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Your Photojournalism Survival Kit

Lesson 3 of 12

Diversity of Multi-Platform Presentations

Ron Haviv

Your Photojournalism Survival Kit

Ron Haviv

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Lesson Info

3. Diversity of Multi-Platform Presentations

Lesson Info

Diversity of Multi-Platform Presentations

This idea multi platform presentation has existed for a long time, but it's always really existed through the idea of going photographing for a magazine. Maybe we'll have a book, maybe we'll have an exhibition, but now, because of technology, because of the ease of being able to motion audio and different types of installations, all sorts of things, there are so many different ways that we have to be able to have our work interact with the audience, and this is probably, I think, one of the most important lessons from today because it really affects the whole way that you go on address. The story is that when you come up with your idea, you have to start thinking about how is that going to interact with the owners? How do you want to present it? And one of the key reasons to do that is because is going to affect the way that you photograph or film or do interviews and so on during this story. So when you have an idea of how that piece is going to come out, it's going to affect your sho...

t let's go in effect, all sorts of different ways. So I give you an example where I was covering you saw some of the work earlier, covering all the different wars in yugoslavia, and that lasted for, like, ten years. And for the first seven years of that I was going off on assignment for time magazine for newsweek and my goal was double page cover illustrate a story that was it and it's fine I was very happy with that and it was very worthwhile but I was photographing very specifically for these kind of bigger bigger photographs and that was really all that I was paying attention to and so time went on I was giving double pages and so on but probably by about year seven or so of the war I was like, well this is really going on there's a lot that has to be said about this conflict I should do a book I really want to do a book and so I started as the war was going on kind of what wound up being the last couple years of the war or the different wars I started to edit and I start to realize that I was editing for this book that while I had like the big news events the big pictures like lots of things happening things that were important and so on I didn't have the quiet pictures I didn't have the landscape I didn't have the still life of the tree like all these pictures that would have been really very helpful for a book to transition from page to page and then of course in terms of like if I didn't exhibition would be necessary for beyond the wall all of these different things? I didn't have those photographs because I wasn't thinking multi platform from the beginning, I was just thinking like, I'm working for a magazine, I'm very specifically doing that had I've been thinking about it in terms of all of these different ways that I wanted to interact with the audience, it would have changed the way that I was photographing, it would have been incredibly, incredibly helpful now I like the book, I think it's a very good book, but I think that it could have been a lot better had I kind of really kind of paid attention all of the different things, so by the time I'm bringing it to galleries and museums and exhibitions, I'm really seeing like there are gaps, there are gaps in the work that really could have unfilled had I really thought about it, you know, in in a different way and we'll show you brief us, so I also did a short like multimedia film I'll show you brief at it from that ah, but they're not talking wait stable but I am able see the sunshine here, wait behind your frail I on the way on able see hello wait teo, sweetie, some china be behind a finger show you so again kind of going back to this idea of the multi platforms so there times when you don't want to do things on your own there other times when maybe it makes sense to gather with other photographers or with an ngo so a few years ago an ngo called artworks out of chicago I wanted to do a project about dar for so they asked myself luzia dario and a few other photographers to contribute work they created a book which is based a group book but then they kind of took it to another place where instead of having traditional exhibitions they decided to have projection it's and what they did was that they took created a slide show and they went around the world and projected the work from dar for on the fronts and sides of museums and government buildings in berlin in new york and d c philadelphia in south africa all different places to kind of one create a buzz do something differently involve the public in a very different way build up some marketing and publicity around around the event and really basically to try to do to try to do something to try to do something different. So this is like thinking outside the box multi platforming having both like a physical thing projection obviously there's something on a web site these are all now becoming tools that are open to all of us it's not before where you need to have all this money to do all these different things, some of the things definitely cost money and other things, you know, it can be done for free or relatively inexpensively, and allowing you to be able to reach audiences. And again, it's, like kind of, like multi platforming, thinking about all the different opportunities, all the different things that we can do with our work. So another great examples at cach e, another seven photographer who will be doing a creative life peace in a month or so. So ed did this amazing project called aging in america. Um, and it was a book is an exhibition and was talking about kind of like, you know, baby boomers are getting older, how that's affecting affecting this country, affecting the rest of the world and so on. So starting out is an editorial assignment moving into a book and then moving into also moving into a film. And so he took it to a whole other level, which is really again kind of thinking outside the box and multi platforming. So he and his wife, julie whitaker, who runs a production company, called talking eyes media. I did a film called the sandwich generation, and this is something that's really incredible in that to talk about this idea of e j in america, ed and julie actually turned the cameras on themselves. And they photographed their life as they brought in julie's father who was getting older and becoming more frail, and they photographed his remaining years with their family and created this great film called the sandwich generation, which is absolutely worthwhile toe watch it's one of the most powerful and personal forms of journalism and so the same kind of thing like so you know they're shooting it starts shooting for editorial than he realizes it wants to be a bigger project, so he starts to think about it in terms of a book that he starts to think about it in terms of an exhibition that it's like wait a minute there's a film here so they start to add things these air all these amazing tools that we have at our disposal and allow us to reach a bigger audience. One of most important things to realize today is in terms of reaching our audience is we know everything is fragmented it's not like oh let's just get your get the work in the new york times you get time magazine or get it on nbc news and you reach the majority of the world or the bbc or or the guardian or something like that it doesn't work like that anymore now we have photographers to get your story out there to really try to have impact you have to kind of be hitting all these different things and hitting maybe a popular blogger maybe than hitting a major news organization and hitting some group that specializes in talking about aging something like that so everything is so fragmented so while you're you're just the which everything is fragmented which means that the audience you have five percent going here twenty percent going there thirty percent going there so you as a photographer have to understand that and understand how to access the different places and they're going to be places that would be like yeah, we just want we want still that's only one stills in captain other people like well we'd really like to have some audio other people like our audience doesn't look it stills at all we need motion and then if you want to reset audience and you have to create emotion piece then there are people who are like they want to just look at things on the wall and you have that whole experience in gallery or museum which is very different than looking at it on your phone or looking at on a laptop we're looking at it as a book and so these air I'm not saying at all that you need to kind of do all these different things but what I am saying is that you need to understand all the different things that are out there and then start to make those decisions for yourself on how you want to present the work and so kind of again going to kind of multi platform idea so the haiti earthquake happened I was there one of the first photographers on the ground there I was working for people magazine and it was incredibly important that photographers were going there to tell this story to help for fundraising to help for political pressure on so on and so on I decided like super quickly to go from the magazine to to ah to an exhibition to a book. So within three months of the actual crisis I had an exhibition started to travel around america and I had a book and I decided that for the book I wanted to do something different because it was so timely and I thought that it was really important to kind of keep the pressure going both for fundraising and for political understanding that these people need so much help that I got funding from the university from tufts university to do the book. But instead of doing sort of a traditional book, I did a poster book. And so basically the book was actually not really a book, but basically it was an exhibition in a box and so we really tried to push the book to schools and so teachers would get the book. They would hang up the meeting to be ableto hang up an exhibition in the hallways or classrooms and then they could teach their students about what had happened in haiti, what they needed to do and then also you had all these kids they were raising money and all the proceeds for the book went teo partners in health who's a huge ngo working in hospitals in haiti before the earthquake and after the earthquake. So these kind of things start to really enable you to kind of really be able to you know, to do things in a different way but still have the impact which is I assume what we all want is they want people t learn the stories about the people that you're photographing this and the idea is that you're trying to convey and so this is can be daunting when you kind of look at it all together but is really I think just incredibly exciting because we have all these great tools now to bring our work to the public way of a great question this's from I am li photography and has a number of votes. You can also vote on the questions by clicking the blue arrow on those questions that are below your screen and she says I just read an article on how photographers are ditching their dslr tze and turning to social media like instagram with cell phones I would like to know your thoughts on this so in terms of multi platform presentation, how do you see the ability to just do things like instagram I think that's a great question it was on the major chart, but I didn't reference it directly. Social media, of course, is incredibly powerful powerful distribution tool, and we now have the ability as photographers to create and build an audience and their photographers that have audiences that equal some publications, especially with with instagram and so this is not and I think we've all realizes for quite a while this is not just sort of like, oh, let me just put some happy pictures of my cat, my food up but like, you know, actually really use instagram and twitter and facebook as distribution networks to actually tell these stories and now all those happening a little bit more slowly in terms of documentary in photojournalism as opposed to fashion other types of photography. But there are becoming ways to monetize using these different systems, and so I think that the sooner you start to build up your social media audience and start to really pay attention to that and really curate your feed for that you're going to be much more successful now. Another thing is also happening with social media is that publications and ngos and even grants are starting to say what's your social media outreach, how many people do you reach and that's starting slowly but is starting to become an actual determinant about whether people want to work with you because they want to take advantage not only of your photographic skills and your ideas but also your audience and so this is kind of quite quite remarkable. So john stan meyer for example, another seven photographer a couple of years ago john has a very good social media of following and doctors without borders came to john on this you know, we want to work with you not only because you're a great photographer but because you have great social outreach want to send you to sudan to do a story. So john went off to sudan and was posting photographs from from the story and an asaf was seeing literally in real time when he would post they would see donations coming in so no easy getting this story out but he was actually physically affecting the situation on the ground because money was going to emma's stuff which is immediately bring it back to the place that he was to help the people so this like perfect perfect circle so but he was given that that work because like you have a strong social media following so it's something to be very, very conscious of without question another good question and let me know if you will have a question about this particular these particular topics as well in the studio so when you were talking about the books and articles and all of that photo maker asked do you write as well as shoot, or do you work with a writer to create these visual stories? I think for first I studied to be a writer, but I've only I haven't written that much in terms of actual work. I've written some op ed pieces, and of course, captions are incredibly important, but one of the things I think that a lot of people are are neglecting because primarily because of budgets, this idea of collaboration, like, especially when you're doing motion, like photographers, were trying to everything on their own, but not only for emotion but also for writing and other things, like finding other people that you have the same desire in the same idea, especially working with a writer can be incredibly important, and especially especially in the editorial world, because of the reality in the editorial world, is that in terms of ideas being accepted by a publication, it's usually not the director of photography that's accepting the idea, they're going to their boss, who's, the text editor. So when you come with great pitch, which we'll talk about in a bit, that you're partnering with the writer and the pitch is well written and they know like they're gonna get a good writer along with great photography, that gives your chance off that project to be supported much better. Also in terms of sort of selling your story in different places like if you have good text along good photography also same same sort of thing then saying with like working as you're doing motion working with a great editor can be incredibly helpful rather than trying to do everything for yourself I know that we're because there's so little money we're kind of being pushed into being these ultimate one man bands where you're writing you're shooting your doing video you're doing audio you're editing you're doing music you're doing posters just like it's like ridiculous there's like nobody can do all those things great people some people could do some of them really great and sometimes you know the other things start to fall apart so if you have the ability to kind of find a collaboration with a least one other person on some the project's not all of them it can really kind of take things to a whole other level yeah you keep mentioned ngos nongovernment mental organizations could you explain a bit to the audience what they are but there's a lot of people out there that not quite sure what an ngo is sure that's a great question so ngos non governmental organizations are things like the united nations unicef, unhcr the refugee agency msf doctors without borders thie international committee for the red cross and there are lots of smaller ones as well and a lot of them are using visuals to to raise awareness primarily about issues that are important to them which are often dovetailing exactly which with what many photojournalists think are important could say refugee crisis or even take what's going on the same flint michigan now aboutthe water crisis they're they're ngos working there that air using visuals to kind of really want to raise raise the pressure on things to be done so one of the old one of the ways of funding we will talk about that also a little bit more detail in a bit but photographers are going to ngos for funding support where like I wanted to do a project like the door for project I was able to create that work initially because I went to unicef and said that I wanted to do a story about children and are for and what was happening but I don't want to do a story about what unicef was doing I wanted to just do it like a normal a normal story to raise awareness about life of children in a war zone and yourselves like that's great we want people to know about that so they funded they funded the story so it's like one of the ways that a lot of photographers are starting toe work with ngos primarily because editorial plants no longer have the budget to send somebody like my assignment are for was for a month incredibly expensive no magazine or very few magazines will be able to afford to do that, but the u n agency was able to do that because they had the funding the funding there so it's an alternative way or becoming actually for some people a main way of being able to do this kind of work and be able to distribute it through the different platforms we talked about great question, john as a lot of people were asking that online as well. So thank you for that we have some great questions more questions coming in on the multi platform presentation iran so one question is, do you present the same photos in these different presentation or different venues? If you will on dh, then from my amg galliard kind of picks how do the photos differ when shooting for a book or an exhibition? So I guess, like in this body of work, how do you decide where to put what I think? That's a great question and that's why I like when you start to think about it from the beginning before you start shooting, you start to understand the way that things are going to visually layout and so he really kind of depends on what your end gold so I use an example of this amazing photographer jill perez, a magnum photographer, and in nineteen ninety three he did a book called farewell to bosnia is very beautiful book, and we work together a little bit there while he was working on the book, and so I was talking to him and he said, I like about the whole process about the book and what he was doing musical why came he came there with visual layout of the book already kind of done in his mind, he knew how he really wanted to look, and he was kind of then photographing to fill in fill in the book, so we had lots of grids and photographs interacting with each other in a very specific way that really made sense when you looked at it as as a book, but might not make sense if you look at it in a magazine or in a multimedia thing, but for that particular thing he had he had that layout, they knew what he wanted to do, so began kind of like, how do you determine what's what its like again, understanding how you're going to use it or how you hope to use it and then going and photographing it in that way? So once you understand how to how you want your book toe look, or how you're going to do an exhibition museum or you're going to do projections or an installation or something that we haven't even seen before. Or something that's just going to appear on your phone like editing, even for your phone is a very different experience because you're looking at a photograph, you know, much smaller. So having unbelievably complicated, a complicated visual image on your phone and you're only out there to kind of get a reaction from instagram, well, studies show that those photographs are not going to do as well as something that's like has like bright colors and very graphic elements. So and so, if you wanted something specifically to make impact on social media, then you might be shooting in a very different way than you would if you were going to have it even on ipad or website or or on a gallery wall s so it's, a kind of understanding these different things again, while not saying you need to specifically change your style of photography or only worked for one medium, but these air elements that we all have to understand, you have all these amazing things that are that are available to us, but not every photographer is utilizing the, you know, the ability to to work with them as well as well as they could.

Class Description

Capturing a story on film is a complex process. It demands an understanding of the issue at hand as well as the ability to condense, package, and pitch the story to a distributor. Successful photojournalists make a job of nailing down the details before a shoot and being prepared for anything.

In Your Photojournalism Survival Kit, Ron Haviv brings two decades of experience in building a photojournalism career on carefully laid groundwork. 

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to identify a captivating story and organize a plan for shooting it 
  • How to create a budget and a pitch letter
  • How to plan for any eventuality during the shoot, and cope with setbacks when they strike
Ron Haviv draws on his long career for anecdotes and suggestions for aspiring photographers. He’ll teach you that your assignment starts before you leave your house; planning, packing and preparing for even the best-laid plans to go awry is essential. You’ll learn tricks for assessing your preparedness, safety, and support while on assignment in the field.

Your Photojournalism Survival Kit is crucial for beginners, and for current photojournalists who may need to brush up on their checklists. Learn from Ron Haviv’s early-career mistakes, and lay the foundations of your own successful, impactful enterprise in visual storytelling.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Budget and Invoice Template

Medical Kit Supplies

Resource Guide

Resources Mentioned In Class

Workshop Print Sale

Pitch Letter Template

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


KAren OLlis

Thank you Ron and Creative Live for the thoughtful and expansive course. Even for a pro, the information was often enlightening and definitely inspirational. The best way to learn is from a seasoned professional who knows how to teach in an organized manner. Appreciate the support materials as well. Will be out shooting stories no doubt! All the best, Karen Ollis, Karen Ollis Photo

Connie Kennedy

Ron Haviv presents his generous insights and experience in a wonderfully paced and very clearly delivered manner. Combine him with the Creative Live platform and you have a magical educational experience. I'm so grateful to attend this course. I wish I had heard a presentation like this years back; it would have spared me some mistakes. If you're sitting on the fence buy this course. Tap into his wisdom. Enjoy.


I've been a following Ron Haviv for years. Love his expressions in delivering explanations. It's amazing to see and hear from the photographer behind the photos. Well structured course. Having Kenna's facilitation makes this workshop so worth watching. Thank you creativeLive for this great sensory experience!