by Skip Cohen
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I love the creativity/inspiration shared non-stop on Westcott's YouTube channel and on the WestcottU website. This one I particularly like because it's tied in a DIY level of creativity, and gives you complete control over the results depending on the textures you add to the plexiglass and the way you set up your lights.
Westcott never slows down in their efforts to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images. In this under two-minute video they take you through each step in the process, planting the seed for an infinite number of ways you can change the look of your portraits, starting with a piece of plexiglass. Just click on the banner below to watch the video.
And remember, everything you purchase through the SCU Gateway to Westcott's website helps one of the industry's most respected non-profits, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate but we do not keep the 10% commission - it's all going to NILMDTS through the end of this year.
So, need lighting gear or accessories? Check out Westcott's extensive product line through the door below!
Need a little inspiration? There's so much available at WestcottU and it's just a click away!
Image copyright Paolo Cascio. All rights reserved.
I'm a big believer in the role fate plays in this industry. We all share a love for various aspects of the craft and as our paths cross, we grow, fed by each other's enthusiasm and love for imaging, people and memories. I've shared one of my favorite quotes many times over the years:
"I am a part of all that I have met!"
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Everybody we meet and talk with becomes a part of who we are. That's the story behind my growing friendship with Paolo Cascio. We met at ClickCon earlier this month when he sat in on my "Midnight Madness" class. We talked briefly that night and just seemed to hit it off. His passion for the craft is infectious. He's one of those people who the minute he starts talking about photography; you know you want to hang out with him.
Yesterday we caught up to each other for a long phone conversation about a project he's working on. He wants to capture the stories of the remaining survivors of the USS Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor, taking with it almost half of the fatalities that horrible day. With my Dad being a member of "the greatest generation," and serving in the Asia/Pacific, the events at Pearl Harbor are what pulled him and thousands of others into the war.
I wanted to share Paolo's story because it hits on so many important topics. First, the friendship that's kicked off for the two of us is a perfect example of why you should attend every possible conference you can work into your schedule. You never know what's going to come out of a chance meeting and talking with somebody new.
Second, most of you are developing your skillset to be more than just photographers - you're working to be artists and storytellers. There's a difference between capturing images and learning how to put them together to tell a story. And, there's even more skill involved in developing a story people want to watch, talk about, or listen to.
Third, no matter what your specialty in photography is, special projects are critical to your growth and creativity. You need to pick up your camera now and then for something other than paying your mortgage. You need to capture images you're passionate about just to feed your soul. It sounds a little exaggerated, but it's the best way to keep your flame of passion for the craft on high!
I hope you'll watch this video about Paolo's journey. Anton Lorimer is no stranger to SCU and the way he's worked with SmugMug Films to tell Paolo's story is remarkable. Pay close attention to Paolo's narrative; the images and video clips chosen, and especially the way it all comes together in a project that's become a big part of Paolo's heart.
And to Paolo and SmugMug Films - thanks making this story available and even better - my Dad passed away four years ago. Thanks for the smile you're putting on his face right now, telling a piece of his story.
Images copyright Voortex Productions. All rights reserved.
“Two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is that to go on living I have to tell stories,
that stories are the one sure way I know to touch the heart and change the world.”
by Skip Cohen
I love starting each Tamron Recipe with a quote that points out some unique characteristic of our "Chef." Well, it only took a few minutes to find a statement that describes Chef Charley Voorhis. He's a passionate storyteller, explorer, and adventurer. He's always focused on finding ways to expand the viewer's understanding of a subject via his filmmaking and still images. And, like the quote above he touches our hearts and changes the world one frame at a time.
A few weeks ago, I was able to sit in on one of Charley's workshops at ClickCon in Chicago. As he talked about the essential elements of a story, I couldn't help but notice that distinctive look you see on an artist's face when they're in the groove. Talking about filmmaking is all part of Charley's persona, and as an educator, he's entirely focused on the importance of the power of a great story when told in a film.
The short video below about Charley's company, Voortex Productions, says it all...
"We believe in the power of stories!"
Besides his love for imaging and storytelling, another quality immediately comes out in any conversation with Charley - he's a team player. While the videos he shares are deeply rooted in his visions, it's his crew that helps him turn them into reality. Together they've written some of the best stories in imaging!
And check out the entire Tamron family of outstanding glass with a visit to your Authorized USA Dealer. Just click on the banner above to find the dealer nearest you!
While most of the work shared in the Voortex Productions portfolio are video projects and campaigns, their Instagram and Facebook pages show more about their diversity and expertise. I pulled a few of my favorite still images, but check out their videos and pay close attention to the way they tell each client's story! Click on any image below to visit Voortex Productions.
All images copyright Voortex Productions. All rights reserved.
It's Marketing Monday and while the topic might seem more appropriate for a photographer just getting started, the challenge of "analysis paralysis" hits all of us at different times, and for various reasons! New technology, keeping up with the trends in social media and consumer communication can be just as overwhelming to a veteran in business as they are to a rookie!
There's a growing, incredibly active new Facebook community following the successful launch of ClickCon in Chicago this month. The excitement combined with a perpetual state of "where-the-hell-do-I-start syndrome is definitely bogging a few of you down. In fact, after every conference, people seem to get stressed over how much they need to learn or change.
At the same time, there are a lot of confused artists who simply don't know where to start. And, instead of jumping in with both feet, they're caught in the confusion of what to do next. They procrastinate, and all the excitement of what they learned at the conference gets put in that imaginary shoebox of ideas and kicked under the bed!
It's time to put an end to analysis paralysis and take action. It's not that difficult if you follow my lead:
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
Here's my point this morning...stop procrastinating, because the longer you ponder on where you should start, the more you're letting the stress of change build a wall between you and your dreams!
There is no "Success Fairy" who's going to come in the middle of the night, put a little magic under your pillow, and raise the bar on your skill set. You're the only one who can focus on what steps to take next.
"If you wait for all the lights to turn green, you'll never get started on your journey!"
When I was asked to speak at ClickCon months ago, I suggested doing something a little different. For everyone who was in any of my programs, I'm doing a follow-up online on September 9 at 8:00 - 9:00 PM CST. How to access will be announced in the "ClickCon Social" forum on Facebook.
And, if we need to go longer, I'll be there. My goal is to help you stay on point on things you need to do to grow your business, but I'm also going to touch on a new topic - becoming your own publicity machine. Stay tuned to the Facebook ClickCon Social group for information as we get closer.
And, if this goes well and there's interest, we'll looking at opening it up to everyone and expanding on the topic list.
It's "Mirrorless Monday," and Shiv Verma is no stranger to SCU. We've shared a lot of his images over the last few years, but there's something about the beautiful softness of this image he posted a few months back that I wanted to share today.
It's called "Echoing Curves," and it was captured with the new full-frame mirrorless, S1R and 24-105mm lens.
One of the things I love about the way Shiv shares many of his images is each photograph is a mini-lesson in technique. With this image, he added: A Benro filter holder with a 3 stop ND, a polarizer and a 3 stop soft edge grad was used for this image. The lens was at 35mm and the exposure triad: f/8, 8 sec, ISO 100.
If Shiv isn't already on your radar, he should be. Follow him and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. You'll find them speaking/teaching at LUMIX retailers and conventions all over the U.S. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in professional photography. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
Check out the complete S1R and LUMIX S 24-105mm lens with a click on either of the very short videos below.
I'm back in Florida, and it's a typical Sunday morning. I'm up early and Sheila's still asleep, and I'm in a strange mood trying to find the words to express a particular kind of sadness. Remember, "Sunday Morning Reflections" are always off the topic of photography, and this morning I'm a long way away from marketing and business.
Friday night the phone rang and a good buddy was calling me to tell me his wife had passed away that morning. I started to tear up, but did my best to try and console him. I hung up the phone and cried, not just for the loss of a great lady, but for the pain he's going through and I'm too far away to do very much.
I hate when people post things that are personal, but this is "Reflections." So, I'm going into forbidden territory, but I'll keep it brief.
I met Bob Thompson when I joined Hasselblad in 1987. Our friendship has been one adventure after another, and his wife Cindy supported all of it. We used to laugh every time we did a scuba trip, because Cindy wouldn't let him go until he cleaned his office! She wasn't big on traveling but the two photographs I found of them were on a trip to Sweden in 1998.
The Hasselblad sales force won a trip to Sweden, with spouses, and it was a kick to have Cindy and all the spouses with us. Years later we're still laughing about some of the things that happened on that trip, but that's not my point so much this morning.
Our friendships are the mortar that keeps the bricks of our lives together. From scuba-diving to snowmobiling to working trade shows, meetings, and sharing a love for imaging, Bob and I have been through a lot of great times together. We've spent hours talking about our lives outside the industry and shared mutual losses of good friends and associates, but losing Cindy was never something I anticipated and I'm simply at a loss.
I know she's going to be watching over him along with a circle of good friends. A few years ago, while they were still living in Denver, Sheila and I got out to dinner with them. It was non-stop laughs for the evening and those memories are something we'll always cherish.
So, for my good buddy this morning, I have to use a quote from the Internet:
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. "
There's no better caption for the photographs in this post today, than Jodi Picoult's quote I've used so often:
"This what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect."
Wishing everybody a day filled with the people most important in your life and time to appreciate them. Those eleven-second hugs are always important, but this morning when Sheila wakes up I'm going bump them up to longer. Life is just too short!
Happy Sunday everybody.
Going back twenty years ago, these letters were a lot more fun to receive via snail mail. Always from Nigeria, and if nothing else the stamps were fun to collect. The letters always went home with somebody from the office for their kids.
Well, there's simply no place we can hide. Sooner or later they find us, but at least it was in my spam folder. This morning's email below could be one of my most favorites, and certainly deserves points for creativity!
I NEVER respond, but if I was, Sheila suggested the following:
Dear Mr. Braunwalder, Mrs. Virgie Brown is correct. I died in a car accident last week. Please send her all funds that were due me!
Just keeping it light on a rainy Saturday morning in Florida. Wishing everybody a great weekend!
I am Mr. Braunwalder Garland of IMF Head Office.
Your email appeared among the beneficiaries, who will receive a part-payment of your contractual sum of 6.5 Million US Dollars and has been approved already for months. You are requested to get back to me
for more direction and instruction on how to receive your fund.
However, we received an email from one Mrs. Virgie Brown who told us that she is your next of kin and that you died in a car accident last week. She has also submitted her account for us to transfer the fund
to her. We want to hear from you before we can make the transfer to confirm if you are dead or not.
Please in confirmation that you are still alive, you are advised to reconfirm the below listed information to enable us facilitate an immediate payment for you.
1 Your full names
2 Your present contact address.
3 Your telephone & Fax numbers.
4 Your Occupations/age/sex.
5 Your Private E mail Address.
Once again, I apologize to you on behalf of IMF (International Monetary Funds) for failure to pay your funds in time, which according to records in the system had been long overdue.
Mr. Braunwalder Garland
Every time we think we're out of new "blue-plate" specials in the SCU kitchen, another topic comes along. This one is all thanks to questions that came up at ClickCon earlier this month from new professional photographers. It starts with developing your skillset, but then comes the biggest challenge of all - building brand awareness, or quite simply getting your name out there!
Remember why I started this series - to give you ideas to build a stronger business! 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.
These days, it's not who YOU know, but WHO knows you! So, I've put together a list of ideas to help you get recognized.
Twelve Tips to Getting Your Name Out There!
Too many of you think there's nothing you can do to build your brand until you're open for business. Relationship building is your strongest marketing tool - so, set up 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!
It's Throwback Thursday, and I'm having fun with a couple of throwbacks, starting with one that takes us back to line art versus photography, and a few additional fun elements.
First, the actual watch in the top left was my grandfather's. He died of ALS a couple of years before my parents were married, but I'm named after him and cherish his watch. Almost fifty years later, to the day, Don Blair's wife Donna died of ALS as well. And, I'm not sure there's been very much progress in beating this disease today.
Second, you can find anything on the Internet. A few years back I went hunting on eBay until I found somebody who had the Gruen ad for the watch from 1927. I think I spent ten dollars for the page.
I know it's hard to read, but take a look at the copy and think about how a watch is advertised today, along with the pricing. I love the way the ad kicks off: "Wisely, for the graduation gift you will select a good watch. This has always been the favored gift for graduation." Then, there's the push about what's hot and what's not: "For young men, the trend is decidedly away from the round watch."
I have the watch and ad framed in a shadow box on the wall in my office. Unlike most of today's watches that will more than likely not be running 90+ years from now, the watch still keeps perfect time!
"The Gruen Watch Company was formerly one of the largest watch manufacturers in the United States. It was in business from about 1894 to 1958 and was based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was founded in 1908 by German-born watchmaker Dietrich Grün, who changed the spelling of his name to "Gruen" because the letter ü does not exist in English." From Wikipedia
Since the ad was a graduation theme, I went looking through an old album and found my Dad's high school senior shot. Hand-colored thanks to Olan Mills in Springfield, Ohio! It would have been around 1940. I wonder if he got a watch for graduation?
Between the ad and my Dad's portrait, it's a fun look back, and a testimonial to the fact that most of the time you can find anything you want on the Internet!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and it's a kick to share this video featuring a long-time friend, Hernan Rodriguez. We met years ago at WPPI. Over the years Hernan's work was shared many times in Rangefinder Magazine, and he's no stranger to SCU with a lot of great videos and posts. As I've written so many times in the past, the best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
I so appreciate the way Westcott and Hernan have put this short video together, as he takes you through a one, two, and three-light setup. Pay attention to all the tips he shares along the way. There's a lot of good reliable how-to content in this video. I grabbed two screenshots to show in this post, but Hernan takes the time to share what he's doing and why each step of the way.
Looking for more stunning portraiture? Check out Hernan's website!
Hernan is working with Solix lighting - for more information click on either thumbnail below to link to the Westcott website for these products...and remember, 10% of anything you buy from Westcott when going through the SCU gateway supports one of the industry's most respected nonprofits, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.
Regardless of your photographic specialty, Westcott not only manufactures great lighting gear, but they also build inspiration! It's all FREE at WestcottU with a click of your mouse on the banner above. And, don't forget their YouTube channel, also jam-packed with great content to help you become a better artist!
With the exception of when I'm traveling I post a quote on Twitter every morning at 7:30. I rarely load up social media in advance because I like starting the day with a few inspirational quotes. It's sort of like warming up before you jog. I came across this one a few minutes ago:
"Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like
slashing your other three tires because you got a flat!"
Last week I taught four different presentations at ClickCon in Chicago, including a three-hour evening program called "Midnight Madness." The Heart of ClickCon planning committee put together an outstanding schedule of classes, one of which has never been done before.
They put together a day of workshops before the conference kicked off, for the models, stylists and makeup artists. They're always behind the scenes and so important to a successful photography conference. At the same time, each one of them is a small business owner and need the kind of help each of you need as photographers.
Between all the photographers who were new to the business and the models/makeup artists, there were a lot of people I met who were on the edge of being frustrated because they "haven't made it yet." That's what got me thinking about today's quote.
Here are a couple of the most important things I've learned in my career: The definition of success is a moving target, and you NEVER give up on your dreams.
Success: My definition of success today is all about loving what I'm doing. Waking up with a smile on my face, excited about the day ahead has priority over everything else in terms of business. That definition has also changed over the years. The younger I was, the more important my income was. But that doesn't change how much I wish I'd realized how important good old happiness was. I would never have changed my goals, just the path I might have been on at times.
Dreams: Another quote I found says it all. While it might seem easy for me to say as the old guy here, I have plenty of dreams still left in my stash. We're all work in progress, and I'm no exception. I never lose focus on my dreams - just change the routing of my journey when it's necessary.
If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire to you to help them build theirs.
Tony Gaskins Jr.
The key to staying focused on your dreams is a combination of listening to your heart and surrounding yourself with positive people. Listen to everybody's advice when it comes your way, but then give your heart the final vote. Living your dream is an investment of time and patience, but at the same time, you have to recognize your growth.
So, for those of you frustrated because you haven't "made it yet," look back a year ago and recognize how far you've come! As small business owners, regardless of whether you're a photographer or not, you can't create things that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in the game!
Copyright Voortex Productions. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
This is our eighth featured "chef" in the Tamron Recipes series. Each one has captured not only Tamron's outstanding optical quality but the passion of each featured guest. A big part of the fun of these images and podcasts has been the insight each artist has brought to the conversation.
I've shared this quote before, but it's so applicable to everybody we've worked with: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!" Each artist is wholly dedicated to storytelling, not only through their images but their online and educational presence when teaching. And with everything they share, Tamron is playing a pivotal role.
With every Tamron Recipes post, we always share a quote about the recipe for success, but today's recipe is from a "chef" who's a remarkable storyteller. His success is in part due to his exceptional skills telling stories, combined with his passion for people and exploring.
..."Craft those simple things, those glorious things, those things so often forgotten
but so desperately needed. There’s no hidden or corporate meaning behind the word ‘story.’
We know what they are. And we need to start telling them.”
We're jumping into the Tamron Kitchen today with "Chef" Charley Voorhis. Charley is no stranger to the SCU blog. We've shared several of his Tamron videos over the years, but until recently we had never physically met. Our friendship has been a testimonial to social media, combined with a phone call here and there.
Reading the quote above by Jay Acunzo, I couldn't help but think about Charley's passion for telling a story. We recently met for the first time in his program at ClickCon in Chicago. Sitting in his class, I had a chance to watch him teach, and without question his love for capturing great imagery and then telling the story shines through.
About "Chef" Charley: I want to share the start of Charley's bio on his about page because he describes his love for storytelling far better than I ever could.
There is nothing like a good story, honestly told, to unite people across town, or across the globe. I'm also a passionate explorer. I think of it as my job to get inspired by stories in unlikely places, uncovering details, and moving past simple stereotypes. Everybody has something great inside of them if you listen carefully.
Part II of Charley's recipe series is coming next Tuesday with a terrific and insightful podcast. We'll be talking a lot about his career in imaging and his passion for telling a story. His website is just a click away.
About the SP 15-30mm, SP 24-70mm and SP 150-600mm lenses, and the video: Click on the banners below to find out more about these three outstanding members of Tamron's family. And, until September 1, 2019, the SP15-30mm and SP 150-600mm are both on the Summer Savings promotional program.
The video was created for the Adventure Travel Trade Association and filmed during AdventureWeek Peru. Watching the video, you'll notice how well Charley's skill set matches what they wanted to say about Ancash, Peru:
See hiking through Huascaran National Park, which is home to 300 lagoons, the stunning snow-capped Alpamayo mountain, and notable wildlife including the north andean deer, and andean condor, all of which are endangered. Feel the silence while gazing at 6,000 meter glaciated peaks. Whether embarking on a multi-day trek through the Cordillera Blanca, biking along the rough mountain trails, or kayaking on Laguna Llanganuco, Ancash’s vast, natural landscape is ready for adventurous exploration.
What a kick it is to share this series with everybody each month. Join us on the next Tamron Tuesday when Chamira Young and I will be sharing our conversation with Charley in the podcast for this Tamron recipe.
Tamron never slows down in helping photographers become great chefs with some of the finest glass in imaging.
I've written a lot about the LUMIX G9 since first using it on our Santa Fe trip this summer. Well, there's little that beats a community car show when it comes to demonstrating both the passion of the "artists," combined with the technology Panasonic has put into the LUMIX line.
All of the images I'm sharing this morning are right out of the can - no manipulation whatsoever, outside of cropping on the '58 Edsel image on the right. My favorite lens lately is the LUMIX 14-140mm F3.5-5.6, which gives me a lot of flexibility.
The car show is strictly an event in my hometown in Ohio. It happens throughout the summer. Every Friday night the local car enthusiasts meet in the town square to show off their favorites.
I laughed with the owner of the 1937 Packard, whose hood ornament kicks off today's post. I have more pictures of his car over the last five years than I do of Sheila! I first saw the car in 2014 and was traveling with a LUMIX GH3. He spent years rebuilding it, but it's the perfect demonstration of the passion everyone needs for just everything you create.
The love for rebuilding a car, as sappy as it might sounds, compares with the focus so many of you have when you're storytelling. Think about what you feel when building an album or creating an experience for a client that's more than just a portrait sitting.
One of the things I enjoy most about a car show like this is the mix of vehicles. From more contemporary restorations like the engine of a Ford from the 60's to the '56 Chevy below, there's no shortage of detail, workmanship or pride! And, no matter what I chose to capture, the 14-140mm gave me the coverage I wanted.
Click on either thumbnail below for more information about the new G9 and 14-140mm lens.
"Good friends don't you let you do stupid things...alone!"
It's definitely not a typical Sunday morning, especially when I'm not even in my own house! But nonetheless, it's one of my favorite topics - friendships.
Following ClickCon, since we were already in the midwest, we took a few days and stopped in Ohio before heading home. Over the years, I've written a lot about the importance of good friends. As I've gotten older, I've realized that while you can't turn back the clock on aging, laughter is the contemporary version of the fountain of youth.
Hanging out with good friends brings out the best in everything, and that's what happens every time Sheila and I are together with our friends "Hoss" and Melissa. And there's something else that happens, but ONLY with the best of friends. You do things you wouldn't normally do alone - like going back to "climb the mountain" a second time with an Arby's BIG MOUNTAIN sandwich.
Hoss hadn't experienced the joy of a ten-dollar sandwich from Arby's loaded with just about everything they sell. It's one of the holy grails of fast food, and fortunately, he was willing to split it with me. This time I found an Arby's with staff that knew what it was, (it's on page 3 of their secret menu) and he suggested we order it heated. You'll never see it featured on the food channel, but the memory of ordering one deserves to be.
That brings me right to the point. We all live busy lives. Too often we forget to take time out with friends. Business and the stress of maintaining balance in life clouds over our priorities. We don't take the time to savor the most important reason for working hard - enjoying time NOT working!
This trip has been jam-packed with a focus on friends, both old ones and new ones we met in Chicago last week. And, best of all, social media and good old phone service give us all a chance to stay connected. Life is about making memories. As photographers, you've got the ability to help people never forget a special moment - just don't forget to capture them for your own archives.
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and one filled with laughter and a deep appreciation for everybody who makes your life richer. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with those friends and family closest to you. Those special relationships are the mortar that holds your "foundation" together!
It's not very often I miss a scheduled post, but after teaching at ClickCon the last few days and traveling yesterday, my "hard-drive" memory crashed. So, it's Thursday, and after a great night's sleep, I'm back.
For those of you who missed ClickCon, put it on your schedule for next year. "The Heart of ClickCon" team put together what might be the most electric launch of a new conference in the history of the industry. And, thanks to great companies like Westcott, it was jam-packed with opportunities to grow as an artist, network, and be inspired.
For me, the most fun of any conference is networking, and there was no shortage of incredible talent and passion in both instructors and attendees. One of the photographers who I hadn't met before but have followed for some time was Will Cadena. I shared one of his videos for Westcott previously here at SCU, but watching him work live is something else altogether!
He's all energy, passion, and a kick to watch. He sets the bar pretty high for loving what he does for a living, and that love for the craft is contagious. I watched him for a little while in the Westcott booth. He was surrounded by attendees who simply learned by watching and listening!
This morning in looking through his YouTube channel, I ran across this video from a year ago. It's only a minute, all music, and great images. But, if you pay attention to each portrait he captures with the Ice Light combined with his style and visions for portraiture, you'll learn a lot!
Check out Will's galleries for more inspiration and a look at a body of work that demonstrates an incredible commitment to the craft, his subjects and clients! And, don't forget that when you purchase through the SCU door to Westcott you're helping one of the industry's most respected nonprofits, NILMDTS! SCU's sales commission as an affiliate all goes to the organization.
By Chamira Young
The term "wildlife photography" can encompass a wide array of situations, but wild horses are a phenomenon many people don't get to see firsthand. That's why we're excited to share this fantastic video from Tamron that gives you a rare peek over professional photographer Shane Russeck's shoulder as he travels out west to capture images of these majestic creatures. What a great opportunity!
Shane is working with the SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens. Click on the thumbnail to the right to learn more. Or, you can check it out for yourself by visiting your local Tamron retailer, or even meet members of the Tamron team at any of their upcoming events! They are passionate about helping photographers bring their skillset to the next level while providing some the finest creative tools in photography!
Check out the video below to see Shane in action as he uses the SP 70-200mm F/2.8 G2 to capture spectacular images. I love how you get a chance to see the patience (and often caution!) required with wildlife photography.
It's Marketing Monday! I'm using the new ClickCon conference as an example of why photographers need to attend every possible convention they can - INSPIRATION and NETWORKING!
INSPIRATION: I rarely, if ever, catch the keynote presentations. However, over the last few months, I've shared several posts thanks to a new buddy, Kevin Kuster. He was the 7:00 am kick-off speaker, and after a long day of travel yesterday, I was considering sleeping in! Well, I'm so glad I made it to his program. While my shot of the room at the very start of his program looks like there are a few empty seats, it was packed about fifteen minutes later.
What I love most and I think the crowd felt the same way, was how open Kevin was in talking about his career and then his life-changing involvement in Watts of Love. Kevin's presentation was so relatable as he talked about burning out and not even owning a camera when his son was born. We're all on our own personal journey, but Kevin reminded everybody of the importance of my favorite quote, "To thine own self be true."
As he progressed through the milestones in his work with Watts of Love, each slide was packed with a reminder of so many things we all take for granted. As part of this year's ClickCon event, giving back is a theme with the Watts of Love Silent Auction and an opportunity for everybody to give back and help provide light to the 1.8 billion people in the world who live in darkness the minute the sun goes down.
And under the umbrella of "inspiration," were Kevin's images. Each image was a reminder of how photography can help change the world. Kevin's the ultimate storyteller, reminding all of us of the power of a photograph or video.
NETWORKING: Last night, I had dinner with the Panasonic LUMIX team. In just the walk to the ballroom where Kevin was speaking, I caught up to dozens of photographers and people I've met at other conferences. I wrote about the importance of catching up to old friends and making new ones in yesterday's Sunday Morning Reflections.
Great energy is contagious! And the air is filled with a lot of enthusiasm, excitement and a never-ending stream of reminders of just how special this industry is. There's a common theme of working together and it's amazing.
Yesterday I did a one-hour presentation on business and marketing to a room of models and makeup artists. It was an all-day event for this important group of support people who are behind the scenes at virtually every photographic convention. This morning at 10:00 I'm doing a presentation for new photographers on how to get their business off the ground. And I've got two more programs tomorrow, including "Midnight Madness" from 9:00 - midnight. All along the way, I'm going to be meeting new photographers and learning. Education, even as a presenter is a two-way process. I find I often learn just as much from the attendees as I hope to share with them
And that brings me full-circle. Your growth as an artist, business owner, and for that matter, a human being is dependent on interaction with other people. If you're looking to grow in virtually any capacity, you've got to hit the road and attend every possible conference and workshop you can work into your schedule!
It's anything but a typical Sunday morning, as I get ready to head to Chicago for the ClickCon conference. I've got four different programs I'm doing, and my head is filled with PowerPoint slides! And while usually, I'm entirely off the topics of business and marketing in photography, this morning not so much.
I've written about the anticipation before a conference easily a hundred times since my first blog post in 2009. Sheila calls it my "show mode." She recognizes the lights are on, but nobody's home look on my face that comes and goes for the last week before I hit the road. But it's the energy of anticipation that's one of the sweetest reasons I love this industry - catching up to old friends and making new ones!
Technically we refer to it as building your network, but it's so much more. I've always loved conferences and workshops. In my Hasselblad days, I remember my buddy Tony Corbell saying once, "Skip's wound a little tight!" LOL - I still laugh at things Jim Morton used to do to try and keep me involved, but at the same time out of his hair when it came to getting the Hasselblad booth set up.
Here's the point - attending every conference, convention, and workshop you can keeps you connected. To say it's essential to build your network suggests it's a motivation to build a stronger business presence. The truth is, it's important to build your heart! As I've written in the past, you can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in it. Well, building relationships with other people who share one of your passions reinforces the importance of the journey we're all on.
Yeah, I know, it sounds pretty lofty, but we're all traveling on a similar journey. It's a sense of community, passion for the craft, love for people, and the ability to capture memories. The key to success, in any business, is about building relationships - not only reinforcing the older ones but planting the seeds for new ones.
I don't make a living as a photographer - my first love is on the marketing and business side, but I'll match my passion for having a camera in my hands with anybody. Knowing that over the next few days I'm going to spend time with a couple of thousand people with the same love for imaging creates an amazing boost of energy. It's the reason for this stupid "What-me-worry?" Alfred E. Neuman look on my face this morning.
So, if you're in the Chicago area, come join the craziness this week. And if you're not heading that way - look at your calendar and check out the dates for future conventions and workshops. Go to as many as you possibly can and as your circle of friends grows, and you establish more relationships in this industry you'll recognize what I'm feeling this morning - nothing beats the anticipation of being with friends.
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead. As always go for those eleven-second hugs with people you love and appreciate the path you've chosen for a career. If you're doing something in photography, there's no industry like it!
by Skip Cohen
I started this series to remind you about things you need to do to build a stronger business. Today, I want to use the SCU Diner for a Fast Food Friday post that's directly related to the investment many of you are making in ClickCon, which kicks off on Monday morning.
But here's the fun of a "blue-plate" special like this - just about everything applies to any conference or workshop you attend. Time is your most valuable commodity, and you'll never have enough of it! Don't waste it by flying by the seat of your pants without a game plan.
In scuba, there's a great expression - "Plan your dive. Dive your plan." While things on any schedule can change, the more prepared you are for each convention/workshop you attend, the more you're going to get out of it!
Most important of all, conventions and workshops fall under the description of work hard - play hard! If you're not having fun with your education, networking, and growing as an artist, then you're doing something wrong.
So, for those of you joining some of the best manufacturers and vendors in imaging, the ClickCon team, the sixty-three additional instructors and me next week - safe travels and see you in Chicago. Have fun - What a kick this is going to be!
Twelve More Tips to Get the Most Out of a Conference
Two weeks ago, I shared tips about ClickCon and getting ready for a conference. Many of you will be heading to Chicago on Sunday. So, it seems to make sense to hit the list again, but I've added twelve more suggestions to get the most out of each class and workshop. And while ClickCon is the focus, almost everything on the list applies to any conference or workshop you attend.
PRO TALK BOOTH SCHEDULE
SCU Flashback: Reprinted from the July 19 post:
by Skip Cohen
The year is 2003 and WPPI's lineup was one of the best in the industry. What's amazing is how it kept growing and hit over 15,000 in 2009. By 2004 we'd outgrown Bally's and expanded into the Paris Hotel. And, while the market has changed a lot over the last ten years, it's still a key event in the industry and continues to focus on education.
The fun of Throwback Thursday is the walk down Memory Lane while looking through the rearview mirror. My experience in the seven years I was president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI brought some of the most exceptional people in the industry into my life, most of them still people I talk to regularly. Sadly, a few of them have passed away, but what an incredible legacy they gave us!
If you haven't taken the time to look back today, stop what you're doing and take five. Indeed, you can never go back, but it's always fun to see how far you've come. I've used this quote so many times in the past from author Jody Picoult:
This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.
ClickCon was AMAZING!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry last week. Great speakers, a busy trade show and 1300 attendees loaded with a passion to learn and grow. Put the show on your radar so you know the dates for 2020 when they're announced!
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.