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.  

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

Monday, November 16, 2020

Within Six Miles

Within six miles of my house, along the C&O Trail National Park, Glover-Archbold National Park and Potomac River, hopped on my bike and was able to photograph the mammals, birds, and scenes.  This was a truly an amazing 8 months capturing the various animal activities and scenics. The most important aspect of nature photography is patience.  You wait for the light, you wait for something to happen, you just walk slower, so you can really see what happens right before you.  Sometimes you just can't move, you need to make your photo instantly without making a disturbance.  All of these skills are applicable to all types of photography.  Be ready, have your camera set up, compose the frame tightly, be still, anticipate the action and sometimes you just get lucky.

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

Get Noticed on LinkedIn: Top Tips for Your Profile Photo

Getting Noticed on LinkedIn

In today's visual world, you need to create your digital persona.  Your profile photo is the opportunity to show your confidence, integrity, and friendliness.  The way you connect with the camera is how you will be perceived.  Your pose, posture and dress reveals your personality.  These visual clues revealed in your photo helps to define you.

"Members with profile photos can receive up to 21 times more profile views than those without profile photos."---LinkedIn

"Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven." ---The Wall Street Journal

professional photograph is "the best investment you can make in your personal brand and self-confidence." ---Sandra Long, Author, LinkedIn for Your Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. 

Executive Director
According to Sandra Long, although it may be obvious, your photo should be recent, reflecting what you currently look like, The headshot should be a professional look, smiling and confident. 

Investing in your personal brand, helps you separate yourself from others.  This is the instant chance to make that positive first impression.  your portrait and all the images & visuals you post define you and your personal brand.  It shows your true self.

Create an Image that Defines You

Confidence is attractive.  The tone of your image should be perceived that you are approachable and accessible.  Thus, things you should avoid: 1. The deer the the headlight look.  2. The forced or the fake smile.  3. The ambiguous expression--a blank or neutral look.(It can be misinterpreted as something undesirable.

The Top Tips for Your Profile Photo

  • Philanthropist
    Connect with the camera, this helps people looking at your photo develop a personal connection with you.  You want to show your comfort level and confidence.  Research shows people who maintain eye contact have a higher IQ.
  • Have a gentile, genuine and uniform smile, that is relaxed and natural.  The consensus of many studies proves the smile is interpreted as someone who is more likable, competent and influential.
  • Look confident, your body language, how you stand, lean or tilt your head has a subconscious affect. A power pose and from a a camera angle just a little below eye level can give you an authoritative feel.
  • Show your "better side," put your best features toward the camera.  
  • Professional attire.  As the saying goes, dress for success.  Little things make a difference.  Wear clean and pressed clothes.  Button your business blazer or sweater.
  • The lighting is vital to your portrait.  Strong direct light accentuates wrinkles, skin issues, also it can be uneven light, that causes hot spots and shadows which are distracting.  Diffused lighting helps to eliminate imperfections.  Soft light makes you look youthful and healthier.  This lighting will make your eyes seem steady, balanced and pleasant.  The right light is even in intensity and doesn't discolor your features. 

Editing Your Portrait 


All digital images straight out of the camera needs a few corrections.  
The adjustments and enhancementscan include: color correction, skin smoothing, wrinkle reduction and softening the dark circles under the eyes, and you need to resize the photo for LinkedIn (or other social media specifications,)

Helpful Links:


Make sure that any photos, media or visuals you add are professional quality.  People looking at your photos are visual literate; poor quality is a bad reflection on you.  Hire a professional photographer for your profile photo.  She/he is trained to help you look self-assured, poised, influential, competent, genuine, and approachable.  They have the skills to light your properly and do the right editing to make you look your best.

If you liked this post,  please share with a friend or colleague.  Any comments or questions, happy to answer, please contact me at 

Rated #1 DC Event Photographer by

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Freelancing Life: Getting the Assignment and Lessons Learned

The studio where it happened.  Safety first. 

The destiny of freelancing is you never know the type of opportunities that will present themselves.  You will receive a phone call or email asking, “would you be interested in……”? You need to figure out: can I do it?  If yes, the next question is when can it get done?  This scenario is even more gratifying when it is a referral from someone in your network. 

Recently, I did have this situation presented to me.  An entrepreneur was working on a start-up company.  She produced a clothing line incorporating smart technology fabric with antimicrobial technology. The assignment was to photograph her models in the various clothes and product shots.  Her models were her friends with not much modeling experience.  

All had to be done soon with a quick turnaround of images with post-production.  No doubt a lot of work, plus done on her limited budget.  Oh, and I had to “model” for the video that was produced.  

There is no better feeling than when you can help someone to achieve their goal.  Especially, getting on the ground floor of a worthy business.  The shoot was great, fashion isn’t something I usually do, but the skills from what I have done made this work.  Although, the models were inexperienced, we made it fun and their enthusiasm shows in the photos.  

The client was excited with the final images.  The photos are used on the Instagram feed, website, Kickstarter, catalog, Facebook, and anywhere else to promote the brand.  

Lessons learned:

1.     Karma is a good thing, even if you don’t get your usual fee, when you help a start-up, you never know what possibilities can happen.

2.     Meeting new people and sharing your network helps your business grow.

3.     Take on something new, use your experience to enhance your skill set.

4.     It’s about the experience, make it fun and interesting for yourself and all the participants. 

5.     Share what you know.  Teaching is a lifelong passion that enhances everyone around you.  



Here are several of the images from the shoot.  


A composite image of the 5 models 
Adriana and Saliho

Adriana & Noah




Please visit & share the website

Copyright 2020 Laurence L. Levin

All Rights Reserved. No publication rights granted without written permission.





Thursday, May 28, 2020

Supporting Charities When We Shop

Any normal weekend, this retail street in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC, would be crowded.
No traffic, few pedestrians  during the Covid-19 shutdown.  This event
has hurt not only retail but the charities you and I support.  
Since I work with many charities and needless to say, during these unprecedented times, the charities you and I support are in need of funding.  There are two simple and helpful ways we can assist in filling some of the gap.  

If you shop on Amazon, you can designate a portion of the sale to go to your selected charity.  The program in called AmazonSmile. This does not increase the prices of the items you buy.  Amazon donates 0.5% of the eligible purchase to the charity.  All you have to do is go to each time you shop.  Make sure you select the charity from the list. This selection is saved to your account.  So every time you make a purchase, the Amazon Foundation makes a donation.  The money is sent quarterly to the organization.  

Since the program started seven years ago, over $169,000,000 has been donated to over 1000 charities.  Learn more at

The current update of impact of my purchases.
You may say it's small, but think if everyone participated!

Coin Up
Your chosen charity needs to register with Coin Up. Then using the App on your phone, you sign up. You choose the charity.  You chose your credit card or debit card. You set the limit of donation per month. When you make a purchase on your credit card, the purchase amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar or you can do a set amount each month.  At the end of the month, this “spare change” is credited to your chosen charity.  

The Coin Up phone App. 
If everyone did a small part, that would make it impactful.  
These two methods are easy, and these simple acts of kindness can help the most in need.  

Full disclosure, my cousin works for Coin Up.  No renumeration from either mentioned in this article.  

Copyright 2020 Laurence L. Levin   No reproduction rights granted without permission
Instagram @larrylevin

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Before/After Photography Assignments

Before Photo.  Circa 1981 
While still a student at Indiana University, was working on a story about a Big Ten Basketball Referee for The Chicago Tribune.  Found this photo, (forgot the photographer who made it), sitting on the floor at Assembly Hall with a great mentor to me as well as every photo-journalism student at IU, Dave Repp.  He was a great friend to all.  
I had my Nikon and wore those big glasses. 

What a time it was at Indiana, it was still the Bob Knight era of great basketball.  Fortunate to follow my passion of basketball and photography.  The story that appeared in The Tribune was focused on Verl Sell, a seasoned official. Sports writer legend Bill Jauss wrote the story.  It appeared as a picture story, full spread on the back page.  Amazing time for photography as well as, it now seems it was too easy to get that story done.  Calls to the Big Ten office, I even spoke to Wayne Duke, who was the commissioner at that time.  All it took was a phone call to get permission and access.  The same thing to attend games, only a phone call to get credentials for several arenas. If that story would be done today, no doubt, endless phone calls, letters, and permissions from lawyers and others would be necessary.  

After Photo. Circa 2016 
At the Dallas Cowboy’s training field working with DCP Productions on a TV commercial for GEICO.  This time I’m with the Caveman! (Photo by Tony Gardner of Alerian, Inc.) No big glasses but I have readers and I am still using Nikon!  

For over 10 years been working with DCP, capturing behind the scenes imagery of their work.  Again, following my passion of photography and film production.  Understanding the nuances of filming has provided me the opportunity to work with this talented company.  Much like sports photography, you are capturing the subtle yet vital scenes that help tell the story.

Photography opened many doors.  It has allowed me to have incredible experiences and share my photos whether it be for a newspaper readership or company chronicle.  

Copyright 2020 Laurence L. Levin   No reproduction rights granted without permission
Instagram @larrylevin

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Notary: When you need one, I am here for you

My certificate after completing my oath and certification
Notary Public is an officer appointed or granted authority to serve as a witness and to authenticate the execution of certain documents.  Important commercial or personal documents need to be authenticated in order to be officially recorded for legal or governmental purposes. To ensure the person signing the document is in fact the person, the notary is engaged to be the impartial witness.  After the witnessing, the notary acknowledges it by imprinting certificate and embossing their seal on the document.  

In order to be notarized the document has identified the signer in some way, the document needs to be an original, the notarial ‘certificate’ may appear printed on the document or has a place to affix it.  After the witnessing of the signing, the certificate is completed, and the notary seal is embossed. 

The notary records the procedure in their journal.  A government picture identification from the signer is recorded as well as their address, phone number, document type, and signature.   

As a public servant who is honest, fair and unbiased, the notary can refuse service IF: 1. Unable to verify the signer’s identity. OR 2. Competence of the signer is in question. OR 3. Any indication of fraud.  Otherwise, all are served without discrimination.  

The notary is only a witness to the signing.  No legal advice given or help in document preparation is permitted.  Violators 
can be fined or worse for unauthorized counsel.

In the District of Columbia, the fee for each imprint of each signature is $5.00.  The notary is allowed to charge a travel fee if travel is done to the signer’s location.  As a District of Columbia Notary, Only available in DC.  I am bonded and mobile.  

Mobile Notary service is available.  

I can come to your location--office or home--for the flexibility and convenience.

Often short notice, off-hours and weekends.  Efficient and professional!

Common documents that require notarization include:
Deeds, Power of Attorney, Contracts, Affidavits, Bill of Sale, Agreements, Waivers, Authorizations, Pleadings, Certificates, Sworn Statements, Guaranties.  

Some of my most recent requests have been Pension Forms, Applications, Financial Documents, Quick Deed Claims and Power of Attorney. 

Contact me for questions or anything else.

Copyright 2020 Laurence L. Levin   No reproduction rights granted without permission
Instagram @larrylevin

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

5 Photo Tips for Your Event Photography

Make your group shots exciting

Move beyond the standard group and podium shots to create compelling photos that will extend the value and reach of your events. Best Buddies and Special Olympics photographer, Laurence Levin, shares some fun and practical ideas to make the most of your event photos, whether you hire a pro, or rely on a volunteer to capture the festivities.

1. Go for the human touch
Look for opportunities to shoot an emotional moment, high five, fist bump, or a hug between a volunteer and a recipient of your organization’s services.

2. Catch the action! 
Sports centered events lend themselves to action shots but even a gala has moments of excitement and animation, such as a live performance, game playing, or a reaction to a special surprise.

3. Use Props    
Give subjects an item relevant to your cause to hold, such as sports equipment, art supplies, food, books, even an animal. Someone holding a sign with a meaningful message is also effective. The more interactive the photo is, the better.

4. Take lots of shots
Make sure you get a “keeper” from each set up. Eliminate all distractions such as unwanted people/objects in the background. Avoid insufficient or harsh lighting. Make sure everything you want it is in the frame, and everything you don’t is out.

5. Create a photo book 
Show a special donor how much you appreciate their support. Curate shots from past events for a hardback or e-book. Two of the many options that are easy to use ZNO or Vistaprint. Prices vary, but can be as little as $30 plus shipping.

Copyright 2020 Laurence L. Levin   No reproduction rights granted without permission
Instagram @larrylevin