Doug Parkin, volunteer pediatrician from Arizona is seeing patients during his two month service at the Baptist Medical Center in Nalerigu, Ghana. [NIKON D2X, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/40, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 42)]
Have you ever had to wait on diagnosis and they took forever at the hospital or doctors office?
Don’t do that to your team or customers.
Had the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control waited until they could put out a message that wouldn’t change, millions more could have died from COVID-19.
Your organization needs to be communicating during these times often and in all the messaging streams where your audience is for your organization.
The speed of your communication in today’s over connected digital society means if you are not telling your story everyone else will. By getting your message out right away shows your organization is aware of situation. You are ready to take this on.
Most important is that the audience is most likely interested in your message.
I think while this might not be what you lead with in your messaging, it must be the fire for why you don’t procrastinate during a crisis.
Tell only what you know. Doing so in an empathetic voice is great way to acknowledge the frustration everyone is feeling.
When you go for surgery they have you sign a lot of papers acknowledging they may find something else in the process.
It is better to over-estimate the problem and then be able to say that the situation is better than first thought.
What are you communicating?
This COVID-19 has put many people in a waiting room–waiting to hear from YOU.
This is one of the most important times in organizations history for the past 100 years for the need of communication.
People need to know what your organization is doing and plan to do in the coming months. Be like the CDC and get your message out there. Let people know this is what you know right now and if changes happen you will communicate that as well to them.
So, what do people need to know? Assume they need to know what you will not be doing as well as what you will be doing.
Acknowledge fear, pain, suffering and uncertainty if they are genuine emotions for the situation. Always be as human as possible. You are building a relationship with your audience. Make sure that relationship is built on honesty and integrity.
Union University Photography Students during a photo weekend at Morris Abernathy’s home outside of Nashville, Tennessee July 19, 2003.
Aside from learning new things, finding a way to meet up you can also build new professional relationships, gain friendships with like-minded people and even get to know people on a more personal level.
Early in my career I would go to conferences and workshops as a way to get feedback on my work. I wanted to improve and early on there was a lot of room for improvement.
In 1987, Jim Veneman and I both were trying to get better. We had begun a friendship based on that we both worked for similar organizations. We wanted to get the staff from MissionsUSA & The Commission Magazines together as well as others.
That first group included as well as some of our spouses:
This group would get together and just share what everyone was doing and then started inviting others to join the group like Thomas Kennedy & William Allard.
Attending a workshop is like gifting yourself a new possibility to learn something new from peers who have better experience and knowledge to share with you a new bee into the world of professionals.
Building new relationships and meeting new connections are important to personal growth. A workshop gives you as the professional the best opportunity to meet other people who share your interests. It is always a pleasure to meet someone with the same enthusiasm that you do. Attending a workshop is a great way to meet other people in your area with shared interests. It is not, of course, a guarantee that a friendship will flourish but it never hurts trying. You will at least be able to find a friend and somebody who knows your “talk shop,” as it were i.e. to discuss matters concerning your work etc.
I organized this year a ZOOM meeting on Fridays to replicate the best I could this concept of getting together and getting to know other colleagues.
For those who love Photojournalism I recommend attending this year’s event that will be online. The 2021 Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar will take place virtually November 9-13, 2021, marking 49 consecutive years of the longest continuously operating photojournalism conference in America.
In Person Events
I am planning to host some fun get togethers in the near future. I am looking to hosting a lighting workshop for a few hours one day. If you are interested let me know, so that I can put you on the notification list. These will be in the Metro Atlanta Area.
Are you in crisis mode when it comes to finding employees?
I have a tip, communicate to your potential employees like you have been doing with your customers.
“Don’t start a business. Find a problem, Solve a problem, The business comes second.”
– Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank
No matter the business, you are solving a problem for someone. You need to be sure the client understands everything that needs to take place for your solution to be a success.
Today you are competing for not just customers, but for employees.
You are going to use the same process to market your business to customers, but now for finding those employees.
No longer are the days that you can just say I have a job opening and people are lining up for you to pick someone.
Just like you created a product that solves a problem, you need to now address the problems that workers have with the workplace.
Now you might just be solving every one of those problems. You have great benefits, your employees like you as a boss and your business is one that makes a difference in the community, but no one is applying.
Most places have the same problem with the marketing of their business and finding employees.
Show & Tell
People have a short attention span. We know that infomercials work. The purpose of infomercials is to prompt the viewer to call a toll-free number or visit a website to make a purchase. An advantage of infomercials for companies is an increased amount of time to showcase a product, demonstrate how it works, and present a persuasive call to action.
Applying the “Problem – Agitate – Solve” principle is a useful tool for a great effect on your business. Digging into the consumers’ common problems gives you the chance to empathize, to connect with them, to give solutions to their problems and to make them feel better. Of course, they won’t care on buying your product if it is not helpful to them.
Having infomercials for your products/services is a great way of showing how it works. Describing how it is effective is always helpful, but people are visual. Viewers love seeing things in action. It would give bonus points to compare how you’re better than the other competitors in a respectful manner.
I think great photo of employee and short text telling their story works great in social media.
Also, short videos work as well. Tips for recruiting
Target your audience, where do they congregate?
Use testimonies of current employees
Communicate how people can grow with your company
Talk about how your company impacts the community ~ people are looking for a sense of purpose
Call me and let’s put together a campaign to recruit employees.
A friend wrote to me today and said, “Just read your blog about conflict coverage. Great article, BUT will your audience really listen to you and take heed to your advice?”
Here is my response.
Write to me and let me know what you think.
Good to hear from you. There are basically two things that give us wisdom.
Experiential Learning ~ This is what Steve Jobs called “Wisdom From Accumulated Scar Tissue” Even from personal first-hand experience not everyone will learn as you know.
Traditional Learning ~ This is what the education system is all about. This is where you are learning from other’s experiences.
I believe one other way is a mixture of the two. Most freelancers I think fall into this category. It is where things are not working that you are doing and you join ASMP, NPPA or go to workshops. You realize others have the experience you need. You are what I call a motivated learner.
Since 2006 I have been leading a workshop for a Christian organization on Storytelling. It would work for anyone or any organization.
We take people overseas [the lure] and give them a person to help tell their story. That person was selected because the organization is trying to raise funds for a program. The person for the story is an example of what the program is all about.
We have already established a workflow involving crafting the story and working in Adobe Premiere. James Dockery, editor for ESPN, and I coach them. At the end of this workshop, those who generally have an “A Ha” moment. They signup to take the workshop again. They realize that the first time they did OK, but they knew they needed to practice. They also understood they still wanted a coach/mentor to help them.
A few of these people now work for the organization overseas. They went to work in Columbia, South America and Togo, West Africa.
Due to my blog I have gotten numerous jobs. I just did one yesterday helping a guy who does wood turning. He wanted to know how to take better photos of his bowls. While I would have loved that he hired me to shoot the bowls, he paid me to teach him how to do it.
I got my gig that I have for the past 12 years with Chick-fil-A because of the blog. The guy who hired me realized I was an expert and that many photographers go to me for advice. So why not get that guy.
We have all heard about the 80/20 Rule. Mathematically, the 80/20 rule is roughly described by a power law distribution (also known as a Pareto distribution) for a particular set of parameters, and many natural phenomena have been shown to exhibit such a distribution. It is an adage of business management that “80% of sales come from 20% of clients”.
I don’t have any research to back up my belief, but I think that less than 5% of any field are those that are doing 90% of the work. They are the experts. They either know a great deal more than the rest, or have surrounded themselves with a team of experts.
I then believe of that group only about 1 or 2% can teach and do excellent work. They are not necessarily the top 2% grossing, but they have enough of the understanding and ability to teach what they know, so that others can understand.
If you could truly identify the top 10% you could market to that group. Top 10%: Marketing to people and companies who have a need for your services right now, typically described as “inbound marketing.”
Lower 90%: Marketing to people who don’t have a need for your services, but will someday.
Jeremy Miller, a brand strategist, is the one who created the “Sticky Branding”.
The first mode is where companies feel the most confident, and it receives the lion’s share of the marketing budget. The challenge is much of that marketing investment is ineffective, because it falls on deaf ears.
Paul Emond, CEO of Versature, sums up the situation nicely, “When people aren’t in the buying mode, they don’t want to be sold.”
The second mode of marketing is the opportunity. Rather than trying to engage people when they have a need, engage them earlier in the Lower 90%. Establish the relationship and develop rapport before they’re ready to buy.
Create an opportunity where your customers know, like, and trust your company long before they have a need. That way they’ll skip right over the inbound marketing messages, and call your company first when they have a need.
Sticky Brands are built in the Lower 90 Percent, because they understand the importance of relationships. Their brand is not based on aggressive marketing and pitching. It’s based on a personal connection where their customers know them, like them, and trust them.
I just put my brand out there to help and when people are ready, they will reach out to me and engage with me. Maybe you are one of those people who read to the end of this article. Send me an email and tell me what you think Stanley@StanleyLeary.com
Ya Ya Sebre is from Ouamani. [NIKON D2X, AF Zoom 70-200mm f/2.8D, ISO 200, ƒ/2.8, 1/250, Focal Length = 225]
I have been in Burkina Faso and Ghana which are located in West Africa. In Burkina Faso alone there are over 82 different people groups and each one has a different language.
While French is the official language of the country—not everyone speaks it.
So, how do you make photos with a language barrier?
The best way to approach these golden opportunities of an exotic location is to keep it simple. You want to spend all your time on developing the relationships with the people—not fidgeting with your equipment. Preplanning helped me to concentrate on communication and not my equipment once in West Africa.
What are the elements for a good photo? Well, the Washington Post’s photo editors use this hierarchy for picture selection:
The photos which just have documented the scene and look pleasing like a postcard often lack the last two elements of the hierarchy. These are really wrapped up in understanding the universal language of body language. Body language was all they had during the silent movie days, but it still worked and kept people laughing and crying.
Those photographers who shoot those award winning journalistic photos are concentrating on capturing the body language of people.
Smiles mean pretty much the same the world over. However, there is much more than just the obvious in body language. A tilt in the head or someone leaning in verses hands crossed all are communicating something different. Learning to recognize these subtleties will only help you with half the equation.
You need to also know what your body language is communicating.
You may want to spend some time watching your face expressions in the mirror before you try them on strangers. Knowing how you are being perceived will give you the best possible advantage to put people at ease and get the most cooperation possible.
Before you start snapping photos of people take the time and communicate with them as much as you can. If you do this first your photos will be much better because you have established a relationship from which you are able to get their cooperation. Those photos which meet the highest standards of intimacy require the subject to let you into their world.
If you want to read more on this subject there are many books available like this one “How to Read and Use Body Language,” written by Anna Jaskolka.
Just remember to travel light and put all your emphasis on the really important stuff—body language—the subjects and yours.
We have all seen the photo of too much stuff in a photograph. Because the photographer makes no attempt to select one subject the photograph fails to communicate. The “run on sentence” is the written word comparison to this visual example.
A close-up of a detail frequently reveals more of the subject than a picture of the whole subject. So many want to shoot general views because they believe it offers “good composition” or to capture the beautiful light. The detail photograph can have more impact and communicate more because the photographer is forced to be interpretive with the detail. The isolated part can tell more, be more emphatic, and more quickly appreciated and understood. It tells the story in compressed, sometimes dramatic, by scaling-down to point out a specific idea with greatest effect.
In approaching a subject decide how much to include in the viewfinder of the camera. You must force yourself to look around the subject and look at each of the corners and everything within the frame of the viewfinder. If there is anything in the picture area that detracts from the theme, move in closer to eliminate it; if not enough, move back to include more. The key to this exercise is to know what you want this way the details will fall naturally into place and “composition” is achieved.
I have found this procedure in teaching photography students most effective. First, shoot a large scene, then close in on it and cut it in half. Close in again and again until, finally, you isolate the most important subject and thus make a statement about the main thing in the scene. In this way, you learn, bit by bit, that lots of things you see in a picture are really unimportant, and so you learn how to select the part or parts that are most meaningful.
Great photographers know that composition is more than that—it is a matter of feeling rather than of rules learned by rote; that you will develop this feeling as you go along; and that you never really “know it all” because, as you learn more about life, you put emphasis on different things. For composition is just another way of looking at life.
Keeping up with the regular maintenance schedule can help by preventing costly repairs of the cooling system, transmission system, drivetrain and other components. Preventive car care reduces wear and tear of the engine and other components that extend the life of your vehicle.
If we similarly ran our communication for organizations the same, we would be using bottom-up thinking. A bottom-up approach is the piecing together of systems to give rise to more complex systems as in a communications plan. It involves getting the front line worker into the strategy meeting.
You are going to the mechanic to help you get the most out of the vehicle. Isn’t this what you want with your organization.
Before implementing your strategy or project, get those who are actually going to do the work to help guide you.
In my area if you ask around as to what shop to take your car to when you need a repair is Roswell Auto Center. When you Google for reviews you see things like, “Carl and Robert have always taken care of our family’s cars and we completely trust them.” I also saw things like, “… have integrity which means a lot.”
You don’t look for experts who are young, cool and the shop has a great coffee station.
Great Communication for Organizations
Many organizations today are thinking the youngest people are more in touch and therefore know how to communicate to their own age group. If this were really true today’s youth wouldn’t be suffering from as much anxiety.
There is a HUGE difference between being a CONSUMER of communication and a PRODUCER of communication.
Clients benefit in several ways when they include me as part of their creative team. Not only will the project go smother and faster, but more importantly, the end product will be just as you want them to be and your budget will go further.
The sooner the producer of content is involved in the planning and preparation the better.
Recently I had a client with a super difficult product to technically capture. The largest difficulty in the process is getting the client to trust me.
When I took my van to the dealership a year ago, the service manager was telling me I needed all this work done to my engine. $4,000+ estimate. Due to a few earlier incidents of them always trying to upsell me, I took that estimate to Roswell Auto Center. They just laughed at the estimate. They said it would be cheaper and better to just replace the engine. Since I wasn’t having trouble and that was a recommendation, I just drove it.
Then just recently I had oil puddle in my garage under my van. I took it to Roswell Auto Center. I was prepared to hear about the engine needing replacement. I got a call and I needed a seal replaced. The guys in the shop also said this was in excellent condition.
It isn’t about getting an estimate as you can see. You need someone with the reputation and wisdom to speak into your project.
For a Photography Project
During the planning session we discuss the feelings the photos need to invoke in the viewer. By working together from the beginning we are both better able to achieve our objective. Preplanning allows everyone to concentrate on the fine details when it truly counts – on the day of shoot.
During the actual shoot priorities can change. Certain shots emerge, as “must have” pictures, while others may become less essential than initially thought. Going for the best shots and dropping or limiting the others can stretch the budget yet still produce outstanding images.
Here is an example of stretching a photo budget. When working with universities and schools it is more expedient, since most general classrooms look alike, to set-up in only one classroom. The faculty and students rotate through the classroom where all the lights have been placed and the exposure and white balance determined. There is no need to move from building to building. This saves time and money.
As you consider your photo needs consider adding me to your creative team, that decision will save time and money and ensure a more productive and creative photo shoot.
Brick was popular for a while and for some still is desirable
One thing is for sure, simple plain backgrounds will keep the attention on you and not the background.
Where are you posting the headshot?
These Social Media use a circle for the headshot.
Personally I think the white background works better in the circle. My second choice is a light color. The teal colored background was the organizations color for their brand. That worked on their website and also for the social media as well.
Don’t Be This Guy
Dubbed “the new handshake,” professional headshots are now the first introduction to you, your business and your personal brand—shouldn’t that intro be the best it can be? With 93% of HR professionals and recruiters tapping into LinkedIn to find quality candidates—plus candidates—plus 2 in 3 on Facebook and more than half utilizing Twitter—that headshot has countless applications in your professional life.
Can your organization find old photos to help tell the stories of how they dealt with past challenges?
This morning some of my friends were sharing the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has been sharing old photos to help remind people how vaccinations through history helped to wipe out diseases that were taking lives.
Today people can miss your outgoing communications. That is why it is important to have a campaign on important communications. For those who don’t miss your communications, they would stop following your content if it was the same thing just reposted.
Your communication also can be mixed up with some other content. This helps with the entertainment factor of a good communications channel. Here the team just shared an old photo from the archives and the story with it.
What visual storytelling content are you sharing on your communication channels today?
Here is a photo from Georgia Tech in 1918 where the fans are masked up.
Tips for sharing old photos
Create a Digital Asset Management online catalog
Create assignments to capture what happens in your organization for historical purposes in addition to your current coverages.
[NIKON Z 6, Nikon 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 10000, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 125)]
I was referred to the client for this project by my friend Daemon. Daemon said in his message to me, “The main stipulation is that you shoot silently, or with the very muted sound of that Z6. The reason is that video is being shot, and they’re using ambient mics.”
I arrived early and to my surprise the lighting in the room was awesome. This past year they had remodeled the room and replaced all the lighting. This is the same court room where the Centennial Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph trial took place.
I put the ExpoDisc on my lens and did a custom white balance. I then did a few test shots on white solid spots, like the walls, and looked for banding.
At the Carter Center in Atlanta this is a problem as you can see.
As you can see in this program as compared to the one at the Carter Center there is no banding. I was good to go.
If I could shoot all the time in Silent Mode I would. You are not announcing with the clicks that you are taking photos.
Sure the silence helps with audio issues when they are video recording or sound recording, but the benefit is far beyond the sound.
When people are talking to one another, they knew I was close, but with a click you announce you are there and make people conscious of the moments. This changes how they respond to others most of the time.
The Honorable Regina D. Cannon was have intimate conversations with her family, friends and close colleagues. I felt like I was able to get the moments that helped define why she was chosen to be judge. You can tell in the photos how personable she is with everyone–even with those masks on everyone.
I am hoping that the next generation of the Nikon mirrorless camera is able to be shot with banding not being an issue. I understand that this has more to do with the lights being used than the camera, but I hope one day it is solved for silent shooting. It is solved with the shutter.
Tips for shooting in Silent Mode with Nikon Z6
Arrive early & do test shots to see if banding occurs with silent mode
Scout the location for best places to be with your camera. You may need to move during the event, so plan how you will do that early.
You cannot use flash in the silent mode with the Nikon Z6
While your Nikon Z6 will not be heard clicking–you can be heard. Move around like a Ninja.