Archive for January, 2012
Wolfie, a teenage basketball buff and the son of famed NYC-based interior architects Cortney and Robert Novogratz, of Sixx Design and popular reality show Home By Novogratz on HGTV. Last year, I did a 3-day East Coast residency with the family, documenting behind-the-scenes images of this very-cosmopolitan, 10-person clan.
With Wolfie, as with any athlete, the linchpin of capturing a striking, catch-you-off-guard image is the use of dramatic lighting. It accentuates the musculature of the human form, with light wrapping around the limbs to create eye-riveting shadow. Photographer Rick Sammon puts it best: “Light illuminates and shadows define.” For this particular portrait, I began the shoot with lots of complicated light rigging, and then completely cast-off the set-up as ultimately needless. In the end, the simplest set-up – in this case, a Profoto head with medium Chimera softbox was placed at a 45-degree angle on the right side and a white reflector on his left side –produced the Rembrandt-like effect you see here.
All of us, in our own small way, carry out heroic acts in our daily lives – sometimes, even just waking up in the morning and venturing forth into the world takes courage. Photojournalist Ron Haviv, this week’s TWiT Photo guest, however operates on a completely different playing field than most of us. From his exclusive coverage of the civil war in Yugoslavia to the genocide in Darfur, Ron has made it his life’s work to document conflict zones — often in areas of the world that are despicably brutal and violent — in order to educate others about social inequity and abuses of human rights. Watch the video to hear Ron discuss gaining access into conflict zones, being taken prisoner 3 times in the line of duty, and decompressing after an intense assignment.
Here are Ron’s top tips:
1. Research your stories.
2. Prepare for a multi-platform end result.
3. Use your aesthetics to create a bond with the viewer and the image.
Have questions, suggestions or praises? Please email email@example.com.
One of Martha Stewart’s favorite bridal blogs loves this adventurous wedding couple as much as I do. Brooklyn Bride is one of the online community’s leading bridal blogs, not to mention one of 7 members of the exclusive Martha’s Circle. When I learned that the blog selected my San Francisco engagement-session portraits of Texas residents Gaby & Ryan to be featured on their website, I was truly honored. Check out this dreamy pair’s smoking-hot images on Brooklyn Bride.
Everybody has that go-to text that they consider indispensable to their personal or professional growth and game. For some, it might be a pop-psychology self-help title or a favorite French cookbook. For me, David Meerman Scott’s most recent book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, is my latest marketing bible. It is no small honor, then, to have this global leader in web public relations and marketing strategy guest blog for my site. He is not only the author of seven books, but also a highly sought-after public speaker. With a wealth of experience delivering addresses to international audiences, he has developed a power-packed, ten-point toolbox for sharpening your public speaking skills. Here, he shares with you everything you need to know (and then some) about how to maximize your impact when you stand up behind the mic.
Follow David Meerman Scott on Twitter.
Photo of me presenting in Istanbul, Turkey, courtesy of MediaCat.
Post by David Meerman Scott
I’ve been to something like one hundred conferences and corporate events in the past several years as I travel the world delivering keynotes and running seminars. I’ve seen a few great speeches. Sadly, most speeches I see are not very good. Some are downright terrible.
I’ve been collecting some observations on what makes a good presentation and also drawing from my own experience.
Most of us have an opportunity to speak, perhaps at your industry event, or your company’s sales conference, or to a local club.
Make the most of your opportunity.
Take it seriously
If 200 people are in a room and you speak for a half hour, you are taking up 100 hours of people’s time. I see many speakers “wing it” and it makes me feel sorry for the audience. Don’t look bad.
Know the conference organizer’s goals
When I speak, I work with organizers to deliver three goals in equal proportion: Education, entertainment, and motivation. Since I am a paid speaker, I must deliver on all three so the conference organizer is happy they invited me. You need to know the goals for being on the podium too. Why were you invited? How would the organizer define success?
When someone says: “Let me tell you a story…,” you’re interested, right? When someone says: “Let me tell you about my company…,” is your reaction the same? It doesn’t sound like a way you want to spend your valuable time, does it? Stories are exciting. Most presentations are dry. Open with a story. Tell stories to illustrate your point. It’s fascinating to see an audience sit up and pay attention when you start to tell a story on the stage.
Nobody cares about your products (except you)
Yes, it’s just like what I say about Web marketing. What people do care about are themselves and ways to solve their problems. A speech is not about you; it is about your audience. You must resist the urge to hype your products and services. Even if you’re asked to speak about your company or your products, make it about your customers or the problem you solve instead.
Prepare and practice
Run through your presentation as many times as required so that you are completely comfortable with the material. You should know the presentation so well that you could do it without PowerPoint and without notes.
Don’t use PowerPoint as a TelePrompTer
Slides are great for showing images, charts, and the like. Consider showing a short video. But definitely don’t use slides to show bulleted lists of text. Yawn! Way too many people just read off their slides. Don’t! PowerPoint is not a speaker’s crutch; it is a way to illustrate your spoken point. By the way, some of the best speakers don’t use slides at all.
There is nothing worse than a presenter fumbling with technology on a stage. Everyone becomes uncomfortable and it is nearly impossible to make up that bad first impression. You should plan to arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare and go to the room at least one hour prior to when you go on. You may need to arrive much earlier if there are sessions before yours because you will want to set up and test your equipment and stand on the stage to get a feel of the room. Use the microphone to hear your voice. Get as comfortable as possible with the venue before people arrive (or when they are on a break). The conference organizer and the A/V people will love you for arriving early! And when you are comfortable with logistics, you will deliver a better speech.
Bring an electronic copy of your presentation
I always carry my presentation on a memory stick and wear it around my neck from the moment I step out of my house until after I have presented. I wear it on the plane and in the hotel. I wear it out to dinner. You never know what may happen to your computer (I spilled water on my computer in Brussels once and fried it), so having that backup is comforting.
Don’t go long
When you build a speech and deliver it for the first time, it almost always runs long. Don’t go over time! It’s okay to end short because you can take a few questions, but running long makes the entire event schedule get out of whack. Worse, they may pull you off the stage, which looks awful.
Be aware of body language
My friend Nick Morgan, author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma says: “When words and body language are in conflict, body language wins every time.” If you are nervous, it shows. If you don’t believe what you’re saying, it shows. If you aren’t having fun, it shows. And your audience will always react to your body language instead of your words.
After years of snubbing the iPhoneography explosion, my perspective has changed – thanks to my TWiT Photo co-host Leo. I explained to him that I felt the restrictions and limitations of an iPhone limited its use as a creative tool. I am a tech geek and obsessed with gear, and the fluid ease with which I can snap on a wide-angle lens or create a shallow field are at the core of my photography. Leo responded by saying something interesting: “Catherine, don’t limitations prompt growth and a novel approach to a known situation? Think about it,” he said.
His words challenged and inspired me to shrug off my former prejudices about iPhoneography and to figure out how to use their inherently limited capabilities to approach my craft from a fresh angle. This weekend, at a concert with DJ Morgan Page in San Francisco, I took a series of images with Leo’s words in mind. I guess the “Great Resistance” is finally over.