How Mark Zuckerberg's Philosophy Can Help Our Photography

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I'm a big fan of Facebook and of Mark Zuckerberg. I'm also big on this philosophy: what we learn in one field can help us in another field. So, when I recently came across Mr. Zuckerberg's 2012 Founder's letter I immediately related – personally and photographically - to the five points he presents.

Focus on Impact - My good friend Gary Potts has a goal when he comes on one of my photo workshops. He wants to make "Images with Impact." That's an admirable goal, one that can help us get a higher percentage of "keepers." If we set a goal, we know where we are going. If we don't, we could get photographically lost. When I was photographing these lions mating in Botswana, I was looking for an "image with impact," so I shot at the peak of action.

I talk more about setting goals in my KelbyOne class, How to Get Motivated and Stay Inspired.

Move Fast - Photographers often need to move fast, as I did when a sneaker wave almost knocked me (and my camera and tripod) over when I was photographing in Sri Lanka. The faster we move, in the field and with our ideas, the greater success we will have. Being and staying healthy helps us in our quest to move fast.

Here is the image I took in Sri Lanka just before Susan Sammon took the photo of me in the waves.

Be Bold - Mr. Zuckerberg suggests taking risks. As photographers, we can take calculated risks that can pay off in good photographs. I took a bit of a risk by standing in the water while these Carmargue horses ran straight toward me . . . at full speed, no less. The risk paid off in my favorite image from the Carmargue. See more of my Carmargue horses image here.

Be Open - On site (that's me in Sri Lanka with some Stick Fishermen) and on-line, we need to be open to sharing – sharing our photographs and our ideas. Yes, that means giving away some of our work and ideas for free. All the successful photographers I know give away lots of free stuff/info on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. If you are new to giving away free stuff, check out FREE: The Future of Radical Pricing, by Chris Anderson.

Build Social Value - Here, Mr. Zuckerberg is talking about being connected. Again, on-location and on-line we need to be connected to our subjects. When I am photographing people, I strive to make a connection with my subjects by getting to know them, learning something about them or simply my smiling. (Left, Sri Lanka. Middle and right, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.)

Establishing a connection with the subject is also a goal when I take a wildlife photograph, such as this photograph I took in Botswana of two leopard cubs.

Sure, I post almost daily on Facebook and on Instagram. However, I also take the time to see what other people are saying - so I can connect with them and their ideas. I also give people feedback. The idea here is to listen - and to be a good listener . . . which is what Dale Carnegie wrote about in the early 1950s.

As Mark Zuckerberg says at the bottom of his letter, "thank you." In my case, thank you for being part of the larger photographic community.

Explore the light,