Should you want to improve your photography, take the time to look at pictures on the web.  There are plenty of sites where you can browse through pictures taken by renowned photographers.

#thegivinglens   #empowermentinternational

Ask yourself what you like and why you like these pictures.  In order to improve your photography, you have to know why you like some pictures over others.  You should also do the same with your own library.  In your library it might be more difficult to discriminate the good from the better.  A good way to achieve that is to take a group of 100 pictures and chose only 10 pictures out of these 100.  If you ranked 1 star for these 100 pictures, the 10 pictures you chose should get 2 stars.

Take another group of 100 pictures and do this again up to the moment that you have 100 pictures that are 2 stars.  At this moment, chose the 10 pictures from this group 2 stars and rank them as 3 stars.

By repeating this process you will end up with 4 and 5 stars pictures.  When you have 10 pictures classified as 5 stars, you are ready for expert critique. Be warned, expert critique is not for the faint of heart.  Their job will be to find problems and areas of improvements.  If you expect a rave review, don’t ask for a critique.  By going through this painful process, with humility, you are preparing to make leaps and bounds in terms of picture quality.

This picture ranks very high in my library.  I have near 30k pictures and this one is part of the top 20 pictures for two main reasons that I will share with you:

Telling a story:

This is an in-context portrait.  An in-context portrait is generally used to tell a story.  The main subject of the portrait and the surrounding element are in focus in an in-context portrait.  The story is created by the harmony or contrast between the subject and the surroundings.

About the subject:

She is a very nice little girl, wearing a very nice dress.  She is looking straight into the camera.  She is looks so nice that we would expect her at a wedding carrying the flowers of the bride.  Don’t you agree?

About the surrounding:

Rusted corrugated sheets of metal frame a kind of doorway made of wood.  What seems to be a door behind her is covered in markings.  The rusted chain on her right is probably used to hold the door locked.

The story is powerful because of the contrast created by the subject and its environment.

Personal reasons:

I spent a week with The Giving Lens and Empowerment International in July 2012.  I personally witnessed how lack of education is hampering the development of this country.  The poverty is a system that feeds itself, creating more poverty.

This little girl and other kids like her, had an impact on me and I now understand better the value  of organisations like The Giving Lens and Empowerment International create.

When you look at a picture you can appreciate only the first group of reasons.  The picture can’t leverage the personal reasons.  When you look at your pictures trying to evaluate how good they are, you have to eliminate personal reasons from your considerations.

So how can you make sure young girls like her get the education they need?

For 1$ a day, Empowerment International will get a child her in the program.  EI will meet with the student  and teacher on a regular basis to monitor his or her progress.  After each meeting EI will meet with the parents to report on the progress and will recommend corrective action as needed. EI also helps facilitate solutions to barriers that arise which would typically cause a child to drop out of school.

So can you sponsor a child  like her for 1$ a day? This is less than a cup of coffee.

You can also  buy this Calendar.  For each Calendar sold 10$ will go to EI to help these kids.

Or you can buy a print of one of these kids.  Again, all the proceeds will go to EI.

The ultimate way to help though is sponsoring a child.  When you make a commitment,  you will receive regular report on the progress of the child you are sponsoring and will have the satisfaction of giving this child the opportunities that  associated with education.

Take a few minute to hear Anielka’s Story:

Wouldn’t you like to see your protégé show such determination and character in a few years from now?