by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm definitely not in my usual mode of being off the topic of photography.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives and not for the better. But it's also created some unique leadership opportunities in creativity and support to your clients and community. I know it's been an ugly year for virtually every business, but I also know there are ideas out there to help you get back on track and jumpstart your business.
ClickCon Nation kicks off today with an all-star cast, but more important than the educators/speakers is the timing and the topics. For example, I'm doing a program at 10:15 CST called "My Business Has Disappeared, Now What?" In one hour, I'm going to pack in 2-3 hours of material - one after another of things photographers can be doing RIGHT NOW to capture the seasonality in business.
And check out the company I'm with below.
The program is FREE - all you have to do is download the ClickCon Nation app, and you're in. I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but there are too many of you who have been crying the blues over the decline in business and not doing anything about it.
Remember that line of "God helps those who help themselves?" Well, regardless of what you believe spiritually, there's so much help in this industry. But you've got to make the first move - open your mind and join us!
Wishing everybody a day filled with ideas and opportunities to be a leader in creativity and business. The year isn't over yet. As I've written so many times in the last nine months - hunkering down is about your health - NOT about your business.
by Skip Cohen
For over a year, I shared a series of business and marketing tips called "Fast Food Friday." The concept started as short, easy to implement ideas, and grew into some great building blocks for success as a photographer and small business owner.
Well, as much as the pandemic has changed so many things in our lives, the key ingredients to building brand awareness haven't changed. You still need to get your name out there, and even more important, we're into fourth-quarter seasonality, and people still need help capturing and sharing their memories!
Remember why I started this series - to give you ideas to build a stronger business, no matter what the challenges were! Most of you are right-brain creative types with too little focus on growing your business. Many of you don't think of yourselves as small business owners. Even if you're working for another studio, imaging is a career choice that lends itself to freelance assignments, and you're ALWAYS building your brand.
With or without Covid - it's not who YOU know, but WHO knows you! Here's a list to help you keep your name out there in the spotlight. Your goal is top-of-mind awareness so anytime somebody is thinking about photography, your name comes up first.
Too many of you think there's nothing you can do to build your brand until the pandemic is history. It's not going away tomorrow, but the new norm doesn't need to leave you helpless. Relationship building is your most vital marketing tool - so, set up a time every week to be building your foundation of awareness - beyond your skill set.
Tony Corbell, one of the most recognized photographers in the industry, once told a story about when he first got started. "I might not have been the best photographer in town, but I was determined to be the nicest!" Tony's never strayed from that practice!
And where's Tony today? Because travel for all of us is limited, he's online and spending just as much time teaching and supporting his audience as he always has - but in cyberspace!
“Don’t think outside the box – think like there is no box!”
by Skip Cohen
In all my years in this industry, I've never seen a more difficult time for photographers to maintain a business. At the same time, I've never seen/heard so many remarkable stories about artists taking a leadership role in their communities. These are business owners, fighting to rebuild what the pandemic has taken away.
This Sunday, five of us share ideas and ways to expand your skill set and work to get things started on the way back. But we can't help if you're not there with us!
My program, "My Business Has Disappeared! Now What?" is about opportunities to rebuild your business and stand out from your competition. This program changes and grows every week, as I hear more great ideas to share from artists around the world who simply refuse to give up! I'll be sharing dozens of ideas to help you rebuild and jumpstart your business. I've got one hour to fill your head with new ideas, and even a few old ones. So, it'll be fast-paced right from the start.
Click on the banner above to connect to the complete schedule of events. Then to attend for FREE, just download the 𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐂𝐨𝐧 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐩𝐩 from your app store, log in and create your password.
Don't let complacency get the best of you! Join us on Sunday to recharge your battery and get your business back on track for a strong fourth quarter in 2020!
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
by Skip Cohen
"Mind Your Own Business" is all about introducing you to the diversity of some of the most respected artists and educators in professional imaging. Since starting the series over six years ago, each guest has shared insight into their journey with continuous support to help photographers raise the bar on their skill set and develop a stronger brand and successful business.
My good pal Shiv Verma is in the MYOB spotlight and joined Chamira Young and me for a conversation about his career, projects for downtime, staying optimistic, and the future of imaging. Shiv's an artist, educator, writer, and a good friend to so many photographers in the industry.
Although we've known each other for many years, we started to get quality time together thanks to his role as a LUMIX Ambassador. (Note: All of Shiv's images we pulled for this post from were all captured with LUMIX cameras.) Later, I got to know him even better though Platypod. He's been a vital contributor to so many different ideas and new products over the years, including the upcoming Platyball.
Two of my favorite conventions before the pandemic were IUSA and WPPI. Working with Shiv in the booth, and then getting time together over dinner at the end of each day gave us a chance to cover a lot of ground with so many different topics and interests.
Check out more of Shiv's work with a visit to his Instagram page, his website, and past SCU blog posts.
Part of the fun of following Shiv is the diversity of his work - from critters and night skies to a model at a conference and fine art, you'll never be disappointed in what he's sharing or where he's traveling!
As always - thanks go to the Photofocus Team for their support of this podcast. Check out their content; whether it's new product info, "how-to" posts, or educational information to help you become a better artist, they never slow down in the quality of what they share.
Click on any image to view in the SCU Light Box
Images copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
by Skip Cohen
The "Mind Your Own Business" podcast is all about sharing ideas, developing a solid skill set, and running a successful business in imaging. Although our opening and closing questions are always the same about how the guest got started in this business along with advice to photographers just starting, everything else is unscripted and unrehearsed. Each photographer has shared an incredible level of information about their journey to date.
Nicole Begley joined us on this recent podcast, and she continued the pattern of sharing great insight and information about pet photography. I met Nicole for the first time three years ago when she taught a pet photography workshop here in the Sarasota area. Her passion for the craft, together with being an educator and working hard to help artists expand their skill set, is remarkable to observe live, first hand.
The hierarchy of why people hire a professional photographer, based on a Kodak survey years back, goes brides, babies, and pets. I don't believe that's changed at all in over twenty years since the information was released. That means there's an incredible opportunity for photographers to diversify and include pets in your repertoire. And the ranking has moved a lot, because of so many weddings being cancelled or postponed.
While the official surveys don't all agree, the rough estimate is that 80% of American households have a dog or cat. That boils down to approximately 80 million dogs and 60 million cats. And if you want to argue with me about those numbers, you're missing the point. We love our pets. Through the pandemic of the last almost nine months, dog and cat owners have repeatedly talked about the family's furry members evolving into emotional support animals!
Now take it all one step further, pet owners love photographs of there dogs and cats, which is why they're ranked at the top of the Kodak survey I referenced earlier. Nicole Begley is all about helping artists raise the bar on their skill set when it comes to photographing pets, especially dogs. Check out her "Hair of the Dog Academy," and visit her website to view more of her incredible work!
As always, a BIG thanks to the team at Photofocus.com for their support in hosting the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. Check out all of their podcasts - you'll never be disappointed in the guests appearing on the various shows.
Click on any image above to link to this great podcast!
by Skip Cohen
We're in the middle of a pandemic, and with so much downtime, I'm trying to understand how I missed several posts of the "Mind Your Own Business." Over the last six years, we've shared a new podcast every month, thanks to my co-host Chamira Young and the team at Photofocus.com.
So, I'm playing catch up on podcasts, but this isn't like the expiration date on a carton of milk! Kay Eskridge joined us on this past podcast, and her insight into the industry's challenges was remarkable. She shared so many great ideas, and knowing Kay for as many years as I have, it was a fun conversation.
Kay is all about relationship building. In fact, you can see it in her images - relaxed smiles, comfortable poses, and subjects who enjoy working with Kay and trust her to exceed their expectations. From the Boardroom to maternity, kids, families, couples, seniors, and pets - it wasn't easy for me to pick out my favorites. Click on any image below, and you'll link to Kay's website, and you'll see what I mean. She shares an incredible body of work. Every image demonstrates her commitment to her clients as well as the craft. She's one of the most diverse artists in the industry, and I'm not sure there's anything Kay can't photograph!
I've written it so many times before: The best part of this industry is all about the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Kay and I have worked together on different projects and have been friends for easily twenty years, and it's true what they say about time - it flies when you're having a good time!
A big thanks to Photofocus for their support in making "Mind Your Own Business," a podcast that needs to be on your radar!
by Skip Cohen
If there was ever a promotion with perfect timing on a necessity this holiday season, it's Marathon's BOGO on holiday cards that just launched!
Here's why this is more important for your business than ever before:
For the last eight months, everyone's world has been at a virtual standstill. You've been hunkered down, business disappeared, and has just recently started to pick up, and keeping in touch with clients for many of you has been limited. That makes this holiday season especially crucial for revenue, as well as for your clients. Everyone is dealing with the same challenges, regardless of what their business might be.
You've got an opportunity to meet the needs of your clients NOW. And while it might seem early to think about it, the timing is actually just right.
Here's your chance to start planting the seeds of ideas for holiday cards, and the importance of staying in touch with family and friends. It's a great product to offer your clients, but don't forget your own needs for your business.
If ever there was a holiday season where photography can play a significant role, 2020 is the year. And with Marathon's BOGO, you're cutting your cost in half and helping to increase the revenue stream.
Just click on the banner for more information. Don't miss the opportunity to help your customers connect with family and friends over this year's holiday season.
by Skip Cohen
The pandemic has changed just about everything in business today, especially in imaging. But it's also opened up some new revenue streams, thanks to technology (Bay Photo), and new products.
I just recently hung the two 30x30 Performance EXT Metal prints outside on the back of the house. The other print had been out in the bright sun and rain for three years, and while it might have shown fading under the microscope, to the naked eye, it was still stunning. (Note: It's been recently replaced. It survived everything but the power wash guy who not only knocked it off the wall, but later rolled over it with his equipment.) The two additional prints, captured by Jonny Yoshinaga with a drone when he and Suzette Allen were here last year, are special reminders of a great friendship.
Performance EXT Metal is specially engineered for extended life in the elements! Perfect for use as outdoor art, photography, signage, and display, Performance EXT Metal will last 2-3 years in direct sunlight without noticeable fading.
Think about your client base and how many people would appreciate prints outside their home. Everyone is hunkered down with limited travel but maximum time at home - looking at the same walls! Now take the concept of photographs outdoors one step further - how many restaurants have outdoor seating, but nothing on display?
There's an entirely new revenue stream waiting to be tapped into. In each of your communities, you've got subjects to feature in photographs, whether it's scenes around the community, the restaurant's favorite dishes, or the staff - the list goes on and on. And, we're entering the seasonality of the fourth quarter. The need for creativity in gift-giving this year is going to be at an all time high.
by Skip Cohen
Every month for the last six years, "Mind Your Own Business" has shared a new podcast featuring leading artists in the imaging industry. In March of 2017, Chamira joined me as co-host, and what an incredible trip it continues to be. Her style and interviewing skills are part of what make these podcasts so much fun to do.
Rosh Sillars joined us on this podcast just a couple of months back. He shared a lot of terrific insight into the challenges of building his business and a career in photography. As a photographer, Rosh focuses mostly on people, food, and architecture. But as a leader in the industry, he's all about inspiration and helping us think beyond the skill set to capture and produce beautiful images.
Rosh's blog is jam-packed with excellent content to help photographers stand out from the crowd. The pandemic has changed everything in business today. It's also created opportunities for entrepreneurs to separate themselves from their competitors and display a unique service level and support to build stronger brand awareness in the community.
Rosh needs to be on your radar. Click on the banner below to visit his blog and the gateway to the world of Rosh! And a BIG thanks to the Photofocus.com team who's helped make "Mind Your Own Business" a great podcast, month after month for all these years.
All images copyright Rosh Sillars. All rights reserved.
This is very important - to take leisure time. Pace is the essence.
Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you're gonna lose everything...great pauses between highs, where you do nothing at all.
You just lay on a bed and stare at the ceiling.
This is very, very important...just to do nothing at all.
by Skip Cohen
Even being hunkered down for the last six months, it's hard for me to believe it's Labor Day weekend. The last six months have been tough on everybody, and I'm going to make a suggestion that will be considered by some to be a waste of a blog post...take the weekend off!
Most of you have seen a dramatic drop in business, with an almost constant level of stress trying to think of how to rebuild and get things back on track. My suggestion is - take a break from it all. Use the next three days to clear your head; spend time with your family; chill - in other words - make it a slug weekend!
Sheila introduced me to the concept years ago, and it works. Sometimes you need to walk away from everything and simply relax - be a slug. The pandemic challenges aren't going away, but you need to be fresh to find the creativity necessary to get back on track.
Two nights ago, I needed a break. I had forgotten about the crystal focus ball I bought a year ago. So, I headed to the beach with a LUMIX G9, the 14-140mm lens, and a Platypod. Lying on the beach and watching the sun go down, I realized just how much I needed to step away from work.
Take this weekend to wipe the slate clean. Spend as much time as you can finding things to laugh about, and come back on Tuesday ready to fire up ideas for the fall seasonality and the holidays. The pandemic isn't going away as quickly as any of us would like, but that doesn't change the importance of clients who still have memories to capture, kids growing up, and families in need of a new portrait.
Chill over the weekend - join Sheila and me for a slug weekend and come back fired up on Tuesday morning. This is a time when wasting time couldn't be more valuable to help you get your head back in the game and energize.
Wishing everybody a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Sadly, that image above is the equivalent of the attention too many photographers put into the final packaging of the products they deliver to their clients. Okay, maybe it's a little extreme, but it hopefully will help make my point!
It's Marketing Monday, although EVERY day in your business should be about marketing. And, while the pandemic has changed many things in our lives, the need to continue to market yourself has never slowed down.
Yesterday I did a run to "Total Wine" - we were low on two pandemic survival necessities, tequila, and vodka! (Actually, neither of us are big drinkers, but we were out of both.) I was blown away by the packaging of one of our favorites, Milagro.
The color combination of black and silver suggests high perceived value with both men and women. Black and gold, also repeatedly score high in packaging tests. The package itself, along with the bottle design, is eye-catching and contemporary. And the story about Milagro is printed on both sides of the box.
That got me thinking about professional packaging in photography, which I've written a lot about over the years. Even though business for most of you is down, the importance of your final presentation hasn't diminished. It's probably more important and noticeable than ever before.
Whether you're giving a client access to images online or physically delivering an album or prints - don't underestimate the value of professional packaging!
A few years back, I found the post below in Marathon's blog archives, and the timing couldn't be better to share it again. We're coming up to the fourth quarter, which will still represent the busiest time in seasonality for photography...even with the pandemic.
As you start to send out orders for the 2020 holiday season, remember the impact professional packaging can have on each shipment's perceived value. And don't think of packaging as just for your hard products, but the artwork involved in online deliveries as well.
Every order is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your professionalism. Use professional packaging and elevate the perceived quality of your products. If you don't send them out with an elevated level of respect, nobody else will do it for you!
How important is the packaging in which you deliver portraits and other photographic products to your clients? When you consider the majority of photographic purchases are either initiated or entirely controlled by women clients, then the answer is clear: Packaging plays a huge role in enhancing your studio’s brand! Smart marketers know that women are influenced by packaging that pays attention to these key elements:
Research shows that color palette preferences of women are decidedly different from those of men, and the psychology of color—how it influences moods and feelings—is something that every marketer should take into consideration when developing key branding pieces such as business cards, websites, brochures, marketing cards, and packaging.
Women are known to be attracted to packaging that has appealing physical profiles, such as shape and size. These two elements are sometimes key to the functionality of the packaging, which has a definite impact on women consumers; women typically are concerned about how products can be safely and easily transported.
Who doesn’t like to unwrap a package? Women certainly do, so when packaging has pleasingly interactive qualities, such as luxurious ribbon, artfully designed bellybands, deluxe tissue, and eye-catching stickers, each item adds a layer of anticipation to the process of receiving the photographic product.
The fact that attention to detail is important to women, the addition of decorative bag tags, bellybands, ribbons, and even charms, elevates product value in the mind of sophisticated consumers.
Whenever a transaction results in an emotionally satisfying experience for the client, he or she becomes more likely to return for additional sessions and to refer clients to your business. Personalized packaging, such as the addition of a session image used as a bellyband closure or to adorn a shopping bag, is just the kind of gesture that creates a positive emotion which adds significantly to the success of the client’s experience with you.
Artfully coordinated packaging materials support the kind of positive image building that defines and adds meaning to your business brand. Extending your innate creativity to creating packaging that attracts you ideal consumer is well worth your time.
As the holidays approach, there’s no better season to create imaginative packaging. By advertising that “all gift portraits include custom gift wrapping,” you’ll be adding value to your product, and you’ll be all set to conclude future sessions with style!
"The greatest technology in the world hasn't replaced the ultimate relationship building tool
between a customer and a business...the human touch!"
by Skip Cohen
There was a long window of time when talking on the phone seemed to be on its way to extinction. Everyone was texting and emailing. And as a consumer, if we called any major company, we were put through a barrage of defaults, often in menus that made little or no sense. You know the drill, "Please listen closely because your menu has changed. If you're calling about ______ press 1, and I always wanted to hear, "If you'd like to talk to somebody who cares, call another company!"
Okay, maybe it wasn't always that bad, but the pandemic came along, and today, excellent communication skills are more critical than ever. We're a word of mouth industry, and personal contact with clients will be restricted for some time. That puts how you handle yourself over the phone at the top of the list of critical marketing tools.
I remember when the phone company, "Ma Bell," used to do classes for business clients on phone etiquette. As I look back on it today, those classes were really about how to have a conversation - so, the same way you carry yourself with somebody face to face or (mask to mask today), is a foundation for how you communicate on the phone.
And it's all just as much about Customer Service as it is verbal communication. NOW is the perfect time to strengthen your communication skills with the phone.
The phone is one of your very best marketing tools. How you communicate is all under the umbrella of great Customer Service. Being a great communicator is just as important to build your business as meeting client expectations with the quality of your images!
Click on the above banners to understand what makes ClickCon and ClickCon Nation so unique!
by Skip Cohen
Last year ClickCon in Chicago kicked off its first conference and became the most successful launch of a new convention in the industry. Many factors were contributing to it being a great show, from the class selections, quality of the speakers, quality and enthusiasm of models and stylists to the involvement of the "Heart of ClickCon," the people involved in the planning.
This year we were all excited for the second show in their history when the pandemic hit. But nothing stops the Heart of ClickCon, and this weekend, ClickCon Nation kicks off a nine-month series of monthly classes and support for imaging artists.
The next ClickCon LIVE Conference is scheduled for August of 2021, but here's the best part - as part of your registration, you've got nine months of online educational programs from which to choose. Click on the thumbnail below to check out this Sunday's programming.
Everyone has different needs these days, but there are several common denominators - the need to share ideas, grow our skill sets and understand how to deal with the new norm. ClickCon Nation has five different levels of involvement - each one designed to help artists get the support they need most.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to catching up with many of you in cyberspace and then LIVE in Chicago next August. Registration is just a click away on the banner below!
by Skip Cohen
When Chamira Young and I relaunched Beyond Technique last year, we wanted to focus on more than just capturing great images, or running a successful business in photography. Each guest has shared a lot of great insight, but the pandemic created a new challenge - artists have had to ramp up their usual marketing skills and find better ways to reach out to their communities.
Cindy Harter Sims joined us in this episode, and she's all about inspiration and especially relationship building. She's no stranger to the SCU spotlight and has repeatedly shared great content and the ideas she's implemented to secure her business. But with the pandemic, she did something unique - she reached out to her community and asked for help.
Relationship building over the years has been a significant building block to Cindy's business and her role within the industry. In fact, it's how I met her many years ago at a Skip's Summer School conference. Cindy doesn't collect business cards - she directly participates with and supports the people in her growing network.
Please take the time to listen to this podcast. Cindy held nothing back as she discussed her quest to keep her business alive and, at the same time, continue to give back to her community. She's busy, even doing newborn and infant photography, all while staying true to the rules of physical distancing and safety.
And click on any of the favorite images I grabbed from Cindy's website to visit her galleries!
Beyond Technique is brought to you by:
Programs like Beyond Technique can't happen without great industry support. Platypod believes in education and helping artists find new perspectives, not only with their cameras but their overall skill sets in marketing and business too.
If you haven't visited the Platypod website, take a scroll through the blog and Instagram pages. Artists from around the world are sharing their creativity every day.
And if you're stuck with ideas to expand your own creativity, wander into the Platypod store. You'll find some unique kits like the new Ultra Essentials Kit, now on sale.
A big thanks to Photofocus for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their technology, marketing, and business skills. Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
by Skip Cohen
I first shared this post as part of my Fast Food Friday series last year, but it's even more relevant today. The pandemic and social distancing have changed everything in business today. Now, more than ever, your website and blog are critical components of your business. Sadly, too many of you have websites that could put a rock to sleep!
I've done a lot of website reviews over the years, and so many of you miss an opportunity to make a great first expression. A visit to your website needs to be a great experience. Like shopping at Macy's vs. Nordstroms - you've got a choice to make in the experience you give visitors to your website!
In reviewing websites, photographers will often say to me, "I know it's out of date. I need to fix those images." Well, the days of procrastinating are over, and it's genuinely a you-snooze-you-lose scenario. Here are some ideas, most of them easy fixes and things you can do NOW!
While somebody will challenge me on this, you can't be in business today without a website. I also feel a blog is essential. Why? Because your site is about what you sell, and your blog is about what's in your heart. Both work together, much like advertising and publicity. Together a great website and blog can open doors, build trust, and help establish your reputation as a professional photographer.
But just like discussions on Facebook forums about what photographers wear when shooting a wedding, you've got to dress the part. You've got to dress for success! Your website is the equivalent of a bricks and mortar store - make a visit, starting with your audience walking through the front door, that's memorable and a fun place to "shop."
"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
by Skip Cohen
There isn't a professional photographer on the planet who isn't struggling with what's become the new normal! Quarantines, social distancing, sheltering in place have all become a way of life, but out of chaos and the pandemic crisis have come some remarkable new extensions for business.
A month ago, I shared a short video of JP Elario at his computer doing FaceTime portraits. Channel 13 in Albany, NY, picked up the story, and I have to share it here. I wish there was a way to make every artist watch this short clip.
JP's part of a father/son business and Joe, his Dad, and I go back to my early Hasselblad days. They're both remarkable artists specializing in wedding and portraiture, and exceptional service is part of their signature. Keeping in line with their never-ending quest to meet their clients' needs, JP starting doing online headshots.
These are challenging times, but who knows what other new ideas will come out of the pandemic crisis?
"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friend."
by Skip Cohen
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, especially the way we communicate. On a fairly regular basis, many of you are appearing live on Zoom, Skype, and the list goes on and on. But, just like the rules in creating a great image for print competition, there are some definite rules you need to follow when meeting in cyberspace. Your goal is to be just as professional in an online meeting as you would be in person at a conference or workshop.
And for those of you rolling your eyes, because you already know this stuff, just consider it a reminder. Like meeting with a new client, you've got a minimal amount of time to make a great impression. I'm not an expert in any of this stuff, but thanks to some great friends, I'm work in progress and there are a lot of you who could use a little help.
Let's start with the obvious - lighting. You don't need much. Ironically, none of you would light a basic headshot with a flashlight, but when it comes to your online presence, you do nothing. Yet, all of you understand lighting - so put a little light on the subject - YOU! While I've got a couple of softboxes in my office, my preference is thanks to Litra. I've got two LitraTorch 2.0s on goosenecks on either side of my laptop, which has become my leading computer when I've got to be on camera. When I'm on the iMac, I use the softboxes.
Here are a few more suggestions to consider:
1. Get a location without backlighting. When you've got something bright behind you, it fools the computer or your phone into thinking the scene is brighter than it really is. I have to remember myself to close the blinds in my office behind me.
2. Remove distractions: We don't all have the advantage of a movie set background. Often, I've forgotten turn the ceiling fan off in my office and have had people bothered by the distraction over my head.
3. Camera and your face on the same plane: Get your camera (computer or phone) on about the same plane as your face. Not only does it cut out chin and nostril shots, but it gives the audience your eye contact and more facial expression. When I'm using my phone, I have a Square Jellyfish adapter on a ball head with a Platypod Ultra. While there are plenty of phone holders out there, this little adapter gives my Platypod Ultra another useful application.
4. Make eye contact. Remember when talking, if you want to make eye contact, looking at your screen won't do it...you've got to look at the camera.
5. Cut down on the background noise. Mute your microphone when not talking. It's especially bad in a group of more than 3-4 people.
6. Earbuds or a headset cut down on feedback.
7. Consider a better microphone! The impact of the pandemic is here to stay for a long time. While we all wish there was a switch that could be flipped to end the crisis, it's not going to happen overnight. That means we're all going to be communicating differently for some time. My personal favorite is a Rode Podcast mic, but I also have a Yeti. Both are good, but the Rode seems to give my voice more clarity.
8. Smile more! It's a great tip from a photographer, author, and my good buddy, Larry Becker. He recently joined Chamira Young and me in a Mind Your Own Business podcast, which is now online. And check out his new book: Great on Camera. Written before the pandemic when we had no idea we were going to be on camera a lot more, Larry's approach couldn't be easier to follow, with great tips to raise the bar on your skill set as a podcaster, presenter and participant online.
And that brings me full circle to where I started. We're dealing with a new normal. While we all hope the good old days of just three months ago will come back, that doesn't change the need for looking good and professional online NOW.
From meetings with clients to edu-type presentations to meet-ups with other photographers, you're part of the imaging community. That means the expression "looking good" has a lot more meaning in cyberspace these days because it's often going to be all you have to start.
P.S. And if I missed any tips feel free to let me know and we'll do a post of add-ons!
by Skip Cohen
Like most of you, I'm tired of dealing with the pandemic. It's the topic everywhere. Even commercials on TV have changed to a social distancing theme. One company after another wants to assure us we're all in this together...but the reality not everybody is!
All of us as an industry might be in it together, but the number of stupid people on the planet seems to be growing. I had some fun this morning and Googled "stupid things done during the pandemic." I found a treasure chest of gems at buzzfeed.com.
They shared 19 stupid things people have done or said. Here are two more of my favorites:
I'm putting a few of my favorites below:
With Father's Day and graduation still in the timeline, there are so many opportunities to start getting back a small piece of your business as a photographer. There's no question it won't be easy, and business has changed, but many of you just need an encouraging first step to getting back on track...and this is where we are, all in it together.
by Skip Cohen
Every imaging artist is feeling the same pain right now - business disappeared with the flip of a switch, and now you're struggling with what to do. Sound familiar?
This is an industry where we all watch each other's backs. It's never been more evident than right now! Just like that lifebuoy being thrown above - you've got access to so many different places for help.
There's no need for me to write a lot of text today - but I am going to give you the links to six great resources available with a click of your mouse - RIGHT NOW. There's a long list of great programming, and it covers everything from expanding your skillset to changing your marketing strategy!
This is only the beginning - I'll be sharing more places you can find help as I hear/read about them!
I know it's hard to see downtime as an asset when it feels like a monstrous liability. Take advantage of this time to build a stronger brand, skillset and relationships!
And if you've got questions or need help you sure know where to find me!
by Skip Cohen
This is going to be a strange year for members of the class of 2020. With graduation typically just 7-10 weeks away, there's a good chance very little will be happening in terms of significant events wrapping up their high school education.
That means those of you who are senior photographers have a huge responsibility to help the class of 2020 enhance the celebration as much as possible. While this post is an infomercial for Marathon's BOGO program on grad cards, it's got a much higher purpose - to help build your brand for future grads and, at the same time, help parents find other ways to celebrate and share their pride.
I'm a big fan of grad cards and how they can be used to celebrate, spread the news and, despite the current pandemic, recognize the accomplishments of today's seniors. It all starts with your grad card sales kits, giving you everything you need to help this year's class and their parents design a unique announcement.
The design options are infinite, with 50 different basic designs, five foil options, color combinations, paper choices, and the list goes on and on. And, to help you through the process, Marathon's staff is there to help. They're open and in production.
At a time when everyone is looking for ways to maintain some level of normalcy in business, grad cards represent one of the best tools you have to help families celebrate and appreciate images you captured and created before Covid-19 changed their lives.
Think back to the pride you had in the quality of the senior portraits you captured initially. Now it's time to put them to the very best use and create more ways to share the memories!
Click on any image in this post to link to Marathon's Grad Card promotion, and don't forget BOGO pricing helps your profitability, giving you more flexibility in what you offer your clients.
CLICK BELOW FOR YOUR FREE PASS!
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.