Falling For You

Not being able to travel during COVID-19 can get you down. So look down and pick up some of those leaves.

Fall Leaves from our front yard [NIKON Z 6, AF 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 100, 1/15, ƒ/9, (35mm = 35)]

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep, and autumn was awakened.”

— Raquel Franco

I just went into my yard and picked up some leaves and took them inside to my copy stand setup. I put my light table on the base and just put the leaves on them backlighted by the light table.

Fall Leaves from our front yard [NIKON Z 6, AF 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 100, 1/15, ƒ/8, (35mm = 35)]

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”

Then I just clicked away.

Fall Leaves from our front yard [NIKON Z 6, AF 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 100, 1/15, ƒ/8, (35mm = 35)]

Sometimes you don’t have to go that far to find things that can bring you joy.

Fall Leaves from our front yard [NIKON Z 6, AF 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 100, 1/15, ƒ/9, (35mm = 35)]

Like snowflakes are all different, so too are the leaves each fall.

I have been mulching them each week, but today I just hit the pause button, picked them up, and enjoyed them.

Fall Leaves from our front yard [NIKON Z 6, AF 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 100, 1/15, ƒ/9, (35mm = 35)]

“Autumn leaves shower like gold, like rainbows, as the winds of change begin to blow, signaling the later days of autumn.”

— Dan Millman

Photo Mechanic Plus to the Rescue!!!

“I am asking for a friend. How can I fix thousands of photos with an error in the caption/keywords? Is there a way to do a ‘Search & Replace’ as you can do with Microsoft Word or other word processing software, but with all my photos?”

If you had used Photo Mechanic before the Plus version came out, as long as you had a folder opened and selected all the photos, you could easily search and replace to fix a caption.

There’s no search and replace anywhere in Lightroom, not even in the caption or titles where a word processor (or Notepad) – style feature can make lots of sense.

Now let’s say your friend has made an error over time. There are folders of images on multiple hard drives that all have the same error.

For Example:

In all your photos on the hard drives of “President George W. Bush,” you had him identified as “President George H. Bush.”

President George H. Bush addresses the Unification Conference. The Atlanta-based German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States hosted the Unification Conference, a historic meeting of President George Bush, 41st president of the United States of America, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr. Helmut Kohl, and former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, at the Georgia World Congress Center. The three world leaders discussed their perspectives on the global impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany, along with their visions for transatlantic partnership, leadership, and prosperity.

Another more common issue is that you had been using “John Smith” and found out later it should be “John Smith Jr.” You need to correct these images.

Now with Photo Mechanic Plus, it is a much simpler task. First, all the images must be included in the Photo Mechanic Plus catalog. If they are all there, you go to the database part of the program and search for how you put it in the photos in the catalog.

A little tip here is to be sure you use quotation marks [ “ ” ] around multiple words. This way, it will look for the phrase. Without the quotation marks [ “ ” ], each word is looked for and not as a combination.

Search the database for “President George H. Bush.”

Then select all the images. I use the shortcut ⌘+A to select all the photos.

Then Edit>Find & Replace.

Type in the words you need to be changed for the search field and the correction in the replace field.

You can have it search all the fields, or if you know it is in just one or two fields, you can narrow the selection. That can speed it up and keep you from accidentally replacing it in a field you don’t want to change.

In the case of a photo where you had both President George H. Bush and his son George W. Bush, you can narrow the search to not include one in the database search.

Now you can tell your “friend” how to fix all those errors in the photo’s metadata.

Close More Deals With This Pricing Trick

Research shows that our brains like choices. Read on to learn how pricing can help you sell more.

Before Pricing

One of the most important things to build trust is people feeling empowered. People like to feel in control of their decisions.

Without choices, we would be puppets. Even in faith, there is the concept of “Free Will,” which means you get to choose and have options.

Once a person loses these options, they feel imprisoned.

binary decision is a choice between two alternatives, for instance, taking a specific action or not taking it.

Three choices enable us to avoid the ones that are too hot and too cold, too big and too small and select the one that is just right. 

I am sure you remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There is one choice that is “Just Right.”

Binary gives choices, but once you go to three options, people’s brains believe they have all the choices. Just like Goldilocks, they feel like choosing between the three leads them to the perfect choice. They think this is all the variables, even when it is not.


Now that you know the brain is wired to feel like three choices are all the choices try your very best when working on proposals and pricing that you create three options.

Now my uncle, Knolan Benfield, is the first person to talk to me about pricing. He was talking about his pricing list for his photography studio “The Benfield Touch” in Hickory, North Carolina.

He had been to many Professional Photographers of America workshops. One of them taught him about the “Whoop-De-Do” option. It is offering the 4th choice.

This is the over-the-top option. When he returned from the workshop, he tried this, and it worked.

How often did you have the bride’s father who would occasionally say I only want the best for my daughter? Not that often, but when he does, he will be the one who picks the 4th “Whoop-De-Do” option.

The workshop leader said once this happens, you should drop your lowest price, making your 2nd option the 1st lowest priced option. Then you add a new “Whoop-De-Do” option. This is how you can increase your prices over time.

Just look on Amazon or, for me, B&H or Roberts Camera; almost every product gives you options. Usually three choices or more. Look at how they are pricing the newest M1 Chip Macbook Pro.

For those of you who have always priced estimates with one price and wondered why you didn’t get some jobs, this might be one of the reasons. Give them three options from now on.

My personal experience is when given three options; they pick the middle one most of the time.

Working From Home? Consider Ethernet Instead Of WiFi

This is the speed test I ran using my ethernet. As you can see, that is pretty fast.

Why am I telling you this? Some will read this and say that it is obvious. From my time teaching at the University of Georgia and doing workshops worldwide, the students have one thing in common.

Understanding computers is not innate to humans. Many people I have taught have had to learn that they must empty their trash on their computers. They honestly didn’t know. Some of the students in the workshops had never done this, and for some, when we did it, they freed up some 300 GB of space on their hard drives.

So this is why I wrote this piece, not for you, that already know all there is to know about computers, but for the rest of the world that doesn’t know unless someone tells them.

Now on to the tip of how to speed up your internet connection.

To hook this up to my Macbook Pro, I used this Hub-Connector by J5create.

Now, when you have a home office, it is worth running an Ethernet cable from your router.

This is now using the WiFi Netgear RAX20 with the latest generation WiFi 6 technology.

No matter your router, you will get better speed with ethernet, and my test shows more than a 4X increase in rate. This varies depending on the ethernet connection and WiFi connection you might have.

Now for those photographers and especially those working with video, you want that speed uploading your files.

I just recently switched from Cable internet to ATT Fiber Optic. I went from 200 MB down and 7 MB up to what you see above, and I am saving about $20 a month.

If you have a home office, consider going wired.

Some of my teachers, coaches & mentors through the years

Stanley, Dorie, Lucy, and Don Rutledge in front of their home in Midlothian, Va. [Chelle Leary took photo]

A few people helped me get my bearings in the world of photography. Don Rutledge had an incredible impact on my life. I think it has more to do with how much I admired his work and what he had done for missions.

Ken Touchton, photographer, photographs one of the participants in the Ramblin’ Wreck parade.

Another photographer that made an impact was Ken Touchton. He was covering the same annual Ramblin’ Wreck parade before the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech game that I covered for more than 15 years.

Ken Touchton and myself

Ken had started in photojournalism but also would expand into corporate and advertising. When I went freelance from being on staff in 2002, Ken was the guy who called me weekly. We talked about my goals and ambitions. Then each week, he screamed as my accountability partner.

Knolan Benfield

My foundation started with my uncle, Knolan Benfield, Jr. He worked with Don Rutledge long before me at the Home Mission Board in Atlanta from the late 60s to the late 70s. He also worked with Ken Touchton.

Knolan taught me how the mechanics of the camera worked and how to use studio strobes and pose people. You could never be around Knolan when he ran the Benfield Touch studios in Hickory, North Carolina, and not hear him talking about business practices. He was proud of being a small business owner and was quite successful.

Each of these and many others I would meet through the years helped me develop my inner character. They taught me a worldview based on Christian principles of right and wrong and, most importantly, the importance of searching for Truth.

I learned that treating people with honor, dignity, and respect was the only way to be successful. Each one taught me how to listen with more than just my ears. Don and Knolan primarily taught me the importance of body language.

They helped me realize my social work degree was a real asset in the world of communications.

Greg Thompson Portrait

Late in my career of freelancing, I met Greg Thompson. He brought me on to work with his corporate communications team at Chick-fil-A. We helped each other grow in so many ways.

I was always going to Greg with ideas that I thought would help Chick-fil-A. Greg taught me more than anyone else that you start with the audience in communications. Why do they need to hear this story? How is it going to help them live more productive lives? At Chick-fil-A, the question was, “How is this going to help them sell more Chicken?”

Here is a quick list of topics they taught me

  • How to make a well-exposed photo
    • Knolan Benfield
  • Understanding lighting, composition, and communicating with a photograph
    • Knolan Benfield
    • Don Rutledge
  • Your role as a photojournalist
    • Don Rutledge
    • Knolan Benfield
    • Ken Touchton
    • Greg Thompson
  • Business practices
    • Knolan Benfield
    • Ken Touchton

Who are your teachers? Who is coaching you?

Is Journalism the only way to cover stories?

  • What is the difference between:
    • Journalism
    • Documentary
    • Public Relations
    • Corporate Communications
    • Advertising
    • Advocacy Journalism

So many in the communications profession didn’t come through a communications degree program. Many are self-taught and never really had someone give them a good understanding of the different roles in professional communications.

Television reporter Mark Strassman interviews Alison and Donnie Smith. They are members of Calvary Baptist Church of Wartburg.

When a reporter for the national news shows up when a tornado has hit a community, this is news coverage. It is journalism.

Photo By:Stanley Leary

When I took this photo of a hymnal with it opened to the song “I Feel the Need of a Mother’s Prayer,” I didn’t put the book there and turned to a particular page. I took it as I found it. That is critical in journalism. Journal journalism must report the facts and don’t editorialize or create something or add to it.

Lukas & Nate interview Scott Brock, missionary to Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 9000, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 35]

When we were doing a Public Relations package for missionaries in Trinidad, they didn’t just find the people where they were and capture them. They interviewed them and even staged parts of their coverage. This was what their “Public Relations/Advertising/Marketing” package did.

Here the purpose is different. In PR/Marketing, you want a clear message and to get rid of any distractions. You even help the characters phrase their words to tell their stories. In journalism, you ask questions and edit the key phrases they say to tell their story. In PR/Marketing, you realize that how someone words something often is ineffective. You clarify with them if the way you are saying something is accurate, and if it is, you ask them to tell it this way instead.

If you go with a communications team to do a story, what is your role with the team?

One thing that many team members don’t realize – everyone on that team is responsible for the whole story. If you don’t understand the entire story, you will not be effective in your role.

You also know that you must talk with and communicate with the other team members when you are on a team. It would help if you had open and honest communication.

The teams that produce the award-winning content usually have the best communication amongst the team members throughout the process.

Dining Rooms shut down during the Coronavirus outbreak. Paul Joubert’s restaurant Roswell Corners FSU is closed on its third day in the dining room. They have run about 175 cars during their lunch run. Dining Rooms shut down during the Coronavirus outbreak. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/60, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 98)]

During a stock shoot I did for Chick-fil-A, I didn’t set up the photos, but I did use strobes to make the lighting look better. A purist would say I am manipulating the situation.

For years I never used flashes all that much, but when I was in the darkroom, I was burning and dodging. That means I was trying to do what I could have been doing with lights. I made the subject brighter and the stuff I wanted darker by not putting light on it.

White Oaks FSR 2000th Store Grand Opening

Often I do photos where the food is stylized. This isn’t just as you would find the sandwich. It was never wrapped to not squish the bun.

This is where the scene is manipulated. We do this all the time in PR/Marketing. In journalism, you might have to blur inappropriate language that might be on a person’s T-Shirt due to FCC rules and live TV. In PR/Marketing we just switch out the shirt.

If you are a one-man-band communications professional, what does that mean?

It means you are responsible for everything. I believe this is the one thing many who start their career as part of staff often never learn what it means to tell the story. They are just doing one piece and not seeing how it fits together.

What are the advantages of working with a team of communicators?

It is great to have others to bounce your ideas off. Working with writers, designers, editors, photographers, and videographers has a different perspective. Sometimes they see and hear things you are not wired to catch.

What are the advantages of the one-man-team for communication?

The best thing someone can do for a part of their career is a one-band shop. You will learn much more by knowing the audience relies on you as much as the subject to connect them.

WHY is this the topic???????

So many have said they are self-taught. Many have never been coached or mentored before in their career. I believe one of the best things I feel could benefit from this is to give people a chance to get a taste of what mentoring\coaching can be.

Find a mentor/coach to help you grow and become a better communicator. Learn how to work within the ethics of the type of communication you are doing.