The Importance of Pro Bono Work for Small Business Owners: A Story of Community Impact

It is easy to get caught up in pursuing profits and growth in business. However, for many small business owners, a more profound motivation drives their work: the desire to positively impact their community. One powerful way to achieve this is through pro bono work—offering your services for free to individuals or organizations in need. Let me share the importance of pro bono work, using my experience with the Roswell Fire Department as an example.

Building Relationships and Trust

Pro bono work provides a unique opportunity to build relationships and establish trust within your community. When I began offering my photography services to the Roswell Fire Department, I didn’t just capture images – I became a part of their team. Through my work, I forged strong bonds with the firefighters and gained their trust, leading to additional collaboration opportunities.

Showcasing Skills and Expertise

By offering your services pro bono, you can showcase your skills and expertise to a broader audience. My partnership with the Roswell Fire Department allowed me to demonstrate my ability to capture compelling images, which attracted the attention of other clients impressed by my work.

Expanding Your Portfolio

Pro bono projects offer a chance to diversify your portfolio and explore new opportunities. My experience with the fire department enabled me to add impactful images of firefighters in action to my portfolio, showcasing my versatility as a photographer and expanding my appeal to potential clients in related industries.

Making a Difference in the Community

The most rewarding aspect of pro bono work is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. By volunteering my time and talents to support the Roswell Fire Department, I played a small part in honoring the bravery and sacrifice of our local heroes. Knowing that my photography could help raise awareness of their crucial work brought a sense of fulfillment beyond any financial reward.

Marketing and Publicity

While the primary goal of pro bono work is to give back, it can also provide valuable marketing and publicity opportunities. My partnership with the fire department garnered attention from local media outlets, resulting in positive press coverage that helped raise awareness of my business and attract new clients who admired my commitment to community involvement.

Conclusion: Making an Impact Beyond Profit

In conclusion, pro bono work is not just about giving back – it’s about making an impact beyond profit. By offering your services for free, you can build relationships, showcase your skills, expand your portfolio, make a difference in your community, and attract positive attention to your business. So, the next time you’re considering investing your time and talents, remember the power of pro bono work to create meaningful change in the world around you.

Embracing Technological Evolution: Enhancing the Storyteller’s Arsenal

Technology has long been a double-edged sword in storytelling, empowering and limiting the creative endeavors of storytellers across mediums. From the evolution of photography to the advent of digital capture and the proliferation of video, technological advancements have continuously reshaped the landscape of storytelling, offering both challenges and opportunities for storytellers like myself.

In photojournalism, transitioning from large format cameras like the 4×5 to more portable 35mm cameras marked a significant turning point. Photographers could move more freely, quickly capturing candid moments and intimate details. This shift enabled photojournalists to fully immerse themselves in their subjects’ worlds, resulting in more affluent, compelling storytelling.

Consider the work of legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose mastery of the 35mm Leica camera allowed him to pioneer the genre of street photography. His iconic images, captured with stealth and precision, offered glimpses into the lives of people from all walks of life, showcasing the beauty and complexity of the human experience.

Similarly, the era of Kodachrome film brought challenges and constraints for photographers, particularly those working for publications like National Geographic. With its limited latitude and sensitivity to light, Kodachrome demanded meticulous planning and timing. Photographers often had to rely on the golden hours of morning and evening light to achieve the vibrant colors and dynamic contrasts that defined the magazine’s visual aesthetic.

Yet, despite these limitations, photographers like Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey produced timeless images that transported viewers to far-flung corners of the globe, capturing moments of beauty and resilience in the most unlikely places.

The advent of digital photography revolutionized the storytelling landscape once again, offering storytellers unprecedented freedom and flexibility. Suddenly, the constraints of film were lifted, allowing photographers to experiment, iterate, and innovate like never before. With digital capture, storytellers could push the boundaries of creativity, exploring new techniques and perspectives without fearing wasted film or missed opportunities.

Moreover, the affordability of digital cameras and editing software democratized storytelling, making it accessible to a broader range of storytellers. No longer bound by the prohibitive costs of film and darkroom equipment, aspiring storytellers could hone their craft more quickly and effectively, accelerating their learning curve and expanding their creative horizons.

Today, the storyteller’s toolkit is more expansive and versatile. With the rise of social media and online platforms, storytellers can instantly reach audiences across the globe, sharing their narratives with unprecedented immediacy and impact. From Instagram stories to YouTube vlogs, the possibilities for storytelling are virtually limitless, transcending traditional boundaries of time and space.

However, amidst this technological abundance, one fundamental truth remains unchanged: the power of storytelling lies not in the tools we use but in the stories we tell. Whether through photographs, videos, or any other medium, the essence of storytelling lies in our ability to connect, inspire, and move our audiences on a profound emotional level.

As storytellers, we must never lose sight of this fundamental truth. While technology may shape how we tell our stories, ultimately, the strength and substance of those stories will endure the test of time. So, let us embrace the possibilities that technology affords us, but let us never forget that at the heart of it all lies the timeless art of storytelling.

Embracing the art of storytelling is paramount in today’s ever-evolving landscape of visual communication. In an era where technology provides us with an abundance of tools and platforms, the actual currency of our industry lies in our ability to craft compelling narratives that resonate with our audience. To thrive in this dynamic environment, one must possess technical proficiency and a deep understanding of the principles of storytelling.

Becoming a proficient storyteller requires more than technical skill; it demands a keen eye for detail, a compassionate understanding of human nature, and a relentless pursuit of authenticity. As storytellers, we must immerse ourselves in the stories of others, learning to empathize with their struggles, hopes, and dreams. By recognizing the universal themes that unite us all, we can create narratives that transcend cultural boundaries and resonate with audiences on a deeply emotional level.

I understand that compelling storytelling begins with empathy and insight. I believe in the power of narrative to inspire change, spark conversation, and foster connection. Whether working with a nonprofit organization, a business, or a creative individual, my approach remains the same: listening, learning, and crafting stories that speak to the heart.

When crafting a story, we adhere to a simple yet powerful framework:

a) Specific Person: Every story revolves around a central protagonist whose experiences and journeys are the narrative’s focal point. By humanizing our stories through the lens of individual experience, we create a connection that resonates with our audience personally.

b) Specific Challenge: A compelling story is driven by conflict and resolution as the protagonist confronts and overcomes obstacles along their journey. We can create narratives that offer insight, inspiration, and hope by identifying our audience’s challenges.

c) Specific Imagery: Visual storytelling relies on the power of imagery to evoke emotion, convey meaning, and immerse the audience in the world of the narrative. From striking photographs to cinematic sequences, each image serves as a window into the story’s soul, inviting viewers to experience its depth and complexity.

d) Specific Feelings: Ultimately, the goal of storytelling is to evoke emotion—to make our audience laugh, cry, think, and feel. By tapping into the universal language of human emotion, we can create narratives that resonate with our audience on a visceral level, leaving a lasting impression long after the story has ended.

In essence, storytelling is not just a skill—it’s a mindset, a way of seeing the world through others’ eyes. By embracing the art of storytelling, we can harness the power of technology to elevate our craft, amplify our message, and inspire positive change in the world. At Stanley Leary, we are committed to empowering storytellers to unleash their creative potential, one story at a time.

The Decisive Moment: Capturing the Beauty of Red-Shouldered Hawks

Renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “The Decisive Moment is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” Today, I experienced the truth of these words firsthand.

For months, I’ve been documenting the lives of a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks that have made a nest in my backyard. From the early stages of nest-building to the arrival of eggs, I’ve been there, camera in hand, eager to capture every moment of this remarkable journey.

You can see that the two Red-Shouldered Hawks are different in size and little color difference. Female red-shouldered hawks are larger than males. Females are 25% larger than males.

Red-shouldered hawk nests are marvels of nature, typically nestled in the crook of a large tree’s main trunk, high above the ground. Constructed with care and precision, these nests serve as the sanctuary for the hawk couple’s offspring, providing warmth, shelter, and security.

As a photographer, capturing the essence of this experience posed a unique challenge. Positioned on the ground, my view of the nest was limited, making it impossible to see the eggs or the newly hatched eyasses. But today, after months of patience and anticipation, I finally witnessed one of the central moments I longed for – the first glimpse of the baby hawks.

Today is a milestone as I document the enchanting sight of Red-Shouldered Hawks’ eyasses being fed by one of their devoted parents in their nest. Witnessing this intricate moment of care and nourishment fills me with wonder. Grateful to capture this captivating scene of new life unfolding! 📷✨ #RedShoulderedHawks #NatureInFocus

The magic happened during feeding time, a brief window of opportunity when the chicks were visible, nestled alongside their parents. It was a moment of pure wonder and delight, a scene that epitomized nature’s beauty and resilience.

Reflecting on this experience, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to my years of photographing sports. Much like in sports photography, capturing the decisive moment in wildlife photography requires patience, anticipation, and quick reflexes.

In sports, the action moments are fleeting, often occurring in the blink of an eye. The same is true for wildlife photography, where the perfect shot may last only a fraction of a second. But those moments can be captured and immortalized forever with practice and perseverance.

A Red-Shouldered Hawk parent protects their eyasses in their nest. Witnessing this intricate moment of care and nourishment fills me with wonder.

One of the key lessons I’ve learned over the years is the importance of overshooting. By taking more photos than necessary, I increase my chances of capturing the decisive moment. This strategy requires discipline and discernment but ultimately leads to more impactful and memorable images.

For those looking to improve their photography skills, I offer a few tips:

  1. Put in the time: Arrive early and stay late. The best shots often happen when you least expect them.
  2. Anticipate the moments: Study your subjects’ behavior and learn to anticipate when the decisive moments will occur.
  3. Overshoot: Don’t be afraid to take more photos than you think you need. In post-production, you can always narrow your selection to the best shots.
  4. Refine your technique: Improve your shooting angles, camera settings, and composition. The more you practice, the better you’ll capture the decisive moment.
Today is a milestone as I document the enchanting sight of Red-Shouldered Hawks’ eyasses being fed by one of their devoted parents in their nest.

Ultimately, photography is more than just taking pictures—it’s about telling a story, capturing a moment, and sharing it with the world. Today, as I look back on the photos of those precious baby hawks, I’m reminded again of the power and beauty of the decisive moment.

Painting with Light: The Emotional Power of Shooting at Dusk or Sunrise

There’s magic in the air as the sun dips below the horizon or begins to rise, casting its golden glow over the world. For photographers, these moments of transition between day and night offer a canvas of light and shadow, where the scene’s drama unfolds in breathtaking beauty. Shooting in low light, at dusk or sunrise, isn’t just about capturing images; it’s about harnessing the emotional power of light to evoke profound feelings in the viewer.

I stepped outside while the people were gathering around after the church service in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico.

Theatrical Lighting: Setting the Stage for Emotion

Imagine a scene bathed in the soft, golden light of the setting sun or the ethereal glow of dawn breaking on the horizon. These atmospheric conditions create a natural stage where light and shadow dance together, setting the mood and tone of the photograph. Unlike shooting in the harsh, even midday light, shooting in low light adds a theatrical element to the scene, drawing the viewer into a world filled with mystery, intrigue, and emotion.

Embracing Contrast: The Play of Light and Shadow

One of the most captivating aspects of low-light shooting is the interplay between light and shadow. Long shadows stretch across the landscape as the sun hangs low in the sky, adding depth and dimension to the scene. The contrast between light and shadow creates a sense of drama and tension, heightening the photograph’s emotional impact. By embracing contrast, photographers can evoke a wide range of emotions, from awe and wonder to solitude and contemplation.

Two guys hanging out together at dusk on the streets of Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico

Golden Hour: The Magic of Dawn and Dusk

The golden hour, that magical time just after sunrise or before sunset, is often revered by photographers for its soft, warm light and vibrant colors. The world is bathed in a golden glow during this fleeting moment, creating a sense of warmth, intimacy, and nostalgia. Photographers who embrace the golden hour can capture images that resonate with emotion, transporting viewers to a place of serenity and beauty.

Creating Mood and Atmosphere

Shooting in low light allows photographers to create a mood and atmosphere. Whether it’s the quiet stillness of a misty morning, the romance of a candlelit dinner, or the eerie allure of a moonlit night, low-light photography invites viewers to immerse themselves in the moment’s emotion. By carefully manipulating light and shadow, photographers can evoke specific feelings and robust emotional responses from their audience.

I stepped outside, where I was interviewing with a coffee farmer, to see if the community showed up and saw what we were doing in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico.

Inviting the Viewer into the Scene

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of low-light shooting is its ability to pull the viewer into the scene. Unlike shooting in well-lit environments where everything is visible and exposed, shooting in low light leaves room for interpretation, inviting viewers to fill in the blanks with their imagination. This collaborative process engages the viewer on a deeper level, allowing them to connect with the photograph on an emotional and visceral level.

In conclusion, shooting in low light, at dusk or sunrise, is a powerful way to evoke emotion and create mood in photography. By harnessing the dramatic effects of light and shadow, photographers can paint with light, weaving stories that resonate with their audience’s hearts and minds. So, the next time you pick up your camera, consider the emotional power of shooting in low light and let your creativity soar as you capture the magic of dawn and dusk.


For individuals like myself, who are part of the autism spectrum, routine isn’t just a preference; it’s a vital component of our daily lives. Over my extensive career as a professional photographer spanning over 40 years, I’ve discovered the immense value of routine in navigating the complexities of my craft.

Autism often brings with it a strong affinity for order and predictability. This sentiment resonates deeply with me, as I’ve found that adhering to a structured workflow significantly enhances my ability to produce exceptional photos and videos. While this might seem like a personal quirk, it stems from a fundamental aspect of autism: the need for stability and consistency.

In the fast-paced world of photography, where digital workflow is paramount, routine becomes even more critical. My meticulously crafted workflow is the cornerstone of my creative process, guiding me through each project with precision and efficiency. Following a familiar routine, I can navigate the complexities of shooting, editing, and delivering high-quality work to my clients.

One of the key insights I’ve gleaned from my experience is the profound impact routine has on reducing stress and anxiety. While demanding projects and tight deadlines, sticking to my established routine provides a sense of calm and control. This improves my overall well-being and enhances my ability to perform at my best.

Moreover, routine acts as a catalyst for productivity and creativity because after many years of adhering to a workflow formula, it frees my mind. By streamlining my process and eliminating unnecessary variables, I can focus my energy on capturing the perfect shot or crafting a compelling narrative. This laser-like focus is essential in an industry where attention to detail can make all the difference.

Of course, there are times when the demands of my profession push me outside my comfort zone. Back-to-back projects and unforeseen challenges can disrupt my carefully curated routine, leading to feelings of unease. However, I’ve learned to adapt and persevere, drawing strength from the resilience that routine has instilled in me.

In essence, routine isn’t just a preference for individuals with autism—it’s a superpower. By embracing the need for order and structure, I’ve transformed my neurodiversity into a distinct advantage in the competitive world of photography. Through consistency, dedication, and a steadfast commitment to my craft, I’ve unlocked new levels of success and fulfillment, proving that routine is the key to unlocking my photography potential.

Love Prevails: A Hospital Wedding Story

Love often shines brightest when circumstances seem most challenging in the whirlwind of unpredictable moments. Such was the case when Stacie Holmes and Micah Still faced an unexpected turn of events on what was supposed to be the eve of their joyous union.

It all began when Dorie Griggs, my wife and the compassionate chaplain at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, shared the poignant tale of a family whose world was suddenly turned upside down. A man whose son Micah was to marry the love of his life, Stacie, was admitted to the hospital just days before their scheduled wedding.

Thursday evening, before the eagerly awaited ceremony, brought news that would shake any family to its core. The timing couldn’t have been more heartbreaking; Saturday was meant to be a day of celebration, but now it was clouded by uncertainty and worry.

However, a beacon of hope and love emerged amidst the chaos and uncertainty. The Saint Joseph’s Hospital staff, embodying the spirit of compassion and kindness, extended a helping hand to the troubled couple. They offered to organize a wedding for Stacie and Micah on Sunday, just before the groom’s father was scheduled for surgery on Monday.

When Dorie approached me requesting to photograph this last-minute wedding, I knew instantly that I wanted to be a part of this remarkable journey of love, resilience, and community coming together in the face of adversity.

As Sunday approached, the pieces of this impromptu celebration fell into place with grace and warmth. Our dear friend Canita, the talented owner of I Canita Cake, contributed her artistry by providing beautifully decorated cookies for the couple, adding a sweet touch to the occasion.

Despite Dorie being on call and unable to officiate the ceremony herself, her supervisor and fellow chaplain, Grace Freeman, stepped in with grace and dignity to lead the service. It was a testament to the supportive network of individuals who rallied together to ensure that love would indeed prevail.

Debi Mortensen, the unit director overseeing the care of the groom’s father, played a pivotal role in coordinating the event. She ensured that every detail was thoughtfully attended to. Her dedication and compassion exemplified the spirit of community that enveloped the entire occasion.

And so, surrounded by the love and support of family, friends, and compassionate caregivers, Stacie and Micah exchanged vows in a ceremony that embodied the true essence of love: selfless, unwavering, and resilient.

In the presence of their loved ones, including Stacie’s parents, Susan and Max, and Micah’s parents, Ken and Lisa, the couple forged a bond that transcended their challenges. It was a testament to the power of love to overcome even the most formidable obstacles, uniting hearts in a moment of profound significance and joy.

As I captured each precious moment through my lens, I couldn’t help but feel a profound gratitude for witnessing such a beautiful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.

Ultimately, what began as a day marked by uncertainty and fear transformed into a celebration of love, hope, and community. Stacie and Micah’s decision to postpone their wedding to ensure that the groom’s father could be present was a poignant reminder of the profound sacrifices we are willing to make for those we hold dear.

Reflecting on this extraordinary journey, I am reminded that love knows no bounds. In adversity, love sustains us, guiding us through even the darkest times.

May Stacie and Micah’s story serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration to all who encounter it, reminding us that even amid life’s most significant challenges, love will always find a way to prevail.

The Power of Making Others Seen and Heard: A Paradigm Shift in Visibility

In the tapestry of human existence, there’s a profound longing to be seen and heard. This fundamental desire transcends culture, age, and background. Psychologists and philosophers alike have pondered this intrinsic need, offering insights that echo through the corridors of time.

Carl Rogers, the eminent humanistic psychologist, articulated the importance of empathy in fostering genuine connections. He famously said, “When someone hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!” Rogers understood that being honestly heard validates our experiences and affirms our worth.

Similarly, the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre emphasized the significance of recognition in shaping our identity. He posited that “hell is other people” not because they are inherently malicious but because our existence hinges on how they perceive us. In essence, acknowledgment from others constructs the scaffolding of our self-concept.

Spontaneous Smiles: Caught in a moment of pure delight, teenage boys cruise down a dusty road near Tsiko, Togo, West Africa, their makeshift pickup motorcycle brimming with camaraderie. Their beaming faces reflect the joy of being noticed, encapsulating the spirit of adventure and connection in unexpected encounters on the road.

Yet, amidst the clamor for acknowledgment, there exists a paradoxical truth: the surest path to being seen and heard lies in amplifying the voices of others. This concept reverberates through the ethos of Storyteller and Brand Builder Stanley Leary.

In my journey as a storyteller and brand builder, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of shining the spotlight on others. I’ve helped individuals and organizations carve out their place in the collective consciousness by weaving narratives that celebrate their triumphs, struggles, and aspirations.

Embracing Life’s Simple Joys: In the quaint village of Herăști, Giurgiu, Romania, an elderly couple finds solace and contentment in the quiet moments spent together outside their home. Their warm smiles speak volumes, embodying the universal joy that radiates from those whose stories are captured through the lens. They are a testament to the beauty of human connection transcending borders and cultures.

There’s a certain alchemy in channeling one’s energy into illuminating the narratives of others. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” By amplifying their stories, we validate their experiences and foster a sense of belonging and significance.

In business, making others seen and heard takes on a pragmatic dimension. While conventional wisdom espouses the virtues of crafting a compelling elevator pitch, the true essence of success lies in championing the stories of those we’ve impacted.

Capturing Memories: A group of young ladies in Bucharest, Romania, share laughter and camaraderie as they gather for a selfie, extending their arms with a long selfie stick to fit everyone into the frame. The selfie has become ubiquitous today, offering a glimpse into our collective fascination with self-expression and connection through digital imagery. Psychologists suggest that selfies serve as a means of self-presentation and identity exploration, allowing individuals to craft and curate their online personas. Moreover, taking and sharing selfies can foster feelings of validation, belonging, and social connectedness in an increasingly digital society. As technology continues to evolve, so does our relationship with the selfie, shaping how we perceive ourselves and interact with others in the digital age.

In essence, our professional narrative becomes intertwined with the narratives of those we’ve served. As we recount their successes, challenges, and breakthroughs, we inadvertently showcase our role as catalysts for change. In doing so, we transcend the confines of self-promotion, embracing a more authentic form of visibility rooted in service and empathy.

So, let us heed the wisdom of ages past and present, recognizing that the path to being seen and heard begins with making others seen and heard. In championing their stories, we elevate their voices and amplify our own. It’s a paradigm shift transcending self-interest, paving the way for a more interconnected and empathetic world.

Exploring Online Photo Storage Solutions: Understanding Recent Changes

As a photographer and storyteller passionate about helping others showcase their work, I’ve always been invested in finding the best online photo storage solutions. Recently, while assisting a fellow photographer in setting up their online archive and sharing platform, I stumbled upon a significant change: PhotoShelter’s Pro version for new users transitioned from offering unlimited storage to capping it at 500GB. This shift, effective April 1, 2024, prompted me to delve deeper into alternative options to ensure photographers can access the storage they need to showcase their portfolios effectively. In this exploration, I compared popular platforms like SmugMug, Flickr, and Zenfolio, alongside backup solutions such as IDrive and Backblaze, to help fellow photographers confidently navigate this evolving landscape.

Managing and sharing your vast collection of photos can be daunting in today’s digital age. Whether you’re a professional photographer looking to showcase your portfolio to clients or an enthusiast who wants to share memories with friends and family, finding the right online photo storage solution is critical. In this blog post, we’ll compare three popular platforms, SmugMug, Flickr, and Zenfolio, and quickly look at backup options for RAW files with IDrive and Backblaze.


With SmugMug, you get a robust platform designed specifically for photographers. Their pricing structure is straightforward: $45 per month for unlimited JPEG storage, with additional RAW storage charges based on the space you need. For instance, 512GB of RAW storage costs $3 per month, while 1TB of storage costs $5. SmugMug offers customizable galleries and extensive privacy controls, making it ideal for professionals who want to securely showcase their work to clients.


Flickr, owned by SmugMug, offers a more budget-friendly option at $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year. While it doesn’t support RAW photos, it provides unlimited JPEG storage. Flickr offers a Pro unlimited storage plan for users who exceed the 1000 photo/video free storage limit, making it a viable choice for those with extensive collections of images.


Zenfolio targets photographers who need unlimited storage and advanced e-commerce capabilities. Their Pro Suite plan offers unlimited storage for $16 per month, with additional charges for RAW storage at USD .085 per GB per month. Zenfolio provides tools for creating customizable websites, selling prints, and managing client galleries, making it suitable for photographers who want to streamline their online presence and sales process.

Backup Options for RAW Files:

For photographers who prioritize backing up their RAW files securely, options like IDrive and Backblaze offer reliable solutions:


IDrive provides flexible backup solutions for one user across multiple computers. Their plans start at 5TB for $69.95 for the first year, with subsequent years priced at $99.50. They also offer a 10TB plan for $104.65 for the first year, making it a cost-effective option for users with extensive storage needs.


Backblaze offers a straightforward backup solution with unlimited data and drives for a single user. Priced at $9 per month or $99 per year, it’s affordable for those who prioritize simplicity and reliability in their backup strategy. However, it’s important to note that Backblaze requires external hard drives to be connected and scanned at least once every 30 days to keep them backed up.


When choosing an online photo storage solution, consider your specific needs as a photographer or enthusiast. SmugMug, Flickr, and Zenfolio each offer unique features and pricing structures tailored to different use cases. Whether you prioritize unlimited storage, RAW file support, or advanced customization options, there’s a platform that fits your requirements.

Additionally, implement a reliable backup strategy with services like IDrive or Backblaze to ensure the safety and accessibility of your precious photo collections. Remember, those are for archiving only.

Do You Need a Second Photographer for Your Event? Here’s What to Consider

As a professional photographer, one of the common questions I often receive from clients is whether they need a second photographer for their event. Most of the time, I must consider needing a second photographer. It’s a valid question that requires careful consideration to capture every aspect of the event beautifully. Let’s dive into some key points when faced with this decision.

1. Assess the Event Schedule: The first question is whether concurrent activities occur throughout the event. Events like weddings with multiple locations or conferences with simultaneous breakout sessions may benefit from having a second photographer to ensure comprehensive coverage.

ISB & Atlanta Mayor’s EID Reception

2. Consider the Size of the Venue: The size of the venue can also influence the need for a second photographer. Larger venues may require more ground to cover, making it challenging for a single photographer to capture every moment effectively.

The Alif Institute Drummers perform at the ISB & Atlanta Mayor’s EID Reception at City Hall in Atlanta, Georgia.

3. Evaluate the Guest Count: Another factor to consider is the number of guests attending the event. Larger guest counts often mean more candid moments to capture, and having a second photographer can help ensure that no moment is missed.

The cellphones came out to capture the Alif Institute Drummers performing at the ISB & Atlanta Mayor’s EID Reception held at City Hall in Atlanta, Georgia.

4. Determine the Importance of Candid Shots: If candid shots are essential to capturing the essence and atmosphere of the event, having a second photographer can be invaluable. They can focus on candid moments while the primary photographer handles formal shots and staged portraits.

5. Analyze the Event Program: Review the event program to identify critical moments requiring simultaneous coverage. VIP receptions, keynote speeches, and entertainment performances are examples of segments where having a second photographer can be beneficial.

Andre Dickens, Mayor of Atlanta, raising funds for the Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Program during the ISB & Atlanta Mayor’s EID Reception, which was helping raise money for the Mayor’s

6. Discuss Specific Client Expectations: Every client has unique preferences and expectations regarding event photography. Discussing these expectations beforehand can help determine whether a second photographer is necessary to meet those requirements effectively.

7. Factor in Budget Constraints: Budget constraints must be considered while having a second photographer can enhance coverage. Could you discuss the additional cost with the client and weigh it against the potential benefits to determine the best action?

8. Assess Your Availability and Skillset: As the primary photographer, assess your availability and skillset. If you’re interested in capturing all aspects of the event single-handedly without compromising quality, a second photographer may not be necessary.

Soumaya Khalafi, executive director and founder of the Islamic Speakers Bureau, speaks to the audience about how EID is the time for giving. ISB helped organize the event to raise funds for the Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Program at City Hall during the ISB & Atlanta Mayor’s EID Reception.

9. Consider Backup and Contingency Plans: Lastly, consider backup and contingency plans in case of unforeseen circumstances such as equipment failure or emergencies. A second photographer can provide peace of mind, knowing they are in place if needed.

10. Hire the Primary Photographer First: One crucial aspect to consider is the hiring process itself. Clients should prioritize hiring the primary photographer based on their expertise, style, and portfolio. The primary photographer plays a pivotal role in setting the tone and direction for the event photography.

Why the Primary Photographer Should Hire Second Shooters: The primary photographer is intimately familiar with the client’s vision, preferences, and the event’s specific requirements. The primary photographer ensures team cohesion in style, approach, and quality by personally selecting and hiring second shooters.

Maintaining Consistency: When the primary photographer hires second shooters, they can ensure consistency in the final deliverables. They can brief the second shooters on the client’s expectations, preferred shooting techniques, and specific shots to capture, thereby maintaining a cohesive visual narrative throughout the event.

Streamlining Communication: Hiring second shooters directly allows for streamlined communication channels between the primary photographer, second shooters, and the client. Any adjustments, changes, or special requests can be communicated efficiently, minimizing potential miscommunications or misunderstandings.

Paulina Guzman, Interim Director, Mayor’s Office International & Immigrant Affairs, thanks to everyone who helped make this event possible.

Leveraging Expertise and Experience: The primary photographer is in the best position to assess the skill level, experience, and suitability of potential second shooters based on the event’s demands. They can select second shooters with complementary skills and expertise to ensure comprehensive coverage and high-quality results.

Ensuring Accountability and Responsibility: By hiring second shooters, the primary photographer also assumes accountability for the entire photography team’s performance. They can oversee workplace issues promptly and ensure that every team member upholds professional standards and delivers exceptional results.

Maintaining Creative Control: Hiring second shooters allows the primary photographer to maintain creative control over the entire photography process. They can guide the second shooters in capturing the event in alignment with their artistic vision and the client’s expectations, resulting in a cohesive and visually compelling final product.

Reflecting on the recent event I shot at the Islamic Speakers Bureau & Atlanta Mayor’s EID Reception, I found that a second photographer wasn’t necessary. With a VIP reception preceding the main event and no simultaneous activities, I could cover all aspects effectively.

In summary, clients should prioritize hiring the primary photographer based on their expertise and suitability for the event. The primary photographer, in turn, should be responsible for hiring second shooters to maintain consistency, streamline communication, leverage expertise, ensure accountability, and maintain creative control over the photography process. This collaborative approach ensures that every aspect of the event is captured beautifully and exceeds the client’s expectations.

From Noise to Nuance: Exploring the World of Denoise Software for Photographers

In the fast-paced world of digital photography, staying ahead of the curve often means embracing new tools and technologies that enhance the quality of our images. One such tool that has become indispensable for photographers is denoise software. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an enthusiastic hobbyist, incorporating Denoise software into your workflow can make a world of difference in the clarity and polish of your photos.

Let me take you on a journey through my experiences with Denoise software, from struggling with noisy RAW files to discovering the power of advanced denoising algorithms like DxO PureRAW 4.

When I first got the Nikon Z9 in December 2021, I was thrilled with its performance. However, I quickly realized that Lightroom struggled to interpret the RAW files, especially at high ISOs, as it would later be able to interpret. The resulting images were marred by distracting noise, robbing them of the crispness and detail I desired. It was a frustrating setback until I stumbled upon DxO PureRAW 2, which provided a much-needed solution and delivered pleasing results even at ISO 25600.

Just as I was settling into my newfound denoise bliss, Lightroom unveiled its denoise feature just a week later. Naturally, I was curious to see how it stacked up against my trusted PureRAW. The convenience of having denoise capabilities integrated directly into my primary editing software was undoubtedly appealing, and I gave it a fair shake.

However, despite Lightroom’s advancements, I wanted even more nuanced control and superior results. Even when shooting at semi-high ISOs like 3600 while photographing Red-Shouldered Hawks in my backyard, I was disappointed with the Lightroom Denoise.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to DxO PureRAW 4. With promises of further enhancements and optimizations, I eagerly reprocessed some of my previous work done in Lightroom to put PureRAW 4 to the test.

Breaking Barriers: PureRAW 4’s Compatibility Breakthrough with Nikon RAW NEF (HE) Files

In my journey with Denoise software, I encountered hurdles with earlier versions of DxO PureRAW, particularly versions 2 and 3, such as their compatibility with Nikon RAW NEF (High Efficiency) files. As a Nikon shooter, this posed a significant challenge, as the NEF (HE) format is designed to conserve storage space while maintaining image quality—a win-win for photographers looking to optimize their workflow without sacrificing performance.

Unfortunately, PureRAW 2 and 3 fell short in this regard, as they were unable to process NEF (HE) files, leaving me with no choice but to resort to uncompressed RAW formats. While this resulted in higher-quality images, it also came with a hefty trade-off in file size, with uncompressed RAW files ballooning to a staggering 120 MB compared to the more manageable 32 MB of compressed NEF files.

This posed a dilemma for me. While PureRAW’s denoising capabilities were undeniable, the prospect of dealing with significantly larger file sizes was a major deterrent. I seemed to be faced with a choice between superior image quality and practicality—a compromise that I was reluctant to make.

Enter DxO PureRAW 4, a game-changer in every sense of the word. PureRAW offered compatibility with Nikon RAW NEF (HE) files for the first time, opening up a world of possibilities for Nikon shooters like myself. This meant I could finally enjoy the benefits of denoise processing without sacrificing the efficiency and convenience of the NEF (HE) format.

This breakthrough was nothing short of revolutionary for my workflow. By allowing me to process the smaller NEF (HE) files directly, PureRAW 4 eliminated the need for cumbersome uncompressed RAW formats, streamlining my editing process and saving valuable storage space. The missing piece of the puzzle finally made PureRAW a viable and indispensable tool in my arsenal.

In essence, PureRAW 4 not only raised the bar in terms of denoising performance but also demonstrated a commitment to meeting photographers’ evolving needs. By listening to user feedback and addressing critical pain points such as file format compatibility, DxO has once again reaffirmed its position as a leader in image processing software.

For Nikon shooters like myself, leveraging the power of PureRAW while retaining the efficiency of NEF (HE) files is a game-changer. It’s a testament to the relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence that drives DxO—and a clear indication that the best is yet to come.

The difference was immediately apparent. Side-by-side comparisons revealed clarity and refinement that surpassed what I had achieved with Lightroom’s denoise feature. The details in the hawks’ feathers were crisper, the shadows smoother, and the overall image quality noticeably improved.

But what exactly sets denoise software like DxO PureRAW apart from the rest? It all comes down to these tools’ sophisticated algorithms and meticulous processing. By analyzing RAW files at a fundamental level, PureRAW can tackle noise reduction at its source, resulting in cleaner images that retain more detail and texture.

Of course, PureRAW is just one of several denoise options available to photographers. Lightroom and Topaz Photo AI also offer powerful denoising capabilities, each with strengths and advantages. The key is finding the right fit for your specific needs and preferences. I often see the difference between Lightroom Denoise, Topaz Photo AI, and, as of yesterday, DxO PureRAW 4.

So, if you love shooting photos and are passionate about capturing every detail with clarity and precision, I highly recommend trying Denoise software. For true pixel peepers like myself, DxO PureRAW 4 is worth a closer look.

Ultimately, denoise software can be a game-changer, whether shooting in low light, pushing the limits of your camera’s ISO capabilities, or striving for the best possible image quality. It’s a small but mighty tool that can make a difference in the outcome of your photos, helping you achieve the stunning results you’ve always dreamed of.

Creating JPEG Images from Video: A Comparison of Photo Mechanic and Adobe Premiere

As a professional storyteller and brand builder, part of my craft involves capturing moments in both still and moving images. Often, I need to extract a single frame from a video to use as a standalone image. In this blog post, I’ll share my experiences using Photo Mechanic and Adobe Premiere Pro for this task.

Photo Mechanic: Quick and Simple

Let’s start with Photo Mechanic, a renowned tool among photographers for its speed and efficiency in managing and culling images. While primarily designed for photos, it also offers a handy feature for extracting video frames.

Using Photo Mechanic is straightforward. You scrub across the video until you find the desired frame, then press ‘S’ to mark it. After that, it’s a matter of clicking ‘Save’ and choosing your preferred settings for the JPEG export. The first time you do this, you’ll need to configure the settings according to your preferences, including selecting quality, adjusting size, and specifying the save location.

One of the benefits of Photo Mechanic is its simplicity. However, during my experience using it on my Macbook Pro with Apple’s M1 chip and 32 GB of RAM, I noticed that scrubbing through the video wasn’t as smooth as it could be, especially compared to Adobe Premiere Pro.

Adobe Premiere Pro: Versatility and Integration

On the other hand, Adobe Premiere Pro, a powerhouse in video editing software, offers a similar feature for extracting frames from videos. Positioning the play head at the desired frame, clicking the camera icon, or shortcut of pressing Shift+E allows you to capture the frame effortlessly. You can then name the frame, choose where it saves, and even import it directly into your Premiere project.

What sets Premiere apart is its seamless integration with video editing workflows. Since I often edit videos in Premiere, being able to extract frames without switching between programs is incredibly convenient. Additionally, I found that Premiere’s performance was superior when scrubbing through the video, making the process more efficient overall.

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

Ultimately, the choice between Photo Mechanic and Adobe Premiere Pro depends on your specific workflow and preferences. If you’re primarily a photographer who occasionally needs to extract frames from videos, Photo Mechanic is a reliable option that gets the job done. However, if video editing is a significant part of your work and you’re already using Premiere, leveraging its capabilities for frame extraction makes sense.

Since video editing is an integral part of my storytelling process, I prefer using Adobe Premiere Pro for extracting frames. Its smooth performance and seamless integration with my editing workflow make it my ideal choice.

In addition to its frame extraction capabilities, another significant benefit of using Adobe Premiere Pro is its robust suite of editing tools, particularly for color grading. Unlike Photo Mechanic, Premiere allows you to manipulate your footage’s color, contrast, and overall look to achieve the desired aesthetic. This is especially valuable for those who shoot in flat profiles or RAW formats, as it enables precise control over the final image. Whether aiming for a cinematic look, enhancing the mood of a scene, or ensuring consistency across your project, Premiere’s advanced color grading features empower you to elevate the visual storytelling experience. So, if color grading is essential to your video production process, Adobe Premiere Pro offers the comprehensive tools you need to achieve professional results seamlessly.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a photographer, videographer, or both, having the right tools at your disposal can significantly streamline your workflow. Both Photo Mechanic and Adobe Premiere Pro offer efficient ways to extract frames from videos, allowing you to capture those perfect moments and incorporate them into your storytelling arsenal.

So, whether you’re scrubbing through footage in Photo Mechanic or seamlessly extracting frames in Adobe Premiere Pro, remember that the goal remains to capture and share compelling stories that resonate with your audience. You can choose the tool that best fits your needs and workflow and let your creativity take center stage.

Capture the Magic: My Day at the Acworth Splash Festival!

Hey there, fellow art enthusiasts and community explorers!

Guess where I spent my day yesterday? That’s right—immersing myself in the vibrant world of the Acworth Splash Festival, and let me tell you, it was an absolute blast! Armed with my camera and a heart full of curiosity, I delved into a whirlwind of creativity, laughter, and community spirit.

The Acworth Splash Festival, brought to you by the visionary minds at Splash Festivals, is a celebration like no other. From finely crafted artworks to whimsical creations, the artist market was a feast for the eyes, each piece telling its unique story. And let’s not forget about the Kidz Zone—endless entertainment for the little ones, ensuring that the whole family could join in on the fun.

But what truly made the festival special was the palpable sense of community. Everywhere I turned, I was greeted with smiles and laughter as local volunteers worked tirelessly to create a magical atmosphere where connections were forged and memories were made.

As I captured moments through my lens—photos here, short videos there—I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to experience such a vibrant celebration of art and culture right in my backyard.

And now, I extend the invitation to you. Whether it’s the Acworth Splash Festival or a similar event in your community, seize the opportunity to bask in the beauty of creativity, enjoy the sunshine, and connect with your neighbors. Trust me, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, gather your loved ones, and embark on a journey of discovery and joy. Your local art festival awaits, ready to dazzle your senses and ignite your passion for community.