It's Sunday morning and we've been away since Thursday when we headed to Dragon Con in Atlanta. Yesterday we traded in the fun of the convention for the pure solitude of a cabin by the river near Helen, Georgia. We've hit two environmental polar opposites on this trip, but the common denominator is simply having fun.
But, that's not really what I wanted to hit this morning...I want to talk about the experience of Dragon Con. It's essentially a sci-fi convention with every character from TV, video games, literature and comic books being represented. You name it, we saw somebody in full costume representing their favorite. From Star Fleet to Strawberry Shortcake to the Walking Dead and everything in between, they were represented.
In the same way I've seen photographers spend hours, days, weeks and months trying to capture the ultimate image for print competition, I saw people who invested the entire year since the last convention to create the ultimate costume. Their pride and passion for whoever the character was they represented was no different than any of our conventions in photography. They all have full time jobs, but Dragon Con becomes a moment for 60,000 people to suddenly bond over a specific passion to have fun.
It's also a photographer's paradise. I shot 400 images and a dozen short videos, all with the LUMIX GH3 and again, for me, it was the fun of it. Even more fun is that every costumed attendee is flattered to have somebody want to photograph them. It's bizarre walking up to a seven foot tall character of evil from a video game I've never heard of and simply have them strike the pose and thank me for capturing and sharing their moment of glory.
So, it's nothing earth-shaking today, just the reality that no matter what your passion is, be it photography, sci-fi, sports or a thousand other interests including family and friends life is about fun. Remember when we were all younger there was a line of, "If it feels good, do it!" Well, maybe it's time to expand that - "If it's fun, do it...and if it makes you smile then it definitely need to be in your repertoire.
Wishing everybody a wonderful holiday weekend and as always, hug somebody important to you...stay away from anything that doesn't make you smile and as simplistic as it sounds, have fun!
I have a subscription to a magazine called Bottom Line. Reading it the other night there was an article for small business owners by Dan Sullivan of StrategicCoach.com. He had a terrific list of ideas to help grow your business. One that hit home, after talking with so many of you over the years, was under the subtitle of "Manager Your Calendar Like An Entertainer".
He broke it out with the need to schedule your days into one of three categories...
Free Days: Days that are totally free...zero business on these days. No email, business calls and no guilt. As he wrote:
"You're not slaking off - you're giving your mind the downtime it requires."
Preparation Days: He called them "Buffer Days" and they were for meetings, organizing various projects and essentially the behind the scenes stuff you need to run a business.
Focus Days: These are the days that are all about performance and focus exclusively on what makes money! All distractions are put aside - no interruptions, just concentration on things you need to do to earn a living.
A few of you are already rolling eyes thinking this is just too simplistic, but the more I think about it, the more I love the concept. In trying to write yesterday's post, I took three phone calls, answered a couple of emails and had at least two IM conversations with photographers on Facebook. We all pride ourselves on multitasking, but we really are becoming masters of mediocrity! So, the concept of dedicating yourself to a schedule, but still allowing ample time to slow down now and relax makes so much sense.
It's a great topic to think about over this long weekend! I'll let you know how it's working out as soon as I'm finished with some scheduled "almost" free days over this holiday weekend!
The other day I wrote a post about pricing, one of the biggest challenges for new and seasoned photographers alike. No matter what your pricing strategy, you still have to close the sale. It's a difficult process for so many artists.
What good is working so hard to create the greatest images of your career if you can't close the sale? "No Sale" is just about the worst news a photographer wants to hear when working to do just the opposite.
In the three videos below, Sal Cincotta, Lori Nordstrom and Taylor Cincotta all hit on various aspects of selling. In all honesty, it's not rocket science, but so many photographers lack the confidence when it comes to making sure the consumer understands the value of what they're purchasing.
"Price is what you pay...Value is what you get!"
One of the biggest challenges for photographers, which I see over and over again, is the artist's failure to establish value. There's no such thing as just a picture, because if you've done your job, a picture is a frozen moment in time, a memory and great pictures really are worth a thousand words. Even a wedding album isn't a book of images, but the first family heirloom of a brand new family!
Sal's program is part of Creative Live's educational series, while Lori Nordstrom's and Taylor Cincotta's are part of Shutter Magazine. Both Creative Live and Shutter Magazine need to be on your radar and under each video you've got access to both.
It's Throwback Thursday and while searching for old photographs I ran across the Molly folder. Everyone with a dog or cat has at least a few pet shots over the years and I'm certainly no exception. Then, @PetsPhotography on Twitter ran one of my posts in his daily...I followed him...he posted a comment and all the signs kept pointing me towards doing a post that tied in pet photography. Well, here we are...me and Molly the Wonder Dog.
The hierarchy of why people hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social sector goes brides, babies and pets. This data came out of a Kodak series at least 15 years ago and I don't believe it's changed at all. What has changed is the growing number of pets in the United States.
Data published on the ASPCA site over the last year or so shows "70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: APPA)." While the UK is smaller the numbers are still impressive with Dogs: 8.5 million (25% of households) and Cats: 8.5 million (19% of households) Source: PMFA.org.uk.
It's a simple point this Throwback Thursday - if pets aren't in your repertoire, maybe it's time to consider. If nothing else, at least be familiar with great pet images, so if you've got a client who wants to pull their pet into the shot, you'll now how to create a "wow" print. That's what Bambi Cantrell did in the portrait above.
In the mean time, this weekend is Molly the Wonder Dog's birthday. I just can't remember if it's her 9th or 10th! (Time flies when you're having a good time.) We got her when she was just ten weeks old and like the relationship we all have with our pets, my dog's smarter than most fifth graders! At one point she was probably the most photographed dog in the industry as Bambi Cantrell, Judy Host, my daughter Jaime, Carey Schumacher and Helen Yancy all had Molly in front of their cameras.
All these years later and she's still got the spirit and energy of a five year old. She's still chasing tennis balls, loves sticking her head out the window of the car and will kill for a Frosty Paws or a McDonald's cheeseburger. With the exception of snoring there's no real change! LOL
Normally you'd expect the challenge with pricing to be the biggest issue with photographers who are just starting out. Unfortunately, it comes up with almost as many seasoned veterans when they're about to do something new or thinking about raising their prices.
The idea to do a post on the topic is all thanks to a few new members of the GoingPro group. The question on pricing repeatedly comes up, so it's a great time to keep everybody focused on a topic so seriously related to revenue/income. It's even more important when you consider we're heading into the seasonality of the fourth quarter and opportunities to better support your profitability.
It starts with the very first easy to understand challenge - consideration for everything it took for you to become a professional photographer. It kills me when I hear new photographers excited, because they can get an 8x10 from their lab that's relatively inexpensive. Then they get excited about what they think is a big profit margin, putting it out there at $24.95! Sadly here's a sampling of everything they forgot to include in the cost of that print:
And last on the list, let's not forget about the value of your time. I remember years ago Bambi Cantrell talking about the value of her time to give up her weekend with her family to photograph a wedding. All of you pay a serious price for your passion to be an artist, especially when it comes to being a wedding photographer.
I don't want to spend a lot more time talking about pricing when there are three terrific resources out there already. Just click on any one of the three banners below and you've got access to Bryan Caporicci's guest post a few months ago, Sal Cincotta's video on pricing, and David Ziser's explanation from his blog, Digital Pro Talk.
"We don't have a choice whether we DO social media,
the question is how well we DO it."
I know I've written about this before, but in virtually every aspect of your business as an artist the key is consistency.
Let's look at social media...There are thousands of you who have blogs today and even more of you on Facebook and Twitter. If it’s just a hobby you can stop reading now. However, if it’s part of your livelihood and meant to be one of your marketing tools, if you’re not consistent then you’re wasting your time!
You need to post at least twice a week and ideally 3-5 times is even better. Having a blog and only posting when there's a full moon serves absolutely no purpose, except to get people wondering if you're really in business. You’ve also got to Tweet several times a day for people to know who you are.
You won’t build brand recognition putting up a post here and there. Building traffic is about consistency and you’ve got to be out there all the time. I'm always surprised at the number of blogs I read that just aren't kept up to date and many of them by some of the best photographers in our industry.
Facebook is the same. You’ve got to be involved to build traffic. You’ve got to be making a contribution for people to remember you’re out there.
Post and tweet regularly or just step away from social media until you can put in a little dedicated time. It can be an incredible marketing tool for your business, but you'll only get out of it what you put in. Remember, even with consistency, quantity doesn't trump quality - you've still got to stay focused on topics your target audience wants to hear about.
Consistency is such an important part of being a professional photographer. Just remember it extends to everything you do, including your quality, great customer service and in this case maintaining a presence. Make it a point to "hit" the social media button in your day, first thing every morning. Try and develop a routine for both contributing to your own pages and reading other posts from people you enjoy. Pretty soon it'll be second nature.
This is my third attempt this morning at trying to write today's post. My problem is that everything I write sounds like an infomercial talking about this past week. It was an amazing week and just a second ago I finally realized what it was all about...my passion and being around passionate people.
It's ironic there are so many people we all know who photograph passion all the time, but have forgotten it's the most important ingredient in their own lives. The stress of building a business has overshadowed what they need the most. They've forgotten to be passionate about themselves.
A few years ago my buddy, Scott Bourne, wrote a post that simply said, "Stop worrying about what you don't know and appreciate all that you've learned so far!"
This includes so much more than just your skill set as an artist. It's about appreciating life. It's about waking up every morning, excited about a new day and yes, I know I'm starting to sound like a Disney movie!
We all have days filled with stress. We all deal with the challenges of business, our own skill set and challenges in relationships with family and friends. The key is to remember that passion trumps everything, at times even logic. Staying focused on our passions doesn't make us idealistic freaks - it makes us realists! Because, without passion in our life, nothing else really matters.
Choose to see beyond life's storms...
because it is only after the rain that you will find your rainbow.
From Walk-the-Talk's Welcome the Rain
I know it sounds trite, but it's so on point!
Make it a great day everybody. Leave the challenges of business out of your day. It's a great day to simply let your passion for life flow and as always, hug somebody special!
Yesterday I had 24 hours to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which to date has raised over 40 million dollars for ALS research. It's not surprising the concept went viral, especially in our industry, where we've got so many people with a "gotcha" mentality...and that's what makes this so much fun.
I loved being called out by good buddy Carlos Zamora. My grandfather died of ALS about eight years before I was born. I remember my Dad telling me stories about how the disease chipped away at his mobility. My grandfather actually died, during an experimental procedure, in an attempt to slow down the disease.
ALS is only half the point this morning. I've quoted a brilliant marketing/motivational consultant over the years, Ed Foreman. He spoke to a group of us at Polaroid at least thirty years ago. One of my favorite quotes, which I'm sure my memory has modified slightly over the years was...
"Life is for laughing, living and loving...not bitching, moaning and complaining!"
After watching dozens of these videos, I decided we needed to beef up the fun factor. Sheila, my wife and my muse, had a great idea to get my Dad involved. Now, add in another opportunity to play with my LUMIX GH3 and you've got all the right ingredients for a memory-maker.
Dad's going to be 92 in October and had the most fun of the day. Second, was Sheila, who you'll hear laughing in the background. And last on the list, I'm still smiling...although unless you're a football coach, you don't realize just how much the shock of ice and cold water can really pack a punch.
ALS is a horrible disease and while I'm sure there's been progress over the years in research, it sure doesn't seem like much. It took Donna Blair's life, fifty years after my grandfather died. So, take the challenge, have some fun in the process and when you're ready to make a donation, here's the link.
But I've got my own challenge to all of you...
It's Friday and the weekend is coming up - what are you going to do to make a few standout memories with someone you love?
Normally it's "Throwback Thursday" and I'd go searching for old images from the industry. Today needs to be a little different and while it's definitely a "Throwback" day, it's without any images. Today's "Throwback" is about the amazing friendships cultivated over time in this industry. Believe whatever you want, but nothing tops the importance of your relationships with your friends. There is no amount of success that will ever trump the wonder, love and beauty of great friends.
In 1987 I joined Hasselblad USA as president. A year or two down the road we needed something new for our trade show booth. We wanted to make a statement about quality and how big an image could be blown up. My good buddy, Terry Deglau, then at Kodak, contacted a good friend and got us a stunning image of a woman sitting in a wheat field. We enlarged a very small portion of the original negative and made a print that was approximately 4x6...feet! It was tack sharp and because it was such a small portion of the original, it was the equivalent of enlarging the entire frame to 50x50...FEET!
That early demonstration of Hasselblad quality was all thanks to a guy who would become one of my dearest friends, Jerry Constanzo. Over the twenty-five years that followed Jerry, his wife Bonnie and I would share a lot of laughs, conversations and countless mutual friends.
Yesterday afternoon Bonnie lost her battle to cancer. I sat at my computer in shock, reading Jerry's post on Facebook as he shared the sad news with so many friends. I tried to read what he wrote to Sheila and couldn't without cracking. The initial reaction was surreal...how could this be?
Jerry and Bonnie were in Pittsburgh and we were in Sarasota and while we lost touch over the last couple of years, nothing changes the roots of a strong friendship.
I may not have seen them for over a year, but I can hear Bonnie's laugh as if I just hung up the phone. I cherish times we hung out together or Bonnie beating me up because she wanted me and Don Blair to sign a print she had of us. I'm kicking myself for not staying closer to two good friends, but I'm so damn proud to have had them in my life for so many years.
If there's a moral to this story or a lesson to be learned I have no idea what it is...I'm saddened at the industry's loss of one of it's best cheerleaders. I'm sad that I wasn't there to help, to pray, to do something for a family I've cared so much about. This industry is special because of people like Bonnie, somebody who had such remarkable passion for photography, art, her family, her friends and as Jerry mentioned, her grandchildren.
There's a great expression I've heard more than once, "God needed another angel!" Well, I can't help but have this bittersweet smile on my face, because right now Bonnie is whipping heaven into shape and laying out plans to watch over Jerry and her family along with all of us in the industry she so deeply loved.
I luv ya Ms Bonnie - you will be so missed.
In yesterday's "Mind Your Own Business" hangout, Michele Celentano was our guest. Michele is one of the finest family portrait artists in the world and she believes 100% in printing all her work. One of the topics we spent a great deal of time talking about was the challenge of selling prints in our digital world. A year ago, Michele shared "I Believe".
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!
This is just an excerpt. "I Believe" in its entirety is just a click away. Michele has offered it to any photographer to use the way she does, printed and given to clients, which she shows during the webcast. You're welcome to plagiarize to your heart's content.
During the webcast, I went ahead and did some of my own creating, just to illustrate her point. This morning I dove out of bed and immediately grabbed the shot above. The next time you're working with a client and want to make the point about the importance and impact of printed photographs, you might want to create your own prop or two like I did.
By the way, that's one of my favorite photographs of me and Sheila ...
I know I've been knocking around this industry longer than many of you and very few of you know much about my background. While I often write about this being one of the most fun chapters of my career, it hasn't always been smooth sailing.
There was one year at Polaroid that I interviewed for 63 different jobs through their internal job-posting system. I was trying to get out of research and into a supervisory position. I was turned down for 62 of them! Then, when I finally landed what I thought was the perfect job, I was caught in a lay-off. I had seniority rights and luckily still had a job, but I had to bump back into the hourly ranks and start all over again.
Years later, I left the comfort and security as president of Hasselblad to be president of an Internet company, PhotoAlley.com. PhotoAlley collapsed when the owners couldn't get us in the black, even with over thirty million dollars in sales. I wound up on unemployment for two months prior to accepting the job at Rangefinder/WPPI.
To the outside world my career has been pretty terrific, but not without its share of disappointing moments. One thing I've learned is another old proverb about everything always working out for the better. Each challenge has in some way taught me something and made me a little stronger. Over and over again, each disappointment has added something to my skill set. For example, those 63 jobs I went after taught me everything about giving a good interview.
So, when I share a quote and I see it really hits home, you can count on there being a good possibility I know exactly what many of you might be going through with personal and business challenges.
He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea.
So, what kind of sailor/photographer and business owner are you? Are you the conservative type who likes everything to be exactly right before you take a shot at something? Are you a major risk-taker, going “full steam ahead” without thinking about the consequences? Or, is your approach balanced, taking a few risks here and there, but still trying to plan ahead.
I think I've been a little of all three, but I've learned from each disappointment. Whether you make the right decisions every time or not doesn’t matter. If you make a mistake, it’s just that, nothing more than a mistake. Own it and move on – you can’t undo the past, but you can create a stronger foundation for your future.
Sheila’s got a little sign here at home that most of you have probably heard:
Dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt before,
sing as though no one can hear you, live as though heaven is on earth.
Here's one more from my good buddy, Scott Bourne...
Photograph as if each image you capture is the last image people will ever see of your work.
Photo Credit: © eduard - Fotolia.com
In another blog, far far way, I shared this video after stumbling across it on YouTube. While it's been out there for at least two years, I'm betting most of you never saw it. I don't know who to even give credit to - since there's so little information given.
(Note: When I posted this earlier, I didn't have the information about the talent behind "Fauxtographor". Thanks to my buddy, Brian Malloy in Boston, he knew the artists.
Fauxtographer was produced in 2012, directed and shot by photographer and filmmaker, Richard Esposito of http://www.caprisio.com. It starred Robert Norman of http://norman-photography.com who is anything but a "fauxtographor." The two of them are talented veterans of the field, check out their websites to see what they are up to next.
Pay close attention to all the little details. It's those moments of unbridled sarcasm that hooked me right from the start.
Oh, if it were only so easy. We could give all those "rockstars" who shoot weddings for $300, a couple of pills and *poof* they'd suddenly realize what they're leaving on the table. They'd start attending workshops and stop shooting until they really understood photography.
Next, we could take the equipment hounds who own everything but only know how to use one lens, not to mention one aperture. We'd give them one pill and they'd start to practice, using everything in their camera bag. Maybe they'd even try shooting wide open!
Then we could give a pill or two to "professionals" who own only one camera body and hit the panic button when something goes wrong. They might even double up on a lens or two and buy a second strobe! Who knows, they might even start attending local meetings with the professionals in the local PPA chapter or photography guild.
And what about the "I'll-fix-it-later-in-Photoshop" crowd, who take lousy images and think being a filter junkie will clean them up? They'd take two pills, go to bed and wake up realizing you really can't buff a turd! They might even start thinking about great images, right out of the can.
My list of pet peeves goes on and on, along with a new one. People who join photographic forums and continue to ask questions that could have been answered months ago, if they'd only read the manual that came with the camera.
There's no doubt in my mind somebody out there probably is working on a pill like this. What I want to see is one for small business owners that helps enhance goal setting, marketing and business planning. One dose would give the business owner a renewed sense of customer service and the ability to listen better to their clients!
Hey, we all have our dreams!
The days are flying by! Ever feel like you're trapped in an old movie, with the hands of the clock spinning? Knowing that time is your most valuable commodity, what are you doing to make the most of fourth quarter seasonality, especially in marketing opportunities?
Let's start with my favorite - your own holiday card! I've written at least a half dozen posts on the subject over the last few years, usually starting right now, as the summer comes to a close.
As a professional photographer, it's one of your very best opportunities to promote your work, holiday spirit and brand. NO PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER SHOULD EVER SEND OUT A STORE-BOUGHT HOLIDAY CARD! Yeah, I'm yelling, but only because too many of you still don't get it.
You're artists. Why would you show somebody else's work?
Start thinking about your image for this year's card and once you have the image, it's so easy. Your image is on the front, a holiday themed message on the inside and on the back, right where the "Hallmark" label would be, is the name of your business or your name, your email address and a phone number. That's it - nothing more to do except work on your mailing list and get them sent out on time.
The images below are last year''s holiday card from Bleu, Ali and Fisher at Bleu Cotton Photography in Costa Mesa. I've shared every card of their's in posts for at least the last five years. The fun of their card series is they put themselves in the performance. Whether you want to have some fun and create an image that's unique of your family, just do a family portrait or share a stunning image you've taken of something holiday related...it doesn't matter.
The value of the card really isn't in the image used, but the marketing strength on the back. This is where you get to remind everybody what you do for a living. It's the perfect marketing message during the holiday season.
Over the years I've featured cards from so many different photographers. The challenge for you is to stop procrastinating and think about December 2014...What are you going to be sending out?
Other cards from past years...
My main focus in this post is about holiday cards, because it's the next big opportunity coming up on the calendar, but in all honesty, the same thing applies to your stationery. Use your own images in your thank you notes.
We live in the printed world - we post, tweet, email - all typed communication. Don't under-estimate the value of a hand-written note, guaranteed to get through the noise and create a memorable moment. Here are two more examples and they also show a different way to brand the back of the card.
Our good friend Kaylene Fister, used a stunning image she took during SCU's summer program in Chicago last year. Using a panoramic image gave her the ability to also make the shape of her card unique at 4" x 8".
Good buddy, Everardo Keeme uses one of his images with a stronger commercial look and ties in a small logo on the front of his card and more information on the back.
I've only got one simple point in this post...
You're an artist and you're working hard to build brand awareness for your skill set. Don't miss the opportunities to share your work and remind people why you're their number one choice when it comes to all of their photographic needs!
It's Sunday morning and I'm pondering life and sharing a thought about relationships and stress. I know I've written about this in the past, but that's the fun of going off-track on Sundays.
"Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness."
Having absolutely no plans last night, we headed out to try a new restaurant in town and had a wonderful evening, but it wasn't just the dinner that made the night. It was simply having time to just talk and enjoy each other. While it's just the two of us, as we've gotten older, time seems to fly by even faster. Even though we're together all the time, we don't isolate enough time just to be a couple.
Many of you, just like us, let life get in the way of the most important aspect of your life - your relationship with your spouse. We all get so wrapped up in the day in day out stress, we forget what's really important.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Here's my point...your spouse is the most important part of your team. It took me years to learn that. It's time to put the importance you've assigned to your business aside and remind yourself why you're a photographer in the first place...to capture memories and stop time. When was the last time you made a few just for you?
Happy Sunday everybody - hug somebody special in your life and save a hug for yourself. Put the stress of business aside. You know how to focus your camera - how about focusing on you for a change?
"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along,
listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering. "
Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne
"Even if you are on the right track, You’ll get run over if you just sit there. "
Earlier this week I tweeted the above quote and it wound up getting a great response. It's become one of my favorites, because so many of you have great ideas. You're building your business and absolutely on the "right track", but then something happens. You start to question what you're doing, stall and lose your momentum. Then you procrastinate and it becomes even harder to build up speed again. In the mean time, you take a step backwards and start listening to people who doubted your dreams in the first place. There's always somebody waiting to say "I told you so!"
So, let's break the trend...it's not a problem to slow down now and then and be a little more cautious and decisive. It's just bad when you stop believing in your dreams. I've heard a lot of suggestions over the years about goal setting and it's a Saturday morning and perfect to think about over the weekend. Here are just a few:
Remember that being on the right "track" doesn't mean you can't change tracks and move in another direction altogether. The issue that Will Rogers shared with us, so many years ago, is to make sure you don't just sit there, indecisive, doing nothing. That's when you get hit run over!
The year is 1990 and I was on the Advisory Board of Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS (P+FUAA). They had put together a remarkable project to raise money through an exhibit and art auction called "The Indominable Spirit". If I remember right, the sale of the prints in the exhibit raised close to 1.5 million dollars for AIDS research.
Along the way, Hasseblad got involved in a few different fund-raisers. We sold Ansel Adams' 1977 Cadillac and part of the funds went to the group. Then we did a couple of workshops as part of PhotoWest and PhotoEast (now PPE).
The image above was from a very special shoot Marc Hauser did for us. Marc waved his fee and Leeza Gibbons, then the anchor on ET, contributed her's back to the fund-raiser. This image was done at PhotoWest. Marc then came back and did a second shoot with Carey Lowell of James Bond fame, one of Timothy Dalton's co-stars in "License to Kill" later that year in NYC. Again, Mark nailed it and we raised a little more for AIDS research.
But the true fun of Throwback Thursday is trying to figure out who's in the picture! I know that's Jim Morton on the far left in the back, Leeza Gibbons in the middle with Marc and Mark Rezzonico, now President of Profoto on Marc's right. William Hunt, then Chairman of the Board, and is next to me in the back row behind Marc and on the far right is Paul Mackler, then show director for the company that used to do the PhotoEast and PhotoWest shows. This shot is 24 years ago and it's true - time really does fly when you're having a good time!
Note: Feel free to let me know who else is in the image!
One of the key challenges for every professional photographer is building your brand. You want to build a reputation that creates top-of-mind awareness when a potential client has a photographic need. Numerous times over the years I've talked about being involved in your community. I've suggested professional photographers teach a class on photography. I've also suggested checking in with the local elementary school and offering to participate in Career Day as a speaker.
Well, here's a photographer who took it one step further with her own photography camp. Meet Erin Clark Zahradka. She's a mom, passionate about photography and loves working with kids. Her mother was a teacher, so she grew up with a healthy respect for education. She launched her own Z-Pics Kids Camp and the concept is a home run, destined to just keep growing!
There are few things as fun as working with kids interested in photography. It's a terrific way to have some fun with your own skill set and at the same time help inspire a future artist. Even better is how uncomplicated the process can be.
Erin has five girls in camp this week, shooting with everything from point and shoots to cell phones to an SLR. She's teaching them the basics, but at the same time they're getting exposed to concepts to build self-esteem and pride as an artist.
Take it one step further and think about your own passion for the craft. What if somebody had given you the opportunity when you were a kid to work on a photography project with other kids your age? What would you have learned about cooperation and respect for the different ways we all see the world? Now, put a camera in your hand at that young age and the spark to be an artist some day might have been ignited even earlier.
This year's photo camp has five "campers", but watch out, the concept has incredible potential to just keep growing. You don't need to know the kids to recognize the passion for the craft in their faces, the respect they have for each other or the developing pride they have as artists.
In thinking more about Erin's photo camp idea, I was struck by something Erin's mother wrote on her Facebook page,
"A photography class wouldn't have worked for you when you were in 3rd grade, because you would have had to wait a week to 10 days to get the photos back from the developer!"
Technology has given our industry so many tools, including the ability to teach photography in a way most of us would have thrived...although these kids will never recognize the smell of acetic acid in the darkroom, the patience of putting a print through the wash and waiting for it to dry...yeah, I'm old! LOL But, I wouldn't change that foundation from the darkroom for anything!
So, to the Z-Pics Kids Camp "Class of '14", thanks for sharing your enthusiasm! I for one, will be following your photo careers and who knows, Erin might have just planted the seed for the next Annie Leibovitz, Anne Geddes or Mary Ellen Mark.
About Erin Clark Zahradka
In addition to her main business, Z-pics, Erin is also the founder of AIBP ( Association of International Boudoir Professionals). I've done a couple of hangouts with them to talk about marketing and I'm always blown away by their interest level and the dedication of the members to build a stronger business. If you're interested in boudoir, this little group has a lot of horsepower and some outstanding talent in its membership. Here's the link to check it out.
Images copyright Erin Clark Zahradka. All rights reserved.
I ran across this a few minutes ago, while randomly wandering through YouTube and it simply cracked me up. At a time in photography when everyone is worried about archival quality, image longevity and durability, these two artists decided to do their own test on BreathingColor's Lyve Canvas.
I've visited BreathingColor's new headquarters and met a few of their key managers. There's no question they're dedicated to giving photographers the very best printing products on the planet. However, this is material for an episode of "Myth Busters". It goes beyond what their chemist and color scientists are doing to make sure the specifications of their products match up with digital technology.
What a kick!
Thanks to Ken at www.kendoophotography.com for redefining the meaning of "product testing"!
A few years ago I was following a thread on Linkedin in one of the discussion groups. A member of the group had a black-tie wedding coming up and threw a question out about what was appropriate attire, wondering if he could get by in a dark suit and not a tux.
The question was great and certainly appropriate. It was answered right away, but twelve days later the banter was still going on. The volley continued as two photographers argued their points about beach weddings versus the rest of the world, when the only answer that really mattered was to "dress appropriately". The question was answered right from the beginning, yet people wanted to keep giving input and it got emotional.
Last week I had the same type of challenge in a forum I administrate. It got ugly because a couple of people wanted to play troll and simply didn't know how to behave, let alone communicate. Once a thread goes off track, there is absolutely NO WAY to get it back. We wound up deleting the thread and permanently removing the trolls.
So, here's what I wish we could all agree to and I'm including myself in this. It's an extension of the "Rules of Engagement" I've written about before and it's pretty simple.
Don't get me wrong, I love forum/group discussions. The Internet is a remarkable tool and helps so many photographers every day, but there's no telling how much stronger we could all become if we were simply more selective when commenting in any group.
The endless volleys that come up over and over again would rarely happen if we were all together in one room talking to each other.
“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
Yesterday's post is a prime example of that line that everybody's mother, father or grandparent used when we were kids, "Do as I say, not as I do!" The topic was spelling and proofreading and I'll start out with two big "Thanks" to Brian and Craig.
A half hour after posting, Brian caught a typo in the sentence and sent me an IM, "...they got is right" that was immediately corrected and became "...they got it right". Then, this morning I was reviewing comments and Craig wrote to me:
Was this deliberate then?😆 "Read out loud, to you spouse, assistant or a friend, what you're about to publish."
When I was a kid, my Uncle Morris, published his own book, a paperback about power selling. He found three typos after it went to print. His solution was to sell each book with a message he added on a separate sheet of paper, "There are three intentional mistakes in this book. Find them and let me know and you'll receive a second copy, FREE."
Well, I'd like to answer Craig and say my mistakes were intentional, but there's no way I could keep a straight face. Both mistakes were never noticed. I read it out loud at least three times. I read it to my wife, Sheila. I posted it and was absolutely sure it was perfect.
As moronic and pathetic as I feel, both mistakes make a huge point about the importance of just slowing down and looking at something one last time, before it's published. I know I'm in good company after seeing mistakes all the time in many of the national magazines, but that doesn't make me feel any smarter. However, it does point out that being pathetic is truly an art form and we all share the same challenges.
I heard Guy Kawasaki speak two years ago. He's one of the most published authors in business today and an outstanding presenter. He talked about his then just published book, APE, How to Publish a Book. After at least thirty different people had read the draft and he'd caught every mistake, he said to his editor, "I'll bet you've never seen a manuscript as clean as this one!"
A few days later he was sent a list of over 1600 corrections that needed to be made! His advice, after telling the story, was to emphasize the importance of hiring a great editor!
One good suggestion that I'm going to try came from Jean-Francois:
A little trick, read the text backward. Your brain won't auto-correct what you are seeing. Or you could just write "sent from my iPhone", which would at least explain at the typos. (So was Jean-Francois' typo intentional? LOL)
A big thanks to Craig and Brian for letting me know about the mistakes and Jean-Francois for a terrific suggestion. To all three of them, along with all of you, have a terrific Sunday...don't take yourself too seriously and as always, hug somebody special today. Life is simply too short to not make a few new memories every day!
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.