Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Energize your Social Media Brand: Use Natural, Honest and Professional Photos

In order to stand out from your competition, you want to show more than just your headshot in your social media sites.  Your potential clients want to see more of you.  You want people to feel comfortable and connected to you. By showing images beyond the basic headshot, like lifestyle photos, behind the scenes, details of your work, and environmental portraits, people develop a bond to you and your business.  Judi Lawrence of Center City Notary and Lawrence Institute for Notaries in Philadelphia, PA, understands this need for quality photography.  She has an active business that includes Notary Public work, Apostille Agent, LegalShield Representative as well as online educator and author.  Her many social media outlets needs visual content.  She strives to brand herself in a positive light.


Philadelphia Notary Public & Apostille Agent, Judi Lawrence in her office. In your photos you want to exude your personality, professionalism and credibility.   

Camera phone and selfies are nice but nothing beats the quality of professional photography.  Professional photographers know how to make you look good.  It is about the composition, the lighting, the pose and importantly they make adjustments that enhances your photos.  These professional photos will help emphasize the quality of your business’ services and products. If your photos are genuine, your potential clients will be more comfortable with you which allows a better connection. When customers feel that they know you, a trust factor develops and then they are more likely to do business with you. 

Performing a Notary, show people what you do. 

Include detail photos of your work.

From her window

Marketing into today’s every changing world is a process.  Quality images creates your visual brand and story.   No one thing is the magic bullet to marketing but incorporating this important step will help you in creating your business story across social media.  You can use these images throughout your various marketing venues.  (Website, blog posts, profile photos, promotional cards and mailers, book jackets, bylines for published articles).    

The key is to continue to get your name and image out there.  Write articles in LinkedIn, update your blog, contribute to posts, attend conferences, and network. Use your new images in all these arenas.  You are creating your brand.

These are just a few things that can help develop your brand, get your name out there and show potential clients that you are truly the professional in what you do.  

If you have any questions, your comments are welcome, please send an email.   

Lawrence is an avid patron of the Philadelphia 
art and music scene, it is important to
show your other hobbies and interests..  

Copyright 2021 Laurence L. Levin

All Rights Reserved. No publishing or usage granted without permission.

Instagram @larrylevin

LinkedIN Laurence L. Levin 

Facebook Larry Levin 

Rated #1 2019 DC Event Photographer by Peerspace

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Palisades Fourth of July Parade

Images from the 55th annual Palisades Community Fourth of July Parade.  Organized by the Palisades Community Association, groups, politicians, local businesses are invited to participate.  Everyone just joins in the parade which begins on Whitehaven and Foxhall and proceeds down MacArthur Boulevard. After the parade there is a free picnic at the Palisades Rec Center. The best small town parade in DC, seems I captured a lot of waving photos, DC Police Chief Contee, DC Mayor Bowser, Beauty Queens, and Sailors.  From the beginning of the parade with the Color Guard to the end as people cross the street there were bands and lots of kids too.  It is a great neighborhood event. Images from the Parade. All shot on a Nikon Z6 with the Nikkor 70-200 and Nikkor 24-70.

Copyright 2021 Laurence L. Levin

All Rights Reserved. No publishing or usage granted without permission.

Instagram @larrylevin

LinkedIN Laurence L. Levin 

Facebook Larry Levin 

Rated #1 2019 DC Event Photographer by Peerspace

Monday, May 03, 2021

5 important Tips on Writing your Grant Proposal


This year I was part of a group of grant reviewers for the Humanities Council of Washington, DC (HumanitiesDC) and for the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.  We were the first stage of reading, commenting, and rating the applicants for funding. An interesting process that allows for an unbiased and fair attempt to make recommendations on worthwhile non-profit organizations’ projects.  There are many grant opportunities for artists and organizations based in Washington, DC through these two organizations.  Each grant has a volunteer review committee that gives recommendations to the next panel for funding.  


As each reviewer reads each grant, they add comments and rating to a scorecard.  Previously, we would meet in person, but this year the group of reviewers met via an online meeting to discuss and compare notes.  It is great to hear other’s comments and reactions.  Most often we agreed to our ratings.  The power of group ‘think’ if something was missed and a rating would be changed.  It is wonderful to hear the reasoning from the talented and knowledgeable group assembled for this vital task.  


From this experience of reading grants this year and previously, here are some thoughts when you are preparing your grant proposal.


1.     Clear, concise, and cohesive writing is essential.  Is your objective and all your writing easily understood? Keep sentences to one thought.  (A thirty-word sentence is often hard to comprehend.)  In each paragraph, state your premise and give supporting information.  Simplify but give details.


2.     Provide a comprehensive plan and implementation of project/program(s).  Nice to have a mission statement but as important how that project or program operates.  If you don’t have a history, explain the history of items that you have completed.  This helps to prove that you are capable and deserving of the grant.  


3.     Get letters of recommendations, but as important, get testimonials from participants.  Success stories help to prove your project/program works and has a positive effect on the community you serve.  


4.     Provide biography of not only of yourself but staff and key personnel involved in your project. It’s helpful to disclose the education and job experience but why each person involve is suited to carry on their job responsibilities for your program 


5.     Budget, provide as much detail as possible.  It is even better to have Non-Profit accounting standards for all financial statements.


Your purpose is to provide quality information, in order for grant reviewers to fully comprehend and understand your mission. Additionally, you want to provide the confidence that you and your organization are qualified and accountable.

Monday, January 25, 2021

5 Tips for Better Pet Photos

Patches, 6 months, dappled long hair dachshund

1. Look at the light.  Quality light makes better pictures.  The reason why National Geographic photographers make the majority of their pictures during the morning and evening hours is the light has a warm tone and it is a ‘softer’ light.  There are less hard shadows and less contrast.  Window light, shade, or overcast days are also, good times to utilize the soft light.

 2 years old

Composition is key.  Your subject is your main element in the frame, eliminate distractions.  Move in closer or zoom in.  Or if you want to utilize the background making an environmental image, use your depth of field or shoot in portrait mode so that your subject is the main focal point of your shot.  
7 years old

3. Focus carefully on your subject.  Sometimes your camera might pick the wrong area in the frame.  Take your time and make certain you focus properly on your main subject.

8 years old

Shoot a lot of frames.  Your subject is unpredictable; thus, you need to try to shoot as much as you can.  The small movement or a change of angle can really make your subject look better.  

9 years old

5. You might think your pet understands you. but to get that winning shot you need
 patience.  Find ways to keep their attention, work quickly and avoid quick movements.  You are looking to capture that moment that exemplifies your subject’s personality!

15 years old, Try some video, shot on an iPhone SE

Enjoy and have fun!

Please send me your comments with your experiences and happy to answer any questions. 


Larry Levin






Rated #1 DC Event Photographer by Peerspace.com



Profile in VoyageLA

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Top Tips When Hiring an Event Photographer

Senate Hearing on Alzheimer's 

Bosses, co-workers, members, clients, and constituencies judge images immediately.  Photos must capture attention, inform, and be remembered for their positive impressions.  Superior photography is vital for press releases, social media posts, newsletters, brochures, to market future events, also photos make nice mementos for event attendees. Here are some important aspects in hiring an event photographer. 


Choose Wisely 

A seasoned photographer is able to make consistent and technically excellent images in difficult situations.  Find a photographer who is flexible, creative and can positively represent your organization. She/He must be expert in photographic composition, lighting, and postproduction while remaining personable and diplomatic in relationships with your VIPs and attendees.  


Make Lists

Envision your needs ahead of time.  The types of images you need include individuals making presentations, group shots, audience reactions, product demonstrations, events, vendor booths, people working, award presentations, meet & greets and red-carpet events.  Think about staging, coordinating schedules so that all the right people are present for the photo, and timing (don’t schedule must need photos at the same time.)


Ensuring the final photo’s success requires effective communication of your visual needs and objectives.  Your image professional should assist you in developing “shot lists” and understand your “show flow.”   Timing and knowledge of what is going to happen helps to get every photo you need.  


Additionally, do your plans require specific graphical formats for publication? Let the photographer know your art director’s needs.  


Experience Counts

Your image pro’s experience can be critical to you in controlling the quality of the final delivered images.  Knowing how to solve last minute problems is a vital skill.

The photographer should approach event subjects journalistically. Images should appear “in the moment” rather than “contrived.”


Behind the scenes

Make certain your hired professional can function in chaotic situations while remaining unobtrusive at your event.  


The photographer should have the latest professional equipment.  Better files, color and image quality improve with the updated models.  Another aspect to the photographer is their ability to provide post-production of your final images.  

All files out the camera need adjustments to enhance quality.  


Details Matter

An experienced event photographer offers advance guidance to all aspects of the event. Helping people in the photos look their best. Working each situation to provide picture options.  Helping to determine if your staging is well lit or provide suggestions for better backgrounds.  High quality source lighting overcomes some challenging conditions, but pre-awareness of potential areas of difficulty ensures the most dependable result. 


Staging for a Panel Discussion

Will your event feature panel discussions? Using a backdrop? A clean background with your company branding can be a good investment.  Please when ordering it get a matte finish to minimize reflections. Have table distractions relating to expert panels been minimized?  Are microphones available in non-reflective materials? 

Panel Discussions:
clean backgrounds, non-distracting microphones and quality lighting


Delivering the quality of images, you deserve requires a photographer who understands what goes into planning and execution to provide you with exceptional images from your event.  


Your hired pro should respond in a timely manner, solve problems, and overcome challenges. Expect the unexpected and knowing how to deal with those situations is what the best image pros do.  Your choice will have the experience to capitalize on special moments that exceed your expectations and make your event memorable. 


Please send me your comments with your experiences and happy to answer any questions. 


Larry Levin






Rated #1 DC Event Photographer by Peerspace.com



Profile in VoyageLA


On Assignment--BestBuddies Living

BestBuddies Living participants

For more years than I want to admit, I have documented the events and the people for Best Buddies. We have made pictures in all parts of the country showing the abilities and personalities of many of the participants.  

Since 1989, Best Buddies’ mission is to provide opportunities for individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  Through four mission pillars—one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living--Best Buddies is changing the lives of millions of people.  

Residents work and study together

In 2019, the fourth pillar, BESTBUDDIES Living was established to provide inclusive living for people with and without IDD.  They are forming active homes where participants can learn, grow and thrive independently.

A common area offers opportunities for all types of activities.

My assignment was to document the newest home in Washington, DC.  The goal is to show everyday activities of the participants living in their space; eating, cleaning, studying and playing.  The resulting images will be used to promote the program and attract new residents.

Lifelong relationship are made through
sharing experiences and activities

All images made with Nikon Z6 cameras and Nikkor lenses.  Shot on location at the BestBuddies Living residence at Union Market, Washington, DC 

Copyright 2021 Laurence L. Levin

All Rights Reserved. No publishing or usage granted without permission


LinkedIn Laurence L. Levin 

Instagram @larrylevin

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Rated #1 DC Event Photographer by Peerspace

Featured in VoyageLA

Thursday, November 26, 2020

7 Tips on Surviving the Pandemic: Suggestions to Grow Professionally

Almost a year gone and who knows how much longer.  Time is of the essence, and this slowdown in business activity made me realize the importance of being productive.  So when this pandemic is over, I will be ready to return to business as usual.  I wanted to share these 7 action items I incorporated to prepare my business and grow professionally.  

1.   Update your website/social media

A daunting task everyone has is updating their website and social media.  You always want to keep it all fresh to attract attention.  Choosing new images and creating new text is a time-consuming process.  Edit current content, add new images and text.  Just as important is the website design.  Keep the branding consistent through logos, type and theme.  My website host is Sitewelder.  This system has advantages; change designs easily while keeping content consistent, huge selection of designs, great SEO and top-quality customer service.

View my updated website

2.  LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn

Rediscover LinkedIn to build and engage your professional network for opportunities. Update your profile, upload a current image, highlight your accomplishments.   There are many aspects to your profile.  The best book to assist you is the updated for 2021, “LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide” by Sandra Long.  This book provides everything you need to make the most of your LinkedIn experience. 


3.  LinkedIn, Part 2. Build your network

Even with a “free” account you can do searches to connect to potential clients.  Find people in your area, look for job titles, or companies, these are just a few search filters.  Go to the search bar at the top left, enter a keyword.  After going to the results, you can go to the filter to further refine it.  You can do this process for a job search.  Click on Jobs on the menu bar on top of the bar.


4.  Find a New Side Hustle 

Need a Plan B?  What is your passion?  Can you earn extra income from doing things you love?  One of my passions in basketball.  Having officiated games for years, it keeps me active, motivates me to stay in shape, meet wonderful people who turned into lifelong friends and earn a few bucks.  However, the high school basketball season is on hold.  But the learning goes on, through weekly Zoom meetings.


To discover your side hustle read, “Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days”, by Chris Guillebeau.  Also, he has a free daily podcast.  


My new side hustle is a Notary Public.  See my Notary profile.  I get to meet new people, help them to facilitate complex documents and make extra income. 

5.  Stay Active

During this stay-at-home predicament, it is important to stay active, to keep your body effective, protect your health, control your weight, prevent stress plus improve your sleep.  You can get outside to walk, bike or run.  A great inside activity is Yoga.  A wonderful free collection of yoga practices on YouTube is by SarahBethYoga.   She provides easy to follow routines for every level.  Try it, you will like it.


6.  Catch Up on Your Reading

Expand your knowledge, you probably have a pile of books you want to read. Make time each day to read.  If you are an Amazon Prime member, they provide a free monthly selection of books to read.  Just download the books to your Kindle device.  www.amazon.com/primereading  

7.  Expand on Your Hobbies

Nothing like a hobby to keep your mind active and do something you like.  These past few months, I jumped on my bike with my camera to explore the surrounding areas of the C&O Canal National Park.  Photographed wildlife and activities.  Great exercise as well as sharpened my photographic skills.


The short video of my nature photos from this year. 

Hopefully these suggestions will motivate you and help you navigate these strange times.  Please keep in touch.  Let me know what you are doing to get you through the pandemic.  Stay healthy, productive and sane!

Copyright 2020 Laurence L. Levin

All Rights Reserved. No publishing or usage granted without permission.

Instagram @larrylevin

LinkedIN Laurence L. Levin Facebook Larry Levin 

Rated #1 2019 DC Event Photographer by Peerspace