers of all the laments then go to the next step in their lament where they give an expression of trust. This often is in the form of God in the past you did this. I know from my experience you do intervene. It is the remembrance of how God has taken care of them in the past and they are asking for his deliverance from what they are suffering from now.
A Biblical lament, then, is an honest cry to a God who is powerful, good, and just. It’s a cry that expects an answer from God, and therefore results in hope, trust, and joy rather than despair.
What happens when I pray a lament?
I have had many sinus infections through my life and this painful disgusting condition is how I feel before I pray. While not always immediate is the response, I do know that the answer to my prayer is like being able to breath again.
The anxiety that froze me and kept me paralyzed is gone. I now am in a state of worry with hope. I am then able to think about what can I do that I do have control over.
So on those nights I cannot sleep because I wonder where my next check will come from, I am able to get out of bed and start writing emails. These emails maybe pitching ideas to clients and potential customers or something else that I haven’t done before.
Once I have written those emails I am now able to go to bed and sleep.
I believe it is God who helped me get unstuck and even possibly some ideas.
Stanley’s Stages of Freelancer’s Anxiety
Feeling of being overwhelmed which leads to anxiety that depresses me
Making list of what I can do and what I have no control over
Take action on what I can do
While these three things sometimes work, more than often this is really what is happening
Anxious thoughts which paralyzes me
Depression due to realizing how much of this is due to my past decisions putting me in this situation. [Beating myself up stage]
Tears begin to flow that I have no way out of this situation.
Brought to my knees in prayer where I am often yelling at God
Slowly I am able to tell God what the problem is about
Asking God to take action
I remember how God has helped me before. This reminds me to trust that God will help me again
While the problem doesn’t go away God has helped me become un-paralyzed.
I am able to think of some things I can do to take action
I realize I have done all that I can think of doing
I am able to relax and have hope. Often because this happens in the night I am able to finally go to sleep.
I suggest reading the book of Lamentations in the Bible. Here are five ways it can help you.
They help you express our feelings in honest and healthy ways.
They help shape your feelings, helping us interpret them in light of God’s redemptive plan for the entire world.
They teach us more about ourselves by revealing our greatest need and how our minds and hearts influence our lives.
They teach us more about God, his character and activity in us and the world.
They reorient us to the truth of the gospel and how it transforms us from the inside out.
The hardest assignments for me are the most personal ones to cover for our family. While I want to just sit back and enjoy, I also want to be sure these milestones in our family life has been documented.
When I arrive to cover an event I am often setting up strobes to be sure I get good light on the people’s faces. For this event I setup two strobes off to the sides to be sure the speakers had good light on them.
This photo was taken without the flashes going off, so I have circled where they are in the room. The flash on the left is the Nikon SB-800 and the one on the right is my Nikon SB-900.
They are both on the Pocketwizard TT5. I am usingManfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand – 6.2′ (1.9m)I chose this light stand because of how small it folds up [19.3″ (49cm)] for easy travel through airports. To connect the Pocketwizard TT5 to the lightstand I am usingInterfit Metal Umbrella Bracket with Adjustable Flash Shoe. To trigger the flashes I am using the Pocketwizard TT1 with the AC3 to control the flash output on the TTL setting. This way the camera sensor is helping determine the flash output of the flashes. I guess you can see this is a little involved over just pulling out the camera and shooting some available light photos or even using an on-camera flash. I want the photos to look great, not just usable. I am documenting the most important events in our family history. My family will cherish these photos much more than if I had great photos of the President of the United States.
Here are some of the photos from our event celebrating my wife getting the 2014 Pioneering Ministry Award from Columbia Theological Seminary for her work doing chaplaincy work with journalists, Citadel parents and now military families.
What is the biggest mistake made by photographers? Photographers often put more effort into covering events for clients and not enough into their own families. What is the most important?
While your clients will pay the bills, the photos you do of your friends and family events are the ones you will be most remembered for doing.
You know what happens when you do this consistently? Your clients start getting your best coverage as well—they are now treated as family. Every business should be doing the very same thing for their families, treating them with your best efforts.
This past weekend I was photographing Bottles and Cans performing at North Beach Bar & Grill on Tybee Island. There was no light on the band and therefore they were performing as a silhouette as the night went on.
I shot with an off-camera strobe that if you look at the table just in front of the band you will see a bright patch where the flash went off.
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/15, Neewer TT850 flash with Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger @ 1/32 power
As you can see by the flash being on the table it allowed me to have the light hit the singer under his hat as well as the other guys in the band wearing hats. This is what foot lights will also do at Broadway musicals.
This leads me to ask, Do your photos look like this sometimes? It is a good exposure and to correct the photo by opening up a stop or two for the faces will just wash out the color for the rest of the photograph.
Photography is writing with light. It is quite common that you will have to add light to a photograph to give emphasis to where you want the audience to look.
By just putting a flash off camera to the left I was able to not change the exposure, but put light on what was a silhouette of the subject. By using an off camera flash I was able to “reveal” the subject with the light.
To capture the clouds and all their glory in this photo makes those subjects close to the camera silhouetted.
By just adding a light to the subject in the foreground I am able to retain the clouds and the rich colors in the photograph, but now the subject is the person in the photograph and not the background.
I see photos like this all the time in recruiting guides for colleges. This is where the photographer is just capturing what anyone can do with even their smartphone.
Take the time and carry a light stand with a flash. Yes it is something more to carry, but look at the difference.
You are not going to balance a projected image and the speaker that often without using the off camera flash. Here I used the flash on the speaker to help me show they had a large enough crowd that they needed to project him.
If you don’t have a way to do off camera flash you need to invest into something or you will always have what everyone else can get with their smartphone or point and shoot camera. Remember photography is writing with light. Take control and be the author of your photos.