If you haven't visited the Profoto blog lately, you're missing out on some terrific content. Seth Chandler shared this behind the scenes backstory about my good buddy Sal Cincotta taking on a nighttime portrait session with Profoto's A1.
Besides watching Sal in action, there's a sidebar story I so appreciate. Along with Sal on the shoot were Michael Anthony and Alissa Zimmerman. Michael, Sal and Alissa along with a dozen or so other members of the photographic community are all involved in Shutter Magazine and ShutterFest. Alissa is the Creative Director for the magazine. Michael, besides being very successful as an artist and one of the country's leading wedding photographers, also writes for the magazine.
So, it's a kick when I see photographs tagged with both Sal's name and Michael's. Nothing beats the power of collaboration when you bring great artists together. And, nothing tops the creativity that comes out of a few good friends hanging out together with a purpose!
It's an unstoppable combination.
Every image in this short story is a show-stopper. Even the background shot used for the title page above is stunning. Just give it a click to read Seth Chandler's entire post.
Interesting in seeing more of Sal's images, click on the image above to visit his website. Check out Alissa's work as Creative Director by visiting Shutter Magazine. And let's not forget Michael Anthony - just click on his image of Sal and Alissa on the left.
And, to check out the co-star of this post, the A1, visit your Profoto Dealer and the Profoto website. Profoto is so much more than a manufacturer of the finest light-shaping products in the world. They're dedicated to helping you raise the bar on the quality of your images and they never slow down in trying to help you build a stronger skill set!
Image copyright Jamie House. All rights reserved.
"Why?" is all about images and backstories from some of the most respected artists in photography, but that doesn't mean you'll always recognize each name. Jamie House joins me on this episode of "Why?" We share a number of good friends, but I really hadn't seen her work until I was looking at images for a book I'm working on for Panasonic's LUMIX Ambassadors.
Jamie is an artist, educator, business owner and speaker. She's one of Panasonic's newest LUMIX Ambassadors. When it comes to her unstoppable love for imaging and the craft - even her Facebook profile shot is typical of the way she interacts with students and customers.
Note: This episode was recorded just before Christmas, and got caught in the challenges of year-end and Jamie doing an update on her website, but her message is timeless.
To see more of her work click on the image above to visit her website.
If you haven't stayed in touch with all the great products creating the "buzz," just click on the banner below to connect to Panasonic's Facebook page for the latest in special events.
In many of my posts, and articles for Shutter Magazine through the first quarter, I decided to share content related to building a stronger business for 2018.
The first month of the "slow season" is rapidly coming to a close leaving you less and less time to strengthen the foundation of your business. All of you know how to focus your camera, but so many of you can't find a point of focus for your photography in the new year.
When it comes to your overall career, you probably started out on one path with a very definite purpose. Along the way, many of you lost sight of your goal. You started taking little side trips. The side trips are sometimes fun, other times nothing but stress-producers. They slow you down, and usually, you don't realize it.
It's like those days when you have some very specific things you want to work on, but instead of doing your own thing, you keep getting interrupted. At the end of the day, you can't figure out what you did, because all day you were helping solve everybody else's challenges.
I went off in search of some ideas from people known for their focus:
"Success depends on getting good at saying no without feeling guilty.
You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects.
You can only get ahead with your desired lifestyle
if you are focused on the things that will produce that lifestyle."
"The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go.
If you’re going to hunt elephants, don’t get off the trail for a rabbit."
T. Boone Pickens
"Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days".
"When you have a pile of bills that you have no idea how you are going to pay,
you cannot focus on the bills, because you will continue to attract more bills.
You have to find a way that works for you to focus on prosperity, despite the bills around you."
The good news is there's still plenty of time to do some fine-tuning and here are some ideas:
Most important of all take the time to think things through. There is no AF button. This is all about manual focus and thinking through your goals. It's not enough to just have a lofty goal - you've got to decide on the steps you need to get there!
"Next in importance to having a good aim is to recognize when to pull the trigger."
Images copyright Dennis Goodman. All rights reserved.
Now and then an artist comes along with a little bit of a twist in his or her presentation style.
Meet Dennis Goodman, a photographer from Naples, Florida who was exhibiting at the Sarasota Art Festival this past weekend. There were a lot of different photographers sharing their work at the event, but the image above caught my eye and pulled me into the booth. Besides stunning images, Dennis's signature is big canvas prints.
I talked him into a quick grab shot, but in all honesty, you don't feel the true impact of his work until you're staring into the beauty of a BIG canvas!
Years ago my good buddy Terry Clark talked about how to find your niche in your community:
“The best thing to do to survive and thrive is find what everyone else isn’t doing and do that thing.”
Big prints aren't a new concept, but the way Dennis had them on display and his choice of prints to bring to the festival made his work stand out! The two big "gator" shots pulled me in because they were so different and striking.
Click on any image in this post to visit his website.
Sunday mornings in our house always start out the same way, but not this morning. For the first time in years I slept in an extra hour. I'm writing with just a little more energy than usual, and I've got just the topic.
At the end of last June, Sheila and I started walking every morning for half an hour. We were both tired of the aging process and decided to get back into shape, modify our diet and it's working. Except for the flu battle after IUSA, we're feeling great - lots more energy, but there's been a side benefit, perfect to share this morning.
Wherever we've lived we've never taken the time to really get to know our neighbors. We had our lives and they had their's. So, beyond the houses on either side, that's always been pretty much it. Walking every morning we've made it a point to introduce ourselves to everybody who was out.
We moved just over a year ago to a smaller community with a wonderful mix of younger couples, kids and a few retirees sprinkled here and there. Sometimes I've taken a camera with me, other times if there's something I want to photograph I'll grab the camera and head back out, but here's the fun of it all.
All of us live busy hectic lives. We rarely take the time anymore to stop and talk, especially to people we don't know. I'm convinced the hat I wear has been the icebreaker we needed and here's a perfect example.
Our son is military and gave me this baseball hat which I'm rarely without. I know I talked about it in a past post. It means a lot to me and I wear it with a great deal of pride. It's also an interesting conversation starter wherever we go.
On morning walks over the holidays we met "Rob." He walked about the same time we did every day. We thought we were meeting a new neighbor, but as it turned out, he was visiting his son a couple of streets over for Christmas and New Years. He asked about my hat and a week after he left we got a package in the mail.
He sent us a Service Flag to hang in our front window. The Service Flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for families who have a member serving in any branch of the Armed Forces. He had mentioned he was going to send us one, but people always make promises they don't keep. So, when it arrived, Rob's follow-through confirmed a lot about our instinct that he seemed like a good guy.
So, here's my point this beautiful Sunday morning. Let's all slow it down a little and get to know the people around us - the neighborhood. If you have small children it's easy to get to know your neighbors, but I'm betting if you're an empty nester you know far less people in the immediate area than you did when you had kids at home.
I get that I'm sounding like Mr Rogers singing, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," but as sappy as it sounds, it really is. Your neighbors need to be in your network. It's important for you to know them and they need to know you. Plus, I'm betting most of you are out of shape - and walking just a half an hour every day has repeatedly been proven to be life-extending!
Wishing everybody a wonderful Sunday and time to slow things down a little. Take the time to have a conversation with a neighbor. Let's all work to expand our world beyond texts and emails and shake a few hands! And as always, go for those eleven-second hugs with the people most special in your life!
Happy Sunday everybody!
Ever get a surprise gift or card from a friend? Well, I know it sounds pretty hokey, but that's the way I feel when I wander into Tamron's YouTube channel and catch a new video I hadn't heard about. Yes, they're an SCU partner and I'm expected to spread the word on things they're doing, but there's so much more to sharing a video like this.
First, it's winter time and this year especially, at least half of you have seen more than your fair share of snow. So, in this new video Ken Hubbard is in Grand Teton National Park with outdoor photographer, Cecil Holmes. There's plenty of snow along with the challenges of shooting in the cold and unique lighting conditions. They're sharing some great tips about outdoor shooting in the winter - regardless of your subject matter.
Second, while this video's purpose is to expand your knowledge of Tamron's products, it's introducing you to an artist who needs to be on your radar. Click on any of Cecil's images in this post and you'll link directly to his website. You'll get to know him even better with a visit to his galleries, blog and workshop schedule.
Third, video is one of your very best marketing tools. Tamron USA, together with Ken and Cecil's help, is telling the story of their 100-400mm lens. They've only got three minutes to make the points they want and from my perspective they've done it perfectly. That takes me to my favorite point in sharing many of the Tamron videos - how would you tell your story?
Pay attention to the skill set of the videographer, the music chosen and the mix of video together with the still images Cecil is capturing. In all honesty, they've given you a working storyboard to tell your own story as a marketing and self-promotional piece.
Last on the list are the tools you have available to raise the bar on your skill set, and the 100-400mm lens is a perfect example.
Great equipment, especially the optics you choose for capturing your images, does make a difference in the quality of the photographs. Keep in mind the still images I've chosen to add here are all screen shots from the video. Imagine how stunning they are in print from the original files!
Tamron never slows down in their quest for education. Yes, their core business is to manufacture and sell lenses, but they're also a leader in taking on the responsibility to help you build a stronger skill set. In the next month or so they're going to hit the road again with a variety of educational programs - stay tuned for the schedule of events, but in the mean time, visit your local Tamron dealer and see for yourself what all the buzz is about!
I'm not sure how I missed sharing this video from Profoto a few months back, but I just watched it twice this morning, and it's so well done. It's not in English, and you'll have to hit "CC" to get the subtitles, but try watching it without any translation. Pay attention to not only the shooting style of Haiyin Lin but the videography as well.
What I love even more about this is the way Haiyin Lin chose to tell her story.
"Her journey as a photographer began after she graduated from Columbia University in New York City. At first, she mostly specialized in portraits but pretty quickly moved on to fashion shooting for top magazine titles such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
No surprise, then, that Haiyin's initial instinct was to put the Profoto A1 to the test in the familiar surroundings of New York City. But after a little more thought, she came up with an even better concept. "I liked the idea of doing something more in the Chinese tradition, with a model wearing traditional clothes with a modern twist." As a result of this change of heart, Haiyin couldn't have found a location farther from the loud, overcrowded, choked-up streets of Manhattan."
Photography truly is the universal language and the beauty of both Haiyin Lin's images and the way the videographer has told the story is stunning.
This video was part of Profoto's launch of the A1 last year and appropriately named, "The World is My Studio." Click on either of my favorite screenshots from Haiyin Lin's video to read Steven Hanratty's more in-depth article last November.
And, if you haven't visited a Profoto dealer to find out what all the buzz is about, what are you waiting for? Just click on the link below to find the dealer or rental house nearest you or the A1 or B1X for more information to help make your world your studio!
I'm considering this a first for my blog. It's my version of a public service announcement, but I need to start with a question I'm curious about.
How many of you were in Nashville at the convention and returned home with some version of the flu?
Sheila and I don't live our lives giving into the paranoia that seems to drive so many people. We got our flu shots. We've watched the news and the map showing the flu's rise to epidemic proportions. We went to Nashville with hand-sanitizer and tried to minimize the hugs etc. We even joined good buddy Bob Coates in his immediately trend-setting "elbow bump" greeting rather than shaking hands. But a day or two after Nashville, Sheila got the bug and spent the next few days in bed, and then I followed. I'm just getting back into things today.
Well, that's where I've been this week!
Here are three articles I wanted to share with everybody before you do any more traveling this year. Although each one overlaps a little in their advice, the video in the first link hits on some challenges with travel. On the news the other night they talked about there being more bacteria on an airline tray table than a toilet seat!
Here I am, almost back to normal, and doing my best to help some of you avoid the flu this year. This last round of being sick was a doozy! So, I'm wishing you a travel/convention season that's flu-less! Stay healthy and don't worry about anybody being offended if you don't shake hands!
by Skip Cohen
It might not seem like a topic for Marketing Monday, but how you handle yourself over the phone is at the top of the list of important marketing tools. And, at a time where the world is driven by email and texting communications, a live call is back on top of relationship building techniques in business!
There was a time when "Ma Bell" used to do classes for business clients on phone etiquette. I remember being sent to a workshop in my Customer Service days at Polaroid and thinking how stupid it was to suggest I didn't have the skill set to answer the phone. But it wasn't about answering the phone; it was how to use the phone as a customer service tool.
A while back I had one of the worst calls trying to reach a friend at a manufacturer I've known for years. His operator disconnected me twice. Then when I got a little irritable and sarcastic, she attacked me for calling at lunchtime, when they're "short on staff." Honestly, does any customer care about what's going on in your life when they call? Do any of us care about how busy a company might be when we're trying to contact somebody?
Well, that set me off on a quest through Cyberspace. I found an interesting site with a series of solid tips to help you strengthen your phone skills, www.telephonedoctor.com. I found so many excellent tips. And, if you're looking for great reminders on Customer Service overall, check out Shep Hyken's blog. He's always sharing ideas on how to exceed client expectations!
A few years ago I wrote a post about this same subject, and shared the quote below from PhonePro.org, now doing business as Bonfire Training:
"If you could hear the sounds customers make when attempting to navigate through your company’s IVR, (Interactive Voice Response) would it sound like a haunted house filled with agonizing, blood curdling screeches, moans and groans? …that could be scaring away both your new and loyal customers."
Last week I tried to call Amazon's customer service. It took me four transfers before I got the right department and an expert capable of answering my question. By that time I was so tired of being handed off, I simply hung up the phone. I gave up!
So, here's my point. It's the "slow season" and the perfect time to take on a few projects to strengthen your business. Here are two issues to think about:
First, how's your overall system of communicating with your clients? Don't rely on just a contact form for them to fill out on your website and then click "Send." If a client is excited about your work, they want to talk to you, NOT fill out a form. When they do call, make sure your system is working right, so you get the call or at least the message quickly. Make sure you call them back promptly because if you don't, one of your competitors will.
Second, no matter what bizarre things are going on in your day, smile when you're talking to people on the phone. This is all about being cheerful and having a great attitude. Believe it or not, you can tell when somebody is smiling on the other end of the line. Getting a phone call from a client is an opportunity for you to show your personality.
Good old personal customer service is going to win out every time, and sadly in today's market, so many people forget about it. The good news is that it gives you a chance to shine!
Got to run, the phone's been ringing for ten minutes - wonder why my voicemail isn't picking up? LOL
Image copyright Yvonne Renee Boyd. All rights reserved.
The photography industry is built on a foundation of creativity, passion, and friendships. Sure, great images are at the core, but it's the artists we meet along the way who help make each day in the industry a little more special.
Chamira Young and I, together with PhotoShelter, launched a new podcast series on January 17 called "Beyond Technique." Exploring the PhotoShelter website and blog, I was looking at their New Member Shoutouts. The first thing that hit me was the quality of the photographs, and the second, the diversity of the images.
It's time for you to meet Yvonne Renee Boyd, a talented photographer from Atlanta. There's a section of her bio that's typical of so many of the most creative artists we know. Photographers who started their journey in another direction, and along the way discovered photography.
..."she wanted to be a drummer in a rock and roll band...she went to college to study music and after graduation moved to Atlanta, where while realizing her dream of playing music she also discovered her passion for photography. After spending six years working in the studio of a commercial photographer, Yvonne opened up her own boutique photo lab. A decade later she made the decision to close the lab and began shooting her own work full time. She's been published nationally with advertising and editorial work; her prints have been purchased by private collectors as well as commercial clients...along the way she did play drums in rock and roll bands - still plays today."
If you've never visited the PhotoShelter website, click on the banner below. A leader in helping artists present their work, they're also an incredible resource covering so many different aspects of photography. They never slow down in their efforts to help you run a more successful business.
Best of all, they set the standard for being accessible. They're just a phone call away at 212-206-0808. Most questions are answered on their website, but there's always a live body to help you raise the bar for your business. I so appreciate their ability to walk the talk!
We're back from the convention in Nashville, and it's pretty much a normal Sunday morning. As usual I'm up early, Molly the Wonder Dog is resting at my feet and Sheila's hopefully still asleep. I just can't seem to sleep past 6:30 am.
As usual, I'm off track - far from the topic of photography. However, if you're joining me then you already know the direction I take on Sunday mornings. And, from your response it seems the more I go off track, the better.
Yesterday while looking for some great quotes for the week ahead, I ran across this one:
"Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.
Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.
Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now!
There are only so many tomorrows."
Pope Paul VI
As I've gotten older I've noticed how fast time seems to fly by. I'm aware of how quickly one memory seems to melt into another, and another. I've found myself caring about things that never mattered and being concerned about issues that always seemed so far removed.
The current scare over the flu epidemic is a perfect example since I'm now old enough to be close to the danger zone. In fact, just watching the news and seeing one tragedy after another has me holding Sheila just a little tighter when we snuggle up at night.
None of us know what tomorrow will bring, and that takes me to my point this morning. We've got to do the best job we can of living our lives to the fullest. There's a unique level of awareness that comes with age. I realize just how short life really is, and how fast time literally flashes by.
It's fine to recognize things you should have done differently in the past, but life isn't about what's in your rearview mirror. It's about the journey ahead of you. Learn from your regrets and move on to that next special moment.
"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
Wishing you a day filled with peace, love and memory-making moments. Take the time to remind those people most important to you of the special role they play in your life. Go for those therapeutic eleven-second hugs. And, just to play off one of my favorite sunsets above - great sunsets can't be a part of your life if you don't take the time to look at them!
Happy Sunday everybody!
Intro by Skip Cohen
A few months ago a good friend told me I was having way too much fun. "Fun" is one of those words too often lost in business today. All of us get so wrapped up in the day to day challenges we forget to have fun! Well, fun is one of those things I love about Photodex and their approach to helping photographers become better storytellers.
One of their trademarks is their support of education. Sharing your images in a slideshow becomes "fun" when it's done well and helps create a stronger relationship with a client. Photodex never slows down on building great content and this series featuring Suzette Allen, who I refer to as the "Queen of Hybrid," is a perfect example. You can't create great slideshows if the images you use are mediocre!
This week Suzette is sharing some great tips on developing a sunset strategy. While some of you might find this pretty basic, I'm betting the majority of will find it a great reminder to take your time and develop a strategy, even when shooting in sweet light!
Your goal with every client is to exceed expectations, and that's where slideshows can be an incredible ingredient. I'm always surprised at how many of you still haven't jumped on the presentation bandwagon. There's very little that beats a series of great still images, short video clips, and great music all put together to demonstrate your ability to tell the story of a client.
Learn more about ProShow by clicking on any of the three links below. ProShow 9 was introduced several months ago, and it's the perfect addition to your skill set as a storyteller, and don't forget to use SAVE20WITHSKIP in the code box when you purchase any Photodex product for a 20% discount.
I photographed a friend in Florida for her 30th birthday at sunset. The images were awesome and varied in style because there are so many phases and types of light during a sunset. In the course of 30 minutes, you can get a huge variety of looks if you know how to leverage the light.
In this session, we had about 15 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after. We were in a simple marina/cove with a cement edge (no beach), a wooden ramp and a small pier. The sun was still shining and harsh when we arrived so I faced Sarah away from the sun and let it shine through her hair, backlighting and giving a little flare or edge light. The cross light gives dimension and the open sky is a soft forgiving light for the face.
Once the sun set and the light was soft but directional, I swapped sides with her (light was behind my shoulder), and posed her on the ramp and pier for impeccable light with the whole scene bathed in glorious pink sunset light.
As the sunset progressed and the sky turned pink, the only way to capture that was to light her up to match, so we brought out a hand-held LED light (about 4”x6”) which is a small hard light, but gave it a fashion look.
We used it off-camera and focused on “butterfly light” which puts a small shadow below the nose and it quite flattering.
Once it got even darker, we switched to the Lumix 42.5 Nocticron which is a f1.2 lens, which allowed us to shoot into the late evening and we just turned down the power on the light to match the setting sun.
The nice thing about shooting with LED lights after sunset is you can see what you are doing, balance the light sources visually, and focus well! (and also the models eyes are not so dialated).
So, for a spur of the moment photoshoot, with only a few minutes before sunset, we captured a lot of styles with only a small LED light!
Note: All images captured with Panasonic's NEW Lumix G9. With full resolution in a 20.3-megapixel sensor, plus 80 megapixels high-resolution JPEG /RAW in-camera image.
Photography is one of those careers where you can never slow down on the educational side of your skill set. Theres always something new, whether it's in technology, technique or running your business. The Photo Summit launches this Saturday and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of it.
There are 39 photographers/business owners involved in The Photo Summit, with an incredible diversity of specialties and topics. And, it's FREE for seven days!
Just click on the banner above for more information and your free registration.
Now and then the perfect photo comes along for Throwback Thursday!
The year is 1976. The location is my Polaroid "going away" party in Waltham, Ma and the jacket and tie are UGLY! Whenever you left a job for something else inside or outside the company, your co-workers threw you a party.
Polaroid back in those days was a Fortune 500 company with 20,000+ employees. I was in Customer Service, and at the time our biggest challenge was the defect rate of the SX-70 camera. It was so high, a company launching a product like that today would be out of business in a month!
The first thing that saved the company back then was, there was no Internet. People had no forum to express themselves immediately. The second was an incredible V.P. by the name of Jon Wolbarst. He positioned Customer Service as the conscience of the company. It was our responsibility to make things right, pretty much no matter what the cost or the time it took. The wealth of camera and film problems left us no shortage of challenges to deal with. As an extreme, the company launched roving rep calls.
Late one evening I got a call from my manager telling me to be on a plane to Detroit in the morning to make a house-call. They had an angry customer threatening a class action lawsuit who couldn't get a decent photograph out of her SX-70.
I landed in Detroit, picked up a rental car and drove to her home. The problem was apparent immediately. She was almost blind with the thickest glasses I'd ever seen. Auto-focus wasn't invented yet and the camera had a follow-focus flash system. If you were off on the focus of your subject, the results were either under or over-exposed. The initial fix for the company was a distance scale on the front of the lens so you could estimate your distance as another way to focus.
The picture of me, complete with my GQ wardrobe is another example of the initial limitations of using flash. Captured with an SX70 and a flash-bar, you can see the immediate fall off of light.
Let's get back to why this is a perfect example of a throwback.
I've written a lot suggesting throwback images are perfect for your blog. First, they give you fun content every Thursday to share with your readership. Second, picking old images that show how styles have changed is perfect to help you demonstrate your skill set as a time traveler! For most of you, your target audience is Mom. She needs to be reminded how much the kids are changing and the need to update the family portrait or the importance of capturing more memories.
Third, you can build content in advance. This is the traditional slow season in photography, but that doesn't mean it has to be slow for you! Utilize this time to build a stash of posts, starting with Throwback Thursdays. You don't need to write a lot, just find those old images to share. Then use them to light a fire under your readers to update family portraits. Styles change, we change, and there are very few things in photography more fun than old photographs.
Looking back at old photographs brings back memories and makes us feel nostalgic.
It's a time machine bringing us to the time and places where we can see and feel everything in the details.
P.S. I'm holding a trophy my co-workers created. They took a beyond repair SX-70, mounted it on one of the old fixed focus Polaroid Colorpack camera bodies and then sprayed the whole thing gold. Some time over the last forty years, it sadly didn't survive a move, but the memories sure did!
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!
There are some incredible benefits to attending any large convention - the opportunity to meet new people, catch up with friends and watch some of your favorite icons in action. Just walking around the trade show floor of IUSA the last few days I caught Jeremy Cowart, Clay Blackmore, Bobbi Lane, Peter Hurley, Suzette Allen and Michele Celentano, just to name a few.
Well, it got me thinking about the character traits of the icons in the industry, many of them, the people I respect the most. They all have a common trait; they love what they're doing! They're always happy when I see them, talk to them, look at their images or listen to one of their webinars or podcasts. Their enthusiasm is infectious. You can't help but smile back whether literally or figuratively.
Think about some of these people for a minute. Has anyone ever seen Michele Celentano miserable? Think Clay Blackmore has ever kicked a puppy? Ever asked Suzette Allen a question and had her ignore you? Ever seen Bobbi Lane slow down? The list could go on and on with people we admire, people who have made it a point to love what they're doing. Every day for them is another new adventure.
I've got one point this morning - if you're not happy in what you're doing then what are you doing to change it? I'm not talking about hating some of the tasks you have to do. We all have things we hate doing. I'm talking about finding the one thing that makes you love waking up every day! How are you going to build a life that puts a never-ending goofy smile on your face?
People often tell me I "seem so happy". That's because I am! It took me years to figure it out, but I made some changes in my life and took back the control I'd given up. I'm not suggesting it was easy, but I couldn't have done it by myself. You can't make life changes in a bubble - you need a solid sounding board, a partner, a spouse, a friend or a family member. You need somebody in your life you can babble endlessly to, and they won't have you committed!
So, it's time to subscribe to the To-Thine-Ownself-Be-True Club. You don't have to make the changes all at once, but I can promise you that just starting to put together a plan with a timeline will renew your energy and help you develop a more positive outlook. Best of all, photography couldn't be a better choice for your future!
And for those of you who are happy and love what you're doing - it's take-a-person-with-an-unhappy-career-choice to lunch week! I know it sounds hokey, but give me a hand and let's help more people realize their dreams!
This might seem a little abstract, but it's perfect for Marketing Monday.
The image above is birds feeding on a bait ball, several hundred hards off the Nokomis Beach shore last week. Whenever you see a cluster of birds on the ocean like this, it means there's a large school of small fish just below the surface and the birds are feeding. When you're scuba diving there are few things more fun than swimming through a bait ball, as your body parts a school of thousands of tiny fish like Charleton Heston parting the sea in The Ten Commandments.
Stay with me, because feeding on a bait ball has a great analogy for business! From my perspective this morning there are two main issues related to bait balls photographers get involved with.
First, the shot below is part of the crowd around Peter Hurley yesterday at IUSA, doing a program on the floor of the show. It was an educational feeding frenzy as several hundred photographers stopped to listen to his short presentation.
I'm a huge fan of Peter's, and he's been at the cutting edge of education with his message on Headshots for a long time. I love the fact that so many people stopped to listen to his presentation. That's the good side of a feeding frenzy and yes, I'm comparing Peter's wisdom to a bait ball.
Now, here's the other side of chasing a bait ball - why get caught in the crowd? Peter's one of the industry's best educators. His book has been a best-seller in our industry for several years. He's a great presenter. I know the fun of watching one of your heroes speak at a convention, but it's so important to understand the message and the associated technique.
So many of the artists in the crowd above will never do anything with the educational content Peter shared yesterday. They won't take the next step to work on their skill set and appreciate the small slice of inspiration Peter provided. They'll return to their business at the end of the convention, procrastinate about changing their philosophy/style and complain about sales being off the mark six months down the road.
Last on the analogy list, is the feeding frenzy for new business and photographers forgetting they have to make themselves unique to stand out in the community. Like Peter's ability to create excitement over understanding how to capture the personalities of your subjects in a headshot, there's more to the process than just understanding exposure and when to click the shutter!
Here's my point - appreciate the bait ball, but look for ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. It's fine to be caught in the frenzy of education to raise the bar on your business and skill set, but learn to make diversity and adaptation an ongoing part of your process.
And, like my grandmother used to say. and staying with a bird theme, be the first to launch new creative ideas and products making yourself a leader instead of a follower.
"The early bird gets the worm!"
Last year, due to weather and a series of conflicts, I missed every major convention except ShutterFest. It was a great year, but missing a serious ongoing component - contact with old and new friends. While I talk to photographers every day via email, IMs and often the phone, nothing beats a handshake...or germ-less #elbow-bump like my good buddy Bob Coates started on Facebook before IUSA this weekend.
Yesterday afternoon, wandering over to the trade show floor, I realized just how long it had been, as I bumped into friends I haven't seen in at least two years! With each renewed how-are-you experience I found myself going through a process.
I was searching my own internal Google page and remembering people's names! It's not my age that's slowing me down, but 40+ years of conventions, workshops and trade shows. What's funny about my process is I can look at somebody I haven't seen for a long time and remember where they're from. I can remember what they do in photography, often specific images they've shared, and sometimes even what they ordered the last time we had a meal together - but their name always comes up last!
There were years in the past where the convention season started with CES, then PMA, IUSA, WPPI, followed by several state conventions, my own summer school program and finishing with PPE in NYC. I had regular contact with the industry. Fast forward to today, and things have changed, I spend more time in Cyberspace and less time face to face, and then, like many of you, think my memory isn't what it used to be.
Years ago I was feeling frustrated over forgetting things. I'd walk into the kitchen and have to pause, not remembering what I went to get. So, since I have a family history of Alzheimer's I told my doctor I wanted to have the pre-disease test. He gave me this pathetic look and said, "Going into the kitchen and forgetting what you went there for is just overload. Going into the kitchen and forgetting what the kitchen is used for is Alzheimer's."
So here's my point this morning. First, nothing beats a conference where we have an opportunity to be together as an industry. No matter what kind of year 2017 was for your business, it's time to recharge and get ready for a new year. That energy to recharge comes from your network, and nothing beats personal contact. If you're not here at IUSA and on the fence about state conventions, WPPI or ShutterFest, all coming up, just decide to attend as many conferences as you can.
Second, if we bump into each other this week at IUSA and I have a dumb look on my face, just give me a few seconds! I'm on overload and simply out of bandwidth - that internal Google system in my head is constantly refreshing the page.
And last but not least - the media has all of us justifiably paranoid about this year's flu season. So, Bob Coates has the right idea - go for the elbow bump!
As always, make it a great day away from the business. Pay attention to those people special in your life and if you're here in Nashville, cherish the fact that we're an industry responsible for constantly changing the world. Where would the world be without imaging?
Happy Sunday everybody - go for those eleven-second hugs today, and make it a day where you pat yourself on the back - it's a new year and an opportunity to simply make it the best one yet.
A few days ago Tamron USA posted the video above on YouTube. Yes, it's a testimonial for their SP15-30mm lens, but there are other reasons why I wanted to share it in a post today.
Enjoying the quality of the BTS video, I took a scroll through cyberspace to the Shoots Media website. Staying with their winter theme, check out this short clip, "Boys of Winter."
Thanks to today's technology all of you have the ability to do a short marketing video for your website. "About" sections are great but a short video highlighting your passion for imaging, and your ability to create an incredible experience for your clients will always pull more people into your story.
Keith Nicholson is telling a small piece of his story at the same time as Tamron's. Click on the banner below to check out the newest programs and then visit a Tamron dealer. Follow Tamron's on the road programs and workshops to find out how they can help you tell your story.
Just like the game show, "Millionaire" I had to phone a friend on this one. Best guess is around '92, and I think we're at PhotoEast, now PPE in New York. Hasselblad was a steady advertiser in Petersen's PHOTOgraphic at the time.
We had just announced the winner of a contest to win a Hasselblad 500 Classic, the tall gentleman in the middle. The two women in the image became two of my very best friends over the years, and we're still in touch. Jackie Augustine, on the left, was the publisher at the time and Kathy Schneider (now Kathy Jello) was the advertising director. This one brings back some great memories.
I love Throwback Thursday because it forces me to look through my files of old images and take these short trips down Memory Lane. As a photographer, you have a marketing opportunity to share old images that get "Mom" thinking about how fast the kids are growing, and her family is changing. Plus, so many of you struggle with fresh content for your blog.
So, dig out some of those old images for material. You just might be surprised at your ability to create a few sales when your point hits home with your target audience.
One of the things I love about working with the team at Profoto is their ability to never slow down on creating great content. Yes, they manufacture some of the finest lighting equipment in the world, but great gear isn't just about the lighting, it's about the people behind the products. It's about a team who helps you raise the bar on your skill set, the quality of your images and provides creative inspiration.
In this recently released short video, Albert Watson talks about his image of Kate Moss. The video is only a minute and a half, but in those ninety seconds you'll get to know a little more about one of the finest contemporary photographers in our industry.
If you haven't visited a Profoto dealer lately, it's time for you to see for yourself what all the buzz is about. The new A1, B1X and D1 are just part of the story and Profoto's ability to help you bring your work to an entirely new level! Just click on the banner below to find the Profoto dealer or rental house nearest you!
To read the entire blog post about this video, just click on the image of Kate Moss above and you'll be linked to Profoto's blog, and one of my most favorite resources for creativity: "Inspiration."
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.