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Episode #127

What to Do If Your Photo Story Idea Has Been “Done” Already – 5 Ways to Find Fresh Angles


UPDATED: June 5, 2023
ORIGINALLY AIRED ON January 10, 2023


Finding out your photo story idea has been done can definitely be disheartening. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still do your story; it just means that you will need to find fresh angles with which to approach it. Here are 5 strategies that'll help you find a new approach, and a new excitement for your photo story idea!


Zero in on new, fun ways of photographing a story

If you're feeling frustrated and disappointed because the photo story idea that you had has been done by someone else, don't despair! It doesn't mean the end for your story.

In fact, as conservation photographers, we have a bigger purpose in life than just creating stories—we want our stories to make an impact and reach as broad an audience as possible. That means telling the same story many times (without repeating what has already been seen).

By taking a “quarter pivot” on the idea, focusing on the purpose behind our conservation photography, and using five strategies to rethink your story, you can keep moving forward confidently.

Just like a fingerprint is unique to each person, even if other people have similar stories, yours can be uniquely yours with a little creativity. You never know what incredibly insightful stories may come out of it.

You'll Learn:

  • What to do if the photo story you find has been “done” already
  • 5 ways to troubleshoot for fresh angles
  • Why you should think of an already-published story like a piñata
  • The importance of leaning into your YOU factor


Episode 127: What to Do If Your Photo Story Idea Has Been "Done" Already - 5 Ways to Find Fresh Angles

Shownotes: ConservationVisuals.com/127

(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)

Jaymi Heimbuch:
Welcome to this episode of Impact, the Conservation Photography podcast. And Joe, welcome back to the show.

[00:00:07] Jo: Oh, thank you. I'm glad to be here as always, and always and always. I love doing these with you. This is so much fun.

[00:00:15] Jaymi: Yeah. I love having you as a sidekick. This is fantastic. Well, especially today our topic. I'm really excited to have you as the sidekick because I think that you're gonna bring some, some different insights and opinions to this. Cuz our topic today is a question that I get fairly often with the students that I'm working with, and I hear it from them because we're working together.

[00:00:37] Jaymi: But I actually hear this all the time from photographers because it's so common what happens when you land on a photo story that you really wanna make, and as soon as you get all excited about, oh, this is a photo story, I'm gonna go make you find out it's already been done.

[00:00:50] Jo: Ooh.

[00:00:50] Jaymi: Boom, boom, boom.

[00:00:51] Jo: Shoe drop.

[00:00:52] Jaymi: Yeah.

[00:00:53] Jo: Boom, boom. Bum. I like that one. That's a good one. We gotta start lining up our side effects or sound effects. Side [00:01:00] effects, sound effects, you know? Boom. Boom.

[00:01:02] Jaymi: We end up being like a one of those car talk shows that you listen

[00:01:06] Jo: Yeah, you're

[00:01:07] Jaymi: hour.

[00:01:08] Jo: right. Yeah.

[00:01:10] Jaymi: There's like xylophone over here and a squeaker toy over

[00:01:14] Jo: yeah, yeah. But that's not why we're here.

[00:01:18] Jaymi: That is not though it is enter. . So I, yeah, I hear this a lot because it's ju it's just something that happens. A lot of times the topic or the idea that you land on, you find out, oh, other people are thinking about this too. So a publication has it rollout. So for instance, one of my conservation photography 1 0 1 students did research on a, this little.

[00:01:39] Jaymi: Island off the East coast on seabirds that are nasty in there. And so she thought, Hey, this is really great. I'm gonna put together a photo story about it. And then it turns out that a well-known publication, the one that she was actually gonna aim for, published a story about seabirds on islands off the East coast.

[00:01:57] Jaymi: So it's like, oh man, what a [00:02:00] bummer. So the first thing that happens is that feeling right. Ah, well, great. Now what? And so you're really disappointed. So what I wanna cover today is how you troubleshoot from there to be able to continue on with a story that's already been done

[00:02:17] Jo: especially, I guess if it's already been done, it shows that it's a good story in the sense that there is something there that people think that other people will be interested in.

[00:02:27] Jo: So now you gotta figure out how to shift somehow. Right.

[00:02:32] Jaymi: Yep. I mean, that is a most excellent point

[00:02:34] Jo: Most excellent. I feel like we should be Bill and Ted.

[00:02:39] Jaymi: I know I, yes, I say most excellent. I say

[00:02:42] Jaymi: rad, I say stoked. I was born on California coast. What can I do? But, but that is a, that is a most excellent point because it is validation that you're onto something and I think that that is the best place to start for. For first, pivoting your mindset [00:03:00] from that disappointment to thinking, okay, yes, I'm disappointed that the story's already been done.

[00:03:05] Jaymi: Yes, I'm worried like, do I still get to do my story? But hey, now it's already been proven that this story is of interest. So cool. Now where do I go from there? So that mindset, I think is the huge first step.

[00:03:18] Jo: and so reassuring yourself that you were on the right track. You just now gotta go figure out what you're gonna do about.

[00:03:27] Jaymi: Yeah, exactly. It means, it doesn't mean you can't do your story, it just means that you're gonna have to rethink how you approach it. And I have five strategies that you can use, or five. Entry points into rethinking your story so that you can keep moving forward with it. It's just a matter of like doing a little quarter pivot on your story.

[00:03:50] Jaymi: And so these five ways are, okay, this just happened. I'm really stuck. What do I do first?

[00:03:56] Jo: Okay, so, so you don't have to throw it out.

[00:03:59] Jaymi: You don't have to [00:04:00] throw it out. Nope. It's just a matter of like, grab . I don't.

[00:04:05] Jo: because I would be like, oh man, forget it. I'm gonna walk away

[00:04:09] Jaymi: I know. Well, and that's the thing that comes with it also not only comes with disappointment, but frustration and like kind of being a little bit POed cuz you know, you kind of wanna stomp your foot and just be like, well nevermind then I'm gonna go do something else. But, but if it is a story that you care about, we're in this as conservation photographers and so we have a bigger purpose in like, Having it be about us and our photography, it means that there's a story that has meaning to us.

[00:04:34] Jaymi: It means that there's a story that we feel is important and has to get out there. So you can't throw it out and give up on it. It just means like, okay, well how am I gonna look at this differently? What am I gonna do and what of these five strategies can I start with for figuring that out?

[00:04:48] Jo: Okay. I've put my big boy pants on. I'm ready to try again.

[00:04:52] Jaymi: Awesome. Well, so the first place to look is, is there anything new that's happened or is happening [00:05:00] since the story that just got published came out? So for instance, if it is a story that has some sort of science element, is there any new science that's happening? Are there any new findings? Is there. A new impact that that science is having now that it's out.

[00:05:17] Jaymi: So that's like if it's science oriented, it could also be, if there is, it's about an activity that's happening. Like maybe like, let's go big and say it's about some uh, Stretch of forest that's about to be logged. Some old growth forest that's gonna be logged. And so the story is about how logging is happening in this, well, is there anything new that's happening?

[00:05:38] Jaymi: Did a protest pop up? Did legislation happen that halted it? Did it get logged? And now we're looking at the next steps of, of recovery or, or helping to prevent, you know, that if the forest next door from like, there's all kinds of ways that you can look at. Okay, next phases.

[00:05:55] Jo: So also like community things going on in the community and reaction to things. [00:06:00] Maybe there was even a reaction to the thing that got published and now you can see how people feel about stuff around it. Okay.

[00:06:08] Jaymi: Yeah. Absolutely. So the first place to look is, is there anything new? So the story's out. is there evolution of the story that I could then make my story about and just pivot a little bit from there? So that's pretty straightforward. The second strategy is looking at, okay, is there a micro story inside of the story that's out where I could actually look?

[00:06:31] Jaymi: Maybe, maybe the story is kind of bigger picture. Is there a specific character? Is there a specific. activity. Is there something where I could take one element of the larger story and really drill down and make a story that's about that little specific element and almost make a story that is even more detailed or nuanced than the larger story because it's so specific.

[00:06:58] Jaymi: Does that

[00:06:58] Jo: So, yeah, so in a [00:07:00] sense, you could even take advantage of the story that's already been published as a launching pad to be able to refer people, to give them a sense of bigger perspective of the, of the more narrow scope that you. Are trying to tell.

[00:07:15] Jaymi: Yeah, we talked about this a little bit in our previous episode on how to turn one photo story into many. That was episode 1 23. So we talked about, okay, there's a way to take a single story that you're working on and. , turn it into many stories so you can get the same story out in front of different audiences.

[00:07:34] Jaymi: We kind of covered this idea where, hey, if it's about like, let's go back to the idea of, oh, it's about this scientific study that's happening. Well, if that already came out, what if you do a profile of the lead scientist and make the story about that specific scientist as a person and the impact that their work has on their life or on the community or something like, you could pivot that.

[00:07:59] Jo: [00:08:00] Mm-hmm. . Okay, I get that. All right. So, so wait, so the first one was, is anything new happened? And this one is, is there a more focus story

[00:08:09] Jaymi: Exactly. Yeah. So some of the ways that you could look at, when I, when I say, is there a micro story in there? I think it's important to think about this in a way that you can basically take a story that's already been done. Like you think your story's already been done.

[00:08:24] Jaymi: Think about that like pin. and once you break open the pinata, all this potential goodness falls out, right? And you can take every little individual piece of candy and turn that into a smaller story. And that is a really great way to look at it too, because it means that it's potentially a shorter story or a more specific story.

[00:08:46] Jaymi: That means you can get it into publications more easily. It doesn't have to be some feature length story or something big. It can be something small and easy and taxable. ultimately, potentially even easier on you as the photographer and gives you more [00:09:00] opportunity. So some of the ways that you can look at that is, okay, well I have this pinata of a story that I was gonna do when I break it open.

[00:09:07] Jaymi: And okay, I've got characters that fall out. I have locations or species that fall out. I have maybe stages of something happening that fall out. So Maybe it's a story that's looking at climate change that's happening right now. Well, could you do a story on the next phase of what that climate change could mean? So if it's about how climate change is affecting sea level right now in a town, cuz you do a story on what that would mean 10 years from now on that town.

[00:09:37] Jaymi: Is there a way that you could do a micro story kind of about just the future?

[00:09:41] Jo: time, not just stuff, things. Yeah.

[00:09:45] Jaymi: Yeah. So just getting really creative about the way that you're thinking about drilling down. There's so many different ways to like drill down into a story. So that's the second thing, is like, can you find a micro story, a story happening within the larger story that you can zero in [00:10:00] on? Cool. The third idea is, is there a different perspective that you could focus on?

[00:10:09] Jaymi: So you have this idea for a photo story that you wanna make, and it might have a specific focus that you wanna bring attention to. Like let's say it's that climate change, sea level rise idea that there's a focus. How dangerous sea level rise is for this specific town. And so maybe with that you're thinking, oh, well I was gonna look at the research that's happening and I was gonna look at how it affects these species.

[00:10:36] Jaymi: Well, what if you took a different perspective and you thought about what it means for building codes?

[00:10:41] Jo: Oh, okay.

[00:10:42] Jaymi: that might shift the way that urban planning has to, in that area, has to think about the future now that they're aware of climate change happening, or, let's do another example. I, I should have planned out some examples ahead of time.

[00:10:55] Jaymi: I'm kind of winging it on these, so apologies if they're super random, but let's [00:11:00] say it's about a story about urban coyo. Okay, well you've got this really cool urban predator in living in cities and so how do we coexist with them? And so a lot of times in in stories like that, we talk about like how coyotes are really adapting to cities and what's going on with that.

[00:11:16] Jaymi: What if you did a story that is completely about the perspective from professional dog walker?

[00:11:24] Jo: Oh.

[00:11:24] Jaymi: because they see coyotes all the time. Cuz that's, you know, they're out and about. Like I, when I was living in San Francisco, dog walkers would text me images of the coyotes that they were seeing while they were out walking dogs in these different locations.

[00:11:37] Jaymi: What if you change the perspective on that? Or another way to kind of get at perspectives is you can think about, okay, if I were sitting down to read a story about urban coyotes and I have certain opinions about them, what perspective would I wanna hear more about?

[00:11:50] Jaymi: And kind of maybe come at it from that way. So like, if you're doing that, Joe, what? What comes to mind for you?

[00:11:54] Jo: Well, like for instance, okay, if I've got coyotes running around my neighborhood [00:12:00] and I have to worry about them eating my cats, but maybe they're also eating the ground squirrels that are chewing up my yard, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. So maybe it, maybe it's a ProCon kind of story where it's, you know, in this way we have to think about how we coexist with this wildlife that's in our urban space, but this is how they've also adapted to our urban space that is actually kind of helping us.

[00:12:26] Jo: So there is a trade off there. If we get rid of one, then what are we gonna do about the other? So that would be, for instance, something I might think.

[00:12:35] Jaymi: Yeah. Perfect. And I think that it's really helpful in conservation photography as we're thinking about our photo stories. To, to think about the way that we might wanna pivot, to adjust to the way that maybe a different audience wants to see something or, or wants to kind of absorb that information.

[00:12:53] Jaymi: So that's gonna kind of come up in, in a, another suggestion that I have another, another

[00:12:58] Jo: So we're not, cuz I, [00:13:00] when you said that, the next thing I thought of was, oh. So from somebody who's maybe in charge of, you know, a city official as opposed to a resident,

[00:13:10] Jaymi: Oh no. That wasn't where I was going at all, so that's really interesting.

[00:13:14] Jo: You know, so somebody who has to, has to take the complaints,

[00:13:17] Jo: versus the person making the complaints or something, you know?

[00:13:20] Jo: So you're shifting the perspective of the people dealing with the issue

[00:13:23] Jaymi: Yeah. I think that that's a really great way to, because there's so much of in conservation photography, if you are really zeroing in on an issue, whether it's habitat shifts or species or science or behaviors of people that are impacting the health of community or water sources, whatever it is, there's always gonna be these different perspectives because we live in.

[00:13:45] Jaymi: Here in the US we live in a capitalist society. We live in a democratic society. We live in a society where there is a vast spectrum of opinions on the same exact topic. And so there's always ways that you could be like, oh, I might come [00:14:00] at it. From this whole other angle where yeah, a resident, like the overall story that was published might appeal to most residents cuz let's say it's like, you know, coyotes and how they've adapted to urban environments.

[00:14:11] Jaymi: But yeah, there's all of these other people out there that would be, and residents included that would be really interested in, okay, well what does it mean for. other wildlife in the city? Or what does it mean for urban planning? Or what does that mean for what we require of our cities to do in order to manage species that is more abundant?

[00:14:31] Jaymi: So we can always look at a story that's out there and just be like, okay, so what perspective is it not addressing? And can I do a story that addresses that perspective?

[00:14:40] Jo: yeah. Because think about all those people that live in places where there's bears and they have to now city people have to think about trash containers, and now you're talking about municipal code and. Then you're talking about business owners who have to worry about certain things, and then you're talking worried about the garbage company who has to worry about [00:15:00] picking up the special trash can that has a special lid that makes it a pain, that dump the trash that I I it could go on forever.

[00:15:07] Jo: Yeah. Okay. Now I'm all excited. I'm ready to shift my story.

[00:15:10] Jaymi: Right? Well, and that's what's fun too, is because effective conservation, visual storytelling, Reaches beyond the choir, reaches different audiences, brings attention and awareness to all these different people. It's really important to make sure that various audiences feel seen and heard and that their concerns are addressed

[00:15:33] Jaymi: there's all these things that you need to take into account in order to be effective, and so if you are actively thinking about. . Okay. The story's been done, but can I come at it from a different perspective? You're being a really effective conservationist inside your visual storytelling

[00:15:47] Jo: Well, especially when you think of that, the core of conservation is doing something about an a problem or an issue that humans are affecting [00:16:00] in one way or another. And so now, We have to think about it from the fact that no matter what we do, it's gonna affect somebody else. So there is no right answer cuz if there was a right answer, we'd take care of it.

[00:16:15] Jo: Um, so it's, it's, there isn't just one solution to a specific problem, so now you're just trying to figure out different ways of looking at different options. Okay. All right.

[00:16:27] Jaymi: It's sort of like finding answers

[00:16:29] Jaymi: that balance to the best of our ability, the needs of the planet with the needs of as many people as possible, so,

[00:16:37] Jo: Sure. Yeah. Because there's no, like I said, there was, there's no right answer from a standpoint of it not having any impact on

[00:16:45] Jo: anything. So

[00:16:47] Jaymi: Yeah,

[00:16:48] Jo: there is gonna be an impact somewhere, but the question is what is the, what is the impact and where do you wanna balance that?

[00:16:55] Jo: Okay.

[00:16:55] Jaymi: Yeah. Cool. And I mean, honestly, this is the perfect thing to do. We kind of [00:17:00] cover this in the previous episode because once your own story is out, can you do another version of your story that might approach it from a different perspective? So this strategy works for if you discover like, oh man, the story you wanted to do is already done.

[00:17:13] Jaymi: And it also works like, Hey, my story's out in the world. What's next? So you can dig into it.

[00:17:19] Jo: And you become the person that's getting texted about something instead of just dog walkers,

[00:17:24] Jaymi: Yes,

[00:17:26] Jo: pictures of coyotes. Okay.

[00:17:29] Jaymi: All right, so we have first, is there anything new? Second, is there a micro story that you can look at? Third, is there a perspective that you can focus on that's different from the story that's out and fourth, where was the story published?

[00:17:46] Jaymi: What platform is it on? Like how, when you say, oh, the story's been done, what does that mean? Where did it come out? And so therefore, is there a different audience that you can focus on reaching? And so we touched on this a bit already and [00:18:00] we definitely touched on it in episode 1 23, but it's really worth diving into again because if you're not used to it. It can be difficult to wrap your head around the idea that you might wanna reshape a story based on audience and figure out, okay, well who else can I get this in front of? And how do I need to shape a story to get it into a publication that has a audience? So,

[00:18:23] Jo: That's gotta be one of the hardest things to do, I would think. Because whenever you're, go, again, going back to just my professional life, I always had to think about who my audience was when I was trying to get them to spend 2.4 million on something that nobody understands. Right? I mean, you know, it's like I was in charge of it.

[00:18:44] Jo: Infrastructure. So what you know, why do you need more fiber in the ground from here to there? Nobody really cares. They just want magic to happen and they can talk to each other.

[00:18:53] Jaymi: Yeah, I don't want you to spend 2.4 million on cable, but I do want my internet to be faster. Go make my internet faster.

[00:18:59] Jo: [00:19:00] Exactly. Exactly. So it, it, it always mattered. It's like, well, it's one story to tell it to the residents that lived on campus. It's another story to tell it to the executives of the university. It's another story to tell it to the faculty was another story. To tell it to the local community and what kinds of advantages they might get out of it.

[00:19:21] Jo: So, and getting into somebody else's. That way is the hardest thing for me to do because especially as a IT nerd, you know, we don't get out of our own heads very well. So I could see that could be something that could be really challenging. And so you're thinking about, okay, well here's the story I need to tell to that audience, but also think about, okay, what is that audience reading? So maybe the student body is reading, you know, the, the campus newspaper. So the way that you actually shape a story might look different for the campus newspaper versus the city n.

[00:19:59] Jo: right,

[00:19:59] Jaymi: [00:20:00] so you can think about, okay, well yeah, the story was already done in the campus newspaper, but the city residents don't know about it yet. So is there a way that I can shape the story and then pitch it to the city newspaper and then it comes out there. And that's sort of like a mini version of like , you know, taking the IT director's headache on a university campus.

[00:20:19] Jaymi: To like a, a larger perspective. It's, it's like, okay, you saw the story done, but let's say it was done in a large regional publication that mainly focuses on the Southeast. Okay. So that's in front of, you know, one audience or one segment of the population.

[00:20:34] Jaymi: Does it matter to people on the East Coast? Could you develop a way of looking at the story that matters to people on the East Coast and then pitch a story to a publication that is over there? It was done in a conservation magazine. Okay. Could it be done in a magazine that doesn't have anything to do with conservation, but reaches an audience that cares about the issue?

[00:20:56] Jaymi: So really thinking about, okay, I wanna get this story [00:21:00] in front of a different audience. What are they reading and where might I put this story then that doesn't compete with where it's already been covered but actually adds to the conversation or, or gets in front of more people.

[00:21:14] Jo: Yeah. Okay. that's a challenge, but

[00:21:16] Jo: I.

[00:21:17] Jaymi: a challenge, but

[00:21:17] Jo: I, I understand the point you're getting at. I just think that would be something that, at least for me is more out of the box thinking than some of the other concepts we came up with that you, that you were telling us about. So,

[00:21:30] Jaymi: It is out of the box thinking, but I actually find it the most fun to think about because everybody loves photography, right? Everybody loves looking at beautiful or interesting images, but different people are drawn to different kinds of images. There's gonna be some people who only ever wanna see cute and fuzzy and enlightening and joyful, and there's gonna be other people who are okay with seeing.

[00:21:56] Jaymi: The . Difficult side of a conservation issue or the science [00:22:00] driven side, or the traumatic side of an issue, they're gonna be more ready to look at actual images of poaching your wildlife trafficking, whereas other people might be only willing to look at images of the species that you're talking about.

[00:22:14] Jaymi: Wild and free out somewhere so you can be thinking about, okay, well my, these two different audiences are willing to look at something in two very different ways, which means that there's two stories here. Two ways to even visually show a story as well. And so I can take a story that's been done about wildlife trafficking and think about, okay, but there's a different audience that it might need to get in front of.

[00:22:38] Jaymi: How do they wanna see it? And can I shape a story?

[00:22:41] Jaymi: Does that help

[00:22:42] Jo: Yeah. Oh yeah. totally. Now I'm all like, oh yeah, cuz then. , you could put in an it sort of space, the tech that gets used to track the wild animals or to keep the poachers out or to, you know, do something like that. And it's still about wild [00:23:00] animal trafficking, but

[00:23:00] Jo: it's now you put a little bit of angle that makes the nerdy people go, oh, I wonder how they did that.

[00:23:06] Jo: And the next thing you know, you're in a telecom space because it's about how they transmit the information from one place to another in a

[00:23:12] Jaymi: a million percent. Yeah. Yeah. And then you get in front of pet owners because you talk about the conservation dogs that are used on anti-poaching teams and how they train them and what that whole proc training process is

[00:23:27] Jaymi: like. So now all of a sudden they care about the dogs. So they're more interested and engaged in the wildlife trafficking.

[00:23:33] Jaymi: So, yeah, audiences, man. That's why I love this stuff

[00:23:36] Jo: Okay. I'm ready to go brainstorm with you. Let's go.

[00:23:39] Jaymi: well, before we do that, there's one more strategy

[00:23:43] Jaymi: and there's five. So that was four. So the fifth one, and we, we kind of touched on this a little bit, but it is okay. Your, your photo story was done, but how was it photographed and is your visual style.

[00:23:58] Jaymi: Really different from how it was [00:24:00] photographed. It's different in such a way. Or could you shoot the story in such a way that it's so visually different that it doesn't matter that it's the same story because it looks completely different and appeals to different publications. So this is sort of like what I mentioned a little bit, eh, kind of getting at it, but not really the idea of, okay, well one audience might be willing to see these types of images, but another audience won't really wanna see those, but they'll look at these other types of images.

[00:24:24] Jaymi: There's kind of that, but there's also, I'm also thinking more about like, okay, well what if the story was done in a way that, let's, let's use the wildlife trafficking. Idea. What if that was photographed in a way that was very photojournalistic? So it's a story about the latest raid finding, I'm totally making this up, but finding out that there was a huge number of pangolins trafficked.

[00:24:50] Jaymi: And so they discovered this new cash of, of penguins and arrested a whole bunch of people. Like let's just say that's what the story. , well that was photographed in this really [00:25:00] photojournalistic way. Someone was there as the assignment photographer documenting the story. Okay. Could you do a story that's about the same?

[00:25:08] Jaymi: Raid or the same issue, penguin trafficking, but you photograph it in maybe a more visual arts style way, or something that like uses completely different techniques or takes a completely different visual approach. A lot of times we get wrapped up in this idea that, oh, conservation photo.

[00:25:28] Jaymi: Means you photograph the way that stuff looks in National Geographic, or it's, it's photojournalistic or it's, you know, it looks a certain way, but really you can be very effective at visually telling a story in any version, like any form of photography, any. Style of photography.

[00:25:46] Jo: Yeah. And I, I wonder if the, there's even this, the kind of. Of this is kind of going out there, so you may not,

[00:25:56] Jaymi: I like out there, bring

[00:25:57] Jo: about this, but you know, [00:26:00] this sort of like iPhone. Version of it, you know, it's like, okay, I don't have fancy equipment, I can't get this super wide angle shot. I'm not gonna be able to you know, zoom way in or something like that.

[00:26:13] Jo: So what could I do if I only am, you know, taking something from a certain sort of format standpoint and, and then saying, okay, so now it's more like Citizen scientist I don't know. I'm just

[00:26:28] Jo: throwing stuff out there.

[00:26:29] Jaymi: what, what you were talking about actually made me think about okay, let's go back to the whole like penguin wildlife trafficking idea. Yeah. So you're thinking, oh, well what if I don't have fancy equipment, so I can't do this, you know, style of photography, but I have the equipment I have, and so what if I brought a perspective to the images that I'm creating that would relate to other people?

[00:26:51] Jaymi: And so what if you also have a certain skillset, so like with the Penguin wildlife trafficking thing, what if you're like, yeah, I, they photographed that in [00:27:00] this Photojournalistic style and it's amazing, but this story is really important and I wanna cover it again, but with a different visual angle, and I'm a macro photographer.

[00:27:09] Jaymi: Could you then get access to be able to do the story where everything's in macro? Macro of scales, macro of locations, macro of habitat, macro of all of us, and it's like, wow, I'm seeing the whole story from this very different close up, intimate perspective. Can you get storytelling images that come at it from that point of view?

[00:27:32] Jaymi: Like it's so important when your story's been quote unquote done. It's so important as a conservation photographer to think. Like in improv comedy, yes and yes, that was published and we need to keep the story going. What else can I do with this? Who else can I get it in front of? How else might I change the perspective?

[00:27:54] Jaymi: How might I approach it in a way that gets people with other perspectives interested? How might [00:28:00] I photograph it in a way that is totally fresh, that is visually engaging or interesting that nobody else has thought to photograph it in that way? and, and what skills might I bring into that? I think that there's always a way to take a story that's quote unquote done or a topic that's been covered up one way and down the other.

[00:28:19] Jaymi: And you think there's no way there's a fresh story inside this topic. Yeah, there is. There absolutely is. We just gotta dig for it a little bit.

[00:28:27] Jo: Yeah, and I, I like the idea that you talk about this. And because when, especially when it comes to conservation, you can't really ever hear enough. You know, it takes a long time for the impacts of these kinds of things to sink into everyday people, because we all have such different lives and we all see the world through such different lenses.

[00:28:52] Jo: So when you are thinking that the story is already done , it's barely scratched the surface because [00:29:00] the world is a big place and. Most, what did they say? 8 billion people now. So there's gonna be people out there who have never seen or heard or thought about it from the way that you can tell it.

[00:29:12] Jaymi: Yeah. And you as the photographer can always bring something unique to the table because nobody thinks like you. Nobody shoots like you. Nobody edits down images like you or like you will always bring a unique perspective to what it is that you're photographing or what it is that you see, so it's worth figuring out.

[00:29:31] Jaymi: Okay. Yes, this seems a little bit redundant, but I'm gonna bring something brand new to it that isn't redundant.

[00:29:37] Jo: No, exactly. Okay. So say the five things again.

[00:29:41] Jaymi: Okay, I'm gonna say the five things, and I think I'm gonna use another example. So, and we're gonna say 'em through the five things. So let's say that it's a story about palm oil, because you just mentioned, you know, it takes a lot of impressions or a lot of ways of hearing information before it finally gets [00:30:00] into the everyday person's life.

[00:30:01] Jaymi: Palm oil is something that's in practically everything. , it's sort of like corn. It's just like everywhere in everything. But palm oil has this massive impact on orangutans as a species. Okay, so let's say the, a story about palm oil has already been done. . Okay. First, is there anything new about this?

[00:30:24] Jaymi: Is there a new conservation organization that's arrived on the scene? Is there a new method of tracking orangutans? Are there new orangutans that have been brought into a rescue center? Are there new people who are involved in this story? Are there new? products that remove palm oil from their processing.

[00:30:46] Jaymi: And so it's an alternate product that you can actually purchase. So what's new that's going on inside of the story about palm oil?

[00:30:53] Jo: Can I have Nutella now?

[00:30:56] Jaymi: well,

[00:30:57] Jo: No.

[00:30:58] Jaymi: sorry, [00:31:00] but you could have a nettella alternative That is delicious. We'll, we'll go find out what that is. I have not

[00:31:06] Jo: could be another one

[00:31:07] Jaymi: but that could be another one.

[00:31:08] Jaymi: So, so then is there a micro story? So, what's in Nettella? Oh, palm oil's in Nettella. Here's what's going on with that. Let's talk about, like, let's go visit a Nettella factory. I don't know. I'm totally like, let's go visit a store that's removed Nettella, but focuses on palm oil, like we're looking at, at a store itself.

[00:31:30] Jaymi: That is so palm oil conscious that it's removed every product from its shelves. I don't know, but there's a micro story inside that palm oil story about a store or. A product or about an orangutan or about a person who's involved in this, like and then I've got another example, but I gotta get to the next one.

[00:31:51] Jaymi: Because the next one is, is there a different perspective you can focus on? So, So many palm oil stories focus on [00:32:00] orangutans and deforestation and the havoc that causes. Can we do a story that if that's already been done, the story that you thought of, could you come at it from the perspective of the people who are actually working for palm oil companies?

[00:32:13] Jaymi: What does it mean to need to work for this company? What is life like in their community? Is this something that they wanna do? It kind of reminds me of poaching. A lot of poachers don't wanna be poachers. It's the only way that they can feed their family. So can we come at it from a different perspective that makes it a more human focused perspective?

[00:32:31] Jaymi: Because some people might be interested in hearing about the impact that it has on orangutans, and that's enough to create behavior change. Other people might be like, I don't care about them, but ooh, look at the impact it's having on this community. Is there a way that we could change that? Like I care about the humanitarian side of this, so different perspective.

[00:32:49] Jo: Love that. Yeah. That's like the group that when we were in Kenya, how they there was overfishing in the, in the mangrove area, and so [00:33:00] they helped them establish the ecotourism. As a replacement for the, the fishing, for

[00:33:07] Jaymi: Yeah. So it could be a different perspective. So instead of focusing on the overfishing and the devastation that's having, you could focus on, you know, oh, well, let's bring it into like how fishermen can be brought into an ecotourism and, and re replace or exchange income source.

[00:33:22] Jo: right.

[00:33:23] Jaymi: that way. Yeah. So then that brings us to, so that's just to recap.

[00:33:27] Jaymi: So is there anything new? Is there a micro story? Is there a different perspective you can focus on for where was the story already done and is there a different audience you can focus on reaching? So kind of already covered that with our palm oil example. There might be the animal lover audience. There might be a more humanitarian focused audience.

[00:33:46] Jaymi: There might be people who. I don't know, are completely into makeup, makeup artists

[00:33:53] Jaymi: So like, okay, let's talk about palm oil inside cosmetics and reach that whole perspective as well. [00:34:00] And then the fifth one is, are your images a different style?

[00:34:03] Jaymi: So palm oil, that story about palm oil might be something that has been done in a certain way. Let's say it's photojournalistic. I know I've said that too many times, but let's just say that that's what it is. Can you photograph it? In a way that is so visually different. Like what if you do a photo story that primarily focuses on environmental portraits of the characters who play roles in this story, or what if you photographed it with primarily aerial photographs.

[00:34:31] Jaymi: and tried to do everything from a perspective of, from above. I don't know. But you could come at it from a way that is your unique style, your unique photographic approach, that the way you photograph the story makes it feel like it's a different story, even though ultimately it's covering the same.

[00:34:51] Jo: Yeah, so one of them might be focused a lot on the industry. of palm oil, and so there's a lot of. [00:35:00] Photojournalistic or, or things that are all about, I think of it as hard photos, you know, like manufacturing plants and shipping containers and, you know, the end product looking thing. And you're gonna focus on it more as a, this is a view from the tree that the orangutan sits in our, this is, this is the community that people that work at the plant live in.

[00:35:26] Jaymi: Mm-hmm.

[00:35:27] Jo: Or something like that. And so I think of it as softer photos as something that's more, something that has a more emotional feel to it than say more a factual feel to it or something.

[00:35:39] Jaymi: absolutely. It kind of makes me think about like the, if the photo story that's already been out was done in the whole f A and B there, you know, mindset, then, okay, what if it's F two and B there? , you know what, if everything comes out a little bit more intimate, a little bit more emotive and you don't have to force a style in order to [00:36:00] be like, darn it, I'm photographing this story, come hell or high water. And so that means that I have to come up with some other style. No, no, we're not talking about that. We're really talking about like, do you have a perspective that you can lean into?

[00:36:12] Jaymi: A style you can lean into and the way that you shoot as a photographer. Brings a completely different visual flare to the story. And I think that that can be a way to absolutely basically tell the story afresh, visually, even if it's the same information.

[00:36:29] Jo: Right. Cool. Okay.

[00:36:31] Jaymi: So those are the, the five strategies.

[00:36:34] Jaymi: I'm sure that there are plenty more strategies that we could come up with for saying, okay, that photo story was technically done, but it doesn't mean it's done, done. We gotta dive in a little deeper and come up with different ways to, to tell it. But those five are pretty great. Go-to strategies

[00:36:50] Jaymi: so if you try one or two or all five of them, you're gonna find a way to tell this story afresh, and you're gonna find your next photo story or your next five photo [00:37:00] stories by digging into this practice.

[00:37:03] Jo: Yeah. If anything, it seems like it would be hard to shift gears and go think about a different subject

[00:37:08] Jaymi: Right,

[00:37:09] Jo: you can't come up with so many different angles, so good advice.

[00:37:13] Jaymi: Well, and this is a strategy that I think. Is at the heart of photographers who focus specifically on a single conservation issue for their whole career, where they're only focused on tiger conservation, or they're only focused on big cats, or they're only focused on wildlife traffic like they have.

[00:37:31] Jaymi: A topic or a location, a habitat, and their whole career is based on this. So you gotta think about all of these different ways of telling the same story over and over and over, because it has to keep getting out there and out there and out there to have the conservation impact. So the more you practice these and get really good at finding different ways to tell the stories, the more like longevity you have in the topics that you care about the most.

[00:37:57] Jo: Yeah. And you become the go-to person when somebody wants [00:38:00] to tell a story like that, that they're gonna pick up and say, Hey, are you interested in this?

[00:38:06] Jaymi: Yes, a hundred percent. And isn't it nice to know that you could be the go-to person for something?

[00:38:11] Jo: Yeah. Yeah. Cool.

[00:38:13] Jaymi: Well, thank you Joe for talking this out with me. As always, I appreciate it and love hearing your perspectives and your ideas as they pop up. And love hearing how this can relate even to like the IT world or examples from the IT world can come

[00:38:27] Jo: Well, yeah, I can't help myself, you know, it's just too much in my dna, but I, I love the fact that I get to do this with you because it helps me think about the world in a whole nother way. So thank you.

[00:38:38] Jaymi: Excellent. All right, well everyone, I hope that you found this episode helpful and inspiring, and we will talk to you again next week.


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