What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that's gone forever,
impossible to reproduce.
by Skip Cohen
In December I wrote a post about offering a Legacy Program for your clients. Well, there's a spinoff of that idea that starts with your own family. Now is the time to get a little help and fill in the blanks.
My Mom died of Alzheimer's many years ago, and we lost my Dad over six years ago. With them, the backstories behind so many old photographs disappeared, but I still have the albums. While they're fun to look through, I have no idea who some of the people are or what was going on in their lives at the time.
The group shot above is a perfect example. It was captured around 1930, and that's my grandmother, grandfather, and mother in the bottom right corner. I'm pretty sure it was captured somewhere around Painesville Township, Ohio. Unfortunately, beyond my grandparents and my Mom, any piece of the backstory is long gone.
The photograph on the right is my Uncle Ben between my great grandparents and probably around the same period. Until around twelve, I had three great-grandparents and three grandparents still living. But again, nobody thought to sit down with an old album and get the stories.
Don't get caught shoulding on yourself and thinking, "I should have sat down with my folks (or grandparents, etc.)..." The best part of Throwback Thursday is often the hunt for old images. So, take the time during the "slow season" and put those old photographs in front of family members who know the stories.
Every family needs at least one historian. You've got the skills to restore not only the quality of the images but the stories that go with them.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Skip Cohen
I know everything is relative, but living in Florida, we all complain when it drops to a bone-chilling sixty-five degrees. Well, we're in the forties this week, and Orlando is forecasted for close to frost this weekend. But, having lived most of my life in the north, I never threw out my flannel shirts.
Okay, this might seem like a little bit of a stretch, but are you ready for those business changes when it seems like hell really is about to freeze over?
When business is great, we all ignore things we should have fixed years ago. Then, when things change, we jump to address the challenges with the urgency they should have had in the first place! There's a great quote from business writer and author Tom Peters from years ago:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, should be, if it ain't broke you haven't looked hard enough.
So, here's a starter list for you to think about - Just like my backup flannel shirts when the temperature drops, are you ready when there's a "firedrill?"
There are eight "flannel shirts" for when the climate changes - what have I missed?
by Skip Cohen
It's Tamron Tuesday, and regardless of whether or not you shoot with Tamron lenses, their newsletter is outstanding. It's always filled with good solid content sharing what other artists are doing to grow their brand, skillset, and creativity.
Depending on the stories they run in each issue, you'll pick up valuable information about shooting with different focal lengths too.
Click on the subscribe banner to the right to sign up - it's free, and Tamron doesn't bury you in spam, just great content.
And, if you're looking for more worthwhile content, check out their YouTube channel. With 346 videos and growing more every week, you'll find topics covering virtually every aspect of photography.
Here are two examples - First, their 60-second tips series, and second, an in-depth profile travel log featuring Luke Stackpoole. He fulfilled a long-cherished dream and traveled for several weeks through one of the most beautiful countries in Africa: Namibia. It's loaded with stunning images and great content. You can learn a lot "traveling" with another artist, even for just a few minutes.
I love sharing these longer videos because they not only tell the story from the artist's perspective but watch it and think about the production values and how you'd tell your story.
Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence
and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and I'm sticking with my usual theme of ideas to help you make 2022 one of your best years ever! The whole idea is to go beyond just surviving and help you thrive. None of these suggestions are rocket science, but they do take time and focus. They're not new for me to share either, but strong reminders of what you need to be doing NOW!
Yes, it's the traditional slow season, but not for you as a business owner. Now is the time to get all your ducks in a row, so you've got the foundation in place for a year of solid sales, and there's no better marketing tool than relationship building!
1. Before You Start Hunting New Clients... Everyone is always talking about finding new customers. Sadly too many of you forget about your existing database, as well as your phone. So many of you are sitting on mini-goldmines but ignoring the opportunity to strengthen past relationships.
Take your top 30-50 clients from the past, and starting ASAP, give them a call. You don't need to sell anything. Just call to check in on them. It's been a long stretch since the pandemic started. Everyone has been hunkered down and light on communicating with people they care about. Your goal is simply to check in on them and see how they're doing. Just do a few each day.
2. Own Your Zip Code: My good buddy Scott Bourne brought this up at a program we did together years ago. Pound the pavement and start knocking on doors in the business community. Again, you don't have to sell anything except your personality. And for those of you who are rolling your eyes and thinking it's lame to approach a realtor in town because you're a wedding/event photographer, for example, how's this for the opener? "I just wanted to introduce myself. My specialty is weddings, but I've got a solid foundation in photography. So if there's anything you ever need help with, give me a shout." Just leave your business card behind.
3. Community Involvement: You've got to be involved in your community! People like buying products and services from companies they perceive as giving back. Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of guerrilla marketing, listed community involvement as one of his top things marketers need to do. The fun aspect of this is using your blog to help promote needs in your community. With so many fund-raisers being canceled, every non-profit is looking for support. Use your blog to help promote various activities in your community and get yourself involved and known for giving back. This is so easy to support, too - just start a calendar of community events. If you do it long enough, you'll become a clearinghouse for planning dates for other organizations.
And do anything you can for those non-profits, with or without your camera. The point is to be involved and helpful. Every organization needs volunteers and support.
4. Start Your Own Online Classes: There are things you do every day as a photographer you take for granted. And if you're living in an area where there's still a lot of paranoia about Covid, start using Zoom or a facsimile and create mini-workshops for the community. Share ideas on storytelling, exposure, composition, lighting, and position yourself as the community expert. Photowalks are perfect too, since everyone can be outside.
5. Get Involved With The School System: Education these days is a mess, as teachers struggle with a combination of live and online teaching. Track down a few teachers and look for opportunities where you might be able to be a guest on career day about being a business owner and photographer. Get to know the teachers involved in the yearbook and school newsletter. Also, check with the PTA and find ways to help. Last but not least - how about donating some of the older gear you don't use anymore? There's isn't a photography teacher around who would love more gear for students to be using.
6. Be Active on Facebook: While there's a lot about FB we all hate, keeping in touch with clients through social media couldn't be easier, especially with birthdays and anniversaries when they're listed. Stay out of battles with trolls in the various forums - Remember, there are no erasers on the Internet! Pay attention to what you post as well. Have a separate page for personal stuff and use FB as a marketing tool, focusing on business and imaging-related topics.
7. Coloring Book Pages: I've shared this a few times, but it's thanks to Steven Gotz in the very early months of the pandemic. For clients with young children at home, pull some of their past portraits, remove the color, and turn them into line art. Then, send them to clients for their kids as coloring book pages - it couldn't be easier or more appreciated with some of your clients.
8. Real-Time and Zoom Lunches: I've referred to myself over the years as "the biggest lunch slut" in photography. That's because it's such a great way to get to know people and share ideas. So, set up Zoom and invite a couple of other photographers or business owners to join you and then kick back and be sociable. And if you're in an area where the Covid stats are starting to drop, pick a restaurant to meet in person. Attending IUSA last week, I cannot describe how great it was catching up to people LIVE!
9. Keep in Touch With Your Network: All of you have people who you've met over the years at various shows and conventions. Start by making a list of every product you use in your business. Then do your best to identify a key person at each vendor and keep in touch. The crew at your lab is one of your most important contacts, but don't forget other artists, your local retailer, and the sales reps for the products you use most. From email, phone calls, IMs, and text messages - stay in contact with people you care about.
This is the first time in history; EVERY business worldwide has most of the same challenges. The pandemic has had an impact on everybody. So here's an opportunity for you to be a leader in your community and demonstrate why you're everyone's best choice for the services and products you provide.
by Skip Cohen
After being mostly hunkered down for almost two years, I shouldn't be surprised at how good I'm feeling after being with old friends and new ones this past week at IUSA. While I've written a lot about the importance of recharging your battery by attending workshops and conventions, I've never been so aware of how badly 6500 other people needed it as well.
But this morning's Reflections post isn't about the industry as much as it is about the role photographs play in helping us savor great memories. On Facebook, a day or so after the convention, my good buddy Tony Corbell posted the picture on the right. It's of him receiving the Gerhardt Baaker award from Ralph Romaguera at PPA's awards program the other night. Well, that took me down Memory Lane, remembering when our mutual good buddy, Don Blair received the award twenty years ago.
From that point on, I was hooked - and went off to old photographs of my own, blog posts, and a whirlwind tour jam-packed with smiles from past IUSA and WPPI conventions. Then the stories started coming out for Sheila, as I became a one-man stand-up comic with one story after another about friends from past conventions.
For example, bumping into Tony and Ralph Romaguera the other night, Ralph reminded me of how we all went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame together while on the road with Hasselblad University in the 90s. A year later, he cornered me to show me that he was still wearing his Rock and Roll entry bracelet. (It's like a hospital ID bracelet, and he'd taped it back up to convince me he never took off - and it almost worked!) And, if you know Tony, you know he's the ultimate Beatles fan, and the Beatles exhibit on that trip was closed for renovation. So I had to literally whine and beg security to let Tony in by himself with a solemn promise he wouldn't touch anything.
Here's my point this morning - those special looks in the rearview mirror now and then are priceless. And while we all have memories to look back on, it's time to create new ones. The road back to normalcy is paved with those priceless moments we all need to start sharing again. Things will never be the same, but we all share a new appreciation for family, friends, and freedom. It's that love for the craft we all share, and what a kick to start the journey back.
Wishing everybody a day filled with appreciation for family, old friends, and new ones. Most importantly, don't waste time being frustrated over today's challenges. Instead, focus on what's most important in your life, and then savor each new moment.
Life is simply too short!
Coming together is a beginning,
staying together is progress,
and working together is success!
by Skip Cohen
I love writing posts like this on a Friday and giving you the weekend to think about my suggestions. As I've written so many times before, this might be the slow season, but NOT for you.
This is the perfect time to secure your strategy for the coming year. Now is the time to look for new ways to reach your target audience and do them in more effective and cost-efficient ways. One of the best ways is to find a few partners.
EVERY business is dealing with the same challenges of getting back on its feet. True "normalcy" with any permanence is a ways off, but that doesn't mean you have to wait for clients to be coming to your door. There are dozens of paths you can take to increase awareness, value, and stimulate sales!
I know there are some of you rolling your eyes, either because you've read some of these ideas in my posts in the past, you don't like them, or you don't want to give up control - well, times have changed. The pandemic changed everything in our lives, and while I hate quoting Hillary Clinton, although it's an old African proverb - "It takes a village!"
And for those of you who think there's nobody to partner with because your specialty is so limited, here's a list to work from, and I'm sure there are plenty I've missed because these are all in the portrait/social categories.
Stop thinking you have to do everything yourself. Business may have changed dramatically, but along with the frustrations, there are some unique opportunities for creative leadership. You don't need to jumpstart your business alone - think about the strategic alliances in your community to rebuild together!
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude!"
by Skip Cohen
I wandered by this billboard in my travels to and from IUSA over the last week. I didn't know a thing about the sponsor, but I liked the message, and it's so true. And I did wander to their website just now and hit a couple of uplifting videos.
But when it comes to uplifting, I'm not sure anything could be as uplifting as the IUSA convention. This isn't meant to be a long drawn-out post about attitude, But Zig Ziglar's quote above really says it all.
Nothing could demonstrate Ziglar's point better than the crowds at the show this week. Platypod had a booth, and we were busy, non-stop right up to the last minute. And most of the other exhibitors I spoke with had a nice flow of traffic as well.
In terms of the attendees, people were excited to be back out and in personal contact. Zoom meetings have been great to keep in touch, but it's not the same as being with live people. While masks came off in the restaurants, various dinners, the bar, etc., for the most part, everyone was respectful of the relevant health issues.
People were hungry to talk to the vendors, instructors, and each other. Plus, it seemed like a younger crowd than I'm used to seeing at PPA conventions, which was outstanding. It was a good mix of photographers just starting out combined with those more established, as well senior veterans.
When it came to a strong platform of education, PPA covered all the bases. The class selection was terrific, plus "Networking Avenue" on Sunday evening, gave attendees a chance to enjoy various demonstrations, and ask questions of the speakers in a more informal environment.
Last but not least, as an exhibiting vendor, because the show was smaller than past years, although PPA managed to give the show a big feel with 80-90 companies represented, attendees got time to talk to each company. It was definitely a time for network building.
The shot below was the Pixel Connection booth on the show's last day. They were mobbed every day with non-stop traffic.
So, circle the dates for 2023 in Nashville, January 22-24, at the Gaylord Opryland. And if we can get the covid issues into the rearview mirror a little more, it's going to be another outstanding show. Platypod chose its booth for next year, and by the end of the show, the 2023 trade show floor was on its way to looking pretty good!
by Skip Cohen
I might be out of town at IUSA (Yesterday was one of the BEST first days of a show I've attended in a lot of years!) but that doesn't change today being Marketing Monday. Every year at this time I publish a series of tips and ideas to help you build a stronger business. Well, I'm back again in 2022 with one of my most read topics.
Your website is about what you sell.
Your blog is about what's in your heart!
Parts of this are from the SCU archives but pay attention; there are some great new topics here too. The key to your blog, just like mine, is to do your best to be helpful. Take the time to think about the demographics of your readership, which for most of you is "Mom."
As a photographer, you do things every day you take for granted. Let's help your readers become better artists. They're not going to open up down the street and compete with you. So, whether they use a real camera or a cell phone - let's help them raise the bar on their images.
And to take it a step further, some of you have the skills and ability to hold physical classes and photo walks to help your audience capture better memories. As their skills grow and you become more established as the expert in your community, you're opening the door for more advanced techniques. And at the same time, you're developing top-of-mind awareness when they need a professional photographer.
This might be the time of year labeled as the slow season in imaging - but it doesn't have to be slow when it comes to building your business!
by Skip Cohen
As I write "Reflections," it's anything but a typical Sunday morning. I'm at IUSA, and the convention kicks off in just a few hours. I know I've written about "anticipation" a few times over the years, but it's something much more tangible today.
I'm not sure I even used the words "hunkering down" before the pandemic; now it's just an everyday expression...but this morning, it's been put on the back burner and shut off. There's a buzz in the air, and you see the pure joy of being here in everyone's eyes, even with a mask.
When I got out of the Uber and walked into the hotel yesterday, I felt a little lost. I know it's hardly the same, but I felt like an immigrant getting off the boat at Ellis Island a hundred and fifty years ago. Being in a busy hotel lobby felt so unfamiliar. Being greeted by so many friends and associates felt unique. Even the process of simply checking into the hotel with so many people around added to my energy level.
I got out to dinner with two good buddies, Shiv Verma and Eddie Tapp. The conversation was wonderful...nothing really unique...just sitting together with friends who I've only talked to on the phone or Zoom for the last two years! Walking around the hotel, I caught up to Jed Taufer, Chuck Maring, Brad Cohn; the gang from Graphi was busy setting up their booth, and Michael Taylor was teaching a class in the hotel atrium. Over and again, there was this wonderful feeling of just catching up to friends.
After dinner, Shiv and I went to work with Larry T. and his wife Mina to get the Platypod booth setup. The trade show, smaller than usual, looked terrific. But size has nothing to do with stature! It was obvious that every exhibitor is here to help get things back on the right course. I felt a lot of pride in being a part of something so needed by our industry. We masked up, we'll sanitize everything, and at 11:30, we'll meet a group of passionate photographers and artists who share the same pride, excitement, and enthusiasm all of us do!
Here's my point. We really can beat this thing. Call it sappy and hokey, but if everyone stopped listening to the politicians, the media, and their know-it-all friends who "read it on the Internet" and turn up the volume on what they feel in their heart, we wouldn't need to keep giving up so much.
And to everyone at PPA who's stayed the course - thank you! You've weathered the storm of criticism, and like everyone I talked to yesterday, we couldn't be more proud to be a tiny piece of the association's history! I shared a post from The Story People the other day...
There came a moment in the middle of the song when we suddenly felt every heartbeat in the room
& after that we never forgot we were part of something much bigger.
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead. If you're here, come by the booth and say hello - and while my usual suggestion of eleven second hugs may not be in line with the challenges of the pandemic - a long fist bump with eye contact is a great substitute! And remember, people can still see you smile, even behind a mask.
by Skip Cohen
I've written many times about my favorite part of this industry - the friendships! Well, Bert Behnke and I go back at least twenty-five years. He's a past president of PPA, educator, artist, a great photographer, and absolutely believes in giving back to an industry we both love dearly. In addition, he's the founder of PPA Charities, which raised over two million dollars for non-profits during its active years. Last but not least, Bert's a dad, husband, and great friend to so many of us in the industry.
Most important of all, Bert's simply fun. Remember "fun?" Too often, we just take life too seriously these days, and we all need a guy like Bert in our lives to help us keep perspective.
There's a quote on the Behnke photography site that says it all...
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.
What you have caught on film is captured forever.
It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
Working together with his very best buddy, his wife Cindy, they own Behnke Photographers. In this new podcast, Bert shares a lot of great insight into the challenges photographers as small business owners face today. It was definitely a fun podcast to record, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
I've pulled some of my favorite images off of Bert and Cindy's website - although I don't know whose images are his and which are Cindy's. However, it doesn't matter because, in the end, their focus is always the same - on their clients. They have one goal; to create the best possible experience for each subject with the quality in their images to match!
And if you're in the Detroit area, both Bert and Cindy are teaching at the upcoming state convention in Michigan in March. So if you're attending, I can promise you two of the best programs you've ever attended!
Get to know Bert and Cindy a little better by clicking on any image in this post and take a scroll through their website.
Images copyright Behnke Photographers. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
It's Throwback Thursday, and because we've all been dealing with the challenges created by Covid, you don't have to go back very far to find something that makes you smile from the "good old days."
Dealing with the pandemic over the last two years is like the 7:1 conversion of a dog's life to humans. It feels like it's been so long. So, I thought it would be fun to share images from IUSA and WPPI in 2000. But while the photos are fun for me and those of you who came by the Platypod booth, take the time to dig through some of your own images from those shows or that timeframe.
I've shared a few of StoryPeople's daily picks over the last few months. The one on the right hit me as so appropriate. It pretty much captures the anticipation many of us are feeling at being together next week at IUSA.
And, if you're headed to IUSA this weekend, stop by booth 617 and say hi. It's time to get back to more of the good old days!
by Skip Cohen
I shared Part I on Marketing Monday this week, but like a dog with a bone, I'm not letting go of my quest to help you focus on what's most important to your business success...NOW!
Yes, it's the slow season, but only as it relates to some of you in terms of incoming revenue. However, it should be anything but slow when it comes to the building blocks you need to make 2022 one of your best years in business.
Let's start thinking about your blog...and if you're not doing a blog, then think of this as a good use of your Facebook page as an extension of your marketing activity.
Your website is about what you sell.
Your blog is about what's in your heart.
More coming with topics to write about - you're all sitting on a goldmine of ideas but just don't realize it!
by Skip Cohen
Many years ago, Sheila and I visited the butterfly exhibit at one of the Cleveland Museums. It was my first time, and it left an impression on both of us, along with the desire to someday have a butterfly garden. Moving to Florida gave us that opportunity. We built the butterfly garden almost six years ago, and now, depending on the weather, we see butterflies nearly every day.
Yesterday I grabbed a shot of these Monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed. It reminded me of being in Las Vegas over the years, with groups of us hitting the legendary seafood buffet at The Rio. At one point, seven caterpillars were munching away. It's hard to believe they turn into the stunning creature below.
Okay, so that's the backstory, but watching these guys got me thinking about what we've all been through over the last two years. That, in turn, brought to mind the quote I used as today's post title.
Here's my point, it's been a challenging year for everyone, both professionally and personally. But, sometimes you can't appreciate where you're going without a look in the rearview mirror and giving credit to where you've been.
IUSA is coming up this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited to be with old friends and make some new ones. I know it might seem hokey and even tacky to suggest the convention is my "butterfly," but it's simply the way my mind works. Am I a little apprehensive about health issues? Of course, but I've had my vaccines; I'll mask up; never be without hand sanitizer, and I've stopped watching the news. There's already a drop in new cases, mostly the spike from the holidays.
So, whether you're headed to the convention or not, look at the new year as your butterfly. There's a renewed sense of family in this country because of everything we've all been through over the last two years. It's creating an opportunity for photographers to do what they do best - help people capture memories and turn the intangible into the tangible. There are opportunities everywhere to build your business and get revenue back on the right track, from weddings to maternity, children, family portraiture, and pets!
Hope to see you at IUSA!
It's Marketing Monday, and we're officially into the "slow season." But the slowness of the season is only in regards to consumer activity, NOT your business. This is the first post in a seasonal series I write every year. While some of the bullet points are repeats - the next two weeks are ideal to clean up and fine tune your business for the new year.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, and sadly, we've slipped backward just a little. But even with a reduced need to hunker down and the less severe omicron variant, social media's power continues to grow. So your website and communication skills have never been more important than today!
That means your website, blog, Facebook presence and maintaining customer contact have never been more critical - or had more potential to create more sales/revenue. Your website and Facebook presence make up your storefront, and your blog should be the gateway via your heart to the products and services you offer.
I've shared dozens of posts about your website and blog in the past, so I'm just going to give you a limited check-off list. Read all the Fast Food Fridays I've shared if you want more detail. But this week, start cleaning up those side messes you've been procrastinating about.
We're in a "you snooze - you lose" scenario. But, there's an opportunity for you to be a leader in your community. And based on what I've been hearing from a lot of different photographers around the country, this year had the potential to be outstanding.
Most importantly, remember the renewed sense of family in this country. Now's the time to build on those relationships! We might be in the slow season, but Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and graduation are all around the corner. For example, there are few presents better suited for Grandma this year than a new family portrait.
Now is the time to start planning!
"Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.
Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.
Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now!
There are only so many tomorrows."
Pope Paul VI
by Skip Cohen
I realized recently, after my little rant, what's been bothering me most - it's not the challenge of dealing with Covid or politics, but the overwhelming flood of self-righteous experts on everything we deal with. Pick any topic, and there's an expert out there who wants to tell you how to live your life, with information they've collected from the media, the Internet, or other "experts."
I'm tired of these self-appointed specialists telling me what we need to do. I'm not suggesting Sheila, and I are irresponsible. We've had our vaccines and boosters...we wear our masks when in crowded areas, and there's hand sanitizer in both cars. I even bought a more comfortable mask at CVS yesterday.
Here's my point - it's time to focus on living our lives "to the limit." I can't beat the challenges of aging, but I can make sure that the world doesn't get across the moat I'm thinking about building around our house. Life has changed for all of us - but not the love and friendships we share, the need to make new memories, and our ability to simply appreciate each other.
Years ago, Ed Foreman, a motivational marketing speaker I've quoted many times, spoke at a Polaroid meeting. He talked about how so many people keep putting off having fun. Once we get the kids off to college, we'll have fun!..Once the kids graduate, we'll have fun...Once we retire, we'll have fun. But, then, in your casket, on the way to be buried, it hits you, Oh my God, I forgot to have fun.
I've paraphrased a little, but you get Ed's point. "Fun" has been a lost word in business for so many years, and now it's getting buried in our lives. It's time to get back to focusing on living, laughing, and loving (also part of Ed Foreman's philosophy - and that was at least 35 years ago!)
So, make it a great day today. Make a few memories. Stop watching the news, except for the weather reports! (Mother Nature isn't very happy these days!) Look for ways to make today a memory-maker by focusing on things that make you happy. None of us can fix the world, but if we each focus on our own little piece of it - think of how much better things could be!
Happy Sunday, everybody - go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs I always write about, with the people most important to you, and smile so much that neighbors think you need to be committed!
Life is too short to worry about what others say or think about you.
So, have fun and give them something to talk about.
by Skip Cohen
I've shared a few posts that featured a little inspiration from Melody Beattie. Well, today's chapter is perfect and deserves to be shared:
...Sometimes we get so bogged down in dealing with feelings, issues, problems--the realities and details of our lives--we forget to be happy. Often happiness can be ours if we just remember to be happy.
Joy is a choice--a deliberate, conscious choice. That choice is available to us each day. Our joy isn't controlled by others or by outward circumstances. Joy comes from a deeper place, a place of security within ourselves. It's an attitude, not a transitory emotion.
Remember to be kind. Remember to be loving. Remember to feel all your feelings and to take care of yourself. But most of all, remember to be happy.
I know this will sound like a rant, but that's only because it is, but I'm tired of the media. I'm tired of so much bad information out there about Covid. I'm also amazed at people who still don't get it - over 90% of hospitalized Covid patients were never vaccinated.
But as weary I am of the never-ending flow of negativity and fear out there; I couldn't be more excited about IUSA coming up. It's going to be a great show. PPA has done everything to make it the convention we all need! They're complying with all CDC guidelines and have almost 6000 people pre-registered and approximately 100 exhibitors for the tradeshow.
Yes, there's a county mask mandate, and we'll be masked when appropriate, but that's not going to take one thing away from the importance of all being together. It's time to get our industry back on its feet - while the pandemic has clearly had an impact - it's changed NOTHING in the consumer's need to capture memories. The renewed sense of family in this country results from what we've all gone through for the last two years!
So, to quote Melody Beattie - "Joy is a choice--a deliberate conscious choice." I'll be masked if you see me in the Platypod booth at IUSA, but I guarantee there'll be a smile underneath and as sappy and hokey as it sounds, plenty of joy in my heart!
Hope to see you at IUSA - come by booth 617 and get me out of booth duty! LOL
By Skip Cohen
The fun of Throwback Thursday is in the hunt for old photographs along with the memories they bring back! And these days, when the "good old days" were really just before the pandemic two years ago, we all need a little lift now and then!
In October 2009, Sheila and I headed to PhotoPlus. It was Sheila's first time in NYC, and after so many times in the city for conventions, I'd forgotten just how much fun it could be. We played tourists whenever we weren't at the show.
In the hunt for old photographs, I'd almost forgotten the fun of a great convention. No masks, nothing to worry about, just time with friends and a never-ending flow of reminders of what we all love about this industry...the friendships.
I'm so looking forward to IUSA next week. With or without masks, nothing will change the joy of being together with old friends and new ones!
If you haven't shared anything on social media for Throwback Thursday, take the time to go on the hunt. A look in your rearview mirror should bring back some great memories. Throwback Thursday shots are also a great marketing tool for your business - especially with family portrait clients. Sharing old portraits is a great way to remind them it's time for a new one!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Skip Cohen
One of the challenges many of us face is needing something inspirational each morning. For example, while Sheila and I read Melody Beattie every day, I love getting something else. You're missing out on a daily smile if you don't get the StoryPeople email blast. They don't always hit me like this one did this morning, but each one has made me smile. Just click on the banner above for more information.
In the meantime, this is probably one the shortest posts I've ever shared, but I loved today's "Story of the Day."
Happy Hump Day!
by Skip Cohen
For me, the fun of Tamron's YouTube channel goes a lot deeper than just great images and "hanging out" with artists from around the world.
Let's not forget the lens itself! The 28-75mm F2.8 is perfect for travel. While you'll often hear people argue that one lens can't do it all, combined with Sony gear, it comes pretty close! Remember, these are screen grabs I'm sharing - so, think about how sharp the original files must be.
Click on any of the three screen grabs to visit Kenna's website and see more of her work!
Check out Tamron's rebate page for great deals on other Tamron lenses. They're manufacturing some of the finest optical glass in the world, and you owe it to yourself to capture the very best images for yourself as well as your clients.
by Skip Cohen
In yesterday's Reflections post, I wrote about chasing your dreams. I appreciate the nice feedback, but it's Marketing Monday and time to take action. The good news is that this isn't rocket science. You know how to focus your camera, now it's time to focus on your business and long term, your career.
When I was a kid, there was no GPS. My Dad belonged to AAA, and before our once-a-year big vacation, he'd put in his order and get back a TripTik, a spiral-bound series of map pages showing the routing from the start of our trip to the finish. Each Page had the total mileage for that segment of the trip.
Today's travel is a whole lot different. AAA still offers the service. However, for most of us, we hit the computer, and Google combined with Trip Advisor, and Yelp gets us to our destination. Plus, we're accessing GPS in our cars and on our phones all along the way.
Well, now apply the same concept as the old TripTiks to your business for the year ahead. You know where you're starting from, but most of you haven't thought through where you want to go this year.
Sure, you want the business, with revenue and reasonable costs, to leave you a profit, but is your goal sustainable? Anybody can be a one-hit-wonder and make a few bucks, but you want every client not only coming back again but insisting their friends work with you as well.
So, just like my folks did when I was a kid - use this week to plan your "trip," at least through the first quarter of the year. Before you load up what you'll need, you first have to clean out the "trunk" of everything left from the last trip...2021.
I commented earlier about it not being rocket science...but it does take discipline. So, take time this week and just kick back and think about your dream for the year. I'm a big fan of visualization - what's your goal for 2022? Sales revenue is essential, but you also have to control your costs. So, it's not just incoming dollars, but what you're spending!
"A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby"
And if you're stuck thinking things through, email me. I want to help you make 2022 your best year ever, but it won't happen if you don't focus on what you really want...your dream.
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.