All of you have some corner of your house where kitchen magnets have migrated with single poignant one-liners with an endless stream of lessons about life. Well, there's so much wisdom out there and along with the magnets come those little pocket-books we all collect.
Here's one from "Life's Little Instruction Book, Volume II" by H. Jackson Brown Jr. This week I wrote a lot about success and it's a great one liner:
"Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it!"
That one simple statement got me thinking about so many of you, who have worked so hard on your education, running your business and building your brand. All of you have given up a lot. Yet, when it's passion for some aspect of your life, you don't see it as giving up anything, except energy to chase your dream.
I can't think of a better way to kick off today quoting my buddy Matthew Jordan Smith,
"Always dream big!"
by Skip Cohen
There are certain people who come into our lives with such big personalities that after a very short period we don't remember a time when they weren't around. Meet my buddy Jake, my next door neighbor who passed away last year.For whatever reason, I took the dog out this morning and glanced towards his house next door and simply miss the guy. I had to run his wife to the airport on Friday. Even though he's been gone a few months, it's doesn't change the feeling of loss.I call this Sunday Morning Reflections, simply because I tend to stray so far away from the topics of marketing, photography and business
. I wrote a blog about Jake on the old Photo Resource Hub site, then moved it over here a short time ago, but what I never moved, was Jake's favorite joke.
I’m told it’s an old one, but I’d never heard it before.
When we first moved in, Jake came over with a bottle of wine and the best home made fudge on planet earth. He introduced himself, welcomed us to the neighborhood and told us, “We make love almost every day.”
Being in his 70’s, even though it was TMI, but he knew I’d taken the bait when he added, “Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday, almost on Thursday…”Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and the hope that you all have a Jake in your life! Our lives are richer because he was in ours.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you aren't old enough to remember Nancy Regan's "Just Say No" campaign, but running across some old articles the other day I started thinking about the simplicity of that statement and on this gorgeous Saturday morning it just seems like a fun way to go with a weekend post!
Here are some of my favorites for photographers - feel free to comment with your own...
Just say no to thinking, "I'll fix it in the computer later!"
Just say no to companies who make promises to deliver on time and then don't come through.
Just say no to lowering your pricing before you've exhausted every idea you have available to add value!
From an old post from Cliff Mautner: "In order to combat the apprehension of my wedding clients, I felt the need to add a bit of value to their collection in lieu of reducing my pricing – which I was dead set against. An added hour here, a flexible payment plan there, and things fell into place nicely."
Just say no to putting off that mailing you need to do to all your previous brides who are now starting families.
Just say no to those "trolls" in your life who drain energy instead of creating it!
Just say no to giving up the fight to be creative in attacking the market and developing a program of diversification in your business.
Just say no to negative people in your life. They don't have to love your dreams, just respect them!
Okay, who wants to add a few more?
Taken during one of the all day hands-on shooting classes last summer, everybody gets in on the act!
Remember the word "fun"? It's why most of you got into this business in the first place. Somehow, too many people, not just in the photographic industry, but everywhere, lost their "edge". We've all been so wrapped up in the challenges today we forgot about having fun.I know this post is going to sound like an infomercial, but this upcoming program has involved hundreds of people who have worked hard to make it as special as its become. Early next week registration for this year's summer session for SCU in Chicago is going to go live. It's going to be an amazing program and attendees are going to be working hard, but I can guarantee they're also going to be having "FUN". Why? First, it's everybody's attitude. The community itself is all focused on one goal - building a stronger skill set, whether in marketing, technique, lighting, Photoshop - you name it, the bond at a small event like this is amazing. Second, it's what this faculty does. Find me another conference where you could actually head home having met and talked with Joe McNally, Clay Blackmore, Michele Celentano, Suzette Allen, Bob and Dawn Davis, Jen Rozenbaum, Justin and Mary Marantz, Michael Corsentino, Adam Sherwin, J.P. Elario, Roberto Valenzuela, Zach and Jody Gray and Bob Coates. Then there is the environment itself. We're going to pretty much own the hotel for the most of the conference. No lines to stand in. No worrying about getting a seat at an program. Most important of all, if you do have a problem there's a bunch of us easy to find to help fix it.Last on the list is how involved the attendees themselves have been helping to build this conference to what it is today. Over the last four summers we've taken the feedback from each attendee and tried to incorporate as many suggestions as possible. And now we've got the "Student Council" helping to drive every program in the right direction.
In numerous posts I've talked about the importance of attending as many conferences as you can afford. Well, here's one on the list I hope you can attend. The price is right, the location is outside Chicago and the line up of talent to help you find new ways to put "fun" back in your vocabulary is amazing.
Oh yeah, fun also comes out of building a stronger business! Money isn't everything, but thriving trumps just surviving!
Tamara Young, Scott Bourne, Kate Pease, Ara Roselani, Clay Blackmore, Skip Cohen and Sheila Cohen taken by Michael Jordan, but with Kate's camera! LOL
by Skip Cohen
This is the time of year when one of my favorite quotes comes into play and it's all about friendship.
Think back to any convention you've attended this year. The best part of any good show is always the time you get to build your network. If you did it right last week, during WPPI and the first SCU event of the year, you worked in time with good friends. You talked about the challenges of the industry, your common passion to keep raising the bar on the quality of your work. You shared some of the challenges you've run into since the last time you saw them.
Most important of all you recharged your battery, because it's that positive energy that keeps us going.
And that brings me full circle to something I've been saying for years, "The best part of being in this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's mutual love for the craft!"
by Skip Cohen
This past week's over-the-top response to SCU and all the new content got me thinking about the key ingredients that make a photographer successful. It's about quality and passion - not just the no-compromise quality of the work you produce, but the quality of life you live, your interaction with the community around you and the level of integrity you bring to each client and peer relationship.
I've received a lot of nice comments about the content and structure of SCU, but in all honesty I have only a little to do with its initial success. The key is the quality of the people involved, the growing list of sponsors and last but certainly not least, each one of you. It's about a group of people believing there's a need for something different and better in education.
The real key to any project like this is passion. Everyone involved intensely believes in helping each other and helping other photographers. They have a passion for far more than just photography - their success is about their passion for life and in turn they're putting that same dedication into helping us build something amazing.
That first Skip's Summer School in 2009 was in its own way a celebration of friendship and a tribute to quality. Every program since then has repeatedly demonstrated how passion has played a key role in the lives of each instructor, but equally important are the friendships - old ones being reaffirmed and new ones that will continue to grow in the years ahead. I've said it numerous times...the best part of our industry has nothing to do with imaging, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
Photoshop World is the next big show to put on your calendar! Only 14 days left to save on early bird registration!
by Skip Cohen
At PhotoShop World
a couple of years ago, I overheard a conversation between two young photographers arguing over an image of David Ziser's that was on display in his booth. It was a classic portrait of a bride and they were arguing over which PhotoShop tool he used to drop in the highlight on her hair! I barged into the conversation, knowing full well David's incredible understanding of lighting. I also knew the image was created in the camera, NOT in the computer. The image David created looked almost that good right out of the can!Now take it one step further - how incredible could your images be if you started with a great shot and then used your expertise in Photoshop to enhance the image, rather than clean it up? I'm a huge fan of getting your skill set as good as it can be as a photographer and then making sure you understand how to give it even more impact with all the creative tools you've got.
Every minute you waste at the computer cleaning up your mistakes is a minute you could have been working on other aspects of your business, like your marketing efforts. How much time are you spending at your computer working on images that could have been captured better with the click of the shutter instead of the click of your mouse?
What did we do before Red Bull? Check out their website at RedBull.com.
by Skip Cohen
Looks like this is the weekend to tie in restaurant themes after yesterday's post
.A few weeks ago we had dinner at a little restaurant in Sarasota called Darwin's. Great food, nice atmosphere and we were there really early in the day for dinner. Even my 90 year old parents eat later than we did that day, but we'd been out all afternoon and 5:00 pm seemed as good a time as any.We were seated at the counter that overlooks the kitchen, which they refer to as the chef's table. Darwin came over and introduced himself and we had a blast watching the crew cook. It's an upscale menu and being seated right in the action was like watching our own private episode of "Chopped".Just before the dinner rush started, Darwin brought out five cans of Red Bull, one for each of his chefs. Well, as usual, I can't get photography off my mind and it got me thinking about what photographers do to rev up their engines before a big event or shoot.I know Joe Buissink has talked about the importance of getting to know the venue and doing a walk through, spotting ideal locations for a bridal shoot. If you know Joe, just seeing the venue starts getting his creative juices flowing. When I was diving a lot, just getting my gear checked out and starting to pack got the adrenalin pumping. Then there are the short term fixes, like Red Bull. Well, this is a Sunday morning post and it's meant to be short - but this one is participatory. So what do you do to get pumped up before a shoot?
by Skip Cohen
Everybody has a dream. We all have goals and aspirations for our business and our family and I'm no exception. I've been incredibly lucky and always loved my job and my career path, but there's been this haunting dream since I started Hasselblad University over twenty years ago.
I 've wanted to create something better, more personal when it comes to education for photographers. It's not just about gear or computer skills. It's about relationships, networking, business, marketing and diversity. It's about passion and waking up every day and literally running to your computer to see what happened in the world of photography while you were sleeping. (Yeah, I really do that!)
Over the last few years I've seen a change in the educational programs available for photographers. It's become big business and in the process it got bigger, but not always better. The line on the home page of SCU really says it all,
So at SCU we've decided to do something radical. We're going to go back to basics. To human handshakes, telephone calls, meetings that happen face-to-face in a room full of people who share a passion for photography.
When we started this concept I got some serious criticism. I was told we shouldn't be doing something like this so close to another convention. It didn't matter that this is an educational resource that goes all year long.
I was told the market already has too many educational programs and didn't need another one, even though so many of them don't meet the needs of the photographers they're trying to attract. Don't get me wrong, there are some outstanding programs available and I highlight them all the time, but there are also too many that miss the mark.
There is a need for something better in education and with an incredible team of dedicated artists, we're building it and the response has been amazing. So, to my critics, I've only got one comment and it's my favorite quote...
"I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn't." Author Unknown
On March 8-9 we're going to launch the first SCU program. It's going to be a small group and that's intentional. We've never anticipated much more than fifty people. There's a lot going on in Vegas at that time and we're not interested in standing room only crowds. In fact, we'll NEVER be interested in crowds! It's simply not who we are.
This is about getting to know each attendee. It's about everybody getting a little extra help from some of the finest instructors in our industry. Most important of all, it's about leaving the program with ideas you can implement and get started on your goal to "Thrive" not just survive.
With an amazing team we're about to take education to a new level in photography and we're going to keep it small, personal and customized as much as possible to each attendee's needs! We've got limited space and when the program is sold out, that's it.
See you in Vegas!
P.S. We did make one update announcement just a few days ago. The Summer Session of SCU in Chicago will be August 11-14. We want to always keep the cost for every program down as much as possible, so attendees of the March program will be able to apply this cost as a discount for August. More coming next week on the August program!
How great would it be if we could get more people to talk to each other and ask the most important questions, before they drew assumptions?
I remember hearing that statement for the first time around seventh grade and it's still so deadly accurate. I know it's trite and right up there with my grandmother's stitch in time saves nine
, but Sunday morning's are for fun but purposeful little rants and it's so appropriate this morning.
The topic is all about making assumptions and I've written about it before. We all do it, some more than others. We do it in our personal lives, business, on events for the future and on decisions from the past. The big question is, why don’t we ever simply pick up a phone and talk to the people involved instead of coming to our own, often misguided, assumptions?
Wandering through cyber space a long time ago I found the following on a site by Ken Lauher: "We have a tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we BELIEVE they are the truth. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking, we take it personally, and then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. We only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. We don’t perceive things the way they are; we literally dream things up in our imagination. Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions that we believe are right, then we defend our assumptions and try to make others wrong.
In the photo industry there are people who have taken assumption drawing to an art form. I’ve heard stories about major companies in trouble, cameras being discontinued, even people being let go. I’ve heard stories so severe that had they been more widespread, the companies involved would have actually seen a drop in sales.
Then there are the personal stories that run through our industry. Assumptions are drawn over why somebody left a company, why a new product was late for introduction, why a policy was changed and the list goes on and on. Assumptions are drawn, then they hit the rumor mill and suddenly they’re FACT - and not once does anybody along the way stop and simply call the people involved for verification.Last on the list, there are the personal assumptions made in our own lives. I've got a whole collection of finger-pointing relatives who love to talk amongst themselves, but they do it better than Mike Meyer's character has ever done it! Not once have they ever talked to me directly.
The final result sets a new standard in self-righteousness and judgmental behavior.But here's where you shining stars all come in...I'm blown away by the support given to each other on the various forums. I love watching the conversation unfold on the Facebook page for Skip's Summer School when somebody has heard something and puts it out there to the group. I love what guys like Jason Eiting has done on his own time to build a Google+ hangout for photographers needing help, or the enthusiasm of the new Student Council for SCU as Chantale, Tamara, Brook, Jason, Brent, Jared and Levi all share ideas and ask the questions they need to get all the facts.
The only assumptions I see people like this drawing are based on the confidence that the answers are out there.
Well, to everyone who draws assumptions, and we’re all guilty. The earlier quote is from The FourAgreements
by Don Miguel Ruiz and his closing paragraph on the topic hits the nail right on the head: "The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. Make sure the communication is clear. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are as clear as you can be. Once you hear the answer, you will not have to make assumptions because you will know the truth.