Thriving in the Gig Economy

Today many are Gig Workers. They are self-employed and work for many clients, as opposed to employees who have one boss.

Gig mindsetters are constant learners — they self-manage, take spontaneous initiative, focus on skills more than roles, feel free to shortcut processes, and don’t hesitate to question the status quo. They share what they learn with others, take ownership of their own personal growth, and feel confident in their ability to influence people.

Poetry @ Tech presents SPOKEN WORD/SLAM ARTISTS: REGIE GIBSON, KODAC HARRISON, M. AYODELE HEATH, BOB HOLMAN, M. L. LIEBLER, and PATRICIA SMITH The Defoor Centre

The Gig Mindset includes a level of loyalty to the organization and not the process. It is a willingness to make things better.

If you are someone who wants to show up and get a To-Do List from someone and execute it, then you need to find employment with a company. Then spend time in that company learning how to develop a Gig Mindset before you become a freelancer.

I think that one of the key elements for the Gig Worker is their ability to come up with solutions for their clients.

Spring Orchestra Concert “Electrify Your Strings” with Mark Wood – Recording artist, performer, producer, inventor, Emmy–winning composer and music education advocate has spent the last four decades electrifying the orchestra industry–literally.

Creating is not a result of genius, unconscious incubation or aha! moments. It is a result of thinking: a series of mental steps consisting of problem, solution, repeat.

Complacency is an enemy. “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it,” is an impossible idiom. No matter what the sales, no matter what the customer satisfaction, there is always something to fix.

“Most Gig Workers can do a job, but few can conceive one.” 

– Stanley Leary

The secret of Steve Jobs was that he was never satisfied. He devoted his life to asking, “Why doesn’t it work?” and “What should I change to make it work?”

Right now, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been celebrating Passover, Easter and Ramadan. All of these are the time for believers to remember. It is a time to hit the pause button on everything that is going on in their lives and focus on the bigger purpose in our lives.

Togo, West Africa

It is just as important for us to do in our work. Each year we should hit the pause button and remember the purpose of our work. I believe people of faith who integrate their faith purpose with their work will be the most successful.

As a Christian I am reminded of how Jesus stayed laser focused on his purpose. At the crucifixion, the chief priests—probably both Pharisees and Sadducees—insisted that the sign over Jesus’ head that said “The King of the Jews” should say “This man claimed to be King of the Jews.”

Throughout scripture Jesus confronts the religious leaders about their desire to be honored by men and not God. He purposely healed the sick and picked grain on the Sabbath day to counter their extreme views about the Sabbath.

He was focused on his purpose. Jesus hit the pause button and took time to be alone. He prayed.

Martin Luther best known as seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation said, “I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer.”

C.S. Lewis is often attributed as saying, prayer “doesn’t change God. It changes me.”

For me as a Gig Worker I see prayer as something that is necessary for my business. It is a time for me to align my will to God’s will.

I have committed my business to honor God. I firmly believe that this alignment helps with all the ethics of my work and gives me a better sense of purpose.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus said the “leader” is “as the one who serves” in the Gospel of Luke 22:24-27.

I spend a lot of time trying to understand my clients and potential client’s business. The core question that I am asking is, “How can I help them grow their business with their clients?”

I recommend to all Gig Workers to hit pause and find your purpose for your business. Start each day in prayer. Be sure your business stays aligned to serving others.

Earth Day April 22, 2022

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, is a reminder to protect the environment, restore damaged ecosystems and live a more sustainable life. First celebrated in 1970, this year marks its 52nd anniversary.

The April 22 date was selected in part to maximize the number of students that could be reached on university campuses as this date it fell between colleges’ spring break and final exams.

10 things you can do now to help the planet

  1. Change your lights.
  2. Recycle unwanted wire hangers.
  3. Fly with an e-ticket.
  4. Recycle your old phones.
  5. Use your own coffee cup.
  6. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  7. Go vegetarian once a week.
  8. Take shorter showers.
  9. Shop at thrift stores, garage sales, second-hand stores, etc…
  10. Wash with cold or warm water

The Importance of Connecting in a Disconnecting Society

How do you connect authentically with people today, when we live in a disconnected world?

We are all wired to connect as human beings. These past two years of social distancing we have been using technology to help us connect. However, I think there is a gap still between many of us not letting us connect authentically.

I believe when we are connecting authentically, we feel heard and understood as well as we hear others opening up and sharing with us. We find common ground.

Vision Trip to Santiago, Chile [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 2500, ƒ/4, 1/100]

While many of us have seen and even experienced unfollowing or unfriending of people due to their views which make us uncomfortable, we somehow can still find our “Tribe”.

Many of us have found online affinity groups around our hobbies or other subjects that help us feel connection in our lives.

We all know how special it is to find your “peeps”, but many of us struggle to know how to start a relationship with a stranger. If you are in business, your livelihood depends on your ability to create new relationships with strangers. This is how we get “NEW” customers.

We all have heard about “Networking”, but many of us hate doing it. I think the reason is that we have never learned how to do it effectively.

One of the best ways to network was what we did for the first years of our lives–go to school. What that did for us, was put us together with other people our same age who needed to learn similar content in order to develop into working adults.

Many of our closest friends are from a forced networking event–called school. During those years we spent time together and through our conversations and even class activities we started to form social networks. We would play sports, join clubs and just hang out with those we had similar interests with in our age groups.

If you own a business encourage your people to be involved in the community. You have to meet people first before any relationship can begin.

Teach your people to be curious. One of the greatest things you can teach your team is how to ask questions to get to know others. Just as important is for each person to know their own stories and their interests.

Hands down the best skill and job was a photojournalist. I had to introduce myself and get to know people in order to share their stories. Learning how to not just ask questions like; Who, What, Where, When, How and Why?, but to ask questions that ask people to share their struggles that helped make them who they are today.

The best part of interviewing people for a journalist is that the focus is all on the other person and not on you. What I found is by doing this was helping me to connect in ways that took years to do with my friends through school. It was being intentional that was the difference.

Getting to know someone will help you connect and also build trust with the person.

[NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Moving from acquaintances to a friend is having a connection to their past, present and even more to their future. What do you like to do? Let’s plan some time together doing something fun.

In sales when you really connect is when you know how you can make their life better. Often you will discover that your service that you do for work isn’t something they need or would benefit from. That is OK, you have a friend.

Keeping friends even if they are not someone you can sell to is important. Sometimes they can help you or just as good if what they do can help another one of your friends.

Keep repeating that last paragraph. It is the key to those who understand the power of genuine connection. Don’t be shortsighted as so many have become in business. Those who are just thinking about the next 30 to 90 days do not flourish like those who think about a lifetime.

“The social brain hypothesis predicts that humans have an average of about 150 relationships at any given time,” according to a research study. “Within this 150, there are layers of friends of an ego, where the number of friends in a layer increases as the emotional closeness decreases.”

Most of us do not reach our potential of the number of relationships we can maintain.

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

― Brené Brown

Why I Bought The Nikon Z9

When you take pictures for a living, the reasons to upgrade might be different than for the hobbyist. I mention this first because the very first thing I consider before even thinking about the other reasons, “will I be able to recover the investment?”

At one point I would buy a newer car when I thought I was getting high mileage. This was because the amount of money to keep it running would soon not make sense to pour into the older vehicle.

Today I no longer think this way with cars. They are made to last much longer than when I first started driving. I actually have 282071 miles on my Toyota Sienna van.

With cameras I do think more like I did with my earlier cars. If you keep your Digital Camera too long, it loses value much faster than film cameras. With film cameras a newer model really wasn’t doing all that much different, because the film was what was changing every so often. You bought the film for the assignment.

If you are buying the flagship model most of the time, then when the next new flagship comes out your older one has the greatest resale value. If you wait every other flagship to upgrade then your camera’s resale value drops even more.

Nikon D5

Typically I find that you can expect to sell your older model for about 50% of what you paid for it, if you take good care of that camera. I have found that selling directly to someone locally is where you get the best resale price.

I have found that selling my camera’s on ebay was better than going to a camera reseller.

Reason #1

So, the first reason I buy a newer model is to get the most for my present camera. I normally have two flagship cameras of the same model. I often have another third camera that is more of a prosumer model. Today I have the Nikon Z6 as my third camera.

When I do an upgrade I normally am able to get enough money selling two cameras to cover the cost of one of the newer cameras.

Reason #2

Since I have stayed with Nikon for all my cameras that I do jobs with, I have sometimes skipped an upgrade because there wasn’t significant value added in the newer model. So, when the Nikon D6 came out I actually kept my Nikon D5 cameras until the Nikon Z9.

I will start with the jump from film to digital. I had been shooting film and scanning 35mm transparencies and the biggest reason I wanted a digital camera was for digital capture. The amount of time I saved on the average job was days. The time to process the film and then scan each image took forever.

CameraBenefit
Nikon D100 [6 Mp]Digital Capture main reason
Nikon D2X (12 Mp]Better resolution
Nikon D3 [12 Mp]ISO 200 to 6,400 & OK at ISO 12800
Nikon D4 [16 Mp]ISO 100-12,800 expandable to 204,800
Nikon D5 [20 Mp]100-102,400ISO Expandable to 3,280,000, Better Video
Nikon Z9 [45.7 Mp]Silent Shutter, Electronic Shutter 1/32000 to 30 Seconds,
ProRes 422 HQ 4:2:2 10-Bit, Built-in Wireless & Built-in GPS

There is a much greater difference between the D4 and D5 than the D5 to D6. The gains of the D5 over the D4 are the extra resolution which makes a big difference, especially if you have to crop a bit. The AF improvements are substantial and worth the upgrade alone.

Now the only thing that actually went backwards from the D5 to the Z9 was the High ISO. Increasing the number of megapixels keeping everything else constant (sensor size, technology etc.) will increase noise per pixel, but also has the effect of making the noise finer grained which is less objectionable.

Image size (megapixels) doesn’t directly impact noise, but it indirectly impacts noise when you consider two sensors of the same size. In this case, all things being equal, the larger-megapixel sensor will show more noise as a side-effect of trying to “squeeze” more pixels onto a sensor of similar size. Although this can be shown in certain cases within a camera line, this factor can be difficult to pin down because cameras also often have upgraded sensor or processing technology that manages noise more effectively.

Reason #3

Competition is real. There are numerous ways through the years this has impacted the industry.

If other photographers are able to deliver a better looking image due to a camera that has cleaner images at higher ISO, the clients that use photographers a lot will notice the difference. You cannot afford to let your equipment leave you behind.

Nikon D3s

Until the Nikon D3, all my digital cameras were letting me shoot the same ISOs as film, nothing better for high ISO. However, the biggest game changer in my career was the Nikon D3. I no longer had to light interiors with flash to get acceptable images. So, I was able to be less disruptive to my client’s because I didn’t have to use flash all the time.

Now the cameras after the Nikon D3 biggest jumps came in the video side for me. Having headphone jack for audio was huge.

Fuji X-E3

When I went to mirrorless I first did so with the Fuji X-E2 and X-E3 cameras. What I loved the most about these were the ability to shoot silent at times and more importantly I could look through the viewfinder when shooting video. I didn’t have to shoot in live view and attach a special loupe to see the image while filming.

While I tried a few other mirrorless cameras, I couldn’t replace my Nikon D4 and then D5 with them. They were slow with focusing and slow with the shutter release.

The Nikon Z9 was the first mirrorless that I didn’t give up anything in terms of focusing, speed of capturing images and no special extra attachments to do video. Since I rarely if ever shot above ISO 15,600 I really didn’t lose anything in the high ISO as well.

Summary

There were many more factors for each camera that I upgraded to or bought to try out. No question that until the Nikon Z9 the Nikon D3 over the previous cameras was the biggest game changer.

Here are some of the upgrades with the Z9 that are worth mentioning here:
  • No Shutter – Totally silent lets me shoot on film sets, during prayer services and other places where I need to be quiet. However, the most important thing is when I am behind people, for the first time ever in my 35+ years when I take a photo, people do not turn around due to the “Clicking Sound”.
  • Focus – This not only focuses as well as my Nikon D5, but even more accurately and all over the frame. It has Artificial intelligence to look for people & animal’s eyes and even cars it will track. One guy summed it up well when just photographing birds in flight. He had gotten more in focus and usable images in just a couple hours than he had done in the past 10 years.
  • 45 Mp – This is the first high megapixel camera for me. This will allow for larger images and cropping that I could have never done before.
  • Zero Blackout Viewfinder – With DSLR the mirror must move and your camera goes black. With many of the mirrorless cameras it also will go black due to the computer processor, but the Z9 is like never losing vision of the subject.
  • In-built Image Stabilization – Sharper images at longer focal lengths and slow shutter speeds. Big plus with Video
  • New mount design – Nikon reworked their mount and came out with new lenses to get better edge to edge sharpness. This is huge with video.
  • Focus Bracketing – Take multiple photos shifting focus point
  • Focus Stacking – Stacks photos in-camera to maximize depth of field
  • Smartphone Remote – Remote control your camera with a smartphone
  • Continuous Shooting – 20 fps in RAW & 30 fps in JPEGs or If you don’t mind 11MP JPEGs, the Z9 can even shoot at up to 120fps
  • Backwards lens compatible – with the converter you can use all the lenses in the Nikon lineup.

Changing Deadline After Start of Project

My good friend and art director Tony Messano said that it “often was the FedEx delivery guy who determined your deadline” before we were delivering online.

Nancy Reyes (far left) a classmate of Jesus Fonseca, Jr. talks with FOX news before the funeral service.

Only live news is more terrifying for a communication creative.

Throughout my career there have been a few times where after a project was started that the client came back to the team to ask for moving the deadline up. Most of the time the Art Director had to explain to a client that wasn’t possible at this point.

Storytellers Abroad Workshop Bucharest, Romania

Creatives build a little time into their projects, just like most people in Atlanta traffic leave a little early in case of accidents or some other kind of delay.

Change in Scope of Job

Often I find many clients who believe their job is to get the most out of you as possible. So for photography and video they say, “While you are here …” The first few times people did this to me I was caught off guard and frankly didn’t know how to handle those requests.

I have learned to go over all the expectations for a job before I create an estimate. Based on my experience I know how long, what gear and also know if I have expertise in something that my competition doesn’t have.

One thing I learned is some times the request will interfere with the ability to complete all the other work they have on the schedule. If this request comes after all the work has been done and they ask for just one more, then I let them know this is beyond the scope of the contract and i would be more than pleased to accommodate for a price that I give to them for the additional work.

Moving the Deadline Up!

Once the contract is signed and agreed upon, a client can ask for moving the deadline up, but they are responsible for the full amount of the contract even if they cannot use the content due to their deadline needing to be moved.

Cancellations & Postponements: Client is responsible for payment of all expenses incurred up to the time Photographer receives actual notification, plus 50 percent of Photographer’s fee. If notice is given less than two business days prior to the shoot date, Client will pay 100 percent of the fee. Unless otherwise agreed, Client will pay 100 percent of the fee for Weather Delays on location or 50 percent of the fee if postponement occurs prior to departure. Client will be charged 100% of fee and expenses for any reshoots required by the client. For reshoots required by an act of God or fault of third party client will pay all additional expenses.

This is pretty much boiler plate for contracts. This is my terms for projects.

Possible Responses

Say No! This is the oldest response, but you have to say this if it isn’t possible. You cannot run a business by overworking yourself or others on your team.

Compromise if you can. Always start with no and if there is push back and you could possibly do this without taxing yourself or your team then look for a way to compromise. For most creatives the biggest obstacle is result in a drop in quality. While the client may be OK with it, don’t do it if you cannot afford for others to see this and know you did the work. Often the best way to push back is to charge rush fees. This is reasonable due to you often having to work overtime or put other clients projects off to complete this one.

Fast Tracking a Project. This is quite different than you just cramming the project through, this is often where you hire on temporary people to help with the project. Again, this is where you tell the client you can make it happen, but to do so there are extra expenses to make it work. This is more than a RUSH fee. You are charging for extra resources to make it happen.

The Movie of Unrealistic Expectations

This clip shows how Adam Neumann of WeWork was pretty much not running a realistic business model. This clip sums up how his expectations didn’t match what was possible in the timeframe he was trying to grow WeWork. His personality reminded me of too many of those problem clients I have had that didn’t understand what they were asking.

Nikon Z9 @ ISO 25600 & DXO PureRAW 2

[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/40, ƒ/5, (35mm = 38) Flash Fire = no flash]

I think for now my solution for shooting with my Nikon Z9 when I need the high ISO is to use the DXO PureRAW 2.

My Nikon Z9 setting worth noting for this ball taking place on top of a roof in downtown Atlanta after sunset.

  • Aperture Priority
  • Auto ISO with 64 – 25600
  • Auto ISO with Shutter at 1/250
  • Godox V860IIN with Magmod Sphere on TTL
  • Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4 Art
  • Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 Art

Click on photos Below to see larger photo

[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 24) Flash Fire = on, return detected]

Now and then I would shoot with a different lens, but most of the time I was shooting with the 24-105mm with the flash.

[NIKON Z 9, 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 14400, 1/250, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35) Flash Fire = no flash]

Due to me deciding to use the DXO PureRAW 2 after I did the shoot, I would have done one thing different. I shot everything in the Lossy Compressed ( HE* / HE ). I should have shot in the Lossless Compressed. Here is a chart I found from Walter Rowe that shows what software is presently supported with the Nikon Z9 files.

Image Editing Software:

PackageLossless CompressedLossy Compressed ( HE* / HE )
Nikon NX Studio​optimized support​optimized support​
Adobe Camera Raw 14.2 (PS/LR)
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022​
preliminary (not optimized)
preliminary (not optimized)​
preliminary (not optimized)
preliminary (not optimized)​
Capture One 22 (15.1)​optimized support​no support​
DxO PhotoLab
DxO PureRaw​
coming in DxO 5.2
available in PureRaw 2​
no support
no support​
ON1 Photo RAW​no support​no support​
DarkTable​no support​no support​
RawTherapee​no support​no support​
ACDSee Update 2022.1​supported (no details)​supported (no details)​

Image Viewing Software:

PackageLossless CompressedLossy Compressed ( HE* / HE )
Photo Mechanic 6​reads embedded previews​reads embedded previews​
FastRawViewer​supported​not supported​
Windows Explorer​no support​no support​
macOS Finder​no support​no support​
[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24) Flash Fire = on, return detected]

So here are the steps that I took to process some 800+ images.

  • Ingest all images using Photo Mechanic Plus – All the NEF images put into a RAW folder and renamed images {year4}-{month0}-{day0}_{hour24}-{minute}-{second}
  • Culling of the images – Tagged the ones to keep and then selected all the untagged images in Photo Mechanic and deleted them
  • Ingest into Lightroom – Copied as DNG from the RAW folder to a DNG folder [took a while to convert 800 to DNG]
  • Process with DxO PureRAW 2 – Put them inside the DNG in a DXO folder [Took about 6 hours to process with Macbook Pro 16″ Apple M1 Max & 32 gig RAM]
    • DxO DeepPRIME – Demosaicing and denoising
    • DxO Optics Modules – Improvements to sharpness & Corrections to distortions, vignetting, and aberrations
  • Imported back into Lightroom from the DXO folder and processed. No sharpening or denoising using light room. Just some exposure and color corrections
[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 24) Flash Fire = on, return detected]
[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/4, (35mm = 28) Flash Fire = on, return detected]
[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/4, (35mm = 32) Flash Fire = on, return detected]

Why ISO 25600?

I didn’t want a black background. I wanted to show the context of their event at the Ponce City Market Roof Top.

[NIKON Z 9, 35mm f/1.4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 22800, 1/100, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35) Flash Fire = no flash]
[NIKON Z 9, VR 24-105mm f/4G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/250, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24) Flash Fire = on, return detected]

Summary

Can’t wait till DxO PureRAW 2 will support the High Efficiency RAW files. However, I am really looking forward to when Adobe Lightroom is optimized the Nikon Z9 files.

Until that time comes if I am shooting over 10000 ISO I will try to remember to shoot Lossless Compressed and then I don’t have to convert to DNG saving a great deal of time.

I now love the Z9 even more that my files have little noise at ISO 25600.

Communication Visual Tips: 10 Of Them

We know that nonverbal communication is the most powerful way to communicate because it is the type of communication, we use the most daily. 

There has been a great deal of research done using eye-tracking technology to see how people react to websites, newspapers and television. Those research projects consistently show how visuals that do more than just window dressing communicate more quickly and effectively than words alone.
We must spend years learning to read and write a language, but we need no training to understand a photograph.

The Roswell Criterium

There can be no words without images.

— Aristotle

More than any other technological innovation, computers are responsible for the explosion in images. Today, 20 percent of the U.S. population can use a computer. But 80 percent of school-age children have learned to become computer literate. By the turn of the century, Sculley predicts that 98 percent of all the words and pictures created in the world will be computer mediated. By that time, virtual reality — the ultimate fusion of computer and television technologies in which viewers become active users of the medium — will be inexpensive and accessible.

Educational psychologist Jerome Bruner of New York University cites studies that show persons only remember ten percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they read, but about 80 percent of what they see and do. When all members of society whether at home, in school and on the job learn to use computers for word and picture processing, the switch will be made from passive watching to active using. There will no longer be the barrier between the two symbolic structures. Words and pictures will become one, powerful and memorable mode of communication.

— Professor Paul Martin Lester, Ph.D., Department of Communications, California State University

Visual forms of communication grab the attention of today’s audiences. Graphic representations such as diagrams, charts, tables, illustrations and photographs not only catch the eye; they draw the viewer into the information being presented.

Corporate communication departments who took advantage of this visual revolution early on are today’s leaders in the communication field. They saw this “explosion in images” coming and jumped aboard.
Endless, long blocks of type spreading across pages are rarely read. Early editors discovered a visual tool that cured this ill… they broke the copy up into short, more manageable paragraphs that didn’t intimidate or bore their audience.

Today, many no longer read traditional text. Just taking brochures from the past and posting them to the web will not get the message out.

Okay, if it’s true that a skilled use of visuals will improve communication and if expertise in this area seems like a foreign language… what then?

Storytellers Abroad Workshop Bucharest, Romania Herăști, Giurgiu, Romania

We’d probably take classes to learn a foreign language, so to become proficiency in the use of visuals perhaps we should study art, photography or theater at the local community college. This is one way to learn how the masters in these fields used the visualsMr. Bean was a British comedy television series starring Rowan Atkinson. Bean, an almost totally silent character used physical comedy to entertain. The series did well internationally because words were not important to the success of the show.

Instead of a brain storming an idea try playing a game of Charades to express what needs to be communicated about that idea. The game forces thinking in visual terms. Pictionary is a board game where teams try to guess specific words from their teammates’ drawings. More than Charades Pictionary requires forming mental pictures. Both games provide a fun way to practice visualization.

Drone shot of Park Springs Retirement community in DeKalb County, Georgia

Here are Ten Tips to consider when thinking about using images:

1. Humanize – Illustrate how products affect people. For example, to show how small something is, rather than using a ruler, put it in someone’s hand. If something improves lives – show it doing just that. Today the trend is to use a more photojournalistic approach or, at least, to make it look photojournalist. To make sure the expressions are genuine set up a situation, give it enough time and it can become real.
2. Good Lighting – Sometime the natural light is perfect. Just cut the flash off and use a higher ISO for the available light. Remember that whatever has the most light on it will become the main subject.
3. Try Black & White – Some war photographers feel that color may make even war look pretty. Black and white is a good way to focus attention on faces and graphics.
4. Get Closer – Almost any photo will be better closer up.
5. Watch the background – Look around the subject. Be sure nothing is growing out of a head or sticking in from the edge on the frame. Use a shallow depth-of-field like ƒ/2 versus using ƒ/16 to make your subject stand out from the background. If the background helps tell the story increase the depth-of-field by using f16 or f22, or vary the background anywhere in between fuzzy or sharp.
6. Consider a worm’s eye view or the bird’s eye view – Shoot really low or high above the subject. Change the height of the camera in relation to the subject; avoid making all the photos from a standing position.
7. Variety – Make plenty of photos from different angles. In addition to using the zoom actually get closer and farther away from the subject. Make wide-angle and close-up photos. Try some without flash, some with direct flash and bounced flash.
8. Give it time – Make a few photos then stop for a few minutes. Let the subject get used to being photographed. After a while they’ll relax and the really great photos will start to happen.
9. Action and posed –Show the subject doing what they do. Let them do their job and make lots of pictures. Pose them for a good portrait, not just a headshot, but do an environmental portrait showing their work environment or signage of the place they work in the background or foreground.
10. File Size Matters – You can always downsize an image, but you can’t do much to upsize the image. Many think they can get more images on their SD or CF card by changing the file size and you can. The problem is unless you are never have plans to use the photo for more than an avatar or profile picture on Facebook then you will not be able to make prints or use it in printed pieces. Use RAW or at least the highest JPEG at the finest setting possible for your camera. You might have to find the owners manual to know how to do this for your camera.

Surgeons doing a bone graft of lower part of leg for a little boy to hopefully help him keep his leg at the Hôpital Baptiste Biblique located in Tsiko, Togo, West Africa.

There are many other ways than these that can improve visual communication. Like everything worth doing visual skills come from doing… from practice.

Think about it this way: Who is going to SEE your message today?