Image copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
"Why?" started as a way to share images together with their backstories from some of the most respected artists in photography. What I never anticipated was how strong and popular a feature like this would be. I also under-estimated the lessons I'd learn from each photographer I spoke with as they shared their backstories.
Mark Toal is another example of the best thing about our industry - the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Mark and I met at a Panasonic Luminary meeting over a year ago. Since then he's shared several terrific guest posts. He also is a key contributor with two other good friends, Joe and Mary Farace at Mirrorless Photo Tips.
Interested in checking out more of Mark's work and tips on shooting mirrorless - wander into the Lumix Lounge. You'll not only catch up to Mark, but the other members of the Luminary team.
by Skip Cohen
As September comes to a close, so does Recruitment Month at Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. That doesn't mean you can't get involved at any other time of the year, just that this month's focus is on helping new photographers become a part of this amazing group of volunteers.
Every NILMDTS photographer I've every spoken with has talked about being involved from two different perspectives. First, they all share the story of their first session. They talk about their fear of being able to maintain composure, and be "professional." Without exception they talk about how they learned they didn't have to be composed, just supportive of the family's grief, sadness and pain.
Second, and it never varies, is the way they describe each NILMDTS assignment as being life-changing. There's a redefined sense of purpose to being a photographic artist. Jennifer Denton in the video above does a terrific job of explaining what NILMDTS means to her and how it's helped change her perspective on life and her career.
"There's nothing else I've ever done that provides me this kind of fulfillment and satisfaction..."
I've shared a number of posts over the last few years from NILMDTS photographers. I hope you'll watch Jennifer's video, and if you'd like another artist's perspective check out this post from co-founder, Cheryl Haggard as she talks about capturing love. Just click on the image below to read her story.
Coming up tomorrow, September 28 is a FREE NILMDTS webinar. Here's your chance to find out more about being a volunteer and being a part of this very special group. Registration for the information webinar is just a click away.
Until my good buddy, Cindy Smith, posted something on Facebook this morning, I had forgotten that twelve years ago today we lost Don Blair. While there's rarely a day that goes by that something doesn't trigger a memory, the last thing he'd want anybody feeling after all these years is sad. He never stopped celebrating life and along with it photography.
I remember him telling me about shooting his first wedding. He wasn't old enough to drive and had to take the bus, carrying an 8x10 camera, a tripod and the rest of his gear. That was where it all started, and here we are so many years later and he's still an inspiration.
Last week I shared the challenge of shooting a portrait with a tall woman and shorter man. The two images above came from our first program when we launched our book, Don Blair's Guide to Posing and Lighting Body Parts. We were doing the segment about tall grooms with short brides. He was a 6' 6" Algerian boxer from Las Vegas and she under five feet tall! But, check out how beautiful the pose becomes when you sit them down!
Most of you never met "Big Daddy," but that doesn't mean you haven't been influenced by something he taught somebody in your network. I found the short teaser clip below from a Photovision promo. I'm not sure which is more fun to watch, Don teaching or Ed Pierce's haircut from way back when!
So, as a tribute to the legacy left to us by "Big Daddy" - I'll close this with one of his greatest messages. You never stop learning. Your education and ability to raise the bar on the quality of your images and your skill set NEVER slow down.
Don was once asked, "What's the best photograph you've ever made?"
His answer, "I don't know. I haven't made it yet!"
"When someone says you've changed, it simply means you've stopped living your life their way!"
It' Sunday morning and couldn't be more typical. I wish I could sleep past 7:30 am, but it's never in the cards. Sheila's still asleep and even Molly the Wonder Dog is out cold at my feet, occasionally chasing rabbits in her dreams. What a kick it would be to know what your dog dreams about!
As I sat here this morning thinking about how off-track I wanted to go with Sunday Morning Reflections, the quote above from a week or two ago on Twitter came to mind. A close member of my family wrote that to me saying "You've changed!" and it was meant in a negative light. So, while it hurt at the time, the more I thought about it, the more I realized from their perspective it couldn't be truer, but from mine, it's just the opposite.
The change that I'd agree with is simply choosing to live my life without everyone's approval. I remember my buddy, Matthew Jordan Smith talking about his earliest images as a professional photographer. He talked very openly about how he used to share them with everybody he respected looking for approval, until one day he realized he had to capture and create images that he loved. He had to find his own way. While that was in respect to his role as an artist, it also applies to how you live your life.
So, in November of 2007 when I decided it was time to leave a stressful, unhappy marriage, it was to live my life differently. Another milestone came along in 2009 when, after years of being envious of so many of you for the courage it takes to run your own business, I stepped away from Rangefinder Magazine/WPPI and became self-employed. One more milestone in 2011 - it was time to live closer to my Mom and Dad and move to Sarasota. Mom was fighting Alzheimer's, and Dad was 89. It was finally time to live around the corner from my folks, and lucky for me it was an idea Sheila supported.
"If nothing every changed, there would be no butterflies."
It couldn't be a sappier quote this morning, but the butterfly analogy is so on the mark. Think back to some of the most challenging changes you've made yourself over the years. Now, think about what came out of those changes. For me, while sometimes the process of change was difficult, the final results have taken me down a different path, always in a positive direction.
And that brings me full circle to whether I have or haven't changed. The core of who I am has never changed. My values are the same. My passion for life is greater than ever. My respect for all of you and the challenges you take on every day has never changed. Even my love for my family hasn't changed - just how they allow me to express it.
The next time somebody says to you, "You've changed," take a second before you respond. My bet is that you haven't changed at all, but decided to take a different path than the one they want you on!
And to Sheila, who's been with me through so many milestones over the last nine years, you've become my very best buddy. You never stop helping me discover new paths. Wake up soon and I'll make breakfast! LOL
Wishing everybody a wonderful Sunday, time with people who are special to you and time to just appreciate those changes in life that have made you who you are. Always go for the eleven-second hugs and thank you for being here when you have so many choices of what to read on a Sunday morning!
This isn't a new topic for me to write about, but it's so relevant, especially this year since there are hundreds of announcements about new products from Photokina going on right now.
There are few things a photographer can be asked that top the irritation scale like this question:
"Your work is beautiful. What do you shoot with?"
Usually, the request is from a guest at a wedding who doesn't care what camera you're using. They either want to tell you what they have or want to pick your brain on what you think of something they're getting ready to buy. Or, they honestly think if they get the same camera, their images will match or even top yours!
But here's an interesting sidebar to the issue. As much as we're insulted by the public assuming great images are the result of great gear, photographers themselves are the worst offenders. New and veteran shooters alike latch on to the idea a new lens or camera body, for example, is going to change the look of their work. Sadly, the real challenge is often in their skill set.
So, here we are coming up to the fourth quarter of 2016. At all of the conventions and trade shows over the next six months, you're going to see new products, many of them announced this week at Photokina. And, somewhere walking down an aisle at PPE, IUSA, WPPI or ShutterFest it's going to hit you - just like that craving for a good steak (apologies to my Vegan friends) you're going to get hit with NGF, New Gear Fever.
Technology is changing all the time, and I know there's some gear out that really will make your images better, but not if you don't pay attention to your skill set. For example, I'm totally absorbed in playing with mirror-less these days, especially anything in Panasonic's LUMIX family. This new technology is amazing, and if I were a working pro, I'd be doing everything I could to also add hybrid to my bag of tricks as well. Another example is Profoto's new Pro10 and their Off-Camera Flash Systems or as Bobbi Lane called them originally, "The game changer!" Then there are new lenses from Tamron, and the list goes on and on.
I'm not suggesting you shouldn't buy new gear. New gear is important, and just the three companies I mentioned above are helping artists raise the bar on their quality every day. However, let's make sure you're buying gear you need. Here's a short list of qualifiers before you screw up your cash flow and invest in new gear.
I know this sounds basic, but so often photographers convince themselves they need new gear when what they need are new classes/workshops first. They need creativity and inspiration to help them fine-tune and expand their skill set.
Talk to any industry icon who's been around a few years and they'll each have a story to tell you about one piece of gear they were convinced they needed that wound up collecting dust and killing their cash flow when they needed it most. Everyone has one piece of gear they bought that should have been rented first, and there's one more point to this post.
Before you make a serious investment in new gear, rent it first. Most of you wouldn't buy a car without a test drive. Well, then why would buy any new gear without trying it out first? Most of the major camera stores have rental departments with everything from cameras to lenses to studio lights. Plus, they've got the expertise behind the counter to help you better define your equipment needs versus the end-result of what you're hoping to accomplish.
Remember, you can have the greatest equipment in the world, but if you're not shooting from the heart, you can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings. And, the next time somebody asks, "So what do you shoot with?" Just smile and answer, "My heart and my eyes!"
It's the perfect image to share on Throwback Thursday, because there's also a lesson in posing. The year is 1998 and Don Blair and I are working on what would become my first co-authored book. Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts was an instant hit. We covered most of Mother Nature's challenges in posing, then gave photographers Don's solutions.
The image above is one of my favorites. Every photographer has ideas about how to pose a tall groom with a short bride, but what happens when it's the reverse and she's taller than he is? Well, once again, "Big Daddy" had some fun with this one. He sat the male subject down and brought her in behind him. The image is contemporary and you'd never know she was close to a foot taller than he was!
There's more to this backstory though.
We photographed all the poses in the book using models from Las Vegas. Why? Because we wanted to launch it in Las Vegas at WPPI in 1999. We wanted to do a program with demonstrations right from the book. Plus, anyone ordering the book could actually pick it up at the convention the day after our program.
I wish I remembered the names of our two subjects above. I think he was in real estate and she was a waitress at one of the strip's hottest bars. Our male subject wanted to go on the road with us and be our professional model and spokesman for a whole series of him posing with tall beautiful women! LOL
So, it's Throwback Thursday and an opportunity for you to have some fun with images from your past. Find a few and share them on your blog. They can help to make the point about the importance of photographs, and the fact that time never slows down.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
NOTE: We recently reprinted the book and it's available through Marathon Press. The content is still 100% valid in helping to create flattering portraits. In fact, for many years PPA has had it on their suggested reading list for artists studying for their certification. Just call Marathon to place your order, 1-800/228.0629.
Melissa Bloom is a NILMDTS volunteer and while I love the part of her quote they pulled for the graphic above, her full quote really says it all:
“I volunteer for NILMDTS because I believe in giving others of our talents and gifts. I know how precious the photographs of my own children are and how many times I’ve wanted to freeze time, just remembering every little moment, maybe even seconds.
I’ve never lost a child, so I can only imagine the magnitude of having only moments to form a lifetime of memories. That’s what I strive to give all of our NILMDTS clients. Knowing that I can provide them with joy during such a heartbreaking time is fulfilling to me and gives so much purpose to my photography that reaches beyond NILMDTS, infusing the importance of my art into all the photos I take, for all my clients.”
For the last few years I've been a NILMDTS Ambassador, and while I'm proud to be a part of the organization, my little contribution pales in comparison to what each volunteer photographer brings to the families they help. I've shared a number of great guest posts over the years. Here's the link to one of my favorites from the SCU archives by Christine Tripp, a NILMDTS photographer from Ottawa, Canada.
Click on either image to read her post as she shares her experiences and fears at going into her first NILMDTS session.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Wandering through the archives, I found this post by good buddy, Scott Bourne. I've written a lot over the years about the importance of building relationships. In fact, I've often quoted Scott Stratten and talked about his book, UnMarketing. His tag line says it all, "Stop marketing and start engaging!"
In our email, Internet world so many times we lose the personal touch. We email and text back and forth; deal with clients who want instant fulfillment and over and over again, miss the opportunity to strengthen a relationship.
It's a short post with a very important point. Marketing today is all about building relationships. Focus on getting to know your clients, never compromise on quality and exceed expectations. As always, you've got to make yourself habit-forming!
by Scott Bourne
If you want to sell photography (or anything else) you should spend more time caring about what your customers care about and less about everything else.
Your customers don't care what your Klout score is, which of your lenses is the sharpest or which brand you shoot with. Your customers care about having photographs that make them (and their families) look good. That's it. That's all.
The online camera forums are full of discussions about photography but, not the people who buy photography. Want to stand out? Want to get ahead of your peers, including those with nicer gear and more experience than you? Simply start caring about your customers. Put all your focus (pun intended) on them and their needs. This is NOT about you. This IS about them. The sooner you realize that - the sooner you'll start to thrive as a professional photographer.
Let the nerds in the photo forums duke it out about which lens is sharper. You go out and make your customers happy by paying attention to their needs and making them look their best. You'll win every time.
Image copyright David Anthony Williams. All rights reserved.
Welcome to a new "Why?" This series is about the backstories behind the favorite images from some of the most respected artists in professional photography today. In this new back-story David Anthony Williams makes several points with this image using an Ice Light as his main light source.
David and I became friends though WPPI where, as one of the most popular judges in print competition over the years, he's been influential in helping so many of us learn to see. As a leading educator and artist, if you have a chance to attend a workshop with David, TAKE IT! In fact, he's got a three day workshop coming up in Toronto on November 16!
To find out more about David, just click his image and you'll be on his website.
"If a telemarketer calls, give the phone to your 3 year old and tell her it's Santa!"
It's the usual quiet Sunday morning, and as I struggled with what to write about, I glanced down to see the cover of "The Week" with a shot of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It's hard to type when your eyes are rolling. Once again, we have an election year where we're going to be voting on which candidate is the lesser of the two evils, as opposed to which one we'd be proud to call President. However, that's not where I'm going this morning.
I want to talk about a service I found to cut down on the annoying telemarketing calls that have already started coming in. It's an election year and if you live in the United States you'll soon be receiving pre-recorded calls from the celebrity world to endorse one candidate or the other. Well, we're doing our best to keep them out of our home this year.
I love it! The video below says it all. Click Nomorobo above to visit their website.
Nomorobo took care of the calls from Comcast, and with the Verizon landline in my office I've set it up through their system to block calls with no caller ID. With my iPhone, I'm just avoiding calls I don't know and then blocking the number in the "details" screen, but I'm considering Nomorobo's subscription plan.
It's just a short post this morning as I go into my public service mode - we all work hard. I don't know about your lifestyle, but my home is my castle and annoying telemarketers don't have the right to wander through the door, or the phone lines!
Wishing everybody an outstanding Sunday filled with time with family and friends, peace and minimal interruptions by companies on your phone lines! Go for those eleven second hugs and ignore work if you can - it'll all be there tomorrow morning.
Happy Sunday everybody!
"If you answer the phone with "Hello, you're on the air!" most telemarketers will hang up."
What a kick to have run across this fractional ad above from 20+ years ago. There's a great backstory.
I was president of Hasselblad USA from 1987 to 1999 and left on terrific terms to play in the Internet with a company who made me an offer I couldn't refuse. However, hindsight is always 20/20 and my 2 1/2 years on an Internet start-up was like 7:1 in a dog's life, so it felt like 15!
Sometime in '93, I came into the office one morning furious. Mamiya America, our number one competitor, had done an ad congratulating Annie Leibovitz on her new exhibit. It didn't come out and say she was a Mamiya shooter, but the inference was obvious. So, I started thinking - what could we do that would pull together all the great names then using Hasselblad.
The answer was to launch two different weekend workshop programs, one in Santa Barbara at Brooks Institute, the other in Rochester at RIT. I don't remember who was teaching where, but on two different weekends at the end of the summer we had ten different industry icons teaching at each campus. The program was set up so that over a weekend each attendee could spend four hours with four instructors of their choice. Also, we had some evening programs featuring all the instructors, which added to the power of the event.
Sadly, I only remember Mary Ellen Mark being one of the instructors. We ran a double page spread featuring all the instructors in Petersen's Photographic announcing the program.
The program was a dismal failure. Nobody wanted to go to Rochester, although there was plenty of interest in Santa Barbara. However, we underestimated the popularity in Santa Barbara the weekend before Labor Day. Room rates were absurd. In the end, we quietly canceled both workshops.
But, this is where there really was a silver lining. The Hasselblad University logo, designed by our ad agency, Kalmar Ad/Marketing, won a couple of awards. It later would become the brand symbol for everything we did in education, which then became road shows with 3-4 speakers and 4-6 cities per series. It also became home for Tony Corbell, who joined us as the first and only Dean of Hasselblad University.
Well, it's Throwback Thursday, and I can't think of a better way to wander down one path of Memory Lane of my career than to think about those incredible days at Hasselblad. Take the time yourself today and look back on some chapter of your career - it's a terrific experience to look at where you are today by appreciating your roots and everything you learned along the way.
Image copyright Jonathan Givens. All rights reserved.
When I started "Why?" I really underestimated the variety and power of the backstories behind the favorite images of some of the most respected artists in imaging today.
It's time to introduce you to Jonathan Givens, a talented artist from the Miami area who most of you have probably never heard of, but that's temporary. I met Jonathan at ShutterFest last April and not only loved the images on his site, but the concept behind a very special project he's just about to finish, Dance Across the USA.
The idea behind this project is to showcase the variety and beauty of both our country,
and the dancers that live within it.
Jonathan's core business is entertainment photography specializing with dancers and circus entertainers. Well, he found a way to combine his passion for the arts together with his love for the National Parks, and set out to photograph dancers in parks throughout the the United States.
There are two additional points I want to share with this new backstory: First, I met Jonathan at a conference and it's a perfect example of a key reason to attend every workshop, conference and convention you can find time for - It's a great way to build your network. Second, special projects, regardless of whether you know what they might become later on, are the perfect vehicle to keep your passion for imaging alive and strong. So, no matter what your core specialty might be, find the time to invest in a special project just for the fun of it.
You can find out more about Jonathan's book project, Dance Across the USA by clicking on the image above. And, a visit to his website is just a click away.
“I didn’t know in 2001 that my loss would turn into my gift. I didn’t know that my childhood passion for photography would lead me to hospital rooms to capture precious memories for families. I’m grateful that my path led me to this point and that I was able to achieve my goal of joining Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” – Adrianne Gaither
Click on the image above to see Adrianne's complete post.
by Skip Cohen
September is recruitment month at Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Before you say to yourself, "I could never do that," here's what I've learned thanks to many of the photographers who are involved with NILMDTS.
We've shared a number of guest posts here at SCU from NILMDTS photographers. Every one of them has talked about their fears getting involved, followed by the life-changing experience they've had after their first portrait session. Each photographer has expressed the concern over becoming too emotional and "losing it" during the session itself, only to learn that their involvement has given credibility to the family. Their presence has been comforting and helped in the healing process.
It's an amazing feeling to give back to your community, and if you can do it with a camera in your hand it's even better.
Ready to be a part of an amazing organization? Visit the NILMDTS website for more information. And, if you're still on the fence, check out this post from the archives by Amy Hales. It's one of the most read posts ever shared at SCU. Just click on any of her images below of Baby Davin.
Image copyright Hernan Rodriguez. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
"Why?" is about back-stories from some of the most respected artists in photography today. Think about how many images you see every day, but you never hear the stories behind them.
Hernan Rodriquez is a perfect example of one of my favorite comments: "The best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!" Hernan and I go back to my earliest Rangefinder/WPPI days, and while we don't catch up that often, each time it's like we ended the last conversation with a comma.
From a Spotlight Profile to a recent post shooting with Tamron's new SP85 mm lens, as a Tamron Image Master he's no stranger to SCU readers. His specialty is commercial and portraiture, but in all honesty, there's nothing Hernan can't shoot.
What I love about this particular "Why?" is Hernan talking about the relationships he tries to build with his clients. Even if it's only through a short conversation, building that relationship relaxes the subject and the result is more natural expressions and a memory-making session.
To find out more about Hernan, check out his website with a click on the image above. And, you'll find more about him on Tamron's Image Master page.
by Skip Cohen
I've written for every Shutter Magazine since it started. For the most part, each article has been a building block for some aspect of your business. Well, for the September issue, I went a little off track and had some fun with my very first rant in a published magazine.
It was so much fun to write and hits on many challenges you can easily avoid, I decided to share a little of it in today's post and then give you the link to the rest of the article:
Headshots that Uncle Harry Could Capture: This is right at the top of the list. You’re a professional photographer or at the very least aspiring to be. Your goal is to get people to hire you because of your skill set. Remember that old expression: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
In regards to your headshot, get rid of that poorly lit portrait. Throw away selfies that a teenager would use. Trade in horrible portraiture for a well lit and posed professional looking headshot.
Even better, get a shot of you working. Put a camera in your hand. Have an associate photograph you from the side and slightly behind you, as you’re working a subject. That will capture an image with you, your camera and done right, your subject in in the background, slightly out of focus.
You’re not going to impress anybody with a bad headshot, let alone support your claim to be the artist they should hire.
Doesn’t Anybody Proof-read Anymore? I get that you’re an artist. You didn’t go to school to be a writer, but that doesn’t mean you have to sound like a moron. Seriously, I’ve received email blasts from photographers and couldn’t understand what they were talking about.
So, you’ve got a few options. If you really can write, but are just too rushed, take the time to read what you’ve written out loud. Then read it to somebody else. There’s very little I ever write that my wife, Sheila doesn’t take a look at for me.
Here are two other options: Check out Grammarly.com. I love it. It won’t catch everything you’re trying to say, but proof-reading out loud together with Grammarly will help you dramatically. The other option, especially for those of you who truly hate to write, but you’re trying to maintain a blog, for example, is to hire somebody to write for you. Wander into the local high school and find yourself an “A” English student.
Read more...There are twelve more challenges with this month's article and they're just a click away.
The article starts on page 12, making me really proud to have the lead spot this month. What's great about all fourteen of the challenges is they're all fixable. Some might take longer than others, but each one can help you build a stronger skill set, brand or business.
Check out this month's Shutter Magazine online and then consider subscribing to the hard copy. It's become the best looking magazine in professional photography and every month is loaded with helpful content. If my link above doesn't work, click the link below - you may have to subscribe to the FREE online version to read the rest of the article.
by Skip Cohen
I love being able to share real-life experiences to make a point about the importance of Customer Service. Well, National Car Rental gets the award this week, but the issue isn't just a challenge with one of their locations, but the pure incompetence when it comes to actually finding somebody with decision-making ability.
Here's the short version of the challenge: On August 18 we picked up a car at Bozeman Airport. We only drove it to the hotel and to a restaurant for dinner - no back roads, all dry pavement and maybe 15 miles at the most. We woke up the following morning to a flat tire.
National's roadside assistance sent AAA to change the tire. The tire had a gash on the inside, which couldn't have been seen when picking up the car. When I commented on never doing anything but drive on good roads the mechanic said, "Looks like somebody hit something and it gave out on your watch!"
I returned the car to the airport for an exchange for the next ten days. Returning home there was a message from an insurance mediator who told me the Bozeman counter put in a charge to me of $182.00 for the tire, $113 for the tire itself and the rest in transaction fees.
Well, that started the quest for a live body at National headquarters with decision making authority, but here's what I've experienced:
So here's the lesson in all of this, thanks to National Car Rental:
While there's lots more to this experience that's a lesson in what NOT to do - remember one huge issue: There's nothing worse than an angry customer arguing on the basis of principle. I found out halfway through this nonsense that American Express will cover the charges. However, I did NOT damage the vehicle and based on National's incompetence, at least at this point, I refuse to even put anything through Amex!
And one last thing to remember. I pulled some statistics from a Google search for a presentation at Marathon's MAP Getaway last month: There are one billion Facebook users, 343 million Google+ users, 200 million Linkedin users and 500 million Twitter users. That's more than a billion influencers who have the power to help or harm your business goals.
Now go one step further: The average Facebook active consumer posts 36 times a month and broadcasts to 130 connections. Every second there are 650,000 Facebook shares, 100,000 tweets and 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube.
I pulled those numbers off of a few different sites and they're only estimates, probably on the low side. You'd think that National Car Rental, being part of an even larger company, would have the sense to at least handle customer complaints quickly.
And that brings me full circle back to you and one of the best things about you being a small business owner. You can handle things quickly and demonstrate an outstanding level of Customer Service, just by showing your customers how much you care!
Photo Credit: Andy Dean, Fotolia
by Skip Cohen
Just last week Profoto USA launched its Instagram page, and they're already over two thousand followers. It's time to start sharing your images! Here's your chance to be featured by one of the most prestigious manufacturers in professional photography today.
And, here's another aspect of sharing images in a venue like this - you never know who's going to see them.
Years ago in my Rangefinder Magazine and WPPI days we were having a hard time finding a great image for the lighting issue. While we were searching we received a press release from Adobe about a contest they had sponsored. Well, the third place winner had a stunning shot of a boxer perfectly lit. We tracked down the artist. He was a student at the time, but wound up with his first cover, on what was then the largest magazine in professional photography.
So, here's my point. Great images are harder to come by than you might think, and there are always needs for images in editorial, advertising, product support, publishing and the list goes on and on. But you're the only one who can make sure your work is out there. Profoto USA's focus on education and support for the professional imaging community might just be your key to expanding your network.
Just click on their Instagram page below to see more images and then visit their Facebook page as well. And remember...
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take!
So what are you waiting for? Check out Profoto USA's new Instagram page today!
For the husband who told his wife, "I love you" one last time before his plane went down.
For the wife who stopped in the stairs to call her husband and say, "I will love you forever."
For the mothers and fathers who kissed their kids goodbye the morning they died.
For the policemen who rushed in with the firemen to help others only to die themselves.
Today, tomorrow, ten years from now, we will never forget 9/11.
I woke up wanting to write something different from what every other American blogger would be writing about today. But, the truth is, there's no way to do that.
We all have at least one event in our lives where we can remember every detail of that day - for most of us Americans; it's 9/11. In a previous life, we had arrived in Cancun on September 10. Walking on the beach that morning, a couple we met the day before, said, "Didn't you guys say you were from the New York area? You need to check out the TV in the hotel!"
We turned on the TV just as the second plane hit the tower. For the next week, we were glued to the television in what became the toughest vacation I've ever had. We couldn't get home. We made call after call checking on family members and friends, to make sure they were okay. In fact, we ran up a $400 phone bill with ATT, which they later were kind enough to waive. A week later, flying home, we were on one of the very first flights allowed back into the US.
What many of you living outside the NYC area don't realize is that for the next year or two, on the news every night there was another human interest story about somebody locally who lost family or friends in the disaster. I know for many it helped the healing process if there is any such thing, but for me, it just seemed wrong. With each story, I felt like I was an intruder in another family's pain.
I remember hearing if you were within a fifty-mile radius of NYC there were no more than two degrees of separation between you and knowing somebody who had lost a family member or friend.
One other thing that very much relates to professional photography, and I know I've written about this before. Because the victims of 9/11 were so young, many of the images being shared as people searched for loved ones, were professional portraits - often wedding or graduation. It was a constant reminder of the potential role every photographer plays in the life of each client.
Well, here we are fifteen years later, and the world is certainly not a safer place, but it is a world where we're more aware. It's also a time when for me, I'm more appreciative of life.
So, on this somber anniversary of 9/11, I wish you a day of peace. A day to cherish your family, friends and the life you have now. It's a day for multiple eleven-second hugs. (If this is a new concept to you - I read an article awhile back about hugs being therapeutic when they were eleven seconds or longer.)
It's a day to thank those who have served in the military and those who are currently serving, and especially their families for the sacrifices they make every day.
by Skip Cohen
I'm a huge Melody Beattie fan, and it's been awhile since I shared any of her thoughts for the day. Yesterday's motivational reading really hit home, If you've read a few of my recent posts about going off the grid, and taking a break, then you already know my mindset.
What I loved about "freeing my soul" yesterday was the way her thoughts apply to so many of us in business. Whether it's pressure from somebody else, or stress we create ourselves, her point really was helpful. Maybe it will be for you as well.
If you're interested in reading more of her books, just click on the book on the left. You can't just feed your body three times a day - you need to feed your mind and heart as well!
Wishing everybody a wonderful weekend and hopefully dry wherever you are!
by Melody Beattie
Get Our from Under the Gun
How often in life, in the busy world around us, we begin to feel as though we're "under the gun." Daily pressures can mount until our body feels as though someone is actually pointing a gun at us saying, "Hurry. Finish. Do this or else." That feeling is not conducive to joy, creativity, or doing our best. That attitude creates stress, some times unbearable stress.
Some of us have lived under the gun so long we're not even aware of it. But our bodies are. We feel tense, stressed, frightened on edge. Many of us have felt that way so long we've gotten used to it. "That's just how it is," we say with resignation.
But that's not how it needs to be. Gently take the gun away from whoever is pointing it at you. Lay it on the table. Tell that person the task will get done, the situation will come about much better, much more creatively, much more timely without the gun. Mot importantly, tell yourself that, too.
Acknowledge commitments. Acknowledge the
necessity of timely accomplishment of tasks. Then
acknowledge the way and wisdom of the hear with
joy. It will see you through to get everything done,
and you won't have be under the gun.
The fun of Throwback Thursday comes with the memories going back to the time the image was captured and this one was a kick to find. I had actually printed it and had it in a frame on the wall in my office going back to my Hasselblad days. I recently found a box of framed prints and this was on the top.
So, that's Tom Danielson on the bottom, Bob Thompson, then the Hasselblad sales manager for the biggest part of the West, me in the middle and Duncan MacNab, then owner of F11, an outstanding camera shop in Bozeman. In fact, we just had dinner with Duncan and his wife in Bozeman a couple of weeks ago.
Somebody said to me once, scuba diving isn't a hobby, it's a sickness! LOL Well, like any hobby you truly love, it did become an obsession. On this trip we headed to Bonaire for a week of diving.
What I can't figure out is who snapped the shutter! I think the trip was just the four of us, but after twenty years and dozens of trips, I don't remember who was with us. We used to rent a condo and share the expenses and then dive in some of the most beautiful water in the Caribbean.
Take the time to search for your own Throwback images. Then, share them on your blog. They're especially effective if they're of kids and family, giving you the opportunity to remind your target audience how important memories are to capture. Every day kids grow a little more and a professionally captured portrait is the perfect way to savor great memories.
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.