What's in this session?

  • I was wondering if you had a solid workflow there at Pro Church Tools with how you manage your photography? (1:04)
  • Do you have any tools or thoughts on how to help my staff understand how people will perceive what they communicate? (8:51)
  • Most churches use their logo as their profile, should we use our logo or a person as our profile picture? (15:50)
  • Any tips on how to tell someone that they aren’t what we are looking for on camera? (16:48)

Show notes and resources

Free Bonus: Click here to download The iPhone Church Photography Case Study – learn to shoot stunning photos for your church with only your phone

The Transcript

Brady: Today on the Ask Brady Show, we talk about photography workflow. The intensive, extensive way of doing it according to the man with the cam, Alex Mills.

Roxanne + Brady: Well, hey there!

Brady: Welcome to the Ask Brady Show, episode number 46. We’ve got four great questions from the people at Pro Church Nation, and I’m joined as always, to my left, your right, it’s Roxanne.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: True it is. Behind the camera, the editing wizard himself, JoNex.

JoNex: [inaudible 00:00:49].

Roxanne + Brady: [inaudible 00:00:51].

Brady: And the man with the cam, Alex Mills.

Alex: Thanks. It’s not really as special as it sounds, because I work here. But I’m here.

Brady: Okay, Roxanne. Relay to me the first question.

Roxanne: Alright. First question comes from Evan, and he sent in a video.

Evan: Hey, what’s up Brady. Long time listener, first time caller here. Had a question about photo archiving and storage, editing, things like that. Was wondering if you all had a solid workflow there at Pro Church Tools with how you manage your photography, your RAW files, your export files, how you archive things so that other guys on the team can get a hold of them. We shoot a lot of events and worship services between two or three of us, and want to get in a consistent routine so that other guys on the team can find the recent photos or staying organized, even though we all use different machines. We use different software, but we want to turn things around quickly to get social media attraction, things like that. Just wondering if you all had any thoughts on organizing that whole process. Thanks.

Brady: You asked for it, Evan, because I had to reach out to Alex, the man with the cam, for this answer. Because he is the one that’s in charge of our in-house photography, shooting, as well as organizing and editing and exporting. He gave me his workflow, and it is quite in-depth and intense. I’m going to do my very best to relay that information to you.

The first thing, step one, has to do with the RAW file. What’s most important to know about our workflow, at least in this step, is that we have a shared server. We use a [QNAP 00:02:28], where all 12 of our work stations are plugged into, whether that’s via Thunderbolt like Jonas and I, ethernet like a bunch of the editors, or with our laptops just wifi. We’re all plugged into the same server. That means that we’re all pulling from the same hard drive. That’s where we store all of our RAW files, and Alex said that he stores them in a very specific categorization format.

First is the year. Let’s say you just got a folder called Photography, and then there’s 2018, 2017, 2016. Within the year of 2017, there is months. 01, 02, 03, 04. Or if you prefer, the actual word, January, February, March. I prefer the number, because then it will be in chronological order. Within the month folder, there will be a project name folder. So you could have Baptisms. You could have Fall Festival. You could have Christmas. And then within that folder, there’s another folder called RAW. That would be where all of your RAW photos go for the specific project in that month in that year on your shared workspace server, hard drive, whatever you want to call use. You can even do this with an online storage system like Dropbox, or Box, or Google Drive. It wouldn’t be as fast, and with RAW it might be a little tedious. But it’s not video files. They’re still photo files, so they’re still pretty small.

That’s step. That’s where we keep all of our RAW files. Everyone has access to them, and they are very well organized and easy to find. You can track down what you’re looking for.

From there, Alex moves into Lightroom. In Lightroom, he has another quite extensive workflow when it comes to looking at all of the RAW files, and then figuring out what’s worth keeping, what’s not worth keeping, and how do we organize that. Here’s what Alex tells me. He has a standard workflow in Lightroom for the whole team to use. It uses folders, collections, and collection sets to keep his files organized. Nerd alert.

The first thing he does … and this is in Lightroom, remember. The folder on your computer, that infrastructure, is different than the folders and infrastructure in Lightroom. They’re separate, so keep that in mind. We talked just about the first thing, which was how you store it on your actual hard drive. Now it’s actually how you store it and workflow within Lightroom itself.

Alex sets up a folder for each year’s work, similar to what you would do on your actual hard drive. Inside each folder, he creates a collection for every project. It doesn’t say here that he does month within each year, but he may do that as well in Lightroom. You can create a pretty much mirrored infrastructure. Then, a collection for every project. Let’s go back to Christmas, we’re a couple of weeks away from that, in 2017. Alex would have a Lightroom Christmas 2017 collection. Inside the collection, the Christmas 2017 collection, he has a collection set. Three of them. They are titled All, Picks, and Selects. Picks, P-I-C-K-S. Not pics as in pictures. Picks as in I select you. I choose you. That’s what the Picks is for.

He starts by putting all of his photos in the, shockingly, All folder.

Roxanne: Whoa. Didn’t see that coming.

Brady: He then will go through all of those images. He uses the word, “I will cull those images.” Again, nerd alert. He’ll go through all of the images, and he’ll flag potential keepers as Picks. He’s got everything in All, and he’s culling through each individual photo, and ones that stand out to him he’s going to flag as Picks. That’s basically selection one. You’re whittling down the entirety of your photo shoot, and now you’re picking out anything that might be good. This isn’t the final selection process. It’s like you’re not ready to … I don’t watch any reality TV. You’re not ready to kick everyone off the island … Okay, you’re not ready to choose your Bachelor, is this a thing?

Roxanne: Well, you’re not-

Brady: Isn’t giving people a rose a bad thing?

Roxanne: No, you want to get a rose, because-

Brady: You want to get a rose?

Roxanne: … if you get a rose you’re staying on the show.

Brady: Oh, okay. Perfect. That’s better. Okay, great.

You’re not ready to give one person a rose. So you’re going to give three a rose, and then make a decision from there on the single rose that you will give.

Roxanne: Yes.

Brady: This is just The Bachelor for Lightroom, basically. Once you’ve culled all of your images, and you’ve now got a folder with Picks, you then cull the Picks using either a five star rating for the absolute best, and then all the way down to a one star rating.

You’ve got all of your photos. Now you’ve got the pretty good ones out of all of them. Now you’re going to go through the Picks folder, and give all of those photos a star rating from one to five. Then the final folder is called the Selects folder. The only pictures that get to go into that folder, Roxanne, star rating of

Roxanne: Five stars.

Brady: … four or five.

Roxanne: Alright.

Brady: That is step two. That is how you determine what is worthy of a rose, and what is not.

The final step, edit those photo in the Select set only. Four and five star ratings only. You can edit them, you can add your pre-set, you can [inaudible 00:07:48] white balance, add some coloring, some styling, whatever it is. Then you’re ready to export. When you export your photos, you are exporting them to the hard drive, to the Project folder that you created within the month, within the year. Remember, in that Project folder was the RAW folder. Now you’re going to create a new folder, [inaudible 00:08:08] second folder called Exports. All the exported photos will go in there.

Roxanne: I feel almost it’s one of those things you need a diagram for, to be like this is happening and then it’s going back to that.

Brady: Yeah. It’s one of those things where I’m doing my very best to communicate it through voice and through video. Hopefully, my injection of examples, hypotheticals, and reality TV analogies can help, but you might want to go back again and listen again, Evan, and takes notes. Especially when it comes to The Bachelor part.

Roxanne: Especially his knowledge on the roses and The Bachelor and how that works. That was

Brady: Sometimes, roses are good, apparently.

Roxanne: … insightful.

Brady: I thought they were bad. Why would a rose be bad?

Alright, on to the next question, Roxanne.

Roxanne: Question two comes from Adam, and he sent in a video as well.

Adam: Hey, Brady. Hey, Roxanne. I think one of the most important parts of communicating is having a sense of how the listener will perceive what we communicate, and give them what they want. For example, being able to cut out as many steps between here and there as possible. Like you don’t send people to a link, and then to another link, to another link. You send people right to the spot. Another example might be leaving out background information that nobody really cares about, even though it makes the case for what you’re announcing. You leave it out so that they can get the main point. The main point becomes the main point. I think that’s the most important part of communication, knowing how people will perceive it. But it also seems to be the hardest for other people to get and really change the way they communicate. I’m talking about staff people. Do you have any tools, or thoughts, about how to help other people understand how people will perceive what they communicate? Or is this just … you’re gifted with it? I don’t know. Thanks.

Brady: Thanks for the question, Adam. I think there’s a spectrum, and everyone falls on this spectrum. Let’s say on the lowest end of the spectrum, you lack all self-awareness of how others perceive you and how you’re coming across. Then on the other side of the spectrum, you’ve got a sociopath who is only thinking about how he’s being perceived by others, manipulating it for the good or worseness of the world and those around him or her.

We’ve all been around people in social situations where they’re talking, or they’re doing something, and everyone else is like, “Yo. Bruh. Settle.” But that individual is not able to recognize his or her own need to settle. Have you experienced a situation like this, Roxanne?

Roxanne: Oh, many.

Brady: Right. I’ve never been that person.

Roxanne: Never.

Brady: Not in high school, for sure.

Roxanne: Especially not in high school.

Brady: That’s actually a pretty good example, though, of how people, I think, are able to change, because in high school I was very prone to just blurting out whatever came through my head. This show is called the Ask Brady Show. It presupposes that I have things to say. That was very much the case in high school as well. Never a lack of words.

Roxanne: No.

Brady: Never a lack of opinion. Never a lack of ideations spouting, overflowing, fire hosing out of my mouth. In high school, I did not have the proper filter to manage all of the thoughts, all of the calculations, constantly running through my head, and thus they just came out. There are many a time that Roxanne can attest to where, let’s say it involved a female, I would have said something that could be perceived as insensitive by them. It could’ve been hurtful to them. It could’ve been plain, old, just nasty to them. Roxanne, can you confirm or deny?

Roxanne: Yeah, that definitely might have been a struggle. You were well-known and talked about for being that way.

Brady: Wow. This is something I look back on and I can recognize. I think that if the spectrum of lacking all self-awareness to crazy self-awareness … Let’s say I started very low on the spectrum. I think I’ve come a considerable way over the last decade from high school. I would consider myself a little bit higher on the self-awareness scale than the average person. I do feel as though I’m constantly trying to consider how am I coming off, and how am I being perceived by others.

There’s a pro tip here for why I think I’ve been able to do that. I am constantly on camera, being recorded via audio. I do a considerable amount of studying the game tape, to use a sports analogy, where I would watch the videos that I am presenting on, where I will listen to the podcasts that I’m hosting, or being hosted on. What this allows me to do is it allows me to step away and act, as much as I can, as a third party to the way that I communicate. I think one of the best ways that you can look at yourself and try to see the blind spots that you cannot see while you’re communicating, is to watch a recorded version or to listen to a recorded version.

It sounds like, Adam, there may be a person or two in your life, in your church’s life, who may need a little bit of this in their own life. Studying the game tape, listening to themselves, watching themselves. Because it’s difficult when someone points out to you and says, “Yeah, when you do this, this is what everybody thinks.” Naturally, you are going to react negatively to that. You’re going to put up your defenses and say, “No, no, no. I’m not like that.” But when you watch yourself, listen to yourself … it’s like when we all listen to ourselves on tape for the first time, like, “Wait. That’s how I actually sound?” That works for pretty much all of it. We all have these mannerisms, these types of things that we just don’t consider until we actually see it recorded black and white, there it is on the screen, there it is on the tape, and then we’re like, “Oh.” The second you become aware of it, that’s when you can be able to begin changing it. But until you’re aware of it, you’re just not going to be able to change it.

There’s this great scene on How I Met Your Mother where they have this thing where every single person points out this weird flaw in another person. They have this thing where the glass shatters in the person’s mind, where they were seeing someone their whole life in a certain way, and they were missing this annoying little tick, or this annoying little habit. Then someone pointed it out to them, and then they couldn’t not see it. It’s like when you’re buying a car and you’re like, “I don’t think I ever see Jeep Renegades ever.” And then I go and I think I might want to buy one, and then it’s like every other car is a black 2016 Jeep Renegade souped up edition. That’s all I see on the road. Once you are aware of something, you’re able to identify it, and thus change from it. But if you’re not first aware of it, you’re not going to be able to change it.

I would say that there is an innate amount of born with self-awareness. No, forget that. I think it mostly comes through nurture. If you have parents, or a social circle, that’s nurturing that, you can definitely improve upon it. I think that I am the perfect example of that. Someone that was lacking self-awareness deeply, and now, I think, has fostered a deep sense of self-awareness from there. Would you also agree to that?

Roxanne: Yeah, I would definitely agree.

Brady: Okay, great. See, Roxanne has witnessed the change. I think one of the best ways to do it, watch yourself. Listen to yourself. Have others give you feedback. If you’re not, or if this person that you’re referring to, Adam, isn’t willing to listen to constructive feedback, one of the best ways is to sit them down in front of themselves. Let them see it for themselves. Because if they’re not goin to listen to you, maybe they’ll listen to themself.

Roxanne: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Alright, next question comes from Stephanie. She says, referring to last week, you talked about the cover photo but not really about the profile picture. We have ours as a logo, since that’s what most churches seem to do. Do you think that is good? Or should we have a photo of a person? If so, should it be the pastor, or who? Thanks.

Brady: Yeah, I’ll keep this answer short and sweet. Of course, now that I’ve said that I won’t, but I’ll try. I would say that that’s definitely the right thing to do. I cannot recall too many brands using individuals as their profile pics, and I think that it may not be a bad thing, but because nobody is doing it, or at least the vast majority are not, it can be confusing for the end user if you do do it. If everyone started doing it, and it became common practice, and the user, the consumer, the end user that you’re communicating to was more conditioned to seeing something like that, it could be something worth exploring. But because nobody does that, stick with the logo. I definitely think that that is the correct thing to do.

Roxanne: Yep. Alright. Last question comes from Joshua, and he says, any tips on how to tell someone that they aren’t what you’re looking for on camera? I’m currently editing together the second edition of our church’s video announcements, and the person I thought was going to be very good on camera did not produce what I expected.

Brady: Thanks for the question, Joshua. Obviously, these conversations are not easy. I think a lot of it comes down to having a game plan going into it, biting the bullet, and just doing it. The other day I had to have a conversation that I was not excited to have with an employee, where, basically, I had to own up to how I was poorly treating them, or how I was overlooking them, or how I was misinterpreting what they were doing. I was dreading it, because it required confrontation. And I’m a confrontational person. I’m like, “Let’s get things out there.” But for some reason, in this instance, I just didn’t want to tackle it. Once we had the conversation, it was great and things have been great since. That’s why I had the conversation, because I believed that if I did good things would come out of it. A difference could be made.

I had a game plan going into this conversation where I had formulated some thoughts beforehand to help frame where I was coming from and then hopefully put myself in a position to listen and hear where this person was coming from. The first thing that I would say, in this particular context, is that you want to pre-frame for this individual, who has turned out not to be, perhaps, the best choice as a presenter, you want to frame for them just how difficult it is to be a video announcements presenter. You could use this exact example. I have had multiple conversations with folks at Church On The Move like Whitney George, and I’ve asked them, “Okay, you’re a church of 10,000, 20,000, how many people do you trust to be on camera?” They say, “Yeah, we’ve got about three.” What percentage is three out of 20,000? Extremely remote. That’s .001. Let’s do the quick math here. Open up our calculator. 3 divided by 20,000. Oh, no. There’s a lot more zeros. .0001, okay? One five, to be exact. You could round up. .00002. Wow.

Roxanne: Whoa.

Brady: Twice as likely. That just goes to show you, that’s a church modeling excellence, leading the way when it comes to video announcements hosting, hosting on camera, and that’s how difficult they perceive it to be.

When it comes to the measuring stick, I would do whatever you can to separate your own judgements from it and just say, “Look, this is a really difficult thing. It’s not something that anyone practices in their life.” Unless you were a sports caster on TV, unless you are hosting the weather or doing the news, it’s very unlikely that you’ve stood in front of a camera and read a teleprompter, or memorized a script, and tried to deliver it as natural. Who does that?

Roxanne: Not me.

Brady: I’ve presented now, 80 billion thousand announcements, it feels like. I’ve lost count. For a while, we said 20,000. Then we recounted, it was 30,000. By now it’s probably 50,000. North of that. Whatever it might be. A crap ton. The only way that I’ve gotten better, similar to the self-awareness question, is by practice. You are aware of what you’re doing, and then you figure out what you like, what you don’t, and you adjust. I would look at myself on camera, and I’d say, “Huh. I do this weird thing with my head where I tilt my chin to the sky.” For some reason I would have these-

Roxanne: Classic.

Brady: You can go back and watch the very first 40 videos that I published on this YouTube channel, and I’m sitting in a chair like this, and I’m like, “Well, hey there. If you’re listening right now, I have my chin pointed to the sky. Well, hey there, my name is Brady. Great to have you. I’m going teach you about aperture.” I would watch back and I’d be like, “Why is your head pointed straight up, you fool?”

Roxanne: It’s weird, because that’s a common thing, too.

Brady: Exactly. For some reason … and I have seen this again and again with new presenters, people that are new and unfamiliar with the art of it, and the science, for some reason we just naturally want to tilt their chin up, because it looks or feels cool, or feels more natural. It’s tough. Once I figured that … Okay, great, I need to hold my face steady and not look up, and I have to keep my camera a little bit higher than myself and pointed down, because that’s more flattering for the face rather than shooting up, which makes everyone look a little chubbier than they are.

Then what I did was I realized that my hand motions were awkward. So I was like … I found three that I really liked. I started just using only those three. Once I became comfortable with those three, I used those as my core three movements, and then I expanded to these tertiary movements that I used less frequently. But when I needed extra emphasis, or something just to really mix it up for the sake of a talk shock, like a pattern interrupt. Pattern interrupt. I don’t know why I said it like that. From there, I even built upon those.

One of the biggest things for me was having a resting place. We’ve got six or seven video announcements presenters that we’ve trained and used at provideoannouncements.com over the years. And one other newbie mistake that we see all the time is people feel like they always need to be doing something with their hands, and they end up overcompensating. Not that hand movements are a bad thing. I often become very demonstrative on this show, but on video announcements you’re trying to portray a calm, collected, cool cucumber individual. Cool as a cucumber. A cool customer, really. It’s like I’m in the fifties.

That’s what you’re trying to deliver when it comes to on camera for video announcements, but a lot of the time … Let’s say an announcement goes like this, I’m going to be like, “Upcoming, we’ve got Christmas coming real soon. It’s going to be great.” It’s like every single sentence, or even half sentence, they’re doing something different with their hands, and it looks unnatural. I found that having a resting place, where I’ll just keep my hands right around my belly button, that’s my default position. Unless I really want to make a point when it comes to a time, a date, or a particular element of an announcement, I am staying stagnant, stoic, in my resting position. So that was another thing that I learned. That took about a year.

Then I realized that the inflections in my voice weren’t so great, and that I needed to emphasize certain words more than others. I needed to make my voice go up sometimes, and then bring it back down when I was trying to emphasize something differently. That took another year. Again, and again, and again. Learning how to present with a teleprompter. That took a good two years. Now I keep increasing the speed. You have got to find a good speed. You don’t want to speak too slowly, or too quickly.

The number of variables that go into being a good on camera presenter should not be understated. It is a very, very difficult thing. So for this conversation, going back to what I originally said, have a plan going in on how you want to frame the conversation. You know it’s going to be difficult. You’re going to make your piece with that. Just do it. From there, figure out what’s the best way to set this up to get my point across, accomplish what I’m hoping to accomplish, but minimize their hurt feelings, or cynicism to volunteering, or even being angry at you. Separate yourself form the measuring stick. This isn’t you looking at someone and being like, “You know what? Pretty much everyone else we’ve tried is a great presenter, and you just don’t cut it.” No. “No one can do this. I cannot do this. It’s just not what we’re looking for right now.”

Then do your best to listen to their thoughts. Listen to their feedback. Is there a way that they can be practicing own for the next six months, and then give it another try. Give them some follow up steps from there. If they really care about video announcements, offer them another role within that overall project. Would you like to edit, would you like to script. Make sure you don’t cut them out, and then say, “See ya.” Rather than removing them from the position, shift their position from one of host and presenter to one of scripter, filmer, editor, or a different department all together. But that way they still feel valued, and it’s more about just rejiggering rather than removing, which can, hopefully, keep their feelings intact.

Roxanne: Yep.

Brady: That does it for this 46th episode of the Ask Brady Show. If you want your question answered, you can always send in an email with your video question to hello@prochurchtools.com. When you do that, you’ll be sent immediately to the top of the queue. If you want your question answered but not fast, you can send in a text question to that same email, or on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram with the hashtag #askbrady.

We love you Pro Church Nation. We’ve got big things coming in 2018, including daily content. Daily videos, daily podcasts, all coming in 2018. Starting Monday, January 1st. Can I say, thank you 2018 for starting on a Monday? Monday is my favorite day of the week.

Roxanne: It’s perfect.

Brady: New beginnings. New possibilities. New adventures. And 2018 was like, “We’re going to double down on that.” Not just a Monday of the week. A Monday that begins a year. Whoo! 2018. Best year ever. We love you Pro Church Nation. Go seize the 167. We’ll talk real soon.

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