Wednesdays with Westcott is a new SCU educational feature which will not only help you raise the bar on the quality of your images and skill set, but you're going to be meeting some of the most respected artists and educators in professional photography. We're excited to be working together with Westcott U to bring you great "how-to" content. WU is all about education, and right in line with SCU's ability to help photographers become better at their craft.
Jen Rozenbaum joins us today and she never does anything halfway! She packs an incredible amount of content into just over three minutes in the video below. And, with a little help from the team at Westcott, they're sharing more than just great photography, but giving you Jen's recipe. Including a great comparison shot to show you the impact a grid can add to your images.
There are far too many "natural light specialists" in our industry. The majority of the time when a photographer states that's their specialty it usually means, "I don't understand studio lighting!" Jen's working with the Solix 2-Light kit, but showing you the sophistication you can get when you know what you're doing, and in this video, she's working with just one light.
Click on either product for more information!
” Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light.
Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”
We all love natural light, but as a professional photographer, your responsibility to every client is to exceed expectations. Jen ALWAYS exceeds expectations, which is part of her signature. If you're attending any workshop or convention where she's speaking, run don't walk to get a seat. And, make it a point to introduce yourself. She's one of the most approachable photographers and educators in our industry.
Just like Jen exceeding expectations, so does Westcott. They manufacture some of the best lighting gear in photography today, and it's all supported by terrific customer service with a focus on always being an outstanding value and investment.
Check out the Westcott U website - it's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. Their YouTube channel is chocked full with 368 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
Image copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
We're back with a new episode of "Why?" and another great image and backstory. The "Why?" series was started to help introduce you to the movers and shakers in photography and education by way of one of their favorite or best-known images.
Rick Friedman's in the SCU house today with a story about an image that's been published hundreds of times in publications around the world. While Rick's best known for his work as a photo-journalist, there's probably nothing he hasn't photographed. One trip to his galleries, and you'll be hit by the number of iconic portraits you've seen in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet.
Rick's no stranger to SCU and we recently shared one of his images and information about his lighting workshops, which have become almost as well known as some of his celebrity subjects. Rick needs to be on your radar, and you can keep track of him by visiting his website - it's just a click away on any of the images in today's post. And, while you're there, check out his workshop schedule. He's got a lot coming up next month!
"Why?" is brought to you by...
Think about how much has changed in imaging and communication over the last few years. The Internet changed the way we share photographs; the way we're able to keep in touch and mobile technology has changed how we communicate. We get everything from our news to GPS to instant fulfillment on questions about virtually anything.
PhotoTexting.com is all about helping you take full advantage of this ever-changing communication landscape and creating the most effective ways to reach your clients and build a stronger business.
PhotoTexting is giving thousands of photographers the ability to market in the continually growing mobile side of life! They're leading the way in helping photographers communicate with their clients through a great list of creative apps like Customer Appreciation, Mobile Business Cards, Referrals, and Brochures, just to name a few.
Check it out with a visit to their website. Better yet, check out a sample brochure using one of the apps. You can't afford to miss the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your clients. Isn't it time you found out what all the buzz is about?
Images copyright Mike Moats. All rights reserved.
“Your true success in life begins only when you make the commitment
to become excellent at what you do.”
Welcome to Tamron Recipes. This is our fourth episode and what a trip it's been so far. If you've joined us for the first three episodes, you'll notice a familiar theme, the recipe for success.
There are so many quotes about success, but this new one we chose to share by Brian Tracy certainly hits on the importance of a commitment to be the very best. It almost seems like it was written for both our guest "chef," Mike Moats, as well at Tamron USA!
Mike is on a never-ending quest to capture images from a world most of us never really see. "Tiny Landscapes" is his website and it's perfect for his love of macro photography. In this new podcast, he shares a lot of wonderful insight and his love for the craft couldn't be more obvious.
For his first photograph, which we shared last week, he used Tamron's SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD lens on a FUJI S5 body. Each Tamron Recipe is always in two parts, starting with an outstanding image, followed by the story behind it, as well as more about the "chef."
Mike's first recipe in the Tamron Kitchen is just a click away. And, check out the SP 90mm lens with a click on the thumbnail to the right. There's also a great rebate program going on right now at your Tamron dealer. Savings information on other Tamron lenses is just a click way on the banner below.
More Images from the Tiny Landscapes Archives
Mike's passion comes out loud and clear in the podcast, but his images also demonstrate his love for the macro photography combined with his creativity and diversity. Keep in mind all of the images below are screen shots. So, imagine their beauty of the actual prints. Mike's definitely a "chef" who should be on your radar.
Click on any of his images below to visit his website, TinyLandscapes.com
Okay, I'm stealing a tagline from Staples, but it's only out of incredible pride for some great podcasts Chamira Young, and I have hosted thanks to one remarkable guest after another. We do a new "Mind Your Own Business" podcast every month.
Working together with Photofocus we've done forty podcasts since we teamed up in March of 2017. Under both "Mind Your Own Business" and "Beyond Technique" you'll find an incredibly diverse collection of topics and covering just about every specialty in photography.
The newest podcast is with the "Empress of Lighting," Bobbi Lane. She shares a lot of terrific insight into her career; the importance of practicing your creativity; running your business and people skills, to name a few of the topics. There's a reason Bobbi has repeatedly been referred to as one of the top lighting educators in photography - she never slows down on giving and helping artists raise the bar on the quality of their work!
Click on any banner to connect to any of the four podcasts we've shared this year so far, and if you want to enjoy all of them to date, they're on the Photofocus website. Each one is loaded with great content from some of the most passionate people in photography!
And check out our newest addition to the podcast world with Tamron Recipes!
Intro by Skip Cohen
My long-standing friendship with good buddy Scott Bourne goes back a lot of years and was founded on the respect I have for his business sense. There are a lot of things I do today, thanks to Scott's help, direction, and influence.
Today's post is perfect for this time of year as 2019 seasonality starts to take hold. It's one of the longest and most in-depth posts he's shared since helping me start SCU, and it's loaded with things to think about, especially the importance of being grateful for the career path you've chosen. I first published it in 2013, but there's no expiration date on wisdom and appreciation!
"Recognizing that the real reward of being lucky enough to be a professional photographer is the joy of knowing that you are protecting memories for others and those memories will last lifetimes."
I love that sentence from one of his last paragraphs - we're all part of a fantastic industry, and your clients deserve nothing but the best. If your heart isn't in it, then take a break and figure out what's missing.
You can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in it.
by Scott Bourne
Zig Ziglar always used to say:
“Sales is not something you do TO someone. It’s something you do FOR someone.”
Zig honestly believed in his heart, that when we as salespeople (and if you’re a professional photographer - don’t kid yourself, you are (or need to be) a salesperson) were doing important work, folks sometimes needed a little push to get to yes. He knew in the end they’d be happy with what they bought.
I have studied that man’s thinking for 35 years and today I want to write a post about the thankful salesperson. It’s my homage to Zig. It’s also my second - to - the last post here at SCU and I want it to be a good one.
Now you may be wondering - “How the heck does being thankful connect to sales?” It’s a good question and my goal today is to answer it.
You see I believe if your heart is in the right place, i.e. you put your prospects’ needs ahead of your own and you sincerely believe in what you are selling, you can and should be thankful for the opportunity. Come on - how many people get to do a job where they are really helping people? It’s a great honor to be a high priest of memory protection. So with a hat tip to John Paul Caponigro (who turned me on to some of these quotes) here are some ways to be inspired enough to be a thankful salesperson.
Albert Schweitzer said:
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
For me, this has happened many times. And for some reason, when it DOES happen, it’s related to photography. I remember selling one of my first weddings. For some strange reason the bride’s mother really liked me. She said they moved their daughter’s wedding date so they could save up to hire ME to shoot the wedding. That spark in her - that happiness that she was going to have someone she believed in shoot her wedding left me very excited. My flame was indeed lit and I think I did a pretty darn good job at that wedding.
Shakti Gawain said:
“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally ‘count our blessings,’ give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.”
I hear many photographers lament the fact that they don’t have the best gear or that they wish they had the money for an assistant or a better studio or whatever. Gawain’s quote served as a reminder to me that some of us go through life missing out on the best stuff because we think we need something else. Yet the best “stuff” is only the “best” if it helps us achieve some human connection. When you make a portrait of someone and they place it on their mantle, for generations to come to see and enjoy, NOBODY is going to wonder whether you had the best camera that was available that day or what version of Photoshop you used or whether or not the equipment van you drive is the latest model. All they will note is the fine expression on their loved one and the memories THEY have of that subject. That’s plenty of motivation for me to be thankful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t.
None other than Albert Einstein said:
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me. I’ve been around the world with my camera. I’ve been toe-to-toe with Arctic Wolves, Coastal Brown Bears, Moose and Great American Bald Eagles. I’ve been mere inches from a wolf pup, a mountain lion cub and baby black bear. I’ve met and photographed famous rock stars, movie stars, politicians, race car drivers, beauty queens and plenty of spectacular regular “Joes.” And if you’d have asked me as a boy if I thought I’d have that kind of life, I would have said “Hell no.” I am the least among you yet I’ve been allowed to have all these experiences because of my camera. What a miracle. If you’re looking for miracles - take this approach to selling. It works.
Oprah Winfrey said:
“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”
I’m not proud of every decision I’ve made. I didn’t always have it “good.” My parents beat me, (I probably deserved it,) I made lots of bad decisions as a young man, I’ve suffered serious health problems, I’ve crashed every kind of motorcycle and race car you can think of, and there’s been plenty of bad. Oprah’s quote reminded me that through it all, you have to take it all in - the good and the bad - to be a great story teller. You have to learn to be grateful for night to understand the beauty of daylight. When you can do that, your photography will absolutely, positively improve. Her quote led me to translate what she’s saying from a photographer’s point of view. Light illuminates - shadows define. Focus on the good things you can do with your photography and I am certain that you will find happiness and the business success that goes with it.
Denis Waitley said:
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”
Believe it or not, I have come to learn that photography, practiced at its highest levels, is a very spiritual pursuit. I am not talking about religion. I am talking about spirituality. There is a difference. Recognizing that the real reward of being lucky enough to be a professional photographer is the joy of knowing that you are protecting memories for others and those memories will last lifetimes. That transcends owning the coolest camera or the coolest anything. It’s a payday that the tax man can’t touch. It’s more valuable than money. But here’s the rub. If you are truly happy. I mean really, truly happy, then what ends up happening is that your sales skills increase. People want to do business with you more than ever. The money flows, not because you sought it. But because you did not. Master sales people are happy at their core. They are happy because they know the thing they are selling improves people’s lives. That knowledge is power and that power leads back to more happiness and more success. It’s a perfect circle. I hope you can find it.
I hope this lesson reaches some of you. I am grateful just to have the opportunity to share it with you because it has powerfully impacted my life.
Go out there and be thankful that you get to do this job. That you get to use your cameras to protect memories.
As always Skip and I are rooting for you.
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's "Mirrorless Monday," and my good buddy "Mirrorless Mark" (Mark Toal) is back with a different perspective on Panasonic's new full frame mirrorless S1 camera. When it comes to passion for the craft, it's pretty tough to find anybody that can top Mark, and it's one of the things I appreciate most when hanging out with him.
I'm not a tennis player, but there's that concept that if you play tennis with somebody better than you, your game improves as well. That's the way it is with Mark, photography and the new S1. Mark's no stranger to SCU, and in so many of his images, he's always sharing a different perspective. One of my favorites was his infrared image in the "Why?" series.
Well, this week he's having fun with two different size ratios, 65:24 and 2:1. Many of you know my Hasselblad history. So it's a kick seeing a panoramic size ratio matching the X-pan.
Mark shares so many great images along with solid ideas on his blogs. Just click on his photo above to link to his website. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. And check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. This is one of the most diverse groups in photography, and they're always sharing great content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
Mark captured the images in today's post with the 24-105mm lens, all at 24mm. Click on any image to enlarge it on the SCU lightbox.
NEW! LUMIX S1 Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera with 24.2MP MOS Full Frame,
24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens - DC-S1MK
By Mark Toal
"Seeing in a New Way" - This is the slogan of one of my favorite photo companies, Lensbaby. They make lenses that let you tilt, bend and skew the world you see through your camera lens. It also sums up how I try to see the world and my photography. As part of my job for Panasonic I get to try out all the new Lumix cameras so I can teach sales people and customers about them.
I’m always looking for that one thing that the newest camera will give me to see the world differently. When I received the new Lumix S1 full frame camera I was impressed with the shallow depth of field and ability to hand hold the camera at really low shutter speeds until I came across the new frame size ratios, 65:24 and 2:1, in addition to the usual 4:3, 3:2, 1:1 and 16:9. That got my attention.
I forget about it until I was showing a customer different features on the S1 and switched to the very wide 65:24 shape. He immediately recognized it as the shape of the image from the Hasselblad X-Pan super wide film camera that he owns and bought the S1 just for this feature.
I’m still getting used to seeing the world through these shapes, but that’s what I love about learning something new. I get to see in a new way.
"I'm too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener!
It's a pretty typical Sunday morning, with the exception that I woke up proud of myself for sleeping in, all the way to 7:00! What is it about aging that as you get older, you can't seem to sleep late? I was having trouble trying to figure out what was most on my mind, which is what Sunday Morning Reflections are always about.
So, here's what I did...
Just to the right of the picture above is an outdoor table and chairs. I've got boosted wifi, so I took my laptop and went to work outside. Next, I wanted to write about the experience of talking with photographers about ShutterFest this past week, both on the phone and in IMs. I couldn't find a way to get started and Googled "Quotes about Life."
*POOF* There it was the quote above, like a neon sign on a bar on Route 66. Just as I saw it, the sprinkler came on in the back yard watering the butterfly garden! It was a sign and perfect to start writing.
With ShutterFest just nine days away, the chatter in the SF forum has been deafening. The most common theme comes from relatively new photographers trying to figure out what classes they should take. The questions range from asking for opinions about different speakers to full-blown concerns about their career choice.
The thoughts I want to share this morning are about an industry I've grown to love dearly. It doesn't matter if you're a newbie coming into professional photography or a seasoned veteran needing a little help trying to jump start a new direction for your business.
We're all part of a fantastic industry, and it's loaded with people who want to help you build your career. The better you get as an artist, the more it reflects on professional photographers and the healthier the industry becomes. Sadly, too many of you waste time worrying about success, defining growth as that moment where you capture the perfect image or make the biggest sale of your life.
I won't deny there's an incredible amount of satisfaction when you realize you can make money doing something you love, but if you're having a Ramen noodle moment, and wondering if you made the right choice, think about your passion for the craft and what brought you here. Then think about this - there isn't an artist in this business who hasn't had moments of doubt and even outright fear over their career choice.
We all have heroes, and one of mine is Joe McNally. He spoke one year at Skip's Summer School, and he openly talked about times when business was slow, and he couldn't pay his staff. He shared stunning images that had been rejected by editors at different magazines. He talked about those days when things didn't go as planned. But, throughout his presentation, you couldn't help but notice his passion for the craft and his love for photography. You never heard one moment of doubt that there was any other career he could have chosen to bring him this much joy or make his life so rich.
And here's my point - there is no success fairy in any business, let alone photography. Your success is defined as your growth. You know how to hold focus on your camera, so hold focus on your goals. Define success by how far you've come NOT how far you have to go. Take building your skill set one step at a time. Ask for help when you need it, but stop questioning your decisions. Stop looking at everyone else and appreciate the person looking back at you in the mirror every morning. None of us know the challenges someone else has faced, so the grass might seem greener from where you're standing, but you don't know what it took them to get there...or how long!
And, to those of your worried about what classes to take at ShutterFest...remember, growth only happens outside your comfort zone! Take classes where you need the most help to raise the bar on your skill set, and your understanding of marketing and business.
Wishing everybody the perfect day with family, friends and one filled with a sense of accomplishment for another week doing something you love and growing in the process. Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs and cherish time.
Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like!
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
PS Ten years ago Sheila and I visited the butterfly exhibit at one of the museums in Cleveland. Then three years ago we were in the Butterfly Conservatory in Key West. Finally when moving to this house almost 2 1/2 years ago, putting in a butterfly garden became a priority. In the process I've discovered I love to play in the dirt. The garden has created an endless supply of peaceful and reflective moments for both of us. It's become our own little quiet and secure corner of the world. And, like most things you love doing; each minute of work we put into it seems to come back to us tenfold!
Today's post makes fifty-three in the Fast Food Friday series and what a series it's become. Every day it seems there's another new challenge to write about, not to fill up space, but to get you thinking about things you could be doing differently to help build a stronger business. After all, that's what Fast Food Friday posts are all about - ideas to help make 2019 one of your very best years in business!
So many of you are right-brain creatives - you're artists with the drive to create, not run a business. At the same time, you know you need to pay more attention to the business, but technology and your creative genes keep pulling you away from the operational details.
Well, today's post is going to hit both your creative genes and your too often dormant business/operational genes, and it's all thanks to so many questions I got this past week regarding my upcoming ShutterFest programs.
The challenge has been photographers trying to decide what classes to sign up for during the two-day conference. ShutterFest has one of the most extensive and diverse program lineups in the industry, and so many attendees go into analysis paralysis when it comes time to make a choice on classes.
Growth Only Occurs Outside Your Comfort Zone!
Registration for ShutterFest has been open for months. However, the majority of attendees decided to attend months ago. At that point, everyone should have been thinking about where they need the most help in their skill set, marketing, workflow, etc.
The other night I got an IM from a photographer who wanted my opinion, "Should I take your class or ______?" As much as I understood her frustration at trying to decide, it's just not a question I could answer. Why not? Because, while I know from experience how good my programs are, I don't know her background, her skill set, how long she's been in business, the market she's in or what her weaknesses are?
All of you know what you do well. We all love the aspects of this business we do best. It's our comfort zone. When going to conventions, we naturally migrate to presentations about topics we know well. Rather than step outside our comfort zone, we take classes in areas we already know, looking for something we might have missed along the way.
Well, my headline says it all - you're only going to grow if you push yourself and step outside your comfort zone. You can't grow as an artist if you keep fine-tuning the same old skills. Here are a couple of easy examples:
The request I had the other night was from an artist trying to decide on my class which is ALL business and marketing versus a hands-on shooting class. Obviously the hands-on is going to be more fun, outside and with a group of photographers. My program is inside, a lecture and even though I pride myself on my presentation style and how painless I make the topic of building brand awareness, it's still a business program and outside the comfort zone for so many photographers. But...what good is creating the most magnificent images of your life if nobody knows who you are? What good are stunning images if you can't earn a decent living?
Here's one more example, so many wedding photographers need to take a course in macro photography. But, put the topic on the agenda at any photography convention, and you'll only see serious hobbyists or outdoor/wildlife photographers. Yet, having a better understanding of great macro work will help with all the details shots in a wedding album especially ring and hand shots, which are vital elements to tell the story.
You've got three quarters of the year ahead of you with so many educational opportunities for classes, videos, and posts online along with other conventions/conferences. At each one look for those programs that will help you where you need it the most. Step outside your comfort zone; expand your skill set with and without a camera in your hand and build a segment of your network with people having different skill sets from your own.
And to answer my earlier question, of what do you call the ability to create stunning images if you can't earn a decent living? A HOBBY!
"Nothing haunts us more than the dreams we didn't act upon!"
It's Throwback Thursday, but just before I started looking through old photographs this morning, Suzette Allen left me a comment on a post I wrote three years ago about dreams. As I read the original post, it was so relevant to today. I decided to share a different kind of throwback. Some of you will like it, others will roll your eyes and find it trite, but it's perfect for this time of year.
I'm heading to ShutterFest in a little over a week, and I'm going to be surrounded by a lot of young photographers with dreams. Plus, even more seasoned pros have dreams of what they hope the rest of this year is going to be like. With Spring seasonality comes everyone's mind's eye visions of how the year is going to play out; new ideas for business; new products to inspire clients, and the list goes on and on.
Even though I'm officially an old fart, I still think about what I want to do with my life. Many of you are focused and for years have known what you wanted to be when you grew up. Well, I'm one of those still struggling, but it's also what keeps me smiling.
Whether you'd call them my dreams or aspirations, doesn't make any difference. I wake up every day knowing the things I need to do, including finding time to dream a little. I look at my dreams and goals like one big file drawer loaded with ideas, but there's something that happens as you get older.
You realize you don't have the luxury of endless time to procrastinate - something you never really had in the first place. Some ideas you jump quicker than others. Then there are those dreams that are very personal versus simple projects you want to do.
By this time, you should notice that I use words like dreams, goals, aspirations and even ideas all the same way. They all represent things I want and intend to do, and here six suggestions to help you keep your dreams alive:
Last on the list - when you're chasing a dream, and it's not working out, just change course. You don't have to let go of the dream, only the path you've chosen to get there. Remember, dreams don't have expiration dates!
Most important of all, DON'T SHOULD ON YOURSELF. It's a lesson I learned from Sheila because at the beginning of our relationship I was "shoulding" all over the place. You know the drill - you do something, it doesn't work out and instead of putting energy into a new direction you whine, shrug your shoulders and say, "You know what I should have done?"
"I'll do my dreaming with my eyes wide open, and I'll do my looking back with my eyes closed."
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody!
Welcome to Wednesdays with Westcott, a new SCU feature I promise will help raise the bar on your skill set, no matter what your core specialty is as a photographer. Westcott U is all about education and the extensive content the Westcott Team has built is remarkable. It's right line with our goals for SCU and one of the reasons we're excited to be working with them.
It's April, and the wedding season is ramping up, and there are so many of you who need help with lighting, especially when it comes to posing groups. Groups are time-consuming, frustrating and often the equivalent of herding cats! But, if you practice (this is where all your friends and neighbors come in) and understand your mind's eye vision in advance, doing classic modern portraits of the wedding party doesn't have to be the most stressful part of the day.
I chose this first video in this new SCU series because of my good buddy Bob Davis. We've been friends for a long time, but that friendship came out of a deep respect for his skill set, especially in teaching. It's hard to believe how much great information he shares in the video below...and all in under four minutes!
So, take the time to check it out and if you're in the Chicago area and need more help, check out Bob's program every Thursday night in May starting on May 9 at ProCam. You'll be amazed at how much of a change you'll see, not only in the quality of your work but the drop in your stress level.
And check out the Westcott U website - it's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And their YouTube channel is also chocked full. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
Click either product below for more information
Images copyright Bob Davis. All rights reserved.
Images copyright Jonny Yoshinaga. All rights reserved.
There's something about going to a car show that makes it a photographic magnet, and it goes so much deeper than the beauty of the cars themselves. I love the passion of the owners and the pride that goes with the investment of years in the restoration process. They know every inch, bolt, spring, hose, and switch. They've taken an object and turned it into an almost living being, complete with albums of pictures no different than a family album from birth to the current moment.
At a show in Ohio several years ago, the owner of a beautiful 1937 Packard shared his album with me. He spent eight years looking for the parts. It took four cars to build one complete piece of perfection. It then took him five years to completely rebuild it, right down to doing his own paint job. The car was stunning, but paled in comparison to the pure joy and pride he shared!
I'm late for Mirrorless Monday this week, but it's never too late to share great images. My good buddy and LUMIX Ambassador Jonny Yoshinaga shared these image from a car show recently, and his use of depth of depth of field and composition. You can imagine the pride of each owner as you look at the finished restoration.
These images are all captured with the new LUMIX S1 full frame mirrorless, and they're remarkable. They were all shot wide open at f1.4 with the 50mm Leica certified lens. The camera is an amazing piece of technology and well worth a trip to your LUMIX retailer to check it out. Click on either thumbnail below for more information.
Jonny had a ton of images from this one show, and I pulled a few of my favorites to share here. I love the detail. Click on any image to enlarge it on the "lightbox."
Jonny needs to be on your radar along with the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography. They're on the road all year long speaking and teaching at LUMIX retailers and a variety of conventions/conferences. In fact, Jonny and a few other members of the team will be at ShutterFest in the Panasonic booth on April 23-24. If you're there it's a perfect time to meet them and check out the complete LUMIX line.
Image copyright Mike Moats. All rights reserved.
It's our fourth episode of Tamron Recipes. Time really does fly when you're having a good time. Looking back on the original idea, which seems like yesterday, we underestimated how much fun these would be to create. Even more important has been how much great information each artist is willing to share and their diversity.
With each new post, we always comment on "the recipe for success." We all know the expression, and there are four primary ingredients:
What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities,
and be a member of a team.
Mike Moats is with us in the Tamron Kitchen. And, like our previous artists his career matches that quote above. Mike loves what he's doing and especially the diversity in the images he shares. He never slows down on giving it his very best with each click of the shutter. He never misses an opportunity to share pieces of the world that most of us miss. And, Mike's part of an incredible team, the Tamron family.
About the Image and the SP90 mm lens: The 90mm is Mike's go-to lens for much of his macro work. We loved Tamron's explanation for one of the reasons why this is such a great lens for macro work: "Minute objects are projected on the camera’s image sensors at a magnification ratio of 1:1 so that the photographer can enjoy a macro world on print that would otherwise be impossible to experience with the naked eye."
Being a great macro photographer is about so much more than just getting in close - it's about finding character in your subjects, which is no different than a portrait artist - just in a smaller world, as Mike explains:
Finding character: When you are out shooting, go slowly and take the time to study every subject for interesting characteristics. All settings that contain flowers, leaves, trees, and bugs have the potential to reveal elements of character. Character is reflected in an object’s distinctive shape, remarkable lines, exceptional contrast, unusual pattern, unique texture, or special light. Finding character in nature is about creating images that set themselves apart from the ordinary and mundane that most photographers capture.
About "Chef" Mike: Mike's an award-winning photographer who started shooting as a hobby in 2001. Today's it's his full-time business and his images have been published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Natures Best Magazine, PC Photo Magazine, Nature Photographer Magazine, Photolife, Whisper In The Woods, Michigan Game Finder, NANPA’s Expressions Books, Pure Michigan Book, and Tamron and Fujifilm's Newsletters.
He's also no stranger here at SCU and has always been willing to share his images and insight to help you become a better photographer. But, what's missing in his bio is his incredible passion for the craft, teaching and becoming one of the industry's most respected educators. Check out his workshop schedule, the Macro Photo Club and definitely wander through his galleries!
Stay tuned for Part II of Mike's Tamron Recipe coming next Tuesday with his podcast. You'll immediately pick up on his love for photography and education. Plus, we'll be sharing more of his work with a series of stunning images! Check out Mike's website with a click on his image above.
Stay tuned - Things never slow down in the Tamron Kitchen! There's a lot more coming this year with a new "chef" and "recipe" every month! And, if you'd like more information about the remarkable SP90mm lens, just click on the banner below.
It might seem like a lazy way to blog, but this post is out of the SCU archives and I've updated it and shared it every three years. We're an industry where there's no challenge in finding something new to write about, especially when it comes to marketing and business, but this check-off list has the ability to help so many of you change your approach to business.
I's Marketing Monday, and for most of you, business is starting to ramp up. I meet and talk to so many photographers who blame everything bad that happens in their business on the economy, technology, etc. They never look in the mirror! Sadly, they miss so many great opportunities to improve their brand awareness.
With Spring seasonality about to take hold, it seems like a great idea to give you a checkoff list of things to consider in building a more successful business. Another way to look at this is your report card, but instead of waiting until the year is over - let's get your grade NOW so you can make the changes you need to make this year a success!
1) Do people know who you are? Remember, it's not who you know it's who knows you. Press releases, being involved in the community, giving something back, advertising, marketing - they all play a role in building brand awareness. Being involved in your community will do some incredible things to speed up your growth.
2) How's your reputation in your community? If it's terrible, then you need to back off for a little while, get involved in some charity events and look for ways to change your "rating." Most important of all, pay attention to what people say about you and then work on those areas that need improvement.
3) Are you producing outstanding images? This is all about the finished product. Are you a great photographer or does your work look like everybody else's? I've written this a few dozen times in other posts: Look at every image in your online gallery and portfolio and ask one question, "If this was the only image I could show, would I get the job?" If "YES" then it stays, if "NO" or even questionable, don't show it!
4) Are you a one trick pony? You need a little diversity in your skill set so you can expand outside your specialty. You never know who's going to walk through your door and what kind of help they're going to need. You should be working to develop a couple of strong secondary specialties.
5) Are you competitive on what you offer for your services, prices and finished products? Everyone always thinks they need to lower prices to beat their competitors, but lower prices change the dynamics of the entire market and most often, NOT for the better. In a guest post a few years ago, my good buddy Cliff Mautner wrote:
"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. I added an hour here, a flexible payment plan there, and things fell into place nicely."
6) Are you involved in your photographic community? Virtually every community has a group of photographers who get together once a month, to talk about the business. Often there's a guest speaker. One of the best groups I've ever worked with was the Dallas PPA. In virtually every major market programs are coming to your community where you'll not only have a chance to listen to a great guest speaker but meet other photographers.
7) Do you follow a few different blogs? I appreciate your support, but there are a lot of other great blogs to add to your list, many written by photographers in your area of expertise. There are so many different resources and some of the best are photographers who are writing about the challenges of being on the front line every day. Check out Photofocus, ProPhotographerJourney, WestcottU and Succesful-Photographer just to name a few.
8) Are you attending every possible program and workshop you can? Besides PPE, IUSA and WPPI ShutterFest is coming up in two weeks. There are more things coming and being announced almost every day and they're not hard to follow if you make it a point to keep a lot of key players in your tweet stream. JB Sallee is hitting the road for a national tour; Bob Davis is teaching in the Chicago area every Thursday night in May and the list goes on and on. You need to pay attention to your market.
9) Are you spending too much time "negative selling"? Negative selling is talking more about how bad your competitor's work is instead of talking about how good you are. Don't compare yourself to your competitors; it'll only backfire.
Years ago Rollei ran an ad in the major professional photographic magazines. The headline said, "While Hasselblad has slept, Rollei turned dreams into reality!" They even showed a picture of a Hasselblad in the background, on a pillow! Remember, I was president of Hasselblad at the time and couldn't have loved the ad more. I even called their ad agency and offered to pay for more runs of the ad. The ad was a significant contributor that year to helping us continue to build awareness for Hasselblad!
I know how frustrating it is to have competitors in your face, but that's what keeps you on your toes too. If you're a tennis player, people always say your game improves when you play with somebody better than you. Well, in business it's the same. A tough economy and competition force us to look at things we should have looked at a long time ago in our marketing efforts, running our business and even the way we photograph.
10) How's your customer service skill set? It's all about exceeding client expectations. If your customer service is bad or perceived as bad, because you didn't respond fast enough or people feel bounced around, then you've lost the battle before you even had a chance to fight it.
I guess it's just a great day for the world according to Cliff Mautner and I can't think of a better close than his quote:
"I still believe there’s no substitute for busting your ass. I’m working harder than ever to stay working hard. I don’t think that will change. It’s the survival of the fittest out there and this is no time to chill. Sharp skill sets, innovative marketing, and top notch customer service will always prevail."
Illustration Credit: © Sashkin
On April 8 registration opens for all the ShutterFest classes. I don't want to junk up the SF Forum on Facebook with a please come-to-my-class pitch, so I decided to do a quick explanation of what I want to do this year.
My Tuesday program is listed as a double program with two sessions: 4:30 - 6:00 PM and 7:00 to 8:30 PM. I seem to perpetually draw the short-straw on the schedule, but it's sure not a problem this year.
I want to turn this into a full-blown business and marketing workshop. We're in the same room for both sessions so I'm turning the hour in the middle into something more personalized and address specific challenges you're having in your business NOW.
ShutterFest only comes once a year and your time is valuable. I want to give you as much help as I can and want to customize the additional hour. As always, I'll be there afterwards as well. So, once you're registered for my Tuesday class, give me your biggest challenges in an email to skip at mei500 dot com. (Your identity will not be shared, but your question will be.) Note: I don't expect anybody to go without something to eat - so we'll take care of that too.
We are looking forward to catching up to so many old friends and making new ones! See you in St. Louis!
If you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time you know, I always step away from business, marketing and technique on Sunday mornings. It's my way of recharging my battery, and I'm not sure if it helps me focus on the new week ahead, or it's like a great dessert at the end of the previous week.
What's making this morning different is there's absolutely no hesitation in what I want to write about. The idea popped into my head yesterday when Dawn Davis sent me two more images of her husband Bob with the fast becoming infamous ShutterFest '17 poster.
Here's the short backstory. One of the fun benefits of speaking at ShutterFest is the banners they hang in the trade show area of all the speakers each year. I've had the ones from 2016 and 2017 hanging in my garage for the last two years. They make Sheila, and me laugh, but they also hide a lot of junk in storage. They're like all the sins hidden by wallpaper in a home! LOL
Since the banners at ShutterFest hang with visibility on both sides for two different speakers, when I got mine home in 2017, Bob Davis was on the flip-side. I told him I'd separate them years ago, but never got around to it. When Bob's wife and mother-in-law were coming for dinner a week ago, I knew it was time to have some fun and turned it around. Opening the garage, there he was. It was a classic moment and perfect for a few laughs and a little memory-making.
The poster went home with Dawn and as you can see it's getting plenty of mileage on the laugh highway in Chicago. Bob hung it in their daughter's closet to start and then when he and Dawn were out, his daughter moved it to over their tub in the master bath!
With these images she sent me, Dawn wrote:
So my kids have this ongoing joke with their dad about how everybody knows him everywhere we go. Someone will always says “Are you Bob Davis?” It always makes our kids roll their eyes. So my husband thought it would be hilarious to hang his banner in our daughter’s closet. She found it tonight and texted us saying she literally thought she was going to die.
And that brings me to my first point this morning.
We're in a stressful and challenging business. Any small business owner is feeling the pressure of changes in the economy, customer retention, maintaining a steady flow of revenue and the list goes on and on. In the process, we forget to laugh or for that matter, help others laugh!
Forgetting to laugh or just not laughing enough is the stuff that ages you before your time. Laughter feeds your soul, and your soul is like a locomotive - it's what pulls the train no matter how many cars are behind it!
"You don't stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing."
We're an industry built on a foundation of friendships. Bob, Dawn and I have been "friends" for years, but we never got quality time together. Every conversation was always in passing at a trade show or convention without the time to really share very much. When I heard Dawn was coming down to visit her parents just 90 minutes away, it was the perfect opportunity to reinforce the foundation of friendship we had and invest some quality time.
It's essential for you to build your skill set as an artist, but it's even more important to expand that skill set with great friendships and in turn plenty of laughter. It's an investment in your life that will NEVER depreciate, and in fact, great friends become a critical ingredient to fuel your soul, your creativity and your passion for life!
And to Bob, Dawn and their daughter who I've never met...thanks for the chuckles; thanks for being great friends and Sheila and I are looking forward to more time together and adding to an already great foundation!
"Friends are the people who make you smile brighter, laugh louder and live better."
Wishing everybody an outstanding day and time to appreciate friends - quality time, not a "wave-by" while multi-tasking and doing something else. You've got to stop for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs and make an investment of sharing quality time. Recognize how important it is to cherish those people who mean the most to you.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
I couldn't be more proud to announce a new SCU partner, Westcott. They're a leader in lighting but even more relevant to SCU's role as an online resource; they're dedicated to education. They're focused not only on great products and one of the most extensive lighting lines in photography but ways to help you build a stronger skill set and business.
In the next few months, you're going to see SCU and Westcott working together to bring you terrific educational content and introduce you to some outstanding products, techniques, artists, and educators.
What a kick! Westcott is in the house!
Click to visit Westcott and Westcott U. Check out one of the largest online resources in photography.
In January of 2013 we started SkipCohenUniversity, playing off of the university concept with a full-blown campus, but all in cyberspace. We wanted to capture the ever-changing landscape of photography, especially in marketing and business. Over the years, thanks to an incredible group of educators and artists, SCU expanded into so many other areas including technique, networking, website design, blogging, and the list goes on and on.
We're expanding more, and with the help of Westcott, we're going to continue to grow. While the company was started in 1899, their entry in photography began in 1969 when their current chairman, Tom Waltz brought his idea for photographic umbrellas to life.
"Now 50 years, 12 patents, and over 600 products later, we’re still manufacturing durable, high-end lighting equipment for professional filmmakers and photographers across the globe."
I've written many times about how this industry is a family, and so many of us have worked together. Here's a perfect example with the twelve artists below. They're all movers and shakers in professional photography and represent some of the most respected artists and educators in our industry.
Meet twelve of Wescott's thirty-five Top Pros who have all been featured in some way in the last few years here at SCU. From our faculty members to episodes of "Why?" to guest posts and podcasts, they've all shared their dedication to helping you raise the bar on the quality of your images. These are just a few of the artists and educators who need to be on your radar. Click on their headshots and check out at least one of their past features on SCU.
Stay tuned - you're going to see a lot of great content working together with Wescott. In the mean time check out their YouTube channel with 364 videos in their archives. And, just in case you don't know just how extensive Westcott's product line and support are, watch this short video! There's a lot packed into forty-three seconds!
Wescott is in the house!
It's hard to believe we've been able to share a new Fast Food Friday almost every week since last February! And, while it started as a way to share quick ideas to help you raise the bar on your business, today's blue-plate special is a lot more than just "fast food."
Today is a full entree, but it's also an opportunity for you to change one aspect of your business - how you communicate with your customers.
Just like the Internet changed the way we share photographs, our phones have changed the way we communicate. We're all texting more and more. I'm using text messaging all the time. From our local CVS Pharmacy to dinner reservations to updated airline information when we're traveling, texting is fast becoming one of my most efficient methods of communication.
Why? Because it's fast, and when done right I have instant fulfillment to my questions, along with a visual copy to refer to later on if needed.
Texting is here to stay, but sadly, so few of you understand the benefits and the many things you can do to engage customers faster, improve customer service and establish an ongoing system for demonstrating customer appreciation.
Five Things that STOP Potential Clients from Making Contact
In the last few weeks I've been introducing you to Phototexting.com, a new SCU partner. I'm excited about what they offer and in fact, I'm using one of their applications myself when teaching/speaking. While they're an incredible developer of marketing apps for photographers, they're really a communications company and they're changing the lives of business owners every day.
I "borrowed" the five points below from their website introduction to share in today's Fast Food Friday, the top five things that stop potential paying clients from contacting your business.
1. Today's consumers do not like email and will avoid filling out forms. Solution: Potential customers may not be ready to engage in a personal call with you, but they will text you. The option to text your business phone number is faster, easier, and preferred by consumers. Texting starts more conversations, more conversations means more bookings.
2. Consumers want answers to their questions NOW. Solution: Answering inquiries instantly is expected and offers great customer service. With PHOTOtexting Text Chat, you are notified instantly that you have a business text and you can respond immediately from your phone, from anywhere.
3. Consumers dislike waiting for additional company information they're promised. Solution: When a lead is asking for more information about your pricing or services, they are close to making a buying decision. PHOTOtexting provides you unlimited smart apps of all your services that you can instantly send to their phone.
4. Consumers appreciate follow up and will respond. Solution: Once a consumer contacts you, they are automatically added to your company mobile list. This makes it easy to send automated alerts and promotions to consumers, keeping them updated and engaged with your company.
5. Consumers want a deal. Solution: Let's face it, everybody wants a deal. A simple added value can move a potential customer closer to booking your business. Need a spike in your business? Send out a text blast alert or promotion to all of your leads with one touch.
I know there are plenty of skeptics out there, but here's a statistic I shared in a post a few weeks ago: 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive.
Check out everything PHOTOtexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales and expand your reach.
Check out four of my favorite ways to use PhotoTexting.com and test drive the process yourself with a text to the number below.
One of the fun things about Facebook is the way we share images.
Turning back the clock to 2009, "Skip's Summer School" was the second major project I took on after starting my own company. The first was three weeks of doing portfolio reviews at Hallmark Institute, which was an incredible experience. However, that was a one-time project, and afterwards it was time to get things going with the core of my new business.
I wrote a little about it this past Sunday, but finding this video in my Facebook archives was a complete surprise. It was produced by Ron Dawson, an incredibly talented artist, and filmmaker. He was a presenter at that first Skip's Summer School, and this is a perfect example of what I love about Throwback Thursday.
While the video is posted on Facebook and certainly can be shared, I still called Ron to make sure he was okay with it. I haven't talked to him in years, and he gave me the okay through an IM and we'll hopefully catch up on the phone one day soon. Throwbacks bring back both memories and old friends.
The second component making this fun is sharing my message in the video. Nothing's changed in the importance of knowing when you're headed to burnout and the importance of recharging your batteries! After all, you do it for your gear before every event you photograph. You're never without the power you need to get the shot in your camera, but so often we forget about our hearts!
And then there's the third ingredient...memories. Molly the Wonder Dog loved chasing tennis balls and her reputation for catching them was legendary. She was only four years old when this video was made, and she chased them right up to the day before she died. That's over thirteen years of chasing, four chukits, and probably 30 cans of balls until a friend at a tennis club brought me a garbage bag full of balls that had lost their bounce!
"I love those random memories that make me smile, no matter what's going in my life right now."
Take the time today to wander through your archives and appreciate what you find when you look in the rearview mirror. While it's important to keep looking forward, there's nothing wrong with a smile and a look backwards now and then.
Image copyright Scott Kelby. All rights reserved.
It was almost three years ago when I was teaching a workshop, and nobody in the class knew who Mary Ellen Mark was. One of the most influential contemporary photographers of this century, who sadly passed away several years ago, and not one person knew anything about her. Well, that started "Why?" I've been on a quest ever since to help you get to know the movers and shakers in the industry - the artists who are helping set the standards for quality, creativity, and presentation.
Scott Kelby joins me for episode 115, and as I mention in my intro, you'd have to have been in solitary confinement for a whole lot of years not to know who he is. I gave you a little background in the podcast, but here's what I didn't go into enough:
He's one of the most diverse photographers in the industry. He's an accomplished author and publisher with sixty books to his name and two magazines. He's a talented musician, which I'm convinced is part of the ingredients that have helped him develop his sense of discipline to continually learn and practice. He's also a kick to hang out with, and there are so many of us whose lives are richer because of time, usually laughing, with Kelby!
If you want to see Scott Kelby in action, make it a point to get to either of the two Photoshop World shows in the next few months. Taking place in Orlando and Las Vegas, they're high-quality, strong content boutique conferences. They're each big enough for great networking and education, but small enough to truly meet and get to know other attendees, the instructors and some of the finest vendors/manufacturers in imaging.
Scott needs to be on your radar. He's always sharing great content, images and providing support to help you raise the bar on your photography! Just click on his logo to the right.
"Why?" is brought to you by...
Behind the scenes of many great projects, some remarkable companies believe in education and helping professional photographers grow as both artists and business owners. I'm proud to be working with the team at PhotoTexting.com, a new SCU partner.
PhotoTexting is giving thousands of photographers the ability to market in the continually growing mobile side of life! They're leading the way in helping photographers communicate with their clients through a great list of creative apps like Customer Appreciation, Mobile Business Cards, Referrals, and Brochures, just to name a few.
PhotoTexting.com is all about helping you take full advantage of the ever-changing communication landscape and creating the most effective ways to reach your clients and build a stronger business.
Check it out with a visit to their website. You can't afford to miss the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your clients. Isn't it time you found out what all the buzz is about?
In the news this morning is the announcement from Tamron USA about the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD lens wining a TIPA Award! Tamron's manufacturing some of the finest glass in imaging and as you review other "members in the family," you'll see the TIPA World Awards thumbnail on a number of different lenses. This is Tamron's eighth TIPA in just the last five years!
" Best Mirrorless Standard Zoom Lens "
"This fast mid-range zoom for Sony E-mount cameras has specialized glass elements that control aberrations and deliver excellent resolution throughout the entire focal length range. All the lens surface is treated with Tamron's proprietary BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating that significantly reduces ghosting and flare. An all-new high-speed AF drive system with an RXD stepping drive delivers rapid, quiet focusing action. The lens features close focusing of 0.19 meters at the wide setting as well as moisture-resistant coating construction and fluorine coating, making it ideal for outdoor and nature photography."
Isn't it time you visited your local Tamron dealer and found out what all the buzz was about?
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.