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Your Photojournalism Survival Kit

Lesson 2 of 12

Finding Your Voice and Story

Ron Haviv

Your Photojournalism Survival Kit

Ron Haviv

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Lesson Info

2. Finding Your Voice and Story

Lesson Info

Finding Your Voice and Story

One of most important things that we need to do really right from the beginning in almost all aspects is thinking outside the box thinking about things differently and you know the visual image has been around for a long time visual storytelling has been around for a long time so most stories if not all have been done in one way or the other so one of the challenges is to really think about a different way to present the story to your audience and how the audience is going to interact with it and we're gonna talk about multi platform in different ways to kind of approach it. But the first thing in the most important thing is the idea and the idea is often as important or more important than your skills photographer because at one point when you reach a certain levels of photographer where you're you know you can produce good work the difference between you and the photographer next year that's competing for that assignment from time magazine or that grant or that foundation to support ...

you or whatever is going to be your idea and the way that you want to present it so you have to kind of try to think outside the box and think about it in a slightly different way that's going to make your vision differently we're gonna talk about the pitch letter and different ways to approach that but just as an example to use I think one of the greatest kind of thinking out of the box ideas recently is actually gilbertson seven photographer who taught the street photography class here earlier this year, and ashley uh, is, um is a great guy, super smart, and he dedicated a lot of his career to covering the war in iraq and get a book on his his experience there and the war was keeps going on and keeps going on and actually wanted to figure out a way to address it, but he didn't want to go back to the front didn't want to, like take more photographs of people fighting, and you wanted to figure out a different way to do it. And so he's trying to brainstorm he's trying to figure it out, he's talking with his wife and they're trying to think about a way that he could do it and his wife, oz brought office said, like, what about what about the bedrooms? What about the fallen soldiers? And they started think about then they realize that there are so many families that have lost sons and daughters to the conflict in afghanistan, the conflict in iraq and they keep the room's intact, like waiting for somebody to return that's never going to return and that's how actually came up with this concept of the bedrooms of the fallen and basically they're still lives of rubes. Very simple photograph shot with panoramic black and white camera. Um, you know, the photography is fine, but anybody could really do the photography. It's the idea that's so amazing in such a different way to address this conflict in very poignant, very quiet, very powerful way. In the beginning, it was very difficult for actually to get access. He had a kind of keep going families. And finally, once he got back first family to accept the idea, then it was easier for her. Sorry for him to get other other families to come on board. And then he created bedrooms of the fallen, which is an amazing book and a website and exhibition. That's traveling on the world. And he's had, um, he's had family members come and speak with him and talk about how the work has affected them. And it's all really about this idea of thinking outside the box, trying to take something everybody's covering the wars the way he's doing it in a reasonably similar way. And here he takes something that's existed in every war and brought it and brought it home in such a great way. Very, very powerful presentation.

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

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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!