Three weeks ago were in New Jersey and there's very little that beats one of the gorgeous 75 degree days on the ocean. We were out with friends on their boat on Barnegat Bay, and the clouds just kept rolling by. I was traveling light when it came to camera gear, but that's the fun of virtually EVERY LUMIX camera. Had one of my favorite cameras with me, a LUMIX GX85 with the 12-32mm kit lens. Nothing fancy - but perfect to travel with!
Click on either thumbnail of the GX85 or 12-32mm lens for more information.
I wasn't out to capture a masterpiece, just looking for a few good examples of clouds to share one of Skylum's newest features in Luminar 2018, the new Sky Enhancer. The image above is with the Sky Enhancer at 100% and the comparison, before and after screenshot is below.
Remember, the fun of Luminar Corner is being able to demonstrate so many of the creative tools Skylum has created. Obviously I could enhance the image further with an infinite combination of filters, but I wanted to share the Sky Enhancer by itself.
But here's the beauty of Luminar's presets - you can adjust the level you want. So, just to share here on Luminar Corner, I took it to 50%, and the image is below. A little less clarity and saturation, but again it's all personal taste. It's what you like or more important what appeals to your clients.
As Dean Collins loved to say, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
It's the Biggest "No Brainer" Decision in Photography
A few weeks ago I was introduced to Luminar 2018 and it's had a significant impact on my images, but let's set the stage. I do not profess to be a professional photographer. However, having hung out most of my career with some of the finest photographers in the world, I know more than I let on. My passion is helping you with the business and marketing side of imaging but I'll match my love for the craft with anybody when it comes to enjoying life with a camera in my hands and having fun. Remember "fun?" It's one of those words too often lost today in the stress of running a business.
Using Skylum's Luminar 2018 I'm back to having more fun with my images. But I refuse to become a filter junkie, and most of the photos I've been sharing I'm only using one or two of their presets, most often for better clarity.
We're launching "Luminar Corner" this week as Skylum becomes a new partner with SCU. Every Wednesday Chamira Young and I are going to share one new image using a different Luminar tool.
Today's Image: I'm featuring two Luminar tools - first I love the slider bar that allows you to see the before and after on every image. I used two filters on the original image, the "clarity" preset and the "structure" filter. I liked the result, and when I shared the image in one of the Facebook forums I got the following response:
I'm afraid you went a bit too far on the sharpening, look at the grain in the clouds. If you would have pushed your aperture to about 11 and put the camera on a tripod, you could have gotten a cleaner image.
Here's my point...first the image was in my archives from two years ago, captured with a LUMIX FZ300 during a walk on the beach after a storm. I was pulled it into Luminar and found a look I liked. The grain and exaggerated sharpness were part of the way I wanted it to look. I know what I could have done to make it stronger at the point of capture, but this image was the look I was going for, and I'm reminded of my favorite quote from Dean Collins:
"Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
To check out the complete Skylum lineup and learn what all the buzz is about, just click on the banner below.
It's a NO-BRAINER! Put in the special discount code of "SKIPCOHEN" and receive an additional $10 off. That means you can buy Luminar 2018 for $49 USD and upgrade from the previous version for $39 USD. The code also applies to the purchase of Aurora HDR 2019.
Please Note: For every purchase made between now and November 30, 2018, through the SCU link on the right, SCU will be donating $5 to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.
In 2013 with a lot of help from my good buddy Scott Bourne, I started Skip Cohen University. At the time I had three different blogs, was consulting and was a feature writer for two different magazines. Like many of you, I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. (I'm still not sure! LOL) I remember Scott asking me a critical question, "Skip, what do you think would happen if you put all your energy into just one main project?"
Here we are almost six years later, and SCU just keeps growing. Over the years some of the very best marketing advice on this blog has come from Scott. It's Marketing Monday, and so appropriate to share a podcast Chamira Young, and I recently did with Scott on "Mind Your Own Business."
Scott wears many different hats, which is appropriate because a great hat is one of his trademarks and you'll rarely see him without one! He's an author, writer, artist, environmentalist, educator, public speaker, and executive as President of Skylum in the U.S. with additional responsibilities in Asia.
Through everything he does there's always a common denominator, he never compromises on quality - not in his images, friendships or for that matter anything he has an interest in.
In this new podcast, Scott shares a lot of great insight into marketing, education and the importance of staying cutting edge while continuing to love what you do. Click on any of Scott's images in this post to link to Scott's Facebook page and stay on top of his latest adventure in photography and business.
Scott Bourne needs to be on your radar!
Every morning, usually around 6:30 am, Sheila and I head out for a walk. The sunrises have been spectacular, but I never take a camera with me. I think of it too late, and the lens fogs up the minute the camera hits the morning heat and humidity. This morning was another stunning sky, but I was ready for it. Well, these two images got me thinking about the way we often look at our lives.
For example, we're so conditioned to appreciating beautiful sunsets we rarely notice a sunrise. Then there's one other perspective. We're so occupied by the brilliant light in front of us that we rarely turn around. The image above was facing east, and below looking west. The reflection of the sunrise in the clouds behind me had the same beauty, and minutes later the color was gone in both directions.
There's a point this morning following something my good buddy Tony Corbell used to talk about - saving that one last frame on the roll and doing something different from how you usually shoot. Neither of these images are award-winners, they're just shots of a beautiful morning sky - but from two different directions.
There are too many of you who are so focused on whatever is immediately in front of you that you fail to see what's going on around you. You miss some spectacular moments because you didn't look in another direction. And, it goes well beyond having a camera in your hands.
Think about any challenge you have in your business, and then take the time to look for other solutions. The answers aren't always as easy to find as the other side of a sunrise, but the answers are all out there. Don't be a business owner who only sees things from one direction - there's always another side and along with it other solutions - often more creative and rewarding.
Didn't mean to turn this into a sermon, but had I not turned around I would have completely missed the other half of the morning sky!
Note: Both images are right out of the can. The only thing I used in processing was the clarity booster in Skylum's Luminar 2018. Anybody can tweak the color in an image, and I wanted to keep it clean, as I saw it. Shot with a LUMIX FZ1000. And that spec that looks like dirt near the top is one lone bird.
Wishing everybody a terrific Thursday!
With love and patience, nothing is impossible.
I ran across the quote above recently, and it's one of my favorites, but on this Sunday morning, even though I've always believed nothing is impossible, there are times when it just isn't true. Here's an example:
We're out of town this weekend and took a ride over to Headlands Beach. With a major storm coming in, I spotted one wishful surfer. He was ready and waiting. Each time there was a swell, I'd patiently watch, camera ready to capture his success. He'd paddle out to catch a wave, but there was nothing to ride.
No matter how hard he wished for his board to catch "the big one," nothing happened. He had set his goal, made his wishes, focused on his dream but no matter what he did things weren't going to change. I guess it comes it comes with thinking you're going to surf on Lake Erie! While now and then the surf kicks up and you can have some fun, it's not the California coast and yesterday just wasn't the day for surfing.
Stay with me because there's a point with this Sunday Morning Reflections. I've met so many photographers and business owners over the years, who have a dream but a lousy plan to get there. They get frustrated over the same old results and haven't recognized the need to change their plan. Sound familiar?
There are things we want in life and we're so over-focused on the dream we lose sight of what it takes to get there. We keep trying to reach our goal over and again without stepping back and simply asking "What am I doing wrong?" We can't see the forest through the trees. Finally, frustrated over not getting the results we hoped for, we give up, often demoralized and drained of the energy and spirit to start over again.
Here's the solution - step back, and bring a friend with you. You need somebody by your side who you trust and who knows you better than you do yourself. You need a goal navigator, to help you see the need to change the route to your destination. And often, it really is that simple.
You don't need to let go of your goal, just change the plan you've chosen to get there.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wishing everybody a perfect Sunday and time to think about your dreams and goals. And, if you're struggling with how to turn them into reality, take a step back. Bring that special friend along and appreciate how important they are in your life. You don't have to do everything alone.
Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs and appreciate the people in your life who make it so unique.
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday for my readers on the other side of the world!
Note: Image captured with a LUMIX FZ1000 f3.2 @ 1/1000 ISO 125 (shot in IA mode and processed in Skylum's Luminar 2018)
It seems like I just wrote a Sunday Reflections post yesterday, and here I am on another quiet morning, and as always, off track from the business of photography. In my Fast Food Friday post, I wrote, "You can't capture images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in it."
Well, it applies to everything we do. On a personal level, for the last two weeks, I've been dealing with some challenges with a couple of my own family members. The issues themselves aren't relevant, and too personal to share in a blog. However, some of the things I did to stay focused are relevant to today's post.
My parents always taught us to "do our own dirty laundry." You never shared anything personal with a friend, and often I'm not sure they shared stressful issues with each other. I remember being shocked but also proud of my Dad when he'd go with me to the Caregiver's Support Group meetings while we were dealing with my mother's Alzheimer's. Opening up about what he was feeling to a group of people he didn't know wasn't something his generation ever did, let alone cry during the process.
So, when it comes to your own "dirty laundry," what do you do? Here are three things that helped me get back on track:
Here's my point this morning - I grew up as a right-fighter from a long line of genetically dominant right-fighters. I'm still work in progress, and while old habits die hard, my life is richer letting go of the need to prove I'm right. There's a terrific Dr. Phil line, "Would you rather be happy or right?" The last couple of weeks reminded me, the need to be right is a cumbersome commodity. It accomplishes nothing but takes away from the energy you need to be happy.
The next time you're in an emotional crisis and digging deep to find the strength to focus on your own well-being rather than the challenge itself, do your best to step back and remind yourself of all the good things in your life. Start with that one person you trust the most to help you through the moment then focus on the one person you always forget about trusting, yourself!
Wishing everybody a day filled with peace, and respect for the love you have for your family and friends. And, if coincidentally you're in crisis mode like I am now, take the time to look back at the good times. Run your own "Throwback Thursday" moments through your head and enjoy the process. As always, go for those eleven-second hugs, but during the embrace, think about how much that person means in your life.
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.