Improve your outside photos with flash

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
When should you use a flash, inside or outside? Would it surprise you I use the flash more often outside than most people.

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 640, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]
Compare this photo without a flash used of the couple exchanging vows to celebrate their 25 years of marriage. No flash in this photo.

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/80]
Now by having a flash off camera I was able to put some light on the husband’s face.

You see outside you get some sunlight that will create harsh shadows. Off camera flash lets you put the light where it needs to be.

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 640, ƒ/5.6, 1/80]
Often outside, like at this party the background is so bright and the people are in the shade. Without a flash you would have blown out background and very flat light on their faces.

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm ƒ/4.0, ISO 2000, ƒ/9, 1/25]
In this group photo I have the flashes off at 45º from my camera which let me improve the light on the faces.

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm ƒ/4.0, ISO 1000, ƒ/4, 1/100]
I find that an off camera flash at 45º to 90º really creates three dimension to an object.

Carmen & Reaves Newsome 25th Anniversary Party [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 25600, ƒ/3.5, 1/100]
I also take photos without the flash outside. I find it is good to know when to use a flash and when to not use one. Sometimes the photo can look great both ways, with and without a flash.

I recommend you try using off camera flash outside. See what it can do for your photos.

Here is the Godox flash system I use and tips on using it.

Looking for fall color at Gibbs Gardens

Gibbs Gardens [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 250, ƒ/9, 1/100]
This time of year we are suppose to have the temperature drop and autumn set in, but today the low in my area was 51º and high of 76º Fahrenheit.

I drove up to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia to see if Mother Nature is painting the treetops in vibrant hues of red, orange and gold.

Colors reflecting in the water at Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 640, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]
While the foliage isn’t wide spread I was able to isolate some colors.

Colors reflecting in the water at Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 3600, ƒ/10, 1/100]
Here are some of the colors I captured today. Enjoy!

Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, AF 35mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, ƒ/1.4, 1/800]
Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, AF 35mm f/1.4G, ISO 200, ƒ/1.4, 1/320]
Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/320]
Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/160]
Gibbs Gardens [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 250, ƒ/8, 1/100]
Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 280, ƒ/11, 1/100]
Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 1800, ƒ/11, 1/100]
Gibbs Gardens [NIKON D5, VR Zoom 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, ISO 220, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]

WHY??? WIIFM

it is Matriculation Day 2017 at The Citadel. Here each student goes from one line to another throughout the day. These are the student officers who will train the Knobs. They are part of the cadre. [Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1600]

Why?

Well there are many “WHY?” questions when it comes to communication. One that I am discovering is not asked enough is, “Why should the audience care?”

Most organizations want to communicate with an audience in order to get that audience to help them. But the most obvious questions they are missing is the WIIFM question. What’s In It For Me?

WIIFM is the stuff that shows how or why what you have to sell or say matters to those who you are trying to sell or say it too. It’s the value proposition, the thing that makes them realize that what you’re offering is worth their money or their time.

Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.8, 1/1700]
I think most people think they have something important and that everyone will want to know.

The latest group of missionaries I worked with thought that churches should see their role as supporting them.

Picturing Justice at the Atlanta Legal Society – Featuring the work of: Dustin Chambers, Melissa Golden, Andrew Lichtenstein, Robin Rayne & Beate Sass [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 640, ƒ/3.6, 1/60]
Now in consulting missionaries trying to connect with their supporters back home I had to remind them about WIIFM.

So, never forget that relationship building comes BEFORE favor asking. And there has to be a much bigger and better WIIFM when you approach people cold, without a solid relationship.

Teenager in San Benito, Nicaragua [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/160]
That said, sometimes people will offer favors if they are charmed by you, or like you, or are just in a good mood. But given how overwhelmed most people are these days, they usually appreciate and respond well to clear propositions with a straightforward action attached—and a benefit. Otherwise, you just become part of the noise.

For the journalist WIIFM is the stuff that shows how or why what you have to say matters to those who you are trying to say it to.

Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Workshop – Kosovo Leadership Academy (KLA) [X-E2, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/105]

Wrapped up trip to Lima, Peru

Jeff Raymond talks with missionaries during our time planning the logistics of the workshop in January to Lima, Peru. [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 640, ƒ/3.6, 1/100]
This week spending time in Lima, Peru has proven to be quite helpful. We were able to answer all the people’s questions that are hosting us later when we come back with 12 students and all the instructors.

Jeff talks with the leadership team in Lima, Peru. [X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 5000, ƒ/8, 1/100]
We covered what we are doing each day and how the team is helping us interview the people that they recommended for stories.

[X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 2000, ƒ/4, 1/100]
We went to the presidential palace to see about this being a place we will bring the group for an outing.

Changing of the Guards at the Presidential Palace in Lima, Peru. Exterior … You shouldn’t miss the changing of the guards which takes place each day at 11:30 am. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.7, 1/1300]
At this moment we still have like one spot left.

Go to Storytellers Abroad to see how to register and come with us to Peru.

Jon Stone is a professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Lima, Peru and also one of those hosting the Storytellers Abroad team in January.

Basilica and Convent of San Francisco, Lima. [X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/7.1, 1/1400]
This is a must visit for those who have an interest in the early culture and how Christianity made its way to Peru. The Cathedral is beautifully designed, both exterior and interior with natural skylights, and has a nice garden within its compound, and one of the largest library in Peru – a 2 tier balconied library, with spiral staircases, that looks very much from the movies of Harry Potter.

Underground Catacombs [X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/34]
The highlight of the visit is to the underground catacombs – up to 3 different basement tiers and you would need a guide to bring your through. The catacombs served as a burial place to all in that era, i.e. the rich, the poor and the priests and the bones and esp skulls are arranged in neat rows of up to some 70,000 dead.

The Larcomar is a shopping center in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru. [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/3.6, 1/2900]
Larcomar is located on Avenida Jose Larco, and it is along the cliff next to the ocean (mar means ‘sea’ in Spanish) thus the name Larcomar.

Souvenir Shopping. [X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/140]
Just one block from the big roundabout in Miraflores you find Av. Petit Thouars. On block 52 to 55 are many artisan markets selling nearly everything what Peruvian craftsmanship has to offer. You get the typical souvenirs, nice artisan craftworks, beautiful silver jewelry and other silverware, clothes made of Peru’s famous alpaca, funny T-Shirts, pottery, paintings, wooden pieces, and much more from all over Peru.

[X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/150]
Traditional Peruvian clothing and products ranging from shoes to tote bags are made out of bright, bold textiles.

Vision Trip to Lima, Peru [X-E2, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 5000, ƒ/4, 1/100]
The traditional Peruvian art form known also as ‘mates burilados’, dates back 3,500 years.  The gourds tell a story of the customs, culture, people, history, and animals.  Hang them from a Christmas tree or use them as a decorative piece around your home.

[X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/4, 1/100]

Research Trip to Lima, Peru

Where we are in Lima, Peru you can see how this is the desert. Also you see how this is a major city with over 10 million people living. [X-E3, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/5, 1/2500]

Editor note: we still have 2 slots available for this trip in January. Go to Storytellers Abroad to see how to register and come with us to Peru.

Lima, Peru is a desert. The weather patterns for South American generally move East to West. Most of the moisture gets help up in the Andes Mountains. The Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America.

There is a haze over the city due to so much dust from the desert.

Building where they can in Lima, Peru [X-E3, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2500]
People find places all over the area to build. Some areas have some building which is similar to squatters in the United States. They build housing without plumbing and electricity.

One of the schools we will help tell stories about when we come back in January. [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1250, ƒ/4, 1/2000]
During this trip we are talking to the locals and our hosts for our Storytellers Abroad trip this January.  We are visiting some of the possible locations that our students will be doing stories. We are doing this to see any potential issues that we may need to plan around.

Some of the taxis on the perimeter of the city. They are not allowed in some parts of Lima. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/180]
We have visited the location we will use as the classroom part of the workshop.

Classroom we will use. It will be reconfigured for our group with work tables. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 2000, ƒ/8, 1/100]
Simple things like planning for power strips, projectors, sound, food and where we are staying is all being looked at and planned for in this trip.

We are asking security questions about is it safe to walk with cameras from where we are staying to the classroom each day?

John Stone is teaching at the seminary in Lima, Peru. He has been hosting us and showing us around for this visit along with his wife and parents. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 2500, ƒ/4, 1/100]
John’s credit card company sent him a promotion to eat at his favorite steak restaurant for 50% off. Well this place would most likely be too expensive later for the class, but we love steak and a good deal.

Jeff Raymond and Stanley Leary at Ossa El Restaurante with our Tenderloin Steaks. [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 8000, ƒ/3.6, 1/100]
The food was outstanding.

Tenderloin Steak [X-E3, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 5000, ƒ/3.6, 1/100]
Today we will meet with their team and visit the prenatal clinic they started here to help pregnant mothers.

Anyone doing a story must plan. You need to know how you will get places and if the people are available and willing to participate in the story process.

Today we will talk to those helping us identify stories to be sure those subjects will be available when we return for us to follow them for three to five days solid.

We are also planning for the transportation of how we will get all 12 students to each of their stories and who will help them also with the translation during their interviews. We have four people coming on the trip who speak Spanish, but the rest will need translators.

Today we have to help get everyone to see these stories as the stories “WE” want to tell together. The subject, the translator, the transportation, the storyteller, the caterer and more are all helping make these stories come alive.

Night class at the seminary in Lima, Peru. [X-E2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/15]
We are still exploring today and tomorrow. The more we do to prepare to do a story the better the story will be for the audience.

Seeing the older and newer generations on the streets in Lima, Peru. [X-E3, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/4.8, 1/2500]

Reviewing Photos for Portfolio

Alex Gomez & Kevin Williams [NIKON D5, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
Every once in a while I am reviewing images I have taken to see if I can update my website. I have found that when you are just pulling from assignment work I have less “Portfolio” images.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]Reviewing
What do I want to put on my website?

Georgia National Cemetery is the second national cemetery in Georgia and the 123rd in the national cemetery system. [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 220, ƒ/1.8, 1/8000]
Often I shoot things that are just important to me. They are really photos you would put in your personal journal.

Cowgirls competing in the barrel racing during the Celebrate Freedom Rodeo at Wills Park in Alpharetta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport, ISO 64000, ƒ/2.8, 1/2500]
People are not always hiring photographers to document everything, but I see the value for if for no one else for me. I love to look back and remember the things I have done and seen.

Paradise Helicopter Tour –– Kīlauea is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi.[NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 1400, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
For example I was able to take a helicopter ride this year over the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. This is so different than what I shoot most of the time.

Hannah Broeils [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
Debrinja Watts [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/125]
I do a good number of head shots each year like these actors studying at Columbus State University.

Chelle Leary [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/160]
As every parent I love doing things with our children. Here making my daughter’s head shot for her to use in her career as an actress brings me great joy.

Oxnard Chick-fil-A Soccer [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 50, ƒ/11, 1/200]
While this isn’t a soccer game photo, I do find myself making interesting sports photos. So who will hire you to shoot this? Should this be on my website?

[Nikon D4, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 50, ƒ/8, 1/200 – (2) Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
How about a group photo? Well many people do hire me to do team photos of their co-workers and yes sports teams as well.

Drive-Thru Bankhead Hwy FSR [NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 2500, ƒ/14, 1/100]
Clients also hire me to photograph new things their company is doing. For example Chick-fil-A started using canopies to help protect their team members that help speed up the drive thru by being outside taking orders.

Staff in the newly renovated open work spaces at the Chick-fil-A Support Center [NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 220, ƒ/8, 1/100]
Do you put things into your website that are more of a trend? For example many offices are renovating to the open office space design.

Stockton McGuire [NIKON D5, 85.0mm ƒ/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/320]
The biggest issue now facing corporate America is the lack of employees. The industry refers to this as attracting talent.

Margarett Phillips, Operator Commerce FSU & Highway Heroes Coordinator [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 400, ƒ/6.3, 1/40]
Companies are also trying to be sure they communicate their culture.

The Cows at Roswell Town Center are celebrating on Cow Appreciation Day 2018 in Roswell, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/3200 – Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]
So this year I captured some fun things as well for clients. Do they belong in a portfolio?

Roswell Fireworks. [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/11, 8]
While fireworks are fun to see would anyone hire me to shoot any for them?

Paradise Helicopter Tour –– Kīlauea is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 250, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
I got a lot of likes for this photo on my Instagram account, but does this go into my website to help me get jobs?

The hood ornament from a vintage Cadillac at the Old Car City in White, Georgia. [Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/16, 1/200]
I took an afternoon to go and explore the Old Car City in White, GA this year. I got some really cool shots. Again many people liked them on Instagram, so does this mean they go into my website portfolio?

Sunnyvale FSU. [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/60]
I can see companies hiring me to shoot photos of their properties. They do want to remind people how to find them.

Sally Yates is given the Courage award by the Islamic Speakers Bureau during their Change Makers Award Gala held at the Cobb Galleria on November 4, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.[NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
Now speakers at podiums lit by stage lighting are not that difficult to do, but should they be part of my portfolio? Can people figure out that if I can do one type of photography that those skills often transfer to something else?

The California Honeydrops play at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia. [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
I find that people are often more interested in the photos themselves and if I have enough compelling images I might get a call to shoot their event.

Capturing the memory that is cherished a lifetime for daughters. It was a great Chick-fil-A Daddy Daughter Date Night held at the Memphis Zoo on November 16, 2017.[NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0mm ƒ/4.0, ISO 1250, ƒ/4, 1/10]
So how many images is enough? How many images of events should I post?

The Summerall Guards perform during half time at the football game during Parent’s Weekend at The Citadel in Charleston, SC.[NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 450, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
What will draw people to my website?

Sunday Services at Mark Clark Hall The Citadel. [X-E2, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.2, 1/250]
I can tell you this is the thoughts of not just me, but every photographer working today in this profession.

Roswell Fire Department are monitoring a tree that it’s branches are in the transformer causing some arcing from power lines.[NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm ƒ/4.0, ISO 65535, ƒ/9, 1/100]
What do you think? Do any of these photos need to be on my website as part of my portfolio? Should some never be in my portfolio?

You can comment below and please do.

Get Close & Explore a Subject

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”
– Robert Capa

This year I have been teaching Intro to Photojournalism. This is the first photography course for many of the students.

For many in the class this is their first time taking pictures for an assignment. For most the photos look a lot like this photo here.

Fireman [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/120]
Now when you and I look at the photo we see primarily a BBQ Grill. They see the fireman.

I comment on their photo that they need to get closer. So the next round of photos looks more like this photo.

Fireman [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/105]
While this is a much improved photo, my comments are still “Get Closer.”

Then we end up with this photo.

Fireman [X-E3, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/3.5, 1/110]
They have now switched to their telephoto lens. They are still not close enough. Again I am saying in my comments to get closer.

Fireman [X-E3, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 500, ƒ/4.8, 1/100]
So instead of shooting with their zoom telephoto lens at 55mm they zoomed in to 200mm.

I talk to them about getting closer with their wide-angle lenses.

This is what I show them and talk more to them about.

Fireman [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/80]
I want them to understand getting close means that they move their feet until they are right next to the subject. The distance you would have a conversation with them over a cup of coffee.

Why am I afraid of talking to people while at the same time I wish to talk to someone?

For the introvert you are being held back because you are worried about being judged, or you don’t know what to say or … well, for any reason really. Here is an insight that you need to know. You will discover, without realizing, people you talk to are worrying about exactly the same things you are, and feel just as afraid, they just might not show it. You are not alone.

I’m introverted at heart, but that doesn’t mean I have to be shy. The two are quite different, and realizing that shyness is a habit that can be broken was a big first step in understanding that I can develop social skills.

Realize it isn’t all about you. The trick I learned through the years was to focus on the other person. Make them the center of the attention.

Instead of hiding behind texting or emails, go down the hall and talk to that person face to face.

The cool thing about having a camera and on an assignment it was the ice breaker. Telling them I am on an assignment and I would love to feature them in a photo and tell their story really worked most of the time.

Fireman [X-E3, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.8, 1/100]
What I also learned was that once I was just talking to someone and getting to know them I was now “Close Enough” to shoot with a wide angle lens and the photos were much better.

I would then take photos with those wider lenses and slowly move back to shooting with a moderate telephoto lens. For my full framed Nikon D5 that go to lens is the Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 lens for a portrait.

18mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/3.2, 1/200]
Most of the students just have an 18-55mm lens on a cropped sensor camera. So here is me using the same lens as they have on similar cropped sensor. I am showing how to shoot from wide to close as you back out. The other thing I want them to do is to walk around the subject and shoot them from different angles.

28mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/3.2, 1/140]
Now this is the moving around the subject. I am looking for an interesting and captivating image.

44mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/160]
Now when shooting from the back I try my best to still show their face. Sometimes it might work without their face.

42mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/140]
Now go to the other side and see what that looks like.

39mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/3.6, 1/140]
Now zoom in and get a tighter shot.

55mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 250, ƒ/6.4, 1/60]
Move again and shoot more images.

55mm [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 320, ƒ/6.4, 1/60]
When shooting an event I am doing this exercise over and over and over again. I want to have at least 10 to 30 images of which I will pick only one of them for the photo story package.

“Spray and Pray” is a common phrase associated with the practice of shooting rapid fire, as many images as possible, and then hoping and praying that you’ve got something good. That approach almost never works. Notice in these examples I am moving and taking a couple a frames.

There are a couple times where a motor drive can help. In those cases, such as photographing things like sports, doing panning shots, or anything with action like birds or wildlife – shooting in burst mode, and taking multiple frames at a time, will likely help you get some good images.

I have found that trying to get your first photo to be the one you want is much better than just starting to fire randomly and then picking an image later.

I personally suggest slowing down and actually taking less photos, than the “Spray and Pray” mode. I am always looking.

When you are starting out it is really better to over shoot. You need to push yourself early and as you get more aware of what will work and not work. You will find yourself walking around subject and exploring and picking moments and compositions.

Ministry of Presence core to my Photojournalism

John-Michael Riggs, from Knoxville, TN dressed like a warrior to be part of the The Annual Trans March which started at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Riggs says he alternates from a peace outfit to a warrior outfit each year. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/1250]
While covering the Transgender Parade, which is part of Atlanta Pride events, I watched as the people in the parade were reacting to each other like a family reunion.

I found everyone that I talked to very open. I was needing to get their information for writing captions for the photos I was taking.

Robin Rayne and Emily Graven are covering The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park on Saturday, October 13, 2018 in Atlanta, GA. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/200]
Emily Graven, a UGA Photojournalism student, was shadowing me for the day. We met up with Robin Rayne who has been covering this event for many years to get some tips.

In looking for stories we spend time talking with people. When we have done a good job of building relationships with people they will come out of their shell.

Emma & Zoe are sisters whose dad (behind them), Christian Zsilavetz, is the founder of the Atlanta Pride school. They are at The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park In Atlanta on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E3, XF10-24mm ƒ/4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/1250]
What I find very important in being a good photojournalist is be present with people. This means you listen, laying down our defensiveness and agendas, and offering up empathy instead.

Jackson Wells, Sebastian Broome, Caire Mattera, Ariel Washington, Cat, Jessica Renee, Jas Rochelle meet each at The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, on Saturday, October 13, 2018. They are from all over Georgia and Virginia. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/100]
The most courageous thing we can do is listen. The bravest thing we can do is to stand with them.

I had learned about the concept of the ministry of presence through some pastoral counseling sessions and a great deal more when my wife was a chaplain at the VA hospital.

The ministry of presence is a way of “being” rather than of “doing” or “telling”.

The Annual Trans March – alongside Piedmont Park has people dressed all up participating on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.8, 1/1500]
My undergraduate degree was a B.S. in social work. It was this training that helped me be a better photojournalist. That coupled with my pastoral classes in seminary taught me how to prepare to be with others that are suffering  is not to think about what to say or what to do. We are not anticipating how to react to certain situations that might develop.

We prepare by being present in the moment–The NOW.

The Annual Trans March – alongside Piedmont Park has people dressed all up participating on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 1/240]
To maintain objectivity in journalismjournalists should present the facts whether or not they like or agree with those facts. Objective reporting is meant to portray issues and events in a neutral and unbiased manner, regardless of the writers opinion or personal beliefs.

Now when I show up anywhere I am bringing all of me to that place. One of the greatest things to change my life has been my faith. When I read my bible I do not use it to condemn others, I use it to help change me. Through the years the scriptures have challenged me in ways that has helped me be a much better journalist.

Matthew 1:23 
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When telling the story of Jesus the Bible talks about the birth of Christ and him being called Immanuel. In most of the Bibles I have they have in parenthesis what Immanuel means. “God with us.”

John 13:35
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The scripture points out that we are to be like Christ to others. We are to “be” with others.

Robin Rayne, Bureau Chief of Zuma Press, Talks with Monica Helms who created the Transgender Flag more than twenty years ago at the staging area for The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia. [X-E3, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, ISO 640, ƒ/9, 1/100]
As journalists we too need to learn to just “be” with others. This is where you are there to listen. You ask them questions to understand them. You ask for their stories.

I don’t want to hear, “If Truth be told.” This means they feel somewhat uncomfortable.

I mention that because many people feel they must be guarded. They don’t believe people will believe them and use their words against them.

My mentor Howard Chapnick wrote a book that the title alone says what the power of photojournalism is all about–Truth Needs No Ally.

Artes is from Birmingham, AL and came to be part of the The Annual Trans March at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, October 13, 2018. [X-E2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/1800]
TRUTH is the rock foundation of every great character. It is loyalty to the right as we see it; it is courageous living of our lives in harmony with our ideals; it is always—power.

I challenge you to learn to just “be” with others today. Learn to listen. One of the hardest parts of doing this correctly is not letting someone’s comment have you thinking about a reply. Truth comes when we really listen with the intent to understand.

Photojournalist Instagram Feeds I Follow

 

Eugene Richards

He is a photographer, writer, and filmmaker, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1944. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English, he studied photography with Minor White. In 1968, he joined VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, a government program established as an arm of the so-called” War on Poverty.”  Following a year and a half in eastern Arkansas, Richards helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, which reported on black political action as well as the Ku Klux Klan.  Photographs he made during these four years were published in his first monograph, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta.

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"I was driving away from the cotton gin in Widener when I caught sight of an elderly woman sitting out alone on her porch. I introduced myself, then asked her her name; it was Viola Perkins. When I asked Mrs. Perkins if I could take her picture, she smiled, either happy to be having a visitor or too polite to refuse me. I took two photos. The first is of the 78-year-old woman sitting rather stiffly with her hands folded in her lap. The second photograph is a reflection of her face in a window. It shows a loosened door hinge, a bit of sky, the stumps of a dead tree, and a red stop sign that looks to be backwards, so you’re not quite sure if it’s real." -Widener, AR 2010 #eugenerichards #photoville #pho #documentary #arkansas #reflection

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Gary S. Chapman

Because impacting lives matters, Gary helps organizations tell their stories visually. He has covered humanitarian stories in more than 70 countries around the world, helping groups create awareness, express their vision and build their community. You can trust him to bring an honest, photojournalistic approach to your commercial, corporate, editorial, or non-profit assignments.

William Albert Allard

The son of a Swedish immigrant, William Albert Allard studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota with the hope of becoming a writer. Transferring to the University of Minnesota after only a year, he enrolled in the journalism program. He graduated in 1964 with a double major in journalism and photography…

Looking for work in the field of photojournalism, Allard met Robert Gilka, then National Geographic’s director of photography, while in Washington, D.C., and was offered an internship. His most notable work as an intern included his photographs of the Amish for an article entitled “Amish Folk: Plainest of Pennsylvania’s Plain People,”(published in August 1965). It is said to be regarded as landmark in the photographic evolution of National Geographic. His work led to a full-time position with the magazine.

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Crenshaw, Mississippi, 1968// In 1968 I was assigned to photograph the “Poor Peoples March” that was to start in the Deep South and end up in Washington DC. A reporter and I went to a gathering of African Americans in the area of Crenshaw, Mississippi who were supposed to leave for Washington in a day or two. The people were crowded together under a a huge canvas tent where we met the Irbys, a nice family who agreed to let us follow them back to their home later, an aged wooden tenant house sitting in the midst of vast cotton fields. But before we left the tent, I made a few portraits of some of the family but mostly of Hank, who was 17 at the time. The details in the portrait of Hank are so important probably because they are really imperfections, something one might change or correct of one we’re going to do a serious portrait session. Little details like the part of an under shirt that shows. How the top button of his shirt is buttoned tight, the second button is loose. And there are small flecks of blue paint on his shirt that echo the color of his sweater. His well worn cap is tilted just so. The wall of the tent behind him provides background color that blends so well with his dark eyes, his brown skin. His gaze at me is just slightly apprehensive but accepting. Although unstudied, it’s probably as hones and direct a portrait as I’ve ever made. @thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative @leica_camera @leicacamerausa #portraitphotography #filmphotography #60s #1960s #south #kodachrome #leica #mississippi

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Randy Olson

Randy’s 30+ National Geographic projects have taken him to almost every continent. National Geographic Society published a book of his work in 2011 in their Masters of Photography series. Olson was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the 2003 Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1991—one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II.

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There are six great aquifers in the world. In North America our great aquifer is the Ogallala—it stretches from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle. Twenty percent of our food and 40 percent of our beef rely on the aquifer. It’s unfortunate that we’ve pumped the equivalent of two Lake Eries out, setting the stage for a new desert in the Texas panhandle and southern Kansas in the immediate future. The aquifer recharges at different rates. Nebraska wins the water lottery; it is the only place you can see Ogallala water at the surface. The Ogallala takes a long time to recharge in Texas, where there are the most wells, the least regulation, the hottest temperatures (even before climate change), and the slowest recharge. Entire communities in this area are already running out of water. Scarcity of water, fragile infrastructure, small dust bowls, the family farm crisis, Big Ag, and global urbanization leave some behind with few options. Small towns are disintegrating around their residents. There is rampant meth and opioid addiction in some of these places. If your hot water heater breaks, there isn’t anyone in your entire county that can fix it. I am from the Midwest, and the pain rural folks have gone through showed up this election. I saw this frustration first-hand working on the Ogallala aquifer story that ran in the August 2016 issue of National Geographic, but I never thought the level of frustration of these communities would manifest itself in this way. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety

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Lynsey Addario

An American photojournalist, Lynsey, takes us to through the raw nooks and corners of the world with her photographs, building a visually pleasureful experience for us to witness the world through her eyes.

Ed Kashi

Documenting the on-going mayhem at Syria, Kashi a photojournalist, filmmaker and lecturer through his Instagram is portraying the world of Syrian refugees, oozing of emotions and getting us up, close, and personal with their misery amongst the others.

Robin Rayne

Documentary photojournalist, filmmaker and writer. A unique perspective on society.

Joanna B. Pinneo

Ted Scripps Fellow, Environmental communications, mentor and instructor Joanna Pinneo’s photos tell stories with tenderness & insight.

DAVID TURNLEY

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is Inspired by Family, Passion, Love, Purpose, Respect, and Dignity as he Photographs around the World!

Peter Turnley

Peter Turnley is renown for his photography of the realities of the human condition. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek 43 times and are published frequently in the world’s most prestigious publications. He has worked in over 90 countries and has witnessed most major stories of international geo-political and historic significance in the last thirty years. His photographs draw attention to the plight of those who suffer great hardships or injustice. He also affirms with his vision the many aspects of life that are beautiful, poetic, just, and inspirational.

David Alan Harvey

Born in San Francisco, David Alan Harvey was raised in Virginia. He discovered photography at the age of 11. Harvey purchased a used Leica with savings from his newspaper route and began photographing his family and neighborhood in 1956.

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Dancers prep at the Hanoi Opera House #vietnam

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Instagram storytelling works best with enticing narrative

Disclaimer: I have been researching how to do a better job of writing captions that are story oriented and yet still journalistic. This is some of the research I have done. If you were to grade my caption writing at the moment I think at best it is just a passing grade. I hope what I have found helps not just you but me in the future to write better captions.

If you are to Google how to write a caption you will find very similar guidelines often based on the Associated Press model.

This is straight from my guidelines that I got from Mark E. Johnson for teaching Intro to Photojournalism.

Good captions have five basic elements

Who?
What?
Where?
When?
Why?

The first sentence needs to have the first four items in it – who, what, where and when. The second sentence is used to explain why this photo is important to the viewer. Quotes can be used in the second sentence or in a third if it helps advance understanding of the image.

All captions are written in AP style – names, titles, dates, locations, etc – and in the present tense.

The standard comments on length are often like this:

Keep it brief: You do not need to summarize the entire story in the caption; it should supplement or complement the story. If the caption is as deep as the photo, it’s too long! Please keep captions to a couple lines.

When you have just a photo and a caption that is not part of a story, then the caption must do more. It need to tell the story.

Monetization is what is driving many of the changes in journalism today. One of the topics discussed more and more is your engagement score when it comes to analytics which helps you know if the audience is reading your stories.

As you can see from this chart Instagram accounts for the highest number of actions by far of the 4 networks measured, but the lowest number of posts. Instagram’s higher engagement rates are in part, due to high use of visuals and limited, user-friendly response icons.

What this means is that right now the best way to tell stories to an audience is actually through Instagram.

If you are a News Outlet and wanting to leverage the Social Media according to THE ASSOCIATION OF MAGAZINE MEDIA only Instagram will work.

So if you are working really hard on a story and want the most eyes on it, then Instagram is one of the best mediums today.

I must be very honest and say that I was blown away by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of NY Instagram feed when it came to how many followers he has acquired.

By the way Brandon started by posting to Facebook and still does. He has 18 million followers on Facebook.

Here is a video of Brandon Stanton where he shares what he does to get stories of random people on the streets of NY and now the world. I am sharing this because many of the students I teach read my blog and I am all about teaching people how to do storytelling. I think this is great just for learning how to meet people, take their photo, and find their story.

Stanton now has 8.2 million followers. This is a crazy number for sure. Stanton’s website www.humansofnewyork.com has 18 million followers. Be sure and see how Stanton writes his captions today.

To give you some context his numbers are DOUBLE that of the New York Times. So Brandon Stanton is actually bigger in followers than the NYTimes. The New York Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”. So having a bigger following that them is huge. This is why I wanted to study what he does and how I too can engage my audience better.

Brandon was doing this all through the caption.

I wanted to know how to write engaging journalistic captions that tell stories with my photos going forward.

Good Instagram captions come in all shapes and sizes, from short and sweet to longer, in-depth stories (Instagram captions can be as long as 2200 characters). Which is enough to tell a short story with a photo.

The idea here is you can also add more photos to this post, but you are still limited to 2200 characters.

Here are some tips I have come across in many places, so I think they are now common knowledge to many.

I think the general rule in social media is to use the inverted pyramid of writing style.

Another way to start as well in social media is  the “anecdotal lead”, which begins the story with an eye-catching tale or anecdote rather than the central facts.

When I teach how to create a multimedia piece [which is video] for social media we teach that the first 4 to 8 seconds you need to hook the audience. We often used something so different for those 4 to 8 seconds as a tease and would go to black to then start the story.

You can still be journalistic in your writing, but you need to engage the reader with something that will keep them reading. I really think you are writing in a more entertaining style but do not go so far as to lose the journalistic credibility.

One thing that is quite different with Instagram is that readers can comment, as long as you have that turned on for your posts. This has created something new for those writing captions. The call to action.

The simple act of including a call-to-action in your Instagram caption and inviting your audience to comment or engage can go a very long way it when it comes to driving more engagement on your posts.

The idea is that you are creating a following. This is very similar to getting subscribers.

You should also consider turning your call-to-action into a question, using the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) as a way to encourage your followers to comment!

Aside from the obvious tips on using proper grammar and spelling, one of the most important parts of any good Instagram caption is brand voice. For many journalists they follow the AP Style Guide. Some organizations like NPR have their own caption style guide.

Hashtags

When adding hashtags to your Instagram caption, don’t limit yourself to keeping them at the end! Integrating hashtags throughout your post adds dimension to your caption, and since hashtags are a different color on Instagram, the right hashtag can also highlight and contextualize your content.

The hashtags help organize and categorize photos and video content, which aids the process of content discovery and optimization.

For example, a sports blogger could post a picture of an action shot, and then use the hashtags #actionphoto #actionphotography and #championship when it’s uploaded to Instagram.

Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to use the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience.

So, how are you supposed to find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags? The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using.

One last tip about #Hashtags keep them to 5 or less. That might change but more than that the algorithms instagram uses to put your post up higher in feeds will ding you if they are too many right now.

What about legit Journalism on Instagram?

You may be very interested in how major news outlets are writing stories to accompany their photos on Instagram. I know I was very interested.

Here are some mainline media instagram feeds.

 

Today I believe one of the best places for the photojournalist to publish the stories they want to tell is on Instagram. To do so, these journalists are going to have to change the way they write their captions.

I hope this helps you think of how to engage your audience with the 5 Ws and limiting this to 2200 characters.

Here are some photojournalists worth following on Instagram.

Lynsey Addario

An American photojournalist, Lynsey, takes us to through the raw nooks and corners of the world with her photographs, building a visually pleasureful experience for us to witness the world through her eyes.

Ed Kashi

Documenting the on-going mayhem at Syria, Kashi a photojournalist, filmmaker and lecturer through his Instagram is portraying the world of Syrian refugees, oozing of emotions and getting us up, close, and personal with their misery amongst the others.

Andrew Quilty

As his bio reads ‘Stories not selfies’, this storyteller has embarked upon a journey to take us along with the naked world, putting out the beauties and flawless imperfections through this photographs.

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Flying toward Jalalabad Airfield—formerly a civilian airport, now occupied by US military—before continuing on to Achin District and the Mohmand Valley, where a US Army Operational Detachment Alpha team is fighting the Islamic State Khorasan Province with their Afghan National Army Special Forces counterparts. They are the third ODA to be based out of an Afghan farm compound turned COP Blackfish. Although two Afghan SF soldiers, and a member of their mine clearance team were killed, and one ODA member wounded during their deployment, most of the ISKP fighters they’d been sent to clear the valley of had either been killed or had relocated to districts to the north. There have been more than 50 suicide bombings and complex attacks and more than 800 deaths—mostly civilians—claimed by ISKP since the “Hamza” operations began in April 2017. Photo: @andrewquilty. April 2018. Full story here: The Last Americans Fighting in Afghanistan https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/opinion/sunday/american-military-afghanistan-islamic-state.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share #nangarhar #afghanistan #chinook

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Randy Olson

Overwhelmed with emotions, hues and drama, Olson has his own perspective towards the world and he’s putting it across through spectacular visuals.

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This is the HQ of ZERO WASTE FRANCE in Paris. They’ve been leading the Zero Waste movement for 20 years. 23 cities have just agreed to become zero waste. This is from C40.org "Cities around the world are pledging to reduce waste over the next 12 years in an effort to curb global warming and eventually become zero-waste cities. During the Global Climate Action Summit, the C40 announced a new initiative that encourages cities to eliminate waste production and end the practice of waste burning. So far, 23 cities have agreed to become zero-waste and will work toward that goal by “reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50 percent … and increase the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70 percent by 2030,” #zerowaste #planetorplastic #plasticwaste @thephotosociety @natgeocreative

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There are six great aquifers in the world. In North America our great aquifer is the Ogallala—it stretches from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle. Twenty percent of our food and 40 percent of our beef rely on the aquifer. It’s unfortunate that we’ve pumped the equivalent of two Lake Eries out, setting the stage for a new desert in the Texas panhandle and southern Kansas in the immediate future. The aquifer recharges at different rates. Nebraska wins the water lottery; it is the only place you can see Ogallala water at the surface. The Ogallala takes a long time to recharge in Texas, where there are the most wells, the least regulation, the hottest temperatures (even before climate change), and the slowest recharge. Entire communities in this area are already running out of water. Scarcity of water, fragile infrastructure, small dust bowls, the family farm crisis, Big Ag, and global urbanization leave some behind with few options. Small towns are disintegrating around their residents. There is rampant meth and opioid addiction in some of these places. If your hot water heater breaks, there isn’t anyone in your entire county that can fix it. I am from the Midwest, and the pain rural folks have gone through showed up this election. I saw this frustration first-hand working on the Ogallala aquifer story that ran in the August 2016 issue of National Geographic, but I never thought the level of frustration of these communities would manifest itself in this way. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety

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Gary S. Chapman

Because impacting lives matters, Gary helps organizations tell their stories visually. He has covered humanitarian stories in more than 70 countries around the world, helping groups create awareness, express their vision and build their community. You can trust him to bring an honest, photojournalistic approach to your commercial, corporate, editorial, or non-profit assignments.