by Skip Cohen
Welcome to the first episode of Sound Advice!
Going back a few years ago, I included an introductory sound bite with each blog post. These days we're all flat out, so this is an experiment to get you solid information in a five-minute podcast. Let me know if it helps you.
Remember, your Internet presence today is the equivalent of a bricks-and-mortar business just a few years back. In the US alone, there are 120 million Internet active households. That makes your website your storefront. You've got to make each visit an experience. Like those stores you like to shop at most, your target audience also has choices.
Let's start by cleaning up those dusty corners of your galleries, which you've probably ignored for far too long. You should be sharing only your very best work. So, if any image in your gallery looks like something anybody's Uncle Harry got, it's time to take it down.
There are more suggestions in today's sound bite! My goal is to give you ideas to help make 2022 one of your best years ever!
Happy Marketing Monday!
Don't RUSH me!
I'm waiting for the last minute.
by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections are about stepping away from the typical marketing and business topics I write about. I've been doing this series for years. It's about sharing something on my mind that often seems to hit home with a connection to yours.
Just before sitting down at the computer this morning, I was leafing through the Acorn catalog. I'm not sure how I even got on their mailing list. It's filled with a variety of silly things i don't need but always make me smile - especially when it comes to nostalgia like the complete series of McCloud, Lonesome Dove, Cannon, Jake, and the Fatman...and the list goes on and on.
The quote above was a t-shirt, and it hit me because it's ME! So often, I'm rushing to catch the train, but I do my best work under pressure. I love to work down to the wire. Yet, each time I rush to finish something, you can hear me whining about wishing I wasn't under a time constraint. I've only missed a serious deadline once.
Here's my point - missing one deadline was one too many. If we've learned nothing else from the pandemic, it's that life is full of surprises, not always good ones. We're not in as much control as we think we have, and the greatest of plans can change in a second. And most of us have no "Plan B." Remember Murphy's Law, but follow Murphy's Second Law: Murphy was an optimist!
So take the time to think through your daily/weekly to-do list. And make sure the people you love the most are always on that list, which ties in perfectly to me wrapping this up. Make some new memories today and go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people you love the most. Life is too short, and you don't realize it until you pass fifty and start mumbling, "Where did the time go?"
Wishing everybody a day that stands out from all the rest and is jam-packed with smiles! Clear your head of all the challenges you might be dealing with in your business because they'll all be there tomorrow - don't waste a minute on anything that doesn't really matter today.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
Remember that stress doesn't come from what's going on in your life.
It comes from your thoughts about what's going on in your life.
by Skip Cohen
I've lived in Florida for almost eleven years, and we're all used to the same thing in the rainy season. The day typically starts sunny and beautiful. Then, a few clouds roll in around noon, and usually, after 3-4:00 PM, there's a full-blown thunderstorm. After that, humidity usually skyrockets - but through the whole process, everyone knows it's coming. Boaters make it a point to follow the weather report, and if it's going to be bad - they plan accordingly.
Even with our pups, Belle is totally neurotic and flips out with the first rumble of thunder. So out comes her "Thunder Shirt." If it's a really bad storm, we've got CBD chews for her, and it only takes a 1/4 inch size tab to get her back to being mellow.
So, why can't we as business owners learn to recognize the same signs when things are stormy with our work? I get that I'm a work in progress, but you'd think I could see burnout coming just like the weatherman can predict and forecast an upcoming storm.
This week was particularly tough - full-moon-tough. Logic for so many people wasn't in the cards, and my ability to keep things in perspective disappeared in the process. Stressed, angry, short-tempered - all the signs of somebody about to crash and burn were knocking at the door.
This is a short post today with one goal - we all have to deal with a long list of daily challenges. So when the trolls take over, whether they're real or not, learn to step away. Don't respond or react. Instead, step away from the business and do something relaxing. Phone a friend; put some music on; take a walk - whatever it takes, just like when you were a kid - go to recess!
You can find anything on the Internet:
1. Dance it out
2. Go for a walk
3. Talk about it
5. Go to bed earlier
6. Focus on what you can control
7. Reminisce about good times
8. Ask for a hug
It's Friday afternoon - wishing everybody a terrific stress-free weekend!
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot about the fun of looking in your rearview mirror now and then. While we can never go back, photographs allow us to relive those great moments we cherish.
That's Terry Deglau, Tony Corbell, Spiro Nichols, and Don Blair at WPPI. Terry was Kodak's industry liason, and nobody's done it better since. Tony was working with me at Hasselblad back then. Spiro was Don's favorite lab in Salt Lake, but he was more than just the lab owner. He was a pretty incredible buddy; the more I worked with Don over the years, the better I got to know Spiro.
The shot of these four icons was captured at WPPI the night we launched Don's book, Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts. The book was spiral bound and designed to go in your camera bag. It hit on most of the biggest challenges in portraiture.
When we did the book, we decided it would be great to shoot everything in Las Vegas and use the same models on the opening night of WPPI for the program kickoff. We had 300+ people in the room that night, and the book was available on the trade show floor the next day.
I know I use Jodi Picoult's quote too often, but nobody's ever said it better:
This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat,
everything was perfect.
Terry passed a way just a few years ago and Don, in 2004. But nothing changes the pieces of my heart these good buddies occupy, even when they're gone. There are really no words to describe how much I miss those two, but it's photographs like this that turn yesterday into the present. They simply make me smile!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Skip Cohen
I know how much we all hate it when we're bombarded with email pitches - but if you've had your eyes on new lenses and expanding your choice of focal lengths - this new very limited-time program from Tamron is worth checking out.
There are instant savings on fourteen different lenses for Sony Mirrorless, Canon and Nikon DSLRS. The Flash Sale covers some of the finest glass in imaging. Just click on the map to find the Tamron dealer nearest you.
Over the last decade, Tamron has never slowed down in the development/manufacturing of great optics to help you capture the very finest images. And if you've met any of their staff, you also know they also never slow down on their focus on education and helping us all become better artists!
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and while this might seem a little off the topic, from my perspective, it's right on target. Anybody can market well enough to get their first client - the challenge is getting that client to keep coming back, as well as telling all their friends to check you out.
That boils down to creating images that leave people in awe of your skills. Sure, it's about creating an experience and being fun to work with - but in the end, you have to create images beyond expectations.
I've recently shared a few of Seth Resnick's posts from Facebook because he's writing outstanding content. He's posting information to make you a better artist, regardless of your specialty. I loved this post because it hits one aspect of adding POWER to an image.
I've written a lot about your galleries as past Marketing Monday posts. Every image in your gallery should be a "Wow" photograph. It needs to be so powerful that you'd only need to show that one image to get hired, or have a picture editor want to look at more of your work.
When was the last time you cleaned up your galleries? Is there work there that anybody's Uncle Harry could shoot? Are you sharing too many images and not showing your very best?
Seth needs to be on your radar. He's regularly sharing great information covering a wide variety of topics on his Facebook page. And he's only a click away.
by Seth Resnick
The silhouette from yesterday reminded me of the concept of balancing technical knowledge and aesthetics. There are photographers like the great “god” Jay Maisel who could care less about a lot of technicals and there are photographers who are so technical that they place the technical merits over the aesthetics.
The answer for me is almost like a right brain, left brain combination or rather meshing together both aesthetics and technicals.
All of this comes to mind as I think back to the days of Shadowland and the beginning of Lightroom. I remember some of the lead engineers thinking how to process a raw file and looking at all files as if they were the same only caring about technicals. Along comes my dear friend Greg Gorman and the engineers are blown away that the blacks in some of his images have no detail. They question whether this is correct and Greg explains how he intentionally slammed the blacks. For all the rules it is critical to understand that the first rule is that there are no rules that are always 100%.
Crushing blacks is the process of taking relatively dark areas typically shadow areas and making them even darker by increasing contrast in those areas. It removes any areas of light within those dark areas.
For photographers who grew up with darkrooms we talked about toes and shoulders where the highlights block off to white and the shadows block off to black on a given tonality curve so to speak. The toe would be the bottom part of any curve and the shoulder the top part. I remember discussing with the engineers what we were going to call curves in Lightroom. When we raised Toe, and Shoulder we got "huh" because while some of the engineers knew a ton about programing and pixels they weren’t necessarily photographers.
In fact one camera manufacturer automatically did this intentionally in their processor because it minimized seeing noise in the shadows.
I remember when I worked at the Syracuse Newspapers that we would have to fight like mad with the executive editors when we shot a silhouette because the art department was instructed to airbrush and open up shadows. The idea being quite literally that silhouettes don’t exist because shadows need detail.
Anyhow, my point is silhouettes can make very powerful images and the crushed blacks do not need to be opened up……..
by Skip Cohen
Sunday Morning Reflections is always about whatever's on my mind when I sit down at the computer. And it's always a break from the usual business and marketing topics. This morning I wandered over to Facebook first thing and was surprised to see the shot above, posted on my hometown website, continuing to get comments.
The reality of one comment hit me hard and got me thinking about kids today and how much our lives have changed. A member of the forum wrote: "Idyllic postwar suburbia. An increasingly elusive American dream."
The house was my parent's first home in Painesville, Ohio, where I grew up. It was your basic three-bedroom, 2-bath, 1200 sq ft. ranch with a small yard in a great little neighborhood. But my point this morning is more like a Throwback Thursday post - it's not about the image, but the memories and backstories it brings screaming to the front of my mind.
It was simply a wonderful time: We rarely locked the front door; there were kids all over the neighborhood, and we had to be home by dark; we burned leaves in the fall; everybody mowed their own yard; we rode our bikes everywhere; we often played baseball in the streets. A lot of the houses had a basketball hoop over the garage. In the wintertime, my Dad would put a 30-foot rope on the bumper of his car and tow us on our sleds around the neighborhood (today, he'd be arrested for child endangerment!). We never wore bike helmets, but we also never had any more than a "3-speed English Racer."
On Sundays, my Dad would help me deliver the big paper of the week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It was early in the morning. Nobody was awake; there was no traffic, and he started teaching me how to drive at 14, just in between the houses. The rest of the day was a family day - remember, nothing was open on Sunday back then - not a gas station, bank, or liquor store (Sunday Blue Laws - didn't allow the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays).
Sundays were always a family day. A lazy day that we all just hung out...as a family. And when the weather was good, it was almost always BBQ on a cheap charcoal grill with a rotating grate, along with charcoal-lighter and charcoal. Because nothing was open on Sunday, that one day of the week always had some advanced planning. Often it was at my grandmother's, and rarely anything more extravagant than hot dogs and burgers. We used to laugh because relatives from Cleveland always showed up just as the food was going on the grill.
The American dream wasn't "elusive" because we were all living it. But I've noticed something since the pandemic, even with me, Sheila, and the pups. It's that greater sense of family, at a level probably not seen since those days in the house above.
We don't waste time on things that don't matter. Especially on a Sunday, we do a late breakfast and then all hang out together. Music is on all day, starting with Sheila's morning ritual of a little gospel or contemporary Christian. It's simply a day of quiet peace, appreciating each other and the dream we're living right now.
From age 16 on, I worked summers at a Canadian summer camp. We used to have this cheesy line, "It never rains at Camp Winnebagoe when there's sunshine in your heart!" LOL Well, I'm not sure the dream is any more elusive than a sunny day at camp - it's just changed because the world became more complicated - but it's not out of reach.
Wishing everybody a day to turn back the clocks and slow down. Make today a day to appreciate the people in your life you love the most. While I miss the good old days, five to ten years from now, the good old days will be today! So go for those eleven-second hugs I always write about, and no matter where you are or what you're going through - we've all got something going on in our lives to cherish.
Sometimes, looking in the rearview mirror helps you sharpen your vision of what's in front of you!
Happy Sunday...or Monday on the other side of the world.
Your customers don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care!
by Skip Cohen
This will be a rant, but I'm letting off steam with a purpose - If you want to build your brand and strengthen your business, pay attention to your customers. Answer their questions quickly; give them equitable solutions when there's a problem, and be accessible. You've got two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk...or write.
There's no single issue that got me going today. I'm just tired of being abused!
And these are just the tip of the iceberg!
Ironically, the best service I've ever had was from Comcast! Who knew? We switched from Frontier's death grip, and the Comcast tech showed up on time and finished in ninety minutes. When I asked how he did the new installation so fast, he mentioned he was independent and simply wants to work. He got the job done and went on to the next customer. It was the best installment we've ever had from any carrier over the years.
Here's my point:
If you want to stand out today, exceed expectations. I know the pandemic started this fiasco, and everyone is short on staff, but there's still a point where we've earned the right as consumers to feel the love! It's about respect and feeling like our business matters.
I'm not sure there's ever been a time as a consumer where companies have the opportunity to be leaders in marketing and business. Best of all, it's not rocket science - just common sense. As a small business owner you've got more power than you've ever had before!
Looking for help on how more ways to make your brand stand out and become known for great service? Shep Hyken is a NY Times best selling author, speaker and a friend.
Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer. It's the promise we keep to the customer.
It's how we follow through for the customer.
It's how we make them feel when they do business with us.
Shep's website is jam-packed with great content. Everything he shares is about building a reputation for outstanding customer service...and it's all just a click away.
Image copyright by Jim Graham. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Sometimes being out for a "scroll" in cyberspace leads to some truly fun discoveries. "Fun" is one of those words too often lost in business today. It's buried underneath the barrage of stress from dozens of things we all worry about. Yet, we're all responsible for finding the balance between productivity, success, and fun without stress dragging us down.
Meet Jim Graham, who many of you probably know already. He posted the image above on July 4 on his Facebook page with the comment:
"I’ve often thought this is one of my best images. Done on Nantucket probably 13 years ago."
Within minutes of seeing this image I called Jim. We spent the next hour sharing stories about artists we both know and this crazy industry we love dearly. In the process I asked for permission to share this image on Throwback Thursday, but with a unique purpose in mind. And Jim offered to share a little of the backstory below.
"At Rest" - Made 16 November 2009
I’d been traveling to Nantucket since 1974. In this case I’d gone on island for the first time during the fall. It was a very opportune choice as instead of green there was color everywhere. I’d gone out to Madaket in hopes of catching a sunset. As the season was really over, most of the boats had been hauled in. I was left with only a few in the water leading me to a minimalistic approach thinking pure composition and color.
I was also reminded of the Nantucket painter Robert Stark, Jr. Many times he painted his nautical scenes with dark blue skies and a red unfurled sail. The image that presented itself was the opposite in every way.
Revisiting work over the years offers so many opportunities. New applications have added editing advantages that simply weren’t there when the original image was made. You simply don’t know what you’ll discover. Additionally, as I print my work, both printers, inks, and papers have evolved. All allow both the image and my creative instincts to continually evolve.
Nikon D3X, Nikkor 70-200mm
1/160 @ F/2.8 200 ISO
Printed in 3 sizes, in editions of 25 on Moab Somerset Museum Rag
Here's my point. I share an image with a backstory every Thursday. In part, it's because searching for old photographs reminds me of the value of what we do as an industry. The memories that old images bring back recharge my battery, put a smile on my face, and lift my spirit a little higher.
But the other reason behind sharing old photographs is to remind you to head out on your own safari to hunt for old images, with two benefits. First, share them as a marketing tool to remind clients it's time for a new family portrait or headshot. Second, talking with Jim reminded me of the common denominator we all share - a passion for creativity and capturing memories.
Trust me on this one - take thirty minutes and go back to a file of images you captured at least ten years ago - the older, the better. Find an image you love or one that completely missed the mark - it doesn't matter. Now, think about the way you photograph today. Think about the technology you're using now versus what you had back then. Savor the backstories those images bring out - and simply appreciate the career path you chose when you decided to be a photographer.
Remember the tagline for Oldsmobile years back? "It's not your father's Oldsmobile!" Well, your eyes, heart, and skill set today aren't the same either, but you can't appreciate the journey until you realize how far you've come.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”
For most of us we've become so obsessed with building a business, and getting to that place on the floor, that we missed the beauty of each step in the process!
P.S. And to Jim - thanks for you help on this post. As I've written dozens of times - the best thing about this industry isn't really about photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
Intro by Skip Cohen
The true power of the Internet, if you know where to look, is getting help when you need it. Last week I shared a Facebook post thanks to Seth Resnick. This morning, while running through my Facebook notifications, I caught this gem, again thanks to Seth.
Seth needs to be on your radar. Click on the portrait below, which he shared with today's post. It will link you to his website. Bookmark his page and then stay on top of his workshop schedule. And if you're not following him on Facebook, here's the link.
A quote on his website clearly describes Seth's passion for education: "Workshops Not PhotoTours." Whether you're interested in some of the most unique adventures around the globe or just boosting your skill set in Lightroom, I can promise you they'll be life-changing!
by Seth Resnick
I received a call from a very intelligent friend and he was desperate because when he opened up Lightroom, he had lost his pictures. Roughly a decade ago I did a video with Michael Reichman called "Where the #%*! Are My Pictures?” https://luminous-landscape.com/where-the-are-my-pictures/
Amazingly or not, I would say that 80% of the inquiries I still receive are people having this same issue. The main reason for this is that people really don’t understand what Lightroom is and that becomes the key to the problem. Lightroom is exactly like your local Public Library. Lightroom is the CARD CATALOG. If you don’t fully understand then read this over and over until you do.
The card catalog has all the information about a book and it might even contain a thumbnail of the cover but there are NO BOOKS in the card catalog. The books are on the shelves on different floors and possibly even at a different branch. Lightroom is the card catalog and it contains all the information ie metadata about the images but it does not contain the images. The images or books if you will are on shelves or hard drives but not in Lightroom.
There are some golden rules to adhere to in order to help eliminate this problem.
1) If you physically move the images outside of Lightroom, LR is going to lose them. Only move images within Lightroom.
2) If you rename the folder where your images are outside of Lightroom, LR is going to lose them. Only rename within Lightroom.
3) If you rename the images outside of Lightroom they will be lost. Only rename in Lightroom.
4) Make sure after you make changes to an image that you save the metadata Command S. If you don’t save the metadata and something happens to your catalog you will lose all the changes.
5) Use a dedicated drive for all of your images and your catalog. If you do this then if all else fails you still know where your images are and where your catalog is.
6) If you can’t find your catalog search for .lrcat
I wrote 5 books on Lightroom so of course there is a lot more info than this but in the end most of the questions I still receive are solved by one of the 5 issues above.
Image copyright Lisa Langell. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
When we started this series, I hadn't really thought about how appropriate it was to compare photographers to chefs. Like your favorite restaurants and cuisines, your passion as a "foodie" is based on the flavors and style of cooking each restaurant represents. It's always driven by the chef.
Photography is no different; we fall in love with an artist's work, style, and subject manner. But, just like dining out, the consistency of quality becomes important too. And like great chefs, they have their favorite tools to work with.
This month's Tamron Recipes piece was a particular kick because we caught up with Tamron Image Master Lisa Langell while she was still in Alaska. Adding to the fun, it was just days after she captured the image above. Based out of Arizona, she's been teaching Alaska workshops for many years.
There's a quote on her website which truly defines her level of passion for the craft.
"Great photography shouldn't just document what you saw...or even how you experienced it.
It should capture how you want your audience to experience that moment!"
I've followed Lisa's work for a lot of years. In fact, she was a guest on one of the very early episodes in the Tamron Recipes series almost three years ago. Lisa needs to be on your radar, starting with a visit to her website. And stay tune to her workshop schedule - she's got some exciting news coming up in the very near future about her Magic of Alaska photography tours.
There's a common denominator with every Tamron "Chef," their love for the gear they're using, especially Tamron lenses. As I've written so many times before, they're manufacturing some of the finest glass in imaging today. If you haven't visited your local Tamron Dealer, it's definitely time!
Just click on the banner below for more information.
by Skip Cohen
This is probably one of the shortest posts I've ever written, but it's not short on sentiment.
Wishing everybody a terrific 4th of July! Thank you for your support, feedback and always inspiration. And if you're following me from outside the US - Hope it's a great Monday and start of the week.
Stay safe and healthy!
Don't let weeds grow around your dreams!
by Skip Cohen
For me, the fun of Sunday Morning Reflections is sitting down at the computer and rarely having any idea what I want to write about. So while occasionally I have something specific in mind, this morning was a blank canvas.
With today being the Sunday of a holiday weekend, I'm more relaxed and spent a long time reading before deciding to share what's on my mind. Reading a couple of different quote books, I found the quote above, and it hit me how often there's been something I wanted to do, but I procrastinated too long, pondered too much, and the weeds took over.
And that takes me right to my point...
At the risk of trying to sound like aging has made me wiser, I'm only going to share one thought. As you get older, the clock seems to be ticking faster. Time flies like a clock in an old movie, and suddenly you remember those dreams you put on the back-burner.
It's a holiday weekend, and most of you have a little extra time on your hands. Take that time and listen to your heart a little more than usual. Do an inventory of those misplaced dreams. You'll find a few that weren't worth saving, but I'm betting you've all got a bunch buried over the stress of life, especially during these last few years.
There's nothing any of us can't do if we want something bad enough! It takes focus - funny to use that word. There is no auto-focus button in your head. It's all manual focus. But there is focus confirmation - that accelerated heartbeat when you know you're on the right path. It's the smile on your face that feels so good.
Wishing everybody a holiday weekend to appreciate your dreams. Everyone has a few of them in storage. Make this weekend the time to bring a few of them back. Do a little gardening - get rid of the weeds, refocus on whatever you wanted to do, and don't let life get in the way. Most importantly - Remember, you're not alone - go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people you love the most. And if you need a little help to make a dream a reality, don't hesitate to ask for it.
Happy Sunday...or Monday on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times in the past, part of the fun of Facebook is keeping in touch with great friends and, in turn, their creativity. Meet Erik Cooper from Colorado. We met when I needed to ship him a Platypod as part of his new membership bonus joining PPA. That led to regular phone calls, catching up LIVE at ClickCon in Chicago last year and simply a great ongoing friendship.
Yesterday, as part of Throwback Thursday, he posted the stunning image above of Milkweed, which Sheila and I have planted all over the butterfly garden. It's a Monarch butterfly's favorite. I just got off the phone with him for permission to share it again. And it was perfect for a throwback, because it's the image that launched his love for photography.
Erik needs to be on your radar! Follow him on Facebook to keep track of more of his images.
And to Erik...what a kick to have you as a buddy! Thanks for your never-ending support and inspiration.
by Erik Cooper
Today has gone nostalgic! It's a Throwback Thursday as I've had to go through some old pics, looking for memories to use for a certain someone's celebration. Isn't it wonderful having old prints to look through? Oh the blackmail I have at my disposal! LOL!
I'll finish this post with a flashback to 2011 and the pic that launched my passion for shooting. Ever seen a Milkweed pod up close? So fascinating! This image caught a lot of reaction from friends and I was equally inspired knowing it came from my little Nikon D80. Shot with a manual focus lens from 1976, the image seemed to pop right off the computer screen when I edited it. Here's to fond memories and happier days in our past. Stay positive and know you are loved!
by Skip Cohen
This is going to be a different kind of Throwback Thursday post. I love hunting for old photographs. So this morning, when I went off searching for something to share, I ran across the images here. I might have even shared one of them a few years back. They're from 2012, and while they still make me smile, they also bring back pain and sadness. But that doesn't mean they're not special moments to be cherished.
Sheila and I moved to Sarasota in the fall of 2011. I could live anywhere my computer could plug in, and Sheila was able to take early retirement from Akron Children's Hospital. My Dad was caring for my mother, who was fighting Alzheimer's. For the first time in my life, I could be where my folks were, and Sheila was willing to join me.
My Mom met Sheila a couple of years before Alzheimer's tightened its grasp. They hit it off immediately, and no matter how much of Mom's memory would be attacked over the next few years, she locked in on Sheila. In later years, she'd tell people she and Sheila had done volunteer work together and known each other since they were kids. The story's accuracy didn't matter - it was the love Sheila felt for Mom and how my mother lit up every time Sheila came into the room.
My mother passed away in 2013, but we had almost three years with her before that. And there are no words to describe how precious those memories have become.
The images above were from Mom's birthday in February 2012. At some point during dessert, she had a moment of clarity and grew incredibly sad. Sheila hugged her, and Mom said, "What's going to happen to all my things!" Sheila responded with the assurance that we loved her things and would take care of them. Seconds later, Mom was relaxed - the crisis had passed - replaced by one of Mom's favorites, pineapple upside-down cake.
But my point isn't so much the memories right now but a suggestion to many of you who are living the same nightmare. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease that robs you of your loved ones as you watch. And while feeling helpless is natural, you don't have to do it alone.
My Dad and I joined the Caregiver Support Group here in Sarasota, part of the Senior Friendship Centers. Every Thursday morning, we'd head off to group, and Dad would join in the conversation circle as husbands, wives, and adult children shared their frustration. For my Dad's generation, expressing your innermost feelings and sadness was something you just didn't do. Yet, he opened up, participated, and through the group, learned new ways to cope.
So, two suggestions today...
First, if you know somebody who's losing a loved one to Alzheimer's, encourage them to get into a support group. One call to a senior center or the Alzheimer's Association, and you'll be on your way to finding them a little help. Second, pick up "The 36-Hour Day." The book was so helpful to me in understanding what was going on and learning how to better cope with Mom's illness. (Click on the thumbnail for more info on Amazon.com)
We lost the battle, but those last years gave us moments we still cherish today. And on those days when, as we used to say, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, my Dad would say, "I'm going to take every moment like this and squeeze all the joy out of it and savor it!"
Just because a Throwback Thursday photograph isn't filled with laughter - doesn't mean it isn't chocked full of love.
Intro by Skip Cohen
The real benefit of Facebook often has nothing whatsoever to do with being social but raising the bar on the quality of your craft. After all, the common denominator most of us share is our love for imaging.
Wandering through my notifications on FB just now, I ran into this post by Seth Resnick. I've admired his work for many years, and the image he shared drew me to the post. To his point - I'm amazed at how many artists don't calibrate their monitors. Yet, they view, share and print thousands of images.
One ingredient to calling yourself a professional photographer is the quality of your images. Not only do you deserve the best, but let's think about your clients. They deserve the best you can create.
There's no need to introduce this post further because Seth says it all. So put Seth on your radar; follow him on Facebook and check out his website, especially his upcoming workshops! They'll change your life and raise the bar on the quality of your work!
by Seth Resnick
Last night we went out to dinner before going to see Elvis. Leslie and I went to get a bite to eat and the restaurant had at least 25 television screens. On each screen is a Lion Fish from a live feed and Leslie notices that the color is different on every screen and asks me which one is correct? I start laughing and said likely none of them and go on to explain the concept of profiling a monitor and what that means. Ironically I had just gotten off the phone with Eric Meola who had purchased a new Mac with the M1 chip and had a tough go of profiling his NEC/Sharp Monitors.
As a photographer you spend your life producing images and processing them but unless you have a calibrated monitor, color becomes a crap shoot. It amazes me how many clients and photographers are making critical judgements about color and are doing so on non profiled or color deceptive monitors. In general, most screens are too bright, and have whatever default color the monitor happens to ship with.
Ambient light, the colors of the walls all have an influence on how we perceive color.
The bottom line to ensure the colors you see on screen are the same colors from your file, you simply need to calibrate and profile your monitor. Personally I use an i1 Display Pro which is a puck like device or spectrophotometer. I profile once a month and by doing so I am able to create a color guarantee. This helps ensure that when I print, the print can easily represent what I see on my screen and when I send a file to anyone, if they too have a profiled monitor, the image on my screen will match the look they get on their screen.
Of course the reality is that many clients and many photographers do not have profiled monitors and the reality is every screen will portray the image differently much like we experienced in the restaurant seeing the same Lion Fish on 25 different screens, each one different.
by Skip Cohen
It's summertime, and even with gas prices being absurd, so many of you are traveling both locally and hitting your bucket list on vacation. If you're a wildlife photographer, there's a lot of great content to make you drool in the video below. But regardless of what you photograph, I love how this film was produced...you don't need any more than great music and stunning images to tell a story.
Luke Stackpoole takes us to Namibia with his 150-500mm F/ 5-6.7 Di III VC VXD for Sony E-Mount lens. With its focal length and being lightweight, it's perfect for a trip like this. And in terms of the quality of the images, keep in mind that I'm grabbing screenshots from a video. So imagine the quality of the originals!
Tamron's making some of the finest glass in imaging. This lens is just one example. As you watch the video, you'll also understand why this lens won a 2022 TIPA Award!
But there's one more reason I love sharing a video like this...think about how you'd tell your own story. Sure, this is about exotic travel and wildlife, but how would you tell your story? Put together music with great images, minimal text, and whatever your specialty, there's the potential for a terrific marketing video.
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and while Spring seasonality is behind us, the potential for new business and getting back on track is still incredible. I'm hearing stories from photographers all over the country about business once again going in the direction of growth!
The pandemic took the wind out of everybody's sails, but the definition of failure is not getting back up after being knocked down. To get the attention of your target audience, you've got to make yourself stand out. It's time to get up!
Those of you who follow me regularly can guess where I'm going. Here are six areas to focus on NOW! It's the end of the first half, but there's plenty of time to make this one of your best years in business!
What are you doing to make yourself different from your competitors?
Here's the bottom line: Leadership opportunities abound for small-business owners these days. And the best thing is, it's not rocket science. You just need to make the effort and get yourself out there. This is about establishing a stronger presence in your community and the six areas above are the tip of the iceberg!
And if you're stuck for ideas - ask for help. I'm hear along with so many other people willing to give you a hand. You know how to find me!
The standard for excellence has never changed - over-deliver and exceed expectations!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and as usual, I'm about to jump the rails and go completely off track from the business and marketing of photography. I've done my best all these years to stay out of the insanity that seems to be happening around me. Sheila and I even stopped watching the news since we never know what to believe anyway!
I have been left speechless by one event after another over the last few months...and if I honestly comment about how I feel about so many different issues, I'm going to sound like Archie Bunker! However, Sheila's got a great line that's so appropriate, I'm glad we're older - we won't have to put up with this crap for too much longer! At first, I hated that line, but she's right.
Here's my point - there's no tolerance for anybody's opinion these days. America is polarized on multiple levels over dozens of issues...and the range is amazing. I can find people who will argue over their right to wear a Cleveland Indians baseball hat to a game with the same emotion and anger as somebody who believes in Pro-Choice. And at the gas pump the other day, the guy one car over mumbled, Biden sure screwed on this one! Just earlier that day, I read where Exxon Mobil reported more than double its profits for the first quarter, compared with the same period last year!
And Sheila and I are gun owners but have no issue with background checks and tighter gun control. And when Covid was at its peak, we simply wore our masks like the supermarket asked - no argument and no challenge of my constitutional rights!
Jane Conner-ziser posted the piece below by George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four on her Facebook two years ago yesterday. She shared it again and added "Interesting times!"
Was thinking of this today: Double Think: The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.
Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth."
And there's my point; doublethinkers surround us!
Wishing everybody a day of simple peace and, if necessary pleasant solitude. For me, it's going to be time with Sheila and the pups, just appreciating our life together. No hard decisions, just a full heart, and soul. And to all of you, I wish nothing but the same - take a day off from whatever has the hairs on the back of your neck standing up and definitely go for long hugs. That old expression about "it takes a village" couldn't be more accurate today, and we're all the village!
Happy Sunday...or Monday on the other side of the world!
"The business of life is the acquisition of memories."
Downton Abbey - "Mr. Carson"
by Skip Cohen
If you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time, then you already know me well enough to understand I could never let a quote like that go by without connecting it to imaging. It ties directly to your business as an imaging artist, helping people capture memories.
Business is definitely back, and it's exploding over virtually every specialty...but there's still one key challenge, making the community aware of your skillset and establishing top-of-mind awareness whenever they think about photography.
One great way is to do an exhibit of your work in your community. One of the best guest posts I've ever shared is thanks to my good buddy, Kevin Gilligan. While it was first shared in 2015, this isn't like the expiration on a carton of milk! There's nothing in here that "spoils," In fact, with social media today, it's gotten even better with age. Your ability to get the word out in your community today is even stronger!
Kevin shared so much information I had to run it in three parts. Click on the buttons below for parts 1 and 2; the third section is below. I also added short podcasts to the material - nothing beats hearing from the artist directly on a topic like this.
This will sound sappy, but I'm a pretty sentimental guy. I couldn't be more proud to consider Kevin a buddy or Tamron as a supporter of not only SCU but our industry. While Kevin is not a Tamron Image Master today, he's still very active with Tamron and often teaches on their behalf.
Every day Tamron is helping thousands of photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images and, in turn, their business or hobby. Both Kevin and Tamron have a very special common denominator; they always work to exceed our expectations!
Are You Ready for Your Own Exhibition? Part 3
by Kevin A. Gilligan
Tip #11 Test Prints
This will be obvious to some, but test prints are critical. You need to know how your image will look on the particular medium that you are using. Half of my images were printed on metal for this show. I ordered several metal prints (dye fused on metal) from several print labs before the show. I experimented with several different finishes on the metal as well i.e. glossy, matte, etc. The paper prints were even more complicated. Each paper has a different print quality, price and displays the ink differently. “HELP”….my head was spinning. I spent many hours working with a printer to get each shot right. Finding the right framer, at the right price, can also be challenging. Your network can be invaluable here.
Tip #12 Installation/Hanging Your Images
Hanging images can be very challenging. Honestly, I hate doing it. Give yourself enough time. At least a day. If you have done your model (tip #10), then this will be much easier, you already know which images go together as a group, and where specifically each will go. Ask for help, bring a friend who has done this already if you can. Keep in mind that some galleries will hang images with wires and some galleries only want “D” rings. You should ask the gallery how they want the images before you frame them, assuming the gallery is going to help you hang the images.
Tip #13 Create a Catalog
Create a catalog of your work for the show. Include your artist statement, pictures of the images, the size of the images, the medium, and the price. I made 250 copies of the catalog, and it was well worth it. Hand it out at the show and let people take it home. This will help with your follow-up sales.
Tip #14 Sign-In Book
Purchase a nice leather bound book for the show and have people sign in and provide their name and email address so you can thank them for coming and invite them to future events.
Tip #15 Follow-Up
Follow up with your prospective purchasers after the show. Thank those who came to the show and especially those who purchased an image.
Tip #16 Hire a Photographer
Hire a photographer for the day, so you get images (with you in them for a change) and you can relax. You’ll be happy to have the images of your friends and for use in future marketing and social media efforts.
Having a solo exhibition is a landmark in your professional photography career. It says you are serious about your photography and willing to put in much more time and effort than the average photographer. Give yourself lots of time, six-nine months and enjoy the learning process.
Nearly 250 people attended my exhibit, I sold a third of my images during the show, and even more after the show. I met collectors and I'm building my mailing list. It was an exhilarating and somewhat exhausting experience. I couldn’t be happier I did it. I hope you do it too.
Email me at: email@example.com and tell me about your exhibit. You can see my work on my site: www.photosbykag.com.
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.