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7 Min Marketing with Pam Didner

Oct 4, 2018

Like everyone else, I take a lot of photos using my iPhone. I notice that younger generations take better photos than I do. I wanted to learn some new tricks to take better photos using my phone. I knew that Apple stores offered video-creation classes, so I wondered if they offered classes on taking better photos.

So I went to and started a quick chat with one of the employees. It turned out that I just needed to Google “Apple Today” to find out what classes are offered at Apple Stores. Typing “Apple Today” took me to the “Today at Apple” website. Then, I entered country and city to find the nearest Apple Stores. Viola! I could browse the classes that were being offered that day and for the upcoming week at the Apple Stores near me.  Pretty cool!

Then, I clicked on photo and video category. There are tons of classes such as How to Shoot Photos with iPhone, How to Edit Photos on iPhone, Photo Walks: Portraits and People, Crafting Your Shot Co-created with Chase Jarvis.

I signed up for Crafting Your Shot Co-created with Chase Jarvis. Apparently, this is a new class. Chase did a lot of photo shoots for Apple.

The instructor, who is an Apple sales rep, opens with a video by Chase Jarvis, and I thought his points were interesting. He boiled down the secret of taking great portraits (people photos) into three elements: connections, composition, and light.

Connections are about your emotional connection with the people that you photograph. Do you know them well? Do you know their personality? Do you know their stories? If you know them, it will help you to capture the essence of who they are and display their feelings, mindset, even a bit of their soul.  

Composition is about place and moment. Now that you know them, you can pick the background or locations that brings out the best in them. This makes sense to me. I asked Tim, my photographer friend, to take photos for my son’s high-school yearbook. My son is an outdoor person who played tennis throughout high school, so we chose a local park with tennis courts. He didn’t wear a suit and tie for his yearbook photo, because that’s not who he is. We chose the location to reflect that Aaron is casual, outgoing, and athletic. Before and during the photo shoot, Tim talked to Aaron casually and got to know him better and put him at ease with different shots. That’s the connection element that Chase mentioned earlier.

The third element is light. Lighting can get complicated. This class didn’t get into the type of lighting that we should use in different situations, but it emphasized using natural light whenever possible.

Throughout the class, iPhone photo features are mentioned discreetly. They encouraged us to try the Portrait mode, which is their new feature. The instructor even suggested using the iPhone flash to increase lighting and experimenting with the zoom feature.

One part of this class that I enjoyed was that the instructor showed tons of examples of great photos and analyzed why they were great. That was like attending an art critique class. It was fun.

After the class, I have a new understanding of photography. With a phone on hand, it’s easy to take photos anytime, but high-quality photos occur when you know your subject well, carefully choose the right place, and use the right lighting.

These three elements of taking great photographs also apply to content marketing, if you think about it…

Just as knowing you photography subject well is important to get a good result, in order to create relevant content, you need to know your audiences well.

The composition in the context of content marketing is your writing approach and the flow of your stories.

The light in the context of content marketing is hard to define, but I see the key message and creative development as the light of your content creation.

See? Taking a great photo is not much different than creating useful and relevant content. Well, a photo is a piece of content anyway.


I was able to use one Apple class to create one podcast episode. Maybe I should take more Apple classes.

Please send me your marketing questions or thoughts via Twitter @pamdidner.

Be well. Keep hustling. Until next time.