Images copyright Mickie DeVries. All rights reserved.
"Behind all your stories is always your mother's.
Because hers is where yours began."
by Skip Cohen
Last year I started adding a little fun with each new "chef" by searching for a quote that seemed to fit some aspect of their love for the craft. The Tamron Kitchen isn't just about recipes but often the driving force behind each chef's passion for photography. It was so easy to find a quote that fit Chef Mickie DeVries. While her quest is to never stop raising the bar on her technical skills, it's her role as a mom that inspires her most.
Mickie shared a lot about the priority she's put on being a storyteller of her own children. If you're a parent, then you already know how fast everything changes in your family. We've all looked at our children and pondered, "Where did the years ago?'
Well, Mickie doesn't need to ponder. She's created a storyline she revisits all the time. With each click of the shutter challenging her skill set to document her children, at the same time she makes it fun for them as well as her. And there's the magic word, "fun." While she's an educator helping other photographers raise the bar on their skill set, her priority is always keeping fun in the playbook!
We featured Mickie's go-to lens in this new episode. It's the 28-75mm F/2.8, and while some of the images I grabbed for today's posts were captured with other focal lengths, Mickie talks about why this lens is one of her favorites in the podcast.
"Chef" Mickie's recipe is a click away if you missed it when it was posted last Tuesday. For more information on the 28-75mm lens, click on the thumbnail to the right.
If you haven't visited your local Tamron dealer, it's time to check out the entire family of Tamron lenses.
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!
And to see more of Mickie's work and follow her teaching schedule, click on any of her images in today's post.
Put Tamron's ongoing events on your radar with a click on the banners below! It's a new year and it's going to be jam-packed with exciting events to help you raise the bar on your skillset and creativity.
A Quick Visit to "Chef" Mickie's Galleries
by Skip Cohen
This is a hard Sunday Morning Reflections to write. The topic isn't difficult; just the message I want to share without sounding like an infomercial. If you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time, you know I don't shy away from much of anything - so, here goes...
I'm at IUSA and will be working in the Platypod booth this week. Every show I attend is usually about networking and building relationships for whatever my next project might be. It's about maintaining my relevance after a lifetime in this industry. However, this is the first time in years, I've actually worked a booth to help sell products and great concepts.
Three and half days ago Platypod launched their Kickstarter campaign for a new ball head and has already carved out their own little piece of photography history. We're approaching a thousand backers, and the response from photographers has been incredible. I don't want to talk about the product, but the team that put it together and the passion behind its growing success.
There's an old African proverb I've shared a few times over the years:
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
To succeed in anything, you have to be focused on your dream, and in the process, let nothing block your passion. "Dr. T," Larry Tiefenbrunn, had a vision four years ago and started to pursue it. He never strayed from the journey to create a new approach to the product he wanted to develop.
In a way, I feel like a rookie ballplayer who joined a team at the top of the ninth of the last game of a winning season. Helping with marketing the last couple of months, pales in comparison to the blood, sweat, and tears that's gone into this project before I joined the team.
"Dr. T" isn't just an engineer/photographer with a passion for change, but a team builder. It's that refusal to give up on a concept, while at the same time building a team that makes this fun to write about. His passion is infectious, and as I look back on my life in the industry, is something I've only seen a few times, and never from the front row! LOL
"We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we trust,
respect and care for each other."
I'm sharing the project video below, not as a pitch to you, but as a demonstration of what can happen when a group of people focuses on the same goal and become a team. While it was "Dr. T's" script, there were a half dozen people who helped write it; a talented filmmaker and his team who like a great chef turned it into reality, and then dozens of people, including, Scott Kelby and his team who helped launch it to the public. In every aspect, it's the result of a group effort.
And here's my point:
Each of you have dreams of success - things you want to do in your life. At times those dreams get buried under the baggage of stress from a variety of sources - changing priorities, a growing family, finances, developing your skillset, and the list goes on and on. Before you know it, those dreams have been pushed out of sight, put in a shoebox, and kicked under the bed. Right now, they're sitting in that same box with old photographs and your notes from a workshop you might have taken years ago.
Well, it's time to bring out that box and take some time to dust off those dreams. You don't have to do it alone. Share those goals with your family; bring in some friends to help, and lay out a map to bring them closer to reality. Don't let anything stand in your way, and like Larry and his wife, Mina - be willing to risk whatever it takes to turn those dreams into reality!
As always, I wish everybody a terrific Sunday, and I hope you'll take the time today and dust off any of those dreams you've let slip to the back-burner. Take a little time to think about the team you might need to help with your quest, and that includes shutting down the little voice inside you that challenges your self-confidence from time to time.
Go for those long therapeutic hugs with the people you care most about - always remembering they're a part of your team. Without them, whatever dreams you have can never become a reality!
Happy Sunday, everybody, and thanks for being part of my team. It's seven years ago today, with your help, I started SCU. Without you, this would be such a tedious business and a life that could put a rock to sleep! It's all of you who help make it exciting and ever-changing. And, if you're at IUSA this weekend, come by booth 157 and laugh at me as I try and act like I know what I'm doing!
Images copyright Kevin Dooley. All rights reserved.
Often the fun of social media is about the people we meet just hanging out in cyberspace. A few weeks ago, when sharing a post on Facebook, I quoted T. Boone Pickens, with a line that's become a favorite over the years:
"When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits."
Well, knowing I didn't mean it literally, Kevin Dooley read my post and threw in his vote for the elephants with the image on the right.
That's all it took to get me to look at his Facebook page. I fell in love with the image he used for his header, which is in today's spotlight. I sent an IM to Kevin, who's based in New Mexico and was up very early that day. That kicked off what I hope becomes a nice friendship.
He sent me the file to share and the "gearbox." The image was captured in South Africa while with Idube Photo Safaris. Kevin is the owner of Idube Photo Safaris, as well as being an accomplished wedding photographer at Kevin's Photography in Albuquerque.
What a kick to now have Kevin in my network. He needs to be on your radar. The Internet hasn't just changed the way we share images. It's changed the way we network and kick off new friendships! A big thanks to Kevin for allowing me to share his images!
Click on both images to view in the SCU Lightbox!
I know I shared one of these images a few years back, but this has been a crazy week with some incredible events. (Check out www.platyball.com) If you're lucky, you've got a friend or two who's important to share stuff with, both good news and bad. Terry Deglau was one of those special people for me.
Terry passed away a few months ago, and I wrote a post about him. This morning while searching through some archived files, these images came up, and they simply made me smile. That smile will keep me going all day - and that's the importance of Throwback Thursday.
The back story is three friends who went to see Terry, who had had surgery, but in all honesty, I don't remember for what. I'm going back to around 1998-99, and Terry was in the hospital. So, Steve Sheanin (in the middle) and "Big Daddy" Blair on the right and I went to see Terry in the hospital. I was living in New Jersey, Steve in California and Don in Utah. Imagine Terry waking up and seeing these three knuckleheads asking to check his prostate! lol
I had hats embroidered ahead of time with "Operation Deglau," and I still have it. The hat alone provides an instant flashback to a time that couldn't have been sweeter. Well, Don and Terry have both passed away, but if there's a way to be immortal, it's through memories, smiles, and photographs!
While I miss them both a lot, it's moments like this morning I find myself thinking about them. While they're not here physically, they're always in my heart. Yeah, it's sappy, but so true.
Take the time to hunt for those old photographs and then savor the memories like a fine wine. It's so worth your time and the perfect reminder of the importance of the industry we're in...helping people capture moments and memories!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Image copyright Mickie DeVries. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Throughout 2019 we introduced you to a new artist each month, having fun with the play on a food-show reality series. It's all from the Tamron Kitchen, and if you think about the comparison between an exceptional chef and an artist, they really aren't that far apart. They both have to create a "dish," and their reputations grow with the quality of whatever they've created.
We're kicking off the 2020 series with Mickie DeVries, a Michigan mom, who's taken the photography of her children to an entirely professional level. She's passionate about the craft, telling the story of her children, and education in imaging as a Photoshop instructor through Click Photo School.
In this new Recipe, Mickie was using her favorite "go-to" lenses, the 28-75 mm F/2.8 Di III RXD lens. The link to the lens is below. And, visit Mickie's website with a click on her Tamron Recipes photograph above.
Halfway through last year's series, I started sharing a quote that seemed relevant to each guest chef. I always find one that fits, and with Mickie, it was so easy...
"Behind all your stories is always your mother's.
Because hers is where yours began."
Mickie, like most photographers, is a storyteller. And, if a picture really is worth a thousand words, then Mickie's archived images of her children surpass the works of Shakespeare! In her bio on her website, she wrote:
My photography is childhood through a mother's lens. My driving force is to capture these fleeting moments as time speeds by, and my children grow up and experience new things. My hope is that my work resonates with parents universally, and speaks to their hearts of the wonders of childhood.
While Mickie's focus on the professional side is as an educator, think about the power of that statement if she opened a full-time studio as a children's photographer.
I've shared this statement many times over the years. It's thanks to a marketing/motivational guru by the name of Ed Foreman and it's been one of the valuable lessons in business I've learned in my career:
"If I can see the world through my client's eyes, then I can sell my client what my client buys!"
It's not about the old line of "put yourself in their shoes" - it's about understanding a client's priorities. It's about building trust because you know what they're most interested in, what's most important in their life, and how they see their children.
About "Chef" Mickie: She is an artist, photographer, educator, and mom. One walk through her galleries, and you know her favorite subjects are her children. From the very beginning, she was never content just to take pictures but wanted to capture images whose quality made her story of her role as a mother, the best it could be.
About the shoot: A local farmer graciously opened up his sunflower field for anyone to enjoy. My daughter and I visited mid August at the tail end of the crop just before sunset. She had so much fun running through the field and examining the sunflowers. The golden light was perfect, and I loved that the Tamron 28-75 gave me the flexibility to achieve both wide and zoomed in shots of her as she enjoyed our night out.
Tamron never slows down in their quest to manufacture some of the finest glass in imaging.
Plus, it's a new year, and the Tamron team will be on the road with workshops and special events all over the country. Just click on the banner to the right and make sure they're on your radar!
The Tamron tech team is one of the most active groups of artists and educators in photography. When they're on the road, they all share the same common goal - helping you raise the bar on your skill set and the quality of your work.
Headed to IUSA in Nashville this weekend? Meet the Tamron Team in booth 623 and check out their entire product line. You won't be disappointed!
Finding your local Tamron Dealer is just a click away.
It's "Mirrorless Monday," and what better time to share the work of Adam Pretty in a stunning under two-minute video shooting with the LUMIX S1R? Take the time to watch the video - you won't be disappointed in his work, and especially his narrative.
"I don't want to just capture the moment. Not just like the athlete winning a race. But I want something really aesthetically beautiful whether it be graphics, light or emotion. With my photography I seek to capture true identities."
As you watch the video, keep in mind Adam Pretty wasn't the only one with a LUMIX camera in his hands. The footage was all captured on LUMIX!
Interested in seeing more of Adam's work? His website it just a click away.
The new full-frame series is creating a lot of buzz all over the world. Isn't it time you found out more about it and visited your Panasonic LUMIX dealer? Click on the thumbnail for more information.
Image copyright Deborah Sandidge. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
"Why?" is all about the favorite images of great artists. And, going back to when I started this series, there are no two artists who have had the same reason for loving an image. In fact, Mark Toal commented early on that finding a favorite was like trying to decide which of your kids you like best.
Deborah Sandidge joined me on this new episode of "Why?" and two minutes into the conversation, it was obvious why this is a favorite. Deb is all about pushing the edge of the creative envelope and often experimenting to see what she can capture/create. The image she chose was a four-minute exposure, which in itself is remarkable. She also shared a lot of insight into the various components from the blurred sky to the light on lifeguard post. Click on the image to view in the SCU LightBox.
I started "Why?" to introduce you to the movers and shakers in the industry who set the standards for creativity, quality, and passion. Deb is one of those artists whose images leave us wanting to see more, and the same goes for her clients!
Check out Deb's website with a click on the banner below. You won't be disappointed. And make sure you put her workshop schedule on your radar. If she's teaching in your area, run, don't walk to be there!
It's Sunday morning, and that means I'm going to be entirely off the tracks from business and marketing. That's what Sunday morning posts are all about.
On Friday, Chamira Young and I recorded our first Beyond Technique podcast for the new year, and instead of a guest, we riffed for forty-five minutes sharing twenty-nine ideas to help you kick off the new year. One of those was the importance of recognizing burnout.
I do my best to walk the talk, but there are times when I don't realize the toll, stress is taking on me, my relationship with my family, and my own skillset. I get overly focused - obsessed with deadlines, projects, and work. I find myself dreaming that I'm working - nothing worse than waking up after feeling like you worked all night.
So, I hit what "This is Calmer" refers to as Stage 2 of burnout and the start of symptoms. I don't want to turn this into more than just a blog post, but here are the symptoms for this initial stage.
Look, it's not rocket science. We all have stressful days, and if we worried about each symptom, we're a society of burnouts! The great thing about being in tune with stress is the ability we all have to turn it around when we start to feel those physical and emotional aches and pains.
Last week was one of the busiest I can remember, and I missed a couple of posts, not to mention appointments and calls. I was on overload from the minute the "bell" went off on Monday morning. So, by Friday night, I was fried. Yesterday was what Sheila and I call a slug day, and most of today will be the same. I need to recharge.
And there's my point - whatever time you need, and everyone is different - remember to recharge your battery. Take the time to step away from the business. Spend time with those people most special to you, phone a friend, read something besides email or articles related to business. Take a walk, with or without a camera. In other words, just play! Everyone is different in what they need and how long they need for a break.
It's a lot easier to avoid burnout than beat it once it's got hold! It all starts with focusing your energy on you rather than everything that's your responsibility.
Sometimes in life, we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey!
Wishing all of you a day filled with joy. That sounds really sappy, but enjoy the journey and especially the people you love most who are walking that same path with you! As always, hit those eleven-second hugs with the people you care about and make it a day to smile.
Happy Sunday! (or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.)
by Skip Cohen
I couldn't be more proud to have Platypod as an SCU partner, but what most of you don't know is that Chamira Young and I are directly involved in helping them with their marketing efforts. It's a remarkable company with a product line that's giving photographers a different perspective and expanding the creative tools we have for capturing great images.
This past week Platypod announced a prelaunch program on Kickstarter for Platyball. The company completed two very successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past. They're known for keeping their promises and producing products whose quality always exceeds expectations.
Meet Platyball - the next new member of the family.
Platyball presents a new, revolutionary way to level. Featuring an inverted design, single-handed ergonomics, and a unique twist-action Arca compatible clamp, they've literally taken the classic tripod head design and turned it upside down. Redesigned from the ground up, the Platyball becomes an extension of your hand and allows you to level your camera better than ever before quickly. It is heavy duty and accurate to 0.5 a degree.
As part of the Kickstarter campaign, there's a special promotion for first-day backers of a FREE Platypod Ultra. All the details will be shared during the launch on Scott Kelby's show, "The Grid" on January 15 at 4:00pm EST.
Make sure you're on the launch notification list, so you're notified the minute the Kickstarter campaign goes live on Wednesday. Just click on the button button below.
Headed to IUSA next week? Stop by Platypod in booth 157 and check out Platyball for yourself. Plus the Max-Macro bundle is back in the online store by popular demand. It includes the new goosenecks, two Litra Torch 2.0 lights. Litra will be in the IUSA booth as well.
In the meantime, enjoy this thirty second clip from the upcoming video! Then, imagine what the rest of the video is going to be like!
This is a kick!
When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you!
Every day starts out the same when you have puppies - there's this silent rush to get them outside, preceded by a small squeal of joy if their bed's dry! It's that feeling of progress and knowing the routine is finally working that sets the tone for the start of the day.
Then comes my business routine, and it's become my standard - the first stop is my in-box, followed by Facebook notifications. The tweet stream is next, then a quick look at my calendar for the day, a stop at my Platypod mailbox, and then I'm ready to start the day, usually with a post.
This morning when I hit Facebook, which starts with "Notifications," I had a couple of complaints from members of two forums where I'm an administrator. If you're not an Admin on Facebook, what we get is a notification that says, "_________ reported 1 post in _________." Then, if you have time, you research what the complaint is about. Ninety percent of the time, it's the result of people being too sensitive. So, as an administrator, you decide to keep the post or kill it, comment to the person reporting the post and finally get on with your life.
Well, one of the reports this morning had absolutely no foundation to complain about. One photographer didn't like the tone of what another artist wrote and decided to call in the "big guns." I kept the post, ignored the report, and chose not to respond to anybody. However, I did go looking for a quote this morning, and when I found the one up top, I knew it needed to be shared.
It might be the "slow season," but that doesn't mean it's slow for you to build your business. So, focus on what's vital in the building blocks to make 2020 your best year ever and stop bitching, moaning, and complaining about things that don't matter! Stop being so sensitive. Give your peers the benefit of the doubt, remembering that the toughest way to express yourself is through the printed word!
If you don't like what somebody said in a thread, unless it's going to have an impact on some aspect of your business, your family, or your life, let it go! Start singing Taylor Swift's "Shake it off," and just move on. And if somebody doesn't like one of your images, listen to their suggestions and then do whatever you think is right, always remembering what my good buddy Dean Collins used to say,
Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!
Intro by Chamira Young
There's nothing like grabbing your favorite lens and getting outside to explore your city for some great street photography. Whether you're shooting on assignment or just for fun, it's a great way to practice your skills as a photographer. And it's even better if you can get outside of your town, state, or even country to a new place. The magic of being surrounded by new sights, smells, architecture, and people can make for some great inspiration - and images!
That brings us to this inspiring episode of One Location, One Lesson, One Lens with photographer Armando Flores as he travels to Guanajuato, Mexico for street photography. He pays close to attention to the time of day, the lighting conditions, and shares the architectural features he's looking for. He also shares the specific role Tamron's SP 45mm plays in the creation of his images.
Check it out!
Tamron's manufacturing some of the finest glass in photography! Be sure to visit your local Tamron retailer and check it out for yourself.
Image copyright Jordan Bunch. All rights reserved.
Now and then, an image is posted in social media that's simply spectacular. That's when I love to share it through a "Spotlight" post because it deserves to be seen by more photographers.
Jordan Bunch is a LUMIX Ambassador and posted this image from a recent wedding. You could hear him singing his comment, complete with musical notes...when the suns hit your lens like a big pizza pie!
Jordan is an accomplished wedding artist based out of Austin, Texas. As both a photographer and filmmaker, his work sets a high standard for imaging, as well as storytelling. I love his approach in the way he's positioned the importance of capturing those special memories from a wedding. Under "Our Story" for Ladybird Studios is the perfect message for a bride to read:
At the heart of every wedding is a love story worth telling well.
Your story matters. It matters to you, it matters to the ones you love and your future family.
Your story matters to us.
Leave your wedding in the hands of the romantics at Ladybird Studios.
Now, to the image above. First, keep in mind this is a screenshot from a Facebook page. Imagine how stunning the original image must be! It's also SOOC - (Straight Out Of Camera) - printable with no manipulation whatsoever! It was captured with the LUMIX S1R and 70-200 mm lens. You can find out more about these two extraordinary members of the LUMIX family with a click on either thumbnail below.
It's not very often there's a video produced about a lens, but the LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm deserves it. It's worth just over a minute of your time to check it out, and understand the technology that's gone into this remarkable lens!
You'll find more of Jordan's images with a visit to his website - just click on the image above. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. And check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. This is one of the most diverse groups in photography, and they're on the road all year long with workshops and presentations at LUMIX dealers and conventions across the country.
It's Sunday, and if you've followed me for even a short amount of time, then you know I ALWAYS go off track from photography. I started doing this years ago, just for my sanity. It was therapeutic to write about something outside the topic of business.
Well, this morning is the new typical Sunday. It starts with the "kids" getting up early. The kids are two puppies, Lucy and Belle. They're a stitch to have in our lives, but we'd both forgotten the work that goes into a puppy. Double that when it's two!
Right now, Lucy's at my feet playing with an antler bone, now a squeaky toy, now a ball, back to the squeaky toy, now she wants my camera strap...are all puppies A.D.D.? LOL
In spite of the distractions this morning, I know exactly what I want to write about. My good buddy Nick Vedros sent me the quote below on Friday. I knew immediately it would become the foundation for this morning's post!
"You're a kid, your whole life is awesome. It's awesome right? You had no money, no ID, no cell phone,
no nothing, no keys to the house. You just ran outside into the woods. You weren't scared of nothing.
I challenge you to do that as an adult. All your IDs, all your credit cards - just run out of the house
with no phone, turn the corner where you can't see your house, and not have a full on panic attack."
I'm not sure if this is going to be more of a rant or a topic for Throwback Thursday, but what happened to those days?
When I was a kid, my Mom often worked in the afternoons, helping my Dad in his business. I came home to an empty house, made it look like I did my homework, and then went out to play with friends. In the wintertime, I would be walking home in the dark, and by 6:00 pm, she'd be back. I was never afraid, had no ID, just a kid in the neighborhood, and we were all pretty much in similar situations.
I know you can never go back, but the smile on my face right now, thinking back to those days would be contagious if you were here. We had it so easy in comparison to kids today. Even as adults, it was easier.
No cell phones, no computers, three TV stations, and plenty of time to read, relax, and reflect. The TV shows ended at midnight, and what would be politically incorrect today, the test pattern above came on the screen as the station went off the air. Stores were never open on Sunday, not even gas stations. There were no ATMs, no drive-throughs - just time to spend with family. And on a Sunday like today, we'd be headed over to my grandmother's for Sunday dinner.
So, while we can't turn back the clock, when it comes to Sundays in our house, Sheila and I are doing our best to spend the day with each other and the pups. We'll take a walk later and pretty much have a low-tech day, watch a movie and appreciate time together and being as low tech as we can go. I'll do my best to shut down my computer after this post and check in later in the day, but that will be it.
I know we can't stop time, but I sure do miss those days as a kid, when like so many of you, I was in a hurry to grow up!
Wishing everybody a terrific day and time to slow things down in your life. Take the time to savor the moment...right now...because the present is only sure thing you've got. Hug the people most special in your life. If you want to have some fun, take your own walk down Memory Lane. And while I don't ask for comments often, it would be great if a few of you would share what life was like when you were a kid!
Happy Sunday! Making it a great day only requires you to focus on what's most important in your life. You know how to use selective focus with your camera - now do it with your heart!
When Chamira Young and I relaunched this series last summer, we wanted to bring you topics out of the ordinary with guests who are extraordinary. Even though we love the podcasts we've done in the past, we wanted "Beyond Technique" to be different. Inspiration, new ideas, and sharing unique concepts while stepping away from the technique of capturing images was our goal.
Thanks to Platypod, the "Beyond Technique" series is bringing you a different perspective each month about business and life. In fact, it's a lot like Platypod's goal - giving photographers a different perspective and adding more creative tools to their skillset.
Suzette Allen joins us in the December episode, with a topic perfect for wrapping up 2019 and even better to kick off the new year!
Most of you know her as one of the industry's leading educators. She's a photographer, artist, educator, author, blogger, and a great friend to so many people in the industry. The story of how she got started isn't very different from most of yours. What changed was a horrific accident that became an incredible journey of hope, focus, dedication, and spirituality.
I've known Suzette for a long time, but what I appreciate the most about our conversation on this podcast is her ability to stay candid, open, and honest about what she went through. She holds nothing back, which is a big part of what makes her such a great instructor and friend!
I grabbed screenshots of some of my favorite images from her galleries. Click on any one of them to visit her website, blogs, and make sure she's on your radar! She and her husband Jonny are both LUMIX Ambassadors, and you'll find them both at a long list of workshops and convention programs throughout the year. And, check out her YouTube channel. There are 400 different videos covering a long list of topics, each there to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images and the support you give your clients.
"Beyond Technique is brought to you by...
We're proud to have Platypod as an SCU partner. Their products are giving photographers the ability to be more creative and capture images from a different perspective. From the Ultra and Max Platypods to great accessories like the new goosenecks and multi-accessory kit, they never slow down on developing new products.
And a big thanks to Photofocus.com. Always sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business, Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
All images copyright Suzette Allen. All rights reserved.
"If it weren't for change there'd be no butterflies!"
It's January 2 and for most of you the first day back to work in the new year. Every year most of us go through the same process - We think about the previous year; set goals for the new year and then go to work on how we can make the new year even better. Too often we think we need to make major changes.
Well, maybe that's the wrong approach. Maybe we did everything right last year, but this year we need to expand to a broader audience and offer more diverse products/services. Or, perhaps the product line is fine, but we need to find more ways to reach our target audience.
Let's make 2020 the year to maximize potential...
We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done,
cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through
the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.
This isn't meant to be a long post, but plant a seed of an idea to think things through before you jump back into expanding and building. What if you change virtually NOTHING between now and next week?
Here's my point - every year is a struggle to grow your business. Some years growth is faster than others, but overall it's the same process. Maybe you need a few days off to procrastinate with one purpose - pat yourself on the back and take the time just to chill. Recharge your battery and then start to look for the potential areas for growth, diversity, and increased brand awareness.
I'm already sensing a great buzz in the industry in the various forums as we kick off a new year. So enjoy a little optimism, relax a little, make up for the time you missed with family and friends last month and then get ready to dig in with the things you need to do to make 2020 one of your best years yet.
It's the first Throwback Thursday of the new year, and as I searched through my stash, I decided to make it a "daily double." Back in July, I wrote about Hasselblad and NASA and shared one of the holiday cards the team at the factory in Sweden made for all of us to use.
Well, thanks to my good buddy Jim Morton, the holiday cards live on! He sent me his stash earlier in the year, and considering it's just after the holidays, these are perfect for today. And as usual, there are behind the scenes stories for both.
I think the card above was for the holidays in 1988. I joined Hasselblad as president in July of 1987, and the backorder on the 2000 FCW was pretty substantial. It had been on backorder for over a year, announced before the factory had adequate time for delivery. There was even one price increase on the product, again, before it had ever been delivered.
So, when the holiday card came out featuring the camera, I refused to use it. In fact, in one Board meeting, I remember my sarcasm reaching a peak and asking if it was true that "Hasselblad in English meant backorder?" My comments weren't received well, but they did make a point.
The gold 500CM was introduced in 1987 and in celebration of Hasseblad's 30th anniversary. Over the next twelve years, I was with the company; there would be at least three more gold cameras. Each time they represented another anniversary. While the 500CM was in celebration of the 30th anniversary, the 503CX in gold was in celebration of the 50th and came ten years later.
I remember questioning how we jumped twenty years in just ten. The answer was the gold 500CM was celebrating Hasselblad as a camera company, but the 50th was in recognition of the company's start as a business entity and a trading company.
Each time a new gold camera came out, the factory would push the US company to take more of them. We represented 1/3 of Hasselblad's worldwide business, but the gold cameras were getting harder and harder to sell. So, they changed the camera models, and then the color of the leather with limited editions of one in dark navy and another in burgundy.
Each anniversary edition was stunning, but by the time we got to the fourth one, they were no longer as unique as they were in the very beginning. Plus, as a company, they represented a huge hit on the value of our inventory. However, there's still nothing that beats the sound of a Hasselblad and having it in gold, for some, makes it even sweeter!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Take the time today to take your own look in the rearview mirror. Then share it with your readers. For most of you, "Mom" is your target audience. Use throwback images to remind her how much her family is changing, the kids are growing and time isn't slowing down. It might be after the holidays, but it's the perfect time to update that family portrait!
by Skip Cohen
Unlike the genius creativity that makes Barbara Bordnick so fantastic (she does all her cropping in-camera), I had to crop this image to get what I wanted. I loved the corny symbolism as we wrap up the year, and a new one is at the door. At least in terms of artistic expression early this morning, it fits with my thoughts as one flower dies, and another comes into full bloom.
It's New Year's Eve 2019, and we're all looking forward to a new year. But, I wrote a little about this the other day. The "NEW" in the New Year is all up to you. Nothing magically changes between 11:59 PM and 12:01. Commitments you've made don't go away. Whatever debt you have is still on the books. Whatever weak spots you have in your skillset, don't suddenly grow into assets!
As depressing as I just made it sound - it's an amazing time because what you do have is a celebration for how much you grew in the last year as an artist and a business owner. Sure, you made mistakes, and there are things you could have done better, but you learned something new every day.
What does magically change at midnight is your ability to flip a switch on how you look at your business. It's an opportunity to close the books on taxes and appreciate a clean slate of how to be more accountable and profitable in the new year. And most important of all, it's like couples who renew their vows - you can think about your commitment to grow; step outside your comfort zone, and become a better artist in the new year. It's a time to renew your vows with your career.
And that's how I want to wrap up one of my last posts for 2019 - being outrageously corny, sappy, hokey, simplistic and optimistic about 2019 and the new year ahead. Just like the flower shot above, tomorrow morning kicks off 2020, and I hope like you, I'm asking myself, what can I do to make 2020 even better?
Thank you for following me, for your readership and support. One thing that will never change is my willingness to help when you need it. All of you know where to find me. I won't always have the answers, but I sure have a terrific network of friends who do.
Happy New Year!
Note: I love shooting with LUMIX G9. I never worry about sharpness. This image was enlarged 122%. Shot with a G9 and 14-140mm lens F/8@1/400 ISO 200 at 55mm. Cropping and very minor post processing done in Luminar.
by Skip Cohen
Years ago, Hasseblad's legendary Ernst Wildi told me the biggest difference between amateur and pro photographers is that amateurs show you ALL of their shots! I'll spare you the first fifty attempts at a family selfie for our holiday portrait, but it's the process that was so memorable. Although we liked one of all of us looking at the camera - the fun for the next portrait will be in a video!
I used the LUMIX G9 with the 14-140mm lens, one Litra Torch 2.0, and had it all set up on a MeFOTO Classic tripod. Very minor post-processing was done in Luminar with cropping and a light tweak in the saturation. Last on the list was using the Panasonic Image App on my phone. I've used it before on videos but not with an attempted portrait. I wound up using it to start the process but set the camera on delayed shutter so we could try to get the pups both looking in the right direction and get my phone out of the shot.
All of you know I'll never profess to be a pro, and while I know more than I let on, it took us fifty+ shots to get the one we wanted to share. Most of you would probably get it in far less. But the biggest challenge and most laughs came in trying to get Lucy and Belle both looking in the direction of the lens. I know it's old school, but our idea started as a posed family portrait.
Panasonic's slogan is "Changing Photography," and they've stayed true to that commitment. Check out the G9 and 14-140mm lens with a click on either product below.
It's the last "Mirrorless Monday" of 2019 - and what a year it's been. With posts shared by some of the most talented artists and educators in the world, we've shared new images all year long. Panasonic never slows down in manufacturing new products and giving photographers everywhere an opportunity to capture stunning images and raise the bar on their skill set.
Check out the LUMIX photographers page on Facebook, and if you haven't visited your local LUMIX retailer recently, check out the full line. The new full-frame S series is remarkable. and like everything Panasonic manufactures, represents the best in imaging!
Wishing everybody a Happy and Health New Year!
Images copyright Ken Hubbard. All rights reserved.
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 to love what you do!
by Skip Cohen
Each "chef" who's joined us has shared a different journey in their quest to be an artist and photographer. A few episodes back, I started adding a quote that seemed relevant to some aspect of each guest in the Tamron Kitchen.
Ken Hubbard is the epitome of somebody who truly loves the craft. And while it sounds so simplistic - imaging runs through his veins. When I found the Steve Jobs quote above, it screamed Ken's name.
If you wander through Tamron's YouTube channel, you'll find video after video featuring Ken. It's not just photography that runs through his veins, but a love for education. Catch up to him in Tamron's always busy booth at any convention, and you'll immediately notice his willingness to help other photographers raise the bar on their skill set.
In this new podcast, Ken shares a lot about his journey in photography. And while he obviously has a serious respect for the tools Tamron's brought to the industry, he's always pushing the edge of the creative envelope looking for ways to use their products other artists haven't yet tried. He also shared a lot about his love for varying the landscape of subjects he has an opportunity to photograph. I loved the two images we chose for his first Recipes post - from wild mustangs to a stunning portrait of a musician, Ken's experience covers everything!
As Tamron USA's Field Services Manager, Ken needs to be comfortable in working with every Tamron lens. And think about his role within the industry. He's also got to understand the challenges every specialty faces with the variety of subjects photographers capture.
We featured two of Ken's favorite lenses in this episode, and while they're both SP zooms, the subjects couldn't be farther apart. The mustangs were captured with the SP 150-600mm and Slim Fatz with the 70-200mm. Ken's skill set shines through on both.
"Chef" Ken's recipe is a click away if you missed it when it was first posted. Just click on the thumbnails to the right for more information about both lenses Ken used for the images. Plus, there are only a few days left for Tamron's Instant Holiday Savings program.
If you haven't visited your local Tamron dealer, it's time to check out the entire family of Tamron lenses. And keep track of Ken's classes, images, and his schedule with a click on any of his images in today's post. He's always sharing great content on his Facebook page and on Instagram, and his travel schedule matches most photographer's bucket lists! LOL
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!
Put Tamron's ongoing events on your radar with a click on the banners above! As soon as the new year is underway you'll find the schedule jam-packed with great programming throughout the year.
by Skip Cohen
This is it gang, the last Sunday Morning Reflections post of 2019! It's been quite a year, jam-packed with a lot of emotional moments. What I started to think about as I was writing was how so many of you look at the close of one year and the start of a new one as a clean slate. The truth is, the only fresh start to the new year and end of the old one is with your taxes. Everything else in life is a rolling average.
As you're thinking about the new year, there is no "clean slate" if you keep doing everything the same way. And, unlike your accountant who can help you with financial decisions, the only one who can truly change the new year ahead in terms of more smiles and less frowns is YOU!
Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams
than you are to your comfort zone.
There it is - the key to what helped many of you in 2019. You started taking your dreams more seriously. You started listening to your heart just as much as your head.
I know for me personally, I found myself working to change some of the self-destructive behaviors I was doing. They were never intentional, but more self-fulfilling prophecies, following the philosophy of - if you define something as hopeless, then it will be. And, I could only let go of that feeling by finding better points of focus on other things I wanted to do.
Here's my point this morning - If you want today to be better than yesterday, than do something different. Stop living life in "P" mode! My buddy Gareth Rockliffe talked about this concept in a Beyond Technique podcast in July. It's worth listening to.
Years ago, back in my Hasselblad days, a photographer came to our booth at PPE. He asked to be set up with everything Denis Reggie used. We gave him the list - camera, lenses, and accessories. He went off to his favorite dealer and bought it all. A year later, he was back in the booth and laid out a stack of proofs and screamed, "These don't look anything like Reggie's work!"
Most of you know this already - it's not the gear that makes the artist. Sure, it contributes, but he'd shot EVERYTHING at the same aperture and shutter speed. He barely understood depth of field, let alone composition, exposure, and anticipating the decisive moment to click the shutter. He never left his comfort zone!
And that brings me full circle to what made 2019 a great year for most of us and how we can make 2020 a fantastic year - get out of our comfort zones.
Wishing everyone a perfect day filled with family, friends, and wrapping up the year with plenty of smiles. 2020 is right around the corner. If you truly want to make it a "NEW" year, think about things you can do differently while listening to your heart more often! As always, go for those long hugs with the people who mean the most to you and stay focused on things that make you happy.
Have a great Sunday or Monday, depending on where you are in the world!
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.