by Skip Cohen
Now and then, opportunities come along that simply shouldn't be missed, especially with Moose Peterson.
For the next year, Moose has some outstanding workshops coming up - all with small groups, limited attendance, and incredible subjects. From Yellowstone to Texas to Florida and then some, he's going to be teaching - and it doesn't get any better than hands-on with Moose by your side.
Living in Osprey, Florida, which, has an abundance of Ospreys to watch, I love that he's going to focus on these magnificent birds at Blue Cypress Lake...and there's only room for 4-5 shooters! Here's the link, but don't wait too long - this one, like his other workshops, will sell out fast.
Remember, these are all small groups, which gives you time to get to know Moose, boost your skills and develop the kind of camaraderie that lasts a lifetime.
Regardless of your specialty, Moose should be on your radar, especially his blog - you'll never be disappointed.
What a kick!
Images copyright Corey McDonald. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
There's so much you can learn simply by taking a scroll through the notifications that come up on your Facebook page. It's time to meet Corey McDonald. The image above pulled me into the photographs he shared, but the other two were just as remarkable.
I know it was a long time ago, but I was a band nerd, playing the French horn for many years. Back then, nobody did senior portraits the way they do today - everybody got the same shot - guys in jacket and tie, girls in a v-neck black shroud. There was simply no personality shared in any portrait. I would have killed for a portrait like this of me.
And here's my point: you have so much power with every portrait you capture. Boudoir photographers often talk about the power of increased self-esteem a portrait session can create. Senior photographers talk about how they feel knowing they've captured the essence of their subject, especially when they've done a sitting involving their personal interests, usually cars, motorcycles, sports, and animals.
Today's post is about the power of a remarkable portrait of a kid in the band! But it's also about Corey's goal to give each kid his very best. Remember, for a lot of seniors; it's their first interaction with a professional photographer. Do it right and build the relationship, and you'll have a kid like this as a client for the rest of his life!
And to Corey, who I cold-called for permission to share these images posted in Gary Box's Facebook Forum - nicely done. Thanks for allowing me to share three portraits that deserve to be seen by more people. You can check out more of Corey's work with a visit to his website. It's just a click away.
Captured by Lisa Langell
by Skip Cohen
Whether you're an outdoor/wildlife artist or not, there's a lot to learn from Tamron's videos. To start, they're making some of the finest glass in imaging, and their new 50-400 is pretty outstanding - a "next-level ultra-telephoto zoom." But technology is only part of the story. When you visit the product page, Tamron's sharing images from well-respected photographers to help demonstrate the versatility of the lens. I grabbed three of my favorites to share in today's post.
I also like how they share the exposure triad, the focal length, and the gear used. They're not just announcing a new lens but adding an educational element about the image itself.
Now take things a step further and pay attention to how they tell the story of the new lens in the one-minute video below. Forget that it's a lens and take the same storyboard and apply it to how you might tell your own story in a marketing video about who you are and the services you offer.
Regardless of what you shoot with, check out Tamron's YouTube page - it's loaded with great videos and elements to help you raise the bar on your skill set. There are 390 videos currently in the collection, with almost 26,000 subscribers...and it's just a click away.
Captured by Takahiro Bessho
Captured by Masaki Kadono
Intro by Skip Cohen
Over the last few weeks I've shared a number of Seth Resnick's posts. He always manages to get me thinking about something related to imaging, and today's guest post is a perfect example. Posted last week, he talked about Dall-E. Over a million people signed up, just to try it out.
A big thanks to Seth for allowing me to share his thoughts here on the SCU blog. If you don't already follow him on Facebook, he needs to be on your radar. And if you'd like to share your thoughts about this specific post, scroll down his FB page to August 4 and comment.
by Seth Resnick
Yesterday Dall-E became available and there were over 1,000,000 people who signed up to try it. I was not one of them. So for those who don’t yet know, Dall-E is an AI application that can ingest both language and text and create a single image from the stream. I am a big fan of technology and the technology behind this is incredible.
That said it also raises a stream of questions including the very concept of removing the very experience of photographing. The idea of creating an image by writing a text stream is indeed fascinating but at the same time quite scary.
There are an incredible amount of questions and problems I foresee with this type of software that go way beyond the issues of social media. What will happen with violence, racial, sexual or gender issues? Is this the final death to stock images? In fact is this a death to assignment photography? AI is programmed by humans so how this reacts will be in part based on the programming.
It also immediately raises a giant question. Who would own the copyright? One could easily argue that it would be the artist but one could easily argue that it would always be the software company.
While I always welcome new technology, I look at the image chosen today and would never want to give up the experience of being in this sacred place and experiencing this first hand.
by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times before, the fun of this industry is in the friendships. Well, meet Erik Cooper. Erik and I met when I was wearing my Platypod hat. He was a new member of PPA, and at the time, there was a new-member benefit to receive a Platypod.
What started as a purely customer service phone conversation has grown into a great friendship, multiple calls, and finally catching up to each other LIVE at ClickCon last year. Erik is a fashion and portrait photographer, although I doubt there's anything he can't photograph. He's based in Colorado Springs. We're a perfect example of how Facebook is sometimes the mortar that holds so many friendships together, especially during a time of limited conventions and travel - combine social media with a phone and it's easy to stay in touch.
Meanwhile, today's post isn't about Erik but the importance of understanding great lighting. Whenever I hear an artist say, "I'm a natural light specialist," right from the start, I know they're afraid of studio lighting. They've never taken the time to learn lighting and expand their skill set. The truth is, all of us love natural light, and that's what understanding studio lighting is all about - creating stunning photographs with whatever light source you have!
But there's another point to today's post - a reminder of the power of a black and white image, especially in portrait work. Bringing a few black and white images into your portfolio/galleries also shows diversity in your skill set. Learn to see in B&W. It's about your thought process from the beginning and learning to see the highlights and shadows in your mind as you create and capture the portrait.
And for on-location wedding and event photographers, B&W also gives you more creativity in tough situations. For example, one of the early books I co-authored was with Bambi Cantrell. In the book she talked about shooting B&W when you're photographing in "the First Church of Uglyville!" We even did a stunning bridal portrait in the restroom at a hotel. It was shot in B&W, and was stunning, hiding the ugly deep pink tile walls!
A big thanks to Erik for sharing these images with me, and if you'd like to see more of his work, his Instagram page is just a click away.
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and while this might seem a little off the topic, from my perspective, it's right on target. Anybody can market well enough to get their first client - the challenge is getting that client to keep coming back, as well as telling all their friends to check you out.
That boils down to creating images that leave people in awe of your skills. Sure, it's about creating an experience and being fun to work with - but in the end, you have to create images beyond expectations.
I've recently shared a few of Seth Resnick's posts from Facebook because he's writing outstanding content. He's posting information to make you a better artist, regardless of your specialty. I loved this post because it hits one aspect of adding POWER to an image.
I've written a lot about your galleries as past Marketing Monday posts. Every image in your gallery should be a "Wow" photograph. It needs to be so powerful that you'd only need to show that one image to get hired, or have a picture editor want to look at more of your work.
When was the last time you cleaned up your galleries? Is there work there that anybody's Uncle Harry could shoot? Are you sharing too many images and not showing your very best?
Seth needs to be on your radar. He's regularly sharing great information covering a wide variety of topics on his Facebook page. And he's only a click away.
by Seth Resnick
The silhouette from yesterday reminded me of the concept of balancing technical knowledge and aesthetics. There are photographers like the great “god” Jay Maisel who could care less about a lot of technicals and there are photographers who are so technical that they place the technical merits over the aesthetics.
The answer for me is almost like a right brain, left brain combination or rather meshing together both aesthetics and technicals.
All of this comes to mind as I think back to the days of Shadowland and the beginning of Lightroom. I remember some of the lead engineers thinking how to process a raw file and looking at all files as if they were the same only caring about technicals. Along comes my dear friend Greg Gorman and the engineers are blown away that the blacks in some of his images have no detail. They question whether this is correct and Greg explains how he intentionally slammed the blacks. For all the rules it is critical to understand that the first rule is that there are no rules that are always 100%.
Crushing blacks is the process of taking relatively dark areas typically shadow areas and making them even darker by increasing contrast in those areas. It removes any areas of light within those dark areas.
For photographers who grew up with darkrooms we talked about toes and shoulders where the highlights block off to white and the shadows block off to black on a given tonality curve so to speak. The toe would be the bottom part of any curve and the shoulder the top part. I remember discussing with the engineers what we were going to call curves in Lightroom. When we raised Toe, and Shoulder we got "huh" because while some of the engineers knew a ton about programing and pixels they weren’t necessarily photographers.
In fact one camera manufacturer automatically did this intentionally in their processor because it minimized seeing noise in the shadows.
I remember when I worked at the Syracuse Newspapers that we would have to fight like mad with the executive editors when we shot a silhouette because the art department was instructed to airbrush and open up shadows. The idea being quite literally that silhouettes don’t exist because shadows need detail.
Anyhow, my point is silhouettes can make very powerful images and the crushed blacks do not need to be opened up……..
Intro by Skip Cohen
The true power of the Internet, if you know where to look, is getting help when you need it. Last week I shared a Facebook post thanks to Seth Resnick. This morning, while running through my Facebook notifications, I caught this gem, again thanks to Seth.
Seth needs to be on your radar. Click on the portrait below, which he shared with today's post. It will link you to his website. Bookmark his page and then stay on top of his workshop schedule. And if you're not following him on Facebook, here's the link.
A quote on his website clearly describes Seth's passion for education: "Workshops Not PhotoTours." Whether you're interested in some of the most unique adventures around the globe or just boosting your skill set in Lightroom, I can promise you they'll be life-changing!
by Seth Resnick
I received a call from a very intelligent friend and he was desperate because when he opened up Lightroom, he had lost his pictures. Roughly a decade ago I did a video with Michael Reichman called "Where the #%*! Are My Pictures?” https://luminous-landscape.com/where-the-are-my-pictures/
Amazingly or not, I would say that 80% of the inquiries I still receive are people having this same issue. The main reason for this is that people really don’t understand what Lightroom is and that becomes the key to the problem. Lightroom is exactly like your local Public Library. Lightroom is the CARD CATALOG. If you don’t fully understand then read this over and over until you do.
The card catalog has all the information about a book and it might even contain a thumbnail of the cover but there are NO BOOKS in the card catalog. The books are on the shelves on different floors and possibly even at a different branch. Lightroom is the card catalog and it contains all the information ie metadata about the images but it does not contain the images. The images or books if you will are on shelves or hard drives but not in Lightroom.
There are some golden rules to adhere to in order to help eliminate this problem.
1) If you physically move the images outside of Lightroom, LR is going to lose them. Only move images within Lightroom.
2) If you rename the folder where your images are outside of Lightroom, LR is going to lose them. Only rename within Lightroom.
3) If you rename the images outside of Lightroom they will be lost. Only rename in Lightroom.
4) Make sure after you make changes to an image that you save the metadata Command S. If you don’t save the metadata and something happens to your catalog you will lose all the changes.
5) Use a dedicated drive for all of your images and your catalog. If you do this then if all else fails you still know where your images are and where your catalog is.
6) If you can’t find your catalog search for .lrcat
I wrote 5 books on Lightroom so of course there is a lot more info than this but in the end most of the questions I still receive are solved by one of the 5 issues above.
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!
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.