by Skip Cohen
Allison Tyler Jones joins Chamira and me on this new episode of "Mind Your Own Business." This is the first podcast in a three-part series featuring our upcoming guests at a very special LIVE program at IUSA on January 15. The program is all about things you can be doing to build a stronger brand and grow your business.
What good is working to create the best images of your life if nobody knows who you are? Or, worse yet, you've let the stress of business in today's chaotic world sap your creativity.
That pretty much sums up the program but also hits on so much of our discussion with Allison in this podcast. While there's probably nothing that Allison can't photograph, her passion is people, and she's a master storyteller. You can pick up the whole story of a subject, often with just one of her images.
For years I've suggested photographers never compromise on the quality of their images in their galleries. "Make every image a WOW print - meaning, it's so good that it's the only one you'd have to show to get hired!" Well, in trying to pick images from Allison's work for this post, every image was a WOW print.
Each one tells its own little story, and explains, in part, why Allison is tracking to her best year in business.
Despite all the challenges over the past year, she never slowed down on relationship building and serving her clients. She stayed focused on providing the very best in customer service and exceeding client expectations.
Chamira and I are excited and honored to have been asked to present at IUSA and hope you'll join us along with Allison, Myron Fields, and Kay Eskridge. We're going to be sharing lots of "low-hanging fruit" - ideas that can change your business, but aren't rocket science to implement! Remember, hunkering down is about your health, NOT about your business.
Check out more of Allison's work with a click on any image below. As you wander through her site, pay attention to how she's creating an incredible resource for her clients in terms of understanding the different portraiture styles and how they might want to tell their stories.
And check out "The Rework" with a click on the link banner to the right. Allison's developed an outstanding program to help photographers with branding, profitability, confidence builders, and the ingredients to build an unforgettable client experience!
See you at IUSA!
Images in this post copyright Allison Tyler Jones. All rights reserved.
As I've written so many times before, the fun of this industry is about the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. And now and then, there are a few fun surprises that come out of those relationships.
In a blog post in August, I featured Andrew Michaels, who I met at ClickCon. He photographed Chicago Transit Authority workers during the pandemic. Proud of being a Chicagoan, he wanted to recognize the unsung heroes behind the scene who kept Chicago moving!
A few weeks after the blog post, my co-host, Chamira Young, and I had some fun with Andrew as a guest on the Mind Your Own Business podcast. A talented artist, he shared so much great insight into his love for photography, networking, and the importance of building relationships. Just click on the banner to the right to listen to the podcast.
Well, Andrew shared the following in a post on the ClickCon page on Facebook two weeks ago:
Shortly after Skip's podcast, my friend Jacob Harrison shared it on Reddit, and days later I was contacted by Anthony Ponce of Fox 32 news to do a follow-up segment...12 Hours after airing, the VP of Communications for CTA emailed me, we are going to work on getting a large print out so the public can see the work in person!
And a few days after the piece on the news, Andrew wrote to me: Within 12 hours of airing this we have a local print shop inquiring about helping, and the CTA has also reached out to say they will help get this printed!
So, here's my point...In his book UnMarketing, Scott Stratten's subtitle is, Stop Marketing and Start Engaging. Yes, I helped Andrew get the word out about his project, but in all honesty, I did very little. He had a great project I wanted to share with SCU's readers, which was all about giving back to your community. But Andrew and I wouldn't have met had he not attended ClickCon and, in his first year as a full-time photographer, taken the steps to get involved in this industry.
His closing comment on his Facebook post says it all:
Moral of the story, push and have faith in whatever you're working towards, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
by Skip Cohen
Will Cadena joined us on this episode of "Mind Your Own Business." As I anticipated, he couldn't have been more open about his journey as a professional photographer and business owner. He shares a lot of great information, especially about continuing education and relationship-building with his clients. Just click on the banner above to listen to the podcast.
Until I was on his website looking for images for today's post, I had no idea he'd done work for an organization I'm proud to have written about over the years, HeartsApart.org. It's so important for all of you, as artists in your community to find ways to give back. So I pulled the short video below to not only share his skills as a storyteller and cinematographer but introduce you to one of my favorite non-profits.
From weddings to commercial work, to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and corporate events, Will Cadena's work is all about people. He's a relationship-builder who never slows down. In fact, I've introduced him a couple of times as proof that hyperactive kids grow up and have careers! That energy level is his signature, and it's directly tied to his passion for the craft, education, and helping photographers raise the bar on the quality of their work.
Click on any image below to link to his website and check out his mentoring program. He's a firm believer in education, and if you see him on the agenda at any upcoming conference - run, don't walk to grab a seat!
A BIG thanks to Will for joining us on the podcast and to Photofocus.com for sharing the podcast and being one of the very best and most extensive resources for imaging artists!
Images copyright Will Cadena. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Although this podcast got great reviews on Photofocus.com and iTunes, I've been behind getting caught up here on the SCU Blog. So, over this next week, if you haven't heard the podcasts already, you'll meet some of the most talented and respected artists in professional photography.
Meet a great friend to so many of us in photography, Kristen Jensen. In this podcast, she shares so much great insight into her journey - from a Ford model to actress to moving behind the camera and more.
We first met when we were both working with Panasonic, Kristen as an Ambassador, and me in support of their social media building. And while we're not directly involved as much these days, that doesn't change the love we share for imaging, especially marketing/branding.
"Everybody becomes a celebrity when they take charge of their brand."
I wanted to share her promotional video from her website. It's all about branding, and is the perfect sidekick to the podcast above.
As I've written so many times before, the fun of this industry has little to do with imaging but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Sheila and I have caught up to Kristen and Tom each time they've been in the area.
A BIG thanks to Kristen for joining Chamira and me on the podcast. Click on any of the images below to see more of Kristen's work, as well as gain a better understanding of branding. She's one of the most diverse artists in imaging.
And one more BIG thanks to Photofocus.com and their support of the Mind Your Own Business podcast. It all started with Rich Harrington having an idea, Sheila giving us a suggestion for what to call it, and in 2014 we kicked off the first podcast in the series and haven't missed a month since!
by Skip Cohen
One of the things that make professional photography such an incredible career path is the way we watch each other's backs and the support that's out there from so many talented people. That old line about "It takes a village" couldn't be more appropriate in describing our industry.
In this new episode PPA CEO, David Trust joined Chamira and me for a conversation about the challenges photographers face today, and most importantly, things everyone needs to do to get business back on track. It was such a great conversation. David shared so much good insight that we simply gave up on the usual thirty-minute podcast and went a little longer.
The other thing special about this industry has nothing to do with imaging directly but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. David and I go back to when he first started as Director of Marketing for PPA in 1998. I was then Industry Advisor on the PPA Board, and I remember David's first day on the job.
From talking about leadership opportunities to maintaining a positive mindset to a few highlights for the upcoming IUSA show in January, we covered a lot of ground. But what Chamira and I appreciated the most was David's sincerity in his love for the industry, especially sharing ideas on how we can all help get things back on track.
It's a great podcast, and we so appreciated David taking the time while on the road to talk about one of his favorite subjects - keeping our industry healthy and focused!
Click on the banner above to listen to the podcast on Photofocus.com.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but in building the new.
by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times before, the best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography directly but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. One of the first photographers I met when coming over to the professional side of imaging back in the late 80s was Clay Blackmore.
He was an assistant to the legendary Monte Zucker, and over the years, I've watched him grow as an artist, business owner, and even husband and father. It's been a remarkable career to follow, but each step of the way is Clay's signature - the spirit he puts into everything he does. I'm sure there are times when he's stressed and less than fun to hang out with, but it's something I can't imagine.
He's always there to help, and no matter what the challenge or the difficulty, you can be sure Clay's going to find the silver lining. I know it's a little sappy, but this is a guy who always makes lemonade out of those lemons in life.
I don't usually add quotes to MYOB blog posts, but I found two that fit Clay so well. The one by Socrates describes how Clay is constantly building the "new." And the closing one below is simply why Clay is always so great to work with - it's his "positivity."
Clay and I have worked together on hundreds of projects and conferences together. While his passion is portraiture and weddings, there's nothing he can't shoot. Most important of all, he's always looking for ways to make his work look different. He never stops learning, experimenting, and pushing the edge of the envelope on creativity!
Clay shares a lot of great insight into photography, and especially about relationship building and networking. He should also be be on your radar. Click on any image below to link to his website and check out more of his work!
Positivity always wins...always!
Images copyright Clay Blackmore. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
In this new "Mind Your Own Business" podcast, photo-journalist and author Riley Arthur joins Chamira and me to talk about her new book, photo-journalism through the pandemic, her relationship with National Geographic, along with a lot of great sidebars.
As primarily a documentary photographer based out of Michigan, Riley shared a lot of great insight into the importance of special projects. She's a National Geographic Explorer, Fulbright Fellow, and her work has been featured in numerous magazines, as well as on display in the permanent collections of seven different museums.
Her new book is currently available for pre-order at Amazon. Just click on the thumbnail to the right for more information.
Because so much of Riley's work is documentary and editorial, between her website and Instagram, there's a wide variety of images shared from many of her various projects. I pulled a few of my favorites but visit her website to see a broader selection of her work. Click on any of the images below.
By Chamira Young
“Growth only happens outside your comfort zone”
With February behind us and spring right around the corner, there's still plenty of time left to make the most of this year. If there's one thing we should be all doing, it's making strategic plans for our photography business. Given the challenges of the pandemic, it's more important than ever that we remain proactive - not reactive - in the practical actions we can take to build our network, serve our clients, and build our skillsets. It's for this very reason that Skip and I recently had a detailed discussion on the Mind Your Own Business podcast about what photographers can do to make 2021 (and 2022, actually) better than ever!
You can listen to the full podcast episode here. We covered a ton of ground, so I advise you have to have paper and pen ready to take notes!
Here are the main points we discussed:
Listen to the full podcast here!
By Chamira Young
We love the Mind Your Own Business podcast because it helps photographers improve their lives, while at the same time giving you an in-depth look at how your fellow creatives are making their businesses work. It's one thing to memorize hypothetical theories behind running a successful business, but it pales in comparison to the lessons gleaned from real life experience. That's why we're so grateful for the amazing photographers who are willing to chat with us on the show and share what they've learned over the years!
Recently on the podcast, Skip and I chatted with Jerry and Melissa Ghionis, the dynamic duo behind Jerry Ghionis Photography. You can listen to the full interview here. There are numerous helpful takeaways from the interview, so be ready to take notes!
We covered the following topics:
Listen to the full episode here!
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
by Skip Cohen
When we started this series six years ago, we had no idea the number of talented artists and content-rich interviews we'd be sharing.
Kelly Brown joined us on this new podcast. She's a talented artist with an eye not just for stunning creativity in portraiture, but a great understanding of business as well. She's a photographer, an artist, an educator, and business owner. At the recent WPPI convention, I spent some time talking to her, and she couldn't walk two feet without being stopped by a fan!
But sometimes the fun of these podcasts is elevated even more because we've got a guest I know personally. A few months back, Kelly and her husband Rob joined several of us in renting a house while in California. Nothing beats getting to know somebody when you're outside the industry and just hanging out together. Both Sheila and I found ourselves feeling like we'd known both of them for years!
In this new podcast, Kelly shares a lot of good insight into her career as an artist. Her passion for the craft is unbeatable. I always like to pull some images from our guest's website to share in this post. A few of my favorites are below.
Click on any image to connect to Kelly's website and pick your own favorites.
Now's the opportunity to take advantage of fine-tuning your skillset and make the most out of the downtime we're all dealing with. If you're interested in learning more about newborn, maternity, family, or portrait photography in general, make sure you check out Kelly's online educational programs. From posing to lighting to editing and just about everything in between, including tips on business, you'll never be disappointed in time spent with Kelly!
by Skip Cohen
The more of these podcasts Chamira Young and I host, the more we realize the incredible depth of passion and creativity in this industry. Every month, since March of 2017, we've had a new guest join us and talk about their journey as a professional photographer.
Eddie Tapp joins us in March. We've been friends going back to my early Hasselblad days in the late 80s. He's one of the most diverse artists in the industry on land, sea, and now in the air! He's covered it all, and I'm not sure there's anything he can't photograph.
When I started SCU, we had fun playing off the university concept. Eddie was one of the first members of the "faculty." Everybody was asked the same question, "What advice would you give a photographer just starting out today?" Eddie's answer couldn't have been more on point and perfect to show how he's walked the talk throughout his career:
"Vision...have vision...study vision...and become visionary. Photography is an imaging media and it is embedded unconditionally in vision. Start your vision at the point you want to be at, and in a season of time, bring your vision into focus deciding on the type of equipment, client, quality of work, and bank account that your vision reveals to you.
Today, it isn't enough to be a great photographer, wizard of light, or an impressive Photoshop expert...You must develop a vision, your own vision, get truly excited about it, and create a trail-blazing path."
In the podcast Eddie talks about one of his early clients, "Kansas." He shared their group portrait in an episode of 'Why" four years ago. The image and the backstory will help you get to know Eddie even better.
Eddie is an artist, photographer, writer, educator, and somebody, so many of us consider a good buddy! He should be on your radar. His website is just a click away.
Images copyright Eddie Tapp.; All rights reserved.
Click to view in the SCU Lightbox
by Skip Cohen
We're into our sixth year of "Mind Your Own Business," and what a kick it's been. Rich Harrington and I were the original hosts. Trying to come up with a name for the series, my wife, Sheila, jumped in with "Why not Mind Your Own Business?" and it fit so well. Each podcast seems to get better and better, with more great content and guests who are willing to share their insight and experience with our listeners.
Deb Sandidge joins Chamira Young and me for this new conversation. She's a professional photographer, Nikon Ambassador, author, educator, and a great friend to so many people in the industry. Her specialty is travel and artistic creativity. One look through her galleries, and you know Deb is somebody you'd love to hang out with. Her signature is creativity with techniques like long exposures, time-lapses, and capturing images during the blue hour.
Her episode on SCU with her "Why?" image, on the right, was a four-minute exposure! She shares a lot of great insight into the process of how she captured the photograph.
It wasn't easy deciding which images I wanted to grab for today's post, but I did my best. Click on any image below to visit Deb's website.
Just recently, Deb was a guest on Steve Brazill's "Behind the Shot" podcast. She shared more ideas on creativity and her love for imaging. And, there's nobody who can help you raise the bar more on your travel photography than Deb.
Steve does a terrific job in every interview. So, put his website on your radar and follow his posts and podcasts!
Deb's also a great supporter of products she believes in, like Platypod. She recently posted the image below on Facebook. But, every image she shares in social media always has a mini-lesson to go with it! The other images I pulled are all from her Facebook posts.
Follow Deb on Facebook, her instagram page and her website. You'll never be disappointed.
Images copyright Deb Sandidge. All rights reserved.
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
This year we're celebrating five years of incredible guests on the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. It started in the spring of 2014 when Rich Harrington at Photofocus had an idea. We launched the first program in April of that year. A year or so later Scott Bourne joined me as co-host, and when Scott moved on to other projects, Chamira Young and I kicked off the expanded series in March of 2017.
To date we've done 70+ podcasts together, including "Beyond Technique," "Tamron Recipes," and at least two on Pro Photographer Journey. Through all of these guests, we've only had two previous episodes with sports photographers.
Terrell Lloyd joined us on this new episode. Terrell's the Senior Manager of Photography Services and Lead Team Photographer at the San Francisco 49ers. We not only talked about the challenges of being a sports photographer but many of the milestones of his journey. Terrell's all about relationship-building and he shares a lot of good insight in his story from starting out as a pro-bowler to today.
As I've written so many times over the years, the best thing in our industry isn't really about photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Terrell and I go back to my early WPPI days and maybe further. When the 49ers played Tampa Bay a few weeks ago, we were able to get to the game and watch him in action.
Knowing how many stadiums and events have restrictions on DSLRs and often interchangeable lenses, I took the LUMIX FZ300. It was close to 100°, and we were ten rows down from the top of the stadium. I dropped an arrow into the shot on the right pointing to where Terrell was in the image below.
I needed a camera that could handle the challenge without the weight. With its 25-600mm fixed zoom most of the time it's perfect for what I need. There's a lot of horsepower packed into this camera, and at 1.5 pounds, even with a smaller sensor, it's great to travel with.
A big thanks to Terrell for joining us on "Mind Your Own Business," and for working in the time for dinner the night before the game. While social media is fun for staying connected - NOTHING beats quality time face to face!
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.