Those who love deeply never grow old. They may die of old age, but they die young.
You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.
by Skip Cohen
Remember, it's Sunday, and I never talk about business when I sit down to write Sunday Morning Reflections. I also never know where my thoughts are going to take me. I woke up creaking a little more than usual and started to write something sarcastic about aging, but I got bored with the topic almost immediately. So I went off searching for a good quote, and those two above hit me. They both are about the secret of slowing down the aging process - laugh more bitch less.
Benjamin Franklin and George Burns were born 190 years apart, but they both had the same idea - appreciating the people around you, laughing more, and loving life. Okay, I'm reading more into what they both said, but I know I'm right on the money!
And here's my point - I'm not suggesting it's easy, but as I've gotten older, that old line about, "Don't stress the small stuff...and it's ALL small stuff!" has become more and more important to me. That doesn't mean there aren't times when I totally miss the point, and stress and anxiety trump love and laughter. The point is, we're all work in progress. What I do know is that if I miss a time to laugh, love, and appreciate the moment, I can never get it back.
Wishing you a day filled with love, laughter, and appreciating everyone in your life that makes it special and unique. The one thing I love most about this time of year, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, it's a time to focus on joy. It might not always be easy to find, but it's always there. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people you love the most. That deep love will slow down the aging process...you don't have to get old.
Wrinkles are only where the smiles have been.
The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you're the pilot!
by Skip Cohen
It's unbelievable to me that today is December 1st! It comes at the same time every year, but why am I surprised? This year it's hitting me harder for whatever reason. I feel like I'm trapped in an old movie and the hands of the clock are spinning. It seems like we just appreciated Spring-time, and then Summer was over in a flash. We crashed through Fall, and here we are.
This is a very short post this morning with just two points. Business-wise, we're down to the last round of seasonality. You've got only a couple of weeks to chase down loose ends and anything you can do to impact this year's business. However, remember how you deliver and keep your promises to your clients now, sets the stage for the new year.
On the personal side, the year is coming to a close. Whether it's home projects, new ideas, or even friendships you want to maintain - whatever is on your agenda, it's time to step up. Stay on top of your dreams.
Wishing everybody a terrific weekend and time to savor time!
There's only one thing more precious than our time and that's who we spend it on!
by Skip Cohen
My post yesterday sent me searching for a throwback of a throwback. I shared this back in 2014. After so many years of blogging, it's too much fun not to share the stories again.
My best guess on today's "Throwback" is around '95. It was taken in NYC at Scavullo's studio, and we talked about a fundraiser he was helping us with. Again, without finding this print, which I scanned for today's post, all the memories would pretty much be forgotten.
Meeting the first time with Francesco Scavullo was pretty remarkable. He was helping us raise money and awareness for Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS. The event was part of Photo East, now known as Photo Plus Expo.
Two stories tie to this image, making looking back so much fun.
First, besides the memory of Scavullo's dog trying to bite me when I came into the studio, the way the studio was set up was pretty amazing. Francesco had terrible arthritis, and he needed that low camera angle to shoot fashion the way he did. (He was shooting exclusively with Hasselblad.
Very few people know that every cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine for over seventeen years was shot with Hasselblad gear.)
To get around his arthritis and allow him to shoot at those low angles comfortably, they built a pit in the studio. Much like the old gas stations before hydraulic lifts, where you'd drive over a hole in the floor to have your oil changed, Scavullo would walk down a few steps into this 4-5 foot deep pit. You'd pretty much see only his head sticking out of the floor. The camera was on a short tripod. It was the perfect setup for so many of his studio images.
The second story came during our fundraiser shoot at the convention. Somebody asked him what his favorite Hasselblad lens was. Well, he thought for a minute and then held up his hands about eight inches apart and said, "It's the one that's about this long!"
I'm not sure we ever did find out what the focal length was, but it didn't matter. Four hundred or so people got to watch him work that day, not just on the program we had scheduled, but with Brooke Shields for her own fundraiser at the beginning of the session when she "borrowed" our set. It was a moment to remember.
The sidebar story I left out of this post originally was that the session with Brooke Shields ran late, and we had a few hundred people growing more and more agitated as they waited in the hallway. Brooke Shields's mother would not allow them in while her daughter was being photographed. That led to a small shouting match between us; I had to let people come in. Fortunately, my good buddy Denis Reggie stepped in and used his diplomatic skills, and we could open the doors.
The whole Throwback Thursday thing comes together with one great point...do you know where all your memories are? All those images of past events in your life bring back the most amazing stories. Throwback Thursday isn't just an excuse for me to pull out old photographs. It's a reminder for all of you to do the same and share them with friends. There are few things better than a walk down memory lane to start the day!
The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is
a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think
and the way they work. Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning,
and through your day with a spring in your step.
by Skip Cohen
It's Hump Day, and we're into the seasonality every business owner, especially in imaging, dreams about - the December holidays. I shared these traits many years ago in a post, but it's a great time of year to bring them back. As you're working on holiday orders for your clients keep each one of these traits in mind.
A few times over the years, I've referred to myself as one of the luckiest guys in the industry. One example is having the privilege of working with all four of the icons above. Don Blair and I wrote our first book together. I have dozens of Monte stories from so many different workshops and programs. Avedon made me lunch once in the flat above his studio, and Scavullo's dog tried to take a piece out of my leg on a couple of different visits.
I chose these four because I had the privilege of spending time with them, and there are so many of you who never got to see them in action. There are so many other artists for each of us to remember, along with contemporary icons active in the industry right now. The common denominators between all of them are the traits below.
As we go into the last month of 2023 and, at the same time, prepare for a new year, it's the perfect time for all of us to remember the ingredients that made those four above iconic, along with the traits of so many younger contemporary artists we admire today.
Image Quality: They NEVER compromise on the quality of an image. Exposure, composition, expression and impact are as consistent as the sun coming up every morning.
Lifestyle Quality: They maintain a lifestyle of giving back and a strong sense of family and friendships. They have integrity, they have poise and they follow through on their promises. They also surround themselves with people with similar commitments.
Loyalty: Whether it's to the vendors they work with or their friends, their loyalty is rarely questioned. Everyone watches each others backs and the mutual respect and admiration, at least from my perspective, is pretty much unmatched in comparison to most other industries.
Humor: They don't take themselves too seriously. Think about any program you've attended that you loved and learned something - I'm willing to bet you laughed...a lot. Today's photography icons are comfortable with admitting when they do something stupid, have fun with a client or completely screw up a job and live to tell about it.
Humility: Not everyone has it, but even those few we might consider a little arrogant - if they knew how they were being perceived they'd be upset and ready to work on a different persona. So, I'm not sure if the quality I'm trying to describe is humility or a willingness to listen, but they've got it.
Confidence: They believe in their abilities, their willingness to learn new skills and they understand their camera gear and photography cold - there's no second guessing and no "chimping." Even when they talk about a new idea or technology, you'll pick up a unique tone in their voice, almost as if they've been shooting that way for years.
Diverse Skills: It goes with confidence, but there's nothing they can't shoot. We might know them as a portrait photographer and then we'll see work that's fine art, landscape or architectural - they refuse to be type-cast into any one skill set. They may have a signature specialty, but none of them are one-trick ponies. They're always experimenting with new technologies and growing their skillset.
Passion: It's the last word on the list, but it drives everything they do! It's not just about photography, but about life in general - they simply never stop loving the craft, their lives, their friends, families - you name it and passion is what drives them to succeed.
Here's the bottom line - how do you stack up against the ingredients? Or more importantly, how do your customers feel you stack up?
Happy Hump Day!
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
If you haven't found it yet, keep looking.
As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."
“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided
if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?”
by Skip Cohen
There are moments here and there when I don't get it...but the real issue is written correspondence is the hardest to express and the reader to interpret.
Here's the scenario:
Yesterday, I posted a piece on FB about ClickCon's move to Detroit. I stated that "finally" the Midwest had a great convention in 2024. In my actual post, I explained my joy in more detail - I grew up in Northeast Ohio and lived there from 2009 to 2011. While it might be considered the Midwest, except for PPO, there was never much to choose from regarding great conventions. ClickCon's move east opens up doors for so many more photographers and includes cities like Toronto, Pittsburgh, Cleveland etc. All closer the Chicago.
A reader in another forum took me to task, feeling my wording on FB was unprofessional and passive-aggressive towards other conventions in the Midwest. I couldn't have been more sincere when I wrote back, "I'm sorry you feel that way." I explained how my FB piece could have been written better. IUSA is in Louisville this year and will be an outstanding show. I also used to speak at Shutterfest for six years and know how good the show can be. I modified what I had previously written and got back a compliment on the change, but she had to add one more line:
"Sorry you feel that way is a gaslight tactic."
Gaslight tactic? Seriously, there was no tactic or strategy to my statement, just sincerity, and it led me to read what I had written and change it.
Years ago, I had the honor of lunch with Senator Howard Baker at the Whitehouse. At the time, he was President Regan's Chief of Staff, but his passion for photography was the reason for the meeting. The key reason I was invited was just to hang out and talk about photography. I was relatively new as the president of Hasselblad, and he was a Nikon and Hasselblad shooter.
I remember him talking about how difficult it is to write and told me this story: "Years ago I had to send a memo to another Congressman once wrote, "Sorry this is so long; I didn't have time to make it shorter." It's so hard to be concise in as few words as possible."
Well, here I am 30 years later and still struggling with the written word. It's hard enough for me to be PC, let alone use words that don't come directly from my heart. So, if I've written something in a post that you didn't like or are unsure how to interpret it, let me know, but maybe call me instead of writing; then we've got a chance of getting our point across to each other that much better.
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and I'm headed in a very different direction than usual. Besides, over the last month or two, I've covered virtually every topic you should be considering in marketing for a solid finish to the year. Today's post concerns recharging your battery mid-year, expanding your skillset, and picking up new ideas to make 2024 a great year.
One of your greatest and most valuable resources is a great conference! Nothing beats a LIVE get-together with other artists, but it's no easy task to put something together.
Remember my background - I was with WPPI for seven years with a fantastic team that took the convention to over 15,000 in 2009. Take my history one step further, and with Tony Corbell's help, we launched Hasselblad University. Now, add my time on the PPA Advisory Board, Akron Photo Series, and dozens of other regional/local conferences. I fully understand the challenges in putting together even the smallest workshop.
Well, Sherry, Suzi and the ClickCon team had a new challenge to face for 2024...the Democratic National Convention is in Chicago, and the Republicans are in Milwaukee a little over an hour away, both in the timetable for ClickCon. That's an incredible challenge for hotel space for a small workshop, let alone the fastest-growing conference in imaging!
They just announced Detroit, and DETROIT works! It's a great city for a convention and far enough away to be out of the craziness of the two political conventions. For those of you in the Midwest, check out the circle above and the stats below...most of the major markets are four hours or less driving time!
Trains, Planes, and Automobiles isn't just the title for an old movie - it's the selection you've got to be at what's become one of the best conventions in photography. And they've even come up with packages that include your hotel stay!
Here's the bottom line - I grew up east of Cleveland, and except for the PPO convention each year, there's not much to draw from when it comes to great conferences for photographers and videographers. To have an event of this caliber just 4 hours away is a real asset. Plus, if you drive like Sheila and I do, you can always shave off at least 1/4 of the Google estimate on travel time!
What a kick! Put it on your calendar and take advantage of the early pricing discounts. Just click on the banner below.
by Skip Cohen
Like so many of you, I'm enjoying the long weekend, but not without a quick post, thanks to author, Emily Silva...
Concentration can feel elusive when it feels as if all the tabs in your brain are open. We live in an endless loop of information. Although this is convenient and awesome, it take a toll on our nervous systems. To function at our highest capability, we need to take time for stillness. Start your day shutting down all the tabs in your brain and finding your center. Let peace enter if only for a moment. Breathe in the stillness.
Nothing more I need to add except to wish you a relaxing and outstanding Thanksgiving weekend. I hope you can find the time to follow her suggestion and "shut down all tabs in your brain," and can find your center.
Have a great weekend!
PS Photo shot on the iPhone 14 Pro at Hilton Head - this is right out of the camera. No manipulation except cropping to fit today's post.
by Skip Cohen
For those of us in the US, there really is no Hump Day this week since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and many of us are off Friday as well. So, I'm turning today's post into a wish for all of you.
The world has become increasingly bizarre, from war to Mother Nature to fires, product recalls, and even Congress's inability to agree on much of anything...It's a mess. Sheila and I always watch the news early in the evening, so we're not left with the insanity in our minds just before going to sleep!
Despite it all - here we are, safe and sound, with Thanksgiving one day away. I know many of you have a tradition on the holiday of going around the table and sharing what you're thankful for in your life. Well, how about if we're all thankful for our ability this year (this is a BIG ask) to help change the world? How about if we're all grateful, not for what we have, but for what we can do to help slow down the ugliness?
I won't deny I'm thankful for my health, Sheila, the pups, and my life, but Thanksgiving should go deeper than that. Let's be grateful for our ability to help people who have nothing left to be thankful for except their health. Let's be grateful that we can reach out and help somebody else on the planet.
It's hypocritical that I write about this stuff when, in my own family, we no longer talk to each other. Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday and a time for memory-making, but the pain and everyone's inability to forgive or even take the first step back to being what we once were is buried under tons of baggage too complicated to dig through. We're all at fault, and I know we're not unique, but it is sad to see that my family's ugliness is just a microcosm of the world stage.
When you go around the table this year at Thanksgiving, first give thanks that you have a table to sit around, both physically and figuratively. Then, give thanks for your ability to help change your little corner of the world. Think about it: if everyone would help make their community a better place, all those small communities would add up.
And for me, a big thanks to all of you, my readers. I appreciate your support far more than a blog post can ever show. Your feedback is so important, and together, we're all helping to make a difference in an industry near and dear to each of us.
Wishing everyone a beautiful day tomorrow with plenty of time to think about your corner of the world. Give "love" top billing and, most importantly, be thankful for all those people in your life who together help make a difference.
Intro by Skip Cohen
My good buddy Scott Bourne first shared this post on SCU ten years ago. While I've pulled it from the archives a couple of times over the years, it's too good not to share again. And if you're already a working pro, it's still a great read. You might be surprised how many points Scott made that so many of you have forgotten, especially #5!
by Scott Bourne
(While these mistakes also encompass other areas of the professional photography business, at their core, they are marketing mistakes. See if you are making any of these mistakes and what you can do to correct them.)
1. Don't think about selling your image to the masses. Think about selling to people who live in your own zip code. Trying to start out like you're Ansel Adams with big gallery sales all across the country isn't going to happen. Just own your own zip code and don't worry about your images going viral.
2. Don't spend money on a studio, lights, camera gear, backgrounds, etc. until you actually have a customer. You can rent all the stuff you need to do a shoot. In fact, the big shots mostly rent everything when they are shooting big jobs. Why should you aim to be any different?
3. Don't focus on launching until you can sell. Focus on sales. Spend your time selling. Learn everything you can about the sales process. Read every sales book you can get your hands on. Expect to spend way, way more time selling than shooting. If you're doing it the other way around you're going to end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
4. Don't worry about a business plan if you don't have a superb portfolio. Develop a killer portfolio before you worry about building a business plan. Make sure you have honed your craft. Make sure you know what you are doing. Don't worry about the big plan. Worry about being a great photographer with a great portfolio where every single image rocks your world.
5. Don't think you can run a photo business just because you are a great photographer. You need to be good at all the things that go with running a business, or get help doing those things. You need to have good bookkeeping, inventory control, accounting, legal, marketing, branding and sales on board before you even think about entering photography as a business.
6. Don't run your business with a negative mind. Too many photographers spend their time and money trying to build a wall around their photo business. Don't write 100 page contracts. Don't treat your customers or prospects as if they are out to cheat you. Just have a good attitude and move ahead.
7. Don't fake it until you make it. If you can't carry your weight, you'll ruin your reputation. So if a client says "can you do aerial photography?" and you've never even been in an airplane, don't say yes. You may want to partner with someone who can do that, you may want to refer the prospect to someone else, but don't claim you can do it if you can't because you will suffer from a bad reputation with that prospect and all their friends for all time.
by Skip Cohen
It's almost 4:30 PM on Marketing Monday, and here I am just writing today's post. No excuses, but a light-hearted explanation. Ever had a day that went by so fast you feel like you missed it completely?
The day started out with a battle with Comcast after we lost Internet service last night. Then came a few errands to do before the Thanksgiving rush, followed by editing an upcoming podcast for the December Tamron Recipes series. Throw in a few phone calls and like a cartoon character getting an idea with a lightbulb going off above my head, I realized I never posted.
I'm hoping most of you are flat-out working on holiday orders for your clients. It's one thing for me to miss a post on my blog, but another entirely if you miss a customer order or challenge the trust a client has put in you to deliver as promised.
Here's my point - First, slow down a little and do a check at the end of the day. Review everything you worked on. Second, if you did screw something up, don't hide it. Be upfront and always communicate with your client. Third, remember to take a break during the day - I didn't and went non-stop on the list I had in my head of what I wanted to accomplish.
Last but not least, I love a check-off list...I'm old school and have a huge whiteboard on the wall above my desk. Putting stuff in my phone doesn't give me what I need, but writing it down manually stays top-of-mind.
It's Marketing Monday, and if nothing else, my post might help a few of you remember things you want to wrap up before the Thanksgiving holiday. Or, if you're outside the US and this isn't a holiday week, you're still rushing to make the deadlines most important to your clients.
Remember to slow things down enough to double check what you're working on.
by Skip Cohen
Over the years, Sunday morning posts have evolved into day-in-day-out topics that focus on everything BUT business and marketing. And this morning's point of focus is about turning back time. We all know the expression, "You can never go back." But having done a little time travel three days ago, I'm here to say it can be done.
Let's set the stage: I've written a lot over the years about my good buddy Duncan MacNab. When he passed away last year, I shared this picture in the post of Bob Thompson and me with Dunc. Early last week, one of Duncan's daughters, Dani, texted me. She was visiting family in Florida, just a few miles from here, and wanted to catch up.
We met at a local place for lunch, and from the second we sat down, the stories just flowed. I had stories about hanging out with her Dad that she'd never heard, and she had plenty of new stories for me. For two hours, we really did go back in time. And while now and then the laughs were interrupted with tears from both of us, nothing changed how wonderful it was to savor each of the memories.
"Dani" was just a kid when I first met Dunc in the 80s. As we took turns sharing stories from the past, there were so many moments we both remembered but from another point of view. With each story from the past, we took turns talking about the behind-the-scenes backstories from each other's perspective.
Here's the bottom line - with the right ingredients, you CAN go back. It's bitter-sweet, but it's beautiful. Sadly, we often let life get in the way and don't take a long look in the rearview mirror.
It's funny; there are holidays for virtually every occasion, mostly created by the greeting card companies. Well, it's time somebody started a Happy Memories Day, where we all take the time to pick out people from our past and simply share the memories until we laugh and cry.
As Dani and I sat there talking, the laughs and tears flowed, but a couple of times, I could feel Duncan and Donna's presence, even hearing a chuckle from one of them. Believe whatever you want, but angels do exist.
Wishing everybody a day ahead filled with great memories of people you've loved. It's Thanksgiving week, but you don't have to wait until Thursday to give thanks. For me, I'm forever grateful to have the MacNab family in my life...and to Dunc and Donna - you guys did good. You raised two incredible daughters, Dani and Dori. Put their values together with their kids and all the lives you two touched, and you've defined immortality.
No words describe how much I miss you both, but a long look in the rearview mirror was the next best thing to hanging out with you! And to Dani - you've got the best of both your Mom and Dad - what a kick to get time with you. I've still got stories you have yet to hear, and I'm saving them for the next time you're down here.
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
by Skip Cohen
Ten years ago, I was writing for Shutter Magazine. All the writers would include a short video with each month's article. I had a blast doing the videos, realizing early on that the more absurd my presentation, the more likely readers would remember my marketing point.
In this video, going back ten years ago, I hit hard on partnerships, especially with promotions. I've just published posts on the same topic in the last few weeks. Partnerships allow you to share the cost while expanding your reach to each company's database. Plus, each company becomes an ambassador for the other partners.
Stop thinking you have to do everything solo!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
by Skip Cohen
It's "Hump Day," and I do my best to keep it relatively short but still relevant. The "why" we do things is at the top of my mind this morning.
As a photographer, your target audience doesn't care what awards you've won, what gear you have, or how your grandfather gave you your first camera. All they want to know is "why" you love being a photographer and if you can be trusted to capture the kinds of images they want.
Too many of you write your bios, forgetting about your audience. When it's time to open your heart, you submerse yourself in meaningless factoids about your skills. If they're reading your bio, they're already interested in getting to know you better - don't bury them in your list of print competition awards, gear details, and the history of your business. Tell they why you love imaging. Share why your clients trust you to capture what's in their hearts.
It's the "why" that makes us all more interesting. It's the "why" that makes my story different from yours. It's the "why" that takes millions of stories from people worldwide and gives them color, emotion, and commitment.
In terms of my "why" - I simply love photography and the business of helping more people understand its importance. I love working with so many of you to help you see your potential, and in turn, you help me see mine. I feel a special rush walking into any photography convention, conference, or trade show.
And it's not just conferences and conventions - In a few minutes, I need to head up to Clearwater (near Tampa) to catch up to a whole bunch of great friends on Scott Kelby's The Grid. Eddie Tapp is in town and a guest, along with Larry T. (founder/inventor of Platypod), Larry Becker, Judy Host, and the whole Kelby Media team. It's that energy of being together with great friends that confirms I love this industry.
Stop worrying about "what" you do and start sharing with people "why" you do it. The "what" is from your left brain and a series of cut-and-dry statements; the "why" is the right brain and is all about your personality, passion, and emotion. Plus, your "why" is unique, while your "what" is often the same as everybody else's.
Happy Hump Day!
by Skip Cohen
From prints to albums to image boxes, there are so many different ways to help you market your skillset. But for many of you, image boxes represent an entirely new direction, especially as a marketing tool. Here are three ideas targeting different types of clients:
Image boxes come in all shapes and sizes, and you've got the creativity to develop promotional programs that are just as diverse. Click on any of the four well-respected companies above to help give you more ideas. There are hundreds of others. So, if you don't see anything you like here, call your lab or album company and find out what they offer.
The key is to be different and make your promotional offers unique from what your competitors are doing. As my buddy Terry Clark said several years ago:
"Look at what everybody else is going and then do something different!"
by Skip Cohen
Last week, I held an online coaching workshop for VIP attendees from the Hair of the Dog Summit I spoke at a few months ago. We've all attended various workshops and taken tons of notes. The we return home, letting life get in the way and not following up on actionable ideas. The purpose of the follow-up program was to help these artists stay focused on things they could still be doing to contribute to this year's success in holiday sales.
It's November 13, and there's still time for you to have an impact on making 2023 one of your very best years ever!
You'll miss out if you keep procrastinating and waiting for the business fairy to sprinkle magic dust on your doorstep! There are no unicorns when it comes to building your business, just hard work and your ability to create top-of-mind awareness with your target audience.
No one blog post can cover all the ideas out there, but it's Marketing Monday, and there's still time for you to have an impact on this year's sales. I want to help you THRIVE, not just survive!
by Skip Cohen
Today's post comes with a warning label - Sunday Morning Reflections are never about business or marketing. However, they're hopefully about something you can relate to. For me, it's a therapy session as I write about something usually more personal and often on the taboo list of what the "experts" say you shouldn't share in a blog post! LOL
The shot above, thanks to Adobe Stock, is pretty much me this morning. I couldn't decide what to write about and started several posts, only to hit the delete button. Lacking a decent night's sleep, for which I blame a York Peppermint Patty just before bed, I'm simply off a beat.
Have you ever had a day kick-off where you were simply clueless - not just about the day's plans, but how you felt? My usual dive out of the bed to beat the Energizer Rabbit to the starting line just didn't happen. But with your help, combined with Sheila and the enthusiasm of two pups, I'm almost back in sync.
Sheila and I ALWAYS take the pups out together. The backyard is fenced, and the morning's fun starts with these two knuckleheads running around like crazy, then doing their business, followed by at least fifteen minutes just lovin'. I stayed in bed this morning, grabbing more sleep, and the pups came to wake me up.
Sensing something was off a beat, they both took turns snuggled up to me. Something was not quite right, and they felt it - it's that amazing intuition pups have to know precisely what you need, often when you don't know yourself.
Now, here's where you came in - I mentioned Reflections is therapeutic. Well, trying to express what I'm feeling today, pups climbing all over me, and a partner who gave me room to bounce back together got me back on track.
And there's my point - sometimes it takes a village! Sadly, so often, we forget we each have a village to draw from and lean on. So, if your day seems like it's going in the wrong direction, call in the troops! First call to make is to your heart - then check in with those people or critters you're closest to. As I'm writing, Lucy just wandered in, coming by for a hug, and then jumping into her spot on the loveseat in my office to keep an eye on me.
Sometimes, you have to ride out whatever is slowing you down and remember the importance of gratitude. An hour ago, I was off a beat, tired, down in the dumps, and having little explanation of why. Maybe finding the "why" wasn't as important as accepting how I was feeling and moving on.
Wishing you a day filled with gratitude and time to get a little sappy with the people (and pets) most important to you. And when you have a day like mine started out, go with it. Like stretching exercises before you work out, maybe that's all your heart and soul need - a little time to adjust and move on. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs, just like the ones I'm about to hit Sheila and the pups with...they really do work.
Happy Sunday - or Monday, depending on where you are in the world.
"If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English, thank a veteran."
From Honor Flight
by Skip Cohen
I know I've shared a lot of information about Honor Flight in the past, but in honor of Veteran's Day, it's time to share it a little more.
In 2014, as a Father's Day gift, I booked a trip with Honor Flight for my Dad and me. I signed us up for the two-day program, hitting all the major war memorials in D.C. At the time, our son was stationed in the area and surprised us. He joined us at each of the memorials along the way.
Dad served in WWII in the Army Air Corps in the Asia/Pacific. He never talked much about the war but put him together with his peers on this trip, and the stories flowed. All the other veterans on this particular trip had all been based in Europe. So, Dad's experiences were unique.
One night at dinner, I remember one of the veterans asked Dad if he ever got to meet MacArthur. He answered, "No, but I brought in his plane a few times." Dad was trained as a pilot and navigator, but a perforated eardrum grounded him, and he served a lot of his time in the tower in New Guinea.
That night, just before going to sleep, Dad told me one last story, "It was my turn to get out of the tower and fly on the routine radar calibration flight that day. I was pretty excited to get in the air. However my "CO" grounded me because he wanted to go. I was disappointed, but no big deal, I'd get the next one...Well, they never came back." Dad let out a quiet sigh and that was he said.
If you've got a veteran in the family before they're too old to share the stories, book a trip with Honor Flight. They're an amazing nonprofit with an incredible goal of demonstrating respect and appreciation for our veterans. Check out the numbers below - they've honored 273,543 veterans and had 200,210 guardians along for the trips since they started in 2005!
It's Veteran's Day 2023 and an opportunity to express my appreciation to all of you who have served and are currently serving. And I can't forget all the families involved who have sons and daughters in the military. Last but not least - our son Brian, who serves today, "Uncle" Randy, who rarely takes off his USMC hat, and my Dad, who's keeping an eye on us from above. Thank you all for your sacrifices to give us the lives we now live.
Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.
They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.
President Harry S. Truman
by Skip Cohen
I shared this image a few years back, but November is the anniversary of when Sheila and I first met. I wrote a piece for my high school's alumni newsletter a few years ago and ran across it recently. This is an excerpt of what I shared.
....Staying connected to my hometown, Painesville, Ohio and digging back to Clyde C. Hadden Elementary maintains a particular place in my heart. There's a smile on my face just writing about it. So, turn back the clock to the 50s and Clyde C. Hadden. Here's a taste of what makes those days so unique and the memories so vivid.
My wife Sheila and I met in second grade. My parents moved to their first real house in November. I started the school year as the new kid, almost three months after everybody had already been in school. Being the new kid, the principal, assigned somebody to show me around.
Whether it was because he had a soft spot for this young girl or simply knew she had five brothers and was tough enough for the task, Sheila Fetterman was assigned to give me the tour. I remember it like it was yesterday – "Here's the gym… that's where we have lunch…this is Mr. Paxton's office… there's the playground… that's the Boy's Room…see ya!"
The photograph above is the 3rd-grade class at Clyde C. Hadden a year later. Both Sheila and I are highlighted. I'm in the top row, second from the right, and Sheila is in the bottom row, third from the left.
But Throwback Thursday photographs always bring back memories beyond just the picture itself.
...Rosemary T. had an autograph book, and everyone got to sign it. Thinking I was outrageously creative, I mimicked the Coke commercial at the time and wrote, "Feel refreshed, have a sh _ t." Little did I realize the teacher would be asked to sign the book following my page. Even more painful was that she played bridge with my mother, and the torn-out page of the now "ruined" autograph book was delivered to my Mom.
Like the scene in Christmas Story, I was marched into the bathroom, and the giant bar of Ivory soap came out. My mother was mortified and demanded to know where I had heard such language. As the tears flowed down my cheeks, I whimpered, "Grandpa uses that word all the time." Mom bought the story, and for the moment, I was off the hook.
A day later, she cornered my grandfather and screamed at him to watch his language around me. My grandfather took the heat, winked at me, and later whispered, "You owe me!" It was another building block in a remarkable relationship with my grandfather.
For the next ten years, Sheila and I would often be in the same homeroom, but that was it. We were never good friends. I was a nerd, and she was a cheerleader - we just didn't run in the same circles...So, Sheila went her way in life, and I went mine. Fifty years later, at the fortieth high school reunion, the friendship started. That was in 2007; we were married in 2010.
If you have yet to search for at least one throwback image, do yourself a favor and get started. Throwbacks bring back memories and even more important, they're a perfect reminder of the value our industry provides to the world.
What would life be like without our photographs and videos?
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Skip Cohen
Last year, right about this same time, I was running a series called "Sound Advice." Looking back through my archives, I ran across this post on diversity in your skill set. It's only a four-minute sound bite, but it's relevant to so many of you.
I'm hoping most of you are starting to fulfill holiday orders – but that doesn't mean you can't still think about your immediate future from a "what if?" perspective. When business is bad, life becomes a lifeboat drill. We examine all our costs, procedures, etc. Often, the things we change and cut back on are issues that should have been addressed long before the crisis.
So, think back to the height of the pandemic – when events were all canceled, people were paranoid about virtually everything – and we all hunkered down. Now, think about your plans if another crisis were to happen, even the most local event that forced you to change your business model.
Do you have the skill set to tackle something else, or are you strictly a one trick pony? What's your backup plan?
It's a short sound bite from last year, and while references to 2022 aren't valid, the concept of diversity couldn't be more important and worth considering. With IUSA coming up in January and more conferences and workshops on the horizon, whether LIVE or online, what will you do to expand your skill set?
by Skip Cohen
I grew up with a handful of my Dad's grainy, underexposed, silent movies, which later were replaced with hundreds of Ektachrome slides. While I laugh about all his clicks of the shutter, family slide night was always a kick. Those slides and the movies captured memory-making moments that are priceless.
Technology never slows down, and today, all of you have the ability to become filmmakers. It's right there at your fingertips, and thanks to companies like Tamron, you've got optics that bring top-notch quality to the table. Well, it's Tamron Tuesday, and I grabbed two completely different videos from Tamron's YouTube channel. Both were captured with Tamron's new ultra-wide angle 17-50mm lens.
Charley Voorhis is no stranger to SCU; I've featured a number of his videos. If you're at a convention where he's teaching/speaking, make it a point to introduce yourself. I don't know @AUXOUT, the artist featured in the second video, but I like the way he toured Seoul and the mix of still images with the new lens.
They're both relatively short but don't just watch them for the content, but the style and technique of each artist. Then, think about your style and what skills you need to raise the bar on the quality of your own video work. From a personal marketing video to video holiday cards for your clients to ongoing components in the services you offer - you need to understand the art of storytelling as a filmmaker.
For those of you headed to IUSA, WPPI, or dozens of regional, state, and local conferences next year, take a few classes that relate to filmmaking. Everyone has the technology, but not necessarily the skillset. You need to grow this aspect of the craft just like you did with still-imaging.
Remember, growth only happens outside your comfort zone!
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.