I get the rules of blogging and know many of you consider it inappropriate when writers get too personal in their blogs, especially in a blog that focuses on marketing. Well, today Sheila and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary and wishing her "Happy Anniversary" in a public place really is marketing...I'm marketing me! Besides, everyone knows the line about great businesses taking at least five years to build. Well, here we are at five and continuing to build on the amazing foundation we started. Sure do love ya lady.
Hard to believe it's been five years since we tied the knot on the back porch in Ohio at 7:30 a.m. It was a pretty special morning - we were married by Chaplain Karen from Akron Children's Hospital, a good friend and a very private moment with just the birds, God and Molly the Wonder Dog as witnesses. Then, we both went to work! LOL
So Ms Sheila - Happy Anniversary! Here's to lots more great trips, time with good friends and nothing but memory makers!
It's a typical Sunday morning and I'm up early. Molly the Wonder Dog is curled up on the floor next to me and Sheila's still asleep. The silence in the house is amazing. I love Sunday mornings because I allow my mind to wander. In trying to think of what to write about for Sunday Morning Reflections, I was looking through one of my favorite books, "It Always seems impossible until it's done."
I ran across the quote below from Walt Disney and it got me thinking about some of my own kicks in the teeth over the years. I know, especially for those of you who are younger, this will seem hard to believe, but everything really does always work out for the better. The unexpected changes in our journey in life aren't always easier, but over and over again I've seen them become better. You have to trust your dreams, be patient and listen to your heart.
You may not realize it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Reading the quote above got me thinking about so many of my "bumps in the road" during my career. We've all experienced setbacks and mine are hardly unique, Here are three examples:
Many of you are relatively new to not only the profession, but being a business owner. So often you're ready to give up, believing that whatever didn't work out as planned is the end of your business. Walt Disney said it best in the opening quote. A kick in the teeth isn't easy to handle, but you simply can't give up on your dreams.
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and a day filled with the same wonderful peace I'm feeling right now. Enjoy the day, hug somebody you love and always make the hug at least eleven seconds. Just trust me - the eleven-second hug idea came out of a magazine article Sheila read a short time back and it's great advice! Eleven seconds is just enough time to give a great hug some therapeutic value!
...and thanks for reading, following and supporting me along with some pretty amazing partners and faculty at SCU. I sure do appreciate your support.
I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.
I read the quote above and started thinking about so many friends and associates who have clearly found their personal calling. I've been incredibly fortunate in my career, surrounded by friends and artists whose passion and love for the craft is infectious. I can't name them all here, but let's look at a select few.
Think about people like Sal and Taylor Cincotta, Bryan Caporicci, Michele Celentano, Roberto Valenzuela, Lori Nordstrom and Julieanne Kost for example. There's a common denominator with each one of them - their passion. They love what they're doing and never compromise on the quality of their images, relationships, direction or their focus. If you think about it, each one has discovered what they love to do.
This post is just a quickie this morning in the hopes you'll think about your "personal calling". Photography is an art form, and you can't be the very best if you haven't yet discovered what you love and allowed yourself to be consumed by the craft.
You know how to focus your camera, but for some it's time to switch to a macro lens and discover what aspect of imaging you love best and then enjoy the journey.
I've written a lot about Don Blair over the years, almost always about something I learned from him during our incredible friendship. "Big Daddy" pretty much became the older brother I never had. I remember him telling me about the first wedding he ever photographed.
He wasn't old enough to drive and had to take the bus. But, picture this. He got on the bus with his 8x10 view camera, tripod and the rest of his gear. With roots in photography like that, it's no wonder he had so much fun with the ever-changing technology of imaging. It kept him challenged and so passionate about the craft.
He believed in all the "rules" of photography, but he broke them all the time. He was always looking for a different way to take everything he learned and create something new, but he never compromised at the client's expense.
Once criticized for always having beautiful models in his programs, he was asked by one smart-ass in the audience at a workshop,
"It's easy for you to create gorgeous portraits. Look at your models. What do you do when you have a bride that isn't beautiful?"
There wasn't a second of hesitation as he responded, "There's no such thing!"
Well, it's Friday and the weekend is coming and it's always a good time to plant a seed to get you thinking about your skill set. I found this quote by musician, Charlie Parker that I love:
"You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail."
The image on the right is a prime example of Don "just wailing". (My apologies for the quality of the scan.) What do you do with a tall groom and short bride? He was a 6' 4" Algerian boxer and she was the All-American cheerleader type, at best 5' 1". Just about every photographer at the time would have him hunched over her or put them on some stairs to balance things out. Don sat them down on the floor and created one of my most favorite bridal portraits.
There are no shortcuts to becoming a great photographer. Make it a point to know every aspect of your camera and especially the different focal lengths of your lenses. Stop being a "natural light specialist" and get to know studio lighting as well. Spend time experimenting with various techniques and learn every rule in photography. Attend every hands-on workshop you can; watch every video and read every book!
Once you've learned the rules and understand them, you've earned the right to push the envelope and be a true artist. Throw away the rule book and like Charlie Parker suggests, just wail! You can break any rule you want, with one exception...NEVER disappoint a client.
I’ve been “talking” with a lot of relatively new photographers lately. I put talking in quotes because it’s often through the Internet on an IM or in a forum, occasionally over the phone, but very rarely in person. Still, it's a conversation and relevant.
I’m amazed at how you newbies, and even a few veterans, beat yourself up when something doesn’t work out as planned. The usual comment made will be something like, "Oh man, did I screw up!" It's usually in reference to something that completely missed the mark, but here's what really happened. You took a risk and attempted to do something new. Whether it worked as good as planned is almost irrelevant.
We have all heard the forlorn refrain: “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!”
This phrase has come to stand for the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity,
but in fact we should appreciate it as a pillar of wisdom.
Any being, any agent, who can truly say:
“Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!” is standing on the threshold of brilliance.
So here’s my point with this short post this morning:
Stop beating yourself up when something doesn’t go as planned. The reality is you did something. You took a risk on something in which you believed. Take what you learned and move on and appreciate the wealth of experience you just gained.
Thomas Edison once said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 things that won’t work.”
Give yourself a big pat on the back. Just because you tried something new, regardless of whether it was a winner or not, you just moved ahead of 75% of your competitors!
The year is early 1975, and I was working in Customer Service at Polaroid. The Polaroid SX-70 camera had been introduced and with those first cameras being 300% defective there was a lot to do. I was a Customer Service Rep based in Waltham, Mass, and we had a walk-in counter giving us the opportunity to help consumers face to face.
Remember, there was no Internet so, as a consumer, your choices for contact were pretty much limited to a phone call or writing a letter. Offering walk-in service was something Polaroid had available only at the major distribution centers. While most people were pretty nice, even though they were frustrated with a camera that didn't work, it was still one of the toughest jobs I've ever had in terms of dealing with the public.
However, there were some hysterically funny highlights:
We had a phone call one day from a woman who was going on a cruise and wanted to know if it was okay to take her Polaroid "LAND" camera. She obviously couldn't figure out that the "Land" was for Dr. Edwin Land, the founder of the company.
Then there was the woman who called in one day asking for help with her Square Tooter Shoe. The camera was a Square Shooter II. I remember the rep who answered the phone just cracked, couldn't stop laughing, and somebody else had to take the call.
Then we had a guy who decided the picture was coming out of the wrong place on the SX-70. He glued the exit slot shot, which destroyed the entire transport system, voided the warranty and created a major repair.
But my all time favorite was an idiot that I waited on out at the same counter in the picture above. He had built a 12-foot remote cable for the camera. There wasn't a self-timer at the time, and he wanted to be in the picture himself. Well, the camera did what was called a mid-cycle shut down. It stopped each time and the picture only came out halfway. That was only half the challenge for me though.
He came in, looked at me and bellowed, "The damn camera doesn't work!" He then proceeded to lay out a half dozen prints of him and his girlfriend naked in various attempts at creating a not so private porn library. He saw the look of shock on my face and said, "So what's wrong with these pictures?"
I had only one response, "She's ugly!"
There was an awkward silence, and I knew I had crossed the line, but seriously, who shares stuff like that? He looked a little like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade and then burst out laughing. He apologized and said, "Okay, can you guys fix the camera?"
In spite of a lot of bizarre things that happened in Customer Service back then, it gave me an incredible foundation to build on. It gave me solid roots in working with consumers, manufacturers and created a basis for a series of performance standards I've tried to stay true to, right to this very day.
My guest on this new episode is Dr. Joan Whitman Hoff a college philosophy professor, author and yes, she’s worked photography into her resume working with her husband, Stephen. Both Joan and Stephen were at ShutterFest in April, participating in a wide variety of different programs.
What got me most excited about this podcast was the topic of ethics and Joan is an expert on the subject. She has been instrumental in helping organizations establish ethics boards and has taught numerous courses on the college level. From Business Ethics (Grad and Undergrad), Ethics in Health Care (Grad and Undergrad) and Environmental Ethics, just to name a few, the timing couldn't be better to talk about ethics in photography.
I don't profess to be even close to the same level as Joan on the topic, but I am just as passionate about it. In the last few years, as more and more new photographers join the industry, I have seen some serious challenges under the topic of ethics. The challenges include the need for a better understanding of the importance of building trust with you clients, delivering what's been promised and even more basic, defining the true meaning of the word "professional".
I hope you'll take the time to listen to this podcast and then read Joan's first guest post on the subject, also posted this morning. (Just click the link below.) There's a lot of food for thought here and as an industry, constantly changing because of technology, social media and new artists, it's long overdue for some attention.
Note: Interested in finding out more about Joan or contacting her directly? You can contact her through her Website, Facebook or LinkedIn
As always, a big thanks to Bryan Caporicci and Rob Nowell, founders of SproutingPhotographer.com for their support to the industry and Weekend Wisdom.
Intro by Skip Cohen
A few weeks ago I recorded a podcast on SproutingPhotographer.com with one of my most favorite artists, Stacy Pearsall. If you haven't listened to it yet, it's well worth your time. Just click the tab below.
We spent a lot of time talking about giving back and very specifically a project near and dear to her heart, the Veterans Portrait Project. However, there's another important side of Stacy to share, her role as an educator and her ability to motivate young photographers.
During, as well as after the podcast, we talked about her trip to New Jersey and spending a day with the students at Raritan High School. As part of the full day program, she photographed veterans with the students, who later went on to create their own veteran's exhibit.
Teresa Gennarelli is the Fine Arts Educator at Raritan High School. I spoke with Teresa and she couldn't have been more excited to share the experience for both her and her students to work with Stacy. She wrote the guest post below, sharing the excitement and describing the impact of working with Stacy.
As you develop special projects of your own, think about ways you can impact the community and bring even more meaning to your work and your ability to create more "buzz". It's all about giving back in both the parameters of the project itself and sharing with your community.
by Terese Gennarelli
For over two decades I've subscribed to Guidepost magazine, a small publication with a huge circulation of over two million people. It is full of inspirational stories and the November 2014 issue arrived with a photo of Staff Sergeant Stacy Pearsall on the cover and her story inside.
As I read about her service to our country as a combat photographer in Iraq, I started thinking about my Digital Photography students and imaging how awesome it would be if I could get Stacy to visit my classes and we could host our own Veterans Portrait Project. Stacy could work with my students and we would invite our local veterans to have their portrait taken.
Every year my colleague, Rosemarie Wilkinson, a Social Studies teacher, and I collaborate on a project. We work with the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Studies in Lincroft, New Jersey combining an art project with one of their current events. I immediately thought of combining our resources if we were lucky enough to have Stacy visit us.
To my surprise, Stacy responded to my e-mail saying that, although she had never done anything like this before, she would be willing to give it a try. Rosemarie and I applied for a grant and our students sold candy to help cover Stacy's expenses. We contacted local veterans' organizations and lined up 10 veterans willing to participate. My Digital Photography students would work with Stacy taking the portraits and the Social Study students would interview the veterans and write a tribute to add to our exhibit. We ran infomercials during the morning announcements and included YouTube videos about Stacy.
The whole school was anticipating Stacy's arrival, we lined the driveway with flags and draped the main office with red, white and blue bunting. On the day of the project, Stacy began by speaking to the students explaining how to respectfully address and converse with the veterans. She then had my students assemble her portable studio and working in groups, each veteran was interviewed and photographed. The day was a great success, we had enriched our student's lives much more than we could have imagined. I believe that in my 17 years of teaching, this experience impacted my students more than any other.
The following day, as an added bonus, Stacy addressed the staff and shared her experiences as a combat photographer in Iraq. The Raritan High School community was immensely honored and blessed by Stacy's visit. It was an experience that profoundly changed many of our lives.
As parents we all make the same comment, usually when our kids are moving out of the house to head out on their own. "Where did the years ago," is the question that's a common denominator for everybody, especially as we get older.
It's sort of ironic for me, as somebody who always writes about not wasting time and time being our most valuable commodity. As I look back I feel like I've squandered it too much. But I do know it accomplishes nothing to look back, but my Dad has simply always been there for me.
Today, as Dad comes up on 93, I look back on so many outrageous moments - outrageous because of so many adventures, even when they were right at home. Dad was the one who drove us around on July 4th throwing firecrackers out the window. He was the guy who drove the car in the winter time with a trail of 4-6 sleds on the back. He taught me how to drive at 14 when he used to help me deliver the Sunday Plain Dealer.
He gave me my first real camera, a hand-me-down 35mm Agfa Rangefinder. Even helped me turn the laundry room into a darkroom, even though the only thing we could make were contact prints.
In later years, many of you met him at WPPI or IUSA. In fact, at one point, he and Don Blair would get together and talk about WWII. They were both in the Asia/Pacific and after hearing some of their stories, I'm convinced the war might have ended a week or two earlier had it not been for these two knuckleheads! LOL
In fact, Don Blair took this portrait of me and Dad in the Hasselblad booth at IUSA probably twenty years ago.
For three or four years, Dad came to IUSA each year and what a kick. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, hearing him laughing in the bathroom. There's something outrageously uncomfortable about hearing your father behind closed doors in the bathroom laughing. As he came back to his bed, I asked him what was so funny.
"I just realized your mother isn't here and I'm leaving the seat up all week!"
And there you have, my Dad's idea of a great time! We must have laughed for an hour. That's been my life with Pop, and while there have been a few rough spots, nothing changes the overwhelming number of good times. I feel pretty lucky to be my age and still have my Dad around. You have to love your parents, but it's a bonus when you like them too.
So, Happy Father's Day Pop...and the same to all you Dads out there. It's a hat most of us love wearing, but if you're like me, you're asking yourself the same question I started this with, "Where did the years go?"
Make it a great Sunday everybody. Hug somebody special and if you're a Dad give out the hugs even more than you get them. Remember to keep the hugs to at least eleven seconds and cherish every minute.
It's a short post this morning, but a topic that's so relevant, taking risks.
I've been in so many studios over the years where I'll see tape on the floor reminding the photographers of their favorite lighting set up. Over and again they'll create a portrait within their comfort zone. Day in day out no risks, but no glory either.
I ran across the quote below that simply hit home, for things I work on as well. I don't want to be a creature of habit. When I do step outside my comfort zone, I feel energized, even when things don't work out as planned.
Sometimes you just have to say, "...I don't know what we are doing, let's just go and see what happens."
You have to embrace the experience itself,
so that things you didn't intend to happen can make your work more authentic.
And you have to hope that it works.
Wayne Coyne (Musician)
It's the weekend. Many of you have events you're shooting. Look for those opportunities to make a change and experiment a little, not at the risk of you client but in ways that can enhance your creativity. Look for those little windows where changing a lens, your exposure or composition is going to give you something different from the norm.
Most important of all, have fun doing it!
A big thanks to a good buddy, Jim Morton, for finding this print when doing some office clean up recently. It was in the early nineties, and I know I wrote a little about it once before, but it's got a great back story.
Don Blair, Terry Deglau (then at Kodak) and Tony Corbell and I were like the Musketeers for years. We did a lot of different projects together. This one was a two-part program that started with a night shoot the day before. The next day every attendee received this 8x10 from the previous night's shoot. Remember, this was in the film days. Getting a print like this, just hours after people went to sleep, just wasn't done.
That year WPPI was in the Garden Arena, and this was the old entrance to the MGM. I remember there were some serious challenges getting the Hasselblad booth set up because WPPI didn't get access to the hall until they cleared things out from a Tyson fight the night before.
Don started talking about the key ingredients to the shot, and I came barreling down the aisle screaming what crap it was to give people an 8x10 when a 5x7 would do just as well! As people looked at me like the fool I was being, Jim Morton and crew had helped me bring in a 5x7 folio - 5 feet by 7 feet!
Art Leather had built us what had to have been a thousand-pound folio in black leather built on 2x4's just like a wall in your home. It was on hinges and opened to free stand just like small folio would. Kodak had printed the image to 5x7, and it was in the folio. It was the best way to make one simple point - nothing beat Hasselblad sharpness and combined with the quality of Kodak PRN 100, the image was stunning!
I know I told the story once before on a blog somewhere, but for Jim to find the original hand-out from the program just made it that much more fun to share again.
The purpose of Throwback Thursday is to get you thinking about your stories from the past. Start looking through those boxes and drawers and with any luck you'll find some buried treasure just like Jim did!
Note: And, if you want to share it here on the SCU site, if it's got relevance to the group, feel free to send me an email and talk about running it here. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few years ago I drove past a billboard with the perfect quote for this morning's theme:
"Accidents only happen to other guys. So, all you other guys, watch out!
If you follow my blog on a regular basis, thank you. Whether you do or not, I've been absent for a few days. It was never intentional, but the result of being in the hospital and out of touch. I'm back "full throttle" and couldn't be healthier, but there's a lesson here, and it applies to all of us.
What's your backup plan? As photographers, you're on regular assignments, whether it's an engagement shoot, wedding, portrait session or commercial job. You're also entrepreneurs, and you have a business to run. Just because you're out of commission is no excuse to not have a plan in place and still be able to generate an acceptable level of communication with clients and associates.
So, here it is gang - see how well you do on the answers to these questions. If you were down for the count and out of commission, do you have a plan?
You've all got backup gear, and you know how to make a seamless switch in mid-stream if something conks out on you, but who's filling in for you when you're not available? Don't be a fool like I've been. I even wrote about it on another blog when I had to deal with the gall bladder from hell and was out of commission for almost ten days five years ago.
Take the time NOW and start to develop a plan. Then do a couple of fire drills to make sure everybody involved knows their role. It's going to be so worth your time down the road.
And, like the billboard said, all you other guys need to watch out!
Illustration/Photo Credit: ©creative soul
It's a typical Sunday morning, but getting here was truly a chore. When I got the news about good buddy Bill Hurter, I was actually in the hospital with "chest pains". I guess it goes with the territory when you have a lousy family history. Joe Buissink once said, "You can hide from a lot of things, but not bad genes!" Well, it wound up not being serious, and I was back home a day later. I had a lot of time to think about life, the way I work and my ability to have business totally consume me.
For the first time in five years, I removed myself from social media. I simply needed a break and stayed out of my office. Well, I'm back, wiser and hopefully able to practice what I preach a little better. Burn-out is real, and we can only do the best we can do.
But here's what I wanted to share. In yesterday's post, the only thing I posted over the last few days, I talked about the importance of celebrating Bill's life instead of being sad over our loss of his presence. Did I cry when I heard the news? Absolutely, but more because it had been so long since I talked to him. The tears were a moment of selfishness, but writing that post was therapeutic.
Bill was the finest and most diverse editor in the photographic industry. His passion was unmatched, and his diversity and understanding of so many different aspects of the industry made him brilliant. Those of us who were close to him need to celebrate his presence in our lives and the gift God gave us. Those of you who never knew him can join the celebration because it's thanks to his presence we have an amazing legacy today, especially in so many different aspects of wedding and portrait photography.
I've been thinking a lot about Bill and how lucky I am to have had the experience of working with him. He was a huge presence in my life, but just because he's physically no longer with us, won't change a thing in how much I loved the guy or smiling over so many terrific memories.
What's really important is when we lose somebody close to us, we don't forget to celebrate their life.
Make it a great day. As always, hug somebody special and don't forget the eleven-second rule. Celebrate your life today. Every day there are more reasons to smile! Wishing everybody a wonderful Sunday.
So many of us are at an age where all too often we receive sad news about the passing of a friend. As an industry, we’re also at an age where more and more of the industry’s greatest artists are getting older, and it’s inevitable that we’ll be hearing more sad news.
Well, the saddest news for me in a long time came this past week when I heard that one of my very dearest friends, Bill Hurter passed away. His passing was followed by a barrage of incredible comments from a lot of wonderful people in the industry. For once though, I just sat quietly by and read and listened. It’s not that I didn’t want to comment, it’s more that I didn’t know how or what to say.
Right now I want to believe that Bill is sitting at a table with Monte Zucker, Dean Collins, Don Blair and many of the other great people who changed the industry we call photography today. I know Bill is going to be watching over all of us, and I decided my contribution to thoughts about Bill would best be represented in a letter to him.
Dear Mr. Bill:
I was overwhelmed with sadness hearing the news you had died, but a few days later I remembered something our son said. He doesn’t believe in the sadness that accompanies a funeral. A person’s life should be celebrated and treated with a level of joy for having been in our lives, not tears over moving on.
So, Bill, I’m celebrating your life today and thinking about everything I learned from you during our almost thirty-year friendship and the seven amazing years we worked together.
I remember you telling me once, a year or two after our first fight, that you were sure I was going to replace you and get a new editor. I can’t deny for a second our little argument over editorial did leave me at a loss, but I quickly learned what it meant to be Editor-in-Chief.
You always fought for what you believed in, whether it had something to do with technology moving things along too fast or the right of a completely unknown artist to have their work shown to the world. Over and again, you’d find great images and give those artists space in what was then the biggest magazine in professional photography.
I have so many moments to look back on that simply make me smile. Even Molly, the Wonder Dog, knew you were special as she’d charge into the office every morning and go directly to your desk to start your day washing your face one more time. All I had to say was “Go find Mr. Bill” and she'd be headed down the hall.
I wrote in a text message two days ago…” I wish George, Arlene and I were in the same location so we could be together now.” Jerry Ghionis called us the “Dream Team” – you, George Varanakis, Arlene Evans and me. Well, we were, but it was because of the passion the four of us shared to make WPPI and the magazine the very best. Plus, we had an amazing team of great people backing us up and helping the company grow.
And, whenever we had an idea, if all four of us thought it was great I knew we had a winner. Over and again you helped us move the convention and the magazine in a stronger direction.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but this letter to you is as much for me as for you. Here’s something you might not realize. Bill, what started out as just a working relationship became family. You helped us set a standard in editorial, imaging and education. I loved working with you. I loved arguing with you over images for the cover of the magazine. I loved the way you cared about the industry and in all honesty there was nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
Each year at the awards program we’d fight with you to stick your head out from behind the curtain for a little much-deserved recognition. People would applaud, but I’m not sure anybody understood how much work you put into the awards program, print competition and the entire program of speakers. That night it was always the same routine. We’d head to the vodka bar for that one night we’d all celebrate the completion of one more convention.
Mr. Bill, over and over again you changed lives and became the very best editor in the industry. You set the standard, and we were all privileged to be by your side, learn from you and celebrate with each success.
Well, buddy, I’m going to miss you, but I’m smiling now with minimal tears. You taught me so much and created so many memorable moments. I couldn’t be more proud to say, “Bill Hurter is one of my very best friends.”
I love you buddy and know the day will come when we'll all be sitting around together at that table you’re at right now.
A few weeks ago I ran an image from high school of the Photo-Service Club right out of the yearbook. I recently found a yearbook from a year or so earlier. It's Throwback Thursday, but it's not the fifty-year-old shot of me I wanted to share, but the fact that "Rifle Club" was in existence at the time. I don't remember the school even having a gun club, but it does look a little like a group from a bad remake of the 1984 version of Red Dawn.
Three more things that are fun to share. First, Mr Stanley, the photography advisor, although retired is very much still around, and I had lunch with him a couple of years ago. I never anticipated a career in photography, but Mr. Stanley was certainly an inspiration. Along with Mr. Burris, the art teacher, they were responsible for my first published images, which appeared in the yearbook, newsletter and on posters for school events.
The second thing that's a kick is Adolph Luhta, the fourth one in on the bottom row. He's a passionate photographer today and always has a camera with him at every reunion. Plus, he follows just about everything I share on Facebook and it's fun to have roots like this that go back to both of our early images.
Last on the list, we were all shooting black and white, and the school had a small darkroom with two or three enlargers. Everything I photographed became part of a collage on the wall of my room. Sadly, because I was always rushing the process, I had the biggest collection of yellow toned black and whites. I was always in a hurry!
So, it's Throwback Thursday - take the time to find at least one old image and appreciate just how far technology and your creativity have brought you.
Last year Bryan Caporicci and Rob Nowell had an idea for a new podcast series. They wanted to call it "Saturdays with Skip", but I felt it sounded too much like the movie "Tuesdays with Morrie" and I'm not that old yet. LOL So, we settled on Weekend Wisdom. To date, there are now twenty podcasts in the series and each one has been unique with amazing information and insight shared by some of the industry's leading artists, educators, and writers.
In all honesty, I had no idea how much fun these would be to do. Or, for that matter, how much I'd learn in the process. This new episode with Stacy Pearsall, expands on the topic of personal projects with a very special twist, giving back to something in which you believe.
Stacy is an artist, educator, writer and award-winning combat photographer. She first entered combat as a photographer in Iraq in 2003 and spent 280 days covering humanitarian relief missions and Special Forces operations. Her images have been used by the President, Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff to make informed decisions in the battle space. She served as a military photographer in the United States Air Force until injuries lead to her medical discharge.
I first met Stacy when she spoke at Skip's Summer School in 2010. Her presentation, including her images and her ability to share her story brought the audience to a standing ovation. Now, she's focused on a project to give back to a very special community, the members of the military. The background on this project says it all:
"Some are smiling. Others gaze at a distant point. All are veterans. The Veterans Portrait Project (VPP) began while Stacy Pearsall recovered from combat injuries sustained in Iraq. Spending hours in VA waiting rooms surrounded by veterans from every generation and branch of service, Pearsall was compelled to honor and thank them in the only way she knows how, photography. The Veterans Portrait Project totals 3,000 veterans and grows daily."
Click on any image below to find out how you can help Stacy with the Veterans Portrait Project. And while you're looking at her images listen to a remarkable podcast by one of our industry's most committed artists!
Okay, I admit it, I'm a knucklehead! More than once I've referred to myself as the low-tech poster child of the photographic community. My passion is in helping you raise the bar on your marketing and business efforts, but I do take a shot now and then, usually with a LUMIX camera in my hand.
Here's the scenario:
Every month I write an article for Shutter Magazine. I've had a column with Sal Cincotta's amazing publication from the beginning. Well, in the online edition there's always a short video to go with the story. Since I don't do a lot of videos, the settings on the camera are always the same.
My article for the upcoming July issue is all about building a solid Customer Service approach for your business, and the video I wanted to use was one of my favorites to date. We all take life too seriously sometimes, and the opportunity to film in a different location from my office was destined to be a classic. However, here's the point for today's post - NEVER assume everything on your camera is set up the right way!
I had forgotten we switched cameras for the last video and in the process changed the settings on the camera I had with me last week. The result was a great little video all shot at too low a resolution for the magazine to use, but it still cracks me up, so I'm sharing it anyway. Later today I'll be recording it again, but there's nothing in Sarasota to match the original Georgia location!
This upcoming article is one of my favorite topics and critical to the growth and sustainability of your business. You've got to build a reputation based on solid Customer Service. And, to my point in this video, the best way to neutralize an upset client is to empathize simply with one simple sentence or two:
"I understand you're upset. The buck stops here. How can I help?"
Then, just kick back and listen.
Check out my full article in the new issue of Shutter Magazine. Subscribing is just a click away.
It’s Throwback Thursday, but the timing couldn’t be better for a different kind of “throwback”.
Meet our son, Brian, whose been a champ at getting me into fly-fishing for trout in the mountains of Georgia. Wait, there’s a connection to Throwback Thursday.
For the last three days, it’s been throwback Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday! Whether small or large enough for dinner, we threw them all back. So, while this isn’t the normal definition of an image for Throwback Thursday, it’s right on the money for photography.
I had the LUMIX FZ1000 with me and loved the results. While I normally wouldn’t recommend taking a camera like this fly-fishing, especially when walking in the river in your waders with your gear, the 25-400 Leica lens, and 4K video is so versatile.
Wishing everybody a terrific Throwback Thursday from the North Georgia Mountains. As always on TT, take a few minutes just to enjoy your images from the past. That old statement about “you can never go back” just isn’t true, and it’s thanks to all of us in the photographic industry.
You can go back!
This post is the fourth segment in "Unplugged." I'm following the general outline from my program at this year's ShutterFest, and staying unplugged to hit some key points about your blog..
Too many of you have a blog simply because somebody told you needed one. You haven't spent any time thinking through what you want to do with it. First, let's talk about what your blog is.
Your blog is about your heart, while your website is about the products and services you sell. Your blog helps extend your reach and by building readership, you're also building followers. But, you need to be careful. A well-done blog can help build your business and your brand, but take too many shortcuts or simply be irrelevant, and a bad blog can seriously damage the growth you're working so hard to build.
Photo tips for Mom
Photo tips for kids
Great places to photograph
How to hire a photographer
Your favorite charity
Important camera gear
Technology update – be a resource
"If I can see the world through my client's eyes, then I can sell my client, what my client buys."
This is much more than just putting yourself in their shoes. This is about understanding what their interests are; how they need help, and what do they need to know to make them more active in the imaging world. You need to understand everything about them.
Always remember your readership. For most of you that means "Mom". Women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories. With every blog post you have a chance to share a little more about yourself and show your passion for photography.
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.