#MentorMoments: YOU Are Your Own Photographer

With photos being a visual resume you might need to step-it-up when it comes to what you're putting out to the public. I share such words of wisdom after mentoring some 20-somethings working to build their brand. I took a look at their social networking and was shocked by the poor quality of their pictures. In this day-and-age there is no excuse for a crappy photo.

So, here it goes. Tips from an amateur with a good eye, or so I've been told.

1. EVERYONE'S A PHOTOGRAPHER
A Fox 11 viewer once wrote me, "You don't take a bad photo!" HA! I wrote back, "No, I don't POST a bad photo."

It kills me to see anyone in the limelight post an unpolished picture. In this day-and-age of the fancy app, what's the excuse for bad lighting, blurry, or lacking in creativity?

2. EDIT, CROP, CHOP, EFFECT
If you are promoting a brand, YOU, then your pics need to have some style. I'm talking about every industry, from my friend in fashion to the man in marketing to the aspiring actor.

You can easily crop, enhance, or filter. To get fancy you can download apps with effects, text, collage, and montage options. That advice may seem like a no-brainer, but I've seen a lot of photography fails.

3. APPS I LIKE
As for apps on my iPhone, I'm a big fan of PS Express. It has a ton of filters to perfect your photo. There are frames of all sorts too.

Cropic is my go-to for photos that don't fit. It's great for when you want to make sure nothing gets left out. Instagram, for example, requires a square photo which may cut off part of your pic, leaving out Aunt Mary. With Cropic the whole pic is in thanks to colorful borders, and you can add text.

Pic Stitch is great for montages. The boxes look clean and you can display a number of pictures from one event.

4. PHOTO SITES FOR THE PRO, AND NOT
On your computer there are a number of sites that allow you to play professional photographer. I use SmugMug. My colleague uses Photoshelter.

I love the SmugMug program PicMonkey. It turns you nearly into a pro. You can do artsy effects, add banners, airbrush, posterize, etc. It's like a complete graphics department.

5. GET CREATIVE
There are those who get fancy with statement shots. Music producer Matias Nardi of PVTRSV uses a GoPro camera mounted on his studio ceiling. He also brands his pics with his PVTRSV logo.

6. MAKE SOME MONEY
Do you think your photos are so good the world should see them? Would you like to see your pic in a magazine, on a website, in the newspaper? Check out Shnaap, a new site that helps you sell your photos with pricing ideas. It was co-founded by an Associated Press celebrity photog.

7. NO SELFIE STICK?
If you ask someone to take a photo of you, for you, make sure you check it. There's nothing worse than someone missing that "money" shot. Most people won't get the importance of the polished picture so make sure and check the shot.

8. HIRE A PRO
Sometimes ya just need to hire a pro. At galas I emcee I'm too swamped to take pictures. A professional photographer assures no moment is missed. Emily Gummig has a degree from the art institute but I used her for a foster care benefit, CASA-OC. One of boys spoke on his success and I got to sit in the audience and beam with pride as Emily got it all on camera.

IN CONCLUSION

Sure, we're all gonna have that grainy pic with grandma and the cat. However, with photos being an ever-lasting visual resume you might want to put some thought into the message you're sending out to the masses.

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