Intro by Skip Cohen
Note: When I posted this earlier today, I really hadn't thought about how much the market has changed since Michele first wrote "I Believe." I also hadn't thought about the fact that she's a family portrait artist versus other specialties. And, while I still agree with her approach, you have to look at what components work best for you. Kevin York, is primarily a wedding photographer in the Philly area and did an outstanding job on Facebook Wedding Photographers in commenting on what would happen if he took a hardline approach to "prints only" with his clients. So, besides a big thanks to Kevin - here's my point - you have to go with what works best for your target audience and use the components of Michele's philosophy that best apply.
As the busy season starts to ramp up, this is the perfect Marketing Monday post and needed by so many of you.
I've shared this several times over the past few years but listening to many of you lately; it's important to post it again!
Michele Celentano is one of the finest family portrait artists in our industry, but it's not just because of her skill set as an artist or educator - it's because of her passion and her ability to walk the talk! She wrote "I Believe" several years ago and offered it to the industry to plagiarize away, reprint and share it with your clients.
We live in an instant fulfillment world, but it's up to you to help your client understand a great portrait is a family heirloom and goes well beyond the "importance" of a Facebook page and Internet sharing. A well-done portrait deserves the very best presentation, and that means it needs to be printed.
So, take the time to read Michele's "I Believe" and then plagiarize to your heart's content!
by Michele Celentano
I believe in photography - but more than that I believe in photographs. Printed photographs are tangible. We can hold on to them, pass them around, frame them and hang them on a wall. We can make albums to be treasured and looked through by children for years to come.
We can’t touch a file and the truth is we don’t know the longevity of a file or if we will even be able to find it someday. A digital file is a bit of a mystery - if it’s lost, where did it go. If a drive is damaged what happens to the files? How many people truly back up all their images?
What happened to disc cameras, eight track tapes, Walkman's and other technology we thought would last forever? What will our children be looking at in 20 or 30 years? Photographs are special - files are not!
I believe in printing my work professionally. I believe my work is more than a screen saver. Years of studying and perfecting my craft comes down to more than sending files via the internet.
The photographs I create for my clients are not only precious to my clients but they are precious to me. It is my work, a lifetime of work that deserves to be printed.
Photographs are passed on to children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a floppy disk, a DVD or a flash drive sitting in a frame representing your family portraits?
Like many photographers I have struggled with bending to the needs or wants of a clientele that is looking for files. But this is what I discovered over the last year - It makes me uncomfortable in the center of my gut to hand over digital files no matter the price. Clients have told me that the DVD is still sitting on a desk and they should have had me make the prints in the first place because they never have time to get to it.
I wonder about those files that were sold.... How were they printed? Did the client crop it too tight? Is the color correct? Did they attempt to alter the image? It troubles me because I put so much of myself into my work. And, I have to wonder... am I really acting as a professional and serving my client the best way I know how to by simply selling intangible files that may never be printed?
For some, it’s easy.... take some photos, edit them, burn them on a disk or flash-drive and make a few bucks. I don’t and can’t operate that way - I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations that might have no photographs because I wanted to make fast and easy money selling files.
I’m taking a stand! I am a photographer! I am without a doubt passionate about creating photographs - real pictures - printed on professional papers - and made into beautiful albums. I want your children, their children, my children and future grandchildren looking at and holding onto photographs not the latest greatest gadget.
It has taken deep soul searching, a lot of thought and time to define the value of my work. I am taking a stand against selling files and taking a strong stand for printing my photographs.
If being a business owner and photographer today means the current market will force me to sell files not photographs and to compromise my work and my values - well then, I’m out.
But, that won’t happen! I know it won’t because I know there are people and clients who value my work, understand and respect the value I have placed on my work and actually want photographs.
I am Michele Celentano , a professional photographer - I believe in and value photography and the images we leave for our children. My work and your portraits will be professionally printed to my standards, they will be available to frame and look at in albums...
The portraits I create for you will not become a part of your screen saver slide show. I have worked too hard and taken too much pride in my work for that to happen. I will not take the risk that in 20 years we will be a generation of lost photographs.
There I stand!
by Skip Cohen
It's "Mirrorless Mark" Monday thanks to my good buddy Mark Toal. I love him sharing an image and talking about kit lenses because we've all done the same thing. We buy a camera that comes in a kit and then so often forget about the quality of that lens simply because it's part of the kit.
To help artists raise the bar on the tools they have to capture the very best images, most manufacturers offer kits. In fact, going back to my early Hasselblad days one of our very best cameras was the 500 Classic, which came complete with a camera body, A12 magazine and an outstanding all-purpose lens, the 80mm. Photographers added on to the kit based on their photographic needs.
Panasonic offers several cameras in kit configurations, giving you a great lens to have in your bag and at the same time a cost-savings because of the kit configuration. Check out the complete LUMIX camera line with a trip to the Panasonic store by just clicking on the GX9 or 12-60mm lens below!
And, to keep tabs on whatever Mark's shooting and where remember - He's never without a LUMIX camera. Check out more of his images and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
by Mark Toal
I recently returned from a five-day training event where Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, and Sony let attendees use their cameras for the week. Every morning we had a photo review with the images projected on two large screens. I was not only amazed at the quality of the images these new photographers took, but that they frequently used the kit lens.
A kit lens is a term used for the lens that comes with a camera. They are usually looked down on as not being sharp or interesting. My experience is they are often as sharp as the best lenses; they just aren’t fast often having variable apertures from f/3.5-f/5.6.
I’m not suggesting you don’t buy a faster lens for low light use or to get a more shallow depth of field or a longer telephoto for bird or sports photography, just don’t overlook that kit lens you probably put in the bottom of your camera bag.
Whenever I receive a new Panasonic camera I head to the local car museum, The World of Speed, in Wilsonville, OR to try it out. It’s indoors, which is important in Portland and the cars have a lot of detail.
The photo above shot of the red Ferrari was taken with the LUMIX GX9 and the Lumix 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that comes with the camera.
Click on either product for more information
"This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect."
I consider author Jodi Picout's quote one of the very best about photographs. I've shared it numerous times before but put together with this image, it truly hits home.
A lot of families have some dynamic that's surprising and seems wrong. I have no idea how the issues in my family would rank because everything we feel and do is relative to our own heart and situation. The image above is of me walking with my son and his three boys. It's one of my most favorite family images, even though circumstances don't have us in each other's lives today. My grandmother used to say time heals all wounds, but I suppose that depends on whose watch you're wearing.
So, on this beautiful Sunday morning, I wish you the most special time with family and a day when any click of your shutter captures Jodi Picoult's sentiments about her love for photography. Photographs don't lie, even if they only capture love and joy for a heartbeat.
As always go for those eleven-second hugs today. Remind the people in your life how special they are and make it a day loaded with memories. Even a little memory has the chance to sprout and grow into something bigger and better down the road.
Image by Cantrell Portrait Design
"Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication.
It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships."
I'm not sure why the importance of the word trust is on my mind so much this morning. The more I think about it, the more critical the word becomes in every photographer's role, even beyond your skill set.
Think about what it means to be a professional photographer. There's nothing stronger in building your business and reputation than trust from your clients. There's also nothing that will destroy your business faster if that trust is violated. Trust goes well beyond just providing the client with excellent results. In fact, with the exception of the medical community, I can’t think of any other profession that involves such a profound level of trust with an outside “vendor.”
You're in people's homes. You're talking to them about the personalities of various family members. If this is an engagement shoot, you're building trust with a new client. If it's a senior shoot this may be the student's first time working with a professional photographer and most of them couldn't be more nervous.
When working with families, "Mom" has introduced to their children and you've attended family functions. You’ve met the grandparents and the out of town relatives. You're coordinating their wardrobe and often even makeup and hairstyle. There's nothing more valuable than the trust they're placing in you and understanding how they see the world.
Trust is one of the most fundamental building blocks of every artist's reputation. With the busy season of the year starting to ramp up, it's a great time to post a reminder. You've got to work to build trust with every client, even the ones you've worked with in the past.
And, if you blow the trust with a client remember this...
"It's hard to trust someone the second time around after they already gave you one reason not to trust them."
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is one of my most favorite posts from my good buddy Scott Bourne. While his target is the new artist just coming into the business out of school, his advice is the perfect reminder of the things we all need to do as marketing, business, technology and social media keep changing.
We're all part of an industry that never slows down. As a result, we all need to be never-ending students! And, to Scott's point about relationships - Relationship building is your most valuable marketing tool!
by Scott Bourne
Commencements are coming up all over the country in the next couple months. As someone with gray hair, I can’t help but have a very different perspective on photography than someone of college age. I am often asked what advice I’d give someone just breaking into professional photography. The usual response goes something like this…
“Be prepared for lots of hard work – sales and marketing should dominate your day – show the work every chance you get – network like crazy – shoot what you love – repeat.”
But while that’s all good advice, there’s more I would say if I were speaking at a commencement.
I’d talk about understanding the high degree of importance graduates should place in each and every relationship they engage in during their career. Whether it’s the mailman or the recent client, these relationships are really all that matters. I didn’t know this when I was young and it hurt me…both personally and professionally.
So obsess over gear and f/stops if you must, but if you really want to succeed, pay attention to the people in your professional life. Build solid, long-term relationships with them. Care about them. Help them. Put them and their interests ahead of your own. You never know where that will lead. You might be dealing with that person 30 years later. They’ll remember how you valued (or didn’t) the relationship when you were young. And so will you.
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is the sixth "Mirrorless Mark" Monday post from my good buddy Mark Toal. He's back with a reminder about one of the best ways to build your skill set online - YouTube.com. There's so much great content available and it's not only helpful but free and viewable on your schedule. It couldn't be more flexible to help you raise the bar on your technique and understanding of photography.
Check out the full LUMIX library online with a click on the banner below. You'll be surprised at how much good solid content is available, and it's so much easier to learn from than page after page of a manual. When you think about how Panasonic has built their educational library to help us take full advantage of all the features they've developed it's sort of like the Staples tagline, "Yeah, we've got that!"
Mark's never without a LUMIX camera. Check out more of his images and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
When I was learning photography, it was either trial and error or waiting for the monthly copy of Popular Photography to arrive in the mail. Now we have the Internet and especially YouTube.com with us everywhere we go.
I don’t know of any camera company that includes a decent manual with their cameras. Digital cameras have too many features to fit in a small manual. When I’m teaching new user classes for Panasonic the first thing, I tell new owners is that YouTube.com is their manual. If they want a printed manual, I send them to search Google for whatever model they just bought and download the large PDF manual. They can be 300 pages so think about putting it on your tablet or computer for reference before hitting the print button.
Most companies like Panasonic have a dedicated YouTube.com channel where they put how-to videos.
Let's say you want to know more about shooting Panoramic images with your new Lumix G85. Here's how you'd find the short video above:
1. Go to YouTube.com
2. Search for “Lumix Cameras” in the main search box.
3. Search in “Lumix Cameras” for the topic. Example: “Lumix G85 Panoramic”
4. You should see choices of multiple videos on how to use the Lumix G85 including this one starring myself about how to shoot Panoramic images.
If you do a general YouTube search, you will need to sort through some long-winded videos on how to accomplish a simple task. My advice is that if they don’t get to the point in the first minute then move on to another video.
A few months ago I shared a Tamron video created by Shoots Media. I loved the way they told the story and the spin-off is a growing friendship with members of their team. Recently I watched their "2018 Reel" and loved how they told their story.
So, a call to Keith Nicholson at Shoots led to a great conversation about not only their use of Tamron lenses, but their camera and drone gear. I want to share at least part of the recipe for the short video below.
Our typical setup would include our Sony FS5 as well as two Sony A7sii's. Having the high dynamic range available with the FS5 paired with the ability to shoot in almost any lighting conditions with the A7sii, our setup is quite dynamic. Beyond this, our partnership with Tamron allows us to utilize their Di Series lenses at several focal lengths. From 15mm to 600mm, we have it covered!
But these days it's about a lot more than just the imaging gear or the skill of the photographer...
Our dedicated aerial team works exclusively with DJI products. Our two FAA Part 107 licensed pilots work with the DJI Inspire 1 Pro, the DJI Inspire 2 and the DJI Matrice (typically mounted with a DJI Ronin and A7sii). Being able to use some of the most cutting edge drone technology has allowed our team to work on some amazing projects including an episode for National Geographic's, "One Strange Rock".
The last question on my list was simply, "So how'd you do it?"
Two camera setup. FS5 is the A cam, A7sii is the B cam. One shot is the wide angle, the other is tight. We give ourselves options to intercut during some of the most important/emotional statements. 3+ point lighting setup. Depending on the scenario, we light our subject and their environment with varying lighting setups. If green screen is required, we will need much more light to ensure an even light source on the screen as well as our subject. This allows for a much easier keying process in post. Once lighting is set, we tweak it based on the project.
But that's only part of the skill set. Unfamiliar to so many of you is working with a drone...
One drone (DJI Inspire 1 or 2 or DJI Matrice). Two FAA Part 107 licensed pilots. Keith flies the UAS, Will operates the camera. What most people do not realize is that on any given aerial shoot, there are several people involved in the operation of the UAS. The Pilot, Keith is focused strictly on operating the aircraft in accordance with Will's creative vision. His eyes are on the drone at all times, with a focus on smooth, precise movements. Will on the other hand is focused solely on operating the gimbal. Where Keith moves the aircraft, Will is controlling the camera in order to get some of the more cinematic shots that you will see. He is dialing in the settings, composing the shots and giving the pilot criteria for flight. Teamwork is extremely crucial when working on an aerial production. Not only are we looking to create the best possible shot, but we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our crew and anyone involved in the production. Not to mention we never want to lose a drone!
It would be a considerable understatement to say I'm fascinated by this stuff. I know it's not for everybody and most of you aren't using drones for capturing your images. On the other hand, this is one of those new areas of imaging where knowing more about the technique is going to help you raise the bar on other aspects of your work.
My growing friendship with the crew at Shoots is another perfect example of the social side of social media. I met them thanks to Tamron USA. Tamron never slows down in helping photographers expand their skill set. Tamron recently launched it's 2018 tour. Click on the van below to find out where they're headed next and then make it a point to meet some of the most talented and diverse educators in photography!
About Shoots Media: Shoots Media team is a full-service film crew looking to project their client's stories onto the screen. Where things begin to get complicated is the scope of the work, and the range of the clients they work with. They embrace the challenges their clients provide and strive to continue creating cutting-edge content that leaves them wanting more!
It's one of those Sunday mornings when I'm having a hard time finding a topic to write about. Several times over the last few years, I've turned to Melody Beattie for a little inspiration for myself as well as to share. As always she came through!
I've only shared part of her reading for April 22 below. She's an amazing writer and if you need a little brain food, click on the cover of her book to the right. It's well worth having when you need inspiration to get through life's challenges.
On the Other Side of Fear Is Joy
Climb over the wall of fear. Fear can be like a brick wall on our path. We may say we want to move forward - we want to feel better, do something new, live differently, go to the next place on our journey - but if we have unrecognized fears about that, we may feel like we've hit a wall. We don't know we're afraid; the fear is tucked and hidden away. All we can see is that, for some unknown reason, we can't seem to move forward in our life. We're in the dark.
Or we may be conscious of our fear, but be refusing to deal with it...There are time in life when real power comes from being vulnerable enough to say, Yes, I am afraid.
There's a magic I've learned over the years.
It happens when I feel my fear. My life changes.
I become empowered to move on.
Barricades I have not been able to penetrate crumble and disappear.
And all I had to do was simply face and feel my fear.
On April 1, 2009, I resigned as president of Rangefinder Publishing, which included AfterCapture magazine and WPPI. I remember a conversation I had with Sheila about going out on my own. We weren't married yet, but she knew me well, and we'd been dating for a year and a half. She asked me, "What are you afraid of?" With no hesitation, I answered, "Failure!"
Well, nine years ago tomorrow I arrived at Sheila's house in Ohio, and a new adventure in my life began. For years I had lived vicariously through all of you. I admired all of you as I watched your fight to succeed as entrepreneurs, but fear of change held me back.
If you're being held captive by your fears, it's time to cut loose. Over the years I've learned there's no such thing as failure as long as we learn something from our mistakes. Mistakes are merely part of life and business. I've made plenty of mistakes over the last nine years, but each one has sent me down a new path of growth, experience, and even a few new friendships.
It might seem easy for to say, but getting over fear is one of the greatest gifts you owe to yourself. Don't let fear stand in the way of your dreams! Life is too short.
Wishing everybody a fearless weekend filled with peace, friends and family and plenty of love to help you chase your dreams. Never pass up an eleven-second hug with somebody special in your life and don't let anything get in the way of the life you want to have!
This morning on Facebook, my good buddy Scott Bourne shared the image above with the following comment:
Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) in breeding plumage - rookery at the Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, FL - Shot with Get Olympus OM EM1 MK II - Olympus 300 f/4 Pro Lens - ISO 800 - 1/400 - f/4 - handheld.
Processed in Skylum Software Luminar 2018.
A simple portrait but of a stunning male in breeding plumage.
I'm not sure today's post is about photography, birds, the fun of social media or just a great friendship.
Scott and I met back in my Hasselblad days, but the friendship we have today kicked off in 2009 with the first Skip's Summer School. He's helped me on a variety of different projects, including SCU.
We wrote GoingPro together, which is still the very best book out there on starting a business in photography. We did at least seventy-five podcasts together with the GoingPro series, and the list goes on and on.
He's always worn a variety of hats as an educator, artist, social media guru and today, President of Skylum and a spokesman for Olympus. (If you were at WPPI, Skylum was one of the few booths constantly busy, typically three to four people deep.)
Through all of my buddy's adventures over the years, his love for wildlife has never slowed down. If you've ever read his artist's statement, he's a spokesman for the animals, who don't have a voice of their own.
He's teaching and speaking in St. Augustine, and one of the fun things, when he's on the road, is the images he shares. And here's where social media jumps into the conversation...
I caught his image of the Cattle Egret above at 7:00 this morning. Found him online through an IM on Facebook and asked for a few more images to share. Both our days were just getting started, and thanks to FB we caught up with each other, and I've got more images to share with you today.
Regardless of your photographic specialty, Scott needs to be on your radar, because you'll learn a lot just looking at his images and reading whatever he's sharing. Check out his FB page for more great images and a never-ending flow of mini-lessons in photography!
What a kick when he's traveling and sharing images!
Posted yesterday, Scott wrote about the shot above:
Great egret (Ardea alba) photographed at the rookery at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, FL - Get Olympus OMD EM1 MK II - Olympus 300 f/4 Pro Lens - ISO 800 - 1/2000 - f/4 - hand held.
Sometimes I just think a photo looks better in B&W and this is one of those cases. The breeding plumage is beautiful and so much so that these birds nearly went extinct in the 1930s because their feathers were used to make ladies hats!
Converted to B&W in Skylum Software Luminar 2018.
This blog series is about fine-tuning your website, blog, and business. There are so many little things that require a little touchup. They're usually easy to fix, but they can have a significant impact on making your Internet properties a better experience.
It's human nature to be too close to your own business and miss how some of the things you do might be perceived by your target audience. Fast Food Fridays focus on things to give you a stronger presence.
You know how to focus your camera, but what about everything else?
This is the tenth "blue-plate special" in the series. And, just like a diner, there's a new one every Friday.
On the menu today is one of my favorite pet peeves which is so easily fixed - let's get your policies OFF your website. Policies are important, but they belong with your contract discussion, not in the spotlight the first time a potential client visits your site.
Most of Your Polices Don't Belong on Your Website!
There's an expression in business I learned years ago called "managing by the exception." It's most often used in reference to a company's policies when there's no extensive history behind a particular procedure, except a single incident that happened in the past.
Here's the perfect anecdotal story:
A little girl is watching her mother cook a roast beef, and she cuts two inches off the roast and throws it away. She asks her mother, "Why?" Mom says, "Because that's the way my mother used to cook a roast beef."
The little girl goes to the grandmother and asks, "Why do you cut two inches off a roast beef before you cook it?" The grandmother replied, "Because that's the way my mother taught me to cook a roast beef."
The little girl has one more shot at understanding the mystery and asks her great-grandmother, "Why do you cut two inches off the roast beef before you cook it?" The great-grandmother held her hands about 8 inches apart and said, "Because I only had a pan this big!"
So many of you have policies with little or no contemporary justification. For example, I see a lot of websites with policy statements about deposits and cancellations, apparently the result of somebody getting "burned" and making sure it never happens again.
I'm not against policies and procedures, but they don't belong on your website.
Most important of all, wherever you do have text on your website, keep it short and to the point. Remember a picture is still worth a thousand words and the purpose of your site is to get people excited about your work. The best way to do that is to dazzle them with great images.
Click the banner to listen to this new podcast with Kristina Varaksina
Welcome to our fourth podcast in the "Beyond Technique" series. Working together with my co-host, Chamira Young, we're very excited to be sharing some terrific content thanks to great guests and PhotoShelter's never-ending passion for helping you raise the bar on your business.
Kristina Varaskina joined us on this new episode. She's all about people and capturing human emotion and the psychological impressions of her subjects' mind – permitting the characters to project their internal reality. Works undertaken are keen to explore a female and child perspective, evoking their thoughts, dreams, and hopes.
In this new episode, Kristina shares a lot of great advice/insight, especially about being your own art director, developing a unique style, professionalism and communication with clients. A big part of the fun of this series has been each guest's willingness to share their experiences and some of the key points of their journey as a professional artist.
Kristina also talks about how her PhotoShelter website has played a role. Click on any of her images to look at her website. Pay attention to how clean the site is. It's easy to navigate, and right from the beginning, she's sharing her images!
A big thanks to not only Kristina but PhotoShelter for the services and products they offer each client. The PhotoShelter team makes it so easy to show your images the way they deserve to be seen - in an excellent presentation.
Start your 14 Day FREE trial of PhotoShelter with a click on the banner above.
Plus get 20% off a Standard or Pro Account for a year.
Use the coupon code PHOTOFOCUS20
Missed an episode of "Beyond Technique?"
Click on any link below!
It's a perfect Throwback Thursday share with a trip down Memory Lane and a BBQ challenge from 2008. Here's the scenario, and it's all thanks to one of my favorite children and family photographers, Carey Schumacher from San Diego.
I have no idea who started it, but somehow it was trash talk in a phone conversation about who could grill the best steak. Carey Schumacher had previously visited the Rangefinder Magazine office in Culver City a couple of times and photographed Molly and me. In fact, I shared her image and the stationery she sent me in a post a few years ago.
A few months later it was game on! It was Skip and my Molly vs. Carey and her Molly! In a park somewhere in the San Diego area Carey had two grills set up, a picnic table for the judging panel and that's all it took. We were off and running.
I lost the challenge, but I still argue she stacked the deck by knowing all the judges. However, after years of therapy, I've gotten over the loss and managed to live a fulfilling life! LOL
Seriously, here's my point for this Throwback Thursday. There are memories you naturally capture with your camera and then there are those you work to create. Carey's friendship over the years means a lot, and even though we don't catch up that often, it's her effort ten years ago that puts a smile on my face every time I look at the images.
Carey's also responsible for a portrait of me that I've shared a few different times. But it's her comment on a past blog post that makes it even more special.
I managed to get a great pic of you AND kick your butt at the grill -- all on the same day!
One was harder than the other... ;)
The bottom line is simple - don't be afraid to take the time to have fun! Capture those memories and share them on your blog to remind your audience how important photographs can be - especially if they have kids, who change ever day they get older.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Images copyright Ana Brandt. All rights reserved.
I started this series of short podcasts to not only introduce you to some outstanding artists but to share how Profoto's technology has continued to change the way photographers light their subjects.
There are more creative tools for photographers today than at any time in the 175+ year history of photography, and Profoto has certainly contributed to those tools. Edu10 is sponsored by ProfotoUSA, who never slows down on their focus to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Ana Brandt joins me on this new episode. As one of the industry's leading maternity and newborn artists, she sets the standard for everything from her images to the relationships she builds with her clients...and more. It's not just her images that capture the personalities of her subjects, but her role as an educator, business owner, and innovator who sets the standard for an industry she loves dearly both as a photographer and a designer.
"Ana Brandt was the first photographer in the world to design, create and market Maternity gowns to the Photography Industry 13 years ago. She revolutionized the Maternity Photographer industry by setting the design standard for Maternity gowns and use of fabrics for client sessions. Her store www.shopanabrandt.com has shipped her gowns to over 100 countries worldwide."
Earlier this year I shared an outstanding Profoto video of Ana working with her clients. It's just a click away. In less than five minutes Profoto and Ana share a lot of excellent content, along with an opportunity to watch the B1X Off-Camera Flash System and Ana in action.
Ana's also responsible for one of my favorite quotes:
"No one regrets taking photos. People only regret NOT taking photos."
To see more of Ana's work, click on any of the images in this post to visit her website. And, if she's speaking or teaching at any conference you're attending, run don't walk to get a seat!
Images copyright Ana Brandt. All rights reserved.
I've often referred to myself as one of the luckiest guys in photography because of the artists I've met, people I've worked with and in general, a career that's been filled with one stellar moment after another. I'm one of those knuckleheads who simply loves his job, and this industry.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Recently I experienced another one of those stellar memory-making events, co-hosting "Mind Your Own Business" with Chamira Young and our guest, Anne Geddes. We all know her work, but I'm not sure very many of you know how much the Geddes Trust has given back.
From Anne's "About" page:
Since the release of Anne’s first calendar, her work has been coupled with the desire to give back. The Geddes Philanthropic Trust was created to raise money for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Since its inception, the Trust has designated funds from a range of Anne Geddes products totaling more than US$5.7 million, which has aided programs around the world. The upcoming 2018 calendar marks the 27th continuous edition.
Click on the banner below to listen to this new podcast. Anne shares some wonderful insight into her career and the number of different non-profits she's involved with - all of which benefit the well-being of children.
Anne never slows down in her efforts to make the world a better place, especially for children. Together with Kay Jewelers she recently launched a jewelry line inspired by her deeply held belief that all children must be protected, nurtured and loved.
"Every piece in the jewelry collection includes a pearl with a bezel-set diamond. Pearls are the only gemstones in the world with a natural gestation period, representing innocence, transformation and the creation of new life. The bezel-set diamond in the pearl represents the individual spark within each new life."
We're part of an amazing industry with artists like Anne Geddes willing to take her time to inspire us, not just with her images, but her philosophy on life and love. I hope you'll listen to the podcast and simply be inspired.
And, if you're looking for a great gift idea for Mother's Day, click on the banner to the right.
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's "Mirrorless Mark" Monday, and my buddy Mark Toal is back with a terrific way to expand your skill set and make some of your work look different. Mark's taken one of his older LUMIX cameras and had it converted to shoot infrared.
At a time when so many of you are working hard to make our work look different, infrared adds a dimension of drama and fine art to your portfolio. Plus, it's fun to shoot in infrared - remember that word "fun?" It's one of those very special words too often lost in business today.
Mark chose one of his favorite infrared images for his episode of "Why?" a year and a half ago. If you'd like to hear him talk more about infrared and that image, the very short podcast is just a click away.
Mark's never without a LUMIX camera. Check out more of his images and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
by Mark Toal
A few years ago, it was time to retire one of my favorite Panasonic cameras, the LUMIX GX7. The GX7 fit my hand perfectly, and the image quality was beautiful, but as it always happens, another camera caught my eye. I didn’t want to part with the GX7 so my friend, Joe Farace, suggested I have it converted to shoot infrared.
The first question people ask is if the camera can now shoot in the dark? The short answer is no. The conversion involves removing the filter on the camera’s sensor that blocks infrared light and replaces it with one that lets in some infrared. For more details and examples of the different conversions check out the site of the company where I sent mine to be converted, Life Pixel. There are a lot of companies that do the conversion. You can find more choices using Google. Keep in mind that once the camera is converted, you can’t go back.
I chose the 720nm conversion because I liked the black and white look. The first thing you’ll notice is that grass and leaves on trees all turn white. My favorite effect is how it makes skies much more dramatic as you can see in these two images I took in Tucson, Arizona just a few weeks ago.
The image that comes out of the camera won’t look this dramatic. I apply a filter effect to the image using Nik Silver Efex on my computer or the App Snapseed on my cell phone or tablet. You can get a similar effect using Lightroom, Photoshop or a similar program. There are a lot of tutorials online with tips for processing IR images.
Another great thing about infrared photography is that IR loves mid-day light when normal photos can look dull and lifeless. If you have an old digital camera sitting on the shelf think about converting it to Infrared and open your eyes to a whole new world of photography.
Images copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
Without customers, you don't have a business, you have a hobby.
Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
I've written a lot over the last few years about marketing from social media, to promotional ideas, partnerships and even website/blog content and design. Just like many of you have a passion for helping clients capture memories, while I love actively shooting, my first love for photography is helping you build a stronger business.
Whether you believe in right brain vs left brain concepts or not doesn't matter - most of you are right-brainers with high creative skills and have little interest in the operational side of being a professional photographer. What good will it do to fine-tune your skill set to capture consistently stunning images if nobody knows who you are; people aren't looking at your work, and nobody is paying for your services?
And there you have it - Why I love Marathon's Marketing Advantage Program! For a minimal monthly fee, you've got your own assigned facilitator and Marathon's entire team as a resource to plan, design and implement marketing programs that not only help to build your brand but bring in business! Best of all, your facilitator is there to help you stay on track.
We're halfway through April, and many of you are already starting to see business ramping up. And, so many of you still need help in developing a strategy to make 2018 your best year yet, as well as into the future. Help from Marathon is just a phone call away, and it costs you nothing but a little time to find out more about the program!
Call Marathon at 1-800-228-0629, Ext 283 and click on the link below for more information.
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air…
work, family, health, friends and spirit.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball,
But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit - are made of glass.
Brian Dyson, former vice chairman and COO of Coca-Cola
It's a typical Sunday morning, Sheila's asleep, Molly's sleeping at my feet, it's still dark outside, and I'm typing away after finding the quote above earlier in the week. It got me thinking about how often I think the work "ball" is made of glass. I get so wrapped up in being pulled in different directions by the business; I forget the other balls I'm juggling in the air. And, I know I'm not alone.
Years ago I met Ed Foreman, an outstanding motivational speaker who presented a program at a Polaroid meeting I was attending. He gave a scenario that went like this - it was over thirty years ago, so my apologies for paraphrasing a little.
One spouse turns to the other and says, "Honey, just wait until the kids are older and then we're really going to have some fun and take that vacation we've always wanted!"
A few years go by, and they have the same conversation, "Honey, just wait until we move into a bigger house after my promotion and then we're really going to have some fun and take that vacation we've always wanted!"
Ten years later, "Honey, just wait until the kids are out of college and then we're really going to have some fun and take that vacation we've always wanted!"
Ten more years go by, "Honey, just wait until I retire and have more time and then we're really going to have some fun and take that vacation we've always wanted."
Then, a few years later, that same spouse, is in a coffin on the way to the cemetery and realizes, "Oh my God, I forgot to have fun!"
So, here's my point this morning. Your health, family, friends, and spirit all deserve to be at the very top of your priority list - starting with taking care of yourself and your spirit. Pay attention to the signs of burnout. There's no excuse for missing them because down deep you know when you're about to hit the wall. Having a great life is all about relationships, starting with your own heart. Learn to listen to it.
Stop making work the "glass ball" and focus on everything that's more important. You know how to focus on your subjects when there's a camera in your hand - well, the essential components in your life are no different - just that there's no auto-focus - it's all manual, and you have to be the one to keep everything in the image sharp!
Life is for laughing, loving and living!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and one filled with time for yourself, family, friends and especially your spirit. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with everybody that's important to you and don't worry about work - it's truly a rubber ball you're chasing, and it's not going to break because you took time off!
Happy Sunday everybody!
The purpose of this series is to keep sharing easy to fix ideas to help you raise the bar on qualities related to being a professional. We're all so close to our own business that sometimes we miss the most obvious challenges.
I started Fast Food Fridays to help you focus on things to give you a stronger presence. You know how to focus your camera, but what about everything else?
So, just like a diner with a daily blue plate special, I'm breaking things down into small "plates." There's a new one every Friday, and this is the ninth in the series.
On the menu for today are easy-to-implement tips to be more accessible for your customers. Why make it hard for your target audience to contact you? And, when they do find you, let's make it an experience they smile about as opposed to shaking their heads and contacting your competitor!
Are You as Accessible as You Should Be?
We live in a world of instant fulfillment and gratification, yet I'm amazed at how many photographers insist on making it hard for potential clients to contact you. You've bought in on the idea that an email contact form on your website trumps personal contact. That couldn't be further from the truth!
Nobody can sell you like you! A successful professional photography business is all about relationship building. It's built on trust, personality, integrity, credibility, and COMMUNICATION! Yet, so many of you hide behind the anonymity of a contact form. It's time to get more personal...
Missed any of the past lunch specials? They're just a click away!
Here's a fun quality of Facebook. The image above was shared on Royce Chenore's page over a year ago. Recently somebody commented and the thread became active again, coming up on my page this morning.
Royce originally wrote:
This is Circa 1995... it was a publicity photo for the "PORTRAIT 2000" teleconference.... this was in the VERY early days of "electric imaging" now called digital retouch... the photographers submitted "selfies" on FILM of all formats brands and speeds....(selfie...another term that didn't exist) and ACI composited them into one image.... this was EXTREMELY INNOVATIVE AT THE TIME!! Feel free to share and tag others if you wish....
Well, I picked up the phone and called an old friend who I hadn't talk to in a lot of years, Ed Pierce, (front row, second from the end.) What a kick it was to talk him about this event. Here's what so many of you don't know.
Now, take a minute and think about online education today. This is where it all started! There was no Creative Live or Lynda.com or for that matter ANY online programming. There were no webinars, even YouTube wouldn't be founded for almost another ten years!
But this is also another example of a fun aspect about Throwback Thursday. While in one respect I can't believe how old I am to have been around for this stuff - on the other hand, I couldn't be more proud to have been a very small part of it. Hasselblad was one of the sponsors and Tony Corbell, and I flew to Washington D.C. and were in the audience all day at the live event.
It's hard to imagine a more fun trip down Memory Lane when it comes to photography. To Royce for sharing over a year ago - thank you! And, to my old buddy Ed Pierce, who answered the phone just a few minutes ago, it really is time for you to write a book. You're the one who blazed this trail into video education and helped change so many lives in photography!
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody!
Regardless of what gear you shoot with, the Tamron Tech Team is hitting the road again to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images and expand your skill set. Having worked with many of the members of the team I know from firsthand experience this is one of the most skilled and diverse groups of artists in the industry and they're back on the road with Tamron Tours Presents.
Coming up this month Erica Robinson and Ken Hubbard will be doing a two-day series including a trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island. Please note - you must be registered to attend.
April 27/28 Hunt's Photo & Video
Click on the banner to the right for more details.
They hit Brick, NJ and Baltimore, MD in May. So, if you're not in the area, check out the calendar to date with a click on the Tamron Tours van above. And, make sure they're on your radar for the rest of 2018 - the team is going to be all over the country!
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.