Today would have been my Dad's 95th birthday. He made it to 93, but when somebody you love has a birthday on a holiday, the memories seem to come up more often. I wrote about him in my Sunday Morning Reflections post, and I've shared a lot of personal things about him over the years in this blog. I know there's only so much about my Dad you can handle. So, as I looked at these two 8x10's, there were a few things I hope make my birthday tribute different and even a little educational.
Even though he passed away two years ago, there aren't many people lucky enough to have their parents around at my age, let alone enjoy being with them. Dad was always my best buddy, and a few of you met him at the various conventions. I got him to write a couple of posts over the years, and one of them was shared on the MarathonPress blog, just last week.
What I love about these two images is first, they were taken by another best buddy, Don Blair. Don and Dad were good friends, and when they were together at any convention, it was nonstop laughter. The second reason I love these images is they make such a great point about having a studio!
There was no studio! These were taken in the Hasselblad booth at IUSA, 20-25 years ago. I've heard so many young artists who haven't taken the time to learn lighting complain about not having a nice studio. Well, a great studio won't make a difference if you haven't mastered the craft!
Then there's the pose. When Don first set Dad and me up, Dad was sitting, and I was standing behind him. Well, I hated the Polaroid. There's another point - these were shot on film and Don did a test print with the Polaroid back on his Hasselblad ELX. It was the only way to preview an image.
The reason I hated the pose was that it made Dad look like a peanut! I might have been 7-8 inches taller and outweighed him by fifty pounds, but he was always the biggest person in my life. Having me standing behind and towering over Dad put him in a different light. So, Don simply switched us around, and the result became one of my favorite portraits.
Last on the list is the thumbs up we're doing. Don often made it the last shot of virtually anybody he was having fun with and especially if there were two or more people in the portrait! It was part of his signature, along with his smile, and booming laugh. Supposedly there's something genetic in the arch of our thumbs too - no need for DNA testing to verify the connection between us two!
I like to think that Dad and Don are smiling together right now as I share this image. Happy Birthday, Pop - I miss ya!
Every now and then I miss a point, and today's post is a great example. I've got to thank Brian C. Idocks, for his comment, because wedding photography is a completely different application. Brian wrote: "Any images you show to a potential client need to be from weddings, since weddings are what you sell. It's essentially false advertising to show off with models, and things you didn't set up - just to have something in your portfolio."
And, to my point about shooting over an instructor's shoulder at a workshop; I don't think I was strong enough in my comment - you should NEVER use those images on your website. Why? Because they're not yours - they belong to the instructor!
Every day I look at dozens of websites belonging to professional or aspiring professional photographers. I'm always amazed when I find a website with galleries that are underwhelming!
Often I'll read a comment from an artist in a Facebook forum who's asking for help because business is slow and they're not sure what they're doing wrong. When I look at their websites it's often the same scenario - a weak presentation of images. Then there are those of you who are relatively new photographers. You have the passion, are doing your best to get the right gear, but are struggling with how to get experience and images for your portfolio.
The challenge seems especially hard for photographers interested in building a portrait or wedding business. Taking a scroll through the SCU archives I found this set of ideas and decided to give them an update, starting with ShutterFest. See what you think:
1) Attend ShutterFest: Here's a convention with two primary purposes; hands-on shooting and networking. More information is just a click away, but in short it's great education loaded with your ability to build your portfolio and experiment with your technique, all while growing your network. ShutterFest is like on giant Photo Walk with some of the most talented artists in photography today. The convention is April 3-4 this year, but you don't have to wait to build stronger images for your galleries.
2) Friends/Family: Friends or family involve renting a gown and a tux and finding a place to shoot so you can add images to your portfolio. Look to create images that show your skill set. Work on having a variety of lighting situations and poses. Work to capture the interaction between the couple. If you want to take a shot at building images without the cost of rental, approach the tux shop and bridal salon and offer them their choice of some of the images. You can do the same with the florist, a venue, even limo companies. They all need images for their own marketing.
3) Attend a few classes. Virtually all of the major icons are at some point on the road teaching. You want a live hands-on event with an opportunity to shoot. However, be careful! Shooting over an instructor's shoulder and getting spectacular images you then claim as your own is totally unprofessional and will eventually catch up to you, especially if a client goes to another photographer's site and sees the same images. Use the hands-on time to listen to the instructor and capture images of him/her showing the process of setting up the shot, then work on creating it from scratch yourself.
4) Spread the word. Get the word out with your friends you're working to develop a business and you might photograph your first wedding for expenses only. You’ve got to walk before you can run and you need the practice, but you also need to know what you’re doing. Don’t offer to photograph someone’s wedding if you don’t have the skill set to get decent images. Being a newbie doesn’t relieve you from the responsibility of still doing a good job or the trust and faith the bride and groom have in you!
5) Second shoot for another photographer, but ALWAYS ask the photographer if you’ll be allowed to use some images in your portfolio! When you assist like this the images are ALWAYS owned by the photographer who has the contract!!! (Notice the three exclamation marks.) And if the photographer does not allow you to use the images, don't worry about it - you're priority is to get the experience.
6) Hire models for the day. Most relatively new models will often work with you in exchange for images they can put into their own portfolio. If you've burned out your family and friends, look into local models. I've had good luck at a few workshops using ModelMayhem.com and also just searching Google under the word "models" and then the city I'm in.
7) Online Critiques: There's a Facebook forum for virtually every interest in photography, but be careful! First, you need a thick skin, because there's always going to be somebody whose parents never taught them to "play nice with others!" Second, learn to listen to what people are saying and then experiment to see if you like their suggestions. There's an incredible wealth of talent in this industry. Learn to accept different opinions while developing your own style. Last on the list remember my old buddy Dean Collins who said, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!" If a client loves the image it doesn't matter what everybody else thinks!
8) Work with your lab: It's directly related to building your portfolio, but it's so relevant to your business. Print some of your images and experiment with different papers, sizes and printing techniques. For example, I'm a huge fan of Marathon Press and their relatively new Bella Art Prints. Here's an example Chamira Young talked about in a post recently.
The point is there are lots of opportunities out there to help you get started and plenty I've missed here, but if you don't work on getting started you'll wake up tomorrow in the same spot you went to sleep in!
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Walt Disney
It's a pretty typical Sunday morning. No matter what I do or when I go to sleep, I'm up by 6:30 am. I know it's early because even Molly the Wonder Dog refuses to get out of her bed and wander over for her morning routine. There's one topic on my mind this morning, and it happens at the same time every year.
Tuesday, Halloween, would have been my Dad's 95th birthday and no matter what I did yesterday there seemed to be these intermittent reminders of just how much I miss him. I know I'm not alone in missing somebody special in my life, but when a loved one was born on a holiday like Halloween, the reminders become very bizarre and funny.
I only have one point this morning. There are times when I try and block some of the memories of my Dad and Mom simply because I miss them and it makes me sad. However, the truth is, grasping those memories and really taking time to savor each one is the only way to keep them alive. While it starts out painful, it always ends with a smile in my heart or more visible, on my face!
We're in the memory business, and everyday photographs help people relive moments from the past. When those memories and moments are special, don't fight them. Grab onto them and squeeze them for every drop of emotion they bring out. I miss my folks a lot, but it's those memories and photographs that are indeed the gifts that keep on giving!
Wishing everybody an outstanding Sunday and time with great friends and family who make your life better. And, if there are moments where memories of a loved one who's no longer with you, jump in, take the time to appreciate them. Then enjoy that moment where you can cherish the time they were in your life.
Yes, it's an infomercial, but for some really good stuff! Tamron's booth each year at PPE gets better and better - Bonus mail-in rebates for lenses purchased at the show, a free clean and check with a discount if service is needed and a chance to win the new SP 150-600mm G2 lens! And, while you're there introduce yourself to one of the finest tech teams in the industry - plus, shake hands with two great artists, Erik Valind and Jeff Rojas, and I've had the fun of hanging out with both of them over the years!
Whether you currently shoot Tamron lenses or not you owe it to yourself to swing by booth 819 and see what all the buzz is about! They're right at the front of the hall - easy to find and even easier to meet some incredible people and check out Tamron's outstanding optics!
I started out this morning having no idea what to kick off the week with, but an IM from a member in one of the forums I'm an administrator for changed all that. She was upset over something somebody said in response to one of her images. While I can empathize, when the other admins read the original comment, they were stunned. It was hardly as harmful or threatening as it had been portrayed. In fact, the four of us read nothing that was threatening.
Well, that got me thinking about the challenges we all face in how we share information. What we write and how it's interpreted is one of our most significant obstacles when it comes to communicating, especially in social media. When writing anything in a comment box or tweet you've got limited space/characters and no help from the tone of your voice or facial expressions to interpret your intent..
But I do have some suggestions:
And just to wrap it up - my old buddy Dean Collins said it best - "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!" It doesn't matter what anybody's opinion is except your client!
I woke up this morning without any idea of what to write about. I love going off the topic of business, marketing, and photography and even wrote what I thought was a great post. Well, I read it to Sheila, and she said, "It's really good, but it's not your typical Sunday Morning Reflections."
So, I decided to save it for tomorrow and focus on the direction I usually go in, and that left me with just one topic - Sheila. After being together for over eight years, there's an incredible comfort level we have with each other, especially sharing feelings. At this point, Sheila knows just about everything about my business, the frustrations and those special moments of pure joy.
We're both "Type A" personalities, but we share everything. While we don't always hit it right, we're work in progress, and I can't expect her to know what I'm stressed about if I haven't shared it with her. While I pride myself on unisex topics, this one if more for the guys out there. Most of us have been brought up to simply tough it out when something's going the wrong way. We're taught to "let it roll off your back," with a sort of real-men- don't-eat-quiche philosophy!
Well, not only do I love quiche but I can cook a mean one. And there are plenty of times when there's a tear in my eye over something I'm thinking about, watching TV or reading. It's just who I am, and even though there are moments when I'm clueless to a problem, Sheila and I work together.
And there's my point this morning - life is just too short. You can't make the most of today if you're worried about yesterday or stressing over tomorrow. Yes, I'm going to be trite and remind you to live for today - RIGHT NOW is the only thing that you have control over.
Share your victories with your family, but don't forget your frustrations too. Your spouse isn't a mind-reader and can't be a genuine part of your life if you don't keep the door open!
On that note, it's the perfect time in this post to wish everybody an outstanding Sunday. Go for those eleven-second hugs and during that hug, think about what that person means to you and the contribution they make to your life. Then tell them! Stop worrying about work tomorrow - it's not going anywhere, and odds are you need to recharge your battery a little anyway!
Happy Sunday everybody!
“As photography editor, I find myself tempted to put artists into slots. This person is a portraitist. That person works in black and white. This photographer shoots musicians. That photographer does documentary work. I simply can't do this kind of thing with Karen Kuehn's photography. She is able to drop in and photograph truck drivers, artists, kids, and CEOs with equal grace. She moves effortlessly from color to black and white, and when and why to use each. Most important, she comes back with images that have both surface richness and a real depth of emotion.” David Schonauer Editor in Chief - American Photo
by Skip Cohen
Now and then I hear about a book with a remarkable storyline and images to match. It's time for many of you to meet Karen Kuehn. I first met her back in the late 80's when she was living in NYC and a Hasselblad shooter. She's a remarkable artist and her book Maverick Camera, which has been out less than a year, is down to its last one hundred copies.
From a collector's viewpoint, she self-published only a thousand copies, getting started with a Kickstarter campaign. Karen wanted to produce a book of substance and quality and had the help of designer Dana Wotruba, Jenny Jensen as editor, and another great friend of the industry, Santa Fe Workshop's Reid Callanan wrote the foreword. Each book is numbered and signed. But there's another aspect to this book.
Maverick Camera is Karen's story, literally how she got started going from job to job working to build a reputation as a photographer. She's an "outdoor girl" as she put it and left NYC eighteen years ago for New Mexico. Each story together with its images takes the reader through the experience of a kid with a dream.
She certainly achieved her goal to be a great photographer but took it one step further. She became an incredible friend to so many of us in the industry. In fact, I had lost track of Karen after I left Hasselblad in '99, but this is a small industry. Sitting at dinner with Bobbi Lane and husband Lee Varis, Bobbi said, "You need to get Karen in the "Why?" series!"
Well, we'll get her on "Why?" later on, but before the last copies of Maverick Camera are gone, there are a few of you who need to know about it. Her book is loaded with her adventures in photography, but I wanted to share one of my favorites sections, Saturday Night Live Bumpers. It represents an amazing time in television. My screen shots don't begin to pick up the quality of the actual book!
Check out Karen's website and more about the book with a click on any image in this post! If you're looking for a unique holiday gift that inspires, motivates and entertains - here it is!
Images copyright Barabara Bordnick. All Rights reserved.
"Why?" is all about some of the industry's most talented artists and educators. Talking about their favorite images started out as a way for me to introduce you to some amazing people, but this series has become so much more. Each episode has become an introduction to the experiences that have often helped shape their creativity, technique and even the direction of their career.
Barbara Bordnick joins me today with two of her favorite images and the role they've played in her career as both an artist and an educator.
"The frame is like a blank canvas and you're responsible for everything you put in it."
Barbara started her career as a portrait and fashion photographer, but along the way stunning flowers and nudes became subjects. But, not just any flowers or nudes. As you look at her images keep in mind she does NOT crop! Her signature is composing everything in the frame and NOT in the computer.
To see more of Barbara's work, follow her workshop schedule and speaking engagements, just click on either of the two images above. And, make sure you wander through her galleries, keeping in mind that each image is composed in the camera!
The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog!
I know I've shared a few of these images in other posts, but when I ran across that quote, it seemed the perfect topic for a throwback.
Molly just turned twelve on Labor Day, and I find it hard to believe she's been a part of my life for that long. Like so many of you who are dog lovers, we take so much for granted in that unconditional love our pets have for us.
On a trip to the vet last year, he wanted to know the secret, since Molly just doesn't slow down and has the energy of a three-year-old! It was a simple answer: she's never had people food with one exception. A couple of times a year she gets a McDonalds cheeseburger, plain. And it's incredible how she eats it - any other dog would wolf it down, but I break it into 8-10 pieces, and she lays down on the seat and waits for me to give them to her one at a time. This routine goes back to when she was a puppy, and I wanted to be able to eat a burger at the same time.
Well, it's Throwback Thursday and the perfect time to think about your business and marketing focus. The three top reasons people hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social sector goes brides, babies, and pets, all in that order. That makes a wedding photographer the perfect matchmaker extending into a couple's new life together as babies and pets come along!
So, pets are the perfect topic to add to your content for blog posts. And, with the holidays approaching, there are plenty of you who will be capturing family portraits which include the family pet! Don't forget to share them along the way on your blog and plant a few seeds for ideas with your clients.
Don't miss the opportunity to remind your readership how vital their four-legged family members are!
I started this as a concept idea about four years ago. Since then I've probably written a few hundred posts about the importance of exceeding client expectations and making yourself habit-forming. I'm bringing the topic back because there are still so many artists who just don't get it! Plus, we're in the fourth quarter, the seasonality stretch for 2017. There's no better time than RIGHT NOW to make some changes in how you do business! And, if this post just doesn't apply to you, please don't be offended but help me make the point and send it on to somebody who's clueless!
Take a minute and think about a few things:
We’re living in the age of instant gratification. We text, tweet, and abbreviate. Our spelling has become absurd, phonetically attacking a conversation for the sole purpose of packing a full paragraph into just 140 characters. We eat on the run, multi-tasking and getting a little work done so we can justify stepping away from the biz at lunchtime. MacDonalds has two lines for the drive-in window, and we can order combo meals, and the decision-making process becomes even faster.
New photographers jump into the market thinking because they understand Photoshop they’re perfectly capable of being a professional. They shoot with wild abandon and a mindset of, “No problem. I’ll fix it later in the computer!” The truth is, no matter what your skill set, if it's a lousy image there’s one fundamental rule of nature, “You can’t buff a turd!”
The reality is you can’t Tweet quality. There are no shortcuts to creating outstanding images. There are no shortcuts to building relationships with your clients. There are no shortcuts to great marketing. All of this leaves me with one sentiment – it’s time for many of you just to slow down, take a big breath and decide what you want to be when you grow up.
If you’re a shortcut, bought a camera and learned Photoshop artist before you understood lighting, exposure, composition and your gear, here’s you’re missing some incredible opportunities:
So, here are a few ideas to help you fix the problem:
You’re part of a fantastic industry, and there’s help every step of the way, providing you respect and love the craft. And trust me, if you respect the craft, there is no way to describe the return on your investment!
Images copyright Jerome Brunet. All rights reserved.
"Why?" is all about the backstories of great images shared by some of the most respected artists in photography. While normally each episode only features a single image, sometimes it's hard for an artist to pick just one. One of the artists on "Why?" a year ago felt it was like being asked which of your kids do you love more? Jérôme Brunet joins me today with two images on "Why?" His work is a testimony to quality, passion and so many artists in music each of us considers iconic.
Jérôme and I have never met in person, but I became more familiar with his work when he shared a comment on one of my blog posts. I followed the link to his website and later a Kickstarter campaign he's doing for a new book, with the foreword by Steve Miller.
I called him, and we had one of those conversations where you hang up the phone and feel like you've known the person for years! I enjoyed so many of his images, but appreciate his philosophy about giving back even more. Over the years he's donated work to the non-profit organizations Unicef, T.J. Martell Foundation and the John Varvatos Stuart House Benefit.
Now based in Las Vegas, his award-winning photographs have been published internationally in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Time, Billboard, Popular Photography, American Photo, Guitar World, Variety and The New York Times. Interested in seeing more of his work? Just click on either image, Tom Petty or B. B. King to link to his website.
Procrastination is like a credit card. It's a lot of fun until you get the bill.
Unlike a lot of Sunday mornings, there was no hesitation when it came to what I wanted to share, and it's all thanks to Sarasota County Utilities.
Here's the scenario. Three weeks ago I reported a water leak in our front yard. It was a Saturday, and the county sent somebody out immediately. He put white flags on the property to mark the leak and later called to let me know somebody would be out Monday to do the repair. He also gave me "good" news - it was before our meter so we wouldn't be charged for the water usage.
By Thursday when the leak hadn't been repaired I called again. A day later another tech came out and added blue flags, better marking the spot of the leak. A few days later, it still wasn't repaired, and the leak was more significant, with water running down the street in front of three houses to the sewer drain. I called again and a day or two later noticed somebody had added orange flags!
Okay, one more call to complain about thousands of gallons of water going down the drain. At this point we had more flags in our front yard than the Memorial Day Parade. In the conversation I added we were ready to call the local news station, "7 On Our Side," and question the wisdom of nothing being done after almost 2 1/2 weeks.
That must have done the trick, because later in the day four trucks pulled up in front of the house, one of them with a flatbed trailer and a backhoe. It was the textbook definition of overkill. In fact, earlier in the week two neighbors had stopped by to see if I needed help fixing the leak. It was a simple 15-minute repair, although amusing to watch when they had to cut the line to cap it off! For thirty seconds it looked like a geyser in Yellowstone.
So, what's my point this morning? I know this is typical of county government, but as a small business owner, handle problems as quickly as you can. And, don't set up a maze for your clients to wander through in search of help. Take it a step further in your personal life too, and when there is a challenge, fix it. Even more important, do it right the first time, and there's a good chance you won't have to come back again to the same problem.
When I was a kid my Grandma Alice used to darn my socks - it's a lost art today! Then she'd give me a lecture on giving her the ones with the holes early so she could fix them right away. That would send her into her "Stitch in time saves nine" line, which virtually anybody under forty doesn't relate to today! LOL
It's really simple - don't be Sarasota County! Work on solutions right at the time of the challenge. Respond back to everyone involved early and stop wasting energy procrastinating. Most of us have learned the hard way - when you hide from solving a problem it only gets bigger! In the end, it takes twice as much work to resolve or sadly, sometimes it's beyond resolution.
Wishing everybody an outstanding Sunday and a day filled with minimal challenges, peace and a moment to cherish everything you have in your life. We've all been glued to the news this week watching the lives and dreams of thousands of people in California disappear. And, while we might feel helpless because there's so little we can do, keeping everybody out west in our thoughts and prayers can never hurt. As always, go for those eleven-second hugs with those people most special in your life!
When I shared a post last week about what I was feeling after the mass shooting in Las Vegas I had no idea what was still to come. Hurricanes, terrorist attacks around the world, shootings and now fires leave me in fear of watching the news. I find myself hugging Sheila more than usual, appreciating our home, the neighborhood and falling into moments of random silence trying to comprehend the scope of the disaster and figure out how to help.
While I'd have the same knot in my stomach wherever these newest disasters were taking place, having lived in California and having so many friends there, this latest disaster leaves me particularly anxious. I remember the fear I had when the Malibu fires came within three miles of my home. The picture above was in the morning looking out the kitchen window, the one below by the end of the day.
But the fear I had in 2007 never materialized into anything even close to the disaster we're watching unfold now. Like so many of you, I have no way to explain what I feel watching the story of Santa Rosa unfold and then be repeated over and again.
So, this morning's post is more a plea for comments and your help.
I'm looking for feedback from so many different friends from WPPI over the years to know who's okay...I'm looking for contacts to share on how people can help...I'm not sure what non-profits are helping with the tragedy, but I want to share the information for people to contact.
I shared a tweet this morning that seems so appropriate:
"How many disasters do we need to unite humanity?"
This is a blog post that's a testimonial to so many different aspects of our industry and social media.
Two years ago I wrote a post about believing in yourself. A photographer from Montana, Nicole Keintz commented on Facebook. It was a nice comment, and I responded back. Later I took a look at her website. That day she sent me the image above, which I ran across in my email this morning. Remember, I'm an old-fashioned guy and still believe firmly in the power of a phone call.
Well, I just hung up the phone after talking with Nicole for a few minutes. I love the image more now than I did two years ago and that's the second piece of the story. Nicole's had a tough year, and after brain surgery in the last year she's had a hard time getting back the passion for the craft. Not that she didn't want to, but like so many of us when life has interrupted our dreams, she was questioning her confidence level.
And that brings me to two last points and the pure joy I have in sharing this image:
Everything happens for a reason, especially the timing of things in our lives. The conversation I had with Nicole gave both of us a boost. First, she needed a little confirmation her mind's eye visions needed to again be pursued. Second, I love this image and talking with Nicole was inspiring. Plus, it energized me to look at some of the things I photograph just a little different.
And last on the list is that thin line photographers cross when an image becomes art. Not all of us define it the same way, but with Nicole, it's often about the influence of the great masters. In regards to this image she wrote:
This is a multiple exposure image of a flowering crabapple tree, taken this spring at a cemetery near my house. I am very inspired by impressionist painters, and I like to experiment with different techniques to "paint" with my camera.
Now called, "Impression of the Pink Tree," it's become one of her most popular pieces of work. Big thanks to Nicole for allowing me to share the image and overlooking it took two years for me to respond to her email! It certainly wasn't intentional, but it seems like it was meant to be.
It's time for her to "get back on the horse" and get a camera back in her hands! And, I can't wait to see what she shares next!
It's a normal Sunday morning. Sheila's still asleep. Molly is on her bed and just gave me that "Leave me alone - I'm not done sleeping!" look. I just got a full eight hours of sleep, and I'm having fun with my Sunday morning ritual - writing Reflections.
I'm going with a challenge most of you can identify with, the art of staying mellow. It is an art form, and for some of us requires an incredible amount of time, thought, and practice.
I'm not even close to where I want to be. Here's the challenge - I'm Type A through and through and want to be more Type B. I'm getting better, but so often if I feel something is wrong I have to fix it. The problem comes in when I get frustrated over not being able to resolve problems outside my control.
Examples would be dealing with Frontier Communications, Amazon's Customer Service or just about any county government office. I'm typically on hold an incredibly long time; it always takes more than one person to solve the problem, and whoever you talk to typically doesn't have the authority to fix the problem. So many calls have to escalate to a supervisor/manager level. That in itself wouldn't be a problem, but as I sit on hold my blood starts to boil!
With Sheila's help, I'm working on trying to slide the bar more to the Type B side of the scale. Here's what seems to be working:
Last on the list - I'm working hard to keep things in perspective and find balance in my priorities. This is the toughest change of all because I'm always multi-tasking and often take on more projects than I should. My good buddy Julianne Kost at Adobe has a great line when she's on overload and once said to me, "Sorry, I'm just out of bandwidth!"
We all wear multiple hats. Most of you are business owners, community members, parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and lovers. "Balance" is such an over-used word, but it's the one that fits the best, and we all have moments where our priorities are knocked out of whack. But here's my point - you can't fix the challenge of balance in your life if you're out of alignment yourself - and that's where working to be more mellow plays its role.
God, grant me the serenity to accept stupid people the way they are,
courage to maintain self-control
and the wisdom to know if I act on it I will go to jail.
Wishing everybody a wonderful Sunday, and a day filled with mellow moments, peace, and doing what makes you smile the most. There's so much pain in the world reminding us that no matter how bad we're feeling about something there's somebody out there who has it much worse! Go for those eleven-second hugs with people most important to you and the ones that help you define balance in your life!
Images copyright Chamira Young. All rights reserved.
I started "Why?" to introduce you to the movers and shakers in the industry, but underestimated the diversity of each backstory behind the images shared.
This episode is particularly fun for me because Chamira Young is my guest. She's a photographer, writer, and podcaster. She's also my co-host on "Mind Your Own Business," a monthly partnership between SCU and Photofocus. Over the last few months we've shared recording time with some of the most influential people in photography, and now Chamira is switching from host to guest.
Chamira referred to the image above as sort of an "extra" photo, but one of her favorites. While normally "Why?" is only about one image, I wanted to share the second picture she spoke about, because it adds so much to the story.
Check out more of Chamira's work by visiting her website and join us on the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. Working with Chamira is a kick! Her insight into people and her love for the craft keeps me on my toes, and makes each podcast fun to do - for both us and our guests.
As I've written many times before, the best part of this industry has little to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's mutual love for the craft!
I'm guessing on this one, but I think it's around 1995. That's me on the left and Carl Claesson, Hasselblad USA's services manager. In the middle are ten Swedish college students who were doing a tour of Swedish companies in the United States.
Like every Throwback Thursday post I share, photographs bring out memories and along with them, stories.
This was a very focused group of college kids. Right off the bat, I'm not sure any student would dress for a visit to any company these days, but they were entirely professional. They're all in suits! Initially, I had suggested they not visit, since we were just a distribution and service center. There was nothing to see that was different than thousands of other warehouses and service centers. However, they wanted to see the business and ask questions about doing business in the US market.
I think it was the woman in the gray suit who after staring at my ring wanted to know what the "SC" stood for and then asked if I went to school in South Carolina. She was so proud to have made the link - but somewhat disappointed when I told her they were my initials.
And last on the memory list was working with Carl for those twelve years. I haven't kept in touch with him, but he's one of the finest people I've ever worked with and his reputation as a services manager is legendary. Photographers knew their gear was always in good hands with Carl and his team! His son Paul works for Hasseblad today.
Oh, one more memory - almost every Friday night in that archway behind everybody, Al Zimmerman, Bob Nunn and Jim Morton and I would light up a cigar. Another week down and "X" weeks to go, we'd talk about the business, our lives and then head home as one of the cigar-smokin' stinky boys. Nobody smells good after a cigar!
Photographs bring back memories, and they're your chance for great content on your blog. Remind "Mom" that time keeps moving, the kids are changing and today's events are tomorrow's memories. Then, share some of your older photographs and the memories.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
For two days I've been trying to find the words I want to share in this post. I'm rarely at a loss for expressing myself, but the events in the world since mid-August have, on a daily basis left me speechless. I know life goes on, but if we were all at a convention and sitting in a kick-off keynote address, the speaker would start with a few minutes of silence, whether in prayer or just poignant thought, out of respect for the suffering and pain we've all witnessed.
For me, it started with "Harvey" and worrying about friends in Texas. There were more senseless terror attacks, this time in Spain. Two weeks later "Irma" reared her ugly head literally on our doorstep. I watched the news as lives and homes were lost in the Caribbean, then Key West then Florida and continuing north. "Maria," followed much of the same path as "Irma" and Puerto Rico was crushed. Finally, the earthquake in Mexico reminded me that Mother Nature wasn't finished.
But I wasn't done being speechless. The last few nights, like most of you, I watched the latest update on the mass shooting in Las Vegas. It's a city nearly all of us in the industry have spent enough time in to probably declare ourselves residents. But the pain we're all feeling isn't about Vegas; it's about the human spirit. A senseless mass shooting at a concert that could have been anywhere.
Today, regardless of what any of us do for a living, it's business as usual, except...
There's a unique sadness I feel. I find myself wondering what I would have done had Sheila and I been at that concert. I think about how we would have felt to come back to our home after "Irma" and find everything gone. I find myself trying to imagine the panic if the earth around our home simply opened up and swallowed us whole!
I'll post today like I do every day with some great content thanks to the SCU partners. I'll share links to social media to various companies and products I believe in, but there's a huge difference from other days. I can't start off today without reminding you how lucky we all are. While I'll be accused of an inappropriate topic for a business and marketing blog, a big piece of my heart belongs to so many people who in just six weeks have seen their lives and dreams changed, some forever.
Tragedies happen all over the world, and each day somewhere there's somebody in pain, but I don't remember a time in my life when we've witnessed so many at once and felt so helpless. While the world is in turmoil, maybe it's time we each took a deep breath and a moment of reflection. Regardless of your religious affiliation, it's time to say a prayer and thank God for everything we have and to help so many people in so much pain.
It's Marketing Monday, and I can't think of a better day for a little sarcasm and ideas to help you kill your business! Yes, you did just read it correctly - I'm taking things I see every day on so many websites that have the potential to send clients running to your competitors.
I shared some of these in a couple of different posts years ago, but we've just started the fourth quarter, and if you're guilty of any of the following points, there's still time to correct them. I know it's snarky, but it just seems appropriate to remind people how much they're giving up by not paying attention to some of the simple details in their business.
And there you have it - Fourteen ideas to avoid with easy fixes to strengthen your brand, instead of taking away from it. You're working the hardest you've ever worked to capture outstanding images. Why not make sure the love you have for the craft and the respect you have for your target audience comes through?
Sunday Morning Reflections started years ago because I wanted to take one day a week where I wrote about something other than the business of photography. Often what I've written has been as much for myself as it's been for you, my readers.
Well, this morning it's a slightly different Sunday. While Sheila's still asleep and Molly is out cold at my feet, we've got company in the house, who's also still asleep, Suzette Allen and husband, Jon Yoshi. The house is completely silent except my pounding away on the keyboard and my Hasselblad clock in my office. (Note: It's a great product, but we always wondered why the Swedes chose such a cheap and noisy clock mechanism to put in the camera body!)
Last night I had one of the most fun evenings I've ever had "hanging out" with photographers. There's a drum circle every Saturday night on Nokomis Beach just ten minutes from our home. Suzette and Jon are both members of Panasonic's Luminary Team and each of us armed with plenty of camera gear headed over to enjoy the evening.
For years I've written about what I consider the best thing about our industry - the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. In the last year or so, I've grown tired of never getting time with people I care about. We hit the conventions, and catch up with each other literally on the run, never getting quality time to step in and share each other's lives.
This weekend, the four of us ended that trend and started something very special and important. We just hung out with no agenda and appreciated the elements of time, sharing, conversation and even a good cigar!
As I went to sleep last night I thought about the evening when at one point Jon was behind the drummers with an FZ2500, Suzette was walking the parameter of the drum circle with a GX85 on a gimbal* and I had the FZ300 and was sitting with Sheila, capturing random moments from the "dance floor." It hit me how photography has brought together four people who most likely would never have met.
That passion for the craft has provided the bricks and mortar for a relationship that's making each of our lives richer and in turn, individually, stronger. There's a great line from Tennyson that I've shared many times:
"I am a part of all that I have met."
And there it is, the point of my post this morning. We're all a part of this giant tapestry called life. Our passions, challenges, accomplishments and even failures here and there are what bond us together. In our case, it's photography that's been the catalyst to support the curiosity in sharing parts of each other's lives.
We each define "success" differently, but as I've gotten older I've realized that the smile on my face each morning has little to do with the business of photography, but the friendships I appreciate along the journey. And, as sappy as it might sound:
"There are some people who could hear you speak a thousand words and still not understand you.
And there are others others who will understand without you speaking a word."
Wishing everybody a Sunday filled with time to share with good friends. Take the time to appreciate those special friendships in your life and then smile over how they got started! Go for those eleven-second hugs and don't waste time thinking about the business - it'll all be there waiting for you tomorrow!
* Relax, for those of you who have minimal experience in video, I didn't know what it was either. It's a phenomenal little accessory for giving your videos a look that just let's the camera glide when you're moving around a scene. She just recently got a Zihyun gimbal, and it was remarkable to watch how it worked.
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.