Image copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
Whether you usually shoot macro/closeup or not, there's something remarkable about the quality of an image when the artist has the skillset and right tools. These are watch pieces, and they're tiny.
Our good buddy and LUMIX Ambassador, Shiv Verma, photographed these watch parts with the Platypod Max, two goosenecks, and two LitraTorch 2.0's. The camera setup is a LUMIX G9 with the LUMIX 30mm F.2.8 Macro lens.
Shiv's choice of shooting them high-key and setting up his lighting the way he did shows the detail and gives them a look of being suspended in midair. What might be an ordinary shot becomes extraordinary!
Regardless of your photographic specialty, there are so many opportunities for macro - from ring shots to flowers to products you might be selling on eBay. The list goes on and on. So, if you're not set up to do a little macro/close-up photography, isn't it time?
Shiv is an artist who needs to be on your radar. And, check out his workshops too! Click on either image above to visit Shiv's website to see more of his work. You'll also find him regularly hanging out with the other LUMIX Ambassadors, one of the most talented and diverse teams in professional photography.
The Max Macro Bundle makes it so easy. It was just recently launched as part of Platypod's Black Friday Promotions. Click on any bundle below for more information on this year's Black Friday Bundles.
Images copyright Alex Cearns. All rights reserved.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
by Skip Cohen
A few "chefs" ago, I started searching for quotes that help you get to know each guest we have in the Tamron Kitchen. Alex Cearns redefines having a love and respect for the animal world. It's what her photography is all about. I used the word "respect" because it's the best way to describe her focus and dedication to capture incredible images of critters!
To appreciate her skillset, you need to visit her website, but not just her galleries. Taking a scroll through all the images on her website and backstories is like visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From incredible photos of domestic animals to her photography in the wild and on to animal rescue support, Alex is an artist who ALWAYS walks the talk.
But, just being one of the world's best animal photographers is only part of her commitment. As an educator, you'll find her at conventions throughout the year. She's always giving back, and helping artists raise the bar on the quality of their images.
In this new podcast, Alex shared a lot of great insight into her journey as an animal lover. She's determined to never let the challenges of photographing ANY animal get in the way of the click of the shutter.
Even though neither Chamira or I have ever met Alex in person, one podcast, a few emails, and conversations in cyberspace are enough to thoroughly appreciate her passion for imaging and animals. She's one of those exceptional artists who's simply approachable.
In the "About" section on her website are four goals that Alex shares with her visitors. They reflect her love for the craft and her subjects.
She's committed to her craft as a photographer, artist, educator, speaker, and author. Click on any of Alex's images below to visit her website. It wasn't easy deciding which ones were my favorites because the body of work she shares is remarkable!
"Chef" Alex's recipe is a click away if you missed it last week. Check out one of her favorite creative tools, Tamron's SP 150-600mm F/5.6 - 6.3 lens. Just click on the thumbnail to the right for more information about this lens and the current Instant Savings.
If you haven't visited your local Tamron dealer, it's time to check out the entire family of Tamron lenses. And the Tamron team is on the road nationally all year long, with a lot of new workshops and programs still coming in 2019.
In the next few weeks, you'll find Tamron events going on in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, California, Nevada, and New Jersey. And that's just for November!
Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in photography. You owe it to your clients and yourself to capture images with the very best tools available!
All animal images copyright Alex Cearns. All rights reserved.
It's holiday season - how could I pass up this last image in today's post?
The image above is thanks to Carly Sullens, and it's a perfect example of my favorite thing about this industry, the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
Here's the very short backstory. Carly and I both spoke at ClickCon last August and will be there again next year. While we don't know each other well, like so many photographers, we share a lot of friends and companies we work with. Carly had a business question she sent my way, and I answered it. That started a conversation about photography, conventions, etc.
The image Carly captured above was one of her first as she started experimenting with a Platypod Ultra combined with two of her favorite pieces of equipment, a LUMIX GH5 and a LitraTorch 2.0 complete with barn doors. She sent it to me with the following comment:
"Extreme low light, the sun was setting. I wouldn't have gotten this sharp of an image without the Platypod and Litra accenting the still life."
Her exposure triad was F/2.8 @ 1/125 ISO 200.
Visit Carly's website to check out her work and educational opportunities for photographers. She regularly shares content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
Platypod Black Friday Bundles - Click for more information
Click on any image to enlarge and view in the SCU Lightbox!
Images copyright Gilmar Smith. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Half the fun of photography is looking at great images, but the other half is the fun of getting to know the artists who create them!
When I started working with Platypod last September, I had no idea what to expect. I knew Platypod products were used by many of my good friends; I'd heard Scott Kelby talk about them on The Grid. My buddy and LUMIX Ambassador, Shiv Verma always has a Platypod Ultra and Max in his camera bag. A good pal and wedding artist, Bob Davis has a signature shot he loves from the floor just before the ceremony starts, and the list goes on and on...but I had never met Gilmar Smith.
As a member of the Platypod team, her primary focus is on social media. She's always sharing images and great content on Instagram, but her love for photography goes so much deeper. She's incredibly talented, not just as an expert in image manipulation, but as a children and family photographer.
I had no idea what to expect when I asked her about doing a guest post for SCU, but she exceeded expectations! Her post below is a perfect example of her passion for the craft, her family, and her clients. She redefines the meaning of the word "FUN."
She sent me at least a dozen images to share. I chose the Platypod image first for obvious reasons, but then pulled a mix of client portraits and her own family. As you think about the work you've captured and created for your clients, ask yourself one question, "Have I exceeded their expectations and made myself habit-forming?"
Gilmar never disappoints and has brought the best of technology into her skillset and combined with it her never-ending quest for creativity and fun. And it brings her clients back, over and over again!
Check out more of Gilmar's work with a visit to her website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook too.
by Gilmar Smith
Photographing kids is one of the most challenging things ever, but sometimes it is not even kids who make these photoshoots challenging. It's the pressure and expectations of the parents. Everybody has this idea of having a perfect family portrait where everyone looks their best with huge smiles and a perfect pose. That, to be honest, is pretty unrealistic. Every family has different dynamics; every member of the family has a distinct personality, likes, and dislikes. To me, that's the most beautiful thing about families, that regarding our differences, we are meant to be together and love each other unconditionally amid chaos. That is what should be portrayed in family pictures.
If you look at a perfect family portrait on Pinterest, chances are that at least one of the faces of the member of the family was swapped from another picture. Unless you as a photographer, get really lucky and got everybody to give you your best in one shot, including a toddler and a five months old baby! If that's the case, CONGRATULATIONS!
As a parent myself, and photographer, I have witnessed it all, bribing, threating, crying kids, mom losing her marbles, dad uninterested and annoyed. It's a lot! Not to mention the time and money spent on buying new clothes for the Photoshoot. Then people hang those pictures on the wall that pretty much remind them of all the stress they went through. But heck, they are all smiling!
As a photographer, I find all that process ridiculous. I understand we all want to have beautiful memories of our families, but to me, it is extremely important to connect in a positive way to the images we hang in our walls.
That's why I approach my photoshoots differently.
Don't get me wrong; this is not something I came up out of nowhere. It is actually a technique that I developed with my kids, especially my son, and now I use it with my clients.
My son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism when he was almost four years old. At about that same time I got a camera and started experimenting with photography. Obviously, I wanted to take amazing pictures of my son, but he wasn't interested at all; in fact, he was irritated by me trying to take his picture. So, I started using storytelling as a way to get him interested in getting his picture taken.
We would sketch a story, and then with the use of costumes, props, and the magic of photoshop, we would recreate our story. I noticed that by doing this, he was getting so interested, and he was enjoying being in front of the camera. He was also letting me into his world. Making these images together became our thing. As time passed, he started coming to me with concepts we could photograph, and that completely changed my approach to photography.
By photographing kids the way I do, I'm not only making the process a lot more pleasant and enjoyable for the kids (and the parents), but I'm also giving kids a way to express themselves and use the magic of imagination. And that's the best part of being a child!
This technique also works when photographing the whole family. Think about putting together everybody's personality in just one image!
I offer to create an image that really portraits their life as a family right now, that when they look at it in a few years, they can laugh and really see what everyone was like at that specific moment.
So how do I do it? I quickly explain my approach to my clients and show them a few examples of my work.
Then I go ahead and ask the kid's age, interests, mom and dad's hobbies, and what they do in their free time as a family.
With that information, I come up with different concepts and even create a mood board and sketch something for/with them. If you make sure to incorporate something that reflects the kids' personality in the shoot, such as a prop, toy, something they like to do, you are guaranteed that they will be more than happy to be in front of the camera, and most importantly, they will be willing to do it again!
One of Gilmar's favorite creative tools when it comes to hardware is thanks to Platypod. Check out their current Black Friday promotions, only available while supplies last. Click on any bundle below for more information.
I'm into my NEW typical Sunday morning routine - Sheila and I are both up with the pups. Belle is with her on one side of the house, and Lucy's hanging out with me. "Alexa" has music playing throughout. And, the pups gave us a little extra time to sleep this morning. So, it's starting off to be a pretty stellar day.
At least twice this week, I pondered the meaning of life, wondering what we were thinking to take on two puppies at once. Several times Sheila and I said to each other, "We're too old for this!"
I even went online to search for trainers specializing in house-breaking dogs. Exhausted, often before the day even started, the love of having pets in the house was overshadowed by the bags under my eyes! Looking in the mirror, all I'd see was Yoda looking back at me and saying, "Puppies got I - tired I am."
Then two days ago, at the eight-day mark for these to four-month olds, things changed. They were starting to get it. No accidents in the house; playing in the right area of the yard and staying out of the garden and barking less while playing more. The fun moments started to outweigh the effort.
And that takes me right to my point this morning...
So often we give up too early. We don't have the confidence in a decision we've made, and we start second-guessing the direction our hearts have taken us. We get "buyers remorse," as we struggle to justify whatever path we're on, that's taken more energy than anticipated. And, when we make the decision to give up, we rationalize until we convince ourselves it was the right thing to do.
Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line.
They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.
Years ago, I had the honor of interviewing Mary Ellen Mark in a podcast. She talked about how she made her students tape over the screens on their cameras. She wanted them to shoot like they were working with film. I'm paraphrasing, but mostly, she said, "Photographers give up too early. They look at the screen, think they've got the shot, and then move on. But what if the real shot was yet to come?"
Think about it, what if the embrace between the bride and her grandmother was only the beginning? What if the memory-making moment was the tear in grandma's eyes thirty seconds later, but the photographer chimped, got the shot and moved on?
So, whether it's the way you photograph or the projects you take on - don't give up too early. Listen to your heart. Believe in your convictions, and don't forget there's very little in our lives that's truly forever. Stay focused on your dreams, and never underestimate the power of a decent night's sleep!
Before you give up, remember why you started!
Wishing everybody a terrific day with no regrets and plenty of time to stay focused. You know how to hold focus with a camera in your hands - don't forget how to maintain focus on other aspects of your life. And as always, go for those long hugs...apparently eleven-seconds is the old guideline - now they're saying you need twenty!
Happy Sunday, or Monday, if you're on the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
For over a year and a half, I've shared a Fast Food Friday tip, almost every week. In fact, there are seventy-five different articles; each one focused on a specific aspect of your business. Most of them are short, but they hit on topics ranging from marketing to expanding your skillset and even a few on how to keep your sanity as a small-business owner. Well, it's time to raise the bar a little, and here's a great place to start, diversity, and growing your business.
I'm in contact with dozens of photographers every day. While many of them are new to the business, lately, there's a trend of more seasoned artists trying to figure out how to mix up their game and go in a different direction. It's the Darwin theory of survival of the fittest.
You can use the survival of the fittest to refer to a situation in which only the strongest people or things continue to live or be successful, while the others die or fail. (From Google and Wikipedia)
Here's the first new installment in this Fast Food Friday series - growing your business outside your core specialty.
Stepping Into the Senior Market
Over the last decade, the senior market has become one of the fastest and most diverse specialties in professional photography. Done right; each session is based on relationship building, being fun to work with, and fine-tuning your listening skills. Remember, these are young adults, and as an artist, you'll often be the first professional photographer they've ever worked with. Your relationship should become an investment in future business with them as well as their parents.
But the challenge becomes where to start. Remember, this is the first in a multi-part series, and we're going to start at the very beginning of the marketing process.
Before you roll your eyes about my endorsement of an SCU partner, if you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time, then you know I don't endorse any company who doesn't have something to offer you when it comes to growing your business.
Chamira Young and I have worked with the PhotoTexting.com team since last February. I love what they're doing to help photographers raise the bar on how they communicate, react, and respond to their audience.
With the senior market, we're talking about an audience with demographics that scream "early adopters." Seniors are mobile and text-focused all day long. Knowing the usage rate for teens is high, I had some fun on Google searching to see what the stats suggest:
More than half of teens (54%) say they spend too much time on their cellphones, and 41% say they overdo it on social media. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online...
Now, take that information and think about your younger clients - teens, as well as their parents. There's a lot of useful data for a starting point on growing your business and taking full advantage of mobile solutions.
Don't be thrown by the video below being called a "webinar." It's under four minutes and perfect to watch while enjoying that morning cup of coffee.
This is the first installment in a new series about growing your business. And while we're starting next week and be more focused on marketing to Seniors, the video above applies to so many different aspects of your business! Communication technology is not going to slow down, and mobile technology especially is here to stay - embrace it the right way, and you're going to have the tools not only grow your business but close sales faster, expand your reach and increase revenue!
In keeping with the Fast Food Friday theme, we're going to take it one step at a time. Next Friday, we'll hit getting started in marketing to Seniors, and we'll keep building from there!
by Skip Cohen
As a photographer and an artist, there are two different types of holiday cards.
First, there are holiday cards you produce for your clients. They're both a product and a service. You've got the files from previous events and family sessions with your clients, and the ability to create something special. The idea of a holiday card moves to a service because you can help them put together a custom card - unique just for them. And, you've got the skillset to suggest which images will look best.
Second, are the holiday cards you send out to clients and influencers in the community, featuring one of your images. No professional photographer should ever send out a store-bought holiday card! Use your own photography for holiday cards, thank-you notes, and your stationery.
It's one of the easiest marketing tools at your fingertips, and all it takes is a little time to bring it all together. A great image on the front, a message wishing people a healthy holiday season and on the back your logo, email address, and phone number. Just like a Hallmark card, but instead, it's your name on the back.
Marathon Press has everything you need to create cards for both your needs and your clients. With choices of size, paper, colors, and style they've created an almost unlimited combination of components to make your card or your client's unique.
I've written this a lot over the years - a holiday card is one of your very best marketing tools! Don't let the 2019 holiday season pass you by. There's not much time left and the team at Marathon is there to give you the help you need!
Click on any of the banners in today's post to link to Marathon's Holiday Card products!
Animal images copyright Alex Cearns. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Each month, since the start of the year, Chamira Young and I have had the privilege of working with a member of the Tamron "family." We started the Tamron Recipes project completely underestimating what we'd learn from some of the finest imaging "chefs" in the world. They're artists, educators, writers, and passionate about their careers and love for the craft. I continue to be amazed at the diversity and willingness of each featured "chef" to share their recipes.
Alex Cearns joins us in the Tamron Kitchen in this new post and upcoming podcast. She's a remarkable artist with a love not only for her work, but the animals she works with, both domestic and in the wild. When you look at her work, there's an undeniable signature in so many of her images.
Shakespeare wrote, "the eyes are the window to the soul." One look at Alex's portfolio, and you'll immediately see why I'm making the reference. I grabbed screenshots of three of my favorites below, but it wasn't easy. They're all incredible!
In this new Recipe, Alex is using the SP 150-600mm G2 Tamron lens. In the history of photography, artists have never had more creative tools than today. Alex's love for Tamron lenses has come from their ability to help her capture some of the most beautiful pet portraits in photography.
With every Tamron Recipes post, I like to find a quote that seems to fit our guest "chef." The quote below fit Alex so well.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
About "Chef" Alex: "Dogs Today Magazine" in the U.K. proclaimed Alex Cearns to be "one of the greatest dog photographers in the world. However, after recording our podcast, which will air next week, and getting to know Alex, skills and understanding animals go so much deeper. She's truly an animal rights activist and said:
As a photographer, my greatest inspiration is the animal kingdom. Animals are carefree, unaffected, and without ego. I learn so much from observing them and being in their company.
She is committed to ALL creatures regardless of their size or domestic vs. wild. She's one of Australia's most passionate champions supporting animal rescue and wildlife. Her love for the animal world is inspirational. Take a scroll through her galleries, and you'll immediately be introduced to her passion for animals.
About the SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens: Click on the banner below to find out more about this outstanding lens. Alex captured the image of the family of Rock Dassies late in the day and talks about the shoot in the upcoming podcast.
Alex is our eleventh guest "chef" in the Tamron kitchen. Join us on the next Tamron Tuesday when Chamira Young and I will be sharing our conversation with "Chef" Alex in another new podcast. Alex will be sharing a lot of great insight into her love and support for the animal kingdom.
Tamron's manufacturing somer of the finest glass in photography. They never slow down in helping photographers become great chefs. And, there's currently a $100 instant savings on the SP 150-600mm G2 lens at your authorized Tamron Dealer.
Finding your local Tamron Dealer is just a click away.
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.
Most of you are still-imaging artists, and while filmmaking isn't usually a part of your career, storytelling is. And, if you think about our industry, the line between still-photographers and videographers has been getting thinner and thinner. So, I'm not suggesting you've got to start being a filmmaker, but many of you need a better understanding of video today.
When I watched this BTS video with comments from four well-respected filmmakers, I was surprised at how much great content they shared. All four of them are shooting the LUMIX S1H for different reasons. The common denominator is their love for imaging and shooting full-frame mirrorless. And, even if you never shoot video, you need to have an appreciation for the technology and the techniques these four artists talk about behind the scenes.
Looking for more information on Panasonic's S series cameras? Just click on the banner above. In the meantime, this three-minute video shares a lot of excellent content. And if you're one of those artists who say, "I never shoot video," never say never! Our industry is changing all the time, and along with it consumer trends, how people share images and storytelling. At least make it a point to understand a little of the technology!
Filmmaking just got more interesting thanks to the Panasonic LUMIX S1H full-frame mirrorless camera. Go behind the scenes with our LUMIX S1H video creators for an exclusive look at how they got the shot. Featuring content shot by David Smith, Carissa Dorson, Jacob Schwarz, and Nick Dabas
Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world.
A veteran doesn't have that problem.
by Skip Cohen
I feel like I'm trapped in an old movie, and the hands of the clock are spinning as time passes by. This year has gone incredibly fast, and I'm astounded that it's already Veteran's Day. Just for the fun of it, I looked up "Veteran's Day" on Wikipedia:
Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces (and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable). It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.
The definition of the day is to honor those who have served honorably. But, I like the fact the holiday has also morphed into respect for those who are actively serving now. And, I love the spill-over to thank the families who "serve" as well.
So, to our son who's a Colonel in the Army; Uncle Randy who rarely takes off his Marine baseball hat; our friends who have served, and so many families with members currently deployed and serving...THANK YOU for your service and your sacrifice.
A year or so before my Dad passed away, I took him to D.C., thanks to HonorFlight.org. It's a fantastic organization. If you've got a veteran in the family, don't wait to get them on an Honor Flight trip. Just click on the banner below to link to their website. They're a non-profit and need all the help we can give them!
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people
by Skip Cohen
At least once a year, I write the same post about the rules of engagement. My feeling for the need to share it, again and again, is always the result of a battle in a Facebook forum that went off-track. It would be so great if wannabe-trolls just had a button on their computer to push before posting a comment.
I'm one of four administrators in one of the larger Facebook forums. A couple of weeks ago, I got sucked into being a playground guard with "kids" who weren't playing nice. I commented on the thread and suggested they grow up, but we all know that isn't going to change their behavior.
So, I'm going back to a post from a few years back and suggesting we work just a little harder on what should be the rules of engagement. The original post was more about personal attacks on other photographers, but I want to expand it to Facebook and social media threads too. And, while most of you don't need to be reminded, give me hand with people who just don't get it.
And whether in social media or live in ANY industry:
I know this post doesn't apply to most of you, but feel free to share it with somebody who's forgotten! Or as my buddy, Levi Sim has said, "Act as if your grandmother's watching!"
I don't usually quote Queen Latifah, but I got a kick out of this quote. I guess it's a matter of your priorities:
A lot of people are crazy, cruel and negative. They got a little too much time on their hands to discuss everybody else. I have a limited amount of energy to blow in a day.
I'd rather read something that I like or watch a program I enjoy
or ride my damn motorcycle or throw back a couple of shots of tequila with my friends.
And that's exactly the way I feel right now. I know time flies when you're having a good time, but this is absurd!
It's anything but a typical Sunday morning, or maybe a better way to put it is, it's the new Sunday morning. It's early, Sheila and I had been up for half an hour when I started this post, but so were the "kids." And, it's now taken me two hours to write this short post - only because of the interruptions for playtime, potty-breaks, breakfast and chasing balls, bones, and squeaky toys!
Time for everyone to meet Belle and Lucy. They were born three days apart. They're the best of friends, and they're non-stop puppy energy at sixteen weeks. The interaction is hysterical to watch. Lucy is the alpha female, but Belle holds her own, especially when it comes to stealing toys.
I've written a lot about Molly the Wonder Dog over the years. I know that anyone who's ever lost a dog knows that empty feeling in your heart when they're gone. There's no time limit on grieving. However, there is a time when you realize what a gift they were in your life. You never forget them, but you know it's time to open your heart to a new pet.
Well, Sheila wanted a small dog, and I wanted a bigger one...so the compromise was two dogs, a Havanese that will weigh in at ten pounds fully grown and a Mini-Golden Doodle at twenty-five. Watching them interact has been non-stop laughter, but it's almost a full-time job.
And here's my point: I'm not sure what two old farts like us were thinking getting two puppies. It's exhausting! But, there's something wonderful when in the evening, as we're watching TV, they're asleep in our laps. Our initial thought was they'd keep us young...no guarantee on that yet, but they're keeping us in shape and smiling between bouts of exhaustion! LOL
"Just like butter in a hot pan, your heart will melt when your puppy takes a nap in your lap."
Wishing everybody a day filled with smiles...take the time for those eleven-second hugs, although a buddy sent me an article recently that suggests twenty-seconds is the new hug time. And, if there's a pet in your house, go for a hug in their direction too.
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday to friends on the other side of the world!
My apologies for the quality of the image above, but it's Throwback Thursday. The photo is from the 90s, and was a 62KB file. I've tried to clean it up as best I can. It will never win an award for quality, but the booth certainly will!
Bambi Cantrell and I wrote three books together about wedding photography. The image above was her booth at bridal fairs at the time, which she talked about in one of the books. When so many photographers did the minimum with the usual skirted table and a bunch of albums, Bambi was always making a statement.
What's remarkable is how little effort the whole booth took to create. The panels in the back are just painted hollow wood doors with a little added molding and spotters. The floor they set up in advance on plywood sheets, and the rest is just accessories to be inviting.
Bambi was also one of the first photographers to use image boxes for shows like this. While she had albums to show as well, using the image box allowed more than one person to look at her work and not "hog" an album. Plus, it made a point to the audience about other ways to share images from the wedding. She had those big framed prints on display, albums and the image box - all giving the bride more ideas on things to do with the photographs from the wedding.
But here's the point - if you're going to exhibit at ANY show for ANYTHING - make your booth a statement. Go the extra step. I still see companies doing the same thing at trade shows today, and it's always the same. A static display with a staff member or two who are "underwhelming."
Are you looking to make your work stand out and make a great first impression? Don't settle for doing what everyone else is doing!
"It's never crowded along the extra mile!
by Skip Cohen
Don Komarechka is no stranger to SCU. We've shared so many of his images in the past, along with podcasts and great "how-to" content.
Last week the industry's favorite mad scientist astonished us again with "Liquid Flow" photography and the video below. I know this is very different from the kind of images most of you capture. However, besides the beauty of each photograph as art, pay attention to the way he tells the story in the video.
As one of photography's leading most creative educators, he's also ALWAYS willing to share the process he's used for the images themselves.
Platypod and the LUMIX GX9 and S1R played key roles in the short film below. And, if this was Hollywood, Don would be walking away with the Oscar for best director, producer, and writer!
Don needs to be on your radar! You'll find him regularly sharing outstanding content on his Instagram page, and his website is jam-packed with more images, podcasts and information about his workshops! Just click the thumbnail below.
As I mentioned above - Don's always willing to share the backstory on his images and each piece of gear used along the way!
by Don Komarechka:
Here's how you do "liquid flow" photography (and video, obviously) using ultraviolet lights and fluorescing inks!
Gear involved all listed below!
First, the lights. I'm using a bunch of stuff here, basically everything I had that I could fit in. That includes:
- 3 Convoy S2+ flashlights: https://www.fluorescents.com/products...
- 1 Convoy C8 'Fyrfly': https://www.engeniousdesigns.com/prod...
- 1 'Jaxman' UV flashlight: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07...
- 2 "Master Ultra365 units from MinerShop (AC-powered): http://www.minershop.com/051718/html/...
The lights are all held together with Platypod Max and Ultra units, with gooseneck arms: https://platypod.com/our-tripods
- added "crab clamps" to hold the lights, readily available from generic vendors on Amazon.
The tank is an 8" cube aquarium from a local supplier, but any glass aquarium would work.
The inks! These are all from a company called "Noodler's". The three used in this video include:
"Blue Ghost": https://www.gouletpens.com/products/n...
"Dragon Catfish Orange": https://www.jetpens.com/Noodler-s-Dra...
Cameras used: Lumix GX9 for wider shot: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc... Lumix S1R for main video/stills shooting: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc... Kit lenses used for both.
The shooting of the stills was simple: maintain a 1/200sec shutter speed, shoot wider than you need to crop in to the areas of interest (and get a greater depth of field from shooting further back), F/13, and whatever ISO is required to make those other two settings work. With the amount of lights I had, that was ISO 1000.
These images survive noise reduction VERY well, so don't be afraid to push to ISO 6400 and beyond if needed!
By Chamira Young
If there's one thing Michigan has no shortage of throughout the state, it's scenic nature trails. Combined with a plethora of beautiful trees and - if you time it right - lovely weather, it's the perfect recipe for a fun walk to capture the mood of nature. It's a great way to practice creativity "just because" and keep your passion for your craft alive. If you're a pro or semi-pro, sometimes this passion can get lost in the day-to-day challenges of running your business. That's why it's invaluable to do an occasional fun project just for the thrill of it.
The images in this post were taken with Tamron's fantastic 35-150mm/2.8-4 lens. I love its versatility: while it's a great portrait lens, I find it's wonderful for outdoor photography in general. And given that I'm still mending from a hip injury, it's extremely useful to have a lens that does a bit of the walking for me!
The goal of my nature walk was to capture the mood of the path, the ambience of the time of day, and also my own personal creative expression as an artist. After capturing the images, I took them into Lightroom and played with the Adjustment Brush to adjust the exposure, shadows, and temperature of each image.
I also couldn't resist snapping a photo of the leaves beneath my boots, as I found them to be an interesting visual texture.
If you haven't done so recently, get out in the great outdoors and unleash your creativity. It may give you that much-needed kick of inspiration you've been missing. And be sure to check out Tamron's fantastic 35-150mm/2.8-4 lens. It will raise the bar on your quality of work!
Image copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
It's always fun catching up to Shiv Verma, especially when he's on the road hitting bucket list places like Tanzania.
Just recently posted, Shiv captured the image above with a LUMIX G9 and the Leica 50-200 mm lens. He added the 2X teleconverter to the mix, a product too many of you forget to have in your bag!
Traveling vicariously with Shiv is a kick. He's always sharing great images captured all over the world and often right in your own backyard. You'll find so many of his LUMIX images on the LUMIX Photographers group on Facebook.
With the image above he posted:
African elephants protecting a sleeping calf.
Northern Serengeti, Tanzania. Panasonic Lumix G9 with the Leica 50-200 and the 2X teleconverter.
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/400sec at ISO 640.
It's time to wander into your LUMIX dealer! Check out the entire LUMIX family, and not only the G9 but the incredible new full-frame S1. Plus, take the time to follow Shiv and the LUMIX Ambassadors. They represent one of the most diverse teams in professional photography.
Years ago photographers used to view teleconverters as gimmick products, but these days with Panasonic's technology and focus on quality, that's just not the case. Click on any of the thumbnails below for more information. Check out the new S1 Series too!
Click below to meet the new LUMIX Full-Frame S Series Cameras
It's the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey.
by Skip Cohen
At the risk of sounding like a joke that's going around:
What do you get when you put Michele Neal Celentano, Paul Neal, Susan Stripling, Kelly Brown, Rob Brown, Sheila, and me in the same house for a weekend?
You get non-stop laughs, minimal sleep, and bags under your eyes that when you look in the mirror, you see Yoda looking back at you!
Daylight savings time has screwed me up, and Sheila and I are both up this morning way too early. That being said, nothing changes quality time with old friends and new ones. If you think about it for just a second, none of us get the time together we wish we had at conventions or throughout the year. So, when Michele and Paul suggested sharing a house together for Sue Bryce and George Varanakis' wedding, we were in...no hesitation whatsoever.
While the wedding was the obvious highlight of the weekend...the bonus benefit has been getting quality time with some incredibly talented people who are each in their own right a knucklehead! I use the word "knucklehead" as one of my highest compliments. True knuckleheads are energetic, risk-takers who repeatedly challenge us to think outside the box and push the boundaries of paradigms.
If you look up the word knuckleheads, it's going to be derogatory and suggest people with small brains, the size of one's knuckles. But from Skip's Urban Dictionary - over the years, I've used it to refer to friends whose hearts are bigger than their brains - In fact, their hearts are typically the largest part of their body!
So, there are two points this morning...
First, surround yourself with great friends, the knuckleheads who make you smile a little more, laugh a little louder, and who you know will be there, even when you've got nothing to smile about. Second, find quality time with people you want to get to know.
It's not a new topic, and one I seem to be hitting a lot lately. I think it's part of the aging process. The older you get, the more value you put on friendships. It becomes more important to get to know people who come into your life on a stronger foundation than just a few minutes together on a trade show floor.
Wishing everybody a day filled with the knuckleheads in your life, and the time to laugh and appreciate how lucky you are to have them by your side! Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs, and cherish how the "huggee" makes your heart soar.
Happy Sunday, or as always, Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
The purpose of Fast Food Friday never changes - to help you build a stronger business model. Every week there's been something that comes up that sparks an idea that leads to another blog post. This is a short one today, and all it takes is a scroll through YouTube.
Last night, while hanging out in Phoenix with Michele Celentano and her husband Paul, we wandered through YouTube. It started out looking for laughs, but by the end of the night, we'd used YouTube to search for old videos with Monte Zucker, Don Blair, and Dean Collins.
Most of you never knew any of them, but their role in our industry was instrumental in building a foundation for quality and consistency in imaging. But my point goes well beyond some of my heroes that we've lost over the years.
Too many of you have taken shortcuts to build your skillset. Sometimes it's been intentional, other times the result of the pressure to develop your business. Being a success as a professional photographer is about being able to meet the needs of each client. It's about listening more than talking. It's about building relationships and never compromising on the quality of a photograph.
Well, YouTube is jam-packed with thousands of videos from photographers who are no longer with us together with some of the finest artists in the world who you know today. All it takes is hanging out in the search box and putting in the names of artists you should know more about.
I found this short teaser that David Ziser posted in 2012, which tied back to Photovision. And if you've been around for a few years, you'll spot Clay Blackmore and a few other favorites. But, there's also some classic content that Monte shares.
And just to have some fun with a great example of timeless advice - check out this video from Creative Live featuring Michele Celentano on posing groups. With the fourth quarter seasonality now in full swing, along with the demand for family portraits, the timing is perfect for so many of you to watch this video!
Intro by Chamira Young
Whether you consider yourself a pro, semi-pro, or hobbyist photographer, you should always be looking for creative ideas to push the envelope of your creativity. Much of the fun of being a photographer is learning new things and exploring the possibilities. This includes being inspired by other fellow photographers!
That's why we love the series "One location, One Lesson, One Lens" the team at Tamron passionately produces. It gives you a first-hand peek over the shoulder of a professional photographer as they utilize their lenses, interact with their subjects, and create amazing images. In today's featured video, we get a fun look at how photographer Michael Gilbert interacts with his model and grabs some amazing shots with the new Tamron 35-150mm lens. Talk about an amazing piece of glass! Check it out below and get ready to be inspired!
by Skip Cohen
It's not only Marketing Monday, but as Walmart, Amazon, and even Canon launched their holiday specials last week, gift-shopping and holiday urgency has started earlier than usual. Why? Because retailers figured out there are six less actual shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. *Poof* The world has gone mad with a rush to get great deals!
Well, the good news is - with the rush to start shopping early, that means more time for you to have an impact on your target audience. And, being Marketing Monday, here's a list of things to think about to help make your presence more recognized and be a leader in service through the seasonality of the fourth quarter crunch.
There's a saying I heard years ago that's been modified numerous times by writers over the years. I still like this one:
If you do what you've always done, you'll never get more than you ever got!
Skip's Holiday Resource Center
I didn't want to turn the post above into an infomercial, but SCU has some outstanding partners and friends.
All of them focused on helping you through the holiday season!
Their links are below:
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.