It's Throwback Thursday and at the risk of sending some of you screaming at me for writing another post about Molly the Wonder Dog, today isn't about any sadness, but a process utterly foreign to me.
While I've experienced the loss of friends and family over the years, most of the time it was because of old age. I never had a dog from puppy through adulthood. Having Molly by my side for over 13 years left a void I've never experienced.
It was this video that got me smiling and bringing back some of the great memories. I was in a daily state of sadness. Even though so many of you commented, especially on Facebook, and reminded me the pain I was feeling was normal, that didn't change the misery I felt at letting Molly go.
Looking back through old photographs and files; I came across this video. It's been in my private channel on YouTube for a few years now, but just too much fun not to share.
Here's the backstory on the video:
Molly grew up in California. When we moved to Ohio in April of 2009 her first winter soon followed. She loved chasing tennis balls, and a little snow wasn't going to stop her. She was only four years old in the video. Up until the day before I lost her two weeks ago at almost 14, she was still chasing balls.
This was one of my first videos with a little FLIP camera, and the music was in the selection of what they offered for free use at the time. While the video will never win any awards for production values, it's a winner for making me smile. She never misses a ball, no matter how deep it's buried in the snow, and her tail never misses a beat of the music!
Do I still hurt and grieve? Absolutely, but I'm amazed at how many of you have shared your own stories about your pets. It's that unconditional love they share with us every minute of every day, and when they're gone, it leaves a monstrous hole.
The bottom line is just like all of you; I'm work in progress. It's a horrible experience to lose a pet, but it would be far worse if they weren't in our lives at all.
The longer I'm in this industry, the more everyday occurrences remind me of things I’ve heard or learned over the years. After a lifetime in some aspect of photography from starting out making emulsions in a research lab at Polaroid right through to yesterday’s phone conversations, email threads, and forum discussions, the non-photography lessons are relatively few in comparison to everything else.
Take this past Monday night’s sunset for example. We were at friends for dinner on Long Boat Key. We hadn’t been there before and didn’t know they were right on the water. While I’m usually not without a camera, with WPPI this week, I’d left everything at home, packed for the next day’s trip. All I had was my cell phone, which honestly didn’t do too bad a job, at least for Internet viewing…so there’s lesson one from Monday night – practice what you preach and don’t get caught short without a real camera.
But lesson two is a BIG one.
Years ago, I did a podcast with the late Mary Ellen Mark. She’d been a nice friend going back to my Hasselblad days in the ’80s. She talked about why she loved shooting analog so much more than digital. As an example, she told me how she made her students cover up the LCD screen on their cameras to help them learn to wait for the “decisive moment.”
I’m paraphrasing a little, but this was her point,
“Shooting digitally photographers check to see if they got the shot and move on, but what if the real moment is yet to come? What if the emotion of grandma’s tears with a bride wasn’t at the hug, but seconds or minutes later?”
Last night’s sunset looked like it was going to be non-existent. It was all clouds and solid gray. Little by little the clouds started to break apart, and while we never got the kind of sunset that graces the covers of romantic novels, the sun found a spot to sneak through, and it was stunning, but only for a minute or two. All I had to do was be patient and wait for it.
And here’s one more fun perspective. Having spent most of my life living inland, I love living near the ocean. Just about every vacation over the years was always near the water. I remember all those bittersweet moments when a vacation was about to come to an end, and we’d sneak in walk on the beach before packing, trying to make the most of the last night.
So, these days, whenever Sheila and I leave the beach one of us always says the same thing...“Hey, it’s not our last night!”
Last year Tamron launched their "One Location, One Lesson, One Lens" series. It's been a nonstop hit with each new episode. But, it's so much more than just a great demonstration of what Tamron lenses can do - it's a chance to meet some phenomenal artists and educators, who, in each new video share some excellent tips to help you raise the bar on your images.
This new Lesson features Erica Robinson, a member of Tamron's Tech Team. She's an accomplished artist, having a diverse background in imaging from photography support on a cruise ship to weddings to landscape, travel, and teaching. And all along the way, there are two common denominators - her passion for the craft and quality!
Every month Erica and the team are out and about around the country with multiple workshop events. They need to be on your radar, and you'll find a complete listing of programs just a click away.
Erica's on the Oregon coast with Tamron's Ken Hubbard watching her back as the tide comes in. Watch the video and you'll see just how close the Pacific comes to catching her! She's working with Tamron's new 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD lens. Click on the banner below for more information, and examples of the outstanding new member of the Tamron family.
And, if you're headed to WPPI this week, swing by the Tamron booth, #335 and catch the Tamron team along with daily presentations, all aimed at helping you expand your skill set.
Over the years I've shared so much great content from Profoto's archives, especially from YouTube. Well, here's one we missed and while it might be a few years old, the "Light Shaper" himself, Andrea Belluso, packs a lot of outstanding content into this three-minute video. There's no expiration date on excellent technique and education - especially in understanding lighting and stunning portraiture!
Profoto never slows down, not only manufacturing the finest lighting equipment in professional photography, but on their focus on education and helping photographers build a stronger skill set. Check out the Profoto Gallery of images all captured both indoors and out with umbrellas.
If you haven't listened to the EDU10 podcasts yet, they're short pieces thanks to some of the most creative artists in the industry. Click on the thumbnail to listen to two of the newest, Traci Magolosky and Bobbi Lane. Stay tuned, because there's a new EDU10 coming every month!
Often when I'm teaching a marketing workshop or doing a website review, the importance of accessibility comes up. It happens every time I come across one of my pet peeves on a photographer's website - the absence of a phone number. They've got everything there, EXCEPT a number for people to call. Typically that launches a rant on the importance of giving clients and more importantly, potential clients instant fulfillment in their ability to talk to you.
Many years ago we lost one of the industry's greatest managers and friends, Bruce Landau. Hearing the sad news, a number of us started chasing down people who we knew he was close to. I got to a well-respected photographer and educator on my list, but no matter where I looked I couldn't find a phone number. He'd recently moved, and there was nothing on his website. A few months later I saw him at a convention and apologized for not taking more time to find him. His answer left me speechless, "Yeah, there's no phone number because I don't want people calling me!" He honestly felt phone calls were a bother!
So, fast forward fifteen years and I'm still seeing photographers who don't have a phone number. They use a template contact form for email, but don't respond quickly. They act as if it's the customer's job to become an Internet miner and find them! And when I've confronted some of these artists, their attitude is, "If they really like my work they'll find me!"
Think about your frustration the last time you called a company and couldn't find a way to talk to a live-body! We live in an instant-fulfillment world and that old expression of "strike while the iron is hot" couldn't be more valid.
I'm very excited about a new SCU partner, PHOTOtexting, a very cool app that helps you market to and book new clients from your phone. I'm using their application myself this week at WPPI with presentation notes for attendees at two programs I'm doing in the Panasonic booth (934). Think about the Internet, social media, how we use our phones - everything is changing from how we share images to how we can more effectively communicate and market ourselves.
This post is the start of a series of marketing ideas on how to build a stronger business in 2019, and it starts with being accessible and responding quickly to customer requests. And, best of all for me - I'm excited because there's the potential to not hear excuses any longer from people who think they don't need a business phone line!
Check out everything PHOTOtexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build a stronger presence.
I don't want you to just survive in 2019 - let's make sure you thrive!
I don't pull posts out of the SCU archives very often, but it's Marketing Monday and a perfect way to remind many of you that great marketing doesn't trump your skill set!
I wrote most of this post three years ago, I had just come back from WPPI and was surprised at the number of new photographers I met who thought they could rush the process of becoming a pro. I heard somebody comment as they were watching Michele Celentano during a live demo say, "That's easy for her to say!"
Not one of today's icons started iconically. They didn't just wake up one morning as if the Success Fairy wandered in during the night and sprinkled success dust over them and *poof* they'd made it to the top. And, if you talk to any of those people who we define as iconic, they'll tell you how they're still practicing, learning and experimenting. They never stop attending programs for the benefit of boosting their own skill set.
Don Blair at 74 was once asked, "What's the most incredible portrait you've ever done?" He immediately responded, "I don't know, I haven't made it yet!" Even then, considered one of the finest portrait artists in the industry, he was always experimenting in his search for the ultimate image.
Years ago Michele spoke at GoingPro Bootcamp, a program Scott Bourne and I put together. Her opening comments said it all, "Twenty years ago I was sitting right where you are now, wondering how long it would be before my work didn't suck!" She then proceeded to share some of the worst bridal images I've ever seen. I got her to send me a couple of them featured above.
So, for those of you trying to rush the process, and thinking success is all in how creative your marketing can be - here are three things to think about:
"Envy comes from people's ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts."
And, there's the most significant part of the problem. Many of you are so gifted, but you've spent too much time following the icons. Just for a second today look in the mirror and if you want to envy somebody, check out the face staring back at you. If you've got the passion for the craft and the desire to be a great artist, then give it the time it deserves and start believing in your own gifts. Stay focused on what's in your heart and, accept as an artist; there's no such thing as overnight success.
Most important of all, know there are a whole bunch of us out here rooting for you and believing in your goals and willing to help when you need the support.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Welcome back to a new "Insight," content-rich posts to help you build a stronger business, and be more diversified in your photographic specialty. At some point in many photographer's careers, there's an interest in commercial work. This article out of the PhotoShelter archives by Deborah Block has a lot of solid information and insight into getting more established with commercial clients.
I also like it because she put it together in an interview format and the questions she's asked commercial photographer Jason Thompson are the same many of you might ask. Check out more of Jason's work with a click to his website. The complete interview about working with Patagonia is on the PhotoShelter website, but I wanted to share three of the six questions he asked.
PhotoShelter never slows down in their efforts to help you not only present your work the very best way but in helping you turn 2019 into your best year yet!
The Garhwal Himalayas of India. Chamonix, France. The Republic of Georgia. These are all just a few examples of places photographer Jason Thompson is lucky enough to travel for work, shooting for brands like Patagonia. His early love for the mountains and the outdoors, plus his love for photography, put Jason down the path to combining these passions — and making a living while doing it. Says Jason of his photography, “I want my work to inspire others.”
We caught up with Jason to hear how he started shooting for brands like Patagonia, plus get his best business tips for adventure photographers hoping to follow his footsteps.
1. Tell us how you ended up shooting for brands like Patagonia. Did you pitch them? Or how did they discover you initially?
I grew up looking at Patagonia catalogs and knew that I wanted to make images that were good enough to be published someday. I submitted sheets of slides back in the day. I admit I’m embarrassed now by the pictures I submitted. But fast forward some years and I guess my work had improved enough for Patagonia to take notice.
2. Tell us about your most recent assignment for Patagonia. What was the vision and direction for the shoot? And what is the collaboration process typically like?
In my experience so far, the creative direction for different projects for Patagonia has been pretty wide open and free range. But to an extent, of course. Obviously there are some shots that need to happen to feature certain products, but direction is loose. It’s very oriented towards making sure the shots are original and authentic. And authenticity can’t be directed.
For the last couple of years, the trips I’ve been involved with were to shoot their High Alpine Kit. We went on two major expeditions to Alaska and India. Both trips had the same creative direction — to document our climbing objectives. This journalistic approach includes not only photographing the rad summit, but also the in between moments of traveling. It’s my job to visually document the whole experience that helps bring the story to life.
3. For commercial shoots on location, what are some challenges you can run into? How do you prepare?
I stand by the 6 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
You know, I do very few “commercial” shoots in the traditional sense where there are 20 people on location and you’re working alongside hair and makeup stylists. Instead, I’ve been more involved with collaborations around shorter film projects.
When shooting for brands, regardless if I’m shooting alone or working with others on a project, I believe that doing your homework and envisioning how things may play out is key. You need to be prepared for what you think might happen, while also having a plan B and C. This kind of preparation will help to have things run as smooth as possible. There will be challenges that I can’t control, but I do what I can to “control the controllables.”
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"It's just a bad day. Not a bad life!"
It's an almost normal Sunday morning. I'm up earlier than I'd like to be - just can't seem to sleep past 6:30 am anymore! Sheila's still asleep, and I'm typing away on this morning's post. The difference is missing Molly the Wonder Dog, but I've written about her enough over the last week. I know if I write about the experience again, I'm going to send many of you away from today's post screaming! LOL
Here's what's keeping me going...the timing of WPPI. I'm not sure I've ever looked forward to a convention more than this upcoming trip. It's got very little to do with the convention itself but catching up to old friends, making new ones and my network, which in all honesty helped me through the pain of the last week.
I've written a lot about all the practical reasons you should attend every possible convention/conference you can, but the core reason is one word, "friendships." I've already made a list of people I want to catch up to, and even though I'll wind up missing half of them, it'll be the hunt that makes a convention like WPPI so much fun.
It's also about new friends or friends I've only met in cyberspace that I'll get to meet face to face for the first time. And that's the perfect cue for - WARNING - some shameless self-promotion. I'm going to be doing two programs in the Panasonic Booth (#934). First one is noon on Wednesday and the second at 3:00 pm on Thursday. They're short 20-minute programs, each one hitting on "low-hanging fruit," easy things you can do to help your business and blogging.
I can honestly say this past week was one of the worst and longest of my life, but it would have been even worse without so many of you, great friendships, our mutual passion for the craft and the anticipation of catching up to a whole bunch of great people this coming week. And, all along the way old photographs have helped bring so many incredible memories into the spotlight.
It's so easy to lose sight of how good life is when you feel like there's an ugly black cloud hanging over your head, and that's just how I felt at times. When I was a kid, my Dad and I would fight over the Sunday comics every week. He loved Joe Btfsplk, a character in Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip. Btfsplk always had a cloud over his head running around in a perpetual state of negativity.
That brings me right to the bottom line this morning...you've chosen a career path supported by a fantastic industry, loaded with people who share not only your passion for the craft but life, family, friendships and especially watching each other's backs! I know it sounds pretty sappy, but we're all here for each other, and once again, all of you came through for me. And, with WPPI right around the corner - the anticipation of seeing everybody has me on a terrific high! In fact, for the first time, I started packing four days before leaving!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday with a focus on everything you have in your life rather than what's missing. Go for those therapeutic eleven-second hugs with the people most special in your lives and while it's okay to look in your rearview mirror now and then to appreciate the memories, when you put them in front of you, talk about and share them, they become even more vibrant and unique!
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory."
Happy Sunday everybody...unless you're on the other side of the world, then it's Monday, but the sentiment is still the same!
When I started this series I anticipated doing a dozen or so posts and running out of steam, but this is the 47th installment, and I've still got a list of more to go. I've shared my goal with each new post presented... Most of you are working or aspiring professional photographers. As a result, you're more than likely right brain creative types, and you hate the operational side of the business.
Fast Food Friday is all about planting seeds of ideas to help you grow a stronger business, brand, and presence as a photographer. Each "blue plate special," is meant to be comfort food to help you beat the patterns of procrastination, so many of you seem determined to continue.
Today's special is about establishing a routine to kick off each day. This is a challenging business because of several variables, all of them pretty much outside your control. You've got to keep up with technology; pay attention to trends in marketing and consumer needs; you've got to stay in touch with an entire industry; provide customer service to your client base; and all while maintaining a balance of being a spouse, parent, sibling or friend, and let's not forget your own well-being.
I want to suggest a start-up routine for you each day, with a few solid reminders from other resources, all tried and true ingredients to help you build a better business model, get a little more organized, and maybe have a little more fun.
Up until starting my own company in 2009, I had spent my entire career working for other companies. While I was concerned I wouldn't have the discipline with a home office and being on my own; I quickly learned that wasn't the challenge. The problem was being too disciplined and unable to pull away from the business!
Establishing a Better Routine to Kick Off Each Day
Here's an example of pure inspiration from a favorite TED Talk I shared five years ago in a post. It's 24 minutes long, so get a cup of coffee and just trust me!
- Remember there are no erasers on the Internet.
- Don't write anything you wouldn't want a client to read.
- Use Facebook as a tool to build relationships - for example, track client birthdays and anniversaries.
Everyone's business is somewhat unique, and you have to do what works best for you. The rest of my day is spent developing content; catching up on reading what's going on in the industry and two tools I couldn't live without - my whiteboard and the phone. I'm a visual guy and hate reminders in my computer or cell phone - so my whiteboard helps me track things I need to do, and it's always in front of me, being updated all day long. The phone is also important and has become my signature - nothing beats catching up to good friends via a phone call.
Two last suggestions - our kitchen is a no-phone zone, and while I'd love to take credit for it, it's thanks to Michele Celentano. The kitchen is about our time together, and we work hard at keeping phone business out!
Last on the list - pick a time to shut down! I mentioned being worried about being disciplined enough with a home office. Well, it became just the opposite. Starting my own business, I couldn't step away from it. I'd wander into my office for a quick check before going to bed and come out an hour later, never realizing how long I'd been on the computer. "Just a minute," was soon defined as an hour or more and it was a strain on my relationship with Sheila. My advice is to pick a time and then cut things off. There will be exceptions now and then, but this isn't just about building your business but your quality of life.
Just remember, procrastination isn't part of your skill set. All of you pay attention to your workflow, especially with post-processing and backing up your files, etc. All I'm suggesting is that it's time to focus on your life-flow and take care of business at the same time you take care of yourself!
One of the things Facebook does well is supply all of us with an ongoing collection of memory makers from previous posts and shared images. They come up on your home page and often seem like completely random moments out of the past.
Well, this morning's post couldn't have been more fun to receive. It was a shot by Matthew J Wagner captured at WPPI 2009 as I introduced Blues Traveler at the Nikon party, which is to this day the biggest event of its kind WPPI has ever thrown.
We took over the MGM's Garden Arena with attendance at the convention itself being over 12,000 people that year. It was one of the toughest conventions we had ever put together because of the year after year growth.
John Popper and Blues Traveler played that night with a few thousand photographers demonstrating their ability to "work hard play hard!" It was a fantastic convention, but at the time I had no idea I would decide to resign and start my own business six weeks later.
Why I left Rangefinder and WPPI is no longer relevant, but what is fun is to look back on the last ten years, and the pride I have in the friendships that came out of my time there as president. Many of those friends are still in the industry, and we're in touch all the time, and always catching up at WPPI.
I know I shared the group shot above in a post a few years back, but here are some other fun snipets from 2009.
The Show Guide cover was an image by Bambi Cantrell
The Hy Sheanin winner was Sarah Jane Sanders
The Monte Zucker Humanitarian Award went to Kevin Kubota
The WPPI Lifetime Achievement Award went to Bill Hurter.
Bill Hurter sadly passed away four years ago, but for those of you who never had the privilege of meeting him, so much of what WPPI still is today is thanks to Bill, especially print competition. He was one of the finest editors in the industry, and his passion for photography was unmatched. He never anticipated the Life Time Achievement Award, but what an honor it was to be part of the surprise and catch him speechless.
What so many of you don't realize is the work that goes into any convention like WPPI. We used to get a break for a few months after each show and then slowly start ramping up. As the show grew, time off afterwards disappeared. Today, it's nonstop all year long.
But here's one more point, the fun of Throwback Thursday. Old photographs take us back to moments out of the past that feel like they were yesterday. Even with today's initial share by Facebook, I called Matthew to make sure he was okay with me using the image that started the trip down Memory Lane this morning. He commented the concert that the night was when he became a Blues Traveler fan. And while I couldn't get in touch with Kenny, he gave us permission years back to share images like the one above and has documented so much of WPPI's events over the years. Click on either image to see more of Matthew's work or Kenny's.
If you haven't taken a quick trip down Memory Lane yet today, it's Throwback Thursday - what are you waiting for? Old photographs help remind us of the incredible career field we've all chosen, and with WPPI coming up next week, there are sure to be a few more. What a kick!
It's not Throwback Thursday, but some dates come up in our lives when we do a flashback to other times, loved ones who have passed and great memories. Well, today is my mother's birthday, and even though she passed away several years ago, it doesn't change the fun of looking at old photographs, especially when they're hand-colored!
While I've shared a couple of these before, it's still a kick to look at them and be reminded of the incredible career field we've all chosen. As I've written numerous times, except for modern medicine, no industry has given the world more than photography. You guys are the real magicians of the world, stopping time and giving your clients intangible memories they can physically hold and enjoy for a lifetime.
So, to Mom, Happy Birthday! Alzheimer's took you from us too early, but it never took away the loving memories, the laughs or the stories we're still sharing and cherishing! And to all of you, when you hit those special dates that remind you of something in your past, take the time to find some of those old photographs. They'll help remind you of how much your clients, family, and friends appreciate and need your skill set as a photographer!
A big thanks to Bambi Cantrell for the images she captured in 2008 of my folks. It was early on in my mother's battle with Alzheimer's, but through the fight, that never slowed down her beauty or the wonderful outlook she had on life.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Welcome back to a new "Insight," a series of content-rich posts to help you build a stronger business and in today's post, protect your images. Working together with PhotoShelter we want to make 2019 your best year ever and as I've written in the past, thrive, not just survive.
There's an incredible amount of outstanding content in PhotoShelter's archives, all directed to helping become a successful artist. I ran across this article by Allen Murabayashi, and he's writing about an issue critical to all of you - copyright!
PhotoShelter has a reputation for helping you create the very best presentation of your work, but also help you run a stronger business. You've got to protect your photographs. So often I'm surprised how many photographers have so little understanding of copyright. Check out the post below and start protecting your images - you've worked too hard to develop the skill set to capture and create them. Don't they deserve to be protected?
5 Common Copyright Misconceptions Held by Photographers
by Allen Murabayashi
The most recent version of the Copyright Law of the United States (December 2016) weighs in at a whopping 354 pages. And while there are areas of ambiguity, the basics and benefits of copyright registration for photographers are well-documented. Unfortunately, well-documented doesn’t mean well-understood, so we asked attorney (and former photo rep) Leslie Burns to weigh in on a number of common copyright misconceptions that still persist, and why you should register your copyright.
Disclaimer: The information herein does not constitute legal advice. As always, consult with a lawyer for your particular circumstance!
1. If I publish a photo without registering my copyright first, I can’t sue for damages.
U.S. Copyright Law has two forms of damages: 1) actual, and 2) statutory.
The moment you take a photo, (unless you are an employee or signed a terrible work-for-hire deal) you own the copyright and have some protection. But without registration, you are only eligible for actual damages which means the “market value” of the image’s license, plus the defendant’s profits directly connected to the infringement, if any. If someone uses your image on their Instagram account, the actual damages might be so low as to make it impractical to sue.
The main benefit of registering your images is the ability to sue for statutory damages. If a person or organization willfully infringes your photo, you can sue for up to $150,000 per infringement image. Non-willful has a maximum of $30,000. You might get attorneys’ fees, too.
“Publication in copyright law,” says Burns, “is not what most people think. Online use may or may not be published—if you offer the work for others to license or use or if you provide it to a client for its use, then it is published; but if you just display the work online (or in a gallery) it probably is not published.” If it is published, then you have up to 3 calendar months to register the copyright and it is as if you registered it on the date you first published the work, so any infringement after that can get the statutory damages. If you wait, then only infringements that start after you register the copyright can get the statutory damages and attorneys’ fees. For unpublished work, only infringements that start after registration can get statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.
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"What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
Chose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team."
Welcome back to Tamron Recipes. I know I'm dating myself to use an expression like this, but my co-host Chamira Young and I are having a blast with this new series and we so appreciate the nice feedback. Comparing talented artists/photographers to great chefs is so accurate. Each image truly is a feast for our eyes and often hearts. (Sorry, it's hard not to drop a pun in now and then!)
All of us use or hear the word recipe every day, most of the time in reference to either food or success. Our guest on this new podcast is Jonathan Thorpe, and if this were an episode of "Iron Chef" he'd be one of the resident Iron Chef's standing next to Bobby Flay and Michael Simon in Kitchen Stadium.
Jonathan shares a lot of great insight into his passion for the craft and his journey into the business of being a successful professional photographer. Listening to the podcast above you'll pick up on his love for imaging almost immediately.
Jonathan is the ultimate storyteller, sharing images that have us looking into each photograph rather than just at them, and the SP 45mm is one of his favorite go-to lenses.
His recipe for the initial image, shared last week, was captured with Tamron's SP 45mm F.1.8 Di VC USD lens and a Canon 5D Mark IV. Tamron Recipes always comes in two parts, first with a great image and then the story behind the photograph as well as the "chef."
Jonathan's first recipe in the Tamron Kitchen is just a click away. And check out the SP 45mm lens with a click on the thumbnail above, which is also included in Tamron's New Year Savings program going on through March 2, 2019. Just click on the banner below.
More Images From Jonathan Thorpe's Archives
Jonathan's ability to tell a story with just one image comes shining through with each photograph in his galleries. Take the time to check out his work, because we could only share a few of our favorites here. He's a "chef" who clearly has fun with every project. And, if you're headed to WPPI at the end of this month, he'll be speaking in the Tamron booth, #335.
Jonathan needs to be on your radar. Click on any of his images below to visit his website.
Images copyright Jonathan Thorpe. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Since launching in 2016, we've shared thousands of posts here on the SCU blog, with information on virtually every type of idea to help you build a stronger business. Well, as we get more into 2019, we're going to be sharing more technique posts to help you not only develop a stronger and more successful business but raise the bar on your skill set.
I love this post we're sharing today, thanks to Suzette Allen. While it might seem like a lesson in outdoor landscape photography, learning to work with slow shutter speeds is a skill applicable to so many different images you capture, including photographing a wedding and children playing, to name a couple.
Roday is "Mirrorless Monday," and Suzette is out with with a LUMIX G9 and two different lenses. More information about each one is linked in the thumbnails below.
Suzette has several different blogs, all filled with great content on technique, new ideas and often providing inspiration and insight into her passion for the craft, people and life. She's just a click away. Then, follow her and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. In fact, she'll be with me and several of the other LUMIX Ambassadors at WPPI in the Panasonic booth #934 February 27-29. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
by Suzette Allen
There’s something magical about the silky softness of a waterfall, shot with a slow shutter speed! While it’s very easy to do once you know how and have the right equipment, it seems just like pure magic before you master it! In this blog, you will learn how to capture water flow with a silky soft look, whether it be a grand waterfall like Havasu or a babbling brook down the road from you.
One thing that is necessary is a tripod, or at the very least, set your camera on a rock or log or something very stationary. Camera movement will destroy this effect in a fraction of a hot second!
In the examples here I’m using a Mirrorless Micro 4/3 camera- the Lumix G9 and either the 7-14mm lens above or the 8-18mm lens. I have my camera on a MeFoto Backpacker tripod which is light and easy to hike with, so it was my companion for the 57 miles we hiked in 7 days in the Grand Canyon on this trip!
Note: There were times I used it as a walking stick as well, when we walked the Narrows in freezing cold water in Zion National Park too! But next time I won’t do that—I’ll tell you why (and show images) in a different blog!.
Anyway, the trick to getting a soft silky water look is shooting in manual mode and using a slow shutter speed. Typically, you are shooting in the daytime, and hopefully in shade (or you will NEED neutral density filters), and you want to shoot with the shutter speed at 1/8 of a second or slower if possible. It was relatively soft light, but at ISO 200, which is the lowest my camera goes, and the aperture at F22, the highest f-s top it offers, the slowest I could go was in the range of 1/5 to 1/8 of a second. Otherwise my image was overexposed.
It usually requires a bit of experimenting with a DSLR because you cannot see the effect or the exposure through the view finder and you need to shoot and adjust and re-shoot and adjust a few times until you get the right combination. Even if you use a meter, there is some experimentation or at least bracketing.
What I love about the Mirrorless Lumix is the EVF, or Electronic View Finder, which shows you exactly what your exposure looks like AND the effect of a slow shutter speed! [Be sure to turn on the Constant Preview feature to see that]. My camera is ON Constant Preview all the time and I literally cannot live without it.
The other benefit is the Zebras feature, which shows any part of the image that is overexposed with little black zebra stripes, alerting you to the overexposure BEFORE you take the shot! Take a look at this short video taken of Havasu Falls, where I show how I can confidently get a great exposure without any blown-out pixels (or needing to bracket or use a meter).
This feature is also turned on ALL the time on my camera and is an invaluable tool for getting great exposures all the time.
Turning on Constant Preview on the Lumix G9
Menu>Custom Wrench>Monitor&Display>Page4, bottom item: Constant Preview
turn to ON
Setting the Zebras on the Lumix G9
Menu>Custom Wrench>Monitor&Display>Page5, almost bottom item: Zebras
Choose SET and then choose [Zebra2 100%] and then turn it ON. Hit the center Set button on the camera back to be sure it is turned ON.
A few notes about this technique.
It's anything but a typical Sunday morning. Yes, as usual it's early, Sheila is still asleep, and the house is eerily quiet and still dark. I'm alone with my thoughts, but having let go of Molly the Wonder Dog on Friday, her presence at my feet is what's missing, but that's only in my head. In my heart, she's right here where she always is.
Over the years I've talked about Sunday Morning Reflections as something I write that's often more therapeutic than informative. This morning is definitely on the therapy side of the balance. My life has morphed into that of a writer, and I dove out of bed with a need not to attract sympathy but to express my appreciation to so many of you.
The short version of losing Molly is she had Cancer, and while it was in several areas, the most massive tumor was in her liver. I made a decision early on that I would never put her through the pain of prolonging her life just for me and chose to let God direct the rest of her journey. Surprising her vet, she stayed wholly active and was still chasing tennis balls right up to 24 hours before we let her go.
The last few days Molly wasn't doing well. She wasn't eating, sleeping poorly, had erratic breathing, gagging and coughing a lot and slowing down. So, into visit the vet, Dr. Clarkson we went. She gave me three choices and told me she wasn't letting me leave without me choosing one of them. (A side note: Having a great doctor through a process like this doesn't stop the pain, but it does make it easier to handle. I'm so grateful to her and the techs at the clinic.)
As I talked about what was the right thing to do with the vet, the tears flowed non-stop. It was embarrassing as I reached for the Kleenex box a few dozen times. But in the end, while it was about to be horrible for me, I knew what had to be done for Molly. The night before when she was doing poorly, I wound up sleeping on the floor next to her. In the process of saying my goodbyes I promised her I'd never let her suffer - never let her quality of life diminish beyond normal aging.
And finally, I'm at my point this morning...this is about quality of life, but not just for Molly, but the help so many of you have provided to my life. I shared letting Molly go on Facebook, and in just hours there were a couple of hundred comments and 400 likes and crying emoticons. At a time when my quality of life emotionally was at a low, so many of you shared your condolences, love, prayers, and wisdom.
John Braswell wrote, "It is such a shame that our dogs don't live longer than they do...thoughts your way," and then he shared something with me that so hit home. It didn't stop my tears, but it did put my mind and heart in a better place.
But the story doesn't end here: What's bizarre is that at 2:45 am, I heard Molly bark and it woke me up. It had become her new routine in the fight with Cancer, letting me know she needed to go out. It was so real that I actually got up and walked to my home office where her bed used to be. I felt her presence, know that she came to me in a dream and went back to bed with a bitter sweet smile.
"I came to you late last night..." the words from what John had sent me, couldn't have been more real.
Then, the next day, Jeanne Harris sent me something to read that along with another hundred comments had a huge impact on me. It's an article called "On Losing a Dog" and so worth reading but it ends with:
"As I’ve said before, a dog can’t change the world but they can change your world. And if each of us can pass along even a fraction of the unmitigated, world changing love we receive from our dogs? Maybe we can see about that whole changing the world thing. Today we cry and howl. Tomorrow we wake up and change the world the same way Dutch did – one small act of selfless love at a time."
So, to all of you who have sent prayers and memories of my 13 1/2 years with Molly, thank you. I know it's sappy, but for so many years I've talked about this industry being a family. We share a passion for the craft, but more importantly, a passion for helping each other.
Wishing you an incredible Sunday and even more important than all the times I've written about it in the past - go for those eleven-second hugs with the people most important in your life, and don't forget your pet! That unconditional love is unmatched to anything you will ever experience.
Happy Sunday everybody!
The Fast Food Friday series was started to give you short easy to implement ideas to help make your business as a photographer and artist stronger. Over the past year we've covered 45 different topics, each one hopefully giving you ideas to help you balance your right brain creativity with some good solid left brain business support.
Today's Fast Food Friday might seem like it's only relevant to those of you attending WPPI this month. However, read over my list of twenty-five points, because most of them apply to just about any convention you'll ever attend.
There are few things better than a great convention to help you recharge your battery. Sadly, so often too many of you head off to a conference spending virtually no time planning the trip.
Over the years I've written several posts and a couple of magazine articles on how to get the most out of a trade show. WPPI is coming up in less than two weeks, and it's time to bring back the ever-growing list of tips to maximize the trip!
Getting the Most Out of WPPI
So, let's go over the plan for Vegas!
In scuba-diving there's an expression, "Plan your dive - dive your plan!" You've got limited air; limited time, and it's important always to have a buddy. Well, a convention is no different. You've got to plan your trip, make the most of every minute at the event and come home with ideas to improve your skill set and build a stronger business.
The one thing I find most frustrating with attendees at a big convention like this is they just haven't planned their trip. They got their tickets and made it to Vegas, but then everything falls apart. Plan your WPPI experience so you're not wasting time and even more important, your money.
Nothing beats the experience of a great trade show and convention, but it's up to you to get the most out of it.
Since starting the SCU blog six years ago, there's so much that's changed in the industry, especially in technology and online education. I've written in the past: you can't become a great photographer just watching videos any more than you could become a great race car driver never getting behind the wheel. However, there's a great balance, and Profoto has found the right mix.
I pulled three short (each under two minutes) terrific introduction videos from the Profoto Academy, featuring Profoto's own David Bicho. He does an excellent job teaching, and the Academy is loaded with information to help raise the bar on your skill set and your understanding of lighting!
I mentioned Profoto finding the "right mix" in education and here's how they're doing it...
This is just a sampler - Click on any video above to visit Profoto's Facebook Page and all the streaming content at your fingertips!
Being a great photographer starts with your passion for the craft, but from there it's a never-ending focus on education. Technology is continually changing, and along with it, you have to stay current with your skill set. Profoto's created the right mix, but it's up to you to push the edge of the creative envelope and capture the very best images and ultimately exceed client expectations.
Many years ago I was sitting in a presentation with the legendary Don Blair. Most of you never knew him, but he was considered one of the best portrait artists, and lighting educators in the industry. Well, there he was in his mid-seventies taking notes during the workshop. When I asked him what he was doing, with no hesitation whatsoever he responded, "My man - this guy's ideas, and how he's lighting these models is incredible. I've got to learn this stuff!" Right up to a few weeks before he passed away, he never stopped learning!
You've chosen a career where you can never slow down on your educartion, and Profoto's made it a point never to stop building great gear and helping you all along the way. They're giving you the tools you need to keep being the very best!
Enjoy the three short intro videos below. Check out the complete collection of online courses by visiting the Profoto Academy.
This post will be most relatable to those of you over thirty. If you're younger, you might need to take the trip down Memory Lane with one of your parents!
Over the last two decades, the Internet has changed everything in the way we communicate and especially share pictures. The world has become a tiny place giving us the ability to share photographs with friends, associates and the public at any time.
Along with the change in how we share pictures, how we communicate has also changed. The other day a friend shared a video with me of two teenagers unable to figure out how to make a call using a rotary dial phone! They only knew how to use their cell phones. And, with our phones, access to the world is always at our fingertips.
SCU was built on a foundation of passion for marketing, business, and education. Communication is a huge part of that passion. After all, what good is working on your technique to capture the most magnificent images of your life if you're not reaching your target audience?
Just like imaging and communication changing over the years so has marketing.
It's time to take how you communicate with your clients to the next level! With the help of PhotoTexting.com, we're excited to introduce you to a more effective way to reach your target audience!
PhotoTexting.com is in the SCU House!
With PhotoTexting Apps you've got dozens of ways to build a stronger business, increase inquiries and reach your target audience quickly; boost your inquiries; inspire more conversations and most important of all get your brand to their phone before they shop your competitors.
There's an endless combination of ways to communicate with your clients. Each app focuses on a different aspect of your business including customer appreciation, referrals, promotions, and business cards to name a few.
"I've been building out my mobile apps inside of PHOTOtexting. The idea of using anything else is daunting to me. It's amazing the inquiries I now get from my website and social media, with my new business line. It's so easy sending my company materials and services to consumer's phones. Before, I would have software, landing pages, order forms and have to figure out how to tie them all together. I'll never have to go through that again because of PHOTOtexting" - Rick Ferro, Disney Photographer
Stay tuned because we're going to be sharing a lot of solid content to help you build a stronger business; increase revenue and establish a more recognized brand!
Image copyright Jonathan Thorpe. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
The word recipe is used over and again in so many conversations and often beyond food. We've all heard it in reference to business models and especially "the recipe for success."
What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
chose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team.
Welcome back to Tamron Recipes! This is our second in the series, and we're sharing the ingredients for great photography, and combining imaging with success by one of the finest "chefs" in the industry.
Jonathan Thorpe joins us, and he lives by the quote above from Ben Fairless: Jonathan loves the career path he's chosen. He never compromises on anything but the best, and his creativity never slows down, capturing images that always tell a story. And, without question, he's part of a remarkable team, the Tamron family.
About the Image and the SP 45mm lens: The image was created/captured in the local backyard of a friend's home. On the upcoming podcast, you'll hear Jonathan refer to the SP 45mm as one of his favorite "go to" lenses.
About "Chef" Jonathan: Getting to know Jonathan started with the Tamron Image Masters many years ago. There’s always more to his images than just a great photograph – he’s the ultimate storyteller, often sharing images that leave us looking into them, not just at them. He's a commercial and advertising photographer out of the D.C. area, but I'm not sure there's anything he can't photograph, and always with the passion that's become his signature.
Jonathan never slows down in making photography "fun," both from the capture side as well as viewing. "Fun" is one of those words so often lost in business today, but he never disappoints. His tagline of a photographer, director, gentlemen says it all.
There's a lot of Jonathan's work in the SCU archives. He needs to be on your radar. Just click on his image above to visit his website. And, you'll often find him speaking in the Tamron USA booth at the various conventions!
On my bucket list of things to do in photography is someday being a crew member on one of Jonathan's shoots. His ability to tell a story isn't always limited to the final image. He's a team player and I loved this shot of the whole crew when it was all over!
Assistant: Erich Morse
Monster: Helen Bloom
Additional Makeup: Joan Jones
Costume: FXCA Studios
Location Owner: Brad Masters
Stay tuned - there's a lot more coming this year from the "Tamron Kitchen." And, if you'd like more information about this remarkable new lens, just click on the banner below.
by Skip Cohen
Welcome to "Insight," a new series of content-rich posts to help make 2019 the year you do more than just survive. We want you to thrive!
Dozens of times over the last few years I've written about all the great content available on the Internet. It's filled with ideas and topics to help you build a stronger business. Wandering through the PhotoShelter blog recently I ran across this gem about the importance of freelance photographers understanding the importance of knowing their costs.
It's a great article by Allen Murabayashi, but in all honesty, whether freelance or a full-time photograph/business owner, the issue of understanding your costs is critical. You've got a choice to make, and it could make the difference between macaroni and cheese every night or mixing it up, and being able to get out to dinner now and then!
For years I've said photographers are typically one of the worst business groups on the planet. It's not all your fault, most of you are right-brain creative types, and you have little interest in the left-brain operational side of the business. But, you have to understand and respect the operational side because it controls your profitability and revenue!
PhotoShelter not only has a reputation for helping you create the very finest presentations of your work, but their blog is loaded with content to help you build a stronger business and brand. Check out the post below for help in developing a better understanding of your costs to do business!
Why Freelancers Need to Know Their Cost of Doing Business
Unless you’re phenomenally wealthy, you probably maintain a budget for your finances. For freelancers, budgeting (and cash flow management) is crucial because the lack of steady income and hefty capital requirements (e.g. a new camera) can require a bigger financial cushion.
During a PhotoShelter Third Thursday event, I queried the audience about whether they had used a Cost of Doing Business (CODB) calculator. A participant answered:
“I did it once, and I don’t know what the hell you guys are talking about. I just found that it was totally unrealistic. I added it up, and I still was like, ‘Where did this number even come from?’”
It’s true that the first time you calculate your CODB, the result can be shocking. Many people find that they’ve severely underestimated what it costs for them to run a business (or they don’t have an accurate accounting of their expenses).
Start your 14 Day Free trial of Photoshelter plus 20% off a Standard or Pro Account for a year.
Use the coupon code PhotoFocus20
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.