While it might be just another Sunday morning for Reflections, it's hardly typical for what I'd like to share. It's my last post for 2017 and what a fantastic year it's been. I don't want to do the typical wrap-up sharing the highs and lows of the past twelve months, with two exceptions, the photographs in this post.
Shot with a LUMIX FZ300, the flowers above are one of my favorites for the past year. I've spent my entire career in photography, and while my passion is helping you with the marketing side of the business, I'll match my love for the craft with anybody. Always having a camera with me was relatively new this year and it's all thanks to Panasonic.
As the year comes to a close, it's hard to find the words to describe my appreciation to all of you, my readers. Your feedback has been never-ending giving me an incredible foundation for projects in the year ahead. There are a lot of new things coming, each one designed to help you build a stronger business in 2018. It's an old tagline, but the goal is to help you THRIVE, not just survive!
We're looking forward to more live connections at conventions, trade shows, and conferences. There are a couple of new podcasts coming your way and some new friendships with specialists in business, marketing, and customer service; all focused on sharing new ideas to make your life better and business stronger!
The second photograph is also representative of the year because it was captured by a good friend! Sherry Hagerman was one of several good friends who wandered in and out of Sarasota this year. She joined us one sunset at the Nokomis Beach drum circle early in 2017. What she captured became Sheila and my favorite shot of the two of us. It captures the way we try and live our life!
It's perfect to run alongside our New Year's wish to all of you.
Since Sheila introduced me to Melody Beattie many years ago, it's so appropriate to share a quote from one of her books on the last day of the year. I've shared it in the past, but it's timeless:
"Wait, and expect good things - for yourself and your loved ones. When you wonder what is coming tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer...See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like..."
Wishing you a day that seems endless in its sense of peace and joy bringing the year to a close. Appreciate the time you have with family and friends, close the door on the frustrations of the past year and go into 2018 with a renewed sense of purpose, direction and always love. And, never miss an opportunity for an eleven-second hug!
Happy New Year!
I've written a lot about the best part of this industry being the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Well JB Sallee and his wife DeEtte are two of those very special people who came into our lives at WPPI so many years ago.
Yesterday I ran across this post by JB with the family portrait above. I love the shot and so appreciate the way he stays focused on his family.
Here's my point - so many photographers capture incredible images of their clients and families but forget about their own! When was the last time you captured a family portrait just to make a memory for your own family?
As an only child of an only child of an only child, I have always wanted to have a big loving family to call my own and share my life, my experiences and my love with. I love JB's point about leaving "happy memories for his kiddos!"
I can't express how important family portraits are to core family bonding and remembering loved ones lost. I don't necessarily remember every moment of my childhood but I do remember the family trips, and the loving moments when I see photographic prints from when I was young. In the last 8 years I have lost almost every family member that helped to raise me into the man I am today. I try to stay strong for my children but there is not a day that goes by that I do not miss my loved ones lost.
It is not always the day to day events your loved ones will remember you by, but also the time you took to set up a photograph and capture your loved ones and freeze them in time. I will be printing this image and hanging it on our fireplace so that my wife and children can remember this amazing trip we had together.
One day I too will be gone and I hope I did my best to leave happy memories for my kiddos. I hope you will also do this for your loved ones.
I pulled a few of my favorite images from Tamron's product pages.
This is a fraction of the stunning images their lenses have captured.
It was in the 80's that American Express ran an ad campaign with the "membership has its privileges" tagline. Well, the concept is back with something new for all you Tamron lens owners out there. Tamron just announced their new VIP Club and I love the benefits.
"...the VIP Club will include select users who have registered their Tamron lenses through the company's online warranty registration system since May 2011 through January 15, 2018 (certain exclusions apply, see website for rules and details). There are three VIP Club levels: Silver for those having registered four purchased lenses; Gold for those having registered five purchased lenses; and Platinum for those having registered six or more purchased lenses. Club membership will be evaluated each year to include new members who qualify and to increase the level of existing members if applicable."
The new program kicks off in February 2018, and the best part is - there's nothing for you to do except make sure you've registered your lenses through the Tamron online warranty system.
Members qualify for a bonus rebate, Tamron's magazine, discounts on out of warranty service, events, contests and even an annual workshop with limited attendance, but maximum hands-on help raising the bar on your skill set. Just click on the VIP banner above for complete information.
Over and again Tamron never slows down on the development of outstanding optics and their commitment to photographers! They're not just known for exceptional glass, but their never-ending support for education and helping you capture stunning images!
As time winds down for 2017, it's the perfect topic. Most of you have been flat out for the last few weeks dealing with the one period of real seasonality each year in imaging - the fourth quarter.
For the most part, things should be starting to slow down, and it's time to get a little balance back in your life as a business owner. Time is your most valuable commodity, and once it's gone you never get it back - so let's stop wasting it worrying about things out of your control.
Knowing no matter what you do, you're just one person and only have 24 hours in a day and seven days a week, it's time to stop killing yourself trying to multi-task. So many of us take on more than we can do and we're missing all the moments to "smell the roses."
Here's a prime example: Years ago I realized I was becoming a slave to social media. In fact, I didn't take a real vacation and entirely unplug for over three years. We'd take long weekends here and there but never an actual vacation to fully recharge!
Even when we were away, I spent too much time worrying about things. I was always haunted by the monkey on my back - all the things I wanted to get done. Some were procrastination projects I kept on my list while others were deadline events in the queue. As much as I write about the importance of recognizing the signs of "C&B" (Crash & Burn), I was forgetting, just like you, I'm only one person and can only do so much before I implode.
So, this morning's blog is as much personal therapy for me as it is a reminder for you. It's the day after the long Christmas weekend, and I've got a lot I want to get done. Stepping entirely away from technology I've got a good old-fashioned hand-written piece of paper with the things I want to get done today. I'm going to make it simple, and knock them off one at a time and celebrate when the "whistle" blows at the end of the day, even if I'm not done.
There's a great piece of advice a lot of people claim to have been told by a mentor about paperwork before the Internet, "Touch each piece of paper that comes across your desk only once - make the decisions it requires you to do and then move on." Well, none of us deal in paper anymore, but it applies to every email, tweet, facebook friend, etc. Read them once, decide on the course of action, respond and move on!
And, for those of you, like me, who often feel overwhelmed about not having enough time to get the things done you want and spend too much time worrying about it:
"You can't change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future!"
It's the last week of the year, and it's a short one. Make your list of what you want to accomplish and at the end of the day, give yourself a pat on the back for whatever you've finished. Send that "monkey on your back" packing and merely appreciate everything you're doing to build your reputation. A new year is just around the corner. Get ready to greet it with open arms, and recognize you're a year wiser as a business owner! What a kick!
"Make it a December to remember!"
I'm not sure who wrote the quote above initially, but Lexus uses it in their television campaign. But, if you think about it, it's the perfect slogan for the last month of the year.
I've always been a huge fan of December, but this year it seems even more critical. Fires, floods, horrible accidents, terrorists, gun massacres and politics makes it time to start wrapping up the year. That doesn't mean the six o'clock news is going to change very much, but at least for today, it's a day of family regardless of your religious beliefs. After all, retail is pretty much closed, so the best place to be is with the people who mean the most to you.
"Christmas is a season of not only rejoicing but of reflections."
Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, Christmas today, Hanukah, Kwanza or anything else, December has always been a time of peace and as hokey as it sounds these days, goodwill towards each other. Sheila and I just came back in from our morning walk, and you could spot each house with kids, because at 7:30 a.m. all the lights were on!
The bottom line is - whatever you're celebrating Sheila, and I wish you a day of peace, love, time with family, joy, and reflection and that your holiday is filled with the magic the month of December always brings.
Just recently "Candace" from Photodex shared the video below on the ProShow blog. It's the perfect reminder that even though the Christmas holiday is just a few days away, you've still got time for some last minute shopping.
ProShow 9 is pretty remarkable and you can still save 20% using SAVE20WITHSKIP in the code box when you purchase any Photodex product. Just click on the banner below for more information.
For most of your clients, creating a mixed media slide show with still images, short video clips and putting it all to music is the definition of the "next big thing!" Plus, it's the perfect time of year to share your own images over the holidays as a marketing tool on your blog and website!
Don't miss out on the opportunity to "wow" your clients and exceed their expectations. Every client is a chance for you to tell their story in a way that's unique and fun. Build your client relationships by making yourself habit-forming!
Of all the Profoto Tiny Talks I've shared to date, this one has some of the strongest "how-to" content. It's with Pye Jirsa, whose short concise videos and posts I've shared numerous times in the Profoto Showcase. No matter what your specialty might be, following Pye is going to raise the bar on your skill set.
If there's one aspect of most photographers' skills that needs a booster shot it's understanding and controlling the light. As Pye starts out in this video, the key to success is to make your work different. Over and again his images show that difference, and I love the way he shares the before and after images to help you understand the setup.
Profoto not only manufacturers some of the finest photographic equipment in the world, but they never stop helping artists capture the very best images. Pye is working the Profoto's B1 - just click on the banner below to find out more about the new B1X and then visit your Profoto dealer.
For me, the fun of Tamron's Unofficial Field Guide is all about the adventures of Ken and André as they work with other photographers around the country. The common denominator is always Tamron lenses, but it goes a lot deeper with a passion for imaging and making life an adventure.
This episode took the boyz to the Wenatchee Valley in Washington State and into the Cascade Loop. Charley Voorhis is a well-respected videographer and needed a lot of lifestyle footage. Ken and André became the perfect models/assistants. While everything was shot with Tamron lenses, this video has me not only wanting to check out a few new lenses, but I'm putting the Wenatchee Valley on my bucket list!
Besides being an outstanding videographer and Tamron Image Master who we featured just a few years ago here at SCU, Charley is also an incredible host and travel guide. In the next fourteen minutes, you're going to see him take the boyz whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fly fishing, climbing, canoeing and aerial shooting. Keep in mind all along the way nobody is ever very far from their Tamron gear!
You may not be in the Cascade Loop, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have terrific glass to capture those important memories of yours and your clients. Tamron's manufacturing some of the finest lenses in photography and you've only got a short time left to take advantage of their holiday rebates. Just click on the banner below for more information.
And, don't forget Tamron USA's 6 year limited warranty on new lenses purchased through an authorized Tamron dealer!
Image copyright Michele Celentano. All right reserved.
"Why?" is about introducing you to the movers and shakers in photography, but in the process, since we started in April of 2016, I continue to be amazed at the images and the backstories.
Michele Celentano is best known for her family portraiture, but there's nothing she can't photograph. She's also an educator, author, Mom, wife and a great friend. She's been involved in many of the SCU workshops over the years helping thousands of photographers raise the bar on their portraits.
But best of all is her passion for imaging along with her love for printed images. Michele shared a terrific post a few years back called "I Believe." She gave everyone the right to plagiarize and steal what she shares with her clients about the importance of printed photographs. Just click on the image below to read "I Believe."
To check out more of Michele's work and visit her website, click on the family portrait above. And, stay on top of her workshops and programs by putting her Facebook Group on your radar!
At this point I think I've shared every holiday card from Bleu Cotton Photography for at least the last eight years. They've not only turned their card into a family event, but shared it with all of us as well. They always exceed expectations, and while it's almost too late for you to get your own card out for 2017, it's not too late to think about next year, along with your stationery.
Here's my point:
Ali, Bleu and Fisher take their card to a incredible level. They set the standard, but whether you follow in their footsteps or not, isn't important. What is important is the opportunity you have to utilize a holiday card, and your stationery to remind people what you do for a living.
No photographer should ever send out a store-bought card EVER! That includes not only the holidays, but your thank-you notes and other stationery. USE YOUR IMAGES! And, on the back of the card at the bottom, just like Hallmark, give people a little more information with your website, email address and phone number.
Sharing your work in a holiday card is a perfect way to advertise. It's the perfect way to thank people for their support during the year, wish them happy holidays and remind them you're an artist!
Now and then Facebook hits a home run. This morning I signed in and up popped "Your Memories on Facebook." There was a post I shared in 2013. I usually don't bother to go back and see what I wrote, but this morning's topic seemed even more relevant today.
As I read the post from four years ago, I decided to share it this morning, because there's such a good lesson here.
As you close the door on 2017 and kick off a new year, it's the perfect time to modify your attitude regarding your business from, "If it ain't broke don't fix it," to "If it ain't broke you haven't looked hard enough!" The holiday crunch is almost over and you're going to have time to think about this past year. No matter how good a year it might have been take a look at what you could have done better.
In 1987 I took over as president of Hasselblad USA. It was an incredible job and opened the door to the world of professional photography. One of the first projects on my plate was a new advertising campaign. I inherited a concept that senior management in Sweden had already approved.
The program was to drop all the photographic magazines and go after the serious hobbyist by advertising in National Geographic, Time Magazine's top zip code edition and the Father's Day issue of the Sunday New York Times Magazine. It was incredible, and it sent my ego to a new height, as I got credit for bringing Hasselblad's advertising to three of the most impressive publications in the world.
There we were in Time, National Geographic and the NY Times, but we only had enough money in our budget to run once in each of them! When the money was gone, if sales didn't come in, we were dead! Even more damaging was when we pulled all our advertising from the photographic magazines for the new campaign, the magazines cut off editorial support. Plus, this campaign was directed to high-end consumers and "Uncle Harry" only represented 25% of Hasselblad's business. We were no longer reaching our primary target. The ad campaign was, in short, a costly, ego-driven disaster!
A year later with a new plan of attack on the market, I was interviewed by one of the trade magazines. Every question about our new marketing plans I answered. We were reaching out to photographic schools, doing more dealer training, creating new promotional programs. The interview was published, and there were multiple headshots of me with members of our senior staff. I loved the article until I realized something...
It was nothing more than an ego trip. I was broadcasting every move we wanted to make in our business to our competitors. I couldn't have helped them more if I'd invited them to our planning meetings!
Okay, here comes the segue to your life as a photographer. Don't let your ego run your business. When you start to believe your own press releases you're in trouble. I'm not saying don't have an ego, but when you make decisions with your ego instead of your head, at some point you'll be buried in a sequence of bad events.
Think about your marketing efforts now. Start with your home page and your "about" section. Is it being driven by ego or customer service? It's critical for you to share why you're a photographer and open your heart, NOT all the awards you might have won. Awards are significant, and you earned them, but your client is looking for images that come from the heart and needs help deciding if you can be trusted.
How about your charitable efforts in the community? Don't be afraid to be an unsung hero. It's okay to be behind the scenes and not be the chairperson running every event. It's okay to give and expect absolutely nothing in return. The first time I heard Napoleon Hill's expression, "Whatever you give will come back to you" was in a presentation from Clay Blackmore twenty-five years ago. He talked about the importance of just being able to help people, and he's lived by that code his entire career.
Most important of all, when you get involved in any of the online forums, discussions at the various conventions or just conversations with friends are you able to check your ego at the door? Or, do you stay on a subject, and beat a dead horse? This might be the hardest lesson of all to learn, not just in business but in relationships as well - and yes, I'm speaking from personal experience. It's hard to recognize there may be another path when you're so convinced your viewpoint is the only direction to take. Don't be a "right fighter"!
And, when you're on the receiving end of negative comments about your images, follow my reminder in a tweet I shared this morning from my old buddy Dean Collins, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
The last thing I mean to do in this post is sound like I'm preaching. However, those Hasselblad experiences were some of the most important life/business lessons I've ever experienced. I'm sharing this so you can learn from my mistakes and leave room for new ones of your own!
You don't have to bury your ego, just keep it in check.
Image copyright Kevin Ames. All rights reserved.
Remember my initial reason for starting "Why?" I wanted to introduce you to some of the most respected artists in our industry through their favorite images. What I completely underestimated was the diversity of their work and the backstories. Approaching one hundred artists in the series, I so appreciate the support and the willingness of these photographers to share their images, stories and insight.
Kevin Ames joins me with a great backstory and a short conversation about the importance of special projects. Kevin is a commercial photographer, but there's nothing he can't photograph. He's an educator, writer, author of several books on digital photography, the Managing Editor of PhotoFocus.com, and we've been friends for a lot of years. He shares some terrific insight about stepping away from what you have to photograph for your business, and just shooting for yourself - no specs, just being guided by your own creativity!
To see more of Kevin's work and enjoy some great content just click on the portrait above.
I've been playing a lot with the LUMIX GX-85, and I'm blown away by the results, the sharpness and all the features this little camera brings to the party.
To start out, it's small and so easy to take with me for a day or evening out. With the 12-32mm lens, currently sold in the kit configuration, it weighs just over a pound! It's got most of the LUMIX features that have created all the buzz about the line, including a touchscreen, focus stacking, 4K video, wifi, and the list goes on and on. Plus I can use any of my other LUMIX lenses.
Keep in mind the images I'm sharing are all screenshots and don't begin to show the true sharpness this little gem is capable of capturing. The image up top is an 80% enlargement from a section of the original. The only thing I adjusted was the exposure, darkening it a little to my taste.
The ring shot at the right has a great story, which I shared in another post recently. I was doing a review of Polaroid's tabletop studio and wanted a shot of an old ring of mine.
My Dad bought me the ring when I was twelve in New Mexico on a cross-country family trip. I thought I'd lost it over the years, and found it recently.
Building a tree house with friends when I was a kid, I slipped off the ladder and caught my ring on a nail. I came close to losing a finger, and the ring had to be cut off. Fast forward fifty+ years later and Kay Jewelers fixed it and cleaned it up. My wife, Sheila is having fun wearing it as a pinky ring.
I know very little about tabletop work, and it took me an hour of experimenting to get the shot I wanted. Regarding the camera, it's the GX85 again with the LUMIX 30mm macro lens and lit with Polaroid's two tabletop daylight balanced LED lights. I put the ring on the top of an upside-down shot glass against a black velour background. I'm only sharing this for the fun of showing the versatility of the camera, not my skill set!
Our bougainvilleas are in bloom this time of year, and yes, they really are that saturated with a combination of deep red and pink. Obviously, I could manipulate the image to make it better, but I wanted you to see the results right out of the can. Again, it's the GX85, handheld with the 12-32 mm lens.
Most of you know my skill set as a photographer. While I know more than I let on, my passion is helping photographers on the business and marketing side of life. However, as I've said before, I'll match my passion for the craft with anybody, and I love having a camera with me all the time. The GX85 gives me that ability, and these days I'm rarely without a camera.
So, 'tis the season and if you're looking for a great holiday gift or the perfect camera to have with you all the time, check out the GX85 and find out for yourself what all the buzz is about! Just click on the thumbnail of the camera above to link to the camera on the Panasonic website.
For many of you this is the last week of chaos as you finish special orders and late requests from your customers. As busy as you hopefully are, it's still an excellent time for me to plant a seed of an idea to think about going into the new year. Plenty of people have written about the way social media, together with texting, are destroying the art of conversation. But, I want to hit the topic from the business side and how you do your interviews.
We typically think about interviewing skills as they relate to hiring a new employee or applying for a job yourself. Well, think of each client as a new employer. Each step of the way is the same as getting hired for a new job. That future client might just be your next "new boss!"
Over the years we've all watched a lot of interviews on television. All of the talk-show leaders go beyond the script in the way they ask their questions or decide what question needs to come next. Each question takes the guest down a different path and most of the time keeps us watching the interview.
So, it's an easy segue to ask how are your interviewing skills when meeting your clients? Just like your favorite celebrity journalists, do you ask the right questions and pay attention to the details that will tell you who they are? Here's a checklist to consider, using bridal clients as an example:
There's an exciting quality to a good interview, and it's most often related to sincerity and establishing trust. It's about everything you've learned about customer service, your personality, and your listening skills. An excellent interview with a client can lead to a contract faster than anything in marketing, but a bad conversation and a focus on the wrong things will be devastating.
To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people;
they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you
and to build a relationship with mutual trust.
It's Sunday morning, and as usual, my head is a long way from the business of photography. This past week a friend commented to me about how much she enjoys this series of my blog posts. Specifically, she gave me far more credit than I deserve, suggesting there's a particular spirituality to my Sunday morning posts.
I never intended to be spiritual, just to write from the heart. While everything I write is always from the heart, my marketing posts bring the business side of my brain into play. I'm like the old town crier, sharing news of ideas, not just mine, but from artists around the world who are sharing tips on how to thrive, not just survive.
I've often written that you can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in it. Well, it's no different as a writer. If you appreciate what I share then I'm forever grateful.
I spent most of my life in photography playing it safe and working for other companies. Many of you know me from my Polaroid days, others from my days as prez of Hasselblad USA or Rangefinder/WPPI. While my heart has always been in everything I did, nothing compares with now living the same dream many of you have and running my own business.
Here's my point:
It's thanks to all of you I'm here. It's thanks to you that I LOVE what I'm doing, and if I'm helping you through the challenges of business and life sometimes then it fires me up even more. It may not always seem like it, but we're all in this together. And, I define "this" as our business, our lives and our quest to just make a little piece of the world a better place.
I recorded an episode of "Why?" with Kevin Ames yesterday, and it will air tomorrow. When we were all done, we got into a short conversation about the state of the world right now. He said, "The world has become so polarized, and it breaks my heart!"
I love the way Kevin put that because it's so true and so tragic, but here's where photography comes in. It's the universal language, and it doesn't matter who you are, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, male or female, rich or poor, what your religious beliefs are or what race is in your gene pool - you're judged on the quality and impact of your photographs. As my good buddy Scott Bourne once wrote, photography is the great equalizer.
Wishing you a beautiful Sunday and one filled with time to recharge your heart. This is a busy stressful time for everybody, whether you're a photographer or not. Take the time today to appreciate everyone important in your life. Go for those therapeutic eleven-second hugs, and whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or anything else - recognize and enjoy everything in your life that makes you smile.
Happy Sunday and thank you for being such an important part of my life.
No matter what holiday you're celebrating this month, there are some pretty unique ideas for gifts in photography now. I thought I'd share a little information to help you through the idea process for those people in your life who seem to have everything.
Starting a New Business? How's Your Pricing?
"A business that doesn't make any profit is a hobby!"
I don't usually pitch my own material, but I'm very proud of all the helpful content presented in both of my two videos available on Lynda.com.
The first in the series is about getting started in the business of photography. The second is about pricing. Both are critical to the success in business as a professional photographer. It's not rocket science - you just need to pay attention to a few fundamental building blocks.
Having a great skill set means nothing if you get started on the wrong foot or price your products/services wrong and wind up eating macaroni and cheese every night!
Here's a unique gift for that friend or family member just getting started as a small business owner in photography.
Photodex and the "Next Big Thing"
Slideshows aren't a new idea, but the ease of shooting still images and short video clips and then combining them with great music makes the concept the "next big thing!" Photodex makes it easy for you to add another dimension to your storytelling, and create new products for your clients like thank you videos, save the date pieces, birth announcements and holiday cards, just to name a few.
And, for a limited time, there's a 20% discount for my readers. Use SAVE20WITHSKIP in the code box when you purchase any Photodex product. Just click on the banner above for more information.
One on One with David Michael Kennedy
Time for a New Lens?
Winning one award after another over the last few years, Tamron is manufacturing some outstanding glass. Their Holiday Savings program runs through December 30 and offers photographers substantial savings on a variety of focal lengths!
Intro by Skip Cohen
When I first saw this video from Suzette Allen, I completely missed her point! I honestly thought there was something wrong - just images in a video with no music. In fact, I started to send her an email when I decided to read her post. What a concept - right?
As I read today's post, it occurred to me what a stroke of brilliance this concept really is. It's a commercial application and perfect for so many different businesses. Even better is the minimal effort it takes to create the product/application and the way it's being used.
This was done for a commercial client, a restaurant. So many of you have clients who are business owners and could use an enhanced video to merely fill in with a subliminal message or just entertainment. A realtor might have a video running of homes they've sold, smiling clients visiting their new homes, etc. The application lends itself to original images as well as stock photography.
Photodex makes it so easy to do, and whether you charge for the additional service or make it an add-on with a package, it's destined to create goodwill and enhance your relationship with the client.
If you haven't checked out ProShow 9 yet, just click the banner to the right. Use SAVE20WITHSKIP in the code box when you purchase any Photodex product for a 20% discount. Here's your chance to make Photodex one of the best building blocks for your business!
It surprises me all the time, the things people ask us to do now that we shoot video or Hybrid! We do a bit of commercial work, and headshots and we enjoy helping other small businesses raise the bar of professionalism with technology. We can all stand to have a little bonus tech to make us look more savvy and techy, right?
We have done work for a restaurant over the past couple of years and now they have opened a new one! The restaurant has TV screens in it playing a variety of selected channels but didn’t want to be playing ALL the time. Specifically during certain times of the day. However, they didn’t want just blank screens in the off-times. They came to us to create a video of a very slow image transition loop of pink martini glasses so that it always has something visual going on, but is a classy show that boosts their image when not playing specific programming!
We immediately accepted the challenge, knowing it would be a piece of cake to create! No music needed- just pink martini images and smooth fades and movement. We created something for them that was clean and simple, classy and colorful, keeping in step with their brand message.
First, we went online to buy stock images and purchased about 10 stock images that fit their theme. Then we built a show, choosing Full Frame Theme, and auto energy, which made the perfect combo of movement and smooth, simple transitions. It was easy to send the link to proof it via the website, and then once approved, we generated an HD version to give them on a jump drive. Now it plays in the restaurant all the time in between regular programming and looks super professional, not to mention, interesting! #brandconsistency
Pro Show Web continues to make it easy to raise the bar in our photography and our ability to do great storytelling! The simple ease of pulling this together makes me want to create a line of similar products for businesses. #beprofessional #keepitsimple #lookinggood
"We will not walk through life with our couples, but our photos go with them."
It's well over 12-15 years since the friendship I have with Justin and Mary Marantz first got started. That friendship grew out of my respect for the way they view the importance of exceeding client expectations, quality, and their skill set. In fact, the quote above is one of Mary's opening lines in this Profoto Tiny Talks video.
I can't think of a better way to define the importance of being a wedding photographer! Justin and Mary don't just tell a couple's story but create a family heirloom marking the start of a new family. With every client, they make sure they capture the emotion of the day and tell the story of the bride and groom in a way the couple will cherish forever.
In the 175+ year history of photography, there has never been a bigger list of creative tools to help you capture stunning photographs. Many of those tools are thanks to Profoto's quality, diversity and portability of light, together with one of the largest collections of light-shaping accessories in photography.
If you haven't visited a Profoto dealer or rental house, just click on the banner below. And, if you're looking for great content to help you raise the bar on your skill set, check out Profoto's YouTube channel. You'll find some of the very best photographers and educators in the industry sharing information to help you become an even better artist.
Image copyright Nicole Begley. All rights reserved.
One of the benefits of social media, especially sites like Facebook and Instagram is the collection of introductions made every day through beautiful images, announcements and the sharing of that passion for photography I'm always writing about.
Meet Nicole Begley. Over the weekend I ran across a link to a pet photography workshop she's doing with Terran Bayer here in the Sarasota area in February. Since there aren't many workshops that come to the area, I was intrigued and took a look at her website. The images were stunning, and if you've followed me for even a short amount of time, you know what came next.
While social media is a kick to keep in touch, meet new people and see a wide diversity of work - NOTHING beats a phone call. In the conversation I also wanted to ask permission to share one of her images. Even if a photograph is posted in a public forum, I still like to ask if it's okay to share.
The best part of this industry is the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. I spoke with Nicole yesterday, and here I am this morning, with one of my favorite images from her gallery and a reminder:
The top three reasons people hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories are brides, babies, and pets. That's the BIG three from a Kodak study done many years ago, and I don't believe it's changed a single percentage point. Many of you have an opportunity to expand your published expertise in your business, but more important is understanding how to fine-tune your skill set to cover all three whenever they come up.
Interested in seeing more of Nicole's work? Click on the image above to link to her website. And, check out her "Hair of the Dog" blog to keep track of her workshops and more ideas on pet photography.
In 2009 I left California to start my own business. At that point I had lived on the west side of Los Angeles for seven years. It's the world of "nip and tuck," and it makes a great theme for today's post. Living in LA, you never say, "I've seen it all," because sure enough an hour later you'll see something more bizarre.
It's great to look young, but so often in LA, you see women (and men too) who have just pushed the envelope, chasing their youth a little too far. Personally, I don't want my gray hair died back to what I looked like in high school. And, I earned those bags I get under my eyes, why would I want to give them up? The list could go on and on, but here's my point:
The slow season for most of you is right around the corner, and it's time to look at your website. For a tiny percentage of you everything is great, but for most, you need a facelift, or you've overdosed with busy designs, too many images, too much text and clutter. You've got the equivalent of photographic Botox!
First, all of you can focus your camera, but you can't focus on your specialty. You have all kinds of images on your website - some of them might be great, others are mediocre, even bad. They were included to fill up space. Too many of you put up almost everything you shoot.
Pretend you're a potential client and you're looking through your galleries. Let's assume you're guilty of inconsistent quality, with a few great images, in the beginning, tapering off to average and weak later on. Look at the pictures on your website through the eyes of your client.
For me, the first question I'd worry about as a client, is who am I going to get if I hire this photographer? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? While one image might be spectacular, a minute later you're sharing terrible images no better than Uncle Harry's. The gap between great images and everything else might be huge, leaving a client wondering which persona will they be hiring.
Second, at the other extreme are photographers who get tired of their images before they need to be changed. They're always changing images, tired of the selection before potential clients have seen them. I've seen photographers do the same with their logo. In fact, years ago I worked with a photographer who changed her logo three times in two years!
Third, are your images in sync with today's styles and trends? So often I've seen images on websites I know were taken years ago. You need to keep your site fresh! Personally, I love it when photographers use their images in a blog style with a little copy that describes when and where the images were taken and especially demonstrates their enthusiasm.
Fourth, pay attention to the design of your site. Since we already know women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a photographer in the portrait/social categories, your site needs to have a softer appeal. Is your site too masculine looking? (Note: This isn't a "guy thing!" I've seen plenty of female photographers with websites needing a softer more artistic appeal.)
Fifth, Is your site easy to navigate? Think about your favorite retail store and how it feels when you walk in. Make your website an experience - just like the difference between shopping at Macy's versus Nordstrom's, make your site easy to find your galleries first, followed by your About page and your other tabs. Don't make potential clients work to find what's most important on your site.
Last but not least, limit your copy! If a picture is worth a thousand words, then don't bury people in paragraph after paragraph about yourself - give them images demonstrating quality and consistency. It's outdated terminology, but your goal is to create "sticky pages". Sticky pages means your audience literally won't want to leave your site. They share your images with their friends, and they come back to look at more of your images at other times.
In the end, we're right back to needing a facelift! Your website is your storefront - it's who your future client sees before they ever pick up the phone or meet you. Show images created from the heart, and you'll be able to pull at people's heartstrings! Then talk about some of them on your blog. As I've written many times before, your website is about what you sell, while your blog is about what's in your heart. The two together work to define you as an artist and a retail entity.
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.