Can an image really reflect you?
Don’t’ believe it for a minute. When you hear the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s not worth a thousand words in the story. No, in fact, it IS the story.
It doesn’t matter if it’s photography or videography, I love working with skilled visual artisans. They make my job easy. They make me look good.
Because I will often have a camera strapped around my neck at public events, I will be mistaken for a photographer. I’m not. You may see me taking a hundred photos in the hopes that I may get one image that’s not bad.
Now, I am in total awe of my son. He is making a name for himself as an exceptional photographer through Allen-Kent Photography. It may sound like fatherly pride, but that’s only a small part of it. I have hired him many times and I never had to worry about charges of nepotism. His work speaks volumes. His photography breathes life into a project.
The difference between my pictures and his photography is all wrapped up in emotion. Great photography and great videography do an exceptional job of capturing emotion. Joy, anger, fear, trepidation, uncertainty, elation – these are all emotions that are readily at the hands of a skilled photographer. Capture those emotions and you can capture the story.
Years ago I helped the Father Fred Foundation with a capital campaign. Again I worked with a skilled photographer, Beth Price. Her photos were subtle. They didn’t show people digging in trashcans for a meal. No, her photography shared the emotion of “uncertainty.” People who struggle to find hope, can telegraph their uncertainty for the future. That emotion is what made the campaign a huge success.
We carried that same emotion over to the a television public service announcement (PSA) through the work of Fluid Motion Productions.
The emotion you project must be honest. The public will see right through you tugging at their heartstrings for a cause that is less than sincere.
But how much are you willing to spend on capturing that emotion? Most skilled photographers and videographers have a lot of money tied up in their equipment and their training. Their rates are not cheap. Many people are reluctant to make the investment. This is where they decide to trim the budget. They may decide to invest in a nice camera and take the pictures themselves.
Think about that for a moment. If you buy a professional stove and install it in your house, does that make you a gourmet cook? Probably not. If you buy a high quality tool chest for your garage, does that make you a trained auto mechanic? I guarantee you do not want me working on your car, even if I have the best equipment.
Today there is seldom a time when a camera is not far away. We work hard to capture that perfect selfie. We quickly share our vacation pictures with our friends and sometimes amaze ourselves with how good they are. It leads to a delusion that anyone can be a photographer.
There is a creative skill at work with good photographers. You can almost see the right side of their brain overheating with ideas when they walk onto a photo set. You and I may walk on that set and see a wall behind the photo subject. The photographer sees colors, lines and contrast. They are looking to see how a single image can tell a story. I’ve learned to stand back, and let their minds go to work.
Even back in my days as a TV reporter, I would be captivated by photojournalist that could take one picture to tell a story. Then I would struggle to tell that same story with many lines of copy – and still not capture the emotion. If you’ve ever paged through Pulitzer Prize winning photos you know exactly what I mean. Many of these photos have changed the course of history. They impacted the war in Vietnam, they told the emotion of the 9/11 attacks, they captured the devastation of war and famine.
You may not be working to change the course of history. But you may be trying to impact your business, shed light onto problems in our community, or motivate people to take action. When you first start working on a strategy for any of these goals, ask yourself: “How can I visually tell the story.” If you answer that question first, you are well on your way to get your strong message across.