Unveiling the Power of Preinterviews: Enhancing Video Production with Narrative Storytelling

Caption: Josiah Lee, one of the workshop participants, is working on gathering B-Roll for his story on the couple Chico & Neo.

I have recently returned from an inspiring experience as a coach at the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop in Brazil, where I had the privilege of teaching participants how to craft compelling video stories about individuals who the work of missionaries has profoundly impacted. The workshop covered various technical aspects such as camera operation, audio gear, and editing with Adobe Premiere. However, the most significant challenge for every student was understanding the importance of a narrative storyline. Once they grasped this crucial element, the rest of the production process became considerably smoother.

This is George Haines on the left, the storyteller, Lucas Blair, the missionary, and his wife on the far right, Teresa, with Marcio & Jamile in front of their bar. George did a story on Marcio and Jamile.
  1. The Power of Preinterviews:

Conducting preinterviews with the subjects before you embark on the video recording process is essential. These preliminary discussions serve as an opportunity to gather valuable insights and understand the story you are about to tell. Engage with the individuals, ask open-ended questions, and encourage them to share their experiences, emotions, and reflections. By doing so, you lay the groundwork for an accurate and authentic portrayal of their journey.

  1. Verifying the Story:

After the preinterview, you must follow up with the subject and share the narrative you have crafted based on their input. This step ensures that you have accurately captured their story, allowing them to provide feedback, additional details, or corrections. In addition, verifying the account establishes trust and collaboration, enabling a deeper connection between the subject and the narrative being portrayed.

This is Neo, one of the subjects of the stories we capture at her vacationing home drinking Chimarrão. Chimarrão (pronounced shee-ma-HA-oom) is the name of a caffeinated drink made from Ilex paraguariensis and hot water.
  1. Prompting Questions during Filming:

Once you have established a strong narrative foundation, filming becomes an opportunity to bring the story to life. With the camera rolling, your primary role as a producer is to ask questions that prompt the subject to delve deeper into their experiences and help tell the story you have uncovered. By asking thought-provoking questions, you encourage the subject to share their emotions, reflections, and insights, resulting in compelling footage that resonates with viewers.

This is just eight of our storytellers, with some coaches and staff at the Hangout Coffee Ministry across from a college that Erin Wawro (far left with glasses) is running. Here are the names of everyone in the group: Abby Raymond, Allison Basye, Colleen Jackson, Erin Wawro, Jack Pierson, Jeff Raymond, Joe Grant, Josiah Lee, Julian Gutierrez, Meg Enman, Parren Carnahan, Ryan Geesaman, Stacey Ward. Unfortunately, I was taking the photo, so I am absent.
  1. Honing the Narrative Flow:

During the editing phase, you can refine the narrative flow of your video production. With the preinterview and verified story as your guide, arrange the footage and interviews to engage the audience from start to finish. Pay attention to pacing, transitions, and the story’s emotional arc. You can create a captivating video that profoundly impacts viewers by skillfully arranging the elements.


As a video content producer, embracing the power of preinterviews and narrative storytelling can significantly enhance the quality and impact of your productions. You can capture an accurate and compelling narrative by conducting thorough preinterviews, verifying the story with the subject, and using prompting questions during filming. Remember, the foundation of a strong storyline lays the groundwork for a successful video production. So, dive deep, uncover the essence of the story, and let your subjects’ experiences shine through your camera’s lens.

Mastering the Art of Storytelling: Unraveling the Power of Narrative Storylines

George Haines, one of the students in the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Workshop, is doing a video portrait of the family in front of the coffee shop they own in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

As a passionate storyteller, I recently found myself in the vibrant city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, embarking on a new teaching journey. My mission is to guide a group of enthusiastic students in storytelling. Little did I know that the most challenging aspect for many of these aspiring storytellers would be crafting a compelling narrative storyline. Through this experience, I realized the importance of understanding the hero’s journey, the need for a guide or resource, and the significance of purposeful storytelling in business or nonprofit contexts. Join me as we explore the intricacies of constructing powerful narratives that captivate audiences and inspire action.

This is Marcio and Jamile, one of the stories George Haines tells at our Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Workshop in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
  1. Setting the Stage: Life Before the Crisis

Every captivating story begins by illustrating the hero’s ordinary life before an unexpected crisis or tension arises. This phase helps the audience to empathize with the protagonist and establishes a baseline for comparison as the story unfolds. Storytellers create a relatable starting point that engages listeners or readers by showcasing the hero’s daily routine, desires, and challenges.

  1. The Call for Assistance: The Hero’s Journey Begins

In the hero’s journey, the protagonist cannot overcome the crisis alone. Instead, they require a guide or resource to illuminate the path toward a solution. Whether a wise sage, a magical entity, or a supportive companion, this mentor imparts valuable knowledge, advice, or tools to the hero. This pivotal moment sets the hero on a transformative journey, highlighting their vulnerability and need for guidance.

  1. Taking the Necessary Steps: The Hero’s Transformation

Armed with newfound insights, the hero embarks on a journey to resolve the crisis. Each step they undertake is essential for their personal growth and eventual triumph. As storytellers, we must vividly illustrate the hero’s challenges, successes, and setbacks. This narrative progression engages the audience, allowing them to experience the hero’s transformation firsthand.

  1. Returning to Normal Life: A Changed Hero

Having successfully navigated the trials, the hero returns to everyday life, but their journey forever alters them. This transformation is a critical element of the story, revealing the hero’s newfound strength, wisdom, or resilience. Storytellers leave a lasting impression on their audience by highlighting the impact of the hero’s journey.

  1. Crafting Stories for Impact: Business and Nonprofit Contexts

Beyond traditional storytelling, crafting narratives for business or nonprofit purposes requires an additional layer of intentionality. A story with a call to action must effectively communicate its purpose and resonate with the target audience. Understanding the hero’s journey, challenges, and transformation becomes crucial in influencing the desired response from the listeners or readers. Whether inspiring donations, fostering customer loyalty, or advocating for change, purposeful storytelling empowers organizations to make a profound impact.


Teaching storytelling in Porto Alegre reminded me of students’ challenges when constructing narrative storylines. Mastering the art of storytelling requires a deep understanding of the hero’s journey, the role of the guide or resource, and the significance of purpose and impact. Storytellers can captivate their audiences and achieve their goals by meticulously crafting narratives showcasing the protagonist’s transformation. So, let us embark on our storytelling journeys, where every word and plot twist has the power to captivate hearts, inspire change, and shape the world around us.

The Importance of Taking Notes When Learning Software: A Student’s Guide

Learning new software can be an exciting but challenging endeavor. Whether diving into video editing with Premiere, mastering a graphic design program, or exploring any other software tool, taking notes is an essential practice that can significantly enhance your learning experience. In addition, note-taking is a valuable resource in a classroom setting to remind you of the steps, concepts, and techniques your teacher teaches. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of note-taking when learning software and provide practical tips for effective note-taking.

  1. Retention and Reinforcement

Taking notes actively engages your mind during the learning process. It requires you to process and summarize the information in a way that makes sense. Doing so reinforces your understanding of the software’s functionalities and increases the likelihood of retaining the information. In addition, when reviewing your notes later triggers the memory of what you’ve learned, making it easier to recall and apply the steps when working on projects.

  1. Personalized Reference Material

While your teacher may provide you with handbooks or instructional materials, these resources can’t cover every possible scenario or address all individual needs. Instead, you create personalized reference material tailored to your learning style and requirements by taking notes. You can highlight key concepts, jot down additional explanations, and include specific tips that are particularly relevant to your workflow. Your notes become a condensed version of the information presented, enabling you to refresh your memory quickly whenever needed.

  1. Non-Destructive Editing and Workflow

In the case of video editing with Premiere, understanding the concept of non-destructive editing is crucial. Taking detailed notes during lessons ensures you capture the essence of non-destructive editing and how it differentiates Premiere from other editing software. In addition, you can jot down the specific steps in preserving the original content while applying modifications and any crucial considerations or limitations.

Moreover, note-taking is vital in grasping the recommended workflow and folder structure. These organizational techniques facilitate collaboration and project management, ensuring smooth handovers and efficient teamwork. By diligently documenting the folder structure and workflow your teacher explains, you’ll develop a systematic approach enabling others to understand and contribute to your projects seamlessly.

  1. Visual Aids and Screen Captures

To supplement your notes, consider incorporating visual aids and screen captures. For example, when encountering a complex or multi-step process, taking a screenshot and pasting it into a blank Word document can provide a visual reference for later. This method lets you capture the precise sequence of clicks, menu options, and settings required to achieve a desired outcome. In addition, combining visual cues with written explanations can enhance understanding and retention of the software’s functionalities.

  1. Customized Learning for Different Perspectives

We all have different ways of approaching and understanding technology. If you feel that you don’t “think like your computer friends,” taking copious notes becomes even more critical. By documenting the steps and techniques in a manner that resonates with your thought process, you create a personalized learning resource that caters to your unique perspective. In addition, your notes can bridge any gaps in understanding and act as a guide for overcoming potential obstacles.

In conclusion, note-taking is a fundamental practice that significantly enhances your learning experience when acquiring new software skills. By actively summarizing and personalizing the information, you reinforce your understanding, create valuable reference material, and accommodate your individual learning needs. In addition, with visual aids and customized notes, you’ll be equipped to navigate the complexities of software tools effectively. So, grab your notebook, open a blank document, and take notes to unlock your full potential as a software learner.

Going the Extra Mile: Unlocking Exceptional Profits through Exceptional Service in the Freelance Photography/Videography Market

In the fiercely competitive freelance photography and videography world, standing out from the crowd is essential for success. However, while having exceptional technical skills and a unique artistic vision are crucial, they are no longer sufficient to guarantee long-term profitability. In today’s market, the true key to exceptional profits lies in providing exceptional service. By going the extra mile and creating a remarkable customer experience, freelance photographers and videographers can attract and retain loyal clients and turn them into powerful brand advocates. In this blog post, I’ll explore practical tips to help you deliver outstanding service and cultivate a loyal customer base.

  1. Personalize the Experience: Every client has unique preferences and expectations. Take the time to understand their specific needs and objectives, and tailor your services accordingly. Show genuine interest in their projects and build a rapport that fosters trust and connection. Personalizing the experience demonstrates your commitment to delivering results that exceed their expectations.
  2. Communicate Effectively and Transparently: Clear and timely communication is paramount in the freelance photography and videography business. Be proactive in informing your clients about project progress, potential challenges, and necessary adjustments. Respond promptly to inquiries or concerns, and maintain transparency regarding pricing, timelines, and deliverables. Establishing open lines of communication builds trust and demonstrates professionalism.
  3. Provide Exceptional Value: Exceptional service extends beyond the core offering of capturing photographs or videos. Consider how you can add value to your client’s projects and provide them with an unforgettable experience. Offer suggestions and ideas that enhance their vision, guide the creative process, and deliver results that surpass their initial expectations. By going above and beyond, you showcase your commitment to excellence.
  4. Be Reliable and Punctual: Professionalism and reliability are non-negotiable. Be punctual for meetings, shoots, and deadlines. Demonstrate your respect for your client’s time and commitments. By consistently delivering on your promises and meeting or exceeding agreed-upon deadlines, you build a reputation for reliability that your clients will appreciate and rely on.
  5. Surprise and Delight: Take the opportunity to surprise your clients with unexpected gestures of appreciation. Whether it’s a small token of gratitude, a personalized note, or an exclusive preview of their project, these acts of kindness leave a lasting impression and foster a strong emotional connection. Creating positive, memorable experiences encourages clients to become loyal advocates for your work.
  6. Foster Relationships and Encourage Feedback: Building lasting relationships is essential to exceptional service. After completing a project, maintain regular contact with your clients through newsletters, social media updates, or personalized messages. Encourage feedback and use it to improve your services continually. Additionally, consider offering loyalty programs or incentives to reward clients for continued support and referrals.

Conclusion: In today’s freelance photography and videography market, exceptional service is the linchpin that unlocks exceptional profits. By going the extra mile, providing personalized experiences, and building lasting relationships with your clients, you can create a loyal customer base and turn them into powerful advocates who spread the word about your outstanding work. Remember, your service quality can be as important as your work in this industry. Embrace the opportunity to exceed expectations and watch your business flourish.

Unveiling the Secret: How Photographers Can Capture Powerful Emotions by Feeling the Moment Themselves

In the realm of photography, there is a hidden ingredient that distinguishes extraordinary photographs from merely good ones: the ability of photographers to feel the emotional moments they capture genuinely. The art of connecting with emotions brings pictures to life, allowing viewers to experience the essence of a decisive moment. In this blog post, we delve into the profound impact of feeling the moment and provide valuable insights for photographers seeking to evoke emotions through their lens. Join us on this captivating journey as we unlock the key to capturing powerful emotions in your photography.

  1. The Role of Empathy: Empathy forms the foundation of emotional photography. We explore how photographers can put themselves in the shoes of their subjects, cultivating a deep understanding of the emotions being experienced. By empathizing with their issues, photographers create a bridge that enables them to capture authentic and impactful images.
  2. The Power of Observation: Observation is an art form within photography. We delve into the significance of keenly observing the world around us, paying attention to the subtleties of interactions, body language, and expressions. Through sharpened observational skills, photographers can anticipate and immortalize those fleeting moments that carry profound emotions.
  3. Personal Reflection: To develop emotional depth in their work, photographers must embark on a journey of self-reflection. We explore the importance of exploring personal emotions and experiences, as this self-awareness allows photographers to connect with the feelings of others. Discover how introspection and mindfulness can transform your photography into a powerful medium of expression.
  4. Active Engagement: Authentic connections can make all the difference in photography. We encourage photographers to actively engage with their subjects and environment, initiating conversations and building rapport. By fostering a comfortable atmosphere, photographers create the space for genuine emotions to unfold and be captured in their rawest form.
  5. The Art of Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices can elevate your ability to be present at the moment. We delve into the benefits of deep breathing exercises and mindful meditation, helping photographers clear their minds and establish a profound connection with the emotions around them. Learn how mindfulness can transcend technicalities, allowing you to capture fleeting yet powerful moments.
  6. Analyzing Emotionally Powerful Photographs: We take a closer look at emotionally impactful photographs from renowned photographers and talented individuals. Engage in open discussions about the emotions each image evokes and discover the techniques employed to connect with the moment. Through analyzing powerful photographs, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the emotional power of photography.
  7. Personal Projects and Growth: Embrace personal projects as a catalyst for growth. We discuss the importance of exploring themes that resonate with you, such as love, joy, grief, or resilience. By embarking on personal projects, photographers can connect with their emotions and express them authentically through their photographs.
  8. The Power of Feedback: Constructive feedback fuels progress. We emphasize the significance of receiving regular feedback on your work. Discover how to identify instances where emotions are powerfully conveyed and explore techniques or approaches that can be further developed. By fostering a supportive environment encouraging experimentation, photographers can continually evolve their ability to evoke emotions through their lens.

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Conclusion: Unveil the secret to capturing powerful emotions in your photography by feeling the moment yourself. As you embrace empathy, observation, personal reflection, active engagement, mindfulness, personal projects, and feedback, your photographs will transcend technical proficiency, evoking authentic emotions in viewers. Join us on this transformative journey and become a master at harnessing the raw power of emotions through your lens.

Capturing Love and Culture: A Wedding Journey of American and Nigerian Traditions

Weddings are magical moments that bring people together to celebrate love, and as a wedding photographer, I feel incredibly fortunate to witness and capture these extraordinary events. Each wedding is a unique story, filled with emotions, traditions, and the union of two individuals embarking on a new chapter of their lives. However, some weddings stand out, especially the recent marriage of Candice Mays and Ebenezer Abolarin.

What made this wedding exceptional was the coming together of two different cultures – American and Nigerian. As I walked into the venue, I was immediately greeted by an explosion of colors and vibrant attire. The blend of traditional Nigerian fabrics and elegant American wedding dresses created a stunning visual tapestry. It was as if the diversity and richness of these cultures were beautifully woven together, reflecting the couple’s unique journey.

One of the joys of being a wedding photographer is witnessing the fusion of traditions. From the moment the ceremony began, it was evident that this union would celebrate two individuals and two families and their rich cultural heritage. The exchange of vows was punctuated by heartfelt speeches in English and the groom’s Nigerian roots, with his father presiding. The love and support emanating from the families filled the air, creating an atmosphere of warmth and unity.

As the reception unfolded, the aroma of Nigerian cuisine filled the room. The buffet offered a delightful blend of flavors, from jollof rice and suya. It was an opportunity for guests to indulge in the vibrant culinary traditions of Nigeria, a country known for its diverse and delectable cuisine. The fusion of Nigerian flavors with American wedding traditions brought everyone together, creating an unforgettable feast for the senses.

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As a photographer, I capture the moments and seek out the essence of the love shared by the couple and the more extensive support system surrounding them. It’s about finding those precious gems that reflect the joy and happiness of the day. At this wedding, those gems were abundant. The infectious laughter, the tears of fun, and the heartfelt embraces were a testament to the love that brought these families together.

Photographing a wedding that merges different cultures is a reminder of the beauty of diversity and the power of love to bridge gaps. It’s an experience beyond taking pictures; it’s about being a part of something greater than oneself. The photographs captured during this wedding will forever serve as a visual reminder of the union between Candice and Ebenezer and their families and cultures coming together.

Weddings like this serve as a hopeful beacon in a world that often seems divided. They remind us that love knows no boundaries and that blending cultures creates a tapestry of beauty and unity. I feel privileged to have witnessed the love and celebration that unfolded on that day, and I am grateful for the opportunity to document such a significant event.

As a wedding photographer, every assignment is a gift, but weddings that embrace different cultures hold a special place in my heart. They allow me to experience the richness and diversity of our world and capture moments that showcase the beauty of love in all its forms. Candice and Ebenezer’s wedding was a testament to the power of love to transcend cultural boundaries and create a harmonious union. The celebration showcased the vibrant tapestry of two distinct cultures coming together in a joyous fusion.

Looking back at the photographs, I am reminded of the profound impact that weddings like this can have on individuals and communities. The images capture the intertwining of traditions, the laughter shared between families, and the heartfelt connections forged on that particular day. In addition, they serve as a visual testament to the transformative power of love and the beauty that emerges when different cultures embrace and celebrate each other.

Beyond the wedding day’s immediate joy, I hope these photographs will continue to inspire others. I hope they will encourage couples from diverse backgrounds to embrace their unique heritage and incorporate it into their celebrations. I hope they will remind us of the richness of our differences and the strength that comes from unity.

As a wedding photographer, my purpose is to document the event and capture the essence and significance of each moment. Candice and Ebenezer’s wedding was a remarkable journey of love, cultural exchange, and shared happiness. It was an honor to be a part of their day and witness their union’s profound impact on everyone present.

In a world that can sometimes feel divided, weddings like this serve as a powerful reminder of our shared humanity. They showcase the beauty that arises when we embrace diversity and celebrate love in all its forms. I am grateful to Candice and Ebenezer for allowing me to be a part of their wonderful day and reminding us of the transformative power of love. May their union inspire others and serve as a beacon of hope for years to come.

Through the Lens: Embrace the Therapeutic Power of Photography

In today’s fast-paced world, we often catch up in the whirlwind of daily routines, responsibilities, and deadlines. Our minds are constantly racing, and we rarely take the time to pause and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Yet, as photographers, we possess a unique gift—the ability to capture moments, freeze them in time, and immortalize them through our lenses. But in the quest for the perfect shot, we sometimes forget to slow down and truly experience the therapeutic benefits of our craft.

In the hustle and bustle of life, photographers must remember that their art is not merely about capturing visually stunning images; it’s also about reconnecting with the world and finding solace in the act of creating. Photography can be a powerful tool for self-expression, introspection, and mindfulness. By immersing ourselves in the present moment, we can discover a myriad of emotions and perspectives that often go unnoticed in the rush of daily life.

White-tailed deer in Cades Cove

One of photography’s most significant therapeutic benefits is its ability to encourage mindfulness. When we embark on a photo walk or dedicate time to frame a scene, we become fully present and attuned to the details and nuances of our surroundings. The simple act of focusing on the interplay of light and shadow, the delicate curves of a flower, or the genuine emotions on a person’s face can transport us to deep concentration and tranquility.

Photography also provides an outlet for creative expression. It allows us to channel our emotions, thoughts, and experiences into visual stories. By giving shape to our innermost thoughts through the camera, we can profoundly communicate and connect with others. Whether documenting the natural beauty of a serene landscape or capturing the raw emotions of a street scene, each photograph becomes a window into our unique perspective and a testament to our creativity.

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden Orchid

In addition to the therapeutic benefits, photography offers a sense of exploration and adventure. We become curious observers of the world around us when we seek out moments to capture. We develop a heightened awareness, discovering hidden gems and extraordinary beauty in ordinary places. Searching for the perfect shot becomes an exhilarating journey of self-discovery and growth.

So, dear photographers, don’t let the demands of the modern world rob you of photography’s therapeutic and creative joys. Take a break from the chaos, step outside, and allow yourself to be fully present. Embrace the restorative power of your camera lens and embark on a journey of self-expression, mindfulness, and creative exploration. Pause, not only to smell the roses but also to capture their essence and share it with the world.

The Scarlet Ibis in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary in the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad

Remember, making photos is not just about freezing moments in time; it’s about finding solace, reconnecting with the present, and embracing the transformative power of your art. So let your creativity bloom, and may your photographic adventures bring you joy, fulfillment, and a renewed sense of purpose.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, go out, and let the therapeutic journey begin!

Preserving Memories: The Power of Hooks in Family Photography

L/R Front Row: Suzanna Hummel, Carl Monauni, Doris Griggs, LeRoy Martin Griggs, [unknown], Richard Zvonar
L/R Back Row: John Hummel, unknown], Jerry King, [unknown], [unknown], [unknown], [unknown], Doris Nordstrom, [unknown], Harold Nordstrom

In this fast-paced digital age, capturing moments has become more accessible. With the click of a button, we can freeze a moment in time and immortalize it in a photograph. As photographers, we often find ourselves engrossed in the art and craft of capturing images, but have we ever paused to consider what happens to these photographs after we are gone? How can we ensure our family cherishes and preserves these memories for generations?

Bill Fortney

Meet my dear friend, Bill Fortney, a passionate photographer who understands the significance of leaving behind a legacy through photography. Bill embarked on a remarkable project that is a powerful example of how photographers can create hooks to captivate their families and future generations.

Bill began by scanning his family’s unique recipe cards, capturing the essence of generations-old culinary traditions. He recognized that these recipes were not just about food; they were a connection to the past and a bridge to the future. With unwavering dedication, he meticulously compiled these recipes into a captivating coffee table book. Each page showcased the original handwritten recipe alongside a typed version, a photograph of the relative who contributed the recipe, and a short biography or story. The hook was simple but powerful: keeping family recipes alive for generations.

Doris Griggs’s handwritten recipe. She created a recipe book to give Dorie, her daughter, and my wife for her wedding shower gift.

But Bill didn’t stop there. He expanded his vision to include a comprehensive collection of family photos, each carefully labeled with the names and ages of the relatives captured in the frames. These photos were not mere snapshots; they were windows into the lives of loved ones, telling stories and preserving memories. The idea was to create a connection between past and present, enabling the next generation to see themselves in the faces of their ancestors and fostering a sense of shared heritage.

The magic of Bill’s approach lies in the intention behind it. By going beyond the mere act of capturing photographs and thinking deeply about his audience, especially his family, he crafted a legacy that would resonate with them. He understood that photos, devoid of context, could easily be forgotten or lost. Instead, it was the hooks he created—the family recipes, the stories, the connections—that breathed life into the images and made them more than just pictures on paper.

Another of my friends did something similar, and their coffee table book became a treasured heirloom, passed down from generation to generation. When a new couple in the family welcomed their first child, they were presented with a copy of the book, rich with family photos and stories. As their child grew, they began to see the unmistakable family resemblances in their children’s faces, forging connections that transcended time and reinforcing the importance of their shared heritage.

The moral of Bill’s story is powerful: photographs alone, without a hook for the next generation, may fade away into obscurity. As photographers, we have a unique opportunity to shape our legacy and leave a lasting impact. We must capture images for ourselves and consider our audience, particularly our family if we want our photographs to be cherished and preserved long after we are gone.

The far-right couple is my wife’s parents, LeRoy Martin Griggs & Doris Griggs

So, think beyond the present moment the next time you snap a picture. Consider the stories accompanying it, the memories it holds, and the connections it can create. Weave together the threads of your family’s history, develop hooks that engage and captivate, and watch your legacy come alive through photography’s power.

Professional Group Photos: Speaking to Core Values and Building Your Brand

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, building a solid brand and establishing a positive company culture is essential for long-term success. However, one often overlooked aspect of this process is the use of professional group photos. While some may see them as mere decorations or team-building exercises, professional group photos can potentially convey your company’s core values and significantly contribute to brand development. This blog post will explore how professional group photos can help speak to your company’s core values and build your brand.

Caring Works

1. Visual Representation of Company Culture

Professional group photos provide an opportunity to represent your company culture visually. They capture the essence of your team, showcasing the people who contribute to your organization’s success. A well-executed group photo can reflect your company’s camaraderie, diversity, and inclusivity, highlighting the values that set your organization apart. You can attract like-minded individuals who align with your company’s culture and core values by showcasing a cohesive and positive team dynamic.

Mayor Shirley Franklin with the Georgia Tech Dance Team.

2. Building Trust and Credibility

In the digital age, where face-to-face interactions may be limited, professional group photos help humanize your brand. When potential clients or partners visit your website or social media profiles, seeing the faces behind the organization can build trust and credibility. Group photos create a sense of authenticity, demonstrating that your company comprises real people working towards a common goal. This personal touch can significantly enhance your brand’s reputation and make your organization more relatable.

Georgia Tech Volleyball Team

3. Reinforcing Brand Identity

Every successful brand’s unique identity sets it apart from the competition. Professional group photos can be a powerful tool in reinforcing your brand identity. By carefully selecting the location, attire, and overall composition of the photo, you can align the visual elements with your brand’s values and aesthetics. For example, a tech startup aiming for a modern and innovative image may opt for a contemporary urban setting and casual attire. On the other hand, a financial institution striving for professionalism and trust may choose a more formal location and clothing. Consistency in these visual cues will reinforce your brand identity and help your company stand out in a crowded market.

10, 20 & 30 year work anniversaries for Chick-fil-A Staff celebration at the Delta Museum

4. Employee Engagement and Pride

Including your employees in the process of taking professional group photos can foster a sense of belonging and pride within the organization. Employees who feel valued and included are more likely to be engaged and motivated. In addition, you empower your team members and enhance their connection to the company by showcasing their individual and collective achievements through group photos. This increased engagement can lead to higher productivity, improved teamwork, and better retention rates.

Global Strategic Supply Chain Group Photo


Professional group photos are far more than just snapshots of your team. When approached strategically, they become powerful tools for speaking to your company’s core values and building your brand. Through the visual representation of your company culture, building trust and credibility, reinforcing brand identity, and fostering employee engagement, professional group photos can significantly impact your organization’s success.

My Top Lenses: A Photographer’s Guide to Choosing the Right Lens

[NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5000, 1/200, ƒ/4, (35mm = 44)]

Choosing the right lens for the situation is crucial for a photographer to capture the best possible shot. Different lenses are suitable for different scenarios, and it is essential to understand what each lens can do and how it will affect the final image.

[NIKON D4, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 12800, 1/50, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 180)]

My most used lens is the Nikon 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 VR, which I use for most of my event work. This lens’s wide zoom range makes it versatile for capturing different angles and perspectives. It also has a built-in vibration reduction system that helps me capture sharp images, even in low-light conditions.

[NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 400, 1/50, ƒ/8, (35mm = 14)]

The Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 is my go-to lens for photojournalism, where I like to get close and still capture the context. Also, I use this with real estate and architecture photography. This lens has a wide-angle perspective that allows me to capture sweeping vistas and intricate details of buildings. It also has a fast aperture of ƒ/2.8, which is helpful in low-light situations. I sold this lens and replaced it with the mirrorless Nikon 14-30mm ƒ/4. With today’s high ISO cameras combined with the Denoise software, I cannot think of when I will need the ƒ/2.8 to justify double the price.

The Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/4 is another versatile lens I use for various situations. It has a constant aperture of ƒ/4 throughout its zoom range, making it useful in low-light conditions. I particularly like this lens for portraits as it has a flattering focal length and can create a shallow depth of field. This lens has replaced my 28-300mm since I switched to the mirrorless Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z9 cameras.

[NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 16000, 1/250, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 350)]

The Nikon 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 VR S is my choice for events and sports photography. This lens’s long zoom range allows me to get up close to my subjects while maintaining a safe distance. It also has a fast autofocus and vibration reduction system that helps me capture sharp images of fast-moving subjects. This lens with 24-120mm is the two lenses I use all the time for event work.

[NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 250, 1/200, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

Regarding specialty lenses, the Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 is my favorite for creative and artistic shots. This lens has a wide aperture of ƒ/1.4, creating a shallow field depth and a beautiful bokeh effect. The Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 and ƒ/1.4 are excellent portrait photography choices. When I upgraded from the 85mm ƒ/1.4 D, I chose the 85mm ƒ/1.8 for the F mount. I liked the lighter size and didn’t see much difference between it and the ƒ/1.4 to justify carrying that extra weight. I will upgrade to the Z mount in the coming year.

[NIKON D750, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 3200, 1/80, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

In conclusion, choosing the right lens for a particular situation is essential to capture the best possible shot. Understanding what each lens can do and how it will affect the final image is critical to making the right choice. Whether it’s a versatile all-purpose zoom lens or a specialty lens designed for a specific type of photography, having the right tools can make all the difference in your photography.

How using strobes outside can improve your photography.

As a photographer, you know that lighting can make or break a shot. When shooting outside, the sun can be your friend or your enemy. Midday sun can create harsh shadows on the face, making it challenging to capture the perfect shot. That’s where strobes come in. By using a strobe with a softbox, you can create consistent, beautiful lighting that will help you capture stunning outdoor shots.

Strobes are powerful flashes that can supplement or replace natural light. They are instrumental when shooting in bright sunlight because they help to control shadows on the face. By placing the strobe at a 45-degree angle to the left or right of the camera and 45 degrees above the subject’s eyes, you can create a flattering modeling effect that will enhance your subject’s features.

Photo by: Dorie Griggs

But strobes aren’t just helpful in controlling shadows. They can also help improve color rendering on cloudy days. When shooting on an overcast day, colors can appear muted and dull. By using a strobe with a softbox, you can bring out the colors in your shots and create a more vibrant, dynamic image.

Another advantage of using strobes outside is that it can reduce editing time. While tools like Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop can be used to lighten faces and darken or lighten backgrounds, getting the shot right in the camera will save you lots of time in post-processing.

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In my recent shoot, I used a strobe with a softbox to give me a consistent look with all the photos. By placing the light at a 45-degree angle to the left or right of the camera and 45 degrees above the subject’s eyes, I created a flattering modeling effect that enhanced my subject’s features. The result was a series of stunning, professional-grade photos that my client was thrilled with.

If you want to capture stunning, professional-grade photos, consider using strobes outside. By controlling shadows, improving color rendering, and cutting down on editing time, strobes can help you capture the perfect shot every time. Contact me today to book your graduating senior photos!

Event Photography: Being Prepared for Any Lighting Condition

Georgia Aquarium. The photo is processed with Lightroom using the new Denoise tool. [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 20000, 1/250, ƒ/4, (35mm = 17)]

As an event photographer, you must be prepared for anything that may come your way. From outdoor sunlight to a meeting room with a projector and all the lights down, you must be ready to capture the moment in any lighting condition. This past week, I had an event that took me to the Georgia Aquarium, where many locations were “NO FLASH ALLOWED” areas but were dark. It was a challenging but exciting experience that required me to be on my toes throughout the event.

Stage Lighting 6287º K +39 Magenta [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 3200, 1/250, ƒ/5, (35mm = 220)]

One of the most significant challenges I faced during the event was the funky color lighting from room to room. The stage lighting wasn’t typical Daylight, Tungsten, or Fluorescent color, but it gave me 6287º Kelvin with +39 Magenta with Daylight LED screens projecting the speakers and their powerpoints. This required me to constantly adjust my camera’s white balance to achieve the correct colors in each shot.

Additionally, there were areas where “NO FLASH ALLOWED” signs were posted, which meant I had to rely on ambient lighting to capture the shots. The dark environment made it challenging, but I could capture some stunning images with the correct camera settings.

Using on-camera flash with the MagMod Sphere, the image is processed with Lightroom and using Denoise Tool [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 12800, 1/200, ƒ/5, (35mm = 100)]

To add to the challenges, there were rooms where the lights were dimmed entirely, and the only light source was from the projector on the screen. As a result, I had to use my flash to light up the speakers and their surroundings, which required me to adjust the settings on my camera and coordinate it to match the ambient lighting.

Another challenge was the outdoor sunlight. So I am shooting from ISO 64 to ISO 25600 and having to use flash at times to help with overhead lighting of the sun and canned room lights.

Johnny Clayton Taylor Jr. is an American lawyer, author, board member, and public speaker who is the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resource Management. [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5000, 1/250, ƒ/4.8, (35mm = 145)]

As an event photographer, you must be prepared for anything coming your way. From funky color lighting to dark environments, “NO FLASH ALLOWED” areas, and direct sunlight, you must be ready to adapt to any lighting condition. You must also be quick on your feet, adjust your camera settings, and use the right equipment to capture the perfect shot. It’s a challenging yet exciting job that requires patience, skill, and creativity.

Eeva Ruuska, the Americas Operations Manager at Riskline, leads a regional team of analysts to provide worldwide political, security, and travel intelligence. [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/250, ƒ/4.8, (35mm = 150)]