Intro by Chamira Young
What I love about today's featured photographer is that he accidentally stumbled onto his passion for creating images for the fashion industry. As the proverb attributed to Plato goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Well, that certainly was the case for talented photographer Eugene Manning, who got his start managing models but eventually decided to reinvent himself as a photographer.
After growing tired of paying other photographers' steep prices for portfolio shots of his models, he came to the realization that he needed to learn how to do it himself. Fast forward to today, and he does it professionally and loves it! In the excerpt below, read how Eugene honed his skills, and also why he prefers shooting with his Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 VC macro lens.
We love the dedication of the Tamron team as they support the photography industry by bringing amazing lenses and inspiration we can all learn from!
Eugene Manning uses his Tamron 90mm VC macro lens to create fashion photography that makes you stop scrolling.
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Eugene Manning
Some people know early on they’re meant to be photographers. For Eugene Manning, his love for taking pictures came quite accidentally. “About eight years ago, I had some friends who were models, and they wanted me to manage them,” he says. “One of the first things that models need is new photos for their portfolio, so, as their manager, I was tasked with hiring local photographers to shoot these photos. What I found was that the prices being quoted were really steep. I thought, ‘I could get a camera and just do this myself.’”
That’s exactly what he did. Eugene acknowledges that his first images needed work, but he enjoyed working with his subjects, and he started studying masters in the fashion and beauty field to see how they created their images. Today, Eugene is a fashion photographer based in New York City, his work featured in such high-end glossies as Elle India and L'Officiel Baltic plus Vogue Italia's "PhotoVogue" curated fine art website.
On his camera during his shoots is the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 VC macro lens. “I have another macro lens close to that same focal length, but the Tamron lens is lighter, the autofocus is faster, and it’s quieter,” he says. “I also enjoy the macro functionality. I haven’t used it in that capacity that much yet for beauty work, but for the images I have done, I’ve loved how they came out.”
Eugene describes his style as a classic one, inspired by photographers such as fashion photographers Steven Meisel and Mario Testino, who were drawn to black-and-white in the same way Eugene is. “I want to create an image that will stop people from scrolling,” he says. “If you go to Facebook or Instagram, those platforms are inundated with photos. I want mine to be the ones that get people to stop what they’re doing to really look at them and absorb them.”
by Skip Cohen
Many of you are going to feel it's too late for this idea to have an impact on sales this holiday season. Well, hear me out - because it's NOT!
Here's the background - going back to my Polaroid days, when the Spectra was introduced, the buzz words were continuity marketing. The Spectra was the first Polaroid to be introduced with a full line of accessories. And, just like the gear you own today, each piece of equipment you've added over the years has enhanced your loyalty and feelings about the brand you chose.
Well, here's an idea to build continuity marketing into your business - an 8x10 print box. It's over twenty years since Bambi Cantrell started the concept of an Image Box, then an Art Leather product. She'd use it to enhance a wedding album by taking blank mattes with her and having select members of the bride and groom's families and friends write something on them. She'd add the photographs later, making the collection of photographs incredibly special.
The idea hasn't lost its effectiveness and today has even more potential. Here are a couple of examples: First, I went to make an appointment for the annual shots for our two pups. My vet didn't have any appointments until January. "Because of the pandemic, everybody's getting new pets, and we're booked solid!"
Remember, the hierarchy of why people hire a professional photographer - brides, babies, and pets are the top three, and with so many weddings being postponed, I'm betting pets might be in the number one spot! Puppies and kittens grow up and, right from the beginning, are a vital part of their family. Perfect for filling a print box.
Second, what's the one thing that Grandma misses most this holiday season? HER FAMILY! The pandemic has kept everyone apart for almost nine months! Putting together a print box of images, both old and new, makes this one of those gifts that becomes a treasure. Looking through your list of past clients and new ones, a print box becomes a truly unique gift this holiday season.
Here are more ideas about adding a print box to your product line with blank mattes included in the box:
Here's my point to today's Marketing Monday post - the pandemic has created opportunities for so many of you to be leaders in your marketing. This is a holiday season where we're all looking back as well as to the future. Those memories you're capturing for clients now and from the past are more valuable than ever before!
Note: The images above are thanks to Queensberry: The Queensberry Matted Print Boxes are designed to be different. As well as the range of print options, you have over 40 cover materials to choose from. It's simple to customize the mats with the easy to use software, to suit each photograph and create unique designs. Queensberry will deliver to your studio for free, or direct to your clients with our free drop-shipping service!
For more information, just click on any of the images above.
“Life is primarily for laughing, loving, and living. It ain’t just for whining, worrying, and working!”
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday, but different than the ones I used to write about. These days it's my run to the market at 7:00 am. With Sheila's asthma, I've got less respiratory issues than she does, so I hit the market before the nut jobs who don't wear masks show up.
Checking out, I had a guy and his girlfriend in front of me without masks, and I always ask, "Just curious, what is it about wearing a mask that bothers you so much?" Well, I got a dirty look, and no response as the two of them left the store.
Driving home, I found myself just getting angry over meeting somebody who still doesn't get it. And it's not just about my health, but the team at my local Publix, who I'm forever grateful they're there and helping me keep our fridge stocked!
So, trying to figure out what to write about, I realized I needed to loosen up, and that got me thinking about that old line we used to hear about it takes more muscles to frown than smile, which I've learned isn't totally accurate. Searching Google, I found:
On average, a smile uses 12 and a frown 11. However, since humans tend to smile a lot, these muscles are stronger. A frown may be slightly more effort to produce. just because we aren't as used to using these muscles.
But then I found the answer I really needed, and it's so true:
...smiles work in both directions: Just as happiness can make you smile, studies have shown that thanks to a quirk of the autonomic nervous system, smiling can make you happy. Unfortunately, the same holds true for expressions of sadness and distress. Both phenomena relate to mirror neurons — brain cells that spark up both when we observe an action, such as a smile, and when we take part in it.
So, no matter what your frustrations with the world around you, we just need to smile more. For the rest of today, I'm determined to have this dumb, "What me worry?" look on my face. It's an Alfred E. Neuman kind of day, and nothing is going to dampen my spirits. Try it right now - just crank up the volume on the happiest dumbest smile you can push out!
See what I mean?
Wishing everybody a day of smiles, but not just on your face - let's get them going in your heart.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everybody!
*I've followed Ed Foreman for years, meeting him back in my Polaroid days. He's been an inspiration to me since the 70s. Although, over the years I modified his quote a little - Life is for laughing, loving and living NOT bitching, moaning and complaining. LOL
by Skip Cohen
I'm not sure when or where it started, but getting together for Thanksgiving dinner, we'd go around the table, and each person would talk about what they were thankful for. This year has been a tough one for ALL of us. Because of the pandemic, we're all dealing with many of the same challenges.
I'm thankful for Sheila in my life; our family and friends, two crazy puppies, our health, and especially the support of all of you, my readers. But here's one more to add to my list this year, and it's pretty special.
Larry Tiefenbrunn, also known as "Dr. T." and founder of Platypod, came down with Covid-19 sometime during the week of November 9. He's called Dr. T because he's a full-time pediatrician in his "spare" time. For those of you who have never met him, he's also an incredibly talented photographer, engineer/designer. He never does anything halfway - including his friendships.
So, quarantined and nursing a fever, on November 17, he did what I think is the best presentation I've ever seen him do. It was an evening program as part of the KelbyMedia Flash Conference with Scott Kelby and Joe McNally. He called me the following morning as he was being admitted to the Covid wing of the hospital.
I've been in this industry my entire adult life and never worked with or for anybody quite like Larry. So, as his CMO for Platypod, he's my boss, but far more important, he's become an incredibly good friend. Together with his wife Mina, they've made my life richer, and worrying about him with Covid-19 could have been overwhelming. But remember how I mentioned he never does anything halfway? Well, that includes his own health.
Yesterday, a week after being admitted, at 2:30 in the afternoon, he was headed home! As Larry mentioned in a call earlier in the week - "This virus is unique, and no two cases react the same to treatment." He'd been stable from the beginning - but "stable" didn't mean "better", and that's the word we all wanted to hear. Thanks to a great pulmonologist who wanted to try another medication earlier in the week, the word stable was replaced with better, and he was headed home forty-eight hours.
So, today when it's just Sheila and me around a small turkey and some of our favorite side-dishes, still missing family and friends but filled with gratitude, I've got one more thing to be thankful for - Larry and Mina in our life.
To all of you, have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving. I know it's going to be a different kind of day than in the past, but there's still so much for which to be thankful!
And to Dr. T - Welcome home, buddy! But as I told you yesterday - if you ever scare us like that again, I'll hunt you down! LOL
Images copyright Dan Walters. All rights reserved.
“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
There's that line we've all heard and used, "Timing is everything!" Approaching nine months of dealing with the pandemic, talking about outdoor photography couldn't be more appropriate at this time. As we all hunker down, being able to get outside with a camera in your hands has become one of a photographer's greatest assets.
We're stepping out of the Tamron Kitchen but into the world of a great Tamron Chef. Dan Walters joins us on this new podcast, and it's loaded with solid content. While his main passion for subject matter involves the birding world, it's his love for the craft, no matter what he's focused on, that comes across loud and clear in the conversation with Chamira Young and me. And, while I usually only share one quote with each Tamron Recipe, the two I found above highlight what I've learned about Chef Dan.
Chef Dan's recipe is a click away, which we shared last week. And for more information about Tamron's 150-600mm G2 lens, click on the banner at the bottom of today's post.
There's a pretty remarkable savings program going on through the holidays. For all the information and the products included in the promotion, just click on the banner to the right.
I know it's getting a little old, as I share these comments in so many blog posts - We're all feeling the same frustrations. The pandemic has restricted the level of freedom we took for granted. But at the same time, the pandemic has given us something we NEVER have - time. Don't let your passion for the craft get buried under the stress of the pandemic. Things have changed a lot for all of us, but not the potential to expand your skill set and become a better and more diverse artist.
Tamron's team is taking full advantage of that time and not slowing down in their support for photographers all over the country - they've just moved to cyberspace. Check out Tamron's programs for rebates, online education, and even some terrific contests to share your work.
And while Dan may live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country - when it comes to critters to photograph, they're all around us - no matter where you live. To see more of Chef Dan's work, just click on any of his images in this post.
by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections has become a significant part of my routine. What I write about is often as much for my benefit as I hope it helps you.
This past week I've been struggling with the pandemic. While I've got this reputation of being the industry cheerleader, and many good things are going on, there are times when it's hard to focus. Like so many of you, I miss time with friends, and I miss the freedom to go out anywhere I want. Zoom, Facetime, Skype - they're all great for keeping in contact, but they don't keep us in touch.
As I sat down to write this morning, I struggled with needing to simply hug a friend. One of those big bear hugs, or bro-hugs, or the hugs I used to write about - long hugs lasting at least eleven seconds and proven to be therapeutic!
Stuck for a topic without sounding like a pandemic victim and whiner, I turned to Melody Beattie. Today, November 22, she wrote a piece called The Magic of Gratitude and Acceptance. Here's an excerpt:
Gratitude and acceptance are two magic tricks available to us in recovery. No matter who we are, where we are, or what we have gratitude and acceptance work. We may eventually become so happy that we realize our present circumstances are good. Or we master our present circumstances and then move forward into the next of set of circumstances.
If we become stuck, miserable, feeling trapped and hopeless, try gratitude and acceptance.
Once again, Beattie came through - and remember, she wrote this in 1990, but the message is timeless. And while you might think it's a little too simple and even trite - we all need a reminder of where to set focus when a camera isn't in our hands!
So, I had a choice - I could remain stuck, miserable, and trapped or look around me and take a big breath of appreciation. It's going to be a strange Thanksgiving this year, but even the pandemic can't take away the gratitude I feel for the life I have, Sheila, my family, friends, two very special puppies, and all of you. That means I have no choice but the winning combination of acceptance and gratitude.
And regardless of how spiritual you may or may not be, Melody's close was so relevant:
Today, God, help me let go of my resistance. Help me know the pain of a circumstance will stop hurting so much if I accept it. I will practice the basics of gratitude and acceptance in my life and for all my present circumstances.
We're all struggling with variations of the same circumstances - leaving us two great options, accepting the challenges in our lives and gratitude for everyone and everything that will get us through this.
Wishing everybody a great day ahead and a pre-Thanksgiving week that helps you stay focused on everything you have in your life instead of what's just beyond your reach.
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
I've written so many posts lately that start out the same - the pandemic has changed so much in our lives...
Here's something the pandemic has changed for the better - it's given you time, the one element in your life you've NEVER had enough of. And if you're not taking full advantage of the time to clean up some essential elements of your business, then it's a you-snooze-you-lose scenario.
Almost three years ago, I started the Fast Food Friday series: Ideas to help you build a better business and all served each week at the SCU Diner. Well, It's time to bring a few of them back and tie them to the importance of reaching an even bigger target audience today!
I'm convinced photographic gifts will top the list of great ideas this holiday season, which means more potential traffic to your website. Your galleries should be your first tab, but once you've hooked a visitor on the quality of your work, then comes the second tab, your "About" page.
Yesterday I shared a post about the importance of a better headshot with your "About" page. While a handful of photographers missed my point, nothing beats an environmental portrait of you as an artist to help reinforce your brand. But your headshot is only one of the key ingredients - the other part is what you write about yourself.
Today your Internet presence is the equivalent of a bricks and mortar business just a few years ago. And because of the pandemic, it's even stronger than a physical location! Your website is your storefront and it's essential to make each visit a memorable experience.
Creating a Better About Page on Your Website
When I shared this idea a few years back, a photographer argued with me because he and his wife had put together a humorous bio that clearly showed their personalities, and how much fun they'd be to work with. It was outstanding, and I was wrong. But being funny is an art form. If you've got the writing skill to be creative, funny and still make your point about your love for the craft, then create that kind of bio. However, if you're concerned about your message, then go with the basics above.
One more idea for you to think about, and you've got the time: Thanks to technology, ALL of you have the ability to create a high impact marketing video combining still images, video, and great music for your about page. Nobody can tell your story as well as you, and it's another way to get the message to "Mom."
This year will go down in history as the most difficult for any small-business owner, especially photographers. But I'm hearing stories from artists all over the country of business picking up a little, new ideas for services and products and even an increase in small events.
Hunkering down is about your health, NOT your business!
by Skip Cohen
I was saving this topic for "Fast Food Friday" tomorrow, but it's too good not to share today. And in all honesty, ideas to help you raise the bar on your marketing should be happening EVERY day, not just on Fridays.
Earlier this week, Kay Eskridge shared her headshot and these comments:
Years ago my Mom gave me the ultimate compliment ... she said I am good at what I do because I use my heart before I see with my eyes. I KNOW!! Way to go Mom!
I also think that the older I get I also use my soul somewhere in the mix... I guess that's why I'm always smiling when I'm behind the camera. Thx Howard...this is one of my favs!
Here's why this is so important - so many of you have terrible or irrelevant headshots on your websites and social media pages. From bad selfies to portraits that suggest you handed one of your kids the camera and even stunning portraits of you staring down the lens barrel - very few of them show your love for the craft, or at the very least, you in action...as a PHOTOGRAPHER and ARTIST.
My suggestion has always been a side shot of you with a camera in your hands and in the background just beyond the depth of field, your subject. Use your headshot to convey a great message of what you do for a living. Even great portraits don't demonstrate what you do for a living.
This image of Kay's might not have her subject in view, but what a kick for a client to see how much she loves the craft. And personally, I love the fact that it's black and white - pushing the point of diversity in her creativity a little more.
Now, think about your bio page - your target audience doesn't care what awards you've won, what gear you shoot with, or even how long you studied to be a photographer. They want to know WHY you love being a photographer, and for "Mom," she's looking to see if you can be trusted to capture images of her family the way she sees them. It doesn't matter how many awards you've gotten in print competition through WPPI or PPA - most of you clients don't know what those associations are!
So, stop writing long boring bios about your awards, how many cameras you own, or how you got started in this business - cut to the chase and talk about your love for photography and helping clients capture great memories. Then, back it all up with a headshot like Kay's, and you can even add an image of two of you working with a client!
(Also on the list to include is a self-promotional video about you - but we'll save that for another post.)
And to Howard Rosenberg who captured Kay - nicely done! You definitely caught her love for the craft and that signature Eskridge smile. What a kick!
Image copyright Dan Walters. All rights resereved.
by Skip Cohen
As the year winds down, it's hard to believe this Tamron Recipes post is the 23rd in the series. With support from Tamron USA, my co-host Chamira Young and I have shared some great content, thanks to some remarkable artists' insight. Each backstory about their favorite photograph has been unique, and then a week later, our podcast conversation with the "chef" has introduced you to even more of their work.
The chef analogy came into play right from the beginning. While every good photographer knows the basics, each one has a unique style and often vision for the final image. Like enjoying a great meal at your favorite restaurant, each Tamron Chef has shared their recipes, as well as their passion for the craft and continued growth as an artist.
Dan Walters joins us in the Tamron Kitchen this month. The timing is perfect for sharing his favorite cuisine, outdoor wildlife. The pandemic has changed so much in all of our lives, especially as more photographers head to the safety of outdoor shooting.
Near the beginning of this series, I started searching for a special quote that seemed to describe some aspect of the enthusiasm and love for the craft brought out in the conversations with each chef. In regards to Dan, I loved two quotes that, after getting to know him better, seem to fit:
“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
About "Chef" Dan: In Dan's short bio on his website, he has a statement that sets the stage for his photography and fits perfectly with those two quotes above:
When I capture an image, I try not just to document what I saw but try to engage the viewer with the subject. I do this by combining light, eye contact, and a clean background.
Dan's passion as an artist, photographer, and educator clearly comes through in the upcoming podcast. Living in Colorado, he doesn't have to travel very far to find new subjects, often just a short bike ride, and he's found plenty to photograph.
About one of his favorite images above, he wrote:
These egrets can be very territorial in regards to their favorite fishing areas. This egret saw another egret that was a little too close and promptly chased it off...What I like about using this zoom is that I was able to zoom out a little and include the whole bird without clipping the wings.
Please take the time to visit Chef Dan's website. And, if you're in Florida in the spring of next year, Dan will be teaching at the Birding and Photofest in St. Augustine. Click on the banner below for more information.
Downtime has allowed so many photographers to expand their skill set and what's in their camera bag. Well, Tamron never slows down on manufacturing top of the line optics to help you expand your creativity, as well as the quality of your images. Right to the point - they make great glass!
While we all miss the conferences and conventions we'd attend in the past; the pandemic also hasn't slowed down Tamron USA's continued presence with workshops around the country. Check out their listing of local events, all within safety and physical distancing guidelines.
And, take the time to visit Tamron's website, always loaded with great content, as well as their YouTube channel.
One of Dan's favorite lenses is also featured in the current Tamron rebate program. Click on the banner below for information on their current promotion.
And I know I've written the same thing almost every month - Hunkering down is about your health, NOT about growing as an artist and expanding your skill set. You still need to maintain a strong presence in your business, build relationships, and remind your target audience you're a photographer and available to help them with their imaging needs.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm definitely not in my usual mode of being off the topic of photography.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives and not for the better. But it's also created some unique leadership opportunities in creativity and support to your clients and community. I know it's been an ugly year for virtually every business, but I also know there are ideas out there to help you get back on track and jumpstart your business.
ClickCon Nation kicks off today with an all-star cast, but more important than the educators/speakers is the timing and the topics. For example, I'm doing a program at 10:15 CST called "My Business Has Disappeared, Now What?" In one hour, I'm going to pack in 2-3 hours of material - one after another of things photographers can be doing RIGHT NOW to capture the seasonality in business.
And check out the company I'm with below.
The program is FREE - all you have to do is download the ClickCon Nation app, and you're in. I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but there are too many of you who have been crying the blues over the decline in business and not doing anything about it.
Remember that line of "God helps those who help themselves?" Well, regardless of what you believe spiritually, there's so much help in this industry. But you've got to make the first move - open your mind and join us!
Wishing everybody a day filled with ideas and opportunities to be a leader in creativity and business. The year isn't over yet. As I've written so many times in the last nine months - hunkering down is about your health - NOT about your business.
by Skip Cohen
For over a year, I shared a series of business and marketing tips called "Fast Food Friday." The concept started as short, easy to implement ideas, and grew into some great building blocks for success as a photographer and small business owner.
Well, as much as the pandemic has changed so many things in our lives, the key ingredients to building brand awareness haven't changed. You still need to get your name out there, and even more important, we're into fourth-quarter seasonality, and people still need help capturing and sharing their memories!
Remember why I started this series - to give you ideas to build a stronger business, no matter what the challenges were! Most of you are right-brain creative types with too little focus on growing your business. Many of you don't think of yourselves as small business owners. Even if you're working for another studio, imaging is a career choice that lends itself to freelance assignments, and you're ALWAYS building your brand.
With or without Covid - it's not who YOU know, but WHO knows you! Here's a list to help you keep your name out there in the spotlight. Your goal is top-of-mind awareness so anytime somebody is thinking about photography, your name comes up first.
Too many of you think there's nothing you can do to build your brand until the pandemic is history. It's not going away tomorrow, but the new norm doesn't need to leave you helpless. Relationship building is your most vital marketing tool - so, set up a time every week to be building your foundation of awareness - beyond your skill set.
Tony Corbell, one of the most recognized photographers in the industry, once told a story about when he first got started. "I might not have been the best photographer in town, but I was determined to be the nicest!" Tony's never strayed from that practice!
And where's Tony today? Because travel for all of us is limited, he's online and spending just as much time teaching and supporting his audience as he always has - but in cyberspace!
by Skip Cohen
While I feel a little embarrassed that I completely missed Veteran's Day yesterday, I'm going to blame it on aging, the pandemic, a hurricane hitting Sarasota, and too many lost brain cells at concerts in the 70s.
You'd think with so much contact with the military in our lives, including my favorite baseball hat above, I would have remembered. From time with my Dad and our son through HonorFlight.org, our flag flown as part of "Inherent Resolve" in 2016, and Uncle Randy, who's never without a Marine baseball hat, we're surrounded by firsthand reminders of family members who have served our country.
When I took my Dad to D.C. as part of HonorFlight's program in 2014, there was a line of theirs that hit home incredibly hard. While it might seem a little over the top to start, think about it:
If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.
So, to my Dad, son, Uncle Randy, friends like Stacey Pearsall who have served and continue to support our veterans, and all the parents out there who have kids serving today - thank you for your service and the freedom we so often take for granted.
I may have missed sharing my thoughts on Veteran's Day yesterday, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't appreciate everything you've all contributed to our lives.
Intro by Chamira Young
We have a fun post for you sports and action photographers today. Even if you're not involved in the specific world of electric dirt bikes, the basic principle of having quality lenses for capturing action photography is relevant to any photographer, pro or hobbyist. The Tamron team brings photographer Spencer Kofoed to the forefront as he uses two of their amazing lenses to capture stunning action images of his friends zipping around on their battery-powered motors. It was a requirement that his equipment be sturdy enough to handle the rough, sandy terrain and, needless to say, Tamron did not disappoint!
Read the post excerpt below. Also, click on either lens image below to learn more! We love the dedication of the Tamron team as they support the photography industry by bringing amazing lenses and inspiration we can all learn from.
Mountain Biking Goes Electric
Spencer Kofoed’s Tamron 17-28mm ultra-wide-angle and 28-75mm zoom lenses help him capture the latest adventure sport.
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Spencer Kofoed
Spencer Kofoed’s love for high-intensity sports was baked in from a young age—he even once had aspirations to be a professional Alpine skier, taking time off after high school to train and race. He ended up going to school for mechanical engineering, but he never lost his love for extreme sports, even founding The Endless Shred clothing company, which encourages a lifestyle of adventure. One day, however, he realized he didn’t have many photos of these adventures to share with his family, so he “borrowed” his sister’s camera (without telling her) and started documenting.
“I was more or less self-taught, poking around on YouTube to find tutorials and just shooting as much as possible when I was out with friends,” he says. “Over the last two years, I’ve also been meeting a whole bunch of photographers. Just being in their presence has taught me a lot about the craft.”
His latest foray is into the world of electric dirt bikes, built to handle rough terrain using a battery-powered motor. “My friends and I head out to these cool remote spots all over Utah and ride our bikes, and I’ll bring my camera along so I can take pictures of us,” he says.
The two Tamron lenses Spencer has been packing in his gear bag for these extreme biking excursions are the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD ultra-wide-angle and 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD lenses, both for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. “These lenses are both so sharp, with high-performance autofocus,” he says. “I got the 28-75mm first, and it’s become my go-to lens. I’m a huge fan. The 17-28mm, meanwhile, has offered me a different perspective on the sport. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, especially in tighter quarters and for interior shots, which I also do on occasion.”
Keeping his gear clean is a challenge in situations where the sand and dirt is constantly flying. “My camera definitely takes a beating,” he laughs. “I don’t want to miss any shots, though. I do try my best to keep dust out of the internal part of the lens; I have a UV filter I’ll often use to help with that. And I have an air blaster to blow the dust off if I have to change lenses. So far, when I wipe my equipment down at the end of the day, everything is still working.”
One of the most important aspects to Spencer’s electric mountain bike photos is his ability to freeze the riders in action. “That guy doing the wheelie on the edge of the bluff is a perfect example of the type of shot I usually go for,” he says. “He’s from the Swedish company that makes the bikes shown here, so he’s obviously really good at riding them. He simply rode up to the edge, then hit the brakes and popped up in the air. I had to shoot at a fast-enough shutter speed—1/1250th of a second—to make sure I froze him at that exact moment. I had to use that same fast shutter speed for the guy in the middle of the dust circle. I took that photo looking down on him from the top of our van.”
Read the rest of the post here!
“Don’t think outside the box – think like there is no box!”
by Skip Cohen
In all my years in this industry, I've never seen a more difficult time for photographers to maintain a business. At the same time, I've never seen/heard so many remarkable stories about artists taking a leadership role in their communities. These are business owners, fighting to rebuild what the pandemic has taken away.
This Sunday, five of us share ideas and ways to expand your skill set and work to get things started on the way back. But we can't help if you're not there with us!
My program, "My Business Has Disappeared! Now What?" is about opportunities to rebuild your business and stand out from your competition. This program changes and grows every week, as I hear more great ideas to share from artists around the world who simply refuse to give up! I'll be sharing dozens of ideas to help you rebuild and jumpstart your business. I've got one hour to fill your head with new ideas, and even a few old ones. So, it'll be fast-paced right from the start.
Click on the banner above to connect to the complete schedule of events. Then to attend for FREE, just download the 𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐂𝐨𝐧 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐩𝐩 from your app store, log in and create your password.
Don't let complacency get the best of you! Join us on Sunday to recharge your battery and get your business back on track for a strong fourth quarter in 2020!
by Skip Cohen
As I was wandering through the LUMIX channel on YouTube, I caught this video from 2017 featuring Ben Grunow. I loved the video and put the post together, not realizing I shared it three years ago when it first came out.
I was going to delete it but thought about how relevant his tips are RIGHT NOW. We're in the middle of a pandemic, and so many photographers, to still be out shooting, have stepped into the landscape world, even if it's just a sunset or skyline image near home.
For me, the fun of a video like this is knowing Ben and having spent a little time with him at past LUMIX meetings. Throw in some great how-to advice, and it gives the film that much more value.
Ben is a leader in landscape photography and shares one great tip after another. I especially loved the touch screen demo, as well as the time-lapse component that starts about fifty seconds into the film.
The images I pulled for today's post are screenshots, and even though they're pretty good, imagine how beautiful the originals must be.
Ben Grunow, one of the Panasonic LUMIX Luminary photographers, talks about the advantage of LUMIX G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera System and introduces his favorite lens in his landscape photography. Enjoy his interview with beautiful sceneries of Grindelwald, Switzerland in stunning 4K resolution.
Featuring Photography by Ben Grunow
Documentary Shot on LUMIX GH5 by Griffin Hammond
Ben's shooting with a GH5, and the film was also captured on a GH5. His technique is outstanding and at a time when landscape photography is one of the safest segments of imaging during the pandemic, there's a lot of great information being shared.
Ben needs to be on your radar, along with Griffin Hammond, who shot the film. Click on any image above to visit Ben's website. And Griffin Hammond is just a click away.
If you haven't checked out the LUMIX line, now is the time. Panasonic has repeatedly set the standard for quality and technology, especially with the new Full-Frame S Series! Just click on the banner below.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and as usual, I'm jumping the track from marketing and business topics but headed right down Memory Lane.
I've written before about a Facebook group, "If You Grew Up in Painesville, Ohio You Remember..." We all have time on our hands, and I'm not sure how I found the group, but I know in part, it was thanks to PT (pandemic time). Yesterday I posted a picture of our family doctor when I was a kid - within minutes, there were dozens of responses from other patients, and the memories just started to flow.
Then somebody posted a picture of a snow-covered turn on one of Painesville's roads, and it took me back to my kid days. That led me right to where I am this morning. Life seems like it was so much simpler then - get ready, I'm about to sound like an old fart!
Feel free to add to my list. But here's the point - Taking a walk down Memory Lane is great therapy for what we're all dealing with now. And even if you're just going back to January or February, these memories are all based on a foundation of freedom, at times when we did whatever we wanted.
I get that the world has changed, but I also enjoy the fact that I've got great memories, and the 12,000+ members of my hometown Facebook group have helped bring so many of them back!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and time with family or friends, whether it's on Skype, Zoom, the phone, or physically distant in person. I've got a favorite quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson I've used a lot over the years,
"I am a part of all that I have met."
Well, it's everyone you've met and everything you've done in the past that's made you, who you are today.
We'll weather the storm of Corona, just like any other crisis in our lifetime and when it's over we just might appreciate everything in our life, including our freedom, just a little more.
by Skip Cohen
When my buddy Rick Friedman shared the image above on the Platypod blog last week, it got me thinking about the changing seasons in business, not just the beauty of foliage in New England. The pandemic has changed so much in our lives, but it didn't stop Mother Nature's seasonality any more than it's going to halt the seasonality in business over the upcoming holidays.
In fact, with everyone being restricted with physical distancing and health concerns, I'm convinced photography will play a more significant role than in previous years with consumers this holiday season. Think about it: Is there a more perfect gift for grandma this year than a portrait or video of her family? And for holiday cards for your clients and your business, what could be better than to share one of your images and a message reminding people you're still around?
Every week for over a year, I ran a series called Fast Food Friday. Each weekly topic was a reminder about a different aspect of marketing for photographers.
There is so much you should be doing RIGHT NOW. Make sure the seasonality of the holidays doesn't slip by because of your frustrations and complacency that's become typical during the pandemic. As I've written numerous times, hunkering down is about your health, NOT about your business!
Welcome back to the SCU Diner and Fast Food Friday!
1. Holiday Cards: There are still too many of you who miss the opportunity to send out a holiday card featuring your photography. There's still time!
There are two different audiences to consider. First is your personal card to friends, clients, and associates. This is one of the easiest marketing opportunities in business - one of your photographs on the front, a message from you on the inside and on the back, your logo and contact information.
Second is holiday cards for your clients. The pandemic has dramatically limited personal contact. That makes this year an especially popular year for photography. And helping to make it more affordable, Marathon has their annual BOGO program going on right now. But nothing happens if you don't plant the seeds of ideas with your audience.
2. Gifts for Key Vendors and Clients: Think about who's helped you the most over the past year. Now is the time to recognize that wedding planner, florist, etc. who sent you some great referrals. It doesn't matter if the event was postponed or even cancelled. A simple basket of goodies or bottle of wine to acknowledge your appreciation might be just the thing to say "Thanks!" Again, the pandemic has limited so many areas of interaction, but it's not going to last forever.
3. Is it time for your own marketing video? January kicks off a new year, and with it should be some new ways to reach more clients. I'm a big fan of marketing videos that show a photographer's work with images and short video clips put to music and shared on your website along with your about page. In between the holidays is a great time to put it together.
4. New Products for Your Audience: All it takes is a call to your lab and one question, "What's new?" The pandemic hasn't slowed down technology, and I've repeatedly written about Bay Photo's Performance EXT Metal Prints for outdoor display. Also, just because products like canvas prints are old to us doesn't mean a beautiful canvas print isn't going to be cherished by a client. Then there's everything else your lab can do today with new materials, and your target audience knows very little about what's available!
5. Partnerships: Every business is dealing with the same challenges, but a photographer teaming up with a florist and an excellent restaurant doing carry-out, means your cost to promote your business is reduced to a third of what it would be if you flew solo. Another great thing about partnerships is how each partner becomes an ambassador for the other companies involved. Look for ways to share the cost of delivering a message and, at the same time, cross-promote products within the partnership.
6. Content for Your Blog: Use the current downtime to build content. And make that content about gift ideas using photography this holiday season. Plus, this is a great time to build your stash. Everything you share doesn't have to be in relative real-time.
If you're not posting at least twice a week on your blog, then shut it down! It's not doing enough to help you build a consistent awareness with your readership. Build a stash of posts you can use for content over the months ahead - short 200-300 word posts that help your readers become better photographers, for example.
7. Community Involvement: Community events are limited, but they exist, and here's another opportunity for you to be involved. You're looking for your community to be good to you...well, you've got to be good to your community. Look for ways to help spread the word for events in your community. Everyone needs all the help they can get, and your blog is just the vehicle to provide additional support.
The year may be quickly coming to a close, but you still have time for a positive impact on your business in the home stretch! This is not going to be a year where thousands of people camp out overnight at Walmart waiting for the doors to open. There's an opportunity for a strong finish to the year and more revenue for your business, but getting the word out is all up to you.
You snooze, you lose!
The best things in life are the people you love, the places you go and the memories you make.
by Skip Cohen
Somebody recently asked me, "So, what do you miss most during the pandemic?" My answer was simple, "Bumping into friends, literally!"
I'm not sure when this image was captured. I know it was at WPPI, and we'd all caught up for drinks, or maybe it was dinner. It starts with Roberto and Kim Valenzuela, my wife Sheila and Michele Celentano. Then me in the back row with Gustavo Fernández.
But Throwback Thursday isn't about accuracy for the date of capture, but the memories an image brings back. It's all about the smile it puts on your face and in your heart. Yeah, I get pretty sappy these days, but it's images like this that keep me focused on getting through today's challenges and back to time with friends.
Just taking the time to write this post and share the grab-shot is like an emotional vitamin to start my day! My suggestion is to take 15 minutes right now. Stop what you're working on and find that file, drawer, box, or album of old photographs. And like a fine wine, find a great image and savor the memories.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Skip Cohen
As my day got started today, I was determined to write about anything but the election results, which will go on for the next few days. So, I decided to finish a post I started a month ago that was sitting in my draft folder.
While I hate writing about anything to do with the pandemic, at the same time, it's the new norm we all deal with. Like everyone, I have good days and bad. I miss time with friends and the freedom to simply go wherever we want, whenever we want.
But there is something that's helping Sheila and me through all the challenges: making a conscious effort to do something fun, even if it's only for a short break.
I've written before about the two new members of the family, Lucy, and Belle. They've been with us for a year. Their crate's now gone, and they have almost full run of the house. They've been instrumental in keeping us focused on staying optimistic. And while the first ninety days were horrible, they're now fully into life with "Mom" and "Dad."
Combining two passions, the pups, and photography, I decided to have a little fun in the water. Lucy's a Mini-Goldendoodle, and loving the water is in her gene pool. Belle's a Havanese and can swim, but she's the princess and prefers to be a spectator.
I set up my LUMIX G9 on a Platypod Max and started shooting video. These were still frames from the video. The video itself was pretty dull and pointed out my need to develop better editing and cinematographer skills. (Click on any of the thumbnails below for more info on my gear setup.)
But here's the fun thing about doing a mini-project like this - it captured a moment I cherish. It's even more relevant as a reminder of the importance imaging plays in our lives, even when it's DIY. Lucy's enthusiasm and trust with "Dad" and Belle's contentment to be a bystander pretty much says it all about their love for the water. Lucy is in, the minute I say "Jump," while Belle races up and down the sides of the pool following Lucy, but won't go into the water.
Here's part of my point today: One of the most respected physicians in Sarasota, at a Zoom meeting I was on, the other day, gave us a little pandemic insight, which I'm paraphrasing.
It's not going away, and the best prediction of a vaccine is now in the Spring. There's a spike predicted in new cases in Florida as the snowbirds come back and bring more than just their suntan lotion. And we were all advised to get our flu shots and follow the rules of wearing a mask and physical distancing.
There's no light switch about to be flipped to end the nightmare of the pandemic, but there is a switch you can turn on and off whenever you need a break from adjusting to the new norm: DO SOMETHING FUN!
Walk away from the business you're working so hard to maintain and do something that makes you smile. It might be a phone call to a friend you miss, taking a walk, looking through old photographs, or taking your camera gear and shooting just for you. If you take the time, you'll find the list is endless, even with the appropriate restrictions.
There are two great Zig Ziglar quotes that fit right now:
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it!"
"Your attitude not your aptitude, will determine your altitude"
If you want to beat the pandemic, don't give up on your dreams. Make time for things you love doing - things that make you smile. Use those core members of your network who you know you best for support, and keep your attitude at high altitude!
Intro by Chamira Young
If you're anything like me, you love a lens that's versatile enough to allow you to shoot in a variety of situations. In addition, today's unprecedented challenges with the pandemic has introduced the need for photographers to give their portrait subjects some much-needed space during their sessions for everyone's safety and peace of mind. That's why we're excited to showcase a helpful and fun video from the incredible Tamron team featuring one of their new zoom lenses in action!
In the video below, you get to watch over the shoulder of photographer Marcie Reif as she uses the Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 Di III RXD in a variety of creative situations, both portrait and indoor. Lightweight and versatile, this telephoto zoom lens allows photographers of all skill levels to create high quality, stunning images. My favorite thing about the video is watching how relaxed and happy her portrait subjects are as they display their individual personalities from a distance!
Check out the video below to witness the versatility of this great lens firsthand. We love the dedication of the Tamron team as they support the photography industry!
The pandemic may have moved the dates for ClickCon to August 10-13, 2021, but that's NOT slowing Team ClickCon down. ClickCon Nation launches this Sunday with nine months of programs!!!
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.