by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and I'm almost always off the topic of business and marketing in imaging. Well, I'm about to run amuck again...
I love this time of year, but there are still so many of you who have forgotten to have fun. I'm not minimizing the challenges in business today or your lives. There's a lot on our plates to worry about, but that doesn't mean you can't give your worry-genes regular time off - or fire them all together and simply have fun!
"Fun" is one of those words lost these days, stolen by the stress of business, health, finances, and let's not forget the purveyors of fun-stealing - politicians, alarmists, and everybody has at least one doom and gloom friend who wants to warn us of something they read on the Internet!
Now and then, Melody Beattie steps in to give me a hand, and today's reading is perfect...
How careful and guarded we've been with fun, with playing, with sheer enjoyment--whether we're working, traveling or wandering around town on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes, we act as though there's a limited amount, a scarce supply of fun available. We can't take too much or it'll all be gone.
That's how I was for a long time. One Saturday afternoon, my son, Shane, asked if he could spend the night at a friend's house to play and have a sleepover.
"Why?" I asked
"To have fun," he said.
"You just did something fun last night." I reminded him.
He thought for a moment. "Who said you can't have fun two days in a row?"
Have some fun--with life, with love, with work. Then go out and have some more!
And that pretty much makes my point! Sheila and I are focused on fun. But that doesn't mean we're being irresponsible - just refusing to let the negativity of the outside world into ours. If we've all learned nothing else over the last couple of years, it's that life is too short.
Wishing everybody a day of fun with family and friends. The stress of business will all be there tomorrow - time to put a smile on your face and in your heart...TODAY! And as always, go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people you love most. It's a great way to reinforce building that wall of fun to keep the naysayers out!
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're following me from the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
Hey Southern California - circle the dates for a great program on January 15 at the Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach. It promises to be an outstanding event, put together and hosted by my good buddy Kevin Gilligan. And if you've followed the SCU blog for even the shortest amount of time, you're probably familiar with Kevin's work as a photographer, artist, educator, and writer. And following the program is a one-week gallery exhibition, well worth your time to check out.
I don't know Tony Di Zinno personally, but I know his reputation, and Hernan and I go back to my old Rangefinder days, as well as images here on the SCU Blog. We've been friends for a whole lot of years.
So, while the pandemic still manages to wreak a little havoc, it's time to get back out here and there, especially for smaller programs like this one. It's perfect for all of you locally, and if I were still living in California, I'd be there that Saturday night!
Just click on the banner above to link to the registration site for more information.
By Skip Cohen
With the holidays comes time with family and friends. So don't let this year go by without capturing those stories from your parents and grandparents!
All of you can capture video with your cameras or even phones. Don't let your kids years from now feel frustrated because they've got photographs without the backstories. I wish I'd followed my own advice, at least with my folks.
I was going through old papers and albums of my Dad's today. The two pictures up top are of my mother. The one on the left says, "Homecoming - University of Illinois, October 1946." The one on the right was her engagement announcement a short time later. What I love the most, though, is the cigarette in Mom's hand! I know she smoked Pall Malls and quit when I was around twelve.
But here's my real point to today's post - I have hundreds of photographs without backstories, or for that matter, recognition of the people in the images, or the occasion. Mom passed away in 2013 and Dad in 2015, leaving me without any family members to share the stories of their journey.
So, as you get together with older members of your family over the holidays, take the time to get them talking about how they got started; their first jobs; how they met their spouses; trouble they got into when they were your age...and the list goes on and on. Then, pull out some of those old albums and shoeboxes and write down the names of people in those photographs.
And if we learned nothing else through the pandemic crisis, is that life is too short. So with the renewed sense of family in this country, it's the perfect opportunity for you to record as many memories as you can...and don't forget about doing a legacy promotion for your clients combined with their family portrait!
Time is the one commodity we never have enough of, but as artists, you have the ability to capture those memories and stop time. Now, help people capture the stories from the past, starting with your own family.
by Skip Cohen
This isn't a new topic for me to write about, but it's more relevant than ever TODAY!
With the world becoming a healthier place and IUSA in January, I want to plant a few seeds to get you thinking about how you can make the most of the trip! First, however, here's my big assumption - I'm hoping everyone recognizes the importance of the IUSA convention. It's not going to be a typical conference, but a celebration of the journey back to some level of normalcy! It's about helping you build a stronger skill set, networking, and getting back in touch with an industry you're an essential part of!
The bottom line? You need to be there, and PPA's done an outstanding job of reducing your costs to be a part of it, from the special hotel rate to the discounted registration of just $59 - they're out to help you make 2022 a year of not only healing your business but growing it! Anybody can survive - their goal is to help you thrive!
So, let's start planning your trip!
You've got a choice in how you want to kick off 2022 - you can either sit on the sidelines and watch the parade go by or you can be a part of it!
Hope to see you at IUSA!
by Skip Cohen
I started out today trying to write something poignant and from the heart, and then my daily message from the Story People showed up in my mailbox and gave me a foundation for part of what I was trying to say.
I know it sounds sappy and hokey, but we are here to care about each other. Looking back over the last year, I'm not sure there's ever been a time in my career when more people were there to help and watch my back, or more people who I kept an eye on too.
If all of us were to be lucky enough to have Thanksgiving dinner together and we went around the table to say what we were thankful for, all of you would be in my comments.
Joining Hasselblad in 1987, after being at Polaroid for so many years before, I fell in love with this industry. The friendships I've made along the way, combined with new artists I work with every day, just keep making it better. And no matter how tough the challenges are, a few of you always manage to help me keep things in perspective and find solutions instead of whining about how difficult something might be.
So, I wish all of you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and time to be with people you care about and appreciate everything you've worked so hard to build and make a part of your life.
Image copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, an image comes along that's so unique, it simply has to be shared. Don Komarechka is definitely the "Mad Scientist of Photography." He never slows down on pushing the edge of the envelope in creativity and technology. With the image above, he wrote:
Water droplet refraction photography is all about careful lighting and careful alignment. Every element of the photograph is like a puzzle piece that needs to fit perfectly in exactly the right place for the image to be made whole. Gooseneck arms can hold anything - Lumecube lights for illumination and clamps to hold the photographic "ingredients" in place. The flower in the background needs to be in alignment with the droplets and the foreground petals, which can be easily done with subtle and accurate shifts.
This macro contraption is flexible and customizable, and any camera with macro capabilities can get a similar shot. While I generally shoot with fancy mirrorless cameras and expensive lenses, this image was also intended to prove a point: the camera is the least important element to the composition. If you can check of the "macro" box, energy should be focused on the other elements of the image and how to best sculpt it; you're a droplet sculptor first, and photographer second. So many of the skills required to get these images to work have little to do with the camera itself, and more to do with how you stage everything. Platypod is there to make this entire process easier.
Let's take his image one step further - check out this shot of his macro setup. Added to the Gerbera daisy, water, and his smartphone are a Platypod Max and Ultra, 2 Lume Cube 2.0 Waterproof LED lights, 1 Lume Cube Panel Pro, 6 goosenecks, 3 Platypod Mini-Super Clamps, a Benro Ball Head, and a Square Jellyfish Smart Phone Holder! This "mini-studio" took Don no more than an hour to set up.
Looking for a great holiday gifts for the photographer in the family? Don's new book, Macro Photography: The Universe at our Feet is available through B&H. Just click on the book to link to the URL.
The book is stunning, (Don never does anything halfway!) and is one of the finest most extensive resource books on macro photography that's ever been published!
This is one of those books that every photographer should have on his/her shelf, regardless of their specialty.
Looking for other great gift ideas this holiday season? - Platypod's Black Friday Holiday Specials are going on now. Just click on any product below for information on some outstanding packages, including the Max-Macro Bundle Deluxe and even lighting for your Platypod setup.
by Skip Cohen
I always like to get away from writing about marketing and business on Sunday mornings, and today is no exception. I've shared thoughts from Melody Beattie several times in the past and her thought from yesterday is perfect for this morning.
How long has it been since you played? How long has it been since you played at your life, had fun with it?
Our imaginations are so delightful when we're young. Watch a child sit in the middle of the floor and build castles with blocks. Watch a child play--any object can be anything, and anything can be fun. Life can pound that out of us if we let it.
Breath life back into your imagination. Come back to life. Let yourself see dragons in clouds and leprechauns in trees and velvet in a rose. Imagine what it would be like to grab a handful of cloud. Then touch the tree. And put the rose to your cheek.
Let your imagination come alive. Play the game of "What If?" What if anything could be anything? What if life could be fun?
This morning I woke up thinking about the day ahead and decided to kick back and pretty much not worry about anything...just have fun. "Fun" is one of those words too often lost in business today. It's still there, but for most of you, it's buried under the stress of seasonality, Covid, health, money - you name it, and it's probably blocking your route to fun!
So, I'm not suggesting you be irresponsible and abandon your focus on life, just take the time to focus on something fun - something that makes you smile.
I took a camera with me this morning when we took the pups out. The shots I got will never win any awards, but trying to get Belle and Lucy to sit still for a few clicks of the shutter made me laugh. And the smile these two bring into our hearts every day keeps an aspect of fun in our lives, like the favorite seasoning a fine chef adds to a special dish.
Take the time today and have fun! Make it a day to abandon the stress in your life and stop worrying about tomorrow until tomorrow gets here! Instead, laugh, spend time with friends and your family and take the time to think about no matter how tough life can be; we've all got something to feel blessed about.
Wishing everybody a day that's jam-packed with fun, laughs, and whatever it takes to make your heart soar. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people and pets most important in your life. Life is too short to do things you don't love doing.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you've joined me from the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I'm part of the Platypod team. It's a remarkable company with a terrific product line. So, while this post is in part to let you know about some great Black Friday offers - it's also an opportunity to show what happens when you put our products together with Lume Cube's and the outrageous skillset of artist and educator Rick Friedman.
The challenge was to see what he could do with a bunch of Lume Cube 2.0s, their new RGB Panel Pro, and a few Platypods.
The behind-the-scenes shot above, which includes clamping a light to the bicycle on the right, shows his setup. And the finished portrait is an excellent example of what Platypod and Lume Cube products can help create.
For this image, he was shooting with Tamron's 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens and the Nikon D850.
"It's an unusual choice for a portrait session, but I wanted the compression of a long lens. Rick Friedman
He moved outside late in the day and captured the images below using Tamron's 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD lens.
Click on any of Rick's images to see more of his work! And follow him on Facebook to catch up to where he's traveling and often teaching!
The subject is one of Rick's favorites to work with, Emily McCall, fashion designer and model.
This week Platypod launched the most diverse Black Friday Holiday Specials they've ever done. Just click on any of the products to the right to visit the website. There are some great discounts and FREE shipping within the US on orders of $100 or more.
Check out the accessory line, from the new Mini-Super Clamps to the much-talked-about Platypod Disc. And if you're into Macro photography, the new Max Macro Bundle Deluxe is an instant macro setup - just add your camera! Watch the short video below, and you'll understand why!
Please Note: Update image and information at the bottom of this post!
by Skip Cohen
Kevin Gilligan is no stranger to SCU. As a past Tamron Image Master, artist, writer, and educator, we've shared a lot of great content here at SCU, including his three-part series on how to put together your own exhibition. The bottom line is, he's a good buddy. So when he sent me this image the other day of his daughter, Lana, walking on her board in a California surfing competition, I wanted to share it. (And she won her heat at the time!)
The detail is outstanding, and this is from a screenshot - so, imagine the quality of the original. It's captured with Tamron's SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC lens. Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in imaging optics, and there's very little that beats a Dad on the sidelines photographing one of his kids!
Tamron's has some terrific offers going on right now - just click on the banner below.
I got an update from Kevin after I shared the post above. The event was the 2021 Kick Off Classic Surf Competition. Over 200 boys and girls from South Bay High Schools competed in long board and short board. Despite the tough competition she got 1st place!
Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.
by Skip Cohen
I started this series a couple of months back to help you think through things you could be doing in advance to help make this one of your best holiday seasons on record. But there's one last component that's critical and trumps everything you do in terms of marketing, brand-building, and promotion - your ATTITUDE!
The last two years have been the toughest ever for every business, especially in the imaging world. Nevertheless, I'm hearing great stories from all over the industry about new business coming through, and several photographers are tracking to some of the best sales they've ever seen for the holidays.
When I was in junior high school, the basketball coach had a sign in his office, much like the Zig Ziglar quote above:
Winning is 80% motivation and only 20% skill!
Well, we're coming down to the wire, but there's still time to capture and create more business for 2021, and it all starts with your attitude. Here's a hit list of questions and suggestions to consider:
I'm not minimizing how tough it's been for so many of you this last year, but with the renewed sense of family coming out of the pandemic, there's an opportunity for you to finish the year strong! So don't let complacency drag you down.
Remember, you can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings, if your own heart isn't in it! And, if you're overwhelmed and just don't know what you can still do - then you know where to find me!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Yesterday I shared the image on the right, captured by my good buddy Eddie Tapp. While the image is outstanding, I wanted to use the post to remind you just as much about Eddie's upcoming program as I did IUSA and the importance of being part of the celebration of a return to normalcy in our industry.
Well, there's much more to Eddie's image, and because he never does anything halfway - here's the guest post that's meant to go with these images.
Eddie's a photographer, artist, writer, educator, and a good friend to so many of us in the industry. And understanding a little about drone photography will help you expand your skillset, and who knows where the journey might take you?
by Eddie Tapp
Take composition for instance, the one thing that will make a scene or image easy to look at with leading lines, element structor, rule of odds, light, story telling as in communicating a feeling and demanding that you look at a specific area or thing.
Experience teaches us to just move over this far to get that diagonal element to create excitement, a see though mystery or leading line. In a studio set we can bring in something to create eye flow, set the element structure for a visible feast or establish placements to balance the view.
Now that we include aerial compositions in some of our works which reveal the location or action that brings us to the discipline of low attitude solutions such as drones or moving vehicles.
Drones are not very difficult to fly, as a matter of fact, they are really quite easy to fly especially because of the GPS connection, the fact is that most drones today have obstacle avoidance along with features that allow cool cinematic movements.
What isn’t easy is learning to create the best possible angle or cinematic movements within a compositional mind-set while flying a drone and here are some of the reasons why. A remote control pilot now has to pay close attention to the telemetry such as speed, altitude and then obstacles can take over thinking about composition while flying.
If you were the pilot/image-maker, think about keeping your eye on the composition while flying with the added awareness mentioned and you have new challenges. Or at least it takes time to become proficient at flying before it becomes comfortable for one to get back to mastering composition from the air, then it becomes a second nature and the fun begins.
And if you really want to fly drones for professional use, you must have an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification, this requires a written test to achieve. The website to find out more is faadronezone.faa.gov. The national air space has various classes of air space and safety is the most important aspect of drone operations. There are online study courses such as uavgroundschool.com where you can learn all the important aspects of flying in the national air space along with studying for the Part 107 written test.
It all comes down to vision and this is where our tasks start.
How ever you interpret a vision is something you should set as your objective. Use the best means you have to create and go for it. Just remember the three key elements that create exceptional imagery are light, composition and exposure. When creating your next project from the air, moving vehicle or from land, partner your composition with your light and make sure to keep thinking up.
Eddie Tapp, M.Photog., MEI,Cr., API, CPP
Photoshop Hall of Fame, Certified Drone Pilot, Delkin ImageMaker,Triple Scoop Music, Coloratti - Calibright
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, there's an image that simply grabs me, and this is one I wanted to share this morning. It's not just the power of the image that pulled me in but thinking about our industry and technology. Things NEVER slow down, and Eddie Tapp doesn't either. I'm not sure there's anything he can't photograph from underwater, on land and in the air; he's one of the most diverse artists in imaging.
Here's the best part - he's teaching a drone class at IUSA as part of PPA's Pre-con programming. You might not be looking to become a drone artist, but like every other skill in your bag - it adds another dimension to what you can offer your clients. It opens a whole new door of possibilities and adds to your ability to diversify.
But I can't share images like this without also hitting the importance of January's IUSA Conference - YOU NEED TO BE THERE! Hunkering down for the last, almost two years, has been about your health, NOT about your business or growing as an artist. PPA is doing everything they can to help you start the new year right with a reduced registration cost for the show - it's a no-brainer at $59! There's an additional fee for pre-con classes, and they've helped bring down the price of the hotel as they underwrite the rate for attendees.
If you're still on the fence - listen to the podcast we did a short time ago with PPA's CEO, David Trust. David made it very clear how they're helping artists rebuild their business in 2022 and get things back on track.
So, this started with me wanting to let you know about Eddie's class and finishes with the importance of you getting back on track with what's going to be the first great convention of the new year. Don't miss the opportunity to learn, grow and celebrate!
See you at IUSA!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and earlier in the week, I caught a message from "The Story People" that hit home. Sheila and I have a whole wall of framed Story People prints, but they're all more or less romantic and hit on the role we've played in each other's lives. I'm always amazed how they describe feelings we have for each other and are so relevant. It's that feeling of finding just the right anniversary card, except the Story People do it all the time!
So when I saw this one, it hit the way my life has morphed into being a contemporary town-crier, working daily to get news and ideas out to an industry I love dearly.
Long before the word Covid came into our lives, I was posting information about the industry, business, marketing, and virtually anything that might hit home on helping you build a more substantial business and brand.
Why? Because I love this stuff - and just like you have a passion for capturing and creating the best images of your life, I share the same love for the business and marketing side.
So, I keep making "noise," hoping that someone finds it helpful and it sparks a new idea to build a stronger business.
Years ago, back in my Hasselblad days, I got beat up by one of our dealers who was upset because Tony Corbell did a presentation on lighting and barely mentioned Hasselblad. His focus was on helping the attendees become better photographers, not on the product line. My response - "Everyone knows who Hasselblad is - let's make them better photographers and business people first. Then, when they can afford Hasselblad, they'll be there."
I still feel the same way - so here I am on a Sunday morning reminding you that first, I appreciate you being here, and second if something I write about hits an idea to help you through the day, then I accomplished what I set out to do.
Here's my point - at different levels, we all share the same common denominator, to be heard and share ideas. So pay attention to what's being shared around you, and when you're frustrated and feel like you're about to hit the wall, stop and look around. I guarantee there's somebody close by making enough noise to get your attention, and together the answers are all out there...just don't stop making noise!
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead and time to relax enough to let new ideas and even directions soak in a little. We're a fantastic industry, and new paths are showing up to choose from for your journey every day. And as always, go for those eleven-second hugs with the people you love and trust the most - they're therapeutic, and each one is an energy source. And if you don't believe me - hug somebody and count to eleven!
PS Looking for some great holiday gift ideas - check out the Story People site with a click above. And no, I'm not on commission with them. Just love the way they take our thoughts and turn them into something tangible to appreciate!
by Skip Cohen
It's Veteran's Day, and while this might be a short post, it's long on sentiment.
Several years ago I took my Dad on an Honor Flight trip to Washington. They're a remarkable organization working to bring as many veterans to D.C. to see and appreciate the various military memorials. One of my favorite quotes Honor Flight has shared on their website over the years is:
"If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English, thank a veteran."
From Honor Flight
So, to our son Brian, who's currently serving, Uncle Randy, friends who served, mostly in Viet Nam, and the sons and daughters of friends serving today, thank you for your service and sacrifice. We're able to live the life we do, thanks to everything you've given for this country.
And if you have a veteran in the family, make it a point to check out HonorFlight.org. It's a pretty amazing experience. Just click on the banner below.
"We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by!"
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and today's post is as much a reminder for you as a consumer as it is for your business as a retailer and a product/service provider. So consider it a public service announcement!
Let's turn back the clock to this time last year. We were in the throws of the pandemic, and everything went upside down when it came to shipping. I remember a holiday gift we ordered for friends that took six weeks to get here through the USPS. Concerned, I wandered into my post office and was told by our local postmaster, "Sorry, nothing we can do - I've got gifts of my own I'm still waiting for!"
Then came the challenge of overseas shipments - often on their way, but with virtually no tracking information. Several times, I saw Platypod shipments look like they were still in NY when the same day, I'd get an email from the photographer overseas saying it had arrived.
So, here's the bottom line. As a consumer, shop early and ship early! Unless you're delivering locally or personally, as a business owner, encourage your clients to make their decisions now, so holiday gifts arrive on time.
Last week our fulfillment manager at Platypod sent out an email with the dates to the right for FedEx and USPS. It's up to you whether or not you believe them. Personally, I'd lean to adding a few days on, but follow the news - this is guaranteed to be a hot topic this season.
The challenge of shipping has already been in the news repeatedly. I caught this short piece in this week's copy of The Week. I know it might be hard to read, so click on it to enlarge in the SCU lightbox.
There's also a more in-depth article online at theSkimm.com about delays and price hikes through the USPS.
So, the expression, a good offense is the best defense is credited to George Washington!
“…offensive operations, often times, is the surest, if not the only means of defense.”
George Washington, 1799
The bottom line is to build a good solid offense. Don't get caught short with your clients or your personal shipments this year. Shop early, help your clients as much as possible and get their orders out ahead of whatever you'd consider the regular schedule.
It's going to be a great holiday season for photographic products, and with the renewed sense of family in this country, you've got the skillset and products to meet the needs of your target audience!
Happy soon-to-be here holidays!
Listen to your hunches, pay attention to your intuition, do not dismiss your random thoughts, inspirations or ideas...they could be giving you the best advice you ever had.
Neal Donald Walsch
by Skip Cohen
Off the topic of business and marketing, it's a typical Sunday morning - just a little earlier than usual. As I sat in bed trying to sleep just a little later, my thoughts were completely random, and that's when I decided to share the morning barrage of ideas and questions that popped into my head.
Seriously, Hollywood can't write stuff this bizarre - but my head just jumped from thought to thought like the Mexican jumping beans I had as a kid. It was only for forty-five minutes, but each idea stuck long enough to be a mini-agenda for this morning and at least a few items I can take action on now.
And there you have it - the way my day started, but I can't help but wonder if I'm the only one whose brain does a round of spin-art now and then with a series of thoughts that just aren't connected.
Wishing everybody a day of random thoughts that makes sense, mixed with random acts of kindness. Always go for those eleven-second hugs with the people you love and trust the most. Make it a day to remember, regardless of how ordinary it might seem.
Happy Sunday...or Monday, if you're on the other side of the world!
This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.
by Skip Cohen
I know I've shared Jodi Picoult's quote easily a dozen times in past posts, but in all honesty, there is no better quote to describe what makes photography so important in our lives. And as most of you are professional photographers, her statement further emphasizes the importance of never compromising the quality of an image. Your clients trust you to capture not only what you see in front of you but also what's in their hearts!
It's hard to believe it's been twelve years since I started blogging. However, it's Throwback Thursday, and fun go back to one of my earlier posts. Digging around my archives, I came across this video interview with Mary Ellen Mark from Profoto's Icon Series. It ran in 2012 and is a video EVERY photographer should be required to watch.
I met Mary Ellen in 1987, back in my Hasselblad days, and even had the honor of presenting her with "Photographer of the Year" at a PMDA dinner in the 90s. Sadly, she passed away in 2015, but her spirit, love for imaging, and influence are still very much alive.
In a podcast I did with her around 2010, I asked her to talk about why she has students shut off their LCD screens in any of her workshops. She talks about this in the video below: When we look at the screen and think we've got the shot, we let go of the scene, when in reality, there might still be more to happen. How do we know we captured the decisive moment if we've accepted what we already have?
For example, many wedding photographers might see a scene, let's say Grandma is giving her granddaughter, the bride, a kiss on the check. The photographer sees the shot, clicks the shutter, might do a quick "chimp," and then moves on. But the best image might still be coming, and the tear rolling down Grandma's cheek was missed. But, had the artist stayed focused on the scene just a few seconds longer, the photograph would have been incredible!
Mary Ellen's website is just a click away, and it's loaded with some of the most outstanding documentary images in photography. She was remarkable and such an amazing influence on artists worldwide, with a passion for the craft that was simply unmatched!
...If you love it and you really want to do it, then you must do it.
Because you'll never forgive yourself for not doing something you care about or believe in,
if you don't do it now.
Mary Ellen Mark
by Skip Cohen
On this new episode of "Mind Your Own Business," we got Myron Fields to slow down and join Chamira and me to talk about his business and the power of printed portraits. This is the second podcast in a three-part series featuring our upcoming guests at a very special LIVE program at IUSA on January 15. Throughout the conversation, Myron was right on point sharing input on building a stronger business and not letting the outside challenges slow you down!
What good is working to create the best images of your life if nobody knows who you are? Or, worse yet, you've let the stress of business in today's chaotic world sap your creativity.
I love Myron's early introduction to his style from his about page: I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself beyond what meets the eye. After all, that's where my love for photography stems. I'm a multicultural visionary, I've worked with all types of cultures, races, and religions, I don't discriminate.
And he closed his intro with another powerful statement: I pride myself on delivering more than just images but an entire experience that sets me apart from the rest. My aim is to uplift and inspire with the power of photography.
Chamira and I are excited and honored to have been asked to present at IUSA and hope you'll join us along with Allison, Myron, and Kay Eskridge. It's not rocket science to stay focused and build your brand, but it does take time, patience, and a love the craft, as well as your clients. Myron's love for imaging comes out loud and clear right from the start of the podcast.
Check out more of Myron's work with a click on any image below. As you wander through his site, pay attention to the way he's helping his clients through the process of understanding how he can help. I especially liked this section on his home page.
Images copyright Myron Fields. All rights reserved.
And if you're not registered yet for IUSA - what are you waiting for? PPA is pulling out all the stops to help photographers rebuild their business, and make this the most affordable convention they've ever held. Plus, the educational platform and trade show are going to be a celebration of growth and definitely a return what we all look for in a great convention! Listen to our previous podcast with PPA CEO, David Trust who shared insight into their January plans.
See you at IUSA.
by Skip Cohen
This will probably be the last post in The Road to Seasonality series. I've done my best to cover so many different things you can be doing to help make this year's holiday season one of your most successful. Sadly though, there are still too many of you caught in analysis paralysis, trying to figure out what to do next.
STOP OVERTHINKING! First, you're only one person - even if you have a staff to help support your business, it still comes down to you. Second, you're better off doing something and being only moderately successful rather than being complacent and going into the holiday season without any marketing plans. Last but not least - remember the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
I wrote a post a few weeks back with a similar theme, but let's take it a step further. Here's a check-off list to work from, and it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you maintain a presence with your target audience and do something!
Here's the bottom line - the future of your business is in your hands! I'm not suggesting it's easy, but nothing in life is effortless these days. Just remember that relationship building is your strongest marketing tool. You've got to be out there and shed the chains of analysis paralysis.
It's November 1 - so what are you doing today to help secure business over the next two months?
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and while I'm rarely writing about imaging directly, photography is near and dear to my heart this morning. It's Halloween, October 31, and my Dad's birthday. Even though he passed away almost six years ago, it's a day deep rooted in great memories...all thanks in part to hundreds of photographs I cherish.
When we were kids, the poor guy never had a real birthday without the doorbell ringing and kids screaming, "Trick or treat!" And with the first ring of the bell, I was headed out the door with friends to fill my own bag with candy. The irony of it all is that Dad was in the wholesale candy and tobacco business in those early years, and I had a whole warehouse of candy at my fingertips. However, nothing compared with the fun of the "chase" for my own candy bars!
Dad was my best buddy with a non-stop flow of unconditional love. So moving to Florida to help him deal with my Mom's Alzheimer's was the first time since high school that I lived close by. I used to say I was so lucky to not only have my folks around in my sixties but to like them too!
But the fun of looking back on those early days, right up through Dad's 93 birthday two weeks before he passed away, are the photographs. Whether a more formal portrait or just a snapshot, every image brings back a flood of memories and stories. And each story is a reminder of the fantastic career path I stumbled onto so many years ago.
I've shared this quote so many times over the years in blog posts and workshops...
"'This is what I like about photographs. They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat,
everything was perfect."
But I found another one, also by Jodi Picoult that's just as strong:
“A photo says, you were happy, and I wanted to catch that. A photo says, you were so important to me that I put down everything else to come watch.”
Remember the Bucket Challenge? Well, we got Dad into it!
That brings me right to my point - we're part of an amazing industry, and all of you who are professional photographers are the magicians. You help people take intangible moments and turn them into something they can hold and appreciate for a lifetime!
And while I rarely share marketing ideas in Sunday Morning Reflections - here's one that's a guaranteed best-seller this holiday season. For your clients that are actual seniors (not high school), offer them a Legacy Session that includes both their portrait and video. The purpose of that video is for them to share a chapter of their journey for their children and grandchildren to enjoy and appreciate.
As I've written so many times over the last few months, there's a renewed sense of family in this country, and you've got the tools to help your clients enhance its importance. In the same way family portraiture is this year's hottest photographic product for grandma, so is helping her share the story of her past, right through to today.
Wishing everybody a wonderful Halloween Sunday, and time to wander through some of those old photographs and cherished memories. Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs I write about with the people most important in your life, and take a minute to appreciate what you see in the rearview mirror!
And to my Dad - sure do miss ya buddy! But there are no expiration dates on the memories we made together.
Happy Halloween everybody!
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.