One of the things I love about Weekend Wisdom is the goal to stick to one topic and then drill it down as much as we can in the time allowed. In this new episode, Jen Rozenbaum joins me to talk about boudoir photography. Rather than focus on what makes a good image, we jumped right into one of the key ingredients to building a photography business, especially in boudoir...establishing trust with the client.
If you don't know Jen, in the last few years she's become one of photography's leading boudoir photographers. She is an artist, businesswoman, educator, writer, mother, wife and a great friend. We even found a little time to talk about the difficult balance between work and life. To see more of Jen's work and follow her teaching schedule, you'll find all of the links on the Sprouting Photographer page. And, don't forget to check out Jen's new book, The Boudoir Photography Cookbook: 60 Recipes for Tempting Photos.
A big thanks to Bryan Caporicci and Rob Nowell, founders of Sprouting Photographer and the new Sprout Studio. They never compromise on the quality of their images, their business or their relationships. It's a big reason Sprouting Photographer's podcasts were recognized on iTunes with the Best of 2014 Award. Plus, it was the only podcast in photography to receive the recognition.
I had a couple of short conversations with some relatively new photographers just before Thanksgiving and in both conversations they apologized for not having a formal education in photography. One of them even gave me a sort of apology for being a wedding photographer, "I started out wanted to do fashion work, but it was just too competitive a market!"
Okay, time to square things away a little bit.
I know this is starting to sound like a rant, but let's wrap it up with a Zig Ziglar quote:
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."
Stop apologizing for being involved in one of the most amazing career fields in the world. Keep working on your skill set. Don't let anyone step on your dreams of being an artist. Build relationships with your clients, vendors and other artists.
And, on those days when you feel a little overwhelmed, maybe even a little burned out, take your camera and just find a fun place to shoot. Take yourself back to what sparked your love for photography in the first place. For me it's any place near the water, which is why I love living in Florida and being near beaches like the image I used with today's post.
Remember, with the exception of modern medicine, nobody has given the world more than photographers. You're the magicians who stop time and take intangible memories and turn them into tangible products people can savor for a lifetime!
We had friends over last night for "Thanksgiving" dinner. That's right, we missed Thanksgiving by two days, but it was intentional.
Last year's Thanksgiving with my Dad here just couldn't be topped. So, we chose to have a quiet, intimate dinner, just the two of us on Thursday night. I threw a few lobster tails on the grill while most of the rest of country went the traditional route with a turkey and a familyfriends gathering.
We postponed Thanksgiving to have time with a couple of terrific friends. Our "thanks" was for good friends and having so much joy in our lives. However, for me, the preparation for dinner was almost as much fun as sharing it with friends.
I have the most fun doing things with Sheila, and one of them is cooking. We're like a finely tuned machine, managing to stay out of each other's way like a complex choreographed dance routine from Mandy Moore. Then there are those "oh crap" moments. We take turns realizing the one key ingredient we need isn't in the spice cabinet or pantry, but still on the grocer's shelves! That usually puts me in the role of supermarket storm-trooper, rushing back and forth to Publix!
I also had a unique experience in carving the turkey. Sheila told me I've been doing it wrong, and I got defensive. After all, I've been carving the turkey the way my Dad taught me years ago and who knows, maybe his Dad taught him. Well, ten minutes before the turkey came out of the oven I went to YouTube and watched a video from the Culinary Institute. Along with an incredible dinner, I swallowed my pride. Even better was it kept the sliced turkey together and I didn't have to spend an hour with a paring knife getting all the meat off the bones for leftovers!
Look, it's Sunday, and I'm writing with the biggest smile on my face. We succeeded in breaking some time-tested traditions. We had a chance to remind two very special people in our lives that their friendship is unique and so important to us. I learned the right to carve a turkey instead of acting like one. And, somehow, we took what should have been a pretty tough time emotionally and turned into one incredible collection of new memories.
As always, make it a great day! Stop worrying about shopping and simply spend time with people you care about. Go for those eleven-second hugs and most important of all with the topic of this post - find a few traditions that just might be fun to break. And, with the general theme of "thanks" this time of year - thank you for following this blog, your support, and your friendship!
I'm wishing everybody a great holiday this morning because I have no intention of going near my computer tomorrow! For once, I'm going to take a shot at trying to practice what I preach and simply take a real day off.
Most important of all I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments about my Dad, your thoughts and prayers for my family and your friendship. I've written numerous times in the past about the best thing about our industry having NOTHING to do with photography, but about the friendships that come out of everyone's mutual love for the craft.
And just to kick off Thanksgiving with one of Dad's favorites, it's amazing what you can find on YouTube! Dad and I used to watch these and laugh until we cried. It didn't matter how old we were; they still got us laughing. Without question, the Three Stooges are part of the wonderfully bizarre collection of memories I've got of life with Pop.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody - make it the best one yet!
Note: Image from Wikipedia.
I'm having a hard time writing what' s become my favorite post each week, "Sunday Morning Reflections." The challenge isn't so much about trying to express my feelings or opinion about anything, but not wanting to give you another round of stories about my Dad.
Every family goes through the challenges of losing a loved one. All of you have experienced loss in your life, and I know what I'm experiencing now couldn't be more normal. At the same time, I always hope that something I write has some impact on at least a few of you. It's nothing too over-the-top, just thoughts that might make your life-journey a little easier.
So, here it is this morning...
I'm recognizing the importance of simply allowing myself to grieve. When my mother passed away, she'd been fighting Alzheimer's for seven years. When she passed, while I felt the expected sadness, the disease had robbed us of her presence years before. I had been grieving for five years before her actual passing.
Dad, however, has been different. Right up until four hours before he passed away he squeezed my hand. The process of missing him has been far more intense, but over the last couple of weeks I have discovered some incredible things...relax, nothing earth-shaking, but maybe helpful to a few of you.
Instead of dwelling on what I'll call "selfish loss" and making it all about me, I find myself thinking about great stories of the adventure we had together. And, it truly was an adventure. Now put all those stories together and the fact that I've got Sheila to share them with, and they become that much more therapeutic.
I get it takes time, but celebrating Dad's life and the fact that an old fart like me still had his Dad around has become an emotional and energy booster. I feel his presence all the time. I find myself talking to him. I find myself almost laughing out loud over some of the stunts he pulled, or we created together.
To share anymore in today's post would just be babbling. However, grieving in a way that goes beyond my sense of loss is keeping a smile on my face and helping me not become a doom and gloom couch potato. Dad headed off to God on November 9 and as I wrote in a blog a few weeks ago,
"I couldn't be prouder to be Ralph Cohen's son!"
Make it a great day everybody. Don't waste time with people you don't care about. Make sure those important to you know how you feel and always go for those eleven-second hugs!
Happy Sunday everybody!
Two years ago my buddy Sal Cincotta had a vision, ShutterFest! The whole idea was to build a boutique style convention that maximized education, networking and hands-on shooting. Well, remember that old line from Field of Dreams?
"If you build it they will come!"
Well, they did come - photographers, educators and exhibitors from all over the world. It's an amazing convention and has become my personal most favorite. I'm speaking there again this year and hope you'll join me, along with an amazing team of artists/speakers and of course attendees.
The convention is already 88% sold, so that doesn't leave room for too many more people to register. If you're thinking about going, NOW is the time to get your name in. The cost will more than likely go up to $199 after Thanksgiving!
So, register today by clicking on the banner below and get yourself into one of the very best conventions to hit professional photography in a whole lot of years! You won't be disappointed!
There's nothing on this planet that trumps great friendships!
Looking through old files for a Throwback Thursday image, I found this gem from WPPI in 2002. That's me flanked by two of my very best buddies, Terry Deglau on the left and Don Blair on the right. In the years when Kodak was a powerhouse in professional photography, Terry was the connection for thousands of artists.
A group of us had dinner together that night at Emeril's at the MGM, and I'm not sure who to thank for this grab shot. It will never win an award for composition, but it sure wins an award for a stellar moment and great memories. Don passed away in September of 2004, but there are still so many times when I think back to something we worked on together.
There were probably ten of us in an exclusive group because he called us all "Numb Nuts". One year his son Gary had polo shirts made up. I couldn't have been prouder to have "Numb 1" embroidered on mine! I still have the shirt. LOL
Officially, Terry is retired, but his passion for the industry has never changed.. He writes a weekly blog. Plus, he has a gallery exhibit coming up at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA opening on December 4. The gallery collection they're showing includes many of his most outstanding images. If you're in the area and have an opportunity to see the exhibit, just click on the headshot of Terry to the right for more information.
Every Throwback Thursday I hit you with the same suggestion. Grab a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to go through your old files, shoeboxes, albums - any place you have old images stashed. It's incredible the smiles and even a few tears those images will create.
Nothing beats the power of photography to bring back great moments from our past.
"People want to know how much you care, before they care how much you know."
In this new episode of Weekend Wisdom, one of the industry's best-known educators, writers and artists, my buddy Rick Sammon, joins me in a great discussion about being an instructor.
Rick and I first met in the early 80's in my Polaroid days. Over the years he's consistently stayed focused on education and helping photographers raise the bar on their technique and quality of their images. He's one of the best in the industry because of his dedication. Being an educator is a huge commitment, not just for the actual time you're teaching a class, but long after when your students have questions and need additional support.
I love the content in this podcast because so many of you hope to teach someday or speak at a convention. Just remember, it takes consistency in your presence, your message and the quality of your work.
A big thanks to Bryan Caporicci and Rob Nowell, founders of Sprouting Photographer and the new Sprout Studio. They never compromise on the quality of their images, their business or their relationships. It's a big reason Sprouting Photographer's podcasts were recognized on iTunes with the Best of 2014 Award. Plus, it was the only podcast in photography to receive the recognition.
The year is rapidly coming to a close and at times I feel like I'm trapped in an old Jimmy Stewart movie and the hands of the clock are spinning. Time is that one element we NEVER have enough of and being away from the business last week had a profound impact on me.
Instead of feeling frustrated over time lost and trying to catch up, I'm finding renewed energy and even a sense of accomplishment at simply not doing a lot for a few days. I needed and will continue to grieve the loss of my best buddy, my Dad, but each day it gets a little easier. Thinking about the fun times far outweighs the pain of his passing.
I'm thinking about things I still want to do to wrap up 2015 and we've got roughly six weeks left. I know what I'm working on, but how about you? What can you do to give the year a stronger finish? Remember, it's not just about your sales, but paving the way for new relationships in 2016. Here are some things to think about.
You've still got time for a holiday card! There is no easier way to remind people what you do for a living. Do NOT use store-bought cards. Use your images and take advantage of simply wishing people "Happy Holidays" to create top of mind awareness with your clients that you're an artist.
Holiday sales abound - so think about what you need for gear and software. Black Friday is coming up, and every retailer is going to be after your wallet. Take the time now to think about what you need, so you're ready to shop rather than just impulse buy.
Got your reservations? January kicks off the industry's trade show and convention season. Now is the time to make sure you've got flights, hotels and even a few dinner reservations for those conventions you want to attend.
Delegate! Most of us have a challenge with asking for help. Learn to delegate and through the holidays especially, if you need a little help then ask for it.
Take time for YOU! December is one of the busiest months of the year for most photographers, but don't attack it as a storm trooper. Take the time to make time for yourself. You won't be any good to your clients, let alone your family if you're burned out. Recognize the importance of taking time just for you. Plan a few "date nights" with your spouse for example. Take the time, unwind and appreciate how much you can get done if you keep your battery charged.
This isn't meant to be an all encompassing post this morning. It's just too big a topic. There's a new year right around the corner and now is the perfect time to think about bringing this year to a strong close and at the same time prepare the path for 2016.
It might seem a little sappy, but I found the following quote.
The year is finally coming to an end.I will not cry over the bad days.
I will not despair over failures.I will not forget the lessons I learnt.
I will not let any incident from the past devastate me or make me less courageous...
and will never stop believing in love.
Whether you admit it or not, all of you believe in love, because whether it's the love you have for somebody else, your family, the craft or capturing the love between your subjects, it's at the heart of everything you do.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
I've written a lot about giving back over the years. I love ideas that are creative and a win-win. Well, my good buddy, Joe Farace, is launching his holiday program and it's a win-win for everybody. Of course what would you expect from a guy with a blog whose tagline is, "Saving the world one pixel at a time!"
Joe's doing portfolio reviews for charity. Here's your chance to have your portfolio reviewed by one of the industry's leading photographers and writers and 100% of the fee goes to charity.
I love the concept for a couple of reasons. First, if you know Joe then you know he's got a big heart and giving back is part of how he lives his life. Second, I've looked at a lot of images over this past year, and so many of you have incredible talent, but you haven't paid attention to what you're presenting. A great portfolio is more than just images - it's a story of who you are and your skill set. Third, there isn't a non-profit on the planet that doesn't need help.
Here's one more reason I love the concept. While Joe can only do these face to face in the Denver/Colorado Springs area, I'm hoping helping him spread the word will get a few of you to think about doing something similar. For those of you who are educators, here's a great way to help photographers and give back, but there's another way to use the concept.
Many of you live in areas with strong camera clubs and lots of serious hobbyists. What a kick it would be to offer your community help with their photography. As a professional, you might not be formally teaching, but you have the ability to help serious consumers with ideas on capturing better images this holiday season. Here's a chance for you to give back and position yourself as one of the community's photography experts.
Still doubting your ability and how this might work? Think about so many things you take for granted in understanding - depth of field, composition, exposure, fill light, posing and even basic image manipulation for printing holiday cards, etc. Even better, it doesn't matter what they're shooting with, from cell phones to point and shoots to DSLRs - all the basic rules apply.
Check out Joe's program by clicking on either image above and then email me to let me know what you're doing in your community to give back this holiday season. I'd love to do a blog post of ideas to help other artists get more involved in giving back. Send me a short description of what you're doing along with your URL and an image or two (5x7 equivalent at 72 dpi).
And Joe - thanks for sharing the idea and especially giving back. While this project is focused on the Denver area, you give back to all of us all year long!
I’m having a hard time with a Sunday Morning Reflections post, not because of the loss of my Dad, but because I’m not sure what I want to write about. I’ve shared enough about who he was and our relationship. While I always go off track on Sunday mornings, I still like to keep it a little personal.
So, I’m hoping, at least for those of you who are younger, maybe I’ll share something that’s helpful. On the other hand, my buddy Scott Bourne loves to remind me that these days, EVERYBODY in the industry is younger – so I’ll let you decide.
The topic is simply dealing with loss. For me this week it’s “Pop”, but it can be anyone or anything important to you. I think I’m doing great, but it’s only because of so many friends who have shared their thoughts along with family members and close friends who are here to lean on.
The seven stages of grief, which most of you have heard before are disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance/hope. In the last few days I’ve covered all of them. In fact, every day has been a roller coaster with each of the seven stages separated by moments of bitter sweet joy as we’ve shared stories about the funny things that happened over the years with my Dad.
My point is, you have to go with the flow. It’s a life-experiencing riptide and while I’m not drowning in any one stage, I can’t get out of the emotional current. I just have to go with it.
I’ll leave you with one more thought – when dealing with loss don’t be afraid to reach out to those closest to you. They’re in your life because they’re important to you. They’re in your life, just like you’re in theirs – for support, help, encouragement and guidance.
It might seem trite, but the Beatles said it best, “I get by with a little help from my friends!” Well, actually it’s a LOT of help. Accept those moments when you need help, but also those when you want to be alone with your thoughts. Accept the roller coaster ride of grief. Hang onto those special memories like a life raft in bad storm at sea. Most important of all, appreciate your network and the love of friends, many of whom, in our Internet world, you might not even have met.
It’s Sunday and the perfect day for one of those eleven second hugs I always write about…only today I might go for twenty seconds! It’s also the perfect time to send out one gigantic “thank you” for your words of encouragement and support. Sure do appreciate you guys!
Make it a great day everybody and cherish those special people around you.
This is a classic and all thanks to my recent search for old photographs to share with my Dad. This one of my mother from seventy years ago is the perfect portrait to share on Throwback Thursday.
It was black and white and printed on double-weight paper. It was then hand-colored. What I love is the instructions to the hand-coloring artist, which were written on the back.
Throwback Thursday is the perfect time to bring a little marketing discipline into your life as an artist. Make it a point, at least once a week to look for old images. Use those images in blog posts to help educate your clients on the value of photography. You're not just "taking photographs" but creating unique family heirlooms to be handed down to future generations!
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody and remember, if you find a gem you want to share, email me at email@example.com. I'd love to feature some of your throwback images in a blog post. And remember, never compromise on the quality you put into any image you capture/create for a client today, because down the road it's going to be somebody else's classic memory.
It's Veteran's Day and even though my Dad is no longer physically here to read this, it's a very special day in this family.
Like so many of our parents from the "greatest generation", Dad never talked much about the war. In fact, I got most of my best stories when I took him on HonorFlight last year to Washington. There, in the comfort of hanging out with his peers, the stories just started to flow.
Dad was in the Army Air Corps and after discovering a perforated eardrum was grounded and spent most of his time in the radio tower. I remember somebody asking him if he ever got to meet General MacArthur. "No, but I brought his plane in a few times."
Dad couldn't have been more proud to have served. As we went through old pictures we took with us on HonorFlight, while time may have stolen memories of more recent years, he knew the names of everybody in each photograph, even the cities they were from. He also wrote the names on the back of the photographs.
As always, Dad had a few classic stories to bring some laughs into one of the most difficult times in his life.
He was based in the Asia/Pacific and one day they were looking for musicians to volunteer. Dad played the trumpet and could only think about a little light duty. He immediately signed up anticipating being part of the Army Air Corps band. Well he did get to be with the band...they needed volunteers to move a hundred pianos for a USO tour coming to the base. He moved pianos for the next two days! Other stories were much more traumatic, but that was one of Dad's favorites.
So, to my Dad, our son Brian who currently serves and brother-in-law Randy and so many of you who served or have sons and daughters serving now, thank you for giving so much to our country.
Honor Flight has a slogan that I love...
“We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they walk by.”
Last weekend I wrote a very personal blog about my Dad's declining health. The comments in support of what I've been feeling at seeing him slowly leave us have been amazing, but even more important, healing. Well, last night Dad went home to God, and this is my third attempt at trying to write something beyond sadness.
While I can't deny a huge sense of loss, this is a time when I want to celebrate Dad's life, which after 93 years was the kind of life we all hope to look back on in our final hours. Dad and Mom were married for two weeks short of 66 years when she lost the battle to Alzheimer's. I remember Dad leaning over her, just before her last breath and saying, "We had an incredible run. I love you."
There it is, the essence of my Dad - just a guy who loved his family and friends more than anything else. In fact, nothing else really mattered to him, and that brings me full circle to still trying to figure out what to share here. You see, there aren't many guys my age who still had their parents around, let alone enjoyed being with them. I had them both these last few years living in Florida. Even yesterday, just hours before Dad let go, when I whispered in his ear, "You'll always be my best buddy," he squeezed my hand recognizing my presence.
Just to keep imaging in today's post, my Dad absolutely loved photography. Hasselblad's legendary Ernst Wildi once told me the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur is that amateurs show you all of their shots! Well, through thousands of Kodachrome and then Ektachrome images Dad never threw a single slide away. He later got into prints and eventually digital, but his biggest challenge was trying to find a camera for my mother that didn't cut off heads. My mother could never frame a shot, and it sent Dad off in search of the one camera that wasn't "defective".
He loved coming to conventions with me and especially when he and Don Blair could hang out together. While he was in awe of Don's ability to capture/create a stunning portrait, the friendship between them was more about their mutual love for their families, because that was the standard for both of them.
My Dad was simply the epitome of a great "Pop" and the stories I have, many supported with photographs over the years, will last me the rest of my life. Behind every tear is a bitter-sweet smile - I'm going to miss him a lot, but what a gift he gave our family and me. I couldn't be prouder to be Ralph Cohen's son.
Those we love don't go away. They walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near...
still loved, still missed and very dear.
So Pop, thanks for a lifetime of smiles, support and simply being my best pal. You never gave up on me. You never stopped being supportive. While it might have been your heart that finally gave out, maybe it was because you gave so much of it to all of us. Sure do love ya!
Over they years I've gotten my fair share of scam letters from Nigeria. Back in my Hasselblad days they'd come on old-fashioned overseas light blue "air mail" tissue paper. We'd collect them and laugh about the millions of dollars we could collect if we'd just give them Hasselblad's bank numbers!
Well, it's time I performed a public service and helped our friends in Nigeria. I got the email below yesterday and I'm saddened that in twenty years, the ability for scam artists to raise the bar on their grammar hasn't improved.
my nane is stella desmond, i got your contact on facebook,please i want to discus something very important with you reply me back With my email address
hope to hear from you
So, to Stella Desmond...a few suggestions:
Last on the list, you might want to simply look for a new career. Seriously, you're not very good at this and one trip to Google with your email and it comes up on dozens of scam sites!
Meanwhile, I do have to thank you. I needed to start the day with a little sarcasm this morning and your stupidity gave me a great topic to write about.
I rarely miss a day of posting to this blog, but this week there's something going on that's simply more important than business. Even with some posts in the pipeline, I'll probably miss a few more days this week, but here's why. While I know I don't have to explain anything, it feels good to write a little about what's happening.
A few times over the years I've been criticized for sharing a blog post that was too personal. The truth is, I always listen to my critics and take into consideration what they're saying. However, in the end, I typically do whatever my heart suggests anyway. While most of what I share is about business, marketing and my expertise/experiences, now and then there's a very personal moment to write about. Well, here's a big one this morning.
Yesterday, after sound medical advice from his doctors, we put my Dad in hospice care. He's 93 with a variety of unfixable challenges in his health and the day has finally come to let go. He's been my best buddy my entire life, and as I write this post, I realize it's as much for my "therapy" as trying to share a moment with you.
I write a lot about old photographs, and this is where they've played a huge role this week. We found a box of old images, and each one has been a key to reminding me to slow down on the tears and celebrate Dad's life. Many of the images we shared with him while he was still in the hospital. Each one brought back another memory.
Here's what I think might be our first truly professional family portrait. It was done by Julian Apsel Studio in Cleveland and has to be around 1965. We laughed at Mom's hairstyle and Dad's weight, which back then put him around 220 lbs at 5' 10".
Last night I spent an hour by myself talking to Dad at the side of his bed. While he never really responded, I know he could hear me. As I looked at Dad and watched him drift, I realized that even with the challenge of aging and being at best 5' 5" and 140 lbs today, he'll always be the biggest guy in my life.
It's a short post today, but there's always a point. Take nothing and no one for granted. Appreciate everyone you hold near and dear to you, because they won't be here forever. Don't waste time on challenges in life that don't matter and most of important of all, make those hugs last eleven seconds. An eleven second hug is therapeutic and gives you enough time to think about how much those special people in your life mean to you.
And one more thing...thank you for all being a part of my life. I know I'll be writing more about my Dad at some point, but for now he's getting ready to head home to God and I cherish every moment he's been in my life.
Whether you like Joan Jett or not, you'll recognize the songs and appreciate the story behind them.
"Don't listen to so-called experts. I sent a tape in 1980 to all the record companies, all the majors and minors at the time, 23 of them; "Crimson and Clover," "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." They all wrote me back rejection letters. That either tells me they don't listen to the tapes they get or they can't hear hits. It's scary they passed on all of those hits. So, if you think you've got what it takes and really believe in yourself and you're ready to take a lot of crap and still want to do it, go for it."
I know it's easy in a blog post for me to remind you the importance of believing in yourself, but it's the most important trait you need to have. My buddy, Ron Dawson had me on as a podcast recently and the episode went live yesterday. On the podcast, he asked me the biggest mistake I've made, and my answer was "not believing in myself." It happens to all of us.
So, you have to keep working on things to build your confidence. You have to keep developing your skill set, presenting the best images you can capture/create. With every client, make working with you an experience. If you've got a passion for teaching/speaking, start out with smaller groups and keep fine-tuning your message. In establishing a new business, you need to be active in your community and always work to establish a strong brand. The key is to keep challenging yourself and have faith in your abilities.
Your success is about your passion for the craft. There it is, that word "passion" comes up over and over again in so many posts, but here's what happens. Stay focused on your dreams. When you least expect it, everything is going to come together!
"Move out of your comfort zone.
You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward
and uncomfortable when you try something new."
It's Throwback Thursday and here are a couple gems I didn't expect to find. I was looking through some old albums at my Dad's and ran across these photographs.
Meet my grandparents, whose home I pretty much grew up in. They lived just two miles from us and every Friday night and often Saturdays I got to stay at their house. I was as close to the two of them as I was with my parents. In fact, the "SC" ring I still wear was a gift from my grandparents on my 16th birthday.
My apologies for the quality of the scans, but my grandmother's portrait is on a textured paper. Regardless the style couldn't be more classic to the early 1900's.
Think about your work and the gift you provide to each client. Tim Walden, in a Weekend Wisdom podcast a few months ago talked about the way he and Beverly position a fine art portrait. It's not a portrait the client is buying, but a family heirloom being borrowed to pass on to future generations.
So, when was the last time you went off in search of buried treasure? It doesn't get much better than finding 100-year-old photographs buried in the pages of a family album!
I'd love to share some of your throwback images. If you want to join me and are comfortable with sharing them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scan the images at 5x7 equivalent at 72 dpi and don't forget to give me a sentence or two about who's in the image and your url for people to contact you. No promises on being able to run everything I receive, but I'll do my best.
In May of 2009, my first project for my then new educational consulting business was doing public portfolio reviews at Hallmark Institute. I was gone for three weeks as a team of three judges reviewed each portfolio of the approximately 180 member graduation class. It was a grueling process.
Every portfolio took approximately 30-45 minutes as each judge stepped up on the stage and gave their comments on many of the images. I refer to the process/experience as "the most fun I don't ever want to do again!"
One of my partner judges on the assignment was Gregory Heisler. While we had known each other for years, going back to my Hasselblad days, we'd never had more than a few minutes to talk, let alone work together.
One night we were on our way out to dinner, and I was kidding him about it being his turn to buy since it was my birthday. Before we left the building, he said, "Come on - it's your birthday, and I need to do your portrait!" Ten minutes later we were on our way to dinner, but here's what happened in those ten minutes.
I sat down on a posing stool behind a small posing table. Gregory had his Hasselblad H1 set up about 20 inches in front of me. He had a vertical softbox close to my face on the left side. An assistant held an opaque black card in between the camera lens and the softbox to cut out any flare. He shot wide open, and that was it. Off we went for Chinese food in Turners Falls, MA.
A fun sidebar - my daughter Jaime was going to photo school at Boston University at the time and wanted to know how he did the shot. She wanted to try a similar technique in her portrait class. She called me a few days later. "Dad, I don't get it, I'm shooting wide open, and I'm frying every one of my subjects!"
Oops, remember she was a student at the time. I forgot to tell her he only used the modeling light and never turned on the strobe.
This past weekend I decided it was time to update my headshot. There's something very special about having good friends capture your portrait.
We catch up to Bryan Caporicci in Florida whenever he's down here. Bryan is one of the co-founders of SproutingPhotographer.com. Last year I got him to do a fast head shot. I wanted something that was more environmental than a traditional portrait.
I've been surprised over the number of comments and "likes" the change has received, but there's a fun sidebar to this one too.
Over the years, I've been responsible for more than just a few smart-ass comments with friends, especially on their Facebook pages. My buddy, Rick Gerrity gets the sarcasm award so far,
"Looks great Skip! Is that an oxygen mask or a microphone?"
Ever use the search box on YouTube to find out more about the artists you admire most?
I had some fun looking at Roberto Valenzuela's videos over the weekend, and while this one has little to do with photography, it's one of my most favorites. However, it's not about the talent of my good buddy Roberto as a classical guitarist, but a solid example of his discipline as an artist.
Most of us know Roberto's mantra,
"Practice doesn't make perfect. What if you're practicing it wrong? Only perfect practice makes perfect."
Listen to Roberto play Bach for a little while and you'll understand the back story of why he's one of the best photographers in the industry today. It's about discipline and a never-ending quest to be the best. If you have a chance to attend one of his programs or workshops, run, don't walk to get a seat. You'll never be disappointed.
Besides being a great guy and kick to hang out with, he never stops learning. His education never slows down, and he's constantly experimenting and looking to see where his creativity will take him next. Roberto is all about passion for the craft, his friends, and creativity.
He's got two terrific books out. Both of them should be in your library, regardless of your photographic specialty. Just click on either cover below to find out more.
Check out more of Roberto's work and his teaching schedule with a visit to his website.
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.