This might well be one of my most favorite Weekend Wisdoms, for two reasons.
First, the idea for Weekend Wisdom came from Bryan Caporicci and his co-founder in Sprout, Rob Nowell. Even though we don't see each other very often, they have become two of my very best friends. So, being able to have the master himself on as a guest was a kick.
Second, and this is the biggest reason for loving this podcast - Bryan, Rob and their team are about to help you revolutionize your workflow. After months of beta testing, Sprout Studio will officially launch on November 4. This is amazing software all focused on helping photographers organize their business flow and get a big piece of their lives back.
Just listen to the podcast and you'll get a much more in-depth understanding of what Sprout Studio is all about and why you need to check it out.
The Sprout tagline says it all:
"You got into photography to be a photographer. Spend more time doing what you love!"
No, it's not Throwback Thursday, but going through an old album, these are classics! Today is my Dad's 93rd birthday, and that's him in the front of the first image. He's in the sailor suit in the middle shot and the one on the left in the short pants with his brother.
Every Throwback Thursday I write about the importance of old photographs and educating your clients about the magic you bring to their lives in helping them capture memories. But, today's post isn't about that. It's about me wishing my best buddy a terrific birthday. Besides, if you can't go off track and wish your father a happy birthday in your own blog, then what good is having a blog? LOL
So Pop, Happy Birthday! No kid has ever been prouder of his father than I've been of you all these years. You've been there for me every step of the way. Besides these old photographs of you, there's a closet full of old albums capturing every step of the way for our family. Between a few different cameras over the years, tons of 35mm slides and Mom keeping them organized, you never missed a beat.
You told me recently that you've lived the longest of anyone in your family history. Lucky for all of us - your kids, eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two "grand-doggers" as you call them. Our lives are richer for your presence and everything you've done your best to teach us along the way.
Happy Birthday, Dad - Sure do love ya!
Ever talk with a photographer who's all doom and gloom? They're not just a pessimist, but they blame everything that's wrong with their business and their lives on everybody else. They take absolutely no responsibility for the journey they've been on or the choices they've made. If business is down they blame the economy, their lack of gear, the competition - you name it, there's always an excuse.
I found this quote the other day from George Washington Carver and loved it:
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.
Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
Carver was talking about life overall, but in the business of photography and the "doom and gloom" artist I described, it would be "tender" with new photographers just starting out, "compassionate" with veteran artists trying to adapt to new technology, and "understanding" of photographers working hard to become established.
I hate sounding like an old fart giving you a lecture, but I look at my journey and it continues to be pretty amazing, even with mistakes here and there. The majority of time when I don't get the outcome I was hoping for, if I analyze the situation, almost always I played a role in the outcome. The usual reasons are procrastination, fear of a new direction or not fully analyzing the potential of a new project. However, at this point in my life I've at least learned to get something out of each mistake. Disappointments are incredible learning experiences and help make the next project that much more successful.
So, if now and then you hit the wall and are disappointed in the outcome, take responsibility for the gift you've been given to change your path. We're an amazing industry. All along the way there are people to help you with the challenges. You don't have to do it alone, but you do have to take responsibility for each decision you make and learn from them.
"Everybody wants to be a diamond, but very few want to get cut!"
Maybe one of the crew above will remember when this was taken, but my best guess is the 90's. It was a classic routine pose, every time we got together. Before digital, everybody in the industry had an Olympus Stylus in their briefcase and the self-timer became the most used or abused feature! Whenever we were together somebody at the end of the evening would toss the camera on the floor and we'd all jump in around it for a group selfie.
That's part of the Hasselblad Sales Force with Al Zimmerman and Jim Morton, but there's more to the back story.
First, everybody is dressed up, so the image was before we went casual in the booth at conventions. So, my guess is they were all at a trade show or convention, probably NYC. I used to wear nothing but double-breasted suits and the minute we got into logo-wear and casual attire from Lands End, people would come up and talk to me. I had somebody tell me the suits were intimidating and scared them away. LOL - I always thought we simply looked professional.
Second, Jim Ritter has a cigar in his hand and Cor is smoking one. Find me any place where you could have a cigar inside a building after '98 or so. Plus, the stories an image stirs up is another fun aspect of Throwbacks. Every Friday, all year long, Al Zimmerman, Bob Nunn, Jim Morton and I would grab a cigar and sit in the outside alcove of the office entrance. We'd wheel a few chairs out of the conference room and reflect on the week. Al and I would look at each other and in unison say, "And then there ___!" We did the countdown of the number of weeks left in the year, and it always tied into our sales numbers being reported to the home office in Sweden.
And that brings me to one last back story. I was hired in 1987 by the worldwide president of Hasselblad, Jerry Oster. In the first couple of months, he'd call me once a week and ask, "How is everything going?" I'd always answer the same, "Terrific!" It was going great. I was getting to know all the different aspects of Hasselblad's business, the employees, and our dealers. We were coming up with some great ideas for future programs, and I was slowly building trust with the team.
Well at my first Board meeting the numbers were less than stellar, and Jerry looked at me and said, "You told me everything was terrific." It was terrific, but he meant the sales numbers - not how I was doing in the job. It was a rude awakening but certainly set a standard for me clarifying what the crew from Sweden was asking for every question from that point forward.
I shared a blog post this week about using Throwback Thursday in your blog as a marketing tool. This is a terrific way to share memories and get your potential clients to think about the value of photography. It's also a way for you to share style changes, techniques and trends in photography and position yourself as the expert.
For me, I simply love Throwback images, because there's no such thing as just an old photograph! Every image has a story.
So, what are yours?
For months now I've been sharing Throwback Thursday images, mostly from industry events over the years, but here and there old family images of my own. It wasn't until this past summer I realized throwback images are perfect for your own blog content and also for working with clients.
If you have a blog, start sharing an old image each week to help you make the point about the power of photography. Better yet, just listen to this short three minute segment of my recent social media series at SPTV.
Interested in accessing more content? Check out SPTV and subscribe. There's a special ten day FREE trial and the cost is only $99 a year or just $10/month if you'd rather pay as you go. Great content and hundreds of hours from some outstanding educators and artists in professional photography.
I found this quote by Helen Mirren, the actress, that says so much.
(The headmistress) took one look at me and said, in such a way that I have never forgotten it,
"Beware of fear."
It took me many years to understand the power and importance of that observation.
Fear sometimes stops you from doing stupid things.
But it can also stop you from doing creative or exciting or experimental things.
It can cloud your judgment of others, and lead to all kinds of evil.
The control and understanding of our personal fears is one of the most important undertakings of our lives.
I've spent a huge part of my life talking with other photographers online. the phone and if I'm at a workshop or convention, in person, I follow many of you on discussion threads in various forums. Whether new artists just getting started or established veterans, many of the conversations involve some element of fear. It can be anything from trying to decide what path to take next, to the purchase of new gear, attending a workshop, or making a website change. The range of things people worry about is endless.
It's a short post and an easy point to consider.
When I made the decision to head out on my own in 2009, my wife, Sheila asked me, "What are you afraid of?" My answer was simple, "Failing!". Her response, "And what's the worst that can happen?" Once I started to think of putting parameters on failing and my fears, everything changed.
Let's kick off this week with a look at your biggest fears and what you need to do to stop letting them drive your decisions or worst, hold you back. Again and again I've heard artists say, "I should have started doing this years ago!" Stop "shoulding" on yourself and remember two things:
First, you're not on the high-wire without a net! Your family, friends, and associates are there for support. I know it's a little lame and simplistic but the first half of the word "network" is "net." Second, remember everything always works out for the better. Face your fears, take some risks and then, no matter what happens you'll know fear didn't stop you in your tracks.
As I was thinking about what to write this morning because there's nothing in the pipeline, I was looking at the wall over one of the two desks in my office. It occurred to me that each piece on the wall represents a chapter in my life.
People outside the industry are always surprised that our house is covered with photography, all images from friends over the years. If you were to describe my life regarding what I've collected, I guess I'm a professional memory collector and creator. This wall in my office is a prime example.
It starts with Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry. It was a present from Catherine Hall who used to be one of his assistants. It's signed, but it's also my favorite because it's one of the most recognized portraits in the world and testimony to having a great skill set. McCurry didn't set out to create an iconic image, but he had the skills to capture it!
Then at the top is an award-winning image that Jerry Ghionis did one year at WPPI of Ryan Schembri with Johnny Cash in the background. It's a favorite, first because it's just so good and second because both Jerry and Ryan have been good buddies of mine for years. Most of you today think of Jerry as a wedding photographer, but don't ever sell his skill set short. I'm not sure there's anything he can't shoot.
The portrait of the woman looking down is from another Aussie, Giorgio Karayiannis. There's a great backstory on this one. It was called "Cancer Patient" and scored a 100 in WPPI Print Competition in 2006. We later wanted to run it as a cover for Rangefinder Magazine and lost the argument to the owner of the company. He thought it was morbid and wouldn't allow us to use it. Personally I think it's stunning. She was a cancer survivor, and the image was then being used by one the Cancer associations for their fund-raising back then. It ran in the magazine but never made it to cover status.
The guy in flight on the time machine is a Vedros original because it's not only from another good friend, but it was done before digital. All the special effects in every Nick Vedros print back then were done in the studio - no photoshop! He was a master at creating images without a computer because it was the only way to do it. Today, he's still one of the finest commercial photographers in the world, and I can't help but believe a huge part of his success is never doing anything half way. His skill set is incredible, and I love the way he presents in a workshop, often taking us through what an art director wanted and then, how he interpreted it for the final results.
Then there's Astro...Maria Lopez is another good friend and thanked me for helping to create some Spanish speaking programs one year at WPPI by presenting me with this cartoon. Her father, Ernesto, who sadly passed away last year, had been a cartoonist for Hannah Barbera way back when. It's one my most favorite memories.
"Little Bengt and the Forssbaecks" never really made it as an album, but this is probably from sometime around 1991, and it was created by our printer at the time. Again, it's pre-digital. Bengt Forssbaeck was the VP of Marketing for Hasselblad in Sweden. We fought and argued just about every day during the twelve years I was president of Hasselblad USA. However, with each argument the friendship became stronger. We became the very best of friends. He passed away many years ago, but there's isn't a week that goes by that I don't think about him.
On one of his visits we either grew or trimmed our beards, had the same shirt and tie on (both ugly) so we could look just like Bengt (on the far right). It was a classic practical joke. That's me, Chuck Guttierez (then sales manager), Al Zimmerman, VP of HUSA and later president and Bengt. We wanted it to look like an album cover.
Sometime around 1994 I bought Ansel Adams 1977 Cadillac on behalf of Hasselblad. We then sold it as a fund-raiser for $12,000 and the money went to Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS. There are enough stories about the car for an entire Throwback Thursday post, which I'm going to run this next week. That's Ansel Adams' widow, Virginia, turning the keys over to me along with the original rear license plate from the car.
Back to the top right - Hasselblad was awarded one of the best Swedish companies in America in 1998 and Al and I headed off to D.C. to receive the award at the Swedish Embassy. It was a pretty amazing evening and event. The US company represented just over a third of Hasselblad's worldwide volume at the time.
Last on the list, David Ziser sponsored me as a Kentucky Colonel after speaking at what's become the Kentucky Professional Photographers Convention. The certificate is the most recent memory on the wall, but it's a classic. The state of Kentucky has done an amazing job drafting professionals from all over the world to support so many different charitable events. Best of all is a business card with "Colonel Skip Cohen" on it. Somehow, "Colonel Skip" just doesn't fit.
So, there you have it...a post that's technically too long and the images of just one wall that pretty much tell a story of at least twenty-five years of my career!
As always, make it a great Sunday. Take the time to appreciate family and friends and go for those eleven-second hugs. Remember, not just today, but all the time - be proud of what you do for a living. No industry has given the world what photography does every day, and whether digital or analog, that's not about to change. As Scott Bourne once said, "We're the high priests of memory protection!"
I've written a lot about the importance of feeding your brain every day as well as your body. Well, Sheila got me in the habit of reading something other than photographic magazines and email all day every day. It makes a huge difference in how I approach everything I have to do.
Melody Beattie hits a home run for me just about every time I pick up one of her books. However, now and then she makes a point I want to share because it fits so well with many of you who I've met.
I recently had a photographer tell me, with great pride, that she hadn't had a real vacation in two years. She was totally focused on being a great artist and just didn't feel there were enough hours in the day to accomplish everything she wanted. She was also feeling the pressure of wanting to be a great spouse and someday a mother.
I understand her obsession and so do most of you. We're all working incredibly hard, and it's easy to lose site of the priorities of what's really important. Well, Melody Beattie hit home this morning and a reminder that no matter what we do, we can't force life - we have just to let it happen.
If you've got an interest in reading more from Melody, just click on her book above. In the meantime, I'm wishing everybody a terrific Friday and a great weekend coming up. Take the time to think about what she's saying and then look for ways you can relax a little and reassess your priorities.
Have You Been Working Too Hard?
Have you been working too hard at your job, at life, at your spiritual progress? Have you been working too hard on your relationships with people, on trying to gain insights or on trying to figure out where to go or what to do next?
Many of us have had to work hard. To get from where we were to where we are, we had to push, force, put one foot in front of the other. At least we thought we did. But life doesn't have to be that hard. Not anymore. The biggest task, the smallest task, the task of living our lives doesn't have to be that difficult.
There's a natural rhythm for everything that happens along the way. There's a natural rhythm and order for all we're to do. Yes, there are times to begin. Yes, there are times to put one foot in front of the other and go forward. But the joy, the service, the way of life we're seeking doesn't come from force. It comes naturally, easily, much more easily than you think. Stop pushing so hard, and see how quickly that rhythm finds you.
You don't have to make life happen. In fact, you can't. Relax. Let go. And let it happen.
Nothing award-winning about the quality of these two grab shots, but there is an award-winning message.
In June 2011, Jerry and Melissa Ghionis came to Akron, Ohio. Jerry did a workshop as part of the Akron Photo Series, which over a couple of years raised over $12,000 for Akron Children's Hospital. Jerry did the program in two parts, first a general session the night before and then the next day, at Brent and Teri Ann Watkins' studio (Sylvart Studios) he did a day of hands-on shooting.
At the beginning of the day, he said something to the attendees that still stands out in my mind,
"I'd rather you photographed me, so you remember what I'm showing you than shoot over my shoulder for your gallery or portfolio. First, it's not your work. Second, if many of you start showing images from the same shoot, then your clients are going to wonder what's going on because you'll all have the same images."
I might have paraphrased a little, but I'm sure you get the point. Jerry's point is so on target. Remember that every consumer today can visit/shop hundreds of websites in their search for a photographer. And, most of the time they're going to be searching in your community.
Show your very best work. Only show "wow" prints - images that are so good you could get the job by showing just that one print. Make your website easy to navigate and respond quickly when you're contacted. And, if you're going to duplicate something you learned at a workshop like Jerry's, do it on your own so you can honestly say the work is yours!
Now, the back story to Throwback Thursday. Melissa and Jerry stayed at our house during this trip, and we had a blast. We actually went out one day to look at open houses. The Ohio market is so different than Los Angeles! Sheila and I are a few years older than they are and I can still hear the two of them looking at the realtor and then me and saying, "Come on Dad, we love this place. Please buy us this house!"
Great memories are what T.T. is all about and nothing beats hanging out with friends and laughing until it hurts!
It's time to take a few minutes and go off in search of your throwback images. It's a great way to remember the importance of what every client should feel after the experience of working with you.
If you want a job, and you're not as good as the next guy, then work longer than the next guy.
Work faster. Be there before him - because talented people show up late,
and sometimes shit needs to get done.
I found the quote above and it hit me on something many of you are missing. So often I meet photographers who just doesn't have the confidence yet, mostly because they're totally obsessed with capturing the perfect image. They're totally engrossed in their technical skills, when success in business is based on so much more.
My good buddy, Tony Corbell tells a story about when he first opened his studio:
"I may not have been the best photographer in town, but I was determined to be the nicest!"
The image on the left is of Tony taken in Liverpool. You'll never find a bigger Beatles fan!
The image ran in a guest post he did on Scott Kelby's blog. Click on the image to read his guest post from 2012. His message in this post is timeless! Plus, he's definitely one of the nicest guys in photography, only today, he's also one of the best photographers.
I'm not suggesting you abandon your quest to be an outstanding artist, just recognize that business today is built on strong relationships. You need to show your passion for the craft; listen to your clients and make yourself habit-forming.
Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.
Running a successful business is about people having a great time working with you. Yes, you need to be able to deliver solid results, but it's just as important to create a terrific experience for each client.
As a co-host on SPTV we launched a new series of programs last week on some different aspects of social media. Starting today and rotating through all week are the four segments, websites, blogs, self-promotion and an improv critique of some real websites. The websites belong to some brave souls from the ShutterFest Forum on Facebook who gave me permission to look at their sites on the show.
Today, the segment on websites is up all day. While it's only a taste of what you need to focus on, I tried to hit a lot of the easiest things to fix, as well as the mistakes so many of you are making. Now, through Sunday, it's free to watch the programs. A different one will be available each day.
We're working hard to make SPTV an incredible resource. Just click on the banner above to visit SPTV and learn more about the value of membership. SPTV is now only $99/year or $10 per month. You can't beat the value. Being a subscriber gives you unlimited access to the hundreds of hours in the archives as well as access to all the new content being developed going forward.
Get involved in the SPTV community. Join and then get active in the SPTV Forum. The four primary hosts are going to be in the forum on a regular basis doing our best to answer your questions directly. Kevin Kubota, Lori Nordstrom, Sandy Puc and I are all committed to helping you raise the bar on your business, marketing and skill set.
I'll be jumping into the forum each day, usually around 3:00 pm EST. Plus, I'll also be making a swing through on the weekends. I want to do my best to help you raise the bar on your marketing and business skills and help make this one of your best years ever! Kevin, Sandy and Lori will also be in the forum regularly.
See you at SPTV!
I found the video below in Dixie Dixon's "BTS" (Behind the Scenes) archives. While it's three years old, it helps make a few terrific points about the role video can play in your business today.
Dixie is best known as one of the leading fashion photographers in the industry today. It's for four primary reasons. She's made it a point to produce nothing but outstanding work. She never compromises on the quality of her images or her relationships with her clients. She's easy to work with and does a lot of listening to make sure she's meeting her client's mindset. And, last on the list, she does a great job of self-promotion.
Her behind the scenes videos started out as a way to self-promote and give potential clients the ability to see her work. However, BTS videos have now morphed into one of the products/services she provides. Many of her clients request a BTS video as part of their contracted work with Dixie.
Now, put yourself in the role of being a potential client and wander into Dixie's website. (Just click on the three-image banner above to visit Dixie's website.) Her images are outstanding, and you've got a full series of videos to watch. As a new client, she's giving you a chance to get to know her and see how she works with each video.
Technology is changing everything in the way you shoot today. For many of you, it's time to let that same technology play a bigger role in how you promote yourself as well.
I know it sounds like I'm ripping off Nike's slogan, but it's the sentiment about making decisions I'm after.
It's a typical Sunday morning and I woke up without any idea of what I wanted to write about. So this is fresh off the grill! I was thinking about how long it sometimes takes me to make decisions, when I ran across this quote of Tina Fey's:
You can't be the kid standing at the top of the water slide, over-thinking it.
You have to go down the chute.
Knowing the images I had, literally of me with our granddaughter Isabelle last year on a water slide, it became obvious what I wanted to write about this morning. This is a relatively short post with a plea for those of you who have been on the fence with ideas and maybe even life-changing directions, just to make a decision!
Seriously, what's the worst that can happen? If you believe in every experience rather than worrying about failure, then everything you do, regardless of the outcome, helps your grow. And, so often when you over-analyze and wait too long, you miss an opportunity to thrive, not just survive!
I'm not saying to jump off the cliff, just remember that so many decisions you make don't come with a net. Sometimes it's just a risk you have to take, but the "net" is your belief in yourself. Your net is your network and closest circle of friends. Your net is your skill set.
On one of the water-slides after Isabelle had already gone, I did over-think it. In my head was a gremlin telling me I was too old for this stuff and being five stories up was not a great idea. I stepped aside in the line and watched on the platform.
First, a little kid who couldn't have been more than seven jumped on the slide and was gone. But it was the next person that took me out of my fear-induced trance. It was an old man who had to be in his mid to late 80's. He smiled, looked at me and said, "Isn't this great? That was my great-grandson!" He jumped and took off down the slide screaming. I went ahead and just jumped, probably screaming louder than he did, but making a memory all along the way.
So, the next time you're on the fence and your decision-making ability is locked up because of fear and worrying about the outcome, follow Tina Fey's advice and just go down the chute. The greatest fuel for success in this business is accomplishing things you didn't think you could do.
As always, make it a great day! Spend time appreciating your spouse, family, and friends. ALWAYS go for the eleven-second hugs and most important of all, put all the decisions on the back burner for today and just spend it wearing a stupid Alfred E. Neuman smile.
"What - me worry?"
It's Saturday morning and right on time is a new Weekend Wisdom. My guest is a great buddy, Suzette Allen. Suzette and I have been friends for a whole lot of years. Many of you have had a chance to meet her at various workshops and conventions around the world. Suzette and her husband Jon are also part of Panasonic's Luminary team, so we get to cross paths a lot throughout the year.
Suzette's ability to continuously bring in new technology into her business has become a trademark. She's become the Queen of Hybrid and never stops finding new ways to make her work stand out from the competition. Some of my favorites are her holiday video cards and the newest "Live Portraits", which brings her favorite lab into the picture, Bay Photo.
Hybrid technology is changing everything you can do as an artist and who knows what's going to come next? I found the video below in Suzette's YouTube Archives and it's a perfect example of her stunning creativity. She captured the images in this video with a Panasonic Lumix GH4.
The videos were 4K and the still photos were still frames taken from the videos. The large faces in the water were just still photos. I originally created it as a composite (stills) but after seeing how magical it was, decided to try adding back in the videos, masked like the still frames....Oh My, I love it! Music provided by Triple Scoop Music: "Lover's Requiem" by Angels of Venice
Stay on top of Suzette's teaching schedule with a visit to her website. And if she's teaching a hybrid class in your area, make it a point to get a seat! You'll also find her work in Panasonic's Lumix Lounge.
A big thanks to Bryan Caporicci and Rob Nowell of SproutingPhotographer for all their support in these podcasts as well as the professional photographic industry.
The title alone should tell you I had breakfast twice at a Village Inn while we were traveling last week. It's got to be one of the greatest places for a good solid, tastes-like-home-cooked breakfast. And, since I had already had my annual physical I went for something you don't find in the East...a chicken fried steak with gravy.
Well, it's Saturday morning and I just found a great quote from sportswriter, Bill Simmons. It says it all and needs absolutely nothing else from me, except to wish all of you a spectacular weekend and time to do a little "what-if" day dreaming about your life and business.
Three of the four most important lessons I ever learned in life came from my stepdad:
1. The only person you can count on in life is yourself.
2. You can't be happy with someone else until you're happy with yourself.
3. Don't lie and don't break your word.
(Note: The fourth lesson came from my Aunt Jen, who taught me, "If you're interested in a girl, always meet her mom because all girls end up eventually turning into their moms, with no exceptions."
I found this quote in Dance first. Think Later by Kathryn & Ross Petras. It's a great little book if you're looking for some fun inspiration now and then. I like to read through a few quotes every morning, but the key is to take a minute or two and think about what's being said, not just read it and walk away. Click the cover on the right if you want to read more.
I know most of you know very little about Sprout Studio, but here's the short version.
Sprout Studio is an all-in-one business success software for photographers, combining Studio Management software with Online Galleries, Album Proofing, Sales Galleries, and much more. It is the first software in the photography industry of its kind, and it solves the real challenges photographers have – staying organized, running a streamlined workflow and delivering an exceptional customer experience.
I have no vested interest, but I've worked with two of the principals for the last year on Weekend Wisdom, my twice a month podcast through SproutingPhotographer.com. I know how dedicated they are in what they're building.
I really liked their approach on this short teaser about Sprout Studio. Knowing them like I do, they couldn't be more sincere in trying to develop a business software that gets you more time to do the things you love most and less time doing operational tasks.
There's a new video coming out in the next week which will be far more specific and give you enough insight to understand the different aspects of this exciting new software. Stay tuned!
Click on the link below for more information on their November 4th official product launch.
I think this is Spring 2004 and we're on a beach in New England. It's Papa and Grandson with almost matching wetsuits. It's my grandson Zachary who was around two. It's a very special time in my life and it's a throwback image that's a favorite, but there's also a fun back story.
I was never really a big fan of the watercolor look until one of the industry's most recognized artists presented me with a gift at WPPI.
A few months earlier my good pal Helen Yancy had asked me to send her a couple of prints of me with Zachary. I wasn't sure what she was going to do and she did tell me it was okay to just send snapshots. I sent her two 4x6 prints taken with a little FUJI point and shoot while on vacation.
Just before her standing-room-only program at WPPI she presented me with a matted and framed print, roughly 30x40. It was stunning and became one of my most favorite images, not just because it was me and Zach, but because the artist was such a good friend. It meant so much that she'd do this for me.
It's also a testimonial to Helen's skill set. If you know Helen, then you know she never does anything halfway. She never compromises on an image, her passion for the craft or on her friendships! To see more of Helen's work visit her website.
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody. As always, take a few minutes and go off in search of some of those old prints and files of your own. Find a favorite and share it with friends. It will remind you of the amazing industry we're all a part of and just how much great images mean to your clients!
UPDATE: Murphey's Law used to be "If anything can go wrong it will." Murphey's 2nd Law is "Murphey was an optimist!" Unavoidable tech problems have delayed today's SPTV show and moved the start time to 1:30 PM EST. Sorry everybody - just a day of dealing with gremlins!
We just got back from a few days in Denver. I was there specifically to record today's marketing program for SPTV, but there was also time to catch up with good friends and just play tourist.
In terms of the program coming up, it starts TODAY at 12:00 pm EST. After a little of my background, I'll be talking about ideas to help photographers clean up their websites. Next, came blog challenges, followed by some quick ideas on self-promotion and finishing with a section on some short critiques of a few websites. The website section was a lot harder to do than I thought, simply because my time was so limited.
One thing I did notice on several websites - there was no way to find the name of the photographer! I've never noticed that before. Even when a photographer had a bio in their about section, there was no reference to who they were. Often, not even a headshot. In fact, twice I went to review a site, because I was trying to do this with a sense of improv, and we stopped taping because I couldn't find the name of the artist.
I have no idea what purpose it serves to be invisible. So, look at your website and make sure you identify yourself. Give people a name, a personality and a little piece of your heart. Give them every possible way to reach you. I can understand if you don't want to include an address if you work out of your home, but at least give them a phone number!
Meanwhile, on Sunday we took a ride out to Red Rocks. I remember an old video of Stevie Nicks playing Red Rocks from the 80's, but in all honesty, until you've been there you have no idea how amazing the place is. It'll never win any photography awards, but even a grab shot with the self-timer on the FZ1000 was a fun to get. After all, we were standing in the middle of one of the greatest concert "halls" in the country.
I was playing with some of the in-camera presets and had left it in the "Impressive Art Mode". Sandy Puc wanted to get a shot of me on the set, but didn't know how the camera was set up. While it's not something I'd use for portraiture, it does have sort of a bizarre illustrative look to it.
I love the image on the left, because it's the way so many of us have felt at times. We're simply out of ideas and the old "bulb over the head" just isn't shedding light on much of anything!
In order for any of this to make sense, you probably should read the post from last week. One of my favorite people in the industry, Chuck Arlund, posted a comment on a day when he was feeling particularly frustrated and wondering when it was time to change careers.
I want to take a shot at answering Chuck's question.
Right off the bat, there are times when you should move on, but I don't believe you ever should give up. It might mean a particular dream needs a makeover to be more in line with reality, but then you get into the importance of defining reality. It's not an easy question. I believe so much in the dreams many of you have of becoming great artists, but that doesn't mean I think it's easy to do.
"If you build it they will come," isn't always true. While it worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, Hollywood isn't reality. However, when you "build it" there's something amazing that happens. You start to believe that dream you have might really be possible.
Joe McNally is one of my all time heroes in this industry. At a program in Chicago a few years ago he couldn't have been more open about some of his challenges, right down to talking about the roller coaster ride in running a profitable business. He mentioned times when he didn't have the cash flow to pay his staff.
Sandy Puc in a Weekend Wisdom completely broke down on me last year when she talked about feeling like she had lost everything. It's a pretty inspirational podcast and worth taking the time to listen to. (We had dinner with her two nights ago after spending a day recording an SPTV episode, and she couldn't be more on top of the world today.)
So, I guess the only way to answer Chuck about when is it finally time to give up is to simply say you NEVER should give up. But, there are times when you need to analyze what you're doing, seek out the support and honest feedback from friends and then decide how to change the path you're on.
Chuck you're a talented artist and my blog isn't the place to try and "pump you up". LOL However, it is the right place to remind you that we've all felt exactly what you're feeling.
When you're ready to quit, you're closer than you think.
There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true.
It goes like this:
"The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."
I read this quote this morning and it got me thinking about a photographer I spoke with the other day. She's just not making it. Her business is way off from where she wants to be and she's thinking about giving up, but her work is terrific. She's invested a lot of time in building her skill set, but she missed the boat on her marketing.
It's a Saturday morning and here's a quick thought to think about over the weekend. I know how hard it is to run a business today and the feeling of frustration isn't exclusive to anybody. Even in starting my business in 2009 there have been a few times where I thought about giving up and doing something else.
There are two things that keep me going and I'm hoping writing about them helps a few of you. First, I love what I'm doing. You've got to love what you're doing as well. As I've said a few times in the past, "You can't create images that tug at people's heart strings if your heart isn't in it." But, when your heart is in anything you're working on it's amazing how the creativity and passion flow.
Second, before you walk away from your career or anything for that matter, think about how much time you've invested so far. Take the time to analyze what's missing and then make another investment - get some help through your network in better understanding what you need to do better.
I know I make it sound so easy, but the process itself really is that simple. What takes time is working on your skills in those areas that need the most help. It would be so great if there really was a button on your keyboard you could just push. Since there's not, you just have to be persistent and stay on course.
The bottom line...don't give up on your dreams!