"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.
It's remarkable how much solid content Pye Jirsa has packed into this new video from the SLR Lounge, and I know there's a lot more coming in the new year ahead. This is online education at its best and I couldn't be more proud to be sharing it here on the SCU blog.
The best part of this industry, as I've written so many times before, has nothing to do with photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Over the last few years, Pye Jirsa has been involved in a long list of SCU posts, including a recent episode of "Why?" which has become one our most listened to episodes.
Pye is part of the team of Lin and Jirsa, and together with Chris Lin, they started the SLR Lounge, one of the industry's leading educational resources for photographers. Everything they share in the SLR Lounge is rooted in real imaging challenges. They've developed an outstanding ongoing educational program that's useful, informative and incredibly fun.
Remember "fun?" It's one of those words too often lost in business today. "Fun" gets buried underneath the baggage and stress of running a business. There are too many of you who think you don't have the time to experiment with your skill set and just have fun, even though it's one of the most significant ways to grow as an artist.
In describing this new series...
"We have been in this zone of creating professional training systems for SLR Lounge Premium, but we wanted to take it back to what originally started our love for this industry and we thought YouTube would be the perfect platform for a series we like to call Back to the Basics.”
There's so much great content packed into the short video above. And, with each segment the SLR Lounge is sharing the specs on the final image, after Pye takes you through his thought process.
This is the first episode in their new series, and it's a kick. In fact, it's perfect to share and enjoy during the downtime between the holidays and into the typical slow time of the first quarter.
But for me, the "fun," there's that word again, is watching Pye in action. Great educators aren't just good at teaching; they're never afraid to show their passion for the craft and their thirst to capture the ultimate image, in both new ways and back to the basics.
The SLR Lounge needs to be on your radar. Just click on any image above to link to the blog post for "Nighttime Portraits With ONLY a Phone Flashlight." And, while you're there, check out the SLR Lounge's Premium Program. Regardless of your specialty in photography, it doesn't get any better than the information being shared by Pye and Chris in the SLR Lounge.
Normally I'd share this post on Mirrorless Monday, but it's holiday time and with next Monday being Christmas Eve, there's too much good content here to not share it today. In fact, I can't think of a better topic for a blog post going into the last week of the year than to share this video about the Friendship Centers.
Here's the scenario:
I've been actively working with the Friendship Centers here in Sarasota for the last seven years as a blogger, volunteer and now a Board member. Their tagline says it all, "To promote health, dignity, and quality of life throughout the journey of aging."
There were nearly 33,000 visits to the Senior Centers in 2017; 273,900 meals to hungry elders served, 16,000 patient visits to the medical and dental clinics and the list goes on and on in at least six more areas providing community support. And, just as important as the service they provide, they run a multi-million dollar business with 92% of funding going back to program services!
On December 13 the Friendship Centers held their annual Venice, Florida holiday party, Venice Lights of Friendship, with approximately 150 people in attendance. It's a fund-raising dinner, and the video below was shown for the first time that night.
This is where Mirrorless Monday takes over even though it's Thursday! The backstory here also ties into one of my favorite things about this industry - the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
The video was captured with a LUMIX GH5 by a talented local videographer, Don Gangnagel who I met for the first time at the Venice event. He shot the video interviews with the LUMIX Leica DC Nocticron 42.5mm lens and the B-roll with the LUMIX G X Vario 12-35 mm and G X Vario 35-100mm lenses.
Don's company is G3 New Media, and he's no stranger to creating award-winning films. G3 New Media is a collaboration of marketing media professionals created by Don Gangnagel, an Emmy-Award winning professional filmmaker who has worked on five continents. With twenty years of experience creating online content, his passions are video production and podcasting.
After the event, I caught up to Don with a great phone call this week. We started talking about the process he went through to tell the story, and I learned a lot about one his most important keys to success. It's his philosophy about the way he goes through the interview process when doing a documentary piece like this.
“I don’t even call them interviews…they’re just conversations. It's critical to show interest in your subject and make them feel safe. When that happens, you start to build trust....and everything is about the storyline. One of the biggest mistakes I see videographers make is not spending enough time listening to their subject. You've got to understand their point of view.
So often film producers working on a piece like this walk in with a list of questions they want to ask. Well, if you focus too much on the questions rather than just having a conversation, you miss these wonderful little nuances, gems of wisdom, that people share and help tell more of the story. The most amazing things people give you won’t come out the first time around, but come out along the way. So, if you’re worried about your next question you’ll miss some of the best material.
It’s not an interview, but a conversation person to person and you need just to listen – your next question isn’t on the page in front of you, but in response to something your subject has said."
Knowing that many of you are also interested in Don's technique and lens choice he talked about the Leica lens:
This is my FAVORITE interview lens. One of the challenges on this piece was that we had to conduct all nine interviews in two locations and didn't have the ability to visit each person at home. So we setup a portable green screen to film all the interviews. As a one-person production crew, I had to trust that the GH5/Leica combo would capture all the beautiful details of their facial expressions when I couldn't monitor what the camera was capturing. Part of that conversational interview style is always being mentally focused on the subject. If you keep looking away to check the shot every few minutes, you will distract the subject as well as yourself and you will break the momentum of the conversation. This requires a lot of trust in the camera. I love the way this combo captures facial details and provides a nice clean image to be able to remove the green screen during editing.
Regarding this three-minute clip about the Friendship Centers, Don admitted he interviewed more people than he normally would include. There were nine people interviewed and close to four hours of interview time to edit down to just three minutes. But, for me that's one of the things I appreciate most about his skill set as a storyteller - he's boiled down all those interviews into one solid high-impact piece that tells a story about the Friendship Centers.
While I know most of you aren't from the south Florida area, the Friendship Centers help thousands of people in the area every year and never stray from their vision to "continue servicing an ever-growing senior population with the highest quality of programs and service and remain the leader in the industry."
The Friendship Centers need everyone's help all year long. If you've got an interest in finding out how you can help or would like to donate, just click on the Friendship Centers' logo below.
It's Throwback Thursday and while I shared these techniques many years ago, the more photographers I "meet" online, the more relevant understanding lighting technique has become. There are so many of you who could raise the bar on the quality of your portraits with better lighting!
In 1999, Don Blair and I published Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts. That's 19 years ago, and the information we shared in this book will never go out of date. The whole idea for a book like this started during one of Don's programs when somebody sitting near me said, "This is great stuff - there should be a book on this!"
Well, the sweetheart of Don's life, his wonderful wife Donna, had passed away a year or so earlier and the project started with a dual purpose - to help photographers improve their portraiture and to give Don something to help take his mind off the pain of a broken heart. I remember being on the road with him several times, and he'd always buy a rose and put it on the pillow next to him as his own tribute to Donna.
We did all the photography for the book in Las Vegas with models from the area because we wanted to introduce the book at WPPI the following year with a program that included the same models. Tony Corbell, Terry Deglau joined us as we storyboarded each page on the wall of the hotel room where we were shooting. Remember, there was no digital imaging then - every shot for the book was first captured on a Polaroid proof. Bambi Cantrell later added the finishing touch with the author's portrait for the back page on the right.
The fun of today's post has two parts. First, so many of you need to understand the basic principles of good lighting, and it doesn't get any easier than to share Don's examples, complete with diagrams. Second, what a kick to take this walk down Memory Lane. Even though I've shared some of the backstories about Body Parts before, "Big Daddy" was one of the most loved photographers in the industry. I think about our adventures together all the time. It's a great reminder why the memories we help people capture are so important!
If you need help in improving your portrait technique, technology has changed a lot, and Marathon Press can still print the book, but no longer have it in stock. If you've got an interest let me know in the comment section and I'll pass on the information.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
In this new episode of One Location, One Lesson, One Lens, David Akoubian shares some excellent tips on bird photography.
Even if you're not a bird photographer, the advice he gives is universal to so many different applications. And, he's doing it all on location at one of the places on my bucket list, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. He's in New Mexico for the Festival of the Cranes, which has taken place every November for 30 years.
David's done an excellent job packing in solid how-to content in this three-minute video, but so has Tamron in capturing the power and the beauty of an estimated ten thousand cranes and twenty thousand geese arrivIng during their winter migration.
David's no stranger to SCU with several different posts over the years, although one of my most favorite is his episode of "Why?" from 2017. To enjoy more of David's work click on any of the two screenshots I pulled from this video and don't forget to check out David's workshop schedule to fulfill your own bucket list of photography trips!
David's "co-star," along with the birds, is Tamron's SP 150-600 G2 lens. It's a remarkable piece of glass, and a necessity for birds in flight:
"When photographing birds in flight, one thing that's critical is a long lens, and I'm using the Tamron 150-600 G2...
and has made my bird photography, especially birds in flight, easy and fun."
This couldn't be a better time to check out Tamron's family of products and especially the instant savings on the SP 150-600 G2 lens. Tamron's making some of the finest optics in photography today and always staying focused on ways to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images! Just click the banner below for more information.
Chamira Young and I have been having fun with Luminar 2018, taking turns each week and sharing another tool we're working with. However, the true joy of the relationship with Skylum and this terrific software is our ability to direct a portion of sales through SCU to one of my favorite nonprofits; Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
The original promotion was initially scheduled to end on November 30, but in all honesty, we can't come up with a reason to not let it run until the end of the year, at which time we'll direct help to another nonprofit. So, for every Luminar purchase through December 31, we're donating $5 to NILMDTS.
The image above is this week's pick and my final image - Instead of using a preset, I chose to use a couple of different tools. Here's the original on the right.
Accent AI Filter: This filter is the first one on the filter selection list, and it's the perfect place to start. It automatically analyzes the image and makes the necessary adjustments. Remember with all the Luminar filters you can adjust the degree of impact on the image.
Tone Filter: Next step was to adjust the "Tone" - which adjusts overall brightness and contrast. I also went a little deeper into "Smart Tone" along with playing with the highlights, shadows, blacks, and whites.
Structure Filter: Last, I tweaked the image using the structure filter. It enhances clarity and micro-contrast in the surface areas between the edges detected in an image improving perceived detail.
With what I felt was a minimal adjustment to the image, I chose to crop and enlarge the butterfly 100%.
And, for those of you who don't know how to tell the gender of a Monarch butterfly, a male two black spots on either side of the hind wings.
It's the speed and ease of use I love most about Luminar and obviously the results. But, every aspect of the image is adjustable and when you're done, you can click on the history of the changes you made, and they're saved in your archives. The image above is showing the original image along with the changes I made, except for cropping.
Check out Luminar
If you're looking for a unique holiday gift this season, check out the sale on this print from John Sexton.
"This 5x7" handcrafted silver gelatin image is being offered for one week only at the very special discounted price of $150 – a significant saving from the gallery retail price of my prints. Unlike my other prints, this 5x7" print – printed by me on 11x14" silver gelatin photographic paper – will be delivered UNmounted, and without an overmat. Please know that this special discounted price is good only for orders placed prior to midnight Friday, November 30, 2018. After that date the price will increase to $300."
Launched last week on "Black and White Friday," there are just 48 hours left for this offer.
Whether you're a collector looking to own a unique piece from one of photography's
best known artists, or searching for a great gift idea for someone special, John's work is remarkable. His photographs are in collections and galleries all over the world. And, he's no stranger to SCU, helping us launch "Why?" with the very first episode in 2016.
Click on the print to the right for more information about John and this stunning print.
A few years back I started a series of blog posts I called "Nick's Pics." Like so many different projects with good intentions, things got busy. While Nick and I have never lost touch in our close to thirty-year friendship, sharing his favorite picks from cyberspace slipped through the cracks.
Nick Vedros is all about creativity. You never know what he's going to find on the Internet that will get your wheels turning. What I love most about so much of what he shares, is they're constant reminders of the world outside our door that's firmly rooted in imaging. It's so easy to have day after day go by with the only thing you think about being your own business.
Well, Nick is back in the SCU stream, and sent me this short video yesterday, and I loved his choice for a morning dose of creativity. Here's a lesson in concept, design, photography, and artists who loved the creative process involved in album covers.
It's part of the Earworm series on YouTube. Shared on the Vox channel, they've done an incredible job telling the backstory behind the great jazz albums of the '50s and '60s, starting with the image on the right. It doesn't matter whether or not you're a jazz lover, this is about one aspect of the history of great design elements.
As you watch and listen to the story, think about your own work.
What if you took a few of your favorite images and like the way the Earworm team has told the story, you told yours? What if you took several images and shared the skills involved in capturing and creating the photograph? What if you talked about the artists you've been influenced by? What if you shared how and why an image was cropped to tell your story, and at the same time demonstrated your skillset in capturing great photographs?
And, even if you hate my idea of applying some of the storytelling techniques used in this video to your own work, just appreciate the design elements and how each album was created with a particular look that became the signature look described by Vox/Earworm on YouTube as:
Blue Note captured the refined sophistication of jazz during the early 60s,
giving it its signature look in the process.
Nick is a perpetual student of imaging, art and design. He's no stranger to SCU sharing a number of great posts over the years and joining me for an episode of "Why?" in 2017.
Take the time to watch the video whether you're a jazz fan or not...What a kick!
Image copyright Jeremy Chan. All rights reserved.
At PPE in NYC a couple of weeks ago I met Jeremy Chan through my good buddy Matthew Jordan Smith. Since Matthew moved to Japan, we don't catch up as often as we used to and neither of us knew we were both going to be at the show. He introduced me to Jeremy.
Throughout the next couple of days Jeremy and I kept bumping into each other at various booths at the trade show. We're all part of a relatively small industry and sometimes it's surprising how many common friends we all share.
Getting home from PPE, Jeremy sent me a quick IM on Facebook, just to say hello. That led me to his Facebook page and a lot of stunning images. So, loving great images and appreciating how the Internet has helped make our industry a smaller place, I asked him for permission to feature one of his photographs.
Not only did he say yes, but he sent me the following:
San Francisco City Hall is a magical place to photograph. This photo is captured around 5 pm which is during sunset. So, the golden hour light is leaking in from the west side of the building. By combining the “yellow” light on the upper floor and the two lamps, the photo is made naturally with the warm color tone, which is exactly how I wanted it to look.
Check out more of Jeremy's images by visiting his Facebook page. Just click on his photograph above.
In the meantime, look at your schedule for 2019. One of the most significant benefits of attending every possible convention/conference you can work into your schedule is networking! And, there's very little that beats the power and fun of meeting people who you've only met in cyberspace, face to face!
Image copyright Feko Photo. All rights reserved.
It's no secret I'm a groupie. My passion in this industry is helping photographers with the business and marketing side of imaging, but I never slow down in following artists in social media, and it's even better when I meet a few of you on the job!
Meet Ryan Bassett from Feko Photo in Cleveland. We were visiting friends in Ohio and wandered over to Headlands Beach. It was late afternoon on an overcast and chilly day. Ryan was on the beach with a bride and groom. I started talking to the other photographer working with him on the shoot.
It's always a kick when I'm watching an artist working, and no matter what question I ask, I always get a response that suggests they think I'm another "Uncle Harry." They're always polite, but the look on their face says, "Go away amateur!"
For the shot above Ryan had the couple walking down the path to the beach through the tall grass and sea oats. I loved the way he was working with them. He was lying in the sand, getting as low an angle as possible. He came over to the car as we were leaving, and I know was wondering if I was legitimate or a stalker. LOL I asked him if he'd send me the shot. Well, he did, and there it is, and I'm betting his clients loved it.
There's no doubt the couple loved this image, and it's a perfect time to remind everybody of your biggest goals with every client - exceed expectations and make yourself habit-forming. Click on the image if you'd like to see more of Feko Photo's work, which includes both Ryan and his partner Al Garcia.
Ryan, thanks for sending me the image to share. However, you're living in Ohio and until Spring there's a good chance to get that same shot you'll be lying in a foot of snow. I'm happy to show you the beaches here in Sarasota any time!
Remember the word "fun?" It's one of those very special, easily understood words that are too often lost in business today. "Fun," often disappears under the baggage of business and the stress of responsibilities and commitments. We forget to make the time for fun.
A month ago I was introduced to Luminar 2018, and it's added a new dimension of fun to my images. Two weeks ago I shared the first post in Luminar Corner, a new SCU feature. Chamira Young and I are taking turns every other Wednesday having fun with Skylum's Luminar 2018. Each week we're sharing a different tool or combination of filters and then using the before and after slide bar.
I pulled today's image from my archives going back to Szalay's farm stand in Akron two years ago. It was about this same time of year and loaded with pumpkins and the typical fall collection of squashes, dried corn, and a harvest theme. The original image was shot in 2016 with one of my favorite cameras to travel with, the LUMIX FZ300. It was shot at f3.2 @ 1/160 ISO 100.
I combined two of Luminar's tools. First, I used the "Tonal Compressor" preset. While it's easily adjustable, I left it at 100%. It recovers highlights and opens the shadows and adds a hair of contrast, saturation and clarity. Second, I love the "Structure" filter which I pushed just a little. The definition of what it does, right from the drop-down box in Luminar 2018 is:
"Enhances clarity and micro-contrast in surface areas between edges detected in an image improving perceived detail and making photos stand out."
I know everybody has their own opinion on stuff like this. For me, it was fun giving a flat, boring image a little more personality and a stronger illustrative look. It's what I was going for, and it's an especially good way to demo what this amazing software is capable of doing!
It's a NO-Brainer!
Put in the special discount code of "SKIPCOHEN" and receive an additional $10 off. That means you can buy Luminar 2018 for $49 USD and upgrade from the previous version for $39 USD. The code also applies to the purchase of Aurora HDR 2019.
Please Note: For every purchase made between now and November 30, 2018, through the SCU link on the left, SCU will be donating $5 to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.
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.