"If you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice."
In theory, the slow season is officially over and with April, business for most photographers starts to ramp up. As I was looking for a quote to share this morning the one above stood out and ties directly back to a couple of threads I was reading in one of the forums as well as two personal conversations with friends over the last few days.
It's a short post this morning, so please stay with me!
All the answers, along with the tools to help you build a stronger business and make 2019 your best year to date, are out there. But if you don't take advantage of them and make a sacrifice to get them, then the road to success becomes more difficult and a piece of your dream, at least in terms of a better business, becomes the sacrifice.
I know there are times when life gets in the way, but when an aspiring pro writes about a conference or workshop, "I wish I could go, but just don't have the time right now," or "I just can't afford it," growth and an opportunity to thrive are on the path to the slaughterhouse!
And there's my point - Nothing beats hands-on education especially at a convention/conference. ShutterFest is the next one up this month, followed by state and regional conventions, workshops like JB Sallee's, Photoshop World, and ClickCon in August. Then there are online programs, blogs to read, YouTube videos to watch and the list goes on and on. And there's new educational material out there all the time, like Tim Kelly's Master Photo Techniques, just recently launched.
If you want to thrive in the year ahead, then you have to invest time and sometimes money. A great skill set isn't just about capturing great images and creating stunning photographs - it's also about marketing, building your brand and continually raising the bar on your reputation. It's about a strong network and staying on top of consumer trends and new ways to present images.
You've got to invest in your future. And, when it comes to money, there's ALWAYS a way to pay for a conference. All it takes is learning one new technique, adding one new friend to your network, or figuring out a new way to market your business and the trip pays for itself!
"If you don't build your dream someone else will hire you to build theirs!"
Come on you guys - you know how to hold focus on your camera. Isn't it time you held focus on your dreams?
In this morning's post about holding focus on your dreams, I mentioned several conferences, workshops and online programs to help you raise the bar on your skill set. Well, a couple of people tracked me down with questions, so I thought it would help to give you the direct links to each one I mentioned in the post, as well as a couple not mentioned. Click on any banner for more information about that specific conference, workshop or online opportunity.
Here's the point, you've got to take advantage of all the educational opportunities you can fit into your schedule; practice as much as possible; build your network, and often concentrate on skills outside your comfort zone.
"Get comfortable with being outside your comfort zone. It's the only way to grow."
The camera sees more than the eye. So why not make use of it?
Over the years I've heard so many of you talk about how photography helped you through a rough chapter in your life. From divorces to death of a loved one to failed businesses, health issues and depression friends have talked about how immersing themselves in photography has helped them stay focused on their values and find balance in their lives.
"Balance" has to be one of the most abused words in business or for that matter life. We all talk about the importance of balance as if it was a juggling act that could be learned with practice over time. Well, it's so much more - we're challenged every day to make choices and with each option comes a focus on our priorities. While often our brains know precisely the path we need to take, our hearts often go in another direction.
The image above is a perfect example. While business is excellent and the new blog is getting a lot of nice comments, my heart has been elsewhere. Yesterday, while outside I spotted the spider above. My initial instinct was to knock down the web, step on the thing and treat it like any bug we see around the house. But here's where photography became therapeutic.
Looking closer I was drawn to the red spikes on her back. That led to Google and looking up "Florida Spiders." Wandering a little further through cyberspace I learned it was a spineybacked orb weaver, and because they eat bugs that damage house plants and crops, it's a beneficial spider.
Keep in mind the spider above is at best 3/8 of an inch across, the size of a child's fingernail. So, out came the 30mm macro lens and the LUMIX GX85. I switched to manual focus and was able to get within a few inches of her. Again, thanks to Google, the lighter color and bright spikes mean the spider's a female.
But capturing the image was only the first part of getting my mind to focus on something other than the rut I was in. The next step came with wanting to share the image. I don't profess to be a professional photographer. My primary focus is helping you with the business and marketing side of photography, but having been around so many artists for so many years, I know more than I let on and I'll match my passion with anybody.
So, I decided to share it in several Facebook forums, and the response has been terrific. Each comment and "like" added to the fun of knowing I got the shot. And, in turn, it helped me out of the rut I was in.
It's one of the few times, I've taken my own advice from so many past blog posts and used my camera for the fun of capturing a little of the world around me. I didn't set out to do anything with the camera except relax and chill.
Meanwhile, my little buddy has expanded her web and is fast becoming a daily project for me. I'm going to wind up moving her, but the web, in just 24 hours has expanded to cover a 3-4 foot area for the core pictured on the right. It extends 4-6 feet beyond that for the anchors to the top of the pool cage and a hibiscus plant below.
And there it is - my whole point and along with Edward Weston's quote above - the camera truly does see more than the eye.
Recognize those times when you need to step away from working and recharge your battery.
“To me, photography is an art of observation.
It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…
I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see
and everything to do with the way you see them.”
"May your day feel as good as taking a perfect selfie on the fist try!"
I guess I'm finally back to a level of normalcy for a Sunday morning. It's early; Sheila's still asleep, and I'm typing away and certainly off the usual topics of business and marketing in photography. However, I started the day with the perfect "gift" from good friend Suzette Allen - six selfies from their visit here last week. Well, if you know Suzette and Jonny, you'll know that between the two of them they've made selfies into a pure art form.
As I was writing the most recent Fast Food Friday, which I didn't get published until Saturday morning, I wanted to include a photo of the four of us. Suzette and Jonny spent a couple of days with us at the end of last week, and I knew they'd taken a lot of selfies. I fired off a quick IM, and when I didn't hear back, I grabbed one from a past visit with them for the post. She finally caught up to her FB mail, and this morning I woke up to six selfies from a few days ago.
Photography is about capturing memories, and that puts selfies at the very top of the list of classic techniques. Even more important, they need to be in your skill set. Suzette and Jonny are masters of the craft and while here last week they captured one classic moment after another.
And that brings me right to my point this morning:
I remember my Dad's first 35mm camera, an Agfa rangefinder my Uncle got him while in Europe. It wasn't an SLR, but it had all the manual controls, and he bought a light meter to get the right settings for great exposures. Over the next ten years there were thousands of slides shot and often painfully watched as Dad presented every image on a pop-up screen after taking hours to put them into slide holders in each cartridge. Years later I remember Hasselblad's Ernst Wildi telling me the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer..."Amateurs show you ALL of the images!"
Dad's favorite feature was a mechanical self-timer built into the controls. Dad never bought a tripod because it would have been one more thing to carry - instead, tables, chairs, car roofs - any flat surface became home to his camera for 10 seconds allowing him to be with his family in shot after shot over the years. It was a technical marvel to suddenly have Dad in some of our memory-making moments.
Well, technology has come a long way from mechanical timers, and the quality of cell phone images gives us all a chance to capture more of the story of those special moments in our lives with minimal production. But most of us don't grab them often enough, and with Sheila and me they're rare. Stay with me, because there's a lesson here! LOL
Take the time to develop your selfie-skills. Capture those moments destined to become great memories so you can appreciate and savor them later on. Suzette and Jonny's visit is a perfect example. While I've got all kinds of images of birds, boats, sunsets and a couple of them during their visit, I don't have one shot of the four of us. Not one memory-making image of four good friends hanging out, laughing and appreciating a level of quality time we all talk about, but rarely get.
Suzette and Jonny's selfies are a wonderful reminder of friendship and the passion we share for far more than just the craft! Unlike the millions of selfies that more often are short for "self-centered," these tell stories about great friendships!
I wish all of you an outstanding Sunday, and time with friends and family who need to be in your selfies. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs and now and then grab a storytelling selfie. Remember today's selfies are going to be tomorrow's memories.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world from Florida!
One of my favorite cameras to travel with is the little LUMIX GX85. It's often sold in a kit configuration and comes with a 12-32mm LUMIX G Vario lens. It's the perfect travel camera weighing only a pound and having most of the features that's made Panasonic's LUMIX line so legendary.
Most of you know, I don't make my living as a working pro because my passion is helping you with the marketing and business side of photography, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate quality in my gear. And, like many of you, I've always been a little skeptical about the quality of kit lenses.
The GX85 went everywhere with us in Los Angeles last week, and I'll be sharing more images in future posts. But, if you're looking for an ideal camera for travel, family time or just having at your fingertips, this is it. And, because of it's ability to use interchangeable lenses, the GX85 can use 27 different LUMIX lenses.
Click on any image to find out more about the GX85. You should never be without a camera, and while cell phones keep getting better and better, they can't do what a good camera can!
The two images above were shot at 32mm on the zoom at f5.6 @ 1/100 ISO 200. They're straight "out of the can."
While it's hardly a scientific test, I put it through my own "taste" test at a Farmer's Market last Sunday - nothing fancy, just handheld at some of the various stands. I post-processed in Luminar with only a minor tweak using one of the presets for mild image enhancement. Then I zoomed in to 100% and then 200% enlargement on the Luminar desktop. Remember, these are screenshots and not even close to the original file size.
And one final sidebar footnote. I'd forgotten one of the best benefits from the days when I lived in California - the fruit is ALWAYS fresh! Now living on the east coast, at best berries only last a few days before they start to get moldy, but the berries above were probably picked less than 48 hours before appearing at the market! The market was their first stop direct from the farm. Everything is fresh!
Sheila and I pretty much ate our way from one end of the market to the other!
It's not Throwback Thursday, but some dates come up in our lives when we do a flashback to other times, loved ones who have passed and great memories. Well, today is my mother's birthday, and even though she passed away several years ago, it doesn't change the fun of looking at old photographs, especially when they're hand-colored!
While I've shared a couple of these before, it's still a kick to look at them and be reminded of the incredible career field we've all chosen. As I've written numerous times, except for modern medicine, no industry has given the world more than photography. You guys are the real magicians of the world, stopping time and giving your clients intangible memories they can physically hold and enjoy for a lifetime.
So, to Mom, Happy Birthday! Alzheimer's took you from us too early, but it never took away the loving memories, the laughs or the stories we're still sharing and cherishing! And to all of you, when you hit those special dates that remind you of something in your past, take the time to find some of those old photographs. They'll help remind you of how much your clients, family, and friends appreciate and need your skill set as a photographer!
A big thanks to Bambi Cantrell for the images she captured in 2008 of my folks. It was early on in my mother's battle with Alzheimer's, but through the fight, that never slowed down her beauty or the wonderful outlook she had on life.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Since launching in 2016, we've shared thousands of posts here on the SCU blog, with information on virtually every type of idea to help you build a stronger business. Well, as we get more into 2019, we're going to be sharing more technique posts to help you not only develop a stronger and more successful business but raise the bar on your skill set.
I love this post we're sharing today, thanks to Suzette Allen. While it might seem like a lesson in outdoor landscape photography, learning to work with slow shutter speeds is a skill applicable to so many different images you capture, including photographing a wedding and children playing, to name a couple.
Roday is "Mirrorless Monday," and Suzette is out with with a LUMIX G9 and two different lenses. More information about each one is linked in the thumbnails below.
Suzette has several different blogs, all filled with great content on technique, new ideas and often providing inspiration and insight into her passion for the craft, people and life. She's just a click away. Then, follow her and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. In fact, she'll be with me and several of the other LUMIX Ambassadors at WPPI in the Panasonic booth #934 February 27-29. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
by Suzette Allen
There’s something magical about the silky softness of a waterfall, shot with a slow shutter speed! While it’s very easy to do once you know how and have the right equipment, it seems just like pure magic before you master it! In this blog, you will learn how to capture water flow with a silky soft look, whether it be a grand waterfall like Havasu or a babbling brook down the road from you.
One thing that is necessary is a tripod, or at the very least, set your camera on a rock or log or something very stationary. Camera movement will destroy this effect in a fraction of a hot second!
In the examples here I’m using a Mirrorless Micro 4/3 camera- the Lumix G9 and either the 7-14mm lens above or the 8-18mm lens. I have my camera on a MeFoto Backpacker tripod which is light and easy to hike with, so it was my companion for the 57 miles we hiked in 7 days in the Grand Canyon on this trip!
Note: There were times I used it as a walking stick as well, when we walked the Narrows in freezing cold water in Zion National Park too! But next time I won’t do that—I’ll tell you why (and show images) in a different blog!.
Anyway, the trick to getting a soft silky water look is shooting in manual mode and using a slow shutter speed. Typically, you are shooting in the daytime, and hopefully in shade (or you will NEED neutral density filters), and you want to shoot with the shutter speed at 1/8 of a second or slower if possible. It was relatively soft light, but at ISO 200, which is the lowest my camera goes, and the aperture at F22, the highest f-s top it offers, the slowest I could go was in the range of 1/5 to 1/8 of a second. Otherwise my image was overexposed.
It usually requires a bit of experimenting with a DSLR because you cannot see the effect or the exposure through the view finder and you need to shoot and adjust and re-shoot and adjust a few times until you get the right combination. Even if you use a meter, there is some experimentation or at least bracketing.
What I love about the Mirrorless Lumix is the EVF, or Electronic View Finder, which shows you exactly what your exposure looks like AND the effect of a slow shutter speed! [Be sure to turn on the Constant Preview feature to see that]. My camera is ON Constant Preview all the time and I literally cannot live without it.
The other benefit is the Zebras feature, which shows any part of the image that is overexposed with little black zebra stripes, alerting you to the overexposure BEFORE you take the shot! Take a look at this short video taken of Havasu Falls, where I show how I can confidently get a great exposure without any blown-out pixels (or needing to bracket or use a meter).
This feature is also turned on ALL the time on my camera and is an invaluable tool for getting great exposures all the time.
Turning on Constant Preview on the Lumix G9
Menu>Custom Wrench>Monitor&Display>Page4, bottom item: Constant Preview
turn to ON
Setting the Zebras on the Lumix G9
Menu>Custom Wrench>Monitor&Display>Page5, almost bottom item: Zebras
Choose SET and then choose [Zebra2 100%] and then turn it ON. Hit the center Set button on the camera back to be sure it is turned ON.
A few notes about this technique.
Image copyright Jonathan Thorpe. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
The word recipe is used over and again in so many conversations and often beyond food. We've all heard it in reference to business models and especially "the recipe for success."
What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
chose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team.
Welcome back to Tamron Recipes! This is our second in the series, and we're sharing the ingredients for great photography, and combining imaging with success by one of the finest "chefs" in the industry.
Jonathan Thorpe joins us, and he lives by the quote above from Ben Fairless: Jonathan loves the career path he's chosen. He never compromises on anything but the best, and his creativity never slows down, capturing images that always tell a story. And, without question, he's part of a remarkable team, the Tamron family.
About the Image and the SP 45mm lens: The image was created/captured in the local backyard of a friend's home. On the upcoming podcast, you'll hear Jonathan refer to the SP 45mm as one of his favorite "go to" lenses.
About "Chef" Jonathan: Getting to know Jonathan started with the Tamron Image Masters many years ago. There’s always more to his images than just a great photograph – he’s the ultimate storyteller, often sharing images that leave us looking into them, not just at them. He's a commercial and advertising photographer out of the D.C. area, but I'm not sure there's anything he can't photograph, and always with the passion that's become his signature.
Jonathan never slows down in making photography "fun," both from the capture side as well as viewing. "Fun" is one of those words so often lost in business today, but he never disappoints. His tagline of a photographer, director, gentlemen says it all.
There's a lot of Jonathan's work in the SCU archives. He needs to be on your radar. Just click on his image above to visit his website. And, you'll often find him speaking in the Tamron USA booth at the various conventions!
On my bucket list of things to do in photography is someday being a crew member on one of Jonathan's shoots. His ability to tell a story isn't always limited to the final image. He's a team player and I loved this shot of the whole crew when it was all over!
Assistant: Erich Morse
Monster: Helen Bloom
Additional Makeup: Joan Jones
Costume: FXCA Studios
Location Owner: Brad Masters
Stay tuned - there's a lot more coming this year from the "Tamron Kitchen." And, if you'd like more information about this remarkable new lens, just click on the banner below.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Over the years I've heard so many ugly stories from photographers about lost images. In the "old days" it was lost rolls of film, often the photographer's fault, but when breaking the news to the client, it was always blamed on a mistake at the lab! LOL Then there are those gut-wrenching moments when your computer crashes and you weren't backing things up the way you should have been. Today, it's a lot tougher to shift the blame to anybody beyond the face in the mirror!
I've written a lot over the years about having backup gear and a backup for yourself should a family emergency, or health issues prevent you from an assignment, but we've never talked about the best ways to back up your images and data on your computer.
Thanks to a good buddy of so many of us, Dave Doeppel, offered to share a guest post. And, while some of it is a little over my head, I have a deep appreciation and respect for the process. But I'm not the one whose entire business is built on a foundation of client images and thousands of photographs!
It's not that complicated a process, but sadly too many of you treat it as if it's something you'll take care of tomorrow. Well, "mañana" isn't a skill set. Sure it would be great if there was a button you could push and you'd be protected, but to Dave's point at the end of his post - whatever you do, make it automated. If you need to rely on doing something manually to get files backed up, chances are it won’t happen. Protect yourself and never lose your data.
Dave needs to be on your radar. Just a click on his headshot, and you're there!
I talk about this a lot. At least once a week I hear a horror story about a photographer who has lost critical images. Then I discover they have no backups, or they thought they had backups but couldn’t find the missing files. I will only add that as a photographer, you do have one possibility for losing files that probably cannot be avoided, complete destruction of your camera with the cards still in the slot. Beyond that there are so many ways of protecting your images.
First off, and this is been a sore point for the latest mirrorless options, Dual Card Slots. Barring internal camera malfunction, this gives you an immediate secondary backup of your shoot. That at least gives you two copies of your images. It’s just the beginning.
Those images need to go somewhere. Where? That’s the question. Here is where many photographer’s and other creatives start having problems. Obviously the images need to be transferred to a local hard drive. There are many many options here. RAID, NAS, DAS, Simple external drives, SSD etc. Many think that if they store images on a RAID or other system they are backed up because a RAID has redundancy built in. There are different flavors of RAID and some will survive a hard drive failure and some (i.e. RAID 0) will not. You also have a single point of failure in the drive enclosure itself. If you lose a RAID enclosure, you lose access to the data until it is either repaired or replaced. You cannot take those drives and access them in any other system. So no you are not backed up just because you are using a RAID.
Your images are also just one singular piece of what should be included in your backup strategy. Your operating system, applications and any other data you have should also be backed up. So what is a good strategy for backing up your systems? Dropbox? Smugmug? Google Drive? Backblaze? These all can work to some degree but let’s go back to the basics here.
A solid backup strategy is something called a 3-2-1. 3 copies of all your data, 2 copies are local and on different media if possible, 1 copy offsite either in the cloud or another physical location. There are many ways to accomplish this. Another factor of backups is that backup media is rotated in and out. In the IT world we call this Grandfather-Father-Son. It is a common rotation scheme for backup media, in which there are three or more backup cycles, such as daily, weekly and monthly. The daily backups are rotated on a daily basis using a First In First Out system. The weekly backups are similarly rotated on a weekly basis, and the monthly backup on a monthly basis. In addition, quarterly, half-yearly, and/or annual backups could also be separately retained. Often some of these backups are removed from the site for safekeeping and disaster recovery purposes.
There is a huge difference in using a Synchronization/Collaboration service like Dropbox or Google Drive when you compare it to running an actual backup program. Both Mac and Microsoft do have some built in backup functionality, Apple has Time Machine and Microsoft has File History. Both create running backups with versioning. Not quite the same as a GFS backup scheme but not terrible. There are many options for backup software. On the Mac side I prefer to use Chronosync. For PC’s Acronis is one of the top backup software providers.
So now you have 2 copies running locally, your primary working data and a backup. That just leaves offsite. If you have decent unmetered internet bandwidth a cloud backup is great. Something like Backblaze. If not then your best option is just to add in additional hard drives to your backup scheme and store them offsite. Some will use a relative's home or a safe deposit box.
The last thing I will add is whatever you do, make it automated. If you need to rely on doing something manually to get files backed up, chances are it won’t happen. Protect yourself and never lose your data. Whether it is images for a client or your own precious family photos, backup your files today!!!!!
About Dave Doeppel - Dave is an award-winning Professional Photographer who specializes in Pinup and Boudoir. Back in the 70s, he developed an unwavering passion for photography as he was rolling and developing 35mm film. He hasn’t looked back ever since.
Throughout his creative career, Dave has helped countless fellow photographers hone their craft. He has also served as a speaker at numerous National Photo Conferences, including but not limited to WPPI, Shutterfest and Imaging U.S.A. Today, Dave is on a mission to educate emerging photographers on the ins and outs of the art of photography and the technology they need to be successful.
Where's Dave? Upcoming Events
One of the significant benefits of social media is the way we're able to share images today, and running across this one was a lot of fun to find. It's a collaborative effort between two great friends, and it's a kick for me to have hung out with both of them over the years.
Amy Cantrell is the photographer, and Judy Host is the subject. Judy posted it on her Facebook page on Saturday with the following comment:
"It isn’t very often when I let someone else take the reigns and photograph me, but when your very talented friend says, I want to photograph you, you just say, OK! This image was created by #AmyCantrell after Imaging here in Atlanta. Styled by me, (I had to get in there somehow), lol. Thank you, Amy."
If you know Amy and Judy, there are a few common denominators - starting their passion for the craft, their position of never compromising on quality, and finishing with their zest for life and having fun. They also share a love for their quest of never-ending education, experimenting with technology and always pushing the creative envelope. Click on the image to link to Amy's website and see more of her work.
Photographed with a Nikon D800 and 24-120 mm lens it was captured at f7.1 @ 1/200 sec ISO 500 at 78mm. And I love Amy's comment: "Yes, I admit to shooting it in "P" mode!" She went on to say:
"It was shot in what is basically their backyard with all natural light. Judy did all the retouching with a little input from Eddie and me. I would have retouched it similarly had I been home on my desktop. I am amazed how quickly and easily Judy works on her laptop. I think the background processing/artwork Judy did to the image is what takes it to the next level.
It's funny how Judy and I are similar and then totally opposite. She's all natural light (until recently) while I mostly use lights or at least manipulate it. It's the opposite in the processing of images, she excels at using artistic treatments, and my images are realistically based, even the ones with crazy amounts of retouching. Although I've been planning for a while to head a bit more in this direction it just hasn't happened yet."
What a kick to share an image like this with two artists who have inspired so many of us and are also the very best of friends. I've written many times that the best part of this industry has NOTHING to do with photography but the incredible friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
Judy's website is just a click away. Both of these outstanding artists should be on your radar! A BIG thanks to Amy and Judy for letting me share the image and the backstory here on the SCU blog!
"What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
Chose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team."
Welcome to Part II of our new Tamron Recipes series. We're sharing the ingredients for great photography and combining imaging and success by some of the finest "chefs" in the industry but in a new podcast.
On January 21, working with the team at Tamron, we launched a fun new feature from the Tamron Kitchen. We're sharing some terrific recipes every month.
We've all heard the word "recipe" over and again, most of the time about either food or success. And, having fun with the popularity of reality food shows, we're talking with some of the finest "chefs" in contemporary photography.
We want to go beyond their recipes for photography. They're sharing insight into their passion for the craft and their journey into the business of being a successful professional photographer.
David Akoubian joined us in the first post, with his recipe for a stunning image from the Tetons captured with Tamron's SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens and a Nikon D850. Now he's back with a terrific podcast and talking about his career, his love for the outdoors and insight to help you look at your own journey as an artist.
David's first recipe shared in the Tamron Kitchen is just a click away. The two images below were also captured with the SP 24-70mm lens.
Images copyright David Akoubian. All rights reserved.
More Images From David Akoubian's Archives
Although David's core passion is about the outdoors with landscape and wildlife, there's probably nothing he hasn't photographed. His diversity in his galleries, which we talked a little about in the podcast, is a demonstration of his passion for the craft. From macro to critters and portraits, he's a "chef" who needs to be on your radar. Click on any of his images to visit Bear Woods Photography.
And, when you visit David's website make sure you follow his blog. He's always sharing great images and information to help you raise the bar on your skill set!
For the last ten years, the line between photography and videography has gotten thinner and thinner. Many of you are now shooting both still images and video, most often with the same camera. I know with my own images, working with any of Panasonic's LUMIX cameras, I switch back forth with the push of a button.
That works fine for me, but remember my business is based on the educational side of marketing and business. I don't make a living as a photographer, but most of you do! I'm very excited to be sharing two great videos in this post - both featuring LUMIX Ambassador Griffin Hammond.
"Griffin Hammond is a documentary filmmaker in New York City, known for producing DIY filmmaking tutorials for indie filmmakers, and his award-winning documentary Sriracha."
In the same way, so many of you have taken workshop after workshop to build a strong skill set in still imaging; it's time you did the same in filmmaking. I'm hoping you'll spend the next few minutes ( 3 1/2 to be exact) and watch the short film above. Pay attention to how Griffin tells the story. Then drop down to the video below and check out the newest member of the LUMIX family, the S series, and you'll have a better understanding of the gear he used.
If you're headed to WPPI later this month, Panasonic along with the LUMIX Ambassador team will be sharing the excitement of the S series with twenty-six different short programs in Booth 934. It's an opportunity to check out how this new full-frame camera continues to set the standard for technology and reenforcing the LUMIX tagline of "Changing Photography!"
There's a great expression from the old west, meant to evoke the image of a town having a new sheriff come to power and shake things up..."There's a new sheriff in town!"
In posting yesterday's two throwback images of my great grandparents and Sheila's great grandmother, I started thinking about how serious their expressions are in both photographs. Then I went digging and found a few more old photographs I've shared over the years. Again and again, nobody is EVER smiling. Off I went in search of an answer and what I found is a partial testimonial that you really can find just about anything on Google!
I found this article by Michael Zhang on the PetaPixel website going back to 2013. Click on any image in this post to read the full article, which shares other examples, but here are a couple of excerpts from his research, in part, based on an in-depth article by Nicholas Jeeves.
"Although nowadays we think of smiles as being indicative of happiness, humor, and warmth,
they apparently had a very different meaning back in the day:
"By the 17th century in Europe it was a well-established fact that the only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment."
Want to be seen as upper class and as a person of good character? Don’t smile."
I have no idea why the group photograph at the top was in my grandmother's album, and there's no longer anybody alive who would know. I know it was more than likely taken somewhere around Sandusky, Ohio. However, this family certainly lives on in cyberspace. But notice their expressions - every single person, including the baby are serious! Also, I love the presentation with the image in a decorative matte.
The three images below are my grandfather, probably taken around 1910; my wife's great grandmother taken around 1865; and my great grandparents around 1875. Not a smile in the bunch, although I love the shot of my grandmother on the right, probably around 1910. She still isn't smiling though.
Notice the classic technique in the portrait, complete with a little catch-light in her eyes. As far as the pose goes, there's a great story going back thirty-plus years ago that came out of PPA print competition. Supposedly there were multiple artists one year who all used the same similar pose of a bride with her hands together next to her cheek. Well, one of them claimed the pose was his.
Al Gilbert used to do an incredible program about the history of portrait photography. As the story goes, Al stepped in and showed the pose didn't belong to any of them, but the great masters of the 16th century!
As much as things have changed over the years in portrait photography, the goal of every artist, is still the same. You can't fake it 'till you make it, when it comes to portraiture. Your clients are putting their trust in you to exceed expectations. And, if you do it right, you'll become habit-forming and build a lasting relationship with your subject.
So, learn how to capture good solid portraits; keep raising the bar on your skill set, especially in lighting; and keep building relationships with each potential client. And if you get caught up in the criticism of your work on various Facebook forums, listen to what's being said; consider how to make your work better and then remember what my old buddy Dean Collins used to say..."Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
Over the years we've all heard the word "recipe" over and again, most of the time in relation to either food or success. B. F. Fairless, a 20th Century American steel executive wrote:
What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: chose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team.
Welcome to Tamron Recipes where we're sharing the ingredients for great photography and combining imaging and success by some of the finest "chefs" in the industry.
David Akoubian joins us in this first episode, and following B.F. Fairless's lead: He's chosen a career path he loves; always gives it his best; he rarely slows down seizing/capturing incredible images and without question he's part of remarkable team, the Tamron family.
About the Image and the 24-70mm lens: The image was captured around 6:00 am just as the sun was coming up. We talked with David about this image and photographing in the Grand Tetons.
Early morning photography: We had such a beautiful majestic landscape, why not capture it in the very best light?
The Tamron 24-70mm lens: The focal length of this lens is perfect and the sharpness is unmatched.
The Grand Tetons: Looking back at my career as a "chef" - this is one my favorite "kitchens" to work in. My Dad took me there in 1976 and every trip back has been a memory-maker.
About "Chef" David: Based out of Jasper, Georgia, Bear Woods Photography is all about David's love for photography, education and travel. Living in the mountains of North Georgia with his wife Evelyn, they're in an area they named Bear Woods.
We've shared a lot of David's work and videos over the years here at SCU. He definitely needs to be on your radar. Just click on his image above to visit his website and don't forget to check out his workshop schedule. You'll never be disappointed in a class with David!
Stay tuned - there's a lot more coming this year from the "Tamron Kitchen." And, if you'd like more information about this remarkable new G2 lens, just click on the banner below.
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's Mirrorless Monday, and Daniel J. Cox is in the spotlight together with the Swans of Lake Kussharo.
Daniel's sharing another great image, and "how-to" tip, especially for those of you interested in photographing wild life. He's no stranger to SCU, always sharing ideas to help you raise the bar on your images. Over the last few years, we've shared a lot of his work together with some terrific insight into photography. You'll find more of Daniel's work in the SCU archives with top shelf images and helpful articles.
If you've got even the slightest interest in travel with a camera in your hands, Daniel and Tanya need to be on your radar. They run one of the best travel and photography companies in the country, Natural Exposures. Daniel regularly shares outstanding information on travel, photography, and technique on The Corkboard Blog. Just click on the banner below and check out one of the most diverse blogs in photography.
Find out more about Daniel with a click on today's spotlight photo. Then follow him, along with the rest of the LUMIX Ambassadors. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography. They should all be on your radar, and you'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
Check out the gear Daniel used to capture this image with a click on either of the thumbnails below. Panasonic's tagline is "Changing Photography," and they never slow down in the quality and creative tools they're bringing to photographers all over the world.
by Daniel J. Cox
The Swans of Lake Kussharo
For this picture I was lying on the shore of a partially frozen lake this group of swans spends the winter on. Most of these beautiful birds migrate to Russia for the summer but always come back to the more temperate winters in Hokkaido, Japan.
Getting down to your subjects level is always a great way to create more interest in your picture. Sometimes, it’s even better to get below your subject as is the case with the Whooper Swan taking flight. Being below the swan taking off and having one of many birds in motion is also a way to add implied movement to still image.
I shot this picture with the Lumix GH4 and the 7-14mm F/4 lens. I used an aperture of F/11 for getting substantial depth of field. This image would not be successful if the swan in the air was sharp but the swans in the foreground were not. ISO was 160 and shutter speed was 1/500th of a second, plenty fast to stop the motion of the swain flight.
Over the years we've shared a lot of videos featuring Tamron USA's Ken Hubbard, "The Hub." Everything he shares is always loaded with helpful content with each video designed to help photographers raise the bar on their skill set.
Last week I got the first copy of the Tamron newsletter for the new year. There's a lot of great content being shared in each issue, and it's FREE. I like the fact that I can go through it on my timetable because lately, I seem to be buried in interruptions. Sound familiar?
In this new issue, there was a feature story, Travel Tales from The Hub, and it couldn't be simpler to appreciate. Ken shared a few of 2018's high points, and always with a camera in his hands! His opening paragraph says it all...
2018… Another year of crisscrossing America, with thousands of miles flying high above the clouds and hundreds of nights in hotels, countless mornings waking up and wondering where am I, what day is it and why am I here??? Life on the road can be tiring and tough sometimes, but it takes you to amazing places to photograph.
So, if the "Where's Waldo" series did a yearend travel log it might look something like travels with "The Hub." But, Hub's got better photographs, a tip here and there and he gives us the ability to live a little vicariously through his travels.
If you are a photo industry #roadwarrior, you fully understand, and hopefully your loved-ones understand the lives we lead. We love the road, we love seeing all that America is, and we can never get enough. Not everyone can understand this wanderlust drive to keep going, to meet and teach, to see and photograph, to live and experience everything there is to take in on our travels.
Got an interest in finding out more about some of Ken's favorite lenses? Just click on the thumbnails below.
And, if you're not currently on the subscriber list, getting the Tamron newsletter is just a click away.
I'm pulling this out of the SCU archives because so many of you need help with hand and ring shots.
Actively involved as an administrator in both the Facebook Wedding Forum and Advanced Wedding Photographers Forum, there are too many ring shots being shared that are mediocre.
Well, nobody did a better job photographing rings and hands than my old buddy Don Blair. And, while these classic shots might be twenty years old, they still set the standard. I know this is more about hands than rings, but Don's classic hand shot, showing the rings of the bride and groom, is still one of the best!
I apologize for the quality of the scans. I no longer have the original images, but they're good enough to make the point. These were scanned from a copy of the book we wrote together, Body Parts. (Contact Marathon Press for more information - I think they still have the ability to print copies.)
These images and tips should help you create your own classic hand shots. The image with the flowers has always been one of my favorites.
Don's tips were all based on simplicity.
With hands there really is no right or wrong, simply better or best. Don had two great rules for hand shots in general:
From Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts
Images copyright Don Blair and Skip Cohen. All rights reserved.
As a professional photographer, your work ALWAYS needs to be better than "Uncle Harry's." Your clients deserve the very best, and if your attitude is "That's good enough," then you shouldn't be calling yourself a professional.
Just because it's the "slow season," doesn't mean it has to be slow for you. Now is the time to practice and fine-tune your skill set. Your goal is to always exceed each client's expectations, and you'll never do that if you don't experiment and work to be the finest photographer you can be!
With each new podcast in the Beyond Technique series, our guests have shared some remarkably candid insight into their life as a photographer. For my co-host, Chamira Young and me it's been an incredible experience as each photographer has given us a tiny peek into their life as an artist. It's all thanks to PhotoShelter and their never-ending quest to help photographers raise the bar on the quality of their presentations and their business.
Julie Dermansky joined us on this podcast. Although there's nothing, Julie probably can't photograph, her passion is story-telling and capturing the reality of life. She shares her thoughts on how she connects with her subjects, captures the emotion they're feeling at the time and builds each relationship.
Years ago I attended an awards ceremony where the legendary portrait photographer, Monte Zucker, received recognition for his work. On the same platform, that day were several photojournalists who had captured images from 9/11. I remember Monte paying tribute to the photojournalists by saying, "I have the best job in the world. I capture the fantasy of life, the way it should be. But you guys capture life the way it is."
Well, Julie captures life the way it is and has developed a style where she builds relationships and uses her camera to tell each story. Her images tug at our heartstrings and create awareness for life most often outside the one many of us live.
A huge thanks to Julie for joining us on this podcast. You'll notice when you look at her galleries she spends a great deal of time traveling from one crisis to another. However, she also manages to capture the beauty of wherever she is and the personality of her subjects. She's developed the ability to tell each story in a way her subjects appreciate. Check out Julie's PhotoShelter galleries with a click on any of the images in this post.
Thanks to the team at PhotoShelter, the services and products they offer each client, and their incredible focus on customer service, Julie, along with her peers are presenting their work in a way that leaves each of us wanting to see more!
All images copyright Julie Dermansky. All rights reserved.
Start your 14 Day FREE trial of PhotoShelter,
plus 20% off a Standard or Pro Account for a year.
Use the coupon code PHOTOFOCUS20
Images copyright Tim Grey. All rights reserved.
Posted on Tamron's YouTube channel just before the end of the year, the new video below has a lot of good solid "how-to" content. It features Tim Grey in the Palouse region of Washington State.
It's not only a great video, but for me, it shares one more favorite thing about this industry - the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
I first met Tim when he was with Microsoft and involved with their ProPhoto Summit of which I think the last one was in 2007. We both moved on to other career paths a few years later, but imaging is the glue that keeps so many industry friends in touch.
Tim's an outstanding educator, and you'll find an incredibly diverse series of classes/programs with a visit to GreyLearning. And, if you want to see more of Tim's work check out his main website with a click on any of his images in today's post. You'll never be disappointed in what he shares.
In this new video, he's working with Tamron's all in one 18-400mm Di II VC HLD lens. Tamron continues to go non-stop in manufacturing outstanding optics and helping photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images. For more information about this phenomenal glass, click on the banner below!
Remember, I'm sharing screen shots in today's post - so, imagine what these images look like right out of the camera!
by Bob Coates
I never could have gotten this photo without the long reach and stabilization that is in the Lumix G9 and the Leica 100-400mm f4.0-6.3 lens. Fully extended at the 400mm end of the lens which is the 35mm full frame equivalent of 800mm . Check out the specs...and this was handheld. 1/50th sec f6.3 ISO 200
It's the first "Mirrorless Monday" of the new year and LUMIX Ambassador Bob Coates is joining us with an incredibly striking image of a Mandrill. Captured at the Phoenix Zoo, it a perfect example of that great line from Shakespeare about "the eyes being the gateway to the soul."
Bob's image is another example of how technology keeps expanding your creative tools. Today you have the biggest collections of creative tools in the 190+ year history of photography. Bob shares plenty of great images along with lots of solid ideas about your business and marketing. Just click on his photo above to link to his website, Successful-Photographer. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares.
And check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. This is one of the most diverse groups in photography, and they're always sharing great content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
Find out more about the Lumix G9 and the Leica 100-400mm lens with a click on the thumbnails below. And, take the time to watch the short video below about the backstory behind this amazing member of the LUMIX family.
Click either thumbnail for more information.
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.