Why are Photographers so Expensive?

Camera in hand with golden light at the beginning of a walkway

I am writing this as a photographer and a public relations executive. I have seen how photographers can make a huge impact in PR campaigns, but I also know that good quality photos don’t come at a low cost.

 

Public relations firms use photographers in order to enhance company image. Unfortunately, this is not always affordable. Hiring a photographer can be a huge investment. Many people think, “What?! But they’re just taking photos with a nice camera! I could do that.”

 

Photographers are expensive for many reasons. They are business owners and owning a business does not come at a low price. As business owners, photographers must obtain the necessary licenses that are purchased and renewed once a year.

 

The most important thing that a photographer could do is to get their name out there and doing so can be costly. This can be done using a variety of mediums: Google Ads, business cards, a website, etc.,and all of which cost money at one time or another.

 

Photographers must also have many official documents, for they are essential in order to communicate clear messages to clients in a professional way. Creating these documents is very time consuming, yet important because photographers need both customized and personalized contracts, receipts, timelines, etc., which represent how they want to do business. Creating these documents allows photographers to use and send them to their clients, depending on the need of the client.

 

In order for photographers to be successful, they must stay sharp and up to date on their knowledge of the business. It is important to take classes in order to learn about both photography and being a business owner. This is very time consuming, but it is important to be prepared for all situations.

 

Photographers have to obtain quality camera equipment such as camera bodies, lenses, storage for the equipment, storage for all memory and props for indoor and outdoor sessions.

All good things must come to an end. Technology does fail, so costly replacements or repairs may be necessary.

 

Photographers must know how to make their clients feel comfortable while also remembering every pose to give them. Good photographers tend to give constant compliments and affirmations that their clients are doing great. They must do this while also making sure their camera settings create the best amount of background blur while making sure the subject is still sharp. The settings must be tweaked every time the photographer moves in order to match the light that is entering the camera. The photographer must also make sure that the photo does not look too warm or too cold. Then, the photographer must make sure that they are getting a variety of shots. This entails wide, medium and close shots of subject(s).

 

Many people think that photographers are paid for the amount of hours that they are on-site taking photos. They do not see the outside hours that go into the beautiful photos selected. Editing entails four main steps:

 

  1. Backing up photos. This involves putting photos on different storage devices to ensure that they can not disappear.
  2. Culling. Culling is the process of picking the best photos. This can take some time comparing and contrasting different parts of the photo that make it good versus great.
  3. Editing collectively. This means that the photographer adds as edit style to place on all of the photos to make sure they have the same look.
  4. Editing individually. This entails going through each photo and adjusting settings specifically to flatter that photo. (cropping, straightening, brightening, etc)

Christa Boynton holding camera to her eye in orchard

Although, photographers spend a lot of time taking photos and editing, they spend a large chunk of their time:

  • Learning about technique
  • Updating their online portfolio
  • Updating their social media presence
  • Conducting client meetings
  • Replying to inquiries
  • Creating documents
  • Developing their brand
  • Creating packages

In reality, photographers earn a lot less than the dollar sign that they charge due to the amount of investments and hours they put in.

By: Christa Boynton

Featured image provided by Maider Izeta on The Adventure Junkies

Second image provided by Christa Boynton, taken by Tiffany Rivas

Moving Media

A strip of camera film against a blue background, gives the illusion that the film is moving, on the film there are three pictures of sunsets are are orange

With the ever rising popularity of social media, more advertisers and designers are embracing the capabilities and testing the limitations of digital media. These include features like sound, sequencing and interactivity, which can all be used to engage the audience on a different level. In the past, advertisers were dependent on static print pieces that their audience may encounter while flipping through a magazine or walking past a bus stop. Now, while scrolling through one’s Facebook feed, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the busy squares of color and music that make up advertising on social media.

There are many benefits from digital media such as the ability to convey concepts through time with things like animated posters or slideshows. This medium allows the creator to express an idea rather than simply imply it. Designers Josh Schaub and Eric Brechbuhl created an animated poster (below) showing the tourism aspect of traveling to Lucerne, Switzerland. While they could have created a static poster which implies the busy street, they instead animated the buses, creating a scene of choreographed chaos.

While eye catching and conceptually complex, moving media does have some drawbacks. If the content is on a moving object like a bus, then the animated media won’t have an opportunity to convey the complete message in the time available and would be less functional than a static message. Another drawback could be that the file size of moving media tends to be larger than that of static, which can cause complications when trying to be used on a mobile platform. This is because mobile platforms have more limited internet download capabilities than a desktop computer.

As the number of media environments continues to grow to include spaces like virtual and mixed reality, so will the demand for motion graphics and other forms of moving media. As we move forward, designers will develop and test new styles and techniques and begin to form the foundation for the future of media interactions.

By Giovanni Lopez-Quezada

Ad Campaigns Promote Body Positivity

A woman with tattoos and her hair in a pony tail kissing her boxing gloves

Companies are launching dynamic PR campaigns designed to motivate women to achieve greatness, whether it is being comfortable with their bodies or challenging gender stereotypes. Here are four ad campaigns that have positively impacted women of all ages:

 

  • Aerie launched Real in spring 2014, an ad campaign that refrained from retouching photographs of their models. Studies show that unrealistic, airbrushed representations of women’s bodies are negatively impacting women’s body image. This campaign was designed to show that diverse types of bodies are beautiful and change the perception that beautiful bodies are thin bodies. In addition to building young women’s self-esteem, it also boosted their sales 20 percent the first year alone.

 

  • The 2014 #LikeAGirl campaign by Always worked to challenge gender stereotypes placed upon young girls. Research shows that as young girls reach puberty, their self-esteem plummets. The campaign battled this issue by highlighting photos of strong, confident girls, in an effort to reframe girls unrealistic ideas about the “ideal body.”  This campaign is generating long-term brand loyalty by focusing on young girls who can identify with the campaigns messages and will need Always products for years to come.  

  • Barbie launched a campaign called Imagine the Possibilities, intended to show young girls that they can achieve anything. This video showed five girls playing with Barbies that represented what careers they wanted to pursue when they got older. As the video goes on, you see these girls become a veterinarian, professor, paleontologist and CEO.

 

  • Under Armour launched a global campaign called I Will What I Want that depicted photographs of ambitious women achieving their goals. This campaign celebrated bold women who persevered through  adversity and followed their dreams, regardless of backlash from others. With this global ad campaign, Under Armour gained a 42 percent increase of traffic onto their website.

 

Ad campaigns like these are improving women’s perceptions about their bodies. By showing diverse types of bodies, with stretch marks and freckles, girls are realizing that it is okay not to fit into the mold that society has plastered across the media.

 

With widening how they represent women in the media, these companies have gained more traffic and sales from the “normal” type of woman.

By Elizabeth Ernster

5 Ways My Blended Family Helped Prepare Me for the PR World

Taylor Pickle's family photo outside by a pool

PR agencies can easily become the people you spend the most time with and, in many ways, become your pseudo family. For me coming from an unconventional family background, I have been able to take those experiences and use them in a PR setting. PR life can be fast paced, hectic and unpredictable and so can families. I didn’t realize how well my family prepared me for the ups and downs of being a part of an agency until midway through the semester when there were deadlines looming and various projects needing to be completed.

  1.              Always expect the unexpected

Just when you think you have a plan you can always count on, the truth is that someone or something will come in and change everything. Being prepared for the unpredictable can save you from many late nights and your bank account from suffering those caffeine cravings.

  1.              Adaptability is your best friend

There comes a time when you have everything completed and put all your time and effort into completing a task. And, at a moment’s notice, things change. Being able to adapt to last minute or major changes will have a huge impact on how successful and smooth your life in PR will go.

  1.              Communication is key

We spend a majority of the day communicating with all different kinds of people and in order to get quality work done efficiently, having a solid foundation of communication will change your life.

  1.              There’s always a positive

In many cases taking away a positive can be hard to do, especially knee deep in edits and last minute client changes. But taking away at least one positive thing from the situation you find yourself in will help alleviate negative attitudes and unwanted stress.

  1.              Keep calm in a crisis

There are times when you can’t avoid a crisis. But, how you handle the crisis initially can set the tone for how you and your team will overcome it. Having the ability to stay calm when faced with a dilemma will help you in producing the best content possible for your client.

By Taylor Pickle

Four Necessary Elements of a Great Website

Someone's hands typing on a silver laptop with a black keyboard on a wooden table with a cell phone, camera and wallet surrounding the laptop

With technology growing increasingly important in our society, websites have become a big part of marketing. This causes many businesses to just slap something up on the web and hope it works, but there are some techniques to helping your website be more effective. Here are four necessary elements to any great website:

  1.     Aesthetically appealing

Websites need to have a tone that matches the feel of the website. The look of a website is very important; it tells your audience what you are about. For example, at Tender Loving Coffee, a client I have worked with, we spent a lot of time understanding what their company is about before developing their website. They are an inclusive, positive, fresh environment and we wanted their website to reflect those feelings.

  1.     User friendly

A website should be easy to navigate. If your audience cannot figure out how to find the information they need, then it is not a well-designed site. Websites need a simple design for anyone to know how it should work.

  1.     Call to action

If you do not have a purpose for your website, then what is the point? A call to action button or slogan is a vital element to any website. The audience should be directed to complete a task such as: donate to your cause, buy your product or learn information about you. There needs to be a reason for your website to exist or people will just look elsewhere for what they need.

  1.     Mobile-friendly

According to Smart Insights, 71 percent of Americans use the internet on a mobile phone. If your site is unable to be viewed on a phone or other mobile device, then you are missing out on a big demographic. It is very simple to add a media query into your coding when creating a website, and I suggest that you consider that when creating a website.

With so many websites popping up every day, you want your business to stand out. Try out these necessary elements when starting up a great website for you and your business.

 

By: Emily Rench

 

Building Coffee Connections: Corporate vs. Local Business

A white background with black words the say "Tender Loving

It’s hard to imagine getting through a busy weekday morning without a cup (or two) of freshly brewed coffee. Whether it’s made at home, a chain or your local cafe of choice, coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the U.S., generating $5.18 billion annually. While this industry is booming, it hasn’t always been so successful and good public relations and marketing have had a big hand in its popularity.

When I got a job as a barista at the coffee behemoth Starbucks four years ago to support myself through college, I never imagined the impact that coffee has had on both my personal and professional lives.

Tender Loving Coffee is now my client this semester. They are a small batch specialty coffee roasting company located and served locally in Chico. It has been a huge learning experience to be able to implement my own PR strategies into both of these companies.

Starbucks didn’t become a household name solely by serving up tasty coffee and friendly service. A whole lot of PR and marketing campaigns help them stay relevant. I’ve begun to pay much closer attention to the promotional materials we are sent, the company’s social media posts and how they handle crises. (Red cup situation anyone?)

I’ve seen how the corporation takes responsibility for its actions and addresses controversy when needed. They make sure to send messages out to the company’s employees or “partners” to address major changes or problems in the company.

Tender Loving Coffee is a more intimate experience, which makes the PR pretty fun. So far, there’s been a giveaway on the TLC social channels. Winners picked up their prizes at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, where the company sells their coffee in a mobile coffee cart. Being so connected to TLC customers and the Chico community as a whole is a very different experience in comparison to Starbucks.

With the rise of social media, many Starbucks stores have begun to create their own social media presence through Instagram. This helps to create connections with customers and give a more intimate look and feel to your local Starbucks.

I am the closest thing my store has to an in-house PR professional. After establishing the account, I’ve helped create content on the downtown Chico Starbucks Instagram. More recently, I have been documenting the store’s remodel, upcoming specials and developing a more recognizable aesthetic.

While the idea is to connect more with other Starbucks partners and the Chico community, there is a noticeable difference in posting for Tender Loving and Starbucks — even if they are both small accounts.

That’s a no brainer though, right? A small coffee company with less than 300 followers on Instagram versus posting for Starbucks, the multi-billion dollar coffee giant.

Posting on social media for a small, local coffee company is a more interactive experience. The customers are wholeheartedly supportive of TLC. They send direct messages to check on and communicate with Anna, the brains behind the roasting.

I think the idea behind having stores run their own Instagram is to make that connection with their customers like Tender Loving Coffee already has. Through maintaining their social media, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t for that warm, welcoming feeling Tender Loving gives off effortlessly.

Making connections with PR and coffee is about engagement, having empathy and being a part of a community. Implementing these has already made the downtown Starbucks Instagram and Tender Loving Coffee more successful and gives the companies their own personable identities.

How to Be An Inclusive Writer

As an aspiring public relations professional, words are a big part of my job. From press releases to Instagram posts, my words matter and they affect a lot of people. That being said, here is a resource guide for being an inclusive writer:

Race: When we, as professionals, are writing for a diverse audience, we are first representing our clients, first and ourselves, second. We must take into account that our audiences are diverse and may not have experienced the world from our vantage point. We do not want to offend our readers, plus, we have our clients’ reputation on the line with every keyboard click. Research always needs to be done when writing about race. Here are four different resources in regards to writing about race. These resources provide you the opportunity to break out of your bubble and be a more conscientious and inclusive writer.

Gender and Sexuality: Gendered language haunts the English language. We use gendered language everyday. It is ingrained in us to say, “policeman or mailman.” Sometimes, it is hard to identify gender-neutral terms for words that we say everyday without a second thought. One way to work in gender neutral terms into your everyday language is by using the singular they/them pronouns. If you are addressing someone and don’t want to assume their pronouns, a good rule of thumb is to use they/them. I have provided a resource along with other links below:

Ability/Disability: Often, means of ability are glossed over by media or negatively portrayed to emit a sense of shame. Instead you could use, “people with different abilities.” Avoiding stigmas around abilities will not only make your writing more inclusive, it can help empower people. Here are some resources to consider when writing about people with different abilities:

As professionals in a fast-paced environment, research before writing is KEY.

Being able to write in an inclusive manner can make your audience feel welcome and safe. It will create a sense of trust and transparency around your company and that can greatly improve its relationship with the public. When a marginalized community can see you took the time to include them, you raise the standards for  companies around you.

As professionals dedicated to the ties between company and community, you CAN do better to be more inclusive. My hope is that this resource guide can be used as a stepping stone to successful inclusive writing.

Other related writing style guides:

The Creative Process

Things to keep in mind – Videography

Videography requires a lengthy process which involves a lot more than just picking up a camera and recording. It’s important to make time for the creative and collaborative process. The more time you spend working through and agreeing upon an objective, the less time it will take you to reach your goal and have a successful outcome. Take more time during this process to fully develop a clear concept.

The first thing you will realize when it comes to the creative process, is that it involves an extraordinary amount of patience. The pre-production process is a slow process. You have to carefully plan out where you’re going to shoot, who or what you’re going to shoot, the lighting, the audio, and many other things. These all take time to plan out and you might want to move more hastily but you have to remember that, “good things take time”.  It’s better to film your production with careful planning and have it be successful. As opposed to rushing it and having to go back and re-do things due to mess-ups or difficulties. It might be a slow process but  try to enjoy it and just know that it will pay off when it’s all said and done!

Sometimes, your client or boss may not exactly know what they want. During these times, you will have to step up and take charge. Many of the decisions made during pre-production, film creation, and post-production will be influenced by your vision and voice. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have an idea that you believe will better capture the image or deliver the message. However, you need to remember that you are trying to create their vision. So be respectful and try your best to guide them through your creative process so that you can work well together. It’s important to balance your process with what the client needs. Keep your goals in mind but also make sure that you reach your client’s goals as well.

Be confident! Get over your fear of being judged or being wrong. We all start being creative from a young age and often times, others tend to discourage us. You’ve experienced this during your time in school and even out of school. You won’t always be able to get everyone to like your idea or to agree with you. However, it’s important to be confident in yourself and your work. Confidence and a positive attitude can go a long way.

Just remember to work hard and have fun! You have the power to create a piece that not only meets your client’s needs, but that also satisfy yours.

Written by; Braulio Martin

Is the “American Dream” really a dream if it’s taken?

The past year’s election stirred up a lot of negative attention towards immigration in the United States. However, if it was not for the hard work and talent of many immigrants this country would not have half of the things it does now.

Based on an article from Business Insider, here are some examples of how immigrants have impacted America:

 

  1. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was born in Moscow, Russia, and emigrated here when he was 6 years old. Brin has an estimated worth of $24.4 billion.
  2. Do Won Chang, co-founder and CEO of Forever 21, moved here with his wife from Korea in 1981. Before Forever 21, Do Won worked as a janitor and gas station attendant. Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire, that brings in around $3 billion in sales a year.
  3. Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fulham F.C. and Flex-N-Gate, moved to the U.S. from Pakistan and worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan is the richest American of Pakistani origin and one of the richest people in the world.
  4. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors and founder of PayPal. Grew up in Pretoria, South Africa and became an American citizen in 2002. Musk has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion.
  5. Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo, was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He moved to America when he was 8 years old, while only knowing one word of English. Yang has an estimated net worth of $1.15 billion.

 

Millions of people come to this country with hardly anything to offer, but they work hard to achieve the “American Dream.” The people mentioned above make me proud to have such a diverse and successful country, but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way.

The DACA program has been rolled back by Trump, which has directly impacted around 1.8 million DREAMers. People under the DACA program will no longer be able to renew their licenses to work legally in the U.S., which blocks them from being successful and contributing to this country. As a nation founded and built off of immigrants, I find this a little hypocritical.

Earlier this year, the Delta Iota chapter of Sigma Kappa at Chico State, was notified by our president that a fellow Sigma Kappa sister from MIT was blocked from getting back to school due to the travel ban. After hearing about something so disheartening, I began to feel embarrassed for our country.

Niki Mossafer Rahmati is a mechanical engineering major at MIT and served as the executive vice president for the Theta Lambda chapter last year at MIT. Originally from Iran, Niki holds a multiple entry student visa so she could go to school.

She is a hardworking students who is a member of a nationally recognized organization, and yet her origin was the ONLY thing that mattered when she was blocked from getting on a Boston bound flight.

Niki’s story is just one of hundreds that go unrecognized everyday. Hopefully this country can come together and take pride in our diversity, sooner rather than later. I mean, in all reality what would this country really be without immigrants?

Selling fear: news outlets fails to report full disaster stories

The United States watched with sadness as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma grew and destroyed cities, homes and lives. Americans came together, stronger and more united than at any point in recent times, to help those affected and desperate for aid.

The damage is done and help is on the way but what now?

Donations are still needed and work has yet to be accomplished. However there is a deafening silence from major news providers on the aftermath of these hurricanes since they have landed. Headlines cited celebrities like Houston Texans star JJ Watt and actor Kevin Hart for leading valiant donation efforts, but Americans still know little of the current states of these affected cities. The round-the-clock coverage predicting near apocalyptic damage has dissipated without care for these cities’ rebuilding process.

No coverage of recovery can be found on CNN, Fox or NBC’s homepages. News of Hurricane Maria’s path through the Carribean followed about a week after Harvey and Irma. Secondary headlines cover White House drama, racism in America or continued nuclear escalation. This silence gives the impression that the news doesn’t care about these disasters they spent weeks warning the country about anymore.

Harvey and Irma have dropped from headlines, so audiences won’t hear much more news from these developments. These news outlets put reporters on live television in the middle of deadly storms but aren’t updating audiences on the communities now that the storms have passed.

This issue is certainly not new to these recent disasters. Many people still don’t know that parts of Louisiana never recovered from Hurricane Katrina, leaving broken communities and homes.

Only the directors of major news outlets can answer why coverage is only concentrated before and during disasters. With much fear and concern spread across the country, it only makes sense that the news should reveal truth and follow up on these stories. Americans want to know how these places are recovering.

News outlets’ reputations are under attack today, so the face of news should further address people’s real needs. The news business faces unique challenges and critique in its mission to deliver objective news. These outlets should combat this critique by following through with stories that affect the national community like these.

Reporting that focuses only on destruction and fear results in further distrust of mainstream news. News that people care about and agree with must respond to important human issues. Hopefully the future of news can appeal further to aspects that are important and what citizens truly care about.

Written by: Sean Daily