by Skip Cohen
As a photographer and an artist, there are two different types of holiday cards.
First, there are holiday cards you produce for your clients. They're both a product and a service. You've got the files from previous events and family sessions with your clients, and the ability to create something special. The idea of a holiday card moves to a service because you can help them put together a custom card - unique just for them. And, you've got the skillset to suggest which images will look best.
Second, are the holiday cards you send out to clients and influencers in the community, featuring one of your images. No professional photographer should ever send out a store-bought holiday card! Use your own photography for holiday cards, thank-you notes, and your stationery.
It's one of the easiest marketing tools at your fingertips, and all it takes is a little time to bring it all together. A great image on the front, a message wishing people a healthy holiday season and on the back your logo, email address, and phone number. Just like a Hallmark card, but instead, it's your name on the back.
Marathon Press has everything you need to create cards for both your needs and your clients. With choices of size, paper, colors, and style they've created an almost unlimited combination of components to make your card or your client's unique.
I've written this a lot over the years - a holiday card is one of your very best marketing tools! Don't let the 2019 holiday season pass you by. There's not much time left and the team at Marathon is there to give you the help you need!
Click on any of the banners in today's post to link to Marathon's Holiday Card products!
Animal images copyright Alex Cearns. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Each month, since the start of the year, Chamira Young and I have had the privilege of working with a member of the Tamron "family." We started the Tamron Recipes project completely underestimating what we'd learn from some of the finest imaging "chefs" in the world. They're artists, educators, writers, and passionate about their careers and love for the craft. I continue to be amazed at the diversity and willingness of each featured "chef" to share their recipes.
Alex Cearns joins us in the Tamron Kitchen in this new post and upcoming podcast. She's a remarkable artist with a love not only for her work, but the animals she works with, both domestic and in the wild. When you look at her work, there's an undeniable signature in so many of her images.
Shakespeare wrote, "the eyes are the window to the soul." One look at Alex's portfolio, and you'll immediately see why I'm making the reference. I grabbed screenshots of three of my favorites below, but it wasn't easy. They're all incredible!
In this new Recipe, Alex is using the SP 150-600mm G2 Tamron lens. In the history of photography, artists have never had more creative tools than today. Alex's love for Tamron lenses has come from their ability to help her capture some of the most beautiful pet portraits in photography.
With every Tamron Recipes post, I like to find a quote that seems to fit our guest "chef." The quote below fit Alex so well.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
About "Chef" Alex: "Dogs Today Magazine" in the U.K. proclaimed Alex Cearns to be "one of the greatest dog photographers in the world. However, after recording our podcast, which will air next week, and getting to know Alex, skills and understanding animals go so much deeper. She's truly an animal rights activist and said:
As a photographer, my greatest inspiration is the animal kingdom. Animals are carefree, unaffected, and without ego. I learn so much from observing them and being in their company.
She is committed to ALL creatures regardless of their size or domestic vs. wild. She's one of Australia's most passionate champions supporting animal rescue and wildlife. Her love for the animal world is inspirational. Take a scroll through her galleries, and you'll immediately be introduced to her passion for animals.
About the SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens: Click on the banner below to find out more about this outstanding lens. Alex captured the image of the family of Rock Dassies late in the day and talks about the shoot in the upcoming podcast.
Alex is our eleventh guest "chef" in the Tamron kitchen. Join us on the next Tamron Tuesday when Chamira Young and I will be sharing our conversation with "Chef" Alex in another new podcast. Alex will be sharing a lot of great insight into her love and support for the animal kingdom.
Tamron's manufacturing somer of the finest glass in photography. They never slow down in helping photographers become great chefs. And, there's currently a $100 instant savings on the SP 150-600mm G2 lens at your authorized Tamron Dealer.
Finding your local Tamron Dealer is just a click away.
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.
Most of you are still-imaging artists, and while filmmaking isn't usually a part of your career, storytelling is. And, if you think about our industry, the line between still-photographers and videographers has been getting thinner and thinner. So, I'm not suggesting you've got to start being a filmmaker, but many of you need a better understanding of video today.
When I watched this BTS video with comments from four well-respected filmmakers, I was surprised at how much great content they shared. All four of them are shooting the LUMIX S1H for different reasons. The common denominator is their love for imaging and shooting full-frame mirrorless. And, even if you never shoot video, you need to have an appreciation for the technology and the techniques these four artists talk about behind the scenes.
Looking for more information on Panasonic's S series cameras? Just click on the banner above. In the meantime, this three-minute video shares a lot of excellent content. And if you're one of those artists who say, "I never shoot video," never say never! Our industry is changing all the time, and along with it consumer trends, how people share images and storytelling. At least make it a point to understand a little of the technology!
Filmmaking just got more interesting thanks to the Panasonic LUMIX S1H full-frame mirrorless camera. Go behind the scenes with our LUMIX S1H video creators for an exclusive look at how they got the shot. Featuring content shot by David Smith, Carissa Dorson, Jacob Schwarz, and Nick Dabas
Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world.
A veteran doesn't have that problem.
by Skip Cohen
I feel like I'm trapped in an old movie, and the hands of the clock are spinning as time passes by. This year has gone incredibly fast, and I'm astounded that it's already Veteran's Day. Just for the fun of it, I looked up "Veteran's Day" on Wikipedia:
Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces (and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable). It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.
The definition of the day is to honor those who have served honorably. But, I like the fact the holiday has also morphed into respect for those who are actively serving now. And, I love the spill-over to thank the families who "serve" as well.
So, to our son who's a Colonel in the Army; Uncle Randy who rarely takes off his Marine baseball hat; our friends who have served, and so many families with members currently deployed and serving...THANK YOU for your service and your sacrifice.
A year or so before my Dad passed away, I took him to D.C., thanks to HonorFlight.org. It's a fantastic organization. If you've got a veteran in the family, don't wait to get them on an Honor Flight trip. Just click on the banner below to link to their website. They're a non-profit and need all the help we can give them!
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people
by Skip Cohen
At least once a year, I write the same post about the rules of engagement. My feeling for the need to share it, again and again, is always the result of a battle in a Facebook forum that went off-track. It would be so great if wannabe-trolls just had a button on their computer to push before posting a comment.
I'm one of four administrators in one of the larger Facebook forums. A couple of weeks ago, I got sucked into being a playground guard with "kids" who weren't playing nice. I commented on the thread and suggested they grow up, but we all know that isn't going to change their behavior.
So, I'm going back to a post from a few years back and suggesting we work just a little harder on what should be the rules of engagement. The original post was more about personal attacks on other photographers, but I want to expand it to Facebook and social media threads too. And, while most of you don't need to be reminded, give me hand with people who just don't get it.
And whether in social media or live in ANY industry:
I know this post doesn't apply to most of you, but feel free to share it with somebody who's forgotten! Or as my buddy, Levi Sim has said, "Act as if your grandmother's watching!"
I don't usually quote Queen Latifah, but I got a kick out of this quote. I guess it's a matter of your priorities:
A lot of people are crazy, cruel and negative. They got a little too much time on their hands to discuss everybody else. I have a limited amount of energy to blow in a day.
I'd rather read something that I like or watch a program I enjoy
or ride my damn motorcycle or throw back a couple of shots of tequila with my friends.
And that's exactly the way I feel right now. I know time flies when you're having a good time, but this is absurd!
It's anything but a typical Sunday morning, or maybe a better way to put it is, it's the new Sunday morning. It's early, Sheila and I had been up for half an hour when I started this post, but so were the "kids." And, it's now taken me two hours to write this short post - only because of the interruptions for playtime, potty-breaks, breakfast and chasing balls, bones, and squeaky toys!
Time for everyone to meet Belle and Lucy. They were born three days apart. They're the best of friends, and they're non-stop puppy energy at sixteen weeks. The interaction is hysterical to watch. Lucy is the alpha female, but Belle holds her own, especially when it comes to stealing toys.
I've written a lot about Molly the Wonder Dog over the years. I know that anyone who's ever lost a dog knows that empty feeling in your heart when they're gone. There's no time limit on grieving. However, there is a time when you realize what a gift they were in your life. You never forget them, but you know it's time to open your heart to a new pet.
Well, Sheila wanted a small dog, and I wanted a bigger one...so the compromise was two dogs, a Havanese that will weigh in at ten pounds fully grown and a Mini-Golden Doodle at twenty-five. Watching them interact has been non-stop laughter, but it's almost a full-time job.
And here's my point: I'm not sure what two old farts like us were thinking getting two puppies. It's exhausting! But, there's something wonderful when in the evening, as we're watching TV, they're asleep in our laps. Our initial thought was they'd keep us young...no guarantee on that yet, but they're keeping us in shape and smiling between bouts of exhaustion! LOL
"Just like butter in a hot pan, your heart will melt when your puppy takes a nap in your lap."
Wishing everybody a day filled with smiles...take the time for those eleven-second hugs, although a buddy sent me an article recently that suggests twenty-seconds is the new hug time. And, if there's a pet in your house, go for a hug in their direction too.
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday to friends on the other side of the world!
My apologies for the quality of the image above, but it's Throwback Thursday. The photo is from the 90s, and was a 62KB file. I've tried to clean it up as best I can. It will never win an award for quality, but the booth certainly will!
Bambi Cantrell and I wrote three books together about wedding photography. The image above was her booth at bridal fairs at the time, which she talked about in one of the books. When so many photographers did the minimum with the usual skirted table and a bunch of albums, Bambi was always making a statement.
What's remarkable is how little effort the whole booth took to create. The panels in the back are just painted hollow wood doors with a little added molding and spotters. The floor they set up in advance on plywood sheets, and the rest is just accessories to be inviting.
Bambi was also one of the first photographers to use image boxes for shows like this. While she had albums to show as well, using the image box allowed more than one person to look at her work and not "hog" an album. Plus, it made a point to the audience about other ways to share images from the wedding. She had those big framed prints on display, albums and the image box - all giving the bride more ideas on things to do with the photographs from the wedding.
But here's the point - if you're going to exhibit at ANY show for ANYTHING - make your booth a statement. Go the extra step. I still see companies doing the same thing at trade shows today, and it's always the same. A static display with a staff member or two who are "underwhelming."
Are you looking to make your work stand out and make a great first impression? Don't settle for doing what everyone else is doing!
"It's never crowded along the extra mile!
by Skip Cohen
Don Komarechka is no stranger to SCU. We've shared so many of his images in the past, along with podcasts and great "how-to" content.
Last week the industry's favorite mad scientist astonished us again with "Liquid Flow" photography and the video below. I know this is very different from the kind of images most of you capture. However, besides the beauty of each photograph as art, pay attention to the way he tells the story in the video.
As one of photography's leading most creative educators, he's also ALWAYS willing to share the process he's used for the images themselves.
Platypod and the LUMIX GX9 and S1R played key roles in the short film below. And, if this was Hollywood, Don would be walking away with the Oscar for best director, producer, and writer!
Don needs to be on your radar! You'll find him regularly sharing outstanding content on his Instagram page, and his website is jam-packed with more images, podcasts and information about his workshops! Just click the thumbnail below.
As I mentioned above - Don's always willing to share the backstory on his images and each piece of gear used along the way!
by Don Komarechka:
Here's how you do "liquid flow" photography (and video, obviously) using ultraviolet lights and fluorescing inks!
Gear involved all listed below!
First, the lights. I'm using a bunch of stuff here, basically everything I had that I could fit in. That includes:
- 3 Convoy S2+ flashlights: https://www.fluorescents.com/products...
- 1 Convoy C8 'Fyrfly': https://www.engeniousdesigns.com/prod...
- 1 'Jaxman' UV flashlight: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07...
- 2 "Master Ultra365 units from MinerShop (AC-powered): http://www.minershop.com/051718/html/...
The lights are all held together with Platypod Max and Ultra units, with gooseneck arms: https://platypod.com/our-tripods
- added "crab clamps" to hold the lights, readily available from generic vendors on Amazon.
The tank is an 8" cube aquarium from a local supplier, but any glass aquarium would work.
The inks! These are all from a company called "Noodler's". The three used in this video include:
"Blue Ghost": https://www.gouletpens.com/products/n...
"Dragon Catfish Orange": https://www.jetpens.com/Noodler-s-Dra...
Cameras used: Lumix GX9 for wider shot: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc... Lumix S1R for main video/stills shooting: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc... Kit lenses used for both.
The shooting of the stills was simple: maintain a 1/200sec shutter speed, shoot wider than you need to crop in to the areas of interest (and get a greater depth of field from shooting further back), F/13, and whatever ISO is required to make those other two settings work. With the amount of lights I had, that was ISO 1000.
These images survive noise reduction VERY well, so don't be afraid to push to ISO 6400 and beyond if needed!
By Chamira Young
If there's one thing Michigan has no shortage of throughout the state, it's scenic nature trails. Combined with a plethora of beautiful trees and - if you time it right - lovely weather, it's the perfect recipe for a fun walk to capture the mood of nature. It's a great way to practice creativity "just because" and keep your passion for your craft alive. If you're a pro or semi-pro, sometimes this passion can get lost in the day-to-day challenges of running your business. That's why it's invaluable to do an occasional fun project just for the thrill of it.
The images in this post were taken with Tamron's fantastic 35-150mm/2.8-4 lens. I love its versatility: while it's a great portrait lens, I find it's wonderful for outdoor photography in general. And given that I'm still mending from a hip injury, it's extremely useful to have a lens that does a bit of the walking for me!
The goal of my nature walk was to capture the mood of the path, the ambience of the time of day, and also my own personal creative expression as an artist. After capturing the images, I took them into Lightroom and played with the Adjustment Brush to adjust the exposure, shadows, and temperature of each image.
I also couldn't resist snapping a photo of the leaves beneath my boots, as I found them to be an interesting visual texture.
If you haven't done so recently, get out in the great outdoors and unleash your creativity. It may give you that much-needed kick of inspiration you've been missing. And be sure to check out Tamron's fantastic 35-150mm/2.8-4 lens. It will raise the bar on your quality of work!
Image copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
It's always fun catching up to Shiv Verma, especially when he's on the road hitting bucket list places like Tanzania.
Just recently posted, Shiv captured the image above with a LUMIX G9 and the Leica 50-200 mm lens. He added the 2X teleconverter to the mix, a product too many of you forget to have in your bag!
Traveling vicariously with Shiv is a kick. He's always sharing great images captured all over the world and often right in your own backyard. You'll find so many of his LUMIX images on the LUMIX Photographers group on Facebook.
With the image above he posted:
African elephants protecting a sleeping calf.
Northern Serengeti, Tanzania. Panasonic Lumix G9 with the Leica 50-200 and the 2X teleconverter.
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/400sec at ISO 640.
It's time to wander into your LUMIX dealer! Check out the entire LUMIX family, and not only the G9 but the incredible new full-frame S1. Plus, take the time to follow Shiv and the LUMIX Ambassadors. They represent one of the most diverse teams in professional photography.
Years ago photographers used to view teleconverters as gimmick products, but these days with Panasonic's technology and focus on quality, that's just not the case. Click on any of the thumbnails below for more information. Check out the new S1 Series too!
Click below to meet the new LUMIX Full-Frame S Series Cameras
It's the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey.
by Skip Cohen
At the risk of sounding like a joke that's going around:
What do you get when you put Michele Neal Celentano, Paul Neal, Susan Stripling, Kelly Brown, Rob Brown, Sheila, and me in the same house for a weekend?
You get non-stop laughs, minimal sleep, and bags under your eyes that when you look in the mirror, you see Yoda looking back at you!
Daylight savings time has screwed me up, and Sheila and I are both up this morning way too early. That being said, nothing changes quality time with old friends and new ones. If you think about it for just a second, none of us get the time together we wish we had at conventions or throughout the year. So, when Michele and Paul suggested sharing a house together for Sue Bryce and George Varanakis' wedding, we were in...no hesitation whatsoever.
While the wedding was the obvious highlight of the weekend...the bonus benefit has been getting quality time with some incredibly talented people who are each in their own right a knucklehead! I use the word "knucklehead" as one of my highest compliments. True knuckleheads are energetic, risk-takers who repeatedly challenge us to think outside the box and push the boundaries of paradigms.
If you look up the word knuckleheads, it's going to be derogatory and suggest people with small brains, the size of one's knuckles. But from Skip's Urban Dictionary - over the years, I've used it to refer to friends whose hearts are bigger than their brains - In fact, their hearts are typically the largest part of their body!
So, there are two points this morning...
First, surround yourself with great friends, the knuckleheads who make you smile a little more, laugh a little louder, and who you know will be there, even when you've got nothing to smile about. Second, find quality time with people you want to get to know.
It's not a new topic, and one I seem to be hitting a lot lately. I think it's part of the aging process. The older you get, the more value you put on friendships. It becomes more important to get to know people who come into your life on a stronger foundation than just a few minutes together on a trade show floor.
Wishing everybody a day filled with the knuckleheads in your life, and the time to laugh and appreciate how lucky you are to have them by your side! Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs, and cherish how the "huggee" makes your heart soar.
Happy Sunday, or as always, Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
The purpose of Fast Food Friday never changes - to help you build a stronger business model. Every week there's been something that comes up that sparks an idea that leads to another blog post. This is a short one today, and all it takes is a scroll through YouTube.
Last night, while hanging out in Phoenix with Michele Celentano and her husband Paul, we wandered through YouTube. It started out looking for laughs, but by the end of the night, we'd used YouTube to search for old videos with Monte Zucker, Don Blair, and Dean Collins.
Most of you never knew any of them, but their role in our industry was instrumental in building a foundation for quality and consistency in imaging. But my point goes well beyond some of my heroes that we've lost over the years.
Too many of you have taken shortcuts to build your skillset. Sometimes it's been intentional, other times the result of the pressure to develop your business. Being a success as a professional photographer is about being able to meet the needs of each client. It's about listening more than talking. It's about building relationships and never compromising on the quality of a photograph.
Well, YouTube is jam-packed with thousands of videos from photographers who are no longer with us together with some of the finest artists in the world who you know today. All it takes is hanging out in the search box and putting in the names of artists you should know more about.
I found this short teaser that David Ziser posted in 2012, which tied back to Photovision. And if you've been around for a few years, you'll spot Clay Blackmore and a few other favorites. But, there's also some classic content that Monte shares.
And just to have some fun with a great example of timeless advice - check out this video from Creative Live featuring Michele Celentano on posing groups. With the fourth quarter seasonality now in full swing, along with the demand for family portraits, the timing is perfect for so many of you to watch this video!
Intro by Chamira Young
Whether you consider yourself a pro, semi-pro, or hobbyist photographer, you should always be looking for creative ideas to push the envelope of your creativity. Much of the fun of being a photographer is learning new things and exploring the possibilities. This includes being inspired by other fellow photographers!
That's why we love the series "One location, One Lesson, One Lens" the team at Tamron passionately produces. It gives you a first-hand peek over the shoulder of a professional photographer as they utilize their lenses, interact with their subjects, and create amazing images. In today's featured video, we get a fun look at how photographer Michael Gilbert interacts with his model and grabs some amazing shots with the new Tamron 35-150mm lens. Talk about an amazing piece of glass! Check it out below and get ready to be inspired!
by Skip Cohen
It's not only Marketing Monday, but as Walmart, Amazon, and even Canon launched their holiday specials last week, gift-shopping and holiday urgency has started earlier than usual. Why? Because retailers figured out there are six less actual shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. *Poof* The world has gone mad with a rush to get great deals!
Well, the good news is - with the rush to start shopping early, that means more time for you to have an impact on your target audience. And, being Marketing Monday, here's a list of things to think about to help make your presence more recognized and be a leader in service through the seasonality of the fourth quarter crunch.
There's a saying I heard years ago that's been modified numerous times by writers over the years. I still like this one:
If you do what you've always done, you'll never get more than you ever got!
Skip's Holiday Resource Center
I didn't want to turn the post above into an infomercial, but SCU has some outstanding partners and friends.
All of them focused on helping you through the holiday season!
Their links are below:
by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times in the past, the best thing about our industry has very little to do with imaging, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. This post is especially fun for me because it brings together two good buddies of mine - Denis Reggie, who I've been hanging out with since I joined Hasselblad in the late 80s and Steve Brazill who I just met a few months ago.
While I've only known Steve for a short time, thanks to a couple of marathon phone calls, we've got great chemistry. I first talked with him after he interviewed Dr. T, founder of Platypod. Then we did an episode of "Why?" together, and he shared so much insight into being a music photographer. From that point, the friendship took off. Now, the most fun aspect is thinking about catching up with each other LIVE in the not so distant future at any of the 2020 conventions.
Steve gave me one of the nicest compliments about SCU and my "Why?" series, describing it as a mini-version of his Behind the Shot program. My purpose with "Why?" was to introduce you to some of the most respected artists in imaging. Steve's taken the concept so much further. He's getting inside the heads of each artist, and talking about some of the most iconic photographs in the world.
Denis Reggie and I first met back in my early Hasselblad days. While most people know him as one of the finest photographers in the world, he's also responsible for changing the way wedding photographers think about their work. Denis helped change an entire industry in the 90s as he talked about the value of the wedding album. Think about it, the dress will never be worn again, the food is gone, the band's gone home, the flowers will die, but the photographs captured become the first family heirloom of a new family.
Together, Denis and Steve share a lot of terrific insight into technique, your skillset, relationship building, the importance of storytelling, and even copyright protection. Regardless of your specialty in photography, there's a lot you'll learn and enjoy in this new podcast.
Follow Steve with a click on the "Behind the Shot" thumbnail on the right. Every podcast is jam-packed with relevant content.
At a time when we're flooded with Internet content - this is a site that needs to be on your radar. And, you'll never regret a minute of the time you spend with Steve Brazill and his guests.
by Skip Cohen
Last May, I started shooting with the LUMIX G9, and my images have never looked better. I'm not sure I've ever had this much fun with a camera in my hand! I especially love the focus accuracy, the touch screen, the weight, low-light capability...oh, why not just say everything? There's a lot of remarkable technology in this camera!
Image copyright Nick Pappagallo Jr. All rights reserved.
Nick Pappagallo Jr is a LUMIX Ambassador and shared the image above on Facebook last week. Click on the image to enlarge it in the SCU Lightbox. When Nick posted it, he shared:
Shot with my Lumix G9 Camera in the studio with Godox 400pros and Backlit by the translucent garage door. Edited with Lightroom Classic.
But there's always a little more to the story. So, I thought it would be fun to contact Nick directly, and he had a lot more to share!
This shot was a brief test shot with the new Godox Lights - and to see how they worked in mixed lighting situations, including daylight. Jurnee was at the studio, and we hopped into studio 4 to test this out. She was having fun, and we only shot about 50 shots in total. The lower angle poses worked better for what I was envisioning. I was lying on my back on the cyc wall shooting up at her. Stands and other gear were left in the shot intentionally to give it a more cinematic feel.
For more information on the LUMIX G9 and the 35-100mm lens click on either thumbnail below.
Check out more of Nick's work. His website is just a click away. Then follow him and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. As I've written so many times before, they're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
And, if you're not in the LUMIX Photographers Group on Facebook, it's time to check it out. There's great content being shared regularly from talented artists all over the world.
It's Sunday morning, and while I always go off track from business and marketing, I'm staying in photography. Most of the time, I never know what I'm going to start writing about. As I jumped online this morning, there it was - a Facebook memory shot of me, Sheila and Robert Vanelli, AKA "V" or "Vanelli."
Ever had somebody come into your life and after just a few months, you can't remember when they weren't in it? For me, Vanelli is one of those people. With a heart as big has his three consecutive world champion titles in Karate back in the eighties, it just feels like he's always been there for so many of us.
Then there's the Kevin Bacon degrees of separation game and so many people come back to Vanelli. The same happens with photographs.
I needed a new shot for the crew at ShutterFest for my speaker banner in 2018. Headed to PPE last year, I asked Vanelli if he'd grab one for me. A few minutes after this shot with Sheila and me, he got the image I needed. It later became my headshot on my Facebook page.
Then there were the antics that happened at the same time - nothing beats giving noogies to a good buddy, especially when he could take you out with one swing. Andrew Darlow captured the fun and sent me the image. Next came the bobblehead joke for Sheila, based on my new headshot.
Last on the list; there's the common denominator of our mutual love for photography. Vanelli and I had never spent any quality time together. We'd been to a dinner or two, but after catching up to each other at trade shows for a few years, I suggested a boyz weekend. I invited him to the house for a couple of days in October of 2018. That's where the friendship and laughs escalated to a relationship I cherish today.
It was also at that time he captured two photographs that would become part of my collection of priceless memories - me and Molly the Wonder Dog.
And that brings me to my point - great friendships don't just happen. While they might start by chance, to flourish, they need an investment of time - real-time - not cyberspace. Social media is fine for keeping touch and sharing, but it's the phone calls and actual time together that brings the real quality of getting to know new friends.
Little did I know at that first meeting with "V" that he'd become such an inspiration, source of smiles and laughter, and most important of all a quality friend. We all wear multiple hats and live hectic, often insane lives. But trust me on this - nothing beats relationship building with great people. Commit to bringing more quality time into getting to know people you respect. You'll never regret it!
Wishing everybody a day when time represents an investment in good solid friendships. We're an industry involved in capturing memories and making intangible moments tangible. We capture them for clients all the time, but today I'm suggesting "charity starts at home." Make those memories today, just for your own heart! And, as always, go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs.
Happy Sunday, everybody...and yes, Happy Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
Just crossing the seven-week mark, Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga hit 10,000 miles on the Bubble Trailer Light Tour today. It's been a fantastic project to follow and definitely falls under a work-hard-play-hard style of living. Along the way, they've spent time with hundreds of photographers both educationally and socially. If there were an award for Photography Ambassadors of the year, they'd get my vote along with every artist they've touched along the way.
Even Sheila and I caught them for a visit and a couple of nights just hanging out together. In addition to everyone's love for imaging, Light Tour is all about engagement. Social media is an amazing communication vehicle and allows us to all keep in touch - but we're all missing actual contact. Nothing beats talking directly with other artists and friends. Even more important, nothing beats being inspired.
And all along the way, whether in the middle of the country, NYC or driving along the Florida coast, they're sharing images...
The energy Suzette and Jonny have put into this project is only one ingredient in the recipe for its success. The sponsors and obviously the attendees have played a big role.
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour is sponsored by a stellar group of outstanding companies, each one committed to photography. They're all focused on helping artists raise the bar on their skill set. They don't just make great products - they believe in education.
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour has a few more weeks and a three thousand miles to go. Here's the schedule for next three weeks. Occasionally dates and locations are subject to change. The complete itinerary is available with a click on the button below!
by Skip Cohen
The purpose of Fast Food Friday posts is to give you ideas to build a stronger business and thrive rather than just survive. Just when I think we've run out of suggestions, another one pops up.
One of your biggest challenges as a professional photographer is planting seeds of ideas with your clients. It's not easy setting yourself apart from the competition these days, but not because it's difficult. The challenge comes with so many opportunities, and many of you fall into "analysis paralysis." You're not sure where to start, and procrastination takes over, and you wind up doing very little.
Your greatest marketing tool is in relationship building with your clients. That's a big umbrella and covers so many different aspects of building a successful business. Here's one that's so easy to put out there, and it falls into the category of just being helpful.
Throwback Thursday - Planting Idea "Seeds"
These days we're all tuned into Throwback Thursday and sharing old images. You've seen me share industry stories and photographs we can all relate to. You're my readers, and you're all seriously invested in photography, but what about your readership and "Mom?"
For most of you, "Mom" is your target audience. Remember, 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories are made by women, and Mom is almost always involved. Well, Throwback images allow you to get Mom thinking about an updated family portrait. We're headed into the holiday crunch, and it's the perfect time to remind your audience that it's time for an updated family portrait.
What I love most about this approach is that it's so soft-sell, it's hard-sell without being in anybody's face. Plus, it works on just about any image, even a headshot campaign. Have fun with the old photos you share. Use them to show your sense of humor and how much fun you are to work with.
When you can make fun of yourself, it makes you that much more approachable and becomes a relationship builder. Plus, you're reminding "Mom" the kids are growing up, and her family is changing. While we can't stop time - as a professional photographer, you have the ability to take time and turn it into a tangible memory and perfect gift this holiday season!
by Skip Cohen
I apologize for the quality of the images below, but NOT for the memories, they bring back. We've set the Way-Back Machine for the 90s, and it's thanks to Terry Deglau and Bill Burbank. Here's the backstory:
Last weekend I flew to Latrobe, PA, for Terry Deglau's memorial service. I wrote about my good buddy in a previous post, but the fun of the trip was all in the memories it would bring back. Sitting next to Bill Burbank, we started sharing Terry-stories. Out of that conversation came Bill showing me photographs of the two ads above. Bill and Terry were both with Kodak back then - Bill on the creative team and Terry as the marketing manager and industry liaison for the portrait/social side of professional photography.
The two ads above featured two of the industry's most favorite and respected photographers, Ken Whitmire on the left and Al Gilbert on the right. They were featured in full-page ads in Kodak's Fantasy-Reality series featuring VPH and VPS films.
It was a fantastic time in the industry. Film was in its glory; Kodak was a powerhouse, and Terry led the charge. Supported by some of the finest photographers in the world, this ad campaign was just one of the memorable ingredients.
Four years ago, St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, did an evening event featuring Terry's work. Several of us reconnected for the first time in many years, and that's what I love most about this industry, the history. We all share the same love for imaging and as sappy as it sounds, Terry.
The fun of Throwback Thursday is always in the memories old photographs bring back. In terms of imaging, the longer you've been in the industry, the more changes you've seen, especially during the transition of film to digital. New photographers don't realize how small this industry really is - we've all been to the same rubber-chicken dinners together, watched each other's backs, and often worked for the same companies and on various projects.
In terms of my buddy Terry, it's like the Kevin Bacon degrees of separation game, only Terry's at the hub. I couldn't be more proud to have been a part of his life and him a piece of mine.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses, "I am a part of all that I have met." Well, Terry is a part of so many of us, and as the reverend said in Terry's eulogy, talking about how warm and friendly he was, "Terry never met a stranger!"
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.