by Skip Cohen
Technology and how we communicate are continually changing. To grow your business, you've got to be able to adapt and reach your target audience in the most effective ways possible. It's time to supercharge your website and social media presence!
We're excited to share the launch of the NEW PhotoTexting.com website, giving you access to over twenty simple mobile solutions to grow your business. Watch the three-minute video below. Then, check out the link to PhotoTexting.com and the special bonus offer making new texting technology easy to understand and even easier to afford! There are 20+ simple to use mobile solutions to help you raise the bar on how you communicate with your target audience!
And, if you're a senior photographer check out the remarkable NEW Senior Rep Program!
by Skip Cohen
It's no secret I'm a big fan of education and everything that helps artists raise the bar on their skillset, together with a better understanding of business and marketing. That's the foundation for everything we've been sharing here on the SCU blog since the beginning.
In the last few years, there have been some great boutique conferences launched. Each one has brought another outstanding experience to the party. Here's a new one not to miss.
Check out the 2020 PAS de DEUX Dance Photography Conference. If you're an artist with a focus on dance, there's an exciting conference coming up in Phoenix in January. I'm excited to be helping its founder, Ron McKinney help spread the word.
What I love most about this conference is that it's intentionally meant to be small and maximize the education and experience for each attendee. Ron's brought together six of the most recognized dance photographers in the industry. This is an opportunity for you to spend time with speakers Rachel Neville, Eric Pare and Kim Henry, Jordan Matter, Taylor Ferne-Morris, David Hoffman and Jonathan Givens.
Jonathan Givens is on the platform as a featured speaker, and he's no stranger to SCU. Just click on his image below to listen to his episode of "Why?"
From raising the bar on your skills to networking and expanding your creativity, it's destined to be a conference to help you thrive. If you've got an interest in dance photography, click on the banner above for more information!
It's "Mirrorless Monday!"
What a kick to share an image from one of my most favorite parks, Yellowstone, captured by one of my most favorite artists and educators. I've shared a lot of photographs from the park in winter, going back to the industry's annual trip on snowmobiles. For ten years there were an average of twenty photographers who got together every year with plenty of gear and film to photograph the park, always covered with snow and ice.
The fun of following this current trip into the park is that it's part of The Bubble Trailer Light Tour with Suzette Allen and Jon Yoshinaga. Suzette posted this on Facebook on Friday, but the image deserves to be shared to a bigger audience!
The image was captured with a LUMIX G9 and 50-200mm lens, at "Paint Pots" at West Thumb - Yellowstone Lake. There's very little that tops the combination of the steam, the landscape, and moonrise (7:45 pm). This is also a great time of year to be there - before the winter and after the peak of the tourist season.
Suzette and Jon are on the road for a 13,000-mile adventure with great workshops scheduled all along the way.
Follow their schedule, so you don't miss them at a location near you. Just click the "Follow" tab below.
While the primary focus of the trip is education and helping photographers raise the bar on their skill set, I love that they're sharing images all along the way!
Stay tuned - we'll be sharing so much more from the tour. There are two months to go and a lot of miles to cover!
And for more information on the G9 and the 50-200mm lens, click on either thumbnail below. I've been working with the G9 for the last four months and the technology Panasonic has built into this camera is remarkable!
Image copyright Lisa Garcia. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
For years I've talked about the best thing about our industry - the friendships. Out of the mutual love for the craft, we meet other photographers at conventions, workshops, in our community and online in cyberspace.
Meet Lisa Garcia, a talented artist here in Sarasota. Had it not been for our mutual friend, Bobbi Lane we might not have met. If you know Bobbi, then you also know that looking at her circle of friends is like playing the Kevin Bacon, three degrees of separation game. Think back, and I'm betting many of you can link to somebody who knows Bobbi, and no more than three degrees away.
All of us had lunch together last spring when Bobbi and husband Lee Varis were here in Sarasota. We had a chance to visit Lisa's studio in St. Armands Circle, and her work is stunning. The image above won a bronze award at the Portrait Masters Conference in 2018, further recognizing Lisa's success as a visual artist.
Lisa's work is beautiful, but I loved her backstory even more:
A quick back story on this client: She was 58 and was going through a lot of changes in her life. She was in a place of wanting to see herself in a different way and asked to be photographed nude. When I asked how she wanted to be photographed she simply said…I trust you. She loves and cherishes her images. She still to this day tells me that that day changed her life. Sometimes it isn't just about the end result of the photograph, but the journey that is taken to get there. I am humbled by the women that I have had the honor of photographing over the years. It is my spiritual journey as well as theirs.
There's a very special ingredient when it comes to capturing and creating remarkable portraits...trust.
Being a great photographer isn't just about technique, but relationship building. It's about your clients trusting you to listen and understand what they're hoping you can capture. If you love the craft like Lisa does, then you also know creating a great experience for the subject goes both ways. I love her line about her sessions often being a spiritual journey for her as well her clients. It's that dedication and love for the craft that gives Lisa the ability to capture images like the one above.
Lisa's studio is just a click away.
If any part of your business targets family portraiture, NOW is the time to ramp things up! Think about the potential for an updated family portrait, and your ability to become a hero by giving Mom a new idea for gift-giving this holiday season. Remember, 98% of the decisions to hire a photographer in the portrait/social categories are made by women - and most often that's either Mom or with weddings, a bride.
It's Marketing Monday, or maybe today should be Marathon Monday because Marathon Press has a complete program to help you expand your reach and be more effective in attracting clients.
Here's what I love about the program and why it's perfect for so many of you:
It's September and time to start building more business to help you make the fourth quarter the best you've ever had. It won't happen if you just sit there and pray for more business to come through your door. Check out what Marathon's got to offer and let's help you give 2019 a strong finish. Here's your chance to make this year a time when you don't just survive but THRIVE!
Call Marathon at 800-228-0629 or click on the banner above for more information. If you do this today, you've also got time to order a FREE sample of their Family Marketing material. But, don't wait too long - you want to take action quickly and start planting those idea seeds with Mom NOW!
Photo Credit: © Yakobchuk Olena
It's Sunday morning, and as I write today's Reflections, it may well be one of the hardest I've ever written. At the same time, it's one of the most important to share.
Yesterday afternoon I got an email about one of the very best friends I've had in my life, Terry Deglau:
This is Sydney, Terry's daughter, writing you today with sad news. We wanted to be in touch with all of you as soon as possible, and since dad so loved his blog, we figured this was the best way to get the word out. This morning, Sat., September 14, 2019, our Dad passed away...
I immediately teared up, and for the rest of the evening, the tears would come and go, until my head hit the pillow. I fell asleep thinking about my good buddy and our thirty-year friendship together. It was more than just "thinking" about our friendship. As I closed my eyes, I was looking at a theater marquis with bold letters, "TONIGHT: Skip and Terry's Awesome Adventure." I walked into the theater and grabbed a seat.
Most of you didn't know Terry. He and I met around 1989, and he was instrumental in putting Kodak on the map with professional photographers. That might seem strange since back then Kodak was one of the top five most recognized brands in the world, but not in everyone's heart. Terry was hired to be the relations manager with the working public. His target? Professional photographers in the portrait/social categories.
So, if you were a wedding, school, portrait, or pet photographer if you didn't know Terry personally, you certainly knew who he was. But you knew him because he was Terry Deglau the photographer, not because of his role in Kodak. He was a photographer, educator, writer, and friend to so many of us in the industry. He was perhaps the kindest most giving man I've ever met, and his passion for photography was unmatched.
I was president of Hasselblad at the time we met. After writing to Kodak and calling several times without a response, we chose to do a marketing promotion with Agfa. Management at Kodak was upset and sent Terry to meet with me to get the company relationship back on track. It was around 1989/90 at WPPI where we first met. There was an exhibitor lounge on the second floor overlooking the trade show, and that's where our friendship kicked off - and it only grew from there.
Within a few months, it was as if we'd known each other our entire lives. Our friendship was one adventure after another. We drove Ansel Adams' 1977 Cadillac and photographed Yosemite for three days. We started "Speakers Corner" between the Kodak and Hasselblad booths at trade shows. We were together on the annual snowmobile trip to Yellowstone each winter for ten years; then a father-son trip to Yosemite with my son Adam and his son Jim; and countless lunches, dinners, and projects together, year after year.
Always laughing about it, Terry referred to me as his evil brother, talking him into one adventure after another. The two of us complimented each other. We used to laugh about being like an old married couple. We knew each other that well.
Somewhere along the way, Tony Corbell, Terry, Don Blair and I became the Four Musketeers. We worked together on different projects; always caught up to each other for at least one meal at every convention and simply watched each other's backs. Our friendship existed in real time, since there was no Internet, Facetime, or Skype to keep in touch.
Terry's health wasn't always the best, and around 2005 he'd retired and was living in Florida in the Villages. After a stroke he wasn't allowed to drive, so we came up with a solution. I don't remember if it was Roy Madearis' idea or mine, but together with a long list of friends, we raised enough funds and surprised Terry with a 1957 Chevy replica golf cart. One by one, we all showed up at his house for the day of delivery.
As usual, Terry was clueless. My Dad and I showed up first, and told Terry we had to be in Orlando. Ralph Romaguera, who lived in New Orleans said he was just in the neighborhood and thought he'd stop by. The doorbell never stopped ringing.
Yesterday the industry lost one of its biggest fans, and many of us lost a best friend. I didn't have exclusivity on Terry's friendship, but couldn't be more proud to have been part of the circle of people who loved and respected him. In Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posting Body Parts, which was produced with Terry and Tony's help, I wrote:
"So the secret to creating great images really isn't a mystery at all. It just takes a photographer like Terry who loves what he does, a few good friends and an unmatched love for the craft!"
And to my buddy, Terry, you'll be missed more than you could possibly know. There are thousands of photographers whose lives you touched, and you'll always have a piece of my heart. Love ya man - until we meet on the next great adventure...
Note: A memorial service is planned for 11am on Saturday, Oct 19th, 2019 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Latrobe, PA. Hope many of you can be there.
This might be one of our shortest and easiest recipes from the SCU Diner. And, it's not really exclusive to professional photographers, although that's the direction we're most focused on.
One of the top complaints of new couples after the wedding is the photographer didn't meet their mindset with the finished photographs, video, and album. And the reason most often relates to listening skills. So, here are a few suggestions:
Your strongest marketing tool, which I've written about before is in building a relationship and trust. It applies to every specialty within photography, including commercial, boudoir, family, children, maternity, and the list goes on and on!
"Do not listen with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand."
by Skip Cohen
OTR is for "On the Road" and with the schedule for this tour, I can hear Willy Nelson singing in the background every time I look at the map!
Last week two great photographers, Suzette Allen, and Jon Yoshinaga, hit the road with their "partner in crime" Ms. Bubble Trailer. In the tradition of "Where's Waldo," we're going to track and share their 13,000 nine-week journey each week and also give you a peek at where they're headed next.
It's an incredible undertaking in hands-on education and networking. It's going to give so many of you a chance to raise the bar on your images, pick up new techniques and see some of the latest products/services from some of the industry's most progressive companies.
Along the way, in between formal classes, this trip is about seeing America and sharing images. Suzette wrote about last week when hitting the Bonneville Salt Flats:
...We decided to invite our friends, the Chopstick Guys! They are a couple fo fun-loving, sushi-eating photographic educators and photographers and they did a fab class out there a few months back...Then we connected with Bry Cox in Salt Lake City and we had a creative photo party! Bry brought a couple models, Pamela and Addie, and we got some great shots with them and Ms. BT of course!
...We set up our new NanLites, which are super bright LED lights. that enabled us to do video as well. I loved the way we could separately light up the trailer and the model and have a perfectly lit look, making them pop on a cool blue backdrop!
Check out Suzette's complete post with more great images from the Salt Flats.
Great programming like this doesn't happen without strong industry support. What a kick and an honor to be part of the craziness of a 13,000 mile adventure and thousands of photographers who Suzette and Jon will be with in the weeks ahead.
It's Throwback Thursday and so often turning back the clock for a few minutes brings back great memories taking you down so many different paths.
For example, here's everything that comes to mind with today's post:
All those memories from just a page about a Pictage program!
Whether you share it in social media or not, take the time like I do every Thursday and go search for a spot in your past that brings out memories. Pictage put together some terrific events over the years and brought so many of us into each other's lives.
So, how many of you were at the Pictage Partner Conferences?
by Skip Cohen
It's Wednesdays with Westcott, and Zach Gray is in the spotlight packing some outstanding tips on lighting into a less than two-minute video. I love the way Westcott has developed their educational programs - always relevant, and at the same time, to the point.
Zach's no stranger to SCU. In fact, one of our most-read posts was a few years back, thanks to Zach and Jody. It's not about technique in capture, but your technique in branding and building your reputation. "You Are Not a Second Class Photographer" is worth taking a few minutes to read. The links in the post may no longer be active, but that doesn't make their message any less relevant.
And another thing to help you stay relevant is understanding lighting. We all love natural light, but I know when I meet a photographers who mention they're "natural light specialists," they simply don't understand studio lighting.
Click on the video thumbnail and watch full screen - Zach shares a lot of great "how-to" advice, all in just over a minute. Then, practice the technique he's sharing so you're never in a position of lighting a subject in a tight space and not getting the results you want!
Through the end of this year, remember, whenever you enter Westcott through the gateways below, 10% of your purchase goes to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, one of the industry's most respected nonprofits. SCU is a Westcott affiliate, but our 10% commission will be going to NILMDTS.
Click on two of Zach's favorite lighting tools above for more information,
and a wide range of lighting accessories to choose from.
Images copyright Teal Garcia. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Ever feel like time is passing incredibly fast, like the hands on a clock spinning in an old movie? As we share a new "Tamron Recipes" with another "chef," I'm amazed this is now the ninth in the series. Each one has captured the passion of another chef when "cooking" with Tamron. Tamron's outstanding optical quality combined with the skillset of each guest has created a remarkably diverse body of work.
Teal Garcia joins us in the Tamron Kitchen in this new episode. While her lens choice and skillset are obviously part of her success, it's her love for the craft that's a big part of the foundation for everything she does. With every Tamron Recipes post, I always go off in search of a quote that seems to fit both our guest "chef" and the image along with the upcoming podcast to be aired.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life,
and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work is love what you do.
About "Chef" Teal: For the last year Teal's been based out of Oahu, Hawaii. It's a big change of scenery from previously living in Oklahoma. She's an internationally recognized award-winning portrait photographer, and there's a great line in her bio I want to share:
"I have an obsession with what I do and I love a good adventure."
Teal's husband is in the military and currently based out of Pearl Harbor. Having been around the military world in our own family, I can't help but think all the travel in Teal's life has contributed to her passion for adventure. Plus, think about how she's had to keep her skillset well-developed in order to create beautiful portraits in a wide variety of environments, no matter where she's based!
Part II of Teal's recipe series is coming next Tuesday. You can be sure we'll be talking about the challenges of relocation; her mind's eye visions when she's working with a client and her absolute love for photography. Her website is just a click away.
About the SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD Click on the banner below to find out more about the SP35mm lens and one of Teal's most favorite members of the Tamron family.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Lenses: SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD
Location: Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
Exposure Triad:F/1.8 @ 1/400 ISO 400
Backstory: This was a styled shoot and Mentoring session I had put together for three other photographers.
The girl in the photo had answered a model call about a month before we shot this and it was supposed to be her and her boyfriend. About a week before the shoot she got in touch with me to let me know her, and her boyfriend broke up, but she was dead set on shooting with me. She said she would bring a friend.
I really try and get couples to be intimate and close, so I knew for sure that this "Friend" scenario wasn't going to work, but we were a week out, and people had paid to shoot with me, so we were going to have to just go with it. She promised it would be all good. Well, they showed up, and together they were a smoke show! Holy cow! I did have to do a little more directing than I would have to for a regular couple because they didn't have the automatic closeness a real couple would have, but they took direction beautifully. So even with four photographers in their faces, they rocked it and created some of the most favorite images I have ever taken.
Every month it's a kick to share another Tamron Recipe. Join us on the next Tamron Tuesday when Chamira Young and I will be sharing our conversation with "Chef" Teal in another new podcast.
Tamron never slows down in helping photographers become great chefs. They're manufacturing some of the finest glass in photography and just recently started shipping the new SP35mm F1.4 Di USD.
Finding your local Tamron Dealer is just a click away.
It's Mirrorless Monday, and most of the time I love to share images from the members of the LUMIX Ambassador team, but now and then there's an image of my own that demonstrates the remarkable technology Panasonic's brought to our industry.
That's a magnolia pod above. Every year they bloom in the spring and then a few months later morph into something from a sci-fi movie. I love the color as each seed pops out, but within a couple of days, all the beauty and mystery is gone.
I was on my way to the mailbox a few days ago when I spotted them and grabbed my G9 with the 14-140mm lens. I shot a variety of images, including using the 30mm macro, but this was one of my favorites. The only enhancement was enlarging the pod closer to life-size. I had to give it a slight tweak in clarity in Luminar, but only because the image lost a little color going from the original to a screenshot and then this post.
It's hardly a scientific test, but the sharpness is never a disappointment. If you're not already a member of the LUMIX family, check out the G9 for yourself.
This camera is phenomenal, but I've said that about everything I've used from Panasonic! LOL
Click on either thumbnail above for more information
In 1827 the first photograph was captured, but it wouldn't be until 1837 when Louis Daguerre captured an image that took less than eight hours to expose! However you look at when photography was invented, in the 192-year stretch, there have never been more creative tools at your disposal.
Our good buddy and industry icon Rick Sammon just brought one more creative tool to the table. This is his fortieth book, further establishing his reputation as a leading author, educator, artist, podcaster, and a good friend to so many of us in the industry.
Rick's been an inspiration to so many of us over the years, but usually, it's through the lens of his camera. His new book is about bringing your heart into imaging. And, if you think about it, it's your most important creative tool.
You can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't it.
Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures is a book about life and the role photography plays. It's loaded with incredible insight, starting with Trey Ratcliff's foreword. Rick described the book as:
Understanding why and how we are motivated to make pictures – and what your photography means to you – is of the utmost importance. So is learning about emotional intelligence for photographers, how to steal like an artist, realizing that it's never to late to be who you might have been, and understanding the difference between looking at seeing. Exploring light and color therapy also helps. Rick Sammon
Packed with wisdom, it also includes 20 motivating self-assignments along with what Rick refers to as "Sammonisms." This is about the value photography plays in all of our lives. It's not about capturing stunning images but understanding the role imaging plays in having a stunning life.
Rick should be on your radar. Keep tabs on everything he's doing with a click on the picture of him above and link to his website.
by Skip Cohen
Next month Kevin A. Gilligan launches Developing Men, a solo exhibit comprised of still photography and a short film. The exhibition opens on October 5 from 4-9 PM PST at the Resin in Hermosa Beach, CA.
One of SCU's most-read posts was Kevin's in 2016 loaded with tips about doing an exhibition of your work. There was so much content that we ran it in three parts. Kevin has shared other guest posts over the years, including one of my favorite images in an episode of "Why?"
Developing Men is a contemporary examination of male friendship, masculinity, isolation, community and legacy through the mediums of photography and video. In his third solo exhibition, South Bay Photographer Kevin taps into the zeitgeist of the moment and asks what is going well with men, what is not going well with men, and more importantly, why?
“We are in the middle of one of the fastest periods of change in humanity, with new technologies, we are both more connected and more isolated than ever before. With increased feelings of isolation, communities suffer. At the same time, traditional roles of masculinity are changing rapidly. I am interested in how people perceive these changes and what are the effects on their lives. Why do some succeed when others do not? How do men think about these issues, and how does this affect the men, women and children around them?
What does it take to develop good men?”
Kevin A. Gilligan
But there are other aspects to Kevin's work that make today's post so much fun to share.
We first "met" in 2014 when I featured one of his images as part of a campaign for Tamron USA. Little did I know he'd become a great friend. Over the last five years, we've featured more of his work. As an educator and writer, he's always willing to help other artists.
Fast forward to March of this year. After five years of phone conversations and emails, Kevin and I finally got to meet in person when he asked me if I was willing to be a subject in Developing Men. Nothing beats the social in social media when you finally get to spend time in person.
And that brings me to my last point, which I've repeatedly written about - friendships. The best thing about the photography industry is the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. It's also a very small industry and Kevin, and I share so many common denominators like our appreciation for Tamron's quality; our love for imaging; mutual friends and the importance of continuing education in imaging.
If you're in the greater Los Angeles area, don't miss opening night. It's a free, private event, but RSVP is required. For your tickets, click on the South Bay Artist Collective link below and then be at the Resin in Hermosa Beach on October 5.
RESIN, workshop, creative space and home to South Bay Artist Collective has exhibited over 180 local artists including students in 12-15 annual events. Through RESIN, SBAC has provided emerging artists with an opportunity to display their art in a high quality space that does not take the typical 40%-50% commission, resulting in a huge financial benefit to emerging artists.
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday and the seasonality of the fourth quarter is just down the road. Are you ready? While parts of today's post are out of the SCU archives, it doesn't make the topic any less relevant.
Challenges in technology and consumer trends are touching everybody. I'm not minimizing the degree of difficulty in growing your business today, but I'm frustrated with hearing photographers cry the blues when they haven't made an effort to evaluate and restructure their current business model.
Those photographers whose businesses have been solid this year are doing new things to reach their audience. Nobody is working any less, just smarter. Every photographer who has told me they're doing okay always follows with, "But I've NEVER worked so hard in my life!"
There is no secret to surviving as a professional photographer today—survival is all about marketing, promotion, hard work, and utilizing every aspect of new technology. But there are some aspects of running a photography business that everyone needs to spend more time thinking about.
Diversification: Are you hitting the same old target or developing new markets? For example, if you're a wedding photographer, how many of your brides in the last few years now have children? If they loved working with you, how about photographing their young family? If you don't want to stray from your core business, then at least develop a relationship with a children and family photographer and then cross-promote with each other.
Years ago—sorry I don't remember where—statistics were suggesting that 95% of brides under 30 have a baby within three years of their wedding date. Every bride you've ever photographed is a potential customer for family portraiture.
The demand for professional portraiture and why people hire a photographer in the portrait/social categories still runs in this order: brides, babies, and pets. And, my speculation is children, family, seniors, and boudoir follow in that order. So if business is down, take a look at your client database and find opportunities to create new clients or new applications.
Market and Promote: What are you doing to promote yourself? Are you involved in the community? Are you advertising in local papers and online? Do people recognize your presence? Do you own your zip code? Are you maximizing your effectiveness with texting technology like PhotoTexting.com is offering? Are you working too build your reputation as the photography expert in your community?
Well-known professional photographer and good buddy David Ziser, in a program many years ago, talked about tracking anniversary dates of his clients and did a first anniversary sitting at no charge. Think about it...the younger the bride, the more friends she has who will soon be getting married—it's a publicity manager's dream!
And Dean Collins, at holiday time would do a free family sitting of the president or CEO of companies who's annual reports, advertising, etc. he'd worked on during the year. He wasn't just a photographer but a relationship builder!
The Internet and Social Media: You can't be in business without a website, but how about the message you're presenting? Look at blogs, for example. Everybody wants to have a blog, but only a handful of photographers are doing it the right way.
Your website is about what you sell, but your blog is about what's in your heart. The two work together to help build your brand. And, to be successful with your blog you need to be helpful, relevant and consistent.
Attitude: When was the last time you did an attitude check on yourself? I am reminded of the unspoken oath we all took when we fell in love with photography as professionals! That oath, we all share, is about quality, service, and responsibility. It's everything I've been writing about since my first blog post almost ten years ago. Your clients trust you to be their eyes and heart at a wedding. At a portrait sitting they're trusting you to see them the way they see themselves. They're trusting you to deliver a product far better than Uncle Harry could ever dream!
Think about how much you love the craft and all the excitement in our industry today. We're living in a version of Who Moved My Cheese? It's a business parable that was on The New York Times Best Seller List in the late 1990s and well worth a two-hour investment of time to read. If you've read it, you'll understand the only thing that's changed in our industry is that the "cheese been moved," and we simply have to work harder to find it!
It's Sunday morning, and as always I'm stepping away from the business and marketing of photography. While I'm writing this today, the idea came to me a few weeks ago when I was looking at the image above. It was captured with a LUMIX G9 while we were visiting friends in Ohio. I was amazed at the sharpness, but there was something else I appreciated.
The marigold in the front was at its peak, alive, beautiful and in full bloom. Just outside the depth of field in the back, an older flower was dying and fell apart a few days later. That got me thinking about the expression, as one door closes another opens.
I've had plenty of disappointments in my life, but when I look back, each one led me to something different and often better. Here are a few examples:
Think about your own life and experiences. How many times have you felt a knot in your stomach over a change you weren't expecting? (It's the same feeling you got with that first dent you put in your father's car as a kid!)
Now, look back at what followed - not always right away, but sooner or later as one door closed, another new one opened. I'm also a firm believer in the expression; everything always works out for the better. Over and again in my life, it's been proven true.
So, the next time you're feeling down over a closing door, have confidence, and be looking for a new one to open. Most important of all, remember, "It's just a bad day, not a bad life!"
Wishing everybody an outstanding Sunday and time with friends and families who most of the time represent doors that never close! Go for those eleven-second hugs I always talk about and remember to limit the time you spend looking at your life in your rearview mirror - it's what's in front of you that counts!
Sometimes there's a very thin line between a "Fast Food Friday" post and a complete rant! Today is one of those days!
Remember why I started this series:
Most of you are right-brain creatives and hate having to deal with left-brain tasks like the operational components of running your business. I started writing about specific topics like website tips, blogging, and customer service, to name a few. Over the last several months, I've expanded into so many different areas, not just business but ideas to help you find balance in your life, share information, and build your network.
From conventions/workshops I've attended to phone calls and even emails and posts, there's been a decline in the quality of the communication. Today's post is a composite of several different topics, and based on things I've witnessed recently, it's sorely needed...RANT ALERT!
Are You a Professional?
While we're all guilty at times of something slipping through the cracks, many of you are turning missed opportunities into an art form! Every time you're in public, whether physically or in cyberspace, there's a chance to show your skillset, not just as an artist, but a business owner.
And, one last area to talk about - the Internet. Remember, there are no erasers on the Internet. Stay out of battles that aren't yours on Facebook. When you are expressing your opinion, do it professionally. Don't write anything you wouldn't want the world to read. You'll never win taking on a troll or acting like one!
by Skip Cohen
A couple of years back, I met the team from Platypod while at PhotoShop World. As with so many people and companies in this industry, we shared a lot of good friends. Since then our paths have crossed many times, and I'm excited we're now part of each other's "families." In addition to sharing great how-to content from some of the industry's finest artists at SCU, you'll also see them as a sponsor of "Beyond Technique," with a new podcast guest each month.
Click to enlarge and view the Platypod family above in the SCU Lightbox
If you don't know Platypod products, check out the video below. It's about the original Platypod Ultra. Now there are two models from which to choose. This company is all about quality and accessories that solve so many of the challenges in capture. There's Ultra, Max, an accessory kit that adds to Platypod's range of use. and even the new goosenecks (lights not included), perfect for macro work and more.
I love companies who are problem solvers and contribute to the creative tools photographers have to capture the very best images...in ANY situation!
Stay tuned - there's a lot of exciting content coming your way.
Which Platypod is right for you?
Click on "ultra" or "max" below for more information or to order your Platypod.
All images by Marrissa Feliciano of Felici Photography
Last week when I "struck gold" on a box of disks, little did I know what was waiting for me as I explored dozens more old files. Since it's Throwback Thursday, I went searching this morning for a peek into the past and once again hit a classic.
I wrote about this last year but didn't realize I had a full disk of images thanks to Marissa Feliciano of Felici Photography in San Diego. She did an outstanding job of capturing the event. Here's the backstory:
Some people come into your life who, after a very short amount of time, you can't remember when they weren't around. Meet Carey Schumacher a pretty remarkable children and family photographer from San Diego. In 2008, for some unknown reason, we started talking trash about who could grill the best steak.
One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was hooked on the challenge. Well, *poof* welcome to the 2008 BBQ Smackdown! Carey never does anything halfway and turned it into a mini-fundraiser for NILMDTS, complete with all the features of a major competitive event!
We're an industry of people who believe in that old line about work hard, play hard - and we definitely believe in having fun.
Living on the east coast versus California, I don't see Carey very often these days, but as soon as the time difference is on my side this morning, I'm going to call her. That's the fun of my network and should be part of yours too.
So, who is there you haven't talked to in a long time? Who's been a great friend you've lost touch with? Don't email, don't text - but pick up the phone and take the time to catch up. It's all part of the fun of taking a walk down Memory Lane.
And in terms of the BBQ Smackdown, after years of therapy, I've accepted the judges' decision that Carey won. However, just like a member of Hollywood's elite, I still have my acceptance speech ready to go and hope for a rematch. We just can't figure out where we'd find an unbiased panel of judges! LOL
Here's my point with Throwback Thursday photographs, they can bring back such great memories. Carey went all out to capture the fun of being in this industry, great friendships and even the two pups, "Big" Molly and "Little" Molly got into the act!
A BIG thanks to Marissa for sending me all these great images, and to Carey, the judges, and attendees - What a kick!
There's so much solid content in these short videos on Westcott's YouTube channel. This recent release featuring my buddy Will Cadena is loaded with great tips on getting the most out of shooting on location, but there's something else I appreciated. While it's only three minutes long, notice the way Will's shooting and his interaction with his model, right down to the high-five when they've grabbed the last shot.
Will needs to be on your radar. His website is just a click away but your best opportunity to keep tabs on what he's up to is follow him on Facebook. He's pretty much proof that hyper-active kids grow up and have careers! LOL - seriously, he's all energy and never slows down in his passion for imaging, teaching and supporting other artists.
And, when you're looking for a little inspiration, check out WestcottU. It's jam-packed with great content and plenty of diversity from still photography and lighting to video. Westcott never strays from their goal to help you raise the bar on the quality of your work.
Remember too, everything you purchase when you go through the SCU portal to the Westcott "store," at the top or below, earns 10% for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate, but we do NOT take our commission. Instead, we're passing it on. They're one of the industry's most respected nonprofits. NILMDTS photographers help so many families through one of the biggest most difficult challenges in life.
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.