Monday, April 30, 2012

Magic Dust Not Just For Professional Photographers

This week I'm giving two presentations about photography and multimedia production to advancement and marketing professionals representing educational institutions from around the USA. As most of them will be executives with basic hand's on experience shooting or working with multimedia, I hope to help them improve their own skills, and learn when to call in a pro.

The idea for the Multimedia For Small Shops workshop in Naples, FL, April 30 and May 1, is that with today's digital cameras and recorders, and with the development of user friendly video and audio editing software, successfully multimedia can be created by non-specialists. Not every piece for social media outlets needs to have top production values as long a a good story is told.

Photography 101 will contain samples shot for the presentation at Miami's Barry University. Thanks to subject and assistant Silvia Arbelaez

My audience will be members of CASE, an international association of educational institutions:
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education.

My first talk will be Photography 101 where I will be presenting tips on how non- professional photographers can improve their photography and how to recognize good photography they may be commissioning by others. I'll cover the basics, such as treat your viewfinder as you canvas, the rule of thirds, change your perspective, be aware of light and show a sense of place.

I also want attendees to not worry about being laymen taking photographs:

The most important tip I can give you is, use your eyes to carefully observe your world. Then apply your unique life experiences - who you are, what you’re curious about - to how you want to capture your photographs.  You get to choose the story you want to tell. Use the skills you possess to capture the scene in front of you.

It’s all about how you use the building blocks of good photography - composition, moment, light - not the latest giga megapixel camera, carbon fiber tripod nor trendy software technique. It’s your “eye” or “vision” that makes you a great story telling photographer.
 Successful photography also relies on your people skills, patience, insight and resourcefulness, all skills you already have.
Yes, the professional photographer has mastered a lot of craft, the nuts and bolts of f-stops and lighting ratios, and this mumbo jumbo can help them pull off very demanding shots. But what makes a professional photographer unique you can have too, your own magic dust: your ability to see and tell a story. Pick up a camera and get out and create come photographs!

Basic off camera flash demo shot for Photography 101 presentation. Thank you assistant Jonathan Rios, far right.

I will segue to when you should call in a professional photographer, how to find one and evaluate if their skills matches your project, and what a commissioning party should think about before they call. I'll cover how a photographer will describe the shoot's treatment, and how creative fees and expenses can be discussed. I'll also discuss how photographs are licensed and how licensing protects the client and accommodates value.

I recommend down loading the PDF file for Photography 101 (link at bottom), as it contains extensive resources of how to work with a professional photographer, and has web links to several colleagues who have graciously allowed me to refer to their work, and to the American Society of Media Photographers.

  • 10 reasons to hirer a professional photographer P 19
  • How to find a  photographer P 21
  • How to evaluate a photographer P 22
  • Stuff to think about when you want a quote P 24, 25
  • How a photographer will present an assignment estimate p 26
  • Why license photography P 29
I will write about the second CASE presentation, Audio Photography,  in another post.

CASE attendees PDF downloads: