Note: After I wrote this the other day I realized I was confusing the issue with two points. Of course everyone is frustrated with the challenge of trying to talk to a real person at Facebook. However, the real issue for me is whether or not I'm alone in being bothered by the number of people who have passed away who still have FB pages. I'm not trying to launch a campaign, just curious.
Is anybody else frustrated with the challenge of trying to talk to a real person at Facebook? So far it seems impossible. Here's the latest challenge and I know not everyone is going to agree with me.
And the list goes on with other friends like Bill Hurter and Arnold Crane, to name a couple more.
Look, I get the sentimental attachment to people we've loved and lost. There are a few times when I've even posted something on their old page. It's almost therapeutic to remind them how much they're missed. But, overall, as Facebook is in the news lately talking about how they're working hard to clean up the challenge with fake people/profiles, it seems like they could do a better job with people who are no longer living.
I hate the fact that my father's account, along with other friends who have passed away, is just sitting out there vulnerable and waiting for somebody to take it over.
I'm obviously a fan of Facebook, and there are more good things it's done for all of us as opposed to bad. However, their customer service model is a perfect example of what NOT to do in your own business. Respond quickly to customers; give them solutions to help address their concerns and remember, silence is not part of your skill set.
If you're looking for a unique holiday gift this season, check out the sale on this print from John Sexton.
"This 5x7" handcrafted silver gelatin image is being offered for one week only at the very special discounted price of $150 – a significant saving from the gallery retail price of my prints. Unlike my other prints, this 5x7" print – printed by me on 11x14" silver gelatin photographic paper – will be delivered UNmounted, and without an overmat. Please know that this special discounted price is good only for orders placed prior to midnight Friday, November 30, 2018. After that date the price will increase to $300."
Launched last week on "Black and White Friday," there are just 48 hours left for this offer.
Whether you're a collector looking to own a unique piece from one of photography's
best known artists, or searching for a great gift idea for someone special, John's work is remarkable. His photographs are in collections and galleries all over the world. And, he's no stranger to SCU, helping us launch "Why?" with the very first episode in 2016.
Click on the print to the right for more information about John and this stunning print.
Image copyright Jeremy Chan. All rights reserved.
At PPE in NYC a couple of weeks ago I met Jeremy Chan through my good buddy Matthew Jordan Smith. Since Matthew moved to Japan, we don't catch up as often as we used to and neither of us knew we were both going to be at the show. He introduced me to Jeremy.
Throughout the next couple of days Jeremy and I kept bumping into each other at various booths at the trade show. We're all part of a relatively small industry and sometimes it's surprising how many common friends we all share.
Getting home from PPE, Jeremy sent me a quick IM on Facebook, just to say hello. That led me to his Facebook page and a lot of stunning images. So, loving great images and appreciating how the Internet has helped make our industry a smaller place, I asked him for permission to feature one of his photographs.
Not only did he say yes, but he sent me the following:
San Francisco City Hall is a magical place to photograph. This photo is captured around 5 pm which is during sunset. So, the golden hour light is leaking in from the west side of the building. By combining the “yellow” light on the upper floor and the two lamps, the photo is made naturally with the warm color tone, which is exactly how I wanted it to look.
Check out more of Jeremy's images by visiting his Facebook page. Just click on his photograph above.
In the meantime, look at your schedule for 2019. One of the most significant benefits of attending every possible convention/conference you can work into your schedule is networking! And, there's very little that beats the power and fun of meeting people who you've only met in cyberspace, face to face!
Sorry to use this quote again, but it's my favorite quote about photography!
"This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect."
In October of 2011, we moved to Sarasota. The primary reason was to help my folks. My Dad was 89 and taking care of my mother who was a few years into her battle with Alzheimer's. Since graduation from high school I'd always lived in another part of the country, and while we talked regularly and saw each other several times a year, I was never "next door."
Moving to Florida was one of the best things I've ever done. It gave me and my folks quality time, and even with Mom's Alzheimer's, there were plenty of special moments. It's a horrible disease that, like a burglar in the night, robs you of your loved ones. But, Dad used to say, "I'm going to squeeze every drop of joy out of whatever's left," and he stayed focused on every moment when the disease would take a break and Mom's personality came shining through.
Today, Halloween would be Dad's 96th birthday. When I was a kid the poor guy never had a decent birthday, always interrupted by trick or treaters, including me headed out in search of trick or treat candy. It was ironic, since back then he was in the wholesale candy and tobacco business. I had access to an entire warehouse of candy, but nothing was sweeter than what I got in my bag every Halloween.
Just to say I miss the guy would be a colossal understatement. The incredible memories along with knowing he and Mom are watching over us keep them in our hearts all the time.
Over the last years of his life, I talked Dad into writing two blog posts for me. I paid him a dollar for each of them, agreeing to write off the allowance he still owed me from when I was 12! LOL One of the posts I shared on Father's Day and the other I pulled out of the archives this morning.
Dad was part of the greatest generation, and there's a lot of wisdom in what he wrote below. As much as business has changed with social media, the power of the Internet making the world smaller and technology giving us the ability to reach thousands of people - the basics of good business and how we treat each other NEVER changes.
Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday Pop!
by Ralph Cohen
I have been happily retired for many years, and unemployed for almost twenty. I am not a plagiarist, but I must quote my father who spent the last months of his life writing advice to his children:
“Conduct your business in an upright manner and remember, the most important thing in one’s life is to be honest with one’s self. Maintain the high standard and dignity that your business requires. Do not go into deals hastily and be visible in your business as much of the time as is possible. If you take time to play, do it away from your business, because your livelihood needs all the attention you can give to it.”
Early on, I concluded that the best testimonials came from my many friendly competitors. We didn’t really compete with each other, in the true sense. True, we were in the same field of endeavor, but we all knew we were there to help each other. Happily, the “tough competition” fell by the wayside.
I remember giving Skip driving lessons and I told him, “Watch the left front fender…..the rest will take care of itself!” I’ve found this is really true of everything in life.
An old axiom says, “If you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said.” That is all part of reputation-building. I found that, sadly, in the field of real estate, truth is hard to come by for many. In our case, it was a major building block in the reputation which we enjoyed, and helped us to thwart the competition.
Goodwill is all of the above, plus a lot of caring for your clients as well as your competitors. If life is a give-and-take situation, giving is the more important of the two. The taking will come with time and be far more appreciative. Just remember – you heard it here!
Ralph Cohen, Founder and 1/2 the Creators of Skip Cohen!
If you follow me on a regular basis, you noticed I posted very little on the SCU blog last week. That's because I was at PhotoPlus Expo in NYC, and it was quite a show. Although somewhat scaled down and a little smaller than past years, it still had a good feel. It was especially good to take advantage of one of the most important reasons all of you should attend as many conventions/conferences as possible - networking.
This isn't just about building your network, but touching base with people already on your "team." A good network is only as strong as the time you put into its care and feeding! During the week I caught up to old friends and new ones. I often asked, "So, what's new?" or "How's business this year?" The answers were all over the place.
I was surprised by the number of people with a common theme. There are so many of you frustrated because your business isn't growing as fast as you'd hoped, and you haven't hit your stride yet. Chasing dreams is exhausting, especially when you don't realize how much progress you really might be making.
It's the perfect topic for Marketing Monday - sharing a few key things I've learned in my almost-an-old-fart life's experiences:
1) Everything always works out for the better! It sounds trite, but I've seen it happen over and over again. Just when you think it's the darkest day of your life, the sun comes out. Just trust this concept! The key is not to give up, and I'm reminded of a quote by Ross Perot:
"Most people give up just as they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line.
They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown."
2) A watched pot never boils! Okay, I threw that in for my grandmother's sake. In today's terms, it merely means stop looking so hard. You're looking for success and recognition, and it'll all come in time. Just keep working at expanding your skill set and never compromise on quality.
3) You're judged by the company you keep! There she is again, Grandma Alice, who used that expression all the time. In today's terms, it means hanging out with people who can help you grow. I've worked with and for a few people over the years who loved to be intimidating. They managed by being bullies, but I learned the most from those managers who encouraged me to challenge their decisions. The same goes for my friends, who challenge me every day.
If you're a tennis player, you know your game gets better when you play with somebody better than you. Photography and business are the same way - surround yourself with people who are trying new things, have confidence and are willing to give you advice, even when it contradicts what you're about to do.
4) A stitch in time saves nine! One more from my grandmother and I'll let her rest. She used to scream at me because of the holes in my socks as a kid. Since she was the only one in the family who sewed, her efforts often involved "rebuilding" a sock rather than just fixing a hole. Yeah, this is when you realize I'm an old guy, because today you just throw them out and buy a new pair, but here's how that applies to business.
When you run into a problem, address it at the time, don't procrastinate, especially with customer service issues. Not calling a client back who's upset comes up most often. When a customer doesn't hear back from you, things immediately start getting out of proportion. You don't always need to have an immediate answer, just let them know you're listening. Often all it takes is three short sentences, "I understand you're unhappy. Well the buck stops here. How can I help?"
5) Never believe your own press releases. It's the ego bus, and there areafew too many people on it lately. Remember, you pass the same people on the way down that you passed on the way up!
6) Anything is possible! All it takes is hard work and a great support team. Look at some of the things you're doing right now. You're probably involved in projects or techniques today you never believed you could do just a few years ago.
We're part of a fantastic industry with incredible photographers, terrific manufacturers/vendors, and many genuinely approachable icons, but you've got to talk to them to get their feedback. You've got to share your ideas to develop new ones and most important of all, you've got to be patient and don't slow down!
"If you want to be successful in a particular field of endeavor, I think perseverance is one of the key qualities.
It's very important that you find something you care about, that you have a deep passion for,
because you're going to have to devote a lot of your life to it. "
Wishing everybody a terrific Monday and the start of a new week!
For years I've talked about the best thing about this industry - the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. And, thanks to social media those friendships that get started continue to grow, even when we don't see each other that often.
Meet Fran Ruchalski, a photographer who I first met at an evening program in Jacksonville in 2012. The evening program I was doing at a local library had to shut down early when a tropical storm flooded the area all around us, and we needed to evacuate before everyone's cars floated away.
Fast forward six years and he and I have stayed in touch through Facebook. He left Florida in 2014 and today is in Logansport, Indiana, but the Internet keeps making the world a smaller place. A couple of weeks ago Fran posted some fun news about a recent award.
That hits one more fun aspect of social media - being able to share news with each other. Fran's shooting for the Pharos-Tribune and recently won first place in the HSPA contest for sports action photography. So, being one of Fran's fans I made the request to see the image and permission to share it in a post.
I know most of you aren't sports photographers, but what a kick to share an image that's completely out of the norm from what most of you shoot. A big congrats to Fran - sure is a kick to be following your career! You can check out more about Fran with a visit to his Facebook page.
I'm not sure where the year's gone, but it seems more evident than ever that time never stands still! Here it is Labor Day, and the summer just flew by.
Like many of you I'm taking the day off, and in fact, this is my only post today. We're spending a quiet day at home and later firing up the grill for a traditional Labor Day barbecue. It will be followed by the usually anticipated indigestion and me mumbling something like, "Why didn't you top me on that last hot dog?" Then comes the search for Pepto Bismol.
It's a day that brings back a lot of great memories. As a kid, this meant a barbecue at my grandmother's house. Family would make the "long drive" out from Cleveland, always arriving just as the food came off the grill. Sweet corn, burgers, and dogs were always on the menu, along with bets over how many ears of corn my Aunt Sarah would eat. And, the day always meant the end of summer - because unlike today where school starts in August, the Tuesday after Labor Day was our first day back to school.
With a little help from Wikipedia, I thought it would be fun to share the origin of the holiday for those of you who don't know how it got started or are readers from outside the US.
Labor Day in the United States of America is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday.
Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day.
Canada's Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. More than 80 countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1, and several countries have chosen their own dates for Labour Day. May 1 was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the general strike and events that took place around the Haymarket affair, which ocured in Chicago on May 1 through 4, 1886.
Whether you celebrate Labor Day or not, wishing you a terrific Monday!
I've written a lot about friendships over the years. In fact, I've repeatedly said, "The best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft."
Going back almost ten years ago, Sheila got me into reading Melody Beattie. While her book, The Language of Letting Go is daily meditations on codependency, I've found so many of her thoughts inspirational. I find whenever I hit a low spot in creativity or problem solving, it's time to take a break and step away from the business. I'll often pick up one of her books, turn to that day's date and see what she's written.
Yesterday I hit a dry stretch and couldn't seem to focus on what I needed to do. So, I grabbed Melody's book and took a short break. It was just what I needed, but I went one step further and took her advice. I picked up the phone and called an old friend. While it wasn't necessarily for the purpose she suggested, it gave me the lift I needed.
We're all so wrapped up in the challenges of business combined with the many hats we wear. Learn to recognize when you need a little lift. Many of you are coffee drinkers, and you love that feeling when the first cup of coffee kicks in each morning. Your spirit is no different, and getting in the habit of reading something inspirational from time to time is going to feed your brain...and heart too.
by Melody Beattie
Friends - August 13
"Don't overlook the value of friendship. Don't neglect friends. Friends are a joy. Adult friendships can be a good place for us to learn to have fun and to appreciate how much fun we can have with a friend.
Friends can be a comfort. Who knows us better, or is more able to give us support, than a good friend? A friendship is a comfortable place to be ourselves. Often, our choice of friends will reflect the issues we're working on. Giving and receiving support will help both people grow.
Some friendship wax and wane, going through cycles throughout the years. Some trail off when one person out-grows the other. Certainly, we will have trials and tests in friendships and, at times, be called on to practice our recovery behaviors.
But some friendships will last a lifetime. There are special love relationships, and there are friendships. Sometimes, our friendships - especially recovery friendships - can be special love relationships too.
Today, I will reach out to a friend. I will let myself enjoy the comfort, joys and enduring quality of my friendships."
I've written this many times before: I feel like I'm trapped in an old movie and the hands of the clock are just spinning by! Well, this week seems to have gone by in a flash, and I'm trying a little experiment.
I'm involved in a lot of different projects, companies, podcasts, and products. At the same time, it's tough for me to keep up, let alone remember what we're sharing in posts and tweets. In fact, just this morning I found an outstanding guest post from Kevin A. Gilligan about finding an artist's collective to help get your work out in front of more people. Kevin sent it to me last year, and it wound up lost in my email!
So, welcome to The Saturday Summary and links to a few of the week's highlights. Click on any of the images below to connect to the original post.
Six Photographers Share Their Experience with Excire Search Pro
Everyone Needs to Meet John Isaac
Albert Watson's Iconic Portrat of Alfred Hitchcock
Moving Your Photographs Outdoors
Tamron in the Blog and the News
Just for the Fun of It!
As always, thanks for being a reader. I sure do appreciate the support and the feedback. And, we've got a new week coming coming up that's going to be filled with some great content, all thanks to so many of you and the industry we're all passionate about!
Happy Saturday everybody!
Close to thirty years ago I met John Isaac at an industry dinner in NYC. At that time he was Chief of Photography for the United Nations. Although I haven't caught up to him in a long time, my admiration is the same as it was then. So, yesterday when a good friend sent me the link to this TEDxIHEParis Talk from last year, after watching it, I had to share it with you.
Many of you are relatively new to photography. You don't know very many of the artists who have blazed a trail of creativity, respect, and integrity before you. John is all about empathy, honor and compassion, and this quote by Emerson seems like it was written about him.
The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable,
to be compassionate,
to have it make some difference
that you have lived and lived well.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Grab a coffee and kick back for the next 18 minutes and meet one of the industry's finest photographers. And, this isn't just about his skill set, but his passion and respect for the human race. John's giving us all a blueprint for the way we should live our lives, and I couldn't be more proud to say,
"Yeah, I know John Isaac!"
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's almost August and while technically it's still summer - all of you should be thinking about the Fall and getting ready for the fourth quarter's seasonality. I stumbled across this archived post from my good buddy Scott Bourne, and it's a topic and idea that just has no expiration date!
It takes me back to packaging studies in my Polaroid days. For example, we found that different colors created different impressions. Black and gold or black and silver were interpreted as higher quality and value than other color combinations. Certain combinations of pastels also created feelings of high value and had a stronger appeal to women than men. Today, aspects of that same logic apply to your website, blog, mailing pieces and brochures.
Competition is fierce, and you've got to make yourself stand out. Think about this example - You can buy the same Polo shirt at Macy's or Nordstroms, yet the attitude of the staff at Nordstroms is entirely different, along with the store layout, inventory and many of their policies. Now is the perfect time to take a long look at your business and decide - do you want to be Macy's or Nordstroms?
by Scott Bourne
One of the craziest, but most powerful things you can do to market your photography is take your existing marketing plan and pull it inside out. What do I mean by that? Simple. Take something that you've been doing with mixed results and put a new twist on it. Look at other industries OUTSIDE of photography. How does the car business handle that problem? What would a bakery do to solve that issue? How would a shoe store approach it? What do fast food chains do to make that work?
I love studying other business models. I love taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that from other verticals and throwing it into my photography mix.
Maybe it works - maybe it needs to be refined - maybe it fails. But if you are at least trying something new, you have a shot at improving. If you're always doing the same old thing and failing, well you know where that will take you - NOWHERE.
Try pulling things inside out and looking OUTSIDE the small world of photography. When I bought my first really nice car, I noticed that EVERYONE at the dealership, people who were lot boys and people who were upper management, despite their age and mine, called me sir. "Right away sir." Yes sir Mr. Bourne." "Great to see you at the dealership sir, how can we serve you today?"
Over the top? Nope. Not a bit. I was in my 30s and I started applying the lesson I learned there every time I dealt with a client. And they noticed. It wasn't the last thing I learned by studying high-end retail. I bought my first expensive watch in my 30s. Again, very polite, intelligent people. But this time there was a twist. They delivered the watch in the fanciest box and packaging I'd ever seen. Every time I opened the box the watch came in, I was a kid getting a Christmas gift. You see where I'm going with this right?
Study what other businesses do. Not just what other photo businesses do. Jump verticals. Change things up. Look at all the options and then innovate.
Skip and I are rooting for you.
"It's just a bad day, not a bad life!"
It's Sunday morning and as always I'm off track from marketing, business and photography. This is the time when I just kick back and let my thoughts go anyplace they choose. As always Molly the Wonder Dog is asleep at my feet and I can't help but wonder how great it would be if we were all the kind of people our dogs think we are!
For some reason that quote above popped into my head this morning as I read three "Chicken Little" posts and emails this morning. A "Chicken Little" issue is from somebody who every day finds something to worry about and does their best to rally everybody around them into believing the "sky is falling."
Over the years In photography we've had some big ones: Photographers in the fifties who felt photography was going to hell because of color! They had children who believed life photography was ending when auto-focus came into play. (Anybody remember when one of the biggest retailers in photography, Calumet, in the late 80's threw Nikon out because they stopped making manual focus lenses?) But it doesn't stop there because the same people upset over autofocus had kids who complained that imaging was over with the invention of the digital camera! And I'm sure we can find a link to today's challenges with social media, digital files, and the list goes on and on.
Okay, so I stepped back into photography for one paragraph, but here's how it applies to life. I'm so tired of having a conversation with somebody that starts out with me asking, "Hey, how have you been?" and then hearing how the sky is falling! And while we all have friends who truly have endured some horrific days - they recognize that it's just that; a bad day and they wouldn't trade their life with anybody.
So here's my point this morning - let's help those people who have mastered the art of pessimism to morph into something else. Instead of asking them how they're doing let's open the conversation with, "Wow, you sound great today - what's going on?" Let's help them to keep life's daily challenges in perspective and get them to stop writing their lives off because there are too many speed bumps along the way.
I spent a lot of time in Japan in the 80's, and when having a lot of differences in a negotiating session, there's an expression which translated means, "there are too many pebbles in the stream." So, one by one you work to remove each pebble, but nobody ever looks at the stream as a dried up creek bed!
Wishing everybody a Sunday, or Monday if you're on the other side of the world, that's filled with optimism and time with the people most special to you. Always go for those eleven-second hugs and think about how much the person in that hug means to you. And definitely, keep each day in perspective. Not every day is the one you're going to base your life story on, but without those days that are off a little how would you ever appreciate the ones that are stellar!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
The real potential of social media comes when the "social" side kicks in and that's what happened with my introduction to Greg Anzalone, a fine art photographer from Buffalo, NY.
He had a question about Excire Search Pro that came through the Customer Support email. Since his question involved a new role for me, and company I'm working with, I've been following all the correspondence.
Wanting to get to know more about him, I checked out the link to his website. I loved many of his images and sent him an email through his website asking him to call me.
So, I'm not only sharing the work of a passionate photographer but reminding you of a basic lesson in communication. NOTHING tops a phone call except meeting somebody in person. Greg and I probably talked for 20 minutes or so, and in that short time the initial foundation for a friendship kicked off.
We live in an instant fulfillment world. We text, we email, but the phone at times seems to be the very last tool we think about. Yet, it has the potential to build relationships the quickest.
A big thanks to Greg for permission to share a few of his images on the SCU blog. Click on any one of his three photographs to see more.
Over the last few years I've written a lot about the "Rules of Engagement." Each time it's because I've watched a conversation go completely off track, usually on Facebook. It's one thing to disagree with what somebody's posted, but another altogether to try and rip their heart out.
I've repeatedly watched as photographers battle it out over semantics, politics, and beliefs until finally an administrator in the forum comes along and deletes the entire thread. As the thread disappears, often the members who thought they had a right to bully their way through the argument, wind up being removed from the forum as well.
A few years ago I was following a thread on Linkedin in one of the discussion groups. A member of the group had a black-tie wedding coming up and threw a question out about what was appropriate attire, wondering if he could get by in a dark suit and not a tux.
The question was great and certainly appropriate. It was answered right away, but twelve days later the banter was still going on. The volley continued as two photographers argued their points about beach weddings versus the rest of the world, when the only answer that really mattered was to "dress appropriately". The question was answered right from the beginning, yet people wanted to keep giving input and it got emotional and ugly.
When things heat up in a forum I'm amazed at what happens next. Hiding behind the anonymity of their computer screens, there are always photographers who morph into trolls and bullies, insisting everyone buy in on their opinions.
Last week I had the same type of challenge in a forum I administrate. It got ugly because a couple of people wanted to play troll and simply didn't know how to behave, let alone communicate. Once a thread goes off track, there is absolutely NO WAY to get it back. We wound up deleting the thread and permanently removing the trolls.
So, here's what I wish we could all agree to and I'm including myself in this. It's an extension of the "Rules of Engagement" I've written about before and it's pretty simple.
Don't get me wrong, I love forum/group discussions. The Internet is a remarkable tool and helps so many photographers every day, but there's no telling how much stronger we could all become if we were simply more selective when commenting in any group.
The endless volleys that come up over and again would rarely happen if we were all together in one room talking to each other.
“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
Please note: I don't usually post on Saturdays, and on Sunday, it's just one post, Sunday Morning Reflections. However, I was looking through my archives and stumbled across this one from 2014. It's perfect to share right now, but even better are the comments that were written at the time.
If you need a little lift today, I'm hoping this does the same thing for you that it did for me, especially the comments. Check them out and feel free to add to them - Meanwhile, wishing all of you a terrific day and time to pat yourself on the back a little for staying focused on your dreams!
My wife, Sheila, got me into feeding my long-time starving spiritual side several years ago. Since then writers like Melody Beattie and Marianne Williamson have become regular reading. Well, yesterday I read something Melody Beattie wrote:
"Problems were made to be solved. Life was made to be lived. Although sometimes we may be in over our heads-yes, we may even go under for a few moments and gulp a few mouthfuls of water, we won't drown. We're wearing- and always have been wearing - a life jacket. That support jacked is called "God".
Okay, so I know at this point a few of you are rolling your eyes, because I've committed one of the things you're never supposed to do in a post...talk about God or politics. Well, if you don't like the God reference then replace it with "believing in yourself" or "faith". I'm not going to get in an argument over my belief in God, yours or for that matter semantics. Melody's point is right on the money, because we won't drown, life was certainly meant to be lived and every problem has a solution.
Another thing I believe in is every one of you who are dealing with the day in day out challenges of running a business and building your brand as an artist. I'm proud to be working with so many of you to help you build a stronger business and skill set. My frustration comes out of those moments when I hear about somebody giving up, because of the challenges. I especially hate hearing stories about friends who have family members who don't support their dreams, letting their negativity spill over into your world and creating one more hurdle to test your passion.
I don't know about you, but in high school I remember Algebra and a chemistry class where, on the first day, I looked at the back of the book to see how hard things were going to be. It scared me every time, but after a school year of the stuff, it meant absolutely nothing. Instead of worrying about how much you don't know, give yourself a big pat on the back for how much you've learned and are applying right now!
I found a quote that will hopefully help a few of you to keep things in perspective. Don't get hung up on your challenges. they're all part of growing a business.
The struggle you're in today is creating the strength you need for tomorrow!
Daily Quotes - no author listed
It's the 4th of July, and since it's the only holiday of the summer, I'm going to kick back, hang out with my wife Sheila, fire up the grill and probably over-eat! The challenge I face, like so many of you with a home-office, is finding the discipline to step away from the business. It's not easy at any time and on a holiday like this year, in the middle of the week, it's even tougher.
I've written so many posts about recognizing when you need a break and the importance of being good to yourself. It's not easy when I have to walk the talk!
I know you're a global audience and the 4th of July, Independence Day, is an American holiday. So, to all of you celebrating the day, make it a day to appreciate family and friends. If you're on BBQ duty, pay attention to how long you leave the burgers on and savor the day, the laughs and the time away from the business - it'll all be there tomorrow.
And, if you don't celebrate the day and don't have it off, I can still wish you a terrific Wednesday or Thursday, if you're on the other side of the world!
Happy July 4th everybody!
PS Two days ago I walked outside just as the sun was coming up and there was a rainbow at the end of our street that seemed to run directly overhead. How could I not grab a LUMIX camera? I used a LUMIX FZ300 and just left it on "IA" for the perfect backdrop for my neighbor's dead tree!
Now and then an event comes along in this industry that redefines the meaning of the word "fun." Remember that word? It's the one word that all of us occasionally lose under the baggage and stress of business. It takes work to keep "fun" in your life every day.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Over the years I've always been fortunate in jobs that I loved, and the fun I have in this business. Some moments are exceptionally special, and that defines my experience last week hanging out with Scott Kelby.
Here's the scenario...
Like so many people in the industry, Scott and I have known each other for years. We share a lot of mutual friends, but in all this time, we've rarely had more than five-minute conversations in passing at a trade show or convention. KelbyOne is only 75 miles away and last Tuesday we grabbed lunch together.
I consider myself the biggest lunch slut in photography! I love lunch because it gives people a time to talk about the business, get to know each other better and share ideas about an industry I love dearly. So does Scott, and when he told me about the topic the next day on The Grid, there was no way I could say "No" when he asked me to join him.
The topic? Your portfolio and why you need one is a topic I've written about so many times. I headed back up to the Tampa area the next day to join Scott in the KelbyOne studio. Click on the image above to listen to the webcast.
We ran out of time to cover everything, so here's a little more to think about, in relation to your portfolio and upcoming trade shows and conventions.
And one more sidebar about The Grid last week. What a kick the offices are at KelbyOne. Besides all the other hats he wears, Scott's a musician, and they went with a rock n' roll theme throughout the building. They haven't missed a beat from headphones on the great masters to a display of rock lunch boxes!
A big thanks to the KelbyOne team! To quote Carly Simon, "Nobody does it better!"
Here's a fun quality of Facebook. The image above was shared on Royce Chenore's page over a year ago. Recently somebody commented and the thread became active again, coming up on my page this morning.
Royce originally wrote:
This is Circa 1995... it was a publicity photo for the "PORTRAIT 2000" teleconference.... this was in the VERY early days of "electric imaging" now called digital retouch... the photographers submitted "selfies" on FILM of all formats brands and speeds....(selfie...another term that didn't exist) and ACI composited them into one image.... this was EXTREMELY INNOVATIVE AT THE TIME!! Feel free to share and tag others if you wish....
Well, I picked up the phone and called an old friend who I hadn't talk to in a lot of years, Ed Pierce, (front row, second from the end.) What a kick it was to talk him about this event. Here's what so many of you don't know.
Now, take a minute and think about online education today. This is where it all started! There was no Creative Live or Lynda.com or for that matter ANY online programming. There were no webinars, even YouTube wouldn't be founded for almost another ten years!
But this is also another example of a fun aspect about Throwback Thursday. While in one respect I can't believe how old I am to have been around for this stuff - on the other hand, I couldn't be more proud to have been a very small part of it. Hasselblad was one of the sponsors and Tony Corbell, and I flew to Washington D.C. and were in the audience all day at the live event.
It's hard to imagine a more fun trip down Memory Lane when it comes to photography. To Royce for sharing over a year ago - thank you! And, to my old buddy Ed Pierce, who answered the phone just a few minutes ago, it really is time for you to write a book. You're the one who blazed this trail into video education and helped change so many lives in photography!
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody!
I first heard the expression twenty years ago from a friend who was an outstanding outdoor photographer. Since then I've used it numerous times, usually in reference to photographers who spend too much time trying to fix a bad image. In fact, a few years back somebody sent me the link to a Mythbusters episode where they proved you could!
Every day I look at websites of professional photographers, and I'm shocked at how many artists compromise on the quality of the images they share.
They seem to fall into a few different categories:
Having galleries with great images is essential. You don't need a lot of images to show your skill set. And, if you don't have the skill set yet, then stop calling yourself a pro. Your galleries have got to look better than "Uncle Harry's." If they're not, you're building a weak foundation for the brand awareness you're working so hard to establish.
Sadly many of these artists do have the skill set and the passion for the craft, but early on they wanted to fill their galleries to the max. They never went back to update their galleries. They didn't take the time to do a "lifeboat drill" on their images and decide which ones get saved and which ones need to be trashed.
When I was a kid, I had a red Mustang, and I was trying to sell it. It had a fairly significant dent in the door, but I didn't want to bother fixing it. Everybody who looked at the car loved it, but not the dent. My Dad finally took the keys, got the dent repaired and sold the car for $200 more than I was asking. He sat me down and gave me a life lesson I've tried hard to never forget,
"Whatever it is your selling, don't set yourself up to have to apologize for anything!"
Think about how that applies to your business. Whether you're showing images to sell your photographic services or a house for that matter - don't compromise. Don't show people anything that would require an apology, excuse or an explanation as to why it's not their best choice.
If it's a lousy image, don't show it! Never show less than your very best work. Never compromise on quality. Only show "wow" images - images so good you'd just have to show one of them to get hired! Most important of all, be consistent in everything you deliver!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Now and then I meet a photographer at a conference or online, and I'm amazed at the potential paralysis over making a mistake. The pure fear of worrying about so many aspects of their business from capture right through to marketing sends them into their own "No Fly Zone."
We all make mistakes. They can't be avoided. Depending on what you do with them, they can stunt your growth as an artist or just the opposite, create a growth spurt. It's all in how you look at the mistakes and if you choose to learn from them. Norman Vincent Peale wrote:
"Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make them strong."
Scott Bourne wrote the following post a while back about making mistakes and as we leave the slow season, and business starts to pick up again, it's the perfect time to share it once more. While a couple of points have been updated by new technology and now auto-reset, it's still a great list to review and develop a habit of how you shut down after each shoot and make sure you're in good shape for the next one!
No matter how seasoned you are, the pressure of business, the economy and new technology all change the game, and suddenly you find yourself buried in mistakes you never used to make. Scott's put together a solid check-off list for cutting out one critical variable in your life, mistakes with your gear.
by Scott Bourne
No matter how experienced, we all make mistakes. Sometimes we go out to shoot and nothing works. We’ve forgotten to reset the ISO from 3200 (shot the basketball game last night) to 200 (for the landscape shots at Mt. Rainier.) Or sometimes that odd custom white balance we set at the art museum gets saved and used for the next wedding. Oops.
Whatever the mistake, mistakes have a way of cascading. And it’s easy to get frustrated to the point where you simply can’t do anything right. When you reach this point it’s time to give up and start over – “reset,” as Joe McNally says.
To do this, you need to establish a baseline for your gear. Here’s my baseline. Your situation may be different, but this works for me...
1. Camera bodies off
2. Camera batteries recharged after each and every shoot – no exceptions
3. Flash(es) off
4. Flash(es) batteries recharged after each and every shoot – no exceptions
5. Set ISO to 200
6. Set aperture to wide open on all lenses
7. Set shutter speed to 1/125
8. Set mode dial to Aperture Priority
9. Turn off IS/VR on all stabilized lenses
10. Set all lenses with focus stops to focus maximum area of focus
11. Remove any and all filters
12. Check that the camera body and any/all lenses are set to autofocus (unless you just always use manual focus – in which case disregard.)
13. Set white balance to AUTO
14. Set exposure compensation to “0.”
15. Reset the focus point to the center.
16. Set motor drive to high speed advance
17. Make sure mirror lockup is disabled
18. Make sure to run camera’s auto sensor cleaning after each shoot, no exceptions
19. Do quick visual examination of the camera to look for damage defects
20. Reset additional gear like tripods, light stands, etc.
After bringing everything back to default condition, you can take a deep breath, find your subject, and start building the next shot knowing you’ve done all you can to be ready.
Remember, we all make mistakes. Even the pros. It doesn’t mean a thing. Fix it, reset, reshoot, repeat. You’ll be fine.
"When you find yourself in a hole. Stop digging!"
We've postponed the f64 Lunch Bunch for a few weeks. There's so much going on in everybody's lives right now in terms of help and education. However, we're all still here to help and just an email away.
And if you missed the May 6 lunch with Bobbi Lane and Tony Corbell - it's pretty amazing. The video is just a click away.
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
The pandemic may have moved the dates for 2020 to August 10-13, 2021, but that's NOT slowing Team ClickCon down. Stay tuned for new programs online with ClickCon Nation! It all starts on August 11th.
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.