Photographic Literacy: Ideas for the Small Firm Lawyer or Intelligent Lay Person

Published to: ,

By on August 31, 2016 12:34 am Leave your thoughts

SonyCybershotDCSRX100.2

Burt’s Sony Cybershot DCS RX100

Everyone has become a photographer/videographer. That’s good for Rodney King, but it sure leads to a lot of bad photography.

What should a small lawyer or an intelligent lay person do? You are taking photos/videos every day. Shouldn’t they try to capture reality, or even be creative, or, occasionally, art?

Here is what I use my camera for at work:

  1. I use my IPad in a ClamCase hinged case to video the elderly or infirm before they sign their will. I make sure they are thinking clearly, have the person who accompanied them wait outside, and I let them confirm the who/what/where/when, and explain why they want what they want. None of my wills have ever been successfully challenged.
  2. I photograph many of my personal injury auto accident scenes, even supplementing my accident reconstructionist.
  3. When I meet the clients early enough, I photograph my clients’ injuries. It is shocking how poor the photos are that clients’ family, or even police officers, take of such injuries.
  4. I photograph my inspections of real estate. Recently, I was pleased I could provide to my three sibling clients, sharp, clear, properly exposed photos of all their deceased mother’s collectables, including blank spaces where other siblings had removed some items.
  5. I archive inventories of my office and home personal property.
  6. I edit photos brought to me by clients, of themselves or of their property or of collisions or damaged vehicles.
  7. I snap photos of the judge and the adopting family. That’s always fun!
  8. I take dozens of photos for my marketing; for my Yellow Pages ad, my website, my blog articles, and for claiming my page on 60 different social media sites.
  9. I have shot many information videos, but need to learn the software before I do many more. The iPad and iPhone take great videos.
  10. I have taken hundreds of family videos. I try to keep them 30 seconds or less, but I have taken many “family history” videos, which I save to DropBox.

My Photography Roots

I was fortunate to have photography as a 4-H project in the late ’50’s, I had access to a Kodak Retinette IA .35 mm. and a Polaroid Land camera, model 900. Both had “electric eyes” but allowed manual control. What a teaching tool, manual control. The Polaroid Land camera, with a bellows, provided great feedback for the new photographer.

I think I am a good photographer. At the very least my photos are well framed, composed, and edited. Now that everyone’s smart phone can take good shots, what a waste to have shadowy figures, whited-out skies, and tiny, blurry figures. At last count, I had around 50,000 images.

Some basic tips:

  1. Learn the basics.
  2. There are myriad sources, including books and magazines.HoToPhotographyGuidebookPhotography From The Great Courses
  3. I have taken several of “The Great Courses”, which have at least three photography courses. Also Udemy.com or Lynda.com. There is no excuse for taking bad photos.
  4. Decide what you need. I have friends with great SLR’s (single lens reflex). I used to have a Nikon 6000. But, I decided that with the number of photos I take, I needed something as convenience as my iPhone. In fact, I now take the majority of my photos with my iPhone.SonyCybershotDCSRX100
  5. I found a camera, $800 then, and $400 now, a Sony Cybershot DSC RX100, with a 20.2 megapixel sensor. My iPhone is 8 meg. There are Nikon and Canon equivalents to the Sony. If my budget permitted, I would still have an SLR but never as my only camera.EyeFi
  6. In preparing this short article, I realized I have been using my Sony less because of the iPhone’s convenience, so I have ordered an Eye-Fi wireless HD memory storage card with one year free online storage.
  7. I suggest that you find a few favorite iPhone Apps, or check with your geeky Android (Google) friend. Here are mine.CameraPlus
  8. For simple, effective, editing, I use “Camera +”. Its half dozen preset “scenes” usually have one I like.Cameras3
  9. For daily snapping, I use the built in iPhone Photo App. It has a terrific pano mode, and it has video. And Apple has a simple video editor that allows you to clip off what you do not want in your video.
  10. Even if you do not have a scanner like the ScanSnap described below, I have found a scanning app called “Photomyne”. It allows you to photograph a page from your photo album, autocrop, and save as individual photos. It requires some fine tuning, but you can still scan a whole album in ten minutes!
  11. Still, the scanner you cannot do without is a Fujitsu Scansnap 1500. There are many models, but, if only one, get the newest $400-$450 model. It will come with Adobe Acrobat, is bulletproof, scans 40 pages a minutes, is wireless, and can create searchable PDF’s or .jpeg photo images, and send them to the ScanSnap File Cabinet, Evernote, OneNote, a folder on your computer, DropBox, and many more. It is also an essential component to a “paperless office.
  12. My staff has been resistant to doing away with the classic copier, so I also have a high-nd Toshiba multifunction photo-copier, color copier, scanner, fax, printer. At $500/mo. it is a luxury we should give up, but each time we threaten to give it up, we get a new and better lease. But, remember, the ScanSnap is a sheet feed, while the Toshiba also does books and other objects not susceptible to sheet feeding. Do your homework here. Have a great time, and learn, learn, learn.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *