15 tips for improving your photos and videos

15 tips for improving your photos and videos

By Russell Working | Posted: February 22, 2018
This article originally ran on PR Daily in February of 2017.

Great article written by Russell Working in today’s Ragan’s PR Daily about improving the quality of your photos and videos on social media sites. Nowadays the demand for photography and video skills are rising, given that nearly everyone owns a photography studio in the form of a smartphone. The question is how to take better pictures? 

Communicators tend to think of themselves as wordsmiths, whether it’s writing press releases or cranking out stories for the intranet.Nowadays the demand for photography and video skills are rising, given that nearly everyone owns a photography studio in the form of a smartphone. The question is how to take better pictures?

Yes, by all means, hire a pro if you possibly can. Professional-quality photos or video matter.

Sometimes, though, you’re forced to snap a shot. In a time of shareable images, the old style no longer works—grip-and-grin pictures of donors handing over giant checks, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre lineups of executives.

So we sought out tips from professional photographers and videographers. Here are a few of their tips:

1. Get closer.

The famous war photographer Robert Capa once advised, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Of course, he also died on the job when he stepped on a landmine, notes Kristin Griffin of Kristin Griffin Photography. Given that most of us won’t be tromping across minefields, the advice holds for organizational photographers.

2. Set the scene with your shots.

Shoot from far away, medium distance and close up, says Alyssa Craft, a videographer with Pure Living for Life, a site for people who quit the city to start a homestead from scratch. This is essential with video but also matters in still photography.

Example: Shoot a high-level overview of a farmers market, a person at a booth in said farmers market, and a detail such as a close-up of a child getting her face painted. “With these three shots in mind you can really capture emotion in an event with just a few photos,” Craft says.

3. Fill the frame.

You know those photos where your subject is standing three miles away (or so it seems), surrounded by extraneous space? Don’t do that.

“When photographing a person, use the whole frame,” says photographer Joel H. Mark. “Try not to put the head at the center of the frame.”

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4. Apply the rule of thirds.

Photographers consider this a basic tip, but many beginners don’t know it. Start with your subject a third of the way from either the left or the right side of your frame, Craft says. “That said,” she adds, “rules exist to be broken.” First, though, you must learn them.

5. Look for the light.

The most important tip for amateur photographers is always look for the light, says Travis Johansen, producer, director of photography and video editor at Provid Films.

“What differentiates a photo that stands out is one where the subject looks amazing,” Johansen says, “and it’s the light that does it.”

Photographer and cinematographer Jon Kline adds that you should move your subject near the light.

“More light means less noise, truer colors and sharper photos,” he says. “The best light is usually near a window. When taking a photo, put the window at your back, and move the subject close, but not into direct sunlight.”

6. Get down and dirty.

Try different angles, which may require you to get a little grubby, suggests Alice Bil, owner-photographer of studioEPIC photography. If you kneel or lie on the ground, buildings will appear taller and more majestic. If you’re worried about messing up your outfit, bring a small blanket or scarf, she says.

Alternatively, climb a tree or wall. Portraits-especially of children or pets-can be stunning when shot from a higher elevation. “The subject looks more vulnerable, and their eyes widen when they look up at you,” Bil says.

Group shots are also better if you stand above-say, on a staircase-and shoot down, says Mark Alves, digital strategist with Alves Consulting. This allows you to avoid unflattering squatting poses.

7. Vary the setting.

Snap a few shots at your subject’s desk or where they work. These settings will appear more legitimate to a savvy audience than a sterile boardroom or lobby will.

8. Shoot more.

Hey, it’s easy to delete photos or video. Don’t be stingy. “Feel free to take a lot of footage,” Craft says. Shoot many perspectives of the same object, but and try both horizontal and vertical shots of still images. You never know where the image will be placed or if text or a headline will be superimposed on the image.

In our Snapchat/Instagram world, you’d be wise to shoot vertical and square video so you have more options for sharing, Alves says.

9. Crop and filter.

Instagram brings good news and bad news: It has raised the bar for professional photography, but it lowered it for what will pass as a useable photo, Johansen says. With Instagram, anyone can learn how to compose images and have them look good without spending weeks and tons of money on film, he adds.

“Crop and filter before posting,” says Barak Kassar, co-founder of BKW Partners. “It’s not always possible to get a great shot, so take some time to remove extraneous bits and run it through a filter or two.”

He says Google’s Nik Collection is great at doing this, and it’s free. Get comfortable with a photo editing app on your phone, such as Enlight, so you can rescue any photo mishaps immediately on deadline, adds Alves.

10. Clean your lens.

Many of us forget this when using smartphones. Keep a lint-free cloth with you so you can wipe off your camera lens, Alves says.

11. Treat images like headlines.

Kassar agrees that hiring a pro is the best idea, but he urges writers to think about photos the way they do about headlines and leads. “Treat a photo like a written headline or lead: Focus on the most important thing,” he says.

12. Get a good mic.

Scratchy or inaudible sound can destroy your video. “People can handle less-than-stellar video images,” Kassar says, “but don’t blow the sound.”

13. Watch the edges.

The difference between a good picture and a great one often comes down to subject matter and composition, Griffin says. Watch the edges of your frame. Exclude anything extraneous or distracting. Change your perspective and reshoot. Look at the scene along the boundaries of your frame

“Photography is really the art of exclusion,” Griffin says. “How do you take everything in the world and condense it down to just what matters in the frame?”

14. Watch the background.

Be hyperconscious about visual junk behind the subject, says Bill Brokaw of Brokaw Photography. “Visual junk is anything that distracts the eye-and therefore the viewer’s attention-from the actual subject,” he says. You know-the telephone pole that appears to be growing out of the back of your executive’s head during that outdoor shoot.

15. Use drones, Steadicams or tripods.

Shots in motion make video look professional and cinematic, says Maksym Podsolonko, owner of Magic Day Luxury Experiences. Shaky shots look cheap and unprofessional. Drones and Steadicam help you produce stunning shots.

If all that is beyond your skill level, at least get a tripod to steady your shots.

“Have fun,” Kassar adds. “It’ll make your subjects have fun, and it’ll show in the photo.”


@WildCatsEnterprises @RagansPRDaily #Friday #WritingTips
Interesting piece in today’s @RagansPRDaily offering 7 tips for speedier, more pragmatic writing by Enchanting Marketing

7 tips for speedier, more pragmatic writing

By Robby Brumberg | Posted: December 14, 2017

Writers who wait for the perfect words are doomed to a dreary purgatory of half-finished work.

If you’re keen to become an efficient writing machine instead of a dithering nitpicker, Enchanting Marketing has an infographic for you. The piece offers seven tips to pursue pragmatism (and productivity) over perfection, including:

  • Perfectionists try to find the “best” ideas. Unfortunately, like Nessie, Bigfoot and Babe the Blue Ox, those probably do not exist. A pragmatist, however, chooses “a good idea and runs with it.”
  • Research can be a huge time-suck for writers. According to the infographic: “A perfectionist aims to write the definitive guide. A pragmatist aims to share a valuable guide.” You might also consider putting a time limit on your research to prevent getting sidetracked by sea lions, “Full House” cast members, string theory or the founding of Greenland.
  • What about first drafts? The infographic advises getting ideas onto paper (or the screen) instead of quibbling over “perfect sentences.” Get it in gear, and start writing.
  • When it’s time to revise your work, the graphic says to handle “one task at a time,” whether that’s hunting for typos, improving flow or rewriting sentences.

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There’s plenty more where that came from, so take some time to read the rest of the ideas below—just not too much time.

How to Streamline Your Writing Process

15 top sources for social media news, tips and advice

Interesting article appearing in today’s @PRDaily by Matthew Royse, a digital marketing director of Forsythe Technology, a global IT firm in Chicago. A version of this article originally appeared on his blog, Knowledge Enthusiast.

15 top sources for social media news, tips and advice

By Matthew Royse | Posted: December 12, 2017

There’s no shortage of blogs and websites that offer social media guidance, but which ones are worth following?

For a steady flow of solid insight and tips, bookmark these 15 standouts:

1. Buffer Blog

Buffer is a social media management platform. The company’s blog is a goldmine of helpful how-tos that cover the latest in social media tools, analytics and strategies.

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another social media marketing and management dashboard. Hootsuite’s blog provides prescient guidance that can keep you on top of the latest digital trends.

3. Social Media Today

This site provides news, trends and best practices around enterprise social media and digital tactics. Social Media Today is an independent, online community for professionals in public relations, marketing, advertising and social media, with tons of guest posts to chew on. Learn how to be a contributor to this website.

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4. Social Media Examiner

Founded by Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner is one of the world’s largest social media magazines. The website is geared toward helping businesses harness social media, blogs and podcasts to fuel success.

5. HubSpot Marketing Blog

HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform. The HubSpot Marketing Blog attracts more than 2 million monthly readers—and for good reason. The blog covers everything you should know about trends related to marketing and social media.

6. Mashable 

Mashable is a multi-platform media and entertainment company. Mashable’s social media section provides the latest social media news, as well as tips on how organizations can effectively use new channels and platforms. Learn how to be a contributor to this website.

7. Marketo Marketing Blog

Marketo is a marketing automation platform. The company’s blog provides best practices on an array of digital marketing topics, including marketing automation and social media tactics.

8. Inc.

Inc.’s social media section provides tips, techniques and tactics for savvy corporate social media promotion.

9. Forbes

In addition to all those “rich and famous” lists, Forbes also publishes news and analysis about social media’s influence on business and marketing.

10. Copyblogger

If you write or communicate for a living, this content hotspot is a must-read. Copyblogger’s social media section cranks out relevant, practical tips and advice to get the most out of social media activities. Copyblogger was founded by Brian Clark.

11. Content Marketing Institute

This website was founded by content marketing legend Joe Pulizzi. Bookmark the social media section for reliable, relevant tips to excel on a slew of digital platforms.

12. Ragan.com and PRDaily.com

Ragan Communications is led by Mark Ragan, a leader of the brand journalism movement. Ragan.com and PRDaily.com deliver news, how-tos and opinions on public relations, content marketing, social media, internal communication and speechwriting.

13. Business 2 Community

Peruse this sprawling website for loads of helpful articles about social media, email marketing, content marketing, sales and management. Learn how to become a contributor here.

14. Neil Patel’s blog

Serial entrepreneur Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, a website optimization tool. He’s also a prolific blogger. Patel has been lauded for producing step-by-step posts that help communicators overcome common social media and marketing challenges.

15. Alltop

Alltop, which was founded by Guy Kawasaki, curates social media news and headlines from across the web.

Matthew Royse is a digital marketing director of Forsythe Technology, a global IT firm in Chicago. A version of this article originally appeared on his blog, Knowledge Enthusiast.

Survey: Assessing the long-term damage of PR Crisis

Survey: Assessing the long-term damage of PR crises https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/23641.aspx via@PRDaily 12/01/17 #UnitedAirlines #Response #Uber #Internet #SocialMedia #BrandLoyalty #BrandPerception

Survey: Assessing the long-term damage of PR crises

By Robby Brumberg | Posted: December 1, 2017

Consumers might be willing to forgive, but they never forget.

New research from Clutch reveals that not all gaffes, scandals, dopey commercials or shocking incidents cause lasting damage, but some certainly do.

Exhibit A is United Airlines. Clutch found that 30 percent of the 500 consumers they surveyed would still feel “unsafe” flying United—more than seven months after that infamous passenger dragging incident.

Pepsi, on the other hand, seems to have escaped lasting repercussions for its embarrassing 2017 commercial fiasco. Just 1 percent of respondents reported any change in their fizzy beverage purchasing habits.

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The soda-swilling public might have forgiven Pepsi, but Uber has not fared as well. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they’d never even used the ride-booking service but had still heard about the company’s potholed reputation. The survey also found:

Consumers’ willingness to ride with Uber dropped from 60 percent to 47 percent immediately after Uber was in the news for multiple misdemeanors.

Social media can be a blessing and a curse for companies in turmoil. Bad news spreads quickly, but yesterday’s crises are almost immediately superseded by the next kerfuffle. As PR pro Jeremy Pepper notes in the report:

Now, more than ever, the internet has accelerated the time that people get over PR crises. It’s like a flash reaction, where people can get upset over one crisis but then quickly move onto the next.

Clutch’s findings seem to back this claim. Despite lingering concerns, 52 percent of respondents indicated they’d book a flight on United, and, perhaps even more telling, 44 percent said that “although they reacted negatively to United’s news coverage at first, they have since moved on.”

Time, it would appear, is the great PR equalizer, though brand loyalty and the impact on consumers’ wallets factor into whether a crisis becomes fatal or forgotten.

Read more about Clutch’s research on brand perception and crisis recovery here.

Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross and players announce massive community initiative

Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross and players announce massive community initiative

Miami Dolphins’ Stephen Ross and players announce massive community initiative


Owner Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins players have been working to find ways to make a positive impact on the South Florida community and this weekend, they announced a vast and potentially impactful series of initiatives.

Ross and the players have created a fund for advocacy and social justice programs. They will also highlight groups and organizations that tackle those challenges in the community during home games.

This season, the organization and players will identify and support programs, including: Social Justice Grant Program, Project Change Scholarship, Police Athletic League of North Miami, 5000 Role Models and Miami Dolphins Police and Youth Conference, RISE Leadership Programs, CommUNITY Tailgate and Unity Day.

The Dolphins will work to provide funds to high school students who are participating in programs that positively impact the community.

Miami will host a conference at Hard Rock Stadium designed to promote positive interaction between youth and law enforcement.

There will be a 10-week program in which high school students learn about the history of race and sports, the power of sports to drive change and how they can become leaders in improving race relations.

Miami will foster dialogue between community leaders, youth, coaches and law enforcement in tailgates prior to each home game.

And the Dolphins will host a town hall meeting featuring community leaders, law enforcement and educators with a shared goal of improving race relations and bringing people together under the unifying values of sports.

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ICE Phoenix removes previously deported Mexican national wanted for kidnapping

Source: ICE Phoenix removes previously deported Mexican national wanted for kidnapping


ICE Phoenix removes previously deported Mexican national wanted for kidnapping

ICE Phoenix removes previously deported Mexican national wanted for kidnapping

PHOENIX – A Mexican national wanted in his native country for kidnapping was deported Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Jaziel TIENDA-Ibarra, 30, was transferred to the custody of representatives from Mexico’s Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) and Mexican immigration officials by ERO Special Response Team (SRT) officers at the Nogales DeConcini Port of Entry.

Ibarra a.k.a El Lino, has come into DHS custody several times. ICE removed him in 2006 following his conviction of illegal entry after serving 90 days in federal prison. In 2007, 2009 and 2011, he was removed by the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), and most recently Ibarra came into ICE custody in September after a U.S. District Judge sentenced him to time served and supervised release for 12 months. Ibarra spent nearly one month in ERO custody before his removal Friday.

According to two Mexican arrest warrants issued by the Mexican Attorney General, Ibara, is allegedly involved in two separate kidnapping investigations that occurred in 2013 and 2016, both occurring in the state of Tulancingo de Bravo, Hidalgo, in Mexico.

“ICE is focused on identifying, arresting and removing public safety threats, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, like this previously deported alien,” said Henry Lucero, field office director for ERO Phoenix. “Our communities are safer when foreign nationals who pose a threat to public safety are removed from the streets.”

ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.

Since January, ICE arrests comprise over 70 percent convicted criminals. Of the remaining individuals not convicted of a crime, approximately 70 percent have either been charged with a crime, are an immigration fugitive, or have been removed from the United States and illegally re-entered – reflecting the agency’s continued prioritization of its limited enforcement resources on aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.

What we think, we become. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. – The Buddha

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