Because of God’s Love – Djamila’s Story

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1250

Storyteller’s Abroad participant Kathryn Shoaf tells the story about a young woman named Djamila. She is the daughter of an Islamic soldier, but found herself torn between two opposing worlds – the familiar traditions of Islam and the unknown Christian faith that her mother had claimed. With guidance from two ABWE teachers, she discovered the life changing love of Christ.
Kathryn was stretched during her time in Togo. She was learning how to use visuals when there are no visuals when someone talks about something that happens in the past. She also learned more about how to sequence the story to keep you more on the edge of your seat.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/100

Before the class all went their separate ways to interview their subjects we did a practice interview where they saw what it will be like interviewing someone in French wth a translator helping. Kathryn has the headphones on in this photo.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100

While we work hard while in Togo, West Africa you can see we also had fun as a group.

We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016. Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.

Are you a Br’er Rabbit Storyteller working with nonprofits?

Project Gutenberg’s Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit, by Joel Chandler Harris

I grew up listening to the stories of Uncle Remus about Br’er Rabbit. In case you are not familiar with the character of Br’er Rabbit. Br’er Rabbit is a trickster who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, provoking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit. The name “Br’er Rabbit”, a syncope of “Brother Rabbit”, has been linked to both African and Cherokee cultures.

You see the animal trickster represents an extreme form of behavior that people may be forced to adopt in extreme circumstances in order to survive. The trickster is not to be admired in every situation. He is an example of what to do, but also an example of what not to do. The trickster’s behavior can be summed up in the common African proverb: “It’s trouble that makes the monkey chew on hot peppers.”

Working for Free

There are some very good reasons to work for free or donate your time and resources to a nonprofit organization. Being altruistic is truly the best possible reason to give of your time and resources.

Another great reason to donate is that when you offer to give your storytelling skills to an organization you are more likely to remain more in control of the project and therefore more likely to do your best possible work that you can produce. Many personal projects that I have seen done through my career by photographers were altruistic acts of kindness.

There are countless people who launched their careers by giving away their work for free and using these projects in their portfolios to get work.

I actually do encourage those who have no real portfolio this is the way to build your portfolio. You find something you are passionate about, which often might be something that a nonprofit could use. The advantage of doing this early in your career is they can provide you the access necessary to put together a project that will showcase what you can do for clients in the future.

Almost no one will spend the travel expenses and let alone actually pay someone to produce something if they do not have GREAT examples.

Business Model Changed

There are just a few things that have impacted photographers doing work for nonprofits.

  • Stock Photography—years ago a photographer could go overseas and shoot and then come back and put images into a stock agency and make some pretty good money. It was very common for photos to sell from $350 up to many thousands of dollars. Today with people giving their photos away for free through things like Flicker this has dried up as an income source. It was not uncommon for a photographer long ago to shoot for free and due to the access make money and lots of money from the stock sales later. This revenue stream dried up years ago.
  • Digital—Before digital you had to really know photography skills because you would have to wait till the film was developed to see the results. Now with the LCD on the camera you can see right away and adjust instantly to be sure you have a photo. So where many organizations would pay for a pro just because they needed to know they had photos, but now with digital they just look on the LCD for that confidence.
  • Good Enough—this is what social media has contributed the most to for our industry. People are seeing that OK videos and photos are getting traction and that great photos and videos do not always get more traction for going viral. 
  • Baby Boomers Retiring—many people are retiring and wanting to just donate their time to doing something worthwhile. Most nonprofits are welcoming the volunteers with open arms and enjoying the free rather than worrying about the quality.

What to do & What not to do

When it comes to working with nonprofits I am seeing more and more Br’er Rabbits. A good number of storytellers will contact a nonprofit and even do outstanding work that in the long run doesn’t really help sustain the nonprofit.

I have watched most of my career the demise of professional communicators and especially those in journalism. Loving what we do and feeling called to do it has many of us behaving like Br’er Rabbit. Br’er Rabbit represented the enslaved Africans who used their wits to overcome adversity and to exact revenge on their adversaries, the White slave-owners.

I am not seeing anyone planning revenge, however, I am seeing people do just about anything they can to do storytelling.

There are many hobbyist/pros who do not need income from their photography because they make really good money in their full-time jobs. Some of these are even professional communicators who are on staff of a corporation or even a newspaper for example.

There are many people who just love to travel and see the world. They are looking for another stamp of a country they have never been to that they can add to their passport.

What is happening with these people is they are not thinking long-term for the organization they are donating of their time and resources.

Managerial Accounting

I think you need to understand this business concept in order to do the right thing when offering your work for free to an organization.

Too many people see the savings they are providing an organization by donating of their time and resources. This is how financial accounting tracks things, but those organizations that mature over time do not use this method only. They use managerial accounting method in addition for their organization.

       Provides information to make decisions regarding the future
       Relevance of data is emphasized over reliability
       Focuses on timeliness of information
       Reporting is focused on parts of the organization such as departments or      
       divisions and not on the organization as a whole.

Here are just a few things that organizations address due to using managerial accounting procedures:
       1. Just in time inventory
       2. Total quality management
       3. Enterprise resource planning
       4. Supply chain management
       5. Benchmarking

Do you want your donations to an organization to multiply or just help temporarily? Most would want to know they were helping long-term.

Think about each of these when you donate next time to an organization:

  1. Is my donation helping the organization meet it’s mission statement?
  2. When I stop donating is what I am doing for the organization something that they need to continue and pay for this service going forward?
  3. Am I helping educate the organization on how to use my gifts the most effective way possible.
  4. Will you be disappointed if your donation isn’t used?
Storytelling is core to successful organizations
I know that every organization must do effective storytelling of what they are about at the core or they will not be successful. I do not mind donating my time as I choose, but highly resent organizations that expect all storytellers to donate to their organization. 
I believe organizations need to have a budget for their ongoing storytelling. They need to have materials that they can use over and over that help tell their story. They need to tell new stories of how they are continuing to make an impact or sooner or later they will start to die. 
Just like movie studios must continue to come out with a new movie to get people to spend their money to watch, so too must organizations continue to tell their stories or people will stop being apart of their organization. 

Time to Pay for Free

There should come a time in a nonprofit’s growth where they will slowly mature by doing the right things. The day will come when the organization cannot just rely on Free.

I know one organization that has built up and continues today relying predominantly on free and all their staff raise their own support to work for free full-time. When I have worked with them I have been trying to give a presentation and the room I was too use was not useable. Due to improper wiring by free volunteers over the years the rooms were not just unusable but fire hazards.

I couldn’t get the work sent to my email accounts one year because all the free IT support didn’t wire their campus properly.

Even Habitat for Humanity knows it must rely on professional electricians and plumbers to meet code for their homes.  Maybe more organizations need to realize their really is a code standard for good communication.

Here is the bottom line for organizations that do not create a plan to budget for storytelling.

Organizations that continue to go to professional communicators asking for free and never budget for communications never mature.

Thought I would end with the sunset.

Advice for the photographer who feels anxiety today

God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.
—Psalm 62:1 MSG

One of the greatest blessings I have found for my life is anxiety. I have talked about this in many ways through the years on this blog.

When editing my work I become anxious because the photos don’t fully capture the event with the emotional impact that I felt. When I awake in the morning I am often stressed because I am not sure where my next project from a client will come. Over the past few years I have felt the loss of more and more clients because their budgets have been slashed.

Malcolm Gladwell is an author that I continue to follow and buy his books. His latest book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants is about what happens when ordinary people confront giants.

There is an interview done with Malcolm Gladwell by the Religious News Service that you can read here.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey writes, “Gladwell said that while researching the book, he began rediscovering his own faith after having drifted away. Here, he speaks with RNS about his Mennonite family, how Jesus perfectly illustrates the point in his new book and how Gladwell’s return to faith changed the way he wrote the book.”

The difficulty many without a faith perspective will struggle with is how this one review by J. Gomez put it, “I really have a tough time buying the notion that people succeed because of their difficulties, “The second, more intriguing, possibility is that they succeeded, in part, because of their disorder–that they learned something in their struggle that proved to be of enormous advantage.” I look at it as overcoming challenges, making the best of what you have.”

Malcolm Gladwell gave a TED Talk recently on the classic story of David and Goliath. When revisiting the story he discovers some hidden truths he missed earlier growing up in the church hearing the story.
Making the best of what you have is a total self reliance and belief that you are in total control of your circumstances.

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
—Saint Augustine

I believe that those with a very close relationship with God have a healthy balance as St. Augustine so eloquently put it. The tension is in the part that it is often a collaboration between man and God.

Many question why a loving God would ever allow for evil in this world.

If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free willthat is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the stringsthen we may take it it is worth paying.

― C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity 

I have never been in a place in my life where I was at total perfect peace. This is the tension of life, we can choose to see our glasses half empty or half full.

Recently I wrote about how seasoned professional photographers look at their contact sheets and look for what they could do better. They are aware of the short comings of their images to what they felt and saw with their own eyes. Their struggle proves to be of enormous advantage over the bad photographer who looks only for a good image.

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 MSG

I wrote earlier on one of my greatest struggles of Aspergers. Here are links to those two blog posts

Mar 22, 2013
Asperger’s Syndrome It would not be until my adult years that I understood that I had Asperger’s Syndrome. Early on I went for psychological testing because of my behavior in the classroom. They suspected I had Autism, but 
Mar 23, 2013
While many think that those with Asperger’s Syndrome lack sensitivity to others and lack empathy, I believe just the opposite. While their outward social skills are lacking they are aware of many things people do not see.

Today you are facing many things which creates anxiety. Don’t be the person who thinks you alone can pull yourself up by your bootstraps. To overcome the fear that anxiety brings into our lives you need to know you cannot do this alone.

I recommend reading this prayer today and every day. Make it your prayer and you can overcome the anxiety of this world.

The Serenity Prayer
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
―Reinhold Niebuhr

One of the key things I have been struggling with has been my identity. How I describe myself to others.

As a side note to this thought you might not be aware that the Jewish people try not to ever say the name of God, because by just saying it we limit what God can be. Theologians call this putting God in a box.

If we were truly created in God’s image as written in Genesis, then it would appear that we should be as careful about putting not just God in a box, but we ourselves.  Is it possible that the reason for much of our anxiety is that we may define ourselves as photographers alone and this has limited our abilities?

What would have happened if David had been older and allowed for adult thoughts to limit his ability to kill Goliath? The key I think to the story of David and Goliath is David acknowledged that all his victories were not his own but because of God. David said, “God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.”

David wasn’t thinking about being a shepherd or running to be king. David saw the anxiety of his people and believed the God who protected him while in battle for his own sheep would allow him to take on Goliath.

If you have lost your job as a staff photographer or maybe you are loosing clients do to various reasons don’t limit yourself by defining yourself as just a photographer. That is how David’s brothers tried to define him and send him home. David was not a shepherd, David was a faithful follower of God and trusted God to deliver him every day as he watched his flock of sheep.

Why am I grateful for the stresses of this world that create anxiety in my life? Because without them I wouldn’t have a need to get on my knees today and ask God to give me the wisdom to know what I should do today.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-9 [NIV]

My response to all those who ask how to do “Missions Photography”

Young photographers and old, but all those fairly new to missions, want to know how to start photographing missions. Their attitude and communication says they are ready and should be doing this now. This is my opportunity to empty out all those emotions that are running through my head and articulating what I’m feeling, without risking saying something to someone that I’ll regret. So here is that letter I often write to get it off my chest and never send. By the way this could also apply to doing NGO work as well.

Dear ___________________:

I get contacted almost weekly from someone wanting to do missions work.  Your request to know how to get into the field is similar to all those other contacts. You reference seeing others going on mission trips or even a short term trip yourself. Your desire seems to be to do this full-time using your photography to capture missions.

Let’s just be honest with one another—traveling the world and taking pictures just sounds fun. It has to be better than what I am doing here every day.

I believe there are four phases to becoming a missions photographer: 1) The call; 2) The Preparation; 3) The Affirmation & 4) The Corporate Sending.

The Call

You hear the call from God that this is what he wants you to do. How you hear that call is different for every person. One of the most famous calls is of Isaiah in the Bible.

Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

The Preparation

If you were called to be a ditch digger, a doctor, a pastor or a communications person each of these would require you to become more proficient and develop that talent.

For the most part this would entail some formal training and some on the job training. Doctors go to college, then medical school and then they do a residency. My recommendation for most photographers wanting to cover missions abroad is to get some formal classroom training, work with some pros and then do a residency type of position for a year or two, just like the medical doctors do.

The Affirmation

You need others to affirm this call. Before a person is accepted into a Seminary to further their biblical studies they must have a letter of affirmation from a sending church. So to a photographer should have this same type of an affirmation where people are confirming not just that you know photography but are using it now to further the gospel.

The Corporate Sending

You need a client who is willing to pay for the content you are creating. Some missions agencies of different denominations have positions for journalists and photojournalists. You must go through an interview process just like you would if you were to be a church planter. They want to see examples of you doing now what they will send you to do somewhere else.

Where are you on these steps?

From your correspondence with me it appears you think you are ready now, but I have some hard questions for you.

What are you doing in missions right where you are?  Would God call someone to do missions photography in your neighborhood?

God hasn’t put you in Africa or somewhere else—he has you here. You are in a mission field. Do you think it is all that different just because you are in a different town, state or country?

You are like so many others who live right here with me in Georgia.  Right near me in Clarkston, GA are refugees from all over the world. There is even a book on one of these groups “The Lost Boys of Sudan.” Here is a link to that book  Missions of the cross-cultural experience it is right there.

I am sure there are opportunities in your community for a cross cultural experience if that is where you need to serve.

Here is a NGO that works with the refugees in Georgia.

How will it be any different for you to shoot in some city in Africa than right where you live? Too many “Christians” think that missions are like a worship service. Missions is so far removed from a worship experience. Missions agencies send their missionaries to those places of highest need. Those places are where there is less than 2% of Christians in the population. This is like going to solitary confinement as compared to going to a place where the people are like you.

If you don’t like working in the secular world now, then you are not ready for the mission field.

Now up to this point I have only addressed your willingness to do mission work. Now I want to address another concern I have for missionary work.

Do you think God deserves our very best effort? Based on the assumption he would want us to do everything we could to be prepared, how well prepared are you for the call? Have you taken the talents you have been given and refined these?

Christ selected 12 disciples and then spent three years training them before they were sent out completely on their own for good. He did an internship program with them where they went out and then reported back to him.

Lets just say you have really prepared as best you can. You went to a photography school and got your training. Now you are working somewhere to get your apprenticeship time in. Just like a medical doctor must do a residency, so too you must work somewhere with supervison.

Now comes another perspective. Who will send you? If you think agencies or churches will be the supportive body to help pay for the expenses of you traveling the world to tell the story of missions why would they send you?

Another way to think of this, think of it like National Geographic Magazine. Should they send you to cover a story or someone like a William Allard, Joe McNally, Steve McCurry, Joanna Pinneo or some of their many proven professionals?  I would think they would send the person who has a strong portfolio and track record of delivering content.

So too the church and agencies should send the person best because it is good stewardship of what God has entrusted them. Sending someone because they are willing is a good way to burn relationships on the mission field.

I hope you see mission coverage can be where you are now. You should be producing content of the stories in your neighborhood. If you are able to produce solid content right where you are now—which is the mission field, then those groups that can send you to foreign mission fields will see you as a good stewardship choice for them.

Remember the Apostle Paul was not readily affirmed by the disciples. Church history shows us there is a time from his calling until the time he was sent out as missionary from the church. Paul’s Damascus road experience was when he was about age 34 [Acts 9:1-9]. Paul was not sent by the church until he was age 47 with Barnabas [Acts 13:2-3]. He preached in the synagogues in between, but sent out was not for years. He first worked in his neighborhood. If it was good enough for Paul, why not you?

This may sound harsh, but I feel you need to hear this from someone and it might as well be me.

Maybe the thing you need to do is pray for God’s guidance and let him lead you. You might be surprised at all the doors that open through him verses by our own hands.

Sorry I am so pushy with this, but I am really sad to see so many people wanting to go overseas when the largest mission field in the world is here. More missionaries come here of all types of faiths to proselytize than any other country of the world. Who should God send to your neighborhood or city to do mission work? Could it be that he has already called someone–YOU?

Your backyard is your first mission field. This is where you will refine your craft and get the affirmation of others. It is here that your friends will then recognize your calling and send you.

Your call doesn’t always mean now, but you now knowing your path. Keep the faith and fight the good fight.


Stanley Leary
Roswell, Georgia
404-786-4914 |

How to become a humanitarian or missions photographer

New church and well being built in Becanchen, Yucatan, Mexico. [Nikon D3, ISO 200, f/8, 1/100, 24-120mm]

“I feel God calling me into missions photography …” or “I want to be a humanitarian photographer and would like to meet you,” are two things I am hearing almost weekly now. 

To make this dream a reality is to engage your head and your heart in this journey.

Reasons not to become a humanitarian/missions photographer

1. The field is overcrowded. If you live in a major city like Atlanta you are very much aware of traffic jams.  Another great comparison is going to Universal Studios or Disney World.  You are going to stand in a very long line because this is a very popular job. This field is not just crowded, every day more and more people are wanting and trying to become photographers.

Fernanda washes clothes and makes hammocks for a living in Akil.  Her son Roberto Carlos has finished school and wants to go to college. They live in the Yucatan in Mexico. [Nikon D3, ISO 200, f/5, 1/8, 24-120mm]
2. Most photographers do it for free.  Translation–it is very difficult to make a living. How will you compete against others who will not only do it for free, but pay their way to cover a cause around the world?
Mayan family at their home in the Yucatan, Mexico. [Nikon D3, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/250, 24-120mm]
3. It requires a large financial investment.  You need cameras, lenses, flashes, memory cards, computers, software, and training to use all this.  Did you notice the list was multiples? Everything requires a backup because equipment will fail and you must still deliver.

4. It is a business. Since the 1970’s staff jobs are actually dwindling.  More and more photographers are freelancers who must pay higher taxes and higher healthcare insurance than their staff counterparts.  Don’t forget you need camera insurance and liability. You must first be a business person and then a photographer.

David Woods stopped on our drive to BoBo from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso for our lunch. You need to be able to eat a variety of food when you travel. [Nikon D2X, ISO 100, f/8, 1/320, 24-120mm]

5. You have to be outstanding and not average. If you watched American Idol then you have a good comparison to this industry, but the numbers are greater.  Everyone owns a camera and many think they can make great photos. American Idol auditions hundreds of thousands to get it down to 25. If you go back to past seasons not all of those 25 finalists are making a living at it. The odds are similar in photography. There are many great photographers, but they didn’t have the complete package to make it.

6. Everyone owns a camera and can make a photo. Think about this for a while. Why pay you to photograph something when they can take it themselves?

7. 95% of your time you are not making pictures. Even the most successful National Geographic Magazine photographers spend only a fraction of their time shooting. Most of the time you are researching a topic or an organization trying to find ways you can help them achieve their goals.


Diane Zuma plays with water at well in Koudougou, Burkina Faso. There are two types of wells in this area: one which is open and not safe to drink from and this one which is deep and is covered and much safer to drink. (Photo By: Stanley Leary) [NIKON D2X, AF Zoom 18-50mm ƒ/2.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/320]

8. It’s not about you. If you want to take pictures because you have an interest in something, well unless an audience is willing to pay you to see your work there is no career for you. The most successful photographers today are not focused on telling a story with their camera–they are focused on connecting the subject with the audience to achieve a goal.

There is no AAA roadside assistance in Burkina Faso. My host David Woods repairs the truck that just lost a belt on the side of the road. [Nikon D2X, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2000, 24-120mm]

Here are some questions you need to answer

1) Why do you want to be a photographer? If your answer is I like to take pictures and meet people, then keep on doing this as a hobby.  If you want to tell the stories of some people you have met, you still need to keep this a hobby.

Humanitarian and missions photographers are goal focused. When I am photographing an orphan I am wanting to help them find a parent. Some who will see my photos may give money to cover their housing and food until they find a parent and this good, but my goal is to move people’s hearts to take this child in.

My goal is not to tell the orphan’s story. Do you see the difference?

Surgeon Danny Crawley is in theatre doing a hernia operation and Comfort Bawa, theatre assistant helps him at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. (Photo by: Stanley Leary) [NIKON D2X, AF Zoom 18-50mm ƒ/2.8G, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/160]

2) Why should you be the photographer? If the goal is to do something, why are you the best selection and not a professional photographer who has given their life to not just taking pictures, but to the cause? If the goal is to get an orphan adopted why would anyone want to have a photographer shoot it that has never helped anyone get adopted verses the photographer that does. Think about it why not hire William Albert Allard who made the famous photos of the little shepherd boy who lost his heard to a reckless driver in Peru? Allard’s photos moved the readers of National Geographic Magazine to replace his herd and then some.

A mass of people wait for medical treatment at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. They are all waiting for Dr. George Faile to see them that day.  [Nikon D2X, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/25, 18-50mm]

3) What are you doing to be the very best photographer? Organizations that want to achieve their goals are not going to let just anyone photograph for them.  Actually they want to keep most photographers away from their projects.  Many photographers will do more harm than good.  Too many photographers are just trying to build a portfolio rather than help.

I am called to be a photographer
Just like a professional musician you will need to study the craft and find a teacher/mentor.  Even in Star Wars Luke had to find Yoda to help teach him the skills to become a Jedi Knight. My suggestions:
Take classes in the following:

a. Business and marketing – You need to understand how to price your work, how to negotiate with a client and most importantly how to find a client.
b. Psychology – You need to be able to work with a variety of people from all walks of life. You need to be able to get to know people in the most intimate way possible in the shortest time possible, because you will be telling their story as an expert on their life.
c. Photography – You need to know how to make your camera do what will work in any situation. You need to be able to not just capture something, but help capture it in a way that sets the mood as well as captures the moments. To do this you will need to master: Aperture; Shutter Speed; Hot Shoe Flashes; Studio Strobes; Available Light; Composition and much more.

We ate in a coffee growers home in El Aguilia, Mexico. [Nikon D3S, ISO 12800, f/5.6, 1/60, 14-24mm]
2. Study the masters – You will need to become a master.  Remember the organization will hire the person they think is best suited to help them achieve their goal. You need to become the expert they want on their team. The best way to do this is to study all the great photojournalists that have gone before you. You need to know why their work was so successful.

3. Study with a master – Take a workshop with someone who is known for storytelling that also is known to help organizations meet their goals.  I will be teaching you how to photograph in another culture, how to tell the story and reach your audience with the message.

4. Go to seminars and workshops to get inspiration.  You will be able to hear successful photographers talk about their work. The room is often filled with current masters of humanitarian and missions photography.

5. Get critiqued to learn – Don’t show your work to just get pats on the back. Show you work to people who can point out the basic things you are missing early in your career and as you grow can teach you about the nuances. If your purpose is only to show your work and have everyone applaud only – well then you need to keep this as a hobby, because even the masters of the craft look for ways to get even better.