by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times in the past, part of the fun of Facebook is keeping in touch with great friends and, in turn, their creativity. Meet Erik Cooper from Colorado. We met when I needed to ship him a Platypod as part of his new membership bonus joining PPA. That led to regular phone calls, catching up LIVE at ClickCon in Chicago last year and simply a great ongoing friendship.
Yesterday, as part of Throwback Thursday, he posted the stunning image above of Milkweed, which Sheila and I have planted all over the butterfly garden. It's a Monarch butterfly's favorite. I just got off the phone with him for permission to share it again. And it was perfect for a throwback, because it's the image that launched his love for photography.
Erik needs to be on your radar! Follow him on Facebook to keep track of more of his images.
And to Erik...what a kick to have you as a buddy! Thanks for your never-ending support and inspiration.
by Erik Cooper
Today has gone nostalgic! It's a Throwback Thursday as I've had to go through some old pics, looking for memories to use for a certain someone's celebration. Isn't it wonderful having old prints to look through? Oh the blackmail I have at my disposal! LOL!
I'll finish this post with a flashback to 2011 and the pic that launched my passion for shooting. Ever seen a Milkweed pod up close? So fascinating! This image caught a lot of reaction from friends and I was equally inspired knowing it came from my little Nikon D80. Shot with a manual focus lens from 1976, the image seemed to pop right off the computer screen when I edited it. Here's to fond memories and happier days in our past. Stay positive and know you are loved!
Intro by Skip Cohen
The real benefit of Facebook often has nothing whatsoever to do with being social but raising the bar on the quality of your craft. After all, the common denominator most of us share is our love for imaging.
Wandering through my notifications on FB just now, I ran into this post by Seth Resnick. I've admired his work for many years, and the image he shared drew me to the post. To his point - I'm amazed at how many artists don't calibrate their monitors. Yet, they view, share and print thousands of images.
One ingredient to calling yourself a professional photographer is the quality of your images. Not only do you deserve the best, but let's think about your clients. They deserve the best you can create.
There's no need to introduce this post further because Seth says it all. So put Seth on your radar; follow him on Facebook and check out his website, especially his upcoming workshops! They'll change your life and raise the bar on the quality of your work!
by Seth Resnick
Last night we went out to dinner before going to see Elvis. Leslie and I went to get a bite to eat and the restaurant had at least 25 television screens. On each screen is a Lion Fish from a live feed and Leslie notices that the color is different on every screen and asks me which one is correct? I start laughing and said likely none of them and go on to explain the concept of profiling a monitor and what that means. Ironically I had just gotten off the phone with Eric Meola who had purchased a new Mac with the M1 chip and had a tough go of profiling his NEC/Sharp Monitors.
As a photographer you spend your life producing images and processing them but unless you have a calibrated monitor, color becomes a crap shoot. It amazes me how many clients and photographers are making critical judgements about color and are doing so on non profiled or color deceptive monitors. In general, most screens are too bright, and have whatever default color the monitor happens to ship with.
Ambient light, the colors of the walls all have an influence on how we perceive color.
The bottom line to ensure the colors you see on screen are the same colors from your file, you simply need to calibrate and profile your monitor. Personally I use an i1 Display Pro which is a puck like device or spectrophotometer. I profile once a month and by doing so I am able to create a color guarantee. This helps ensure that when I print, the print can easily represent what I see on my screen and when I send a file to anyone, if they too have a profiled monitor, the image on my screen will match the look they get on their screen.
Of course the reality is that many clients and many photographers do not have profiled monitors and the reality is every screen will portray the image differently much like we experienced in the restaurant seeing the same Lion Fish on 25 different screens, each one different.
by Skip Cohen
There's something a little sadistic about the joy of winter weather when I'm sitting outside in my backyard in June writing this post. Plus, living in Florida, everyone whines when we hit those bone-chilling sixty-degree temps in the winter!
I wanted to share this short Tamron video for several reasons. First, it's so well done. Even the music they chose leaves you wanting more than just two minutes! Plus, Ken Hubbard is a buddy who regularly puts Tamron lenses to the test in virtually every kind of weather. Over the last few years, he's taken us all over the world. Last but not least, Alaska is still on my bucket list!
Regardless of what lenses you shoot with, the video is a great break from whatever you're working on.
And if you haven't checked out Tamron lately - it's time to visit your Tamron Dealer and take a serious look at the 28-75mm F/2.8 G2 lens Ken's traveling with here. Just click on the thumbnail to the right for more information about this remarkable NEW lens from one of the industry's finest manufacturers.
by Skip Cohen
One of the fun things about having spent so many years in this industry is the friendships that have come out of everyone's love for the craft combined with their creativity. Glen Clark has been a long-time buddy going back to the early 90s when we were first met on a project to help Kodak. I've written a lot about metal prints, especially outdoors for home decor and restaurants.
Thanks to Glen, here's another application, expanding your potential for creativity and even additional revenue! His list of suggestions in the last paragraph is just the beginning.
Guest Post by Glen Clark
I was just sharing an idea for displaying MetalPrints with a photographer friend, and it occurred to me that you might also find this interesting (if I haven't already shared this with you?). It's a bit of a story, so please bear with me.
When Robin and I moved into our home here in South Carolina, we discovered a large metal circuit breaker box in an alcove between the kitchen and the master bedroom (see photo). Naturally, Robin thought it was ugly and wanted to cover it up.
Rather than having her disguise the box with decor items or a wall hanging, it occurred to me this might be an excellent place to display a large MetalPrint. So, I found a suitable image of a doorway in an Irish castle we had visited. I measured the metal circuit breaker panel/box. Then I ordered a 38 "x 18 "Metal Print to cover the box (I think most homes and businesses have a similar ugly panel somewhere). I ordered a Float Mount hanger on the back side of the MetalPrint to raise it off the surface, making it easier to hold onto when it was necessary to remove the print (i.e., to flip a circuit breaker).
Then Robin and I went shopping to find suitable magnets and adhesive tape, which we located at our local Lowe's. When the MetalPrint arrived, I attached the magnets, and the print has been covering the panel/box for the past year and a half, and it looks fantastic. This has even become a conversation piece with my visiting photographer friends.
I'm mentioning this because I thought some of your followers might have a similar opportunity in their homes, offices, basements, garages, patios or wherever they have their studio, man-cave/workshop, she-shed, etc. For example, I could see people using metal prints to decorate gym lockers, home appliances, office file cabinets, furniture, etc. The list could go on and on.
Click on the images above to view in the SCU Lightbox.
These are screen grabs from the video, so imagine how sharp the originals must be!
by Skip Cohen
I love this video from Tamron because it's loaded with great tips about shooting handheld. Jake Sloan does a terrific job of advice for capturing better landscape shots. Whether you shoot with Tamron lenses or not, if you're interested in landscape photography, Jake's tips in this short video are going to be so useful.
If you haven't visited Tamron's YouTube channel, it's time to check it out. There are 384 videos, many of them featuring some of the most respected artists in the industry. Plus, they're covering virtually every specialty, sharing good solid ideas on technique to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images.
With the Father's Day countdown underway, and more people traveling this summer and spending time outdoors, now's a great time to visit your Tamron dealer. The 70-180mm F/2.8 lens is a phenomenal piece of glass and it's part of Tamron's very limited time Father's Day promotion, with a $100 rebate. The program ends this Sunday, June 19.
There are eleven different lenses featured on this new promotion with "Instant Savings" from $50 to $200. Just click on the link below to find a Tamron dealer near you.
Smile big, laugh hard and make people happy!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Ever had somebody come into your life, and after the very first meeting, you can't remember when they weren't around? Well, meet a great buddy, Terry Clark.
It started in 2009 when Terry bid on a fund-raiser for a couple of hours of my time to help with marketing his business. I was living in Akron, Ohio, and he was in Pittsburgh. So, rather than do a conference call, Molly the Wonder Dog and I jumped in the car and drove over to hang out with Terry for the day.
That kicked off the friendship, and while we seem to take turns losing touch, each conversation always starts as if we put a comma after what either of us said the last time we talked. Last week was my birthday, and Terry wished me a happy one on Facebook...that started the conversation up again.
He sent me the piece below, and there's so much great content in it, and I asked if it was okay to share. Then I called him yesterday to talk him into being a guest on the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast for June, and here I am with his guest post today. Check out more of Terry's work with a click on the banner above. And if you're anywhere near Boardman, Ohio - Terry's teaching photography classes at YM Camera.
When I think of the most diverse artists I know and respect, Terry's one of the first who comes to mind. He's been a photo editor, photojournalist, portrait artist, educator, and storyteller. And there's a common denominator in all his images. It's his trademark - the emotion each image brings to the viewer.
I look back on our first meeting and remember thinking, "This guy's work is amazing - what does he need me for?" The truth is, we all need a friend like Terry!
by Terry Clark
When you reach a certain age, you're supposed to sit down and "retire." What does that even mean as a photographer?
There came the point in my career, after doing photography for 45 years, I recognized I needed a break. I wasn't interested in actual retirement, just a pause to reflect, take stock in what I had done in life, and plan for the next chapter. So I shifted my priorities to teaching thanks to an opportunity with a local camera shop. Selling out multiple lighting workshops sealed the deal. There was a void, and I could fill it with knowledge gained from decades of experience.
Then the dreaded pandemic hit. As the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. It was a curse and a blessing. Suddenly I had a lot of time to reflect. Unfortunately, I also caught Covid. I recovered, mostly. Long Covid symptoms linger even after two years. So as I have done throughout my career, I now must improvise, adapt, and overcome to live the life I want.
With things mostly back to normal, I'm pursuing my plans while teaching students through the camera shop. And what praytell am I doing? I'm going back to my roots of photojournalism and long-term documentary photography. I'm also going back to shooting film.
Why film, especially at this point? The simple answer is it is part of my history. I spent most of my life working with Tri-X for newspapers and magazines. And it makes me happy.
Using film makes me think. Not just about exposure, but most importantly, about composition and timing. It's too easy to bang away on a digital camera where you have thousands of images available on a single card. A roll of film is 36 exposures. And since I'm using old Nikon cameras, you have to manually advance to each new frame. Timing is crucial to making a great frame.
Sure, there are ways to do the same with digital – tape off the LCD screen, use single frame exposure, and change your mindset. But in the end, you wind up with a file that's merely ones and zeros. There is nothing physical to hold in your hand, only an image in the ether of cyberspace.
I may be old, but I'm not foolish. I maintain a small digital kit for the occasional commercial job and lenses unavailable for my rangefinder film camera. A few weeks ago, I spent a wonderful time photographing eagles with a 150-600mm Tamron lens. The world of professional photography has moved on from film. Twenty-two years ago, I leaped early into the new technology for my business. It was the right move, just as going back to film is for my new chapter.
Another plan was to travel this country, exploring small towns and the great southwest. The current price of gas is forcing a change of that right now. Driving to Michigan from Ohio to visit my brother costs nearly $200 round trip. I know prices will ease at some point, so until that time, short jaunts will suffice. Once they do, we're way past due for that cigar my friend. You can expect a visit!
As my latest t-shirt says, "Young at heart, other parts slightly older." Except for my eyes, they are as sharp as ever. Always remember, smile big, laugh hard, and make people happy. And drink coffee, lots of coffee!
Stay young, my friend!
by Skip Cohen
While this post is really about the countdown to the end of Platypod's Kickstarter campaign, it's also a kick to share Jay P. Morgan's creative talent. Tune into his YouTube channel, The Slanted Lens, and you'll never be disappointed in what he's sharing.
Jay P and I first met back in my Hasselblad days. In the early 90's he was shooting on sound stages and producing photographs that are still some of my most favorite. Well, today, he's one of the industry's leading educators and is regularly sharing great content on his YouTube channel. This new piece for Platypod's eXtreme just aired.
On April 6, many of you joined us on The Grid as Scott Kelby, together with Larry T (founder of Platypod), Lizzy Gadd, and Kris Andres, launched the campaign for the new eXtreme. The response was incredible, and to date, we're coming up on 1400 photographers who have backed the project.
We're down to the last two weeks of the campaign, and eXtreme is already in production. Our first delivery is scheduled to arrive in our warehouse within a few days of the Kickstarter close. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we'll be shipping to our "First Day Giveaway Backers" before the end of May. If you are interested in an eXtreme, there are approximately 600 units not committed for June delivery and more for August. Click the banner above to link to the Kickstarter campaign.
After all backers have been shipped, the eXtreme will launch this summer at $149 retail. It's a great time to save money by backing the campaign for June or August delivery.
A BIG thanks to everyone who's supported the campaign, the KelbyOne team who helped us launch, Lizzy and Kris for never compromising their creativity, and all of you who help make this industry such an amazing career path.
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
by Skip Cohen
It's just a short post today to help kick off the weekend. George Bernard Shaw, gets the credit for sending me in the direction I want to write about.
We're part of a word-of-mouth, creative and artistic community. And while it's driven so much by technology, the control over the creative process and how you choose to work with each client is entirely in your control.
If I look back over the contemporary history of imaging, here are a few of the BAD assumptions people made:
My good buddy, Scott Bourne, had one of the earliest websites (I once heard 106th) in the world at a time when the rest of us all thought it was a passing fad. Scott is a visionary. We never saw the potential of expanded reach, the power of the Internet or the value cyberspace real estate.
Now scale all of that down to everything you have control over today. Too many of you think because you set a specific course, you can't change it! Your success is all about listening to your audience while at the same time never ignoring your heart. Styles change, technology never slows down, and your skillset should continually be growing.
And here's my point - you can do anything you want. You can be shooting weddings and events today and tomorrow decide you'd rather be a portrait artist. So follow your dreams and stop thinking that every path you take is the one you have to stay on forever. Just make sure before you change paths you've got the skills and the understanding to navigate in a new direction. And before you switch - remember why you went in this direction in the first place.
Use the inner circle of your network to think through the changes you need to make in your life and your career. And if you're attending any of the upcoming conventions - take the time to ALWAYS sign up for one workshop/class completely outside your skillset.
Growth only happens outside your comfort zone!
Wishing everybody a terrific weekend ahead! Find the time to look at your journey - it's never to late to change paths if your heart's pulling you in a different direction.
by Skip Cohen
Over my career, I've been involved in so many different projects. Here's one I couldn't be more proud of, and it's part of the reason I've loved this industry so much and for so long.
The inventor, founder, owner and CEO of Platypod is Larry Tiefenbrunn, often called "Dr. T" because he's a full-time pediatrician when not involved in imaging. Fortunately for the industry, his love for photography matches his passion for medicine. From the original Platypod to Platyball, he's never slowed down on creating solutions to help give artists a new perspective.
Well, here comes another new great product:
Circle the Date: Coming up on April 6th on "The Grid" it's the launch of a new Kickstarter program! Joining Scott Kelby will be "Dr. T," and photographers Lizzy Gadd and Kris Andres. They'll be talking about a new member of the family and giving you the first look at a tripod alternative that will give you an entirely new perspective.
And stay tuned for surprises - they'll be giving away a 16x24 Lizzy Gadd limited edition print to one lucky member of the online audience!
Click on the above banner to link to The Grid!
Get to know Lizzy and Kris just a little better and enjoy the video below.
Click on any image below to visit Lizzy's galleries. I've picked a few of my favorites, but it wasn't easy!
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, a program comes along that simply is a must-attend - regardless of your specialty in imaging!
Meet my long-time buddy, Bob Coates. He's no stranger to the industry or, for that matter, the SCU blog. He's got an exciting program coming up all about shooting the night skies. Circle the dates June 26-27 and then figure out how to get over to Sedona! Sponsored by the Arizona Professional Photographers Association, it's guaranteed to be a phenomenal workshop.
Sedona is a Dark Sky Certified Community. That makes it ideal for photographing the night skies. The red rocks don't hurt as a foreground for the Milky Way either!
Photographing the Milky Way is akin to playing a 4-D board game. There are lots of moving parts in play when capturing the night sky. The sun, moon, and Milky Way are all moving. The Galactic Center is the star of the solid Milky Way photograph. But, where will it be? At what time. How will I know in advance where to set up my camera for the best results? Coates will share ideas and concepts that will remove the mystery of the heavenly bodies shoot.
Click on Bob's image above to link to the program page for more details!
by Skip Cohen
Hey Southern California - circle the dates for a great program on January 15 at the Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach. It promises to be an outstanding event, put together and hosted by my good buddy Kevin Gilligan. And if you've followed the SCU blog for even the shortest amount of time, you're probably familiar with Kevin's work as a photographer, artist, educator, and writer. And following the program is a one-week gallery exhibition, well worth your time to check out.
I don't know Tony Di Zinno personally, but I know his reputation, and Hernan and I go back to my old Rangefinder days, as well as images here on the SCU Blog. We've been friends for a whole lot of years.
So, while the pandemic still manages to wreak a little havoc, it's time to get back out here and there, especially for smaller programs like this one. It's perfect for all of you locally, and if I were still living in California, I'd be there that Saturday night!
Just click on the banner above to link to the registration site for more information.
Image copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, an image comes along that's so unique, it simply has to be shared. Don Komarechka is definitely the "Mad Scientist of Photography." He never slows down on pushing the edge of the envelope in creativity and technology. With the image above, he wrote:
Water droplet refraction photography is all about careful lighting and careful alignment. Every element of the photograph is like a puzzle piece that needs to fit perfectly in exactly the right place for the image to be made whole. Gooseneck arms can hold anything - Lumecube lights for illumination and clamps to hold the photographic "ingredients" in place. The flower in the background needs to be in alignment with the droplets and the foreground petals, which can be easily done with subtle and accurate shifts.
This macro contraption is flexible and customizable, and any camera with macro capabilities can get a similar shot. While I generally shoot with fancy mirrorless cameras and expensive lenses, this image was also intended to prove a point: the camera is the least important element to the composition. If you can check of the "macro" box, energy should be focused on the other elements of the image and how to best sculpt it; you're a droplet sculptor first, and photographer second. So many of the skills required to get these images to work have little to do with the camera itself, and more to do with how you stage everything. Platypod is there to make this entire process easier.
Let's take his image one step further - check out this shot of his macro setup. Added to the Gerbera daisy, water, and his smartphone are a Platypod Max and Ultra, 2 Lume Cube 2.0 Waterproof LED lights, 1 Lume Cube Panel Pro, 6 goosenecks, 3 Platypod Mini-Super Clamps, a Benro Ball Head, and a Square Jellyfish Smart Phone Holder! This "mini-studio" took Don no more than an hour to set up.
Looking for a great holiday gifts for the photographer in the family? Don's new book, Macro Photography: The Universe at our Feet is available through B&H. Just click on the book to link to the URL.
The book is stunning, (Don never does anything halfway!) and is one of the finest most extensive resource books on macro photography that's ever been published!
This is one of those books that every photographer should have on his/her shelf, regardless of their specialty.
Looking for other great gift ideas this holiday season? - Platypod's Black Friday Holiday Specials are going on now. Just click on any product below for information on some outstanding packages, including the Max-Macro Bundle Deluxe and even lighting for your Platypod setup.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I'm part of the Platypod team. It's a remarkable company with a terrific product line. So, while this post is in part to let you know about some great Black Friday offers - it's also an opportunity to show what happens when you put our products together with Lume Cube's and the outrageous skillset of artist and educator Rick Friedman.
The challenge was to see what he could do with a bunch of Lume Cube 2.0s, their new RGB Panel Pro, and a few Platypods.
The behind-the-scenes shot above, which includes clamping a light to the bicycle on the right, shows his setup. And the finished portrait is an excellent example of what Platypod and Lume Cube products can help create.
For this image, he was shooting with Tamron's 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens and the Nikon D850.
"It's an unusual choice for a portrait session, but I wanted the compression of a long lens. Rick Friedman
He moved outside late in the day and captured the images below using Tamron's 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD lens.
Click on any of Rick's images to see more of his work! And follow him on Facebook to catch up to where he's traveling and often teaching!
The subject is one of Rick's favorites to work with, Emily McCall, fashion designer and model.
This week Platypod launched the most diverse Black Friday Holiday Specials they've ever done. Just click on any of the products to the right to visit the website. There are some great discounts and FREE shipping within the US on orders of $100 or more.
Check out the accessory line, from the new Mini-Super Clamps to the much-talked-about Platypod Disc. And if you're into Macro photography, the new Max Macro Bundle Deluxe is an instant macro setup - just add your camera! Watch the short video below, and you'll understand why!
Please Note: Update image and information at the bottom of this post!
by Skip Cohen
Kevin Gilligan is no stranger to SCU. As a past Tamron Image Master, artist, writer, and educator, we've shared a lot of great content here at SCU, including his three-part series on how to put together your own exhibition. The bottom line is, he's a good buddy. So when he sent me this image the other day of his daughter, Lana, walking on her board in a California surfing competition, I wanted to share it. (And she won her heat at the time!)
The detail is outstanding, and this is from a screenshot - so, imagine the quality of the original. It's captured with Tamron's SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC lens. Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in imaging optics, and there's very little that beats a Dad on the sidelines photographing one of his kids!
Tamron's has some terrific offers going on right now - just click on the banner below.
I got an update from Kevin after I shared the post above. The event was the 2021 Kick Off Classic Surf Competition. Over 200 boys and girls from South Bay High Schools competed in long board and short board. Despite the tough competition she got 1st place!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Yesterday I shared the image on the right, captured by my good buddy Eddie Tapp. While the image is outstanding, I wanted to use the post to remind you just as much about Eddie's upcoming program as I did IUSA and the importance of being part of the celebration of a return to normalcy in our industry.
Well, there's much more to Eddie's image, and because he never does anything halfway - here's the guest post that's meant to go with these images.
Eddie's a photographer, artist, writer, educator, and a good friend to so many of us in the industry. And understanding a little about drone photography will help you expand your skillset, and who knows where the journey might take you?
by Eddie Tapp
Take composition for instance, the one thing that will make a scene or image easy to look at with leading lines, element structor, rule of odds, light, story telling as in communicating a feeling and demanding that you look at a specific area or thing.
Experience teaches us to just move over this far to get that diagonal element to create excitement, a see though mystery or leading line. In a studio set we can bring in something to create eye flow, set the element structure for a visible feast or establish placements to balance the view.
Now that we include aerial compositions in some of our works which reveal the location or action that brings us to the discipline of low attitude solutions such as drones or moving vehicles.
Drones are not very difficult to fly, as a matter of fact, they are really quite easy to fly especially because of the GPS connection, the fact is that most drones today have obstacle avoidance along with features that allow cool cinematic movements.
What isn’t easy is learning to create the best possible angle or cinematic movements within a compositional mind-set while flying a drone and here are some of the reasons why. A remote control pilot now has to pay close attention to the telemetry such as speed, altitude and then obstacles can take over thinking about composition while flying.
If you were the pilot/image-maker, think about keeping your eye on the composition while flying with the added awareness mentioned and you have new challenges. Or at least it takes time to become proficient at flying before it becomes comfortable for one to get back to mastering composition from the air, then it becomes a second nature and the fun begins.
And if you really want to fly drones for professional use, you must have an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification, this requires a written test to achieve. The website to find out more is faadronezone.faa.gov. The national air space has various classes of air space and safety is the most important aspect of drone operations. There are online study courses such as uavgroundschool.com where you can learn all the important aspects of flying in the national air space along with studying for the Part 107 written test.
It all comes down to vision and this is where our tasks start.
How ever you interpret a vision is something you should set as your objective. Use the best means you have to create and go for it. Just remember the three key elements that create exceptional imagery are light, composition and exposure. When creating your next project from the air, moving vehicle or from land, partner your composition with your light and make sure to keep thinking up.
Eddie Tapp, M.Photog., MEI,Cr., API, CPP
Photoshop Hall of Fame, Certified Drone Pilot, Delkin ImageMaker,Triple Scoop Music, Coloratti - Calibright
This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.
by Skip Cohen
I know I've shared Jodi Picoult's quote easily a dozen times in past posts, but in all honesty, there is no better quote to describe what makes photography so important in our lives. And as most of you are professional photographers, her statement further emphasizes the importance of never compromising the quality of an image. Your clients trust you to capture not only what you see in front of you but also what's in their hearts!
It's hard to believe it's been twelve years since I started blogging. However, it's Throwback Thursday, and fun go back to one of my earlier posts. Digging around my archives, I came across this video interview with Mary Ellen Mark from Profoto's Icon Series. It ran in 2012 and is a video EVERY photographer should be required to watch.
I met Mary Ellen in 1987, back in my Hasselblad days, and even had the honor of presenting her with "Photographer of the Year" at a PMDA dinner in the 90s. Sadly, she passed away in 2015, but her spirit, love for imaging, and influence are still very much alive.
In a podcast I did with her around 2010, I asked her to talk about why she has students shut off their LCD screens in any of her workshops. She talks about this in the video below: When we look at the screen and think we've got the shot, we let go of the scene, when in reality, there might still be more to happen. How do we know we captured the decisive moment if we've accepted what we already have?
For example, many wedding photographers might see a scene, let's say Grandma is giving her granddaughter, the bride, a kiss on the check. The photographer sees the shot, clicks the shutter, might do a quick "chimp," and then moves on. But the best image might still be coming, and the tear rolling down Grandma's cheek was missed. But, had the artist stayed focused on the scene just a few seconds longer, the photograph would have been incredible!
Mary Ellen's website is just a click away, and it's loaded with some of the most outstanding documentary images in photography. She was remarkable and such an amazing influence on artists worldwide, with a passion for the craft that was simply unmatched!
...If you love it and you really want to do it, then you must do it.
Because you'll never forgive yourself for not doing something you care about or believe in,
if you don't do it now.
Mary Ellen Mark
by Skip Cohen
This will probably be the last post in The Road to Seasonality series. I've done my best to cover so many different things you can be doing to help make this year's holiday season one of your most successful. Sadly though, there are still too many of you caught in analysis paralysis, trying to figure out what to do next.
STOP OVERTHINKING! First, you're only one person - even if you have a staff to help support your business, it still comes down to you. Second, you're better off doing something and being only moderately successful rather than being complacent and going into the holiday season without any marketing plans. Last but not least - remember the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
I wrote a post a few weeks back with a similar theme, but let's take it a step further. Here's a check-off list to work from, and it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you maintain a presence with your target audience and do something!
Here's the bottom line - the future of your business is in your hands! I'm not suggesting it's easy, but nothing in life is effortless these days. Just remember that relationship building is your strongest marketing tool. You've got to be out there and shed the chains of analysis paralysis.
It's November 1 - so what are you doing today to help secure business over the next two months?
by Skip Cohen
I'm online virtually all day, every day. Now and then, somebody shares an image that's so stunning it deserves to be seen by more people. Often, I'm not even out in search of an image to share, but this one, especially when it came up full-screen on my monitor, just hit me!
Clay Blackmore is no stranger to SCU, or for that matter, many of you, especially if you're a wedding or portrait photographer. There's nothing Clay can't photograph, but it's his people work I've always loved the most. He shared the image above on Facebook yesterday.
Clay shared the following advice on his SCU faculty page when we first started this blog:
"More than ever, today's photographer needs a strong foundation in posing and lighting, along with a keen sense of business acumen to navigate a path to the better customers. When I was in Japan a few years ago I saw these signs about service that's so appropriate for the way we have to think about the business:
It's hard for me to believe Clay and I have been friends for over thirty years, first meeting after I joined Hasselblad. It's proof that time flies when you're having a good time.
Check out more of Clay's work with a visit to his website and Facebook page. And if you see him scheduled to speak at an upcoming conference or in the Canon booth, run, don't walk to grab a seat!
by Skip Cohen
One of the very best podcasts in imaging is Behind the Shot, hosted by my good buddy Steve Brazill. Steve's no stranger to SCU. We shared one of his favorite images on a past episode of "Why?" and he was also a guest on the Beyond Technique podcast last year.
He's a talented artist, author and he's got one of those stellar easy to listen to voices made for broadcasting. He was also a vital member of the team when we did the F64 Lunch Bunch during the early days of the pandemic. But one of his most outstanding traits in terms of photography is his pure love for everything under the imaging umbrella.
Steve recently tested the new Platyball Ergo and Elite ball heads and released the video below yesterday. If you don't know about the product, he does an outstanding job going through the features, benefits, and the fun of hands-on use in the field. And, let's not forget the job his camera operator did - kudos to Steve's wife, Debbie!
Behind the Shot needs to be on your radar. Steve's always sharing great content and conversations with some of the most respected artists in imaging, as well as his product reviews and information to help you raise the bar on your life as an artist!
As I've written so many times in the past - the best thing about this industry has very little to do with imaging but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, a book comes along that, no matter what your specialty, needs to be on your bookshelf! Well, here's one you need in your collection, and it may well be the finest, most detailed book on macro photography that's ever been published.
Don Komarechka's new book, from the cover right through to the last page, is jam-packed with stunning images, helpful illustrations, and material to help you raise the bar on your macro and closeup work. Even better, it will help you see the world just a little bit differently.
As an artist, educator, writer, and "mad scientist," he's created a 384-page collection of just about everything he's discovered in his passion for macro. This book is a guide to a world we never see, yet it's all around us..."the universe at our feet."
Completed during the pandemic and with all Kickstarter pledges and pre-orders fulfilled, Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet is now available for sale, shipping immediately!
Just trust me on this - you won't be disappointed. The book is stunning and represents an incredible amount of work, knowledge, and everything you need to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images regardless of your specialty!
Click on any image in this post to link to Don's website and the new book!
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.