Images copyright Joel Grimes. All rights reserved.
Check out the Westcott U site and find out what all the buzz is about. With great content covering virtually every area of photography, you'll find so much material to help you become a better artist. And, their YouTube channel is chocked full with 371 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.A few weeks ago, we launched "Wednesdays with Westcott!" The response has been terrific and we so appreciate your feedback. Westcott never slows down on helping photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images. They pack a lot of great content into each short video.
Joel Grimes is in the spotlight today, but besides an appreciation for some of the best lighting gear in photography, there's another common denominator between Joel and other artists featured in the "Wednesdays with Westcott" series. Joel, along with Jerry Ghionis and Peter Hurley will be teaching at the newest conference in professional photography, ClickCon on August 5-6. And, Westcott is a partner and exhibitor along with what may well be the most extensive lineup of top-shelf vendors/manufacturers and speakers of any boutique conference this year!
One of the things I appreciate the most with every Westcott video is the way they share information with comparison shots. This allows you not only to understand more of what the featured photographer is sharing but gives you a visual benchmark demonstration. And, put the images together with Joel's ability as an educator, and there's a great lesson or two in every one of his videos - all in under three minutes!
Check out the Westcott U site and find out what all the buzz is about. With great content covering virtually every area of photography, you'll find so much material to help you become a better artist. And, their YouTube channel is chocked full with 371 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
Images copyright Bob Coates. All rights reserved.
Click on any image to visit Bob's NEW fine art site
It's no secret that Bob Coates and I have been good friends for a lot of years...in fact, he's one of my very best friends. The friendship grew out of the respect we share for each of our different skill sets. You've all heard the expression in regards to tennis - if you play with somebody better than you, your game will improve as well. That's the way it is hanging out with Bob, and I'm a better photographer, thanks to things I've learned from him.
Bob is one of the most diverse artists in our industry - he's an artist, educator, and writer with a background in virtually just about every specialty in photography. I'm not sure there isn't anything he hasn't photographed, and he's constantly experimenting and pushing the edge of the creative envelope.
Recently he launched his fine art website, and I wanted to share a few of his images. The French horns above is one of my favorites and proudly hangs in my office next to a picture of my Dad and me. It's perfect because my Dad played trumpet; I played French horn, and we collected antique musical instruments over the years.
Whatever your focus in photography, you've got to spend some time and think about your message. Bob's been gradually moving more and more towards an art-centric business, and I wanted to share his new fine art website, as a great example of another aspect of his business.
Bob's no stranger to SCU, and you'll find a lot of helpful information to build a stronger business and skill set in his past posts. And, check out his new fine art site with a click on any image in this post.
Image copyright Jerry Ghionis. All rights reserved.
Welcome back to "Wednesdays with Westcott," a new SCU series to help you expand your creativity and raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Timing is everything! With a new episode of "Why?" airing last Friday which featured an incredible image by Jerry Ghionis using the lighting gear he designed, the Ice Light, this short video demonstrates another creative application. Jerry's vision behind the product from the beginning was a must-have portable light source that maximized creativity in virtually any imaging situation.
Even though Jerry and I have been friends for close to twenty years, I forgot the creative genius behind the camera and the way he can visualize an image and then go to work capturing what he's imagined.
Looking a lot like Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from Starwars, it's the perfect tool to battle the challenges of boring images and push your creativity beyond the restrictions of conventional lighting and posing. As a professional photographer today you're dealing with stiff competition. It's so important to capture and create images that demonstrate why you're not like other photographers or the work they're presenting.
Thanks to Jerry and Westcott, here's a tool that needs to be with you on every assignment. And, on Westcott's YouTube channel, working together with Jerry they've created a complete series of Ice Light videos, each one loaded with content and a mini-workshop in photographic technique!
There are twelve short videos in the series, all of them utilizing the Ice Light in a different application! Check them out - you won't be disappointed.
May the force be with you!
If you haven't visited the Westcott U website, check it out. It's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And, their YouTube channel is chocked full with 369 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below
Image copyright Lisa Langell. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Time definitely flies when you're having a good time! It's hard for us to believe this is our fifth episode of Tamron Recipes. When Chamira Young and I originally talked about this series, it just seemed like a fun idea to play off of the cooking analogy and introduce you to some great artists using some terrific glass. What we never thought about was just how appropriate it was to put some of the most respected artists in professional photography in the role of being a top "chef." And in turn, how their recipes for success in business, beyond their photographs, would come out in the podcast part of the series.
With every post, we always comment on "the recipe for success." We all know the expression, and there are four primary ingredients:
What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities,
and be a member of a team.
Lisa Langell joins us today in the Tamron Kitchen. Talking to Lisa, it becomes obvious she never does anything halfway. As a contemporary artist, she loves what she's doing and especially the diversity into the fine art world. Like a great chef, she never slows down on creating her very best images with each click of the shutter. She never misses an opportunity to share her work, and she's part of an incredible team, the Tamron family.
About the Image and the 70-210mm /F4 Di VC USD lens: The 70-210 mm lens is one of Lisa's favorites and has enabled her to capture images, especially with hummingbirds that are different than what we usually expect to see with wildlife. Click on the banner below to find out more about this incredible lens.
About "Chef" Lisa: Lisa's had an incredibly diverse career starting in floral design, then psychology. She was a well-respected educational psychologist and International Consultant working in the school sector with a love for photography as a hobby since childhood. In 2010 she started her photography business but didn't go full-time as a career until 2016.
Lisa's also done a lot of research on flash photography with animals, especially birds. Her images aren't just about creating stunning images, but very much focused on the ethics of working with wildlife:
"The ethics of using flash photography with animals and birds is something which I have spent considerable time researching before I comfortably employed these techniques specifically with hummingbirds. I am highly conscientious of being a good steward of our natural world and wanted to understand any impact low power flash photography may have on hummingbirds before engaging in this type of photography. The peer reviewed published literature available, although limited, suggests it does not cause harm."
Stay tuned for Part II of Lisa's Tamron Recipe coming next Tuesday with her podcast. She's an amazing artist focused not only on her subjects but trends in fine art and her business. She's also a big fan of education, and in her hummingbird workshops, for example, every student has their own setup to maximize learning.
Lisa's website is just a click away. And to maximize the viewing of her image above, just give it a click and view it in the SCU LightBox.
We're having a lot of fun with this new series. Things never slow down at Tamron or in the Tamron Kitchen! We've got a new "chef" sharing great content and "recipes" every month. So, stay tuned because there's a lot more coming this year.
If you'd like more information about the remarkable 70-210 mm lens, just click on the banner below. (Note: There's a $200 instant savings on this lens through May 12 from your authorized Tamron dealer!)
Images copyright Cathy Anderson and TPS Photography. All rights reserved.
By Skip Cohen
I started "Why?" to introduce you to the movers and shakers in professional photography. Well, we're just over three years of episodes, and you're about to meet our 118th artist in the series, Cathy Anderson.
Cathy joining me on a new episode is a testimonial to a couple of different things. First, we met for the first time at ShutterFest two weeks ago. She was teaching in the same room just after my class. One of the reasons you should attend every possible workshop and conference is to meet other artists. Second, you always want to be showing your best work. Cathy had two vertical banners outside the room showing nothing but powerful images.
Since I started "Why?" we've talked very little about sports photography or working with high school seniors. While there's nothing, Cathy can't photograph, her passion is clearly in sports and meeting the mindset of her clients. She's part of the team at TPS Photography in North Carolina, and she shares so much insight with these two photographs.
There's another fun aspect to this podcast. Cathy mentions fish not being on her favorite critter list. Well, I can identify with that since I love to scuba dive but get seasick walking by a canned tuna display in the supermarket! Obviously as an adventure photographer there's nothing she won't due to support a client and get the shot, which is another quality I appreciate about her - the client always comes first.
"Why?" usually features just one backstory, but the two images were so different and brought out different skills as well. The top image is a composite, while the soccer image is right out of the can. Cathy grew up on film, and she talks about the importance of getting everything she wants in camera.
Listening to her clients and exceeding their expectations are all part of who Cathy is as an artist and photographer. She doesn't compromise on quality, and that's also a big part of why her relationship is so important with Richmond Pro Lab.
To see more of Cathy's work check out her website and Instagram posts. And, to really appreciate both images in this episode of "Why?", click on them and view them through the SCU Lightbox!
The "Why?" series is brought to you by...
In the same way the Internet has changed the way we share photographs, technology has changed the way we communicate. The power of texting grows more and more every day, and with it your ability as a professional photographer to expand your reach with your target audience!
Check out everything PHOTOTexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales and expand your reach.
Whether you're a pure beginner in the business of photography or a long time veteran, ClickCon is one of the next big conferences coming up in August, and you need to be there. I regularly write about the importance of building your skill set, networking and expanding your understanding of the craft. You need to attend every conference you possibly can. The video below will give you an idea of what it's all about and all in under one minute.
What the video doesn't share is the lineup of speakers; the forty-four vendors who are sponsors, and the timeliness of a midsummer program to help you recharge your battery. Look at the schedule for great conferences, and there's very little on the calendar between now and PPE in NYC in late October.
The ClickCon team made custom banners for each of the speakers at this year's conference. I'm going to be doing three programs, and just to keep attendees focused - a unique follow-up Q&A marketing program online a month after the conference.
How many programs have you attended, taken notes and then never done anything different? It happens to all of us, but a follow-up online get together is going to help you stay focused on marketing and building your business.
My first program is about starting a photography business; the second is about ideas to help photographers better price their products and finally "Midnight Madness" hitting all things under the marketing umbrella.
The list below is only a partial list of speakers with an anticipated sixty on the list for August. Click on any speaker below to link to the speaker page.
It's going to be an exciting conference. Looking forward to seeing you there.
What a kick!
Images copyright Lori Whalen. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Now and then I meet a photographer, see some spectacular work and want to share it. Meet Lori Whalen, a talented artist from Plymouth, MA. As she was showing me some of the images in her portfolio, I loved the lighting on this one and since I don't share a lot of nudes, here's one of Lori's images.
We all know how lighting is the key to every portrait, but with figure studies, it's even more critical. Put a great understanding of lighting together with the elements of composition and black & white, and you've got an excellent example of Lori's skill set. Now, catch up to her for lunch, and you'll also learn about her passion for the craft.
Meeting Lori at lunch with friends yesterday, gives me an excellent sidebar topic to share as well. It's the friendships that keep this industry alive. Sure, technology, creativity, passion for the craft are all necessary ingredients, but what about the "Bobbi Lane Factor?"
Bobbi is like the mortar that holds a whole bunch of bricks together. Just like the three degrees of Kevin Bacon game, you can probably connect a lot of people you know to Bobbi or at the very least somebody who's attended one of her classes. And that's where each of those connections can grow and flourish thanks to the common denominator we all share - a love for the industry!
We're all on a remarkable career path, and it's such a kick to meet new artists, especially when their work is stunning. Check out Lori's galleries with a click on the images in today's post. And while you're there wander into her Fine Art section. The photograph above was where looking at her work started, but from commercial to editorial to fine art, there's so much in her galleries showing a diverse skill set and her passion for the craft!
This is the fourth post in the new SCU "Wednesdays with Westcott" series, and each one has been jam-packed with excellent content to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images. Developing content by some of the finest photographers and educators in professional photography, Westcott never slows down on their goal to make you a better photographer so you can thrive, not just survive!
In the hierarchy of why people hire professional photographers in the portrait/social categories, the top three are brides, babies, and pets. This is based on a survey Kodak did over twenty years ago and I don't believe it's changed at all. In fact, following pets it's my personal assumption that children, family, seniors and boudoir probably follow.
In regards to pets, there are an estimated 180+ million dogs and cats in the US with almost 70% of all households owning pets. That's an incredible number and represents an opportunity for so many of you to expand your business and in turn build additional revenue.
But make no mistake about it, pets deserve the same skill set as people. While they won't be critical over the quality of the portrait, you sure can count on their owners! The image I kicked off this post with is one of my most favorite portraits of Molly the Wonder Dog who died in February. It was captured by Bambi Cantrell and is one of the most cherished portraits I have of Molly. But what if Bambi had just said, "That's good enough," and done a mediocre job?
You owe it to every client to capture and create the finest images. There's no room for shortcuts or compromise on the quality of a portrait. And, to get to the point of truly being a professional artist you need to practice continually.
Looking through Westcott's archives in YouTube I came across this beginner's video about pet photography. It might be 2 1/2 years old, but the tips Brandon from Westcott shares are timeless. There are so many great points in the video to help you capture and create beautiful images that go well beyond just being good enough!
If you haven't visited the Westcott U website, check it out. It's loaded with great content covering virtually every area of photography. And, their YouTube channel is chocked full with 369 videos to help you become the very best photographer you can be. It's all just a click away on the WU logo below.
For more information on the equipment Brandon used in the pet photography video, click on either kit below!
On April 25, Tamron announced "the launch of a new zoom lens, the 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043), for full-frame DSLR cameras." There's a new sheriff in town! The new lens is definitely worth a trip to your Tamron dealer, but there's more behind why I'm posting this.
I love sharing these short product pieces from Tamron for two reasons. Yes, it's an infomercial for a new product, but the content is short, sweet, to the point and worth watching. Here's a new portrait zoom with great diversity and adding to the list of creative tools to help you capture stunning images.
Second, they do a great job of telling the story. I know it's a lens, but think of how you'd tell your story and be just as direct and to the point. In less than two minutes they hit all the highlights, share one great example after another and very definitely plant a seed suggesting it's time to swing by the camera shop.
I also like the way every still image in the video is at a different focal length. I pulled the 35mm, 85mm, and 150mm as examples. Add six more portraits, and they've given you everything you need to know about the lens, and all in the shortest amount of time.
Click the banner on the right for more information about this new lens and the location of the dealer nearest you.
Technology never slows down...what a kick!
Images copyright Bobbi Lane. All rights reserved.
The fun of Facebook is about keeping in touch with good friends, but when they're sharing stunning images, social media gets even better.
Bobbi Lane was teaching in Florida last week and posted several images on her FB page. Well, I pulled four of my favorites to share, because they so deserve being seen by more people. Click on your favorite for an enlarged view in the SCU Lightbox.
Bobbi's considered one of the very best instructors in professional photography and lighting is just one of her passions. Two weeks ago my co-host, Chamira Young and I released a new podcast on "Mind Your Own Business." Bobbi was our guest, and she shared a lot of terrific insight.
Bobbi's best known as a commercial photographer, but in all honesty, there's nothing she can't photograph. If she's teaching at a conference you're heading to, run don't walk to grab a seat. And, if you're looking for some outstanding photo-travel programs, check out Bobbi and Lee's Photo-Adventures with a click on the banner below.
It's Mirrorless Monday and what a kick to share today's post! Here's the backstory which leads right into a sneak peek to some terrific future events!
At the beginning of April, I shared the light painted image above of Ms. Bubble Trailer by Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga. Ms. Bubble Trailer was on a mini-tour in northern California. "She" was just getting started at becoming a personality in photographic education. She's no longer a mechanical object, but the co-star in the story of two passionate artists and educators! She's loaded with personality as well as gear and outdoor metal prints from Bay Photo!
Last week Suzette shared the video below, taking us through the making of the light painted image. Light painting isn't something you'd do for every client, but it's a great addition to your skill set. At a time when competition is fierce, you need a few things up your sleeve to make your work different.
Suzette captured the image with the LUMIX G9 and the 7-14mm lens. Click on either product below for more information.
Suzette has packed a lot of great information into this video. In just fifteen minutes she takes you through a journey in capture and post-processing, light painting from start to the finished image of "Ms. BT" in the California redwoods. She's a remarkable instructor, and the combination of her and Jonny sets the stage for an upcoming series of programs not to be missed.
In September Ms. Bubble Trailer, with a whole lot of help from Suzette and Jonny will be hitting the road for eight weeks, and over 13,000 anticipated miles. They're starting from California and heading to Panasonic in NJ, then down the east coast to Florida and back to California. They'll be teaching every week along the way with great workshops and meetups to help you raise the bar on your images. Plus, you can count on lots of surprises and one opportunity after another for many of you to meet one of the most respected educators in professional photography...oh, and let's not forget about Ms. BT.
Just like "Where's Waldo," we're going to be tracking "Ms. BT" and her "team" with images and updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday starting in September! From gear to technique to great locations stay tuned as Suzette and Jonny bring you some of the very best in creative education and FUN!
Remember the word fun? It's one of those words too often lost in business today. We all get so wrapped up in the stress and challenges of working that we forget to have fun. Well, here's a new spin on creative education with great programming, terrific products and an unmatched passion for teaching!
Stay tuned - the link to all things BT will be right here every day of the tour. What a kick!
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour
Being creative and traveling light, but heavy on good content!
"If you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice."
In theory, the slow season is officially over and with April, business for most photographers starts to ramp up. As I was looking for a quote to share this morning the one above stood out and ties directly back to a couple of threads I was reading in one of the forums as well as two personal conversations with friends over the last few days.
It's a short post this morning, so please stay with me!
All the answers, along with the tools to help you build a stronger business and make 2019 your best year to date, are out there. But if you don't take advantage of them and make a sacrifice to get them, then the road to success becomes more difficult and a piece of your dream, at least in terms of a better business, becomes the sacrifice.
I know there are times when life gets in the way, but when an aspiring pro writes about a conference or workshop, "I wish I could go, but just don't have the time right now," or "I just can't afford it," growth and an opportunity to thrive are on the path to the slaughterhouse!
And there's my point - Nothing beats hands-on education especially at a convention/conference. ShutterFest is the next one up this month, followed by state and regional conventions, workshops like JB Sallee's, Photoshop World, and ClickCon in August. Then there are online programs, blogs to read, YouTube videos to watch and the list goes on and on. And there's new educational material out there all the time, like Tim Kelly's Master Photo Techniques, just recently launched.
If you want to thrive in the year ahead, then you have to invest time and sometimes money. A great skill set isn't just about capturing great images and creating stunning photographs - it's also about marketing, building your brand and continually raising the bar on your reputation. It's about a strong network and staying on top of consumer trends and new ways to present images.
You've got to invest in your future. And, when it comes to money, there's ALWAYS a way to pay for a conference. All it takes is learning one new technique, adding one new friend to your network, or figuring out a new way to market your business and the trip pays for itself!
"If you don't build your dream someone else will hire you to build theirs!"
Come on you guys - you know how to hold focus on your camera. Isn't it time you held focus on your dreams?
In this morning's post about holding focus on your dreams, I mentioned several conferences, workshops and online programs to help you raise the bar on your skill set. Well, a couple of people tracked me down with questions, so I thought it would help to give you the direct links to each one I mentioned in the post, as well as a couple not mentioned. Click on any banner for more information about that specific conference, workshop or online opportunity.
Here's the point, you've got to take advantage of all the educational opportunities you can fit into your schedule; practice as much as possible; build your network, and often concentrate on skills outside your comfort zone.
"Get comfortable with being outside your comfort zone. It's the only way to grow."
The camera sees more than the eye. So why not make use of it?
Over the years I've heard so many of you talk about how photography helped you through a rough chapter in your life. From divorces to death of a loved one to failed businesses, health issues and depression friends have talked about how immersing themselves in photography has helped them stay focused on their values and find balance in their lives.
"Balance" has to be one of the most abused words in business or for that matter life. We all talk about the importance of balance as if it was a juggling act that could be learned with practice over time. Well, it's so much more - we're challenged every day to make choices and with each option comes a focus on our priorities. While often our brains know precisely the path we need to take, our hearts often go in another direction.
The image above is a perfect example. While business is excellent and the new blog is getting a lot of nice comments, my heart has been elsewhere. Yesterday, while outside I spotted the spider above. My initial instinct was to knock down the web, step on the thing and treat it like any bug we see around the house. But here's where photography became therapeutic.
Looking closer I was drawn to the red spikes on her back. That led to Google and looking up "Florida Spiders." Wandering a little further through cyberspace I learned it was a spineybacked orb weaver, and because they eat bugs that damage house plants and crops, it's a beneficial spider.
Keep in mind the spider above is at best 3/8 of an inch across, the size of a child's fingernail. So, out came the 30mm macro lens and the LUMIX GX85. I switched to manual focus and was able to get within a few inches of her. Again, thanks to Google, the lighter color and bright spikes mean the spider's a female.
But capturing the image was only the first part of getting my mind to focus on something other than the rut I was in. The next step came with wanting to share the image. I don't profess to be a professional photographer. My primary focus is helping you with the business and marketing side of photography, but having been around so many artists for so many years, I know more than I let on and I'll match my passion with anybody.
So, I decided to share it in several Facebook forums, and the response has been terrific. Each comment and "like" added to the fun of knowing I got the shot. And, in turn, it helped me out of the rut I was in.
It's one of the few times, I've taken my own advice from so many past blog posts and used my camera for the fun of capturing a little of the world around me. I didn't set out to do anything with the camera except relax and chill.
Meanwhile, my little buddy has expanded her web and is fast becoming a daily project for me. I'm going to wind up moving her, but the web, in just 24 hours has expanded to cover a 3-4 foot area for the core pictured on the right. It extends 4-6 feet beyond that for the anchors to the top of the pool cage and a hibiscus plant below.
And there it is - my whole point and along with Edward Weston's quote above - the camera truly does see more than the eye.
Recognize those times when you need to step away from working and recharge your battery.
“To me, photography is an art of observation.
It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…
I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see
and everything to do with the way you see them.”
"May your day feel as good as taking a perfect selfie on the fist try!"
I guess I'm finally back to a level of normalcy for a Sunday morning. It's early; Sheila's still asleep, and I'm typing away and certainly off the usual topics of business and marketing in photography. However, I started the day with the perfect "gift" from good friend Suzette Allen - six selfies from their visit here last week. Well, if you know Suzette and Jonny, you'll know that between the two of them they've made selfies into a pure art form.
As I was writing the most recent Fast Food Friday, which I didn't get published until Saturday morning, I wanted to include a photo of the four of us. Suzette and Jonny spent a couple of days with us at the end of last week, and I knew they'd taken a lot of selfies. I fired off a quick IM, and when I didn't hear back, I grabbed one from a past visit with them for the post. She finally caught up to her FB mail, and this morning I woke up to six selfies from a few days ago.
Photography is about capturing memories, and that puts selfies at the very top of the list of classic techniques. Even more important, they need to be in your skill set. Suzette and Jonny are masters of the craft and while here last week they captured one classic moment after another.
And that brings me right to my point this morning:
I remember my Dad's first 35mm camera, an Agfa rangefinder my Uncle got him while in Europe. It wasn't an SLR, but it had all the manual controls, and he bought a light meter to get the right settings for great exposures. Over the next ten years there were thousands of slides shot and often painfully watched as Dad presented every image on a pop-up screen after taking hours to put them into slide holders in each cartridge. Years later I remember Hasselblad's Ernst Wildi telling me the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer..."Amateurs show you ALL of the images!"
Dad's favorite feature was a mechanical self-timer built into the controls. Dad never bought a tripod because it would have been one more thing to carry - instead, tables, chairs, car roofs - any flat surface became home to his camera for 10 seconds allowing him to be with his family in shot after shot over the years. It was a technical marvel to suddenly have Dad in some of our memory-making moments.
Well, technology has come a long way from mechanical timers, and the quality of cell phone images gives us all a chance to capture more of the story of those special moments in our lives with minimal production. But most of us don't grab them often enough, and with Sheila and me they're rare. Stay with me, because there's a lesson here! LOL
Take the time to develop your selfie-skills. Capture those moments destined to become great memories so you can appreciate and savor them later on. Suzette and Jonny's visit is a perfect example. While I've got all kinds of images of birds, boats, sunsets and a couple of them during their visit, I don't have one shot of the four of us. Not one memory-making image of four good friends hanging out, laughing and appreciating a level of quality time we all talk about, but rarely get.
Suzette and Jonny's selfies are a wonderful reminder of friendship and the passion we share for far more than just the craft! Unlike the millions of selfies that more often are short for "self-centered," these tell stories about great friendships!
I wish all of you an outstanding Sunday, and time with friends and family who need to be in your selfies. Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs and now and then grab a storytelling selfie. Remember today's selfies are going to be tomorrow's memories.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world from Florida!
One of my favorite cameras to travel with is the little LUMIX GX85. It's often sold in a kit configuration and comes with a 12-32mm LUMIX G Vario lens. It's the perfect travel camera weighing only a pound and having most of the features that's made Panasonic's LUMIX line so legendary.
Most of you know, I don't make my living as a working pro because my passion is helping you with the marketing and business side of photography, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate quality in my gear. And, like many of you, I've always been a little skeptical about the quality of kit lenses.
The GX85 went everywhere with us in Los Angeles last week, and I'll be sharing more images in future posts. But, if you're looking for an ideal camera for travel, family time or just having at your fingertips, this is it. And, because of it's ability to use interchangeable lenses, the GX85 can use 27 different LUMIX lenses.
Click on any image to find out more about the GX85. You should never be without a camera, and while cell phones keep getting better and better, they can't do what a good camera can!
The two images above were shot at 32mm on the zoom at f5.6 @ 1/100 ISO 200. They're straight "out of the can."
While it's hardly a scientific test, I put it through my own "taste" test at a Farmer's Market last Sunday - nothing fancy, just handheld at some of the various stands. I post-processed in Luminar with only a minor tweak using one of the presets for mild image enhancement. Then I zoomed in to 100% and then 200% enlargement on the Luminar desktop. Remember, these are screenshots and not even close to the original file size.
And one final sidebar footnote. I'd forgotten one of the best benefits from the days when I lived in California - the fruit is ALWAYS fresh! Now living on the east coast, at best berries only last a few days before they start to get moldy, but the berries above were probably picked less than 48 hours before appearing at the market! The market was their first stop direct from the farm. Everything is fresh!
Sheila and I pretty much ate our way from one end of the market to the other!
It's not Throwback Thursday, but some dates come up in our lives when we do a flashback to other times, loved ones who have passed and great memories. Well, today is my mother's birthday, and even though she passed away several years ago, it doesn't change the fun of looking at old photographs, especially when they're hand-colored!
While I've shared a couple of these before, it's still a kick to look at them and be reminded of the incredible career field we've all chosen. As I've written numerous times, except for modern medicine, no industry has given the world more than photography. You guys are the real magicians of the world, stopping time and giving your clients intangible memories they can physically hold and enjoy for a lifetime.
So, to Mom, Happy Birthday! Alzheimer's took you from us too early, but it never took away the loving memories, the laughs or the stories we're still sharing and cherishing! And to all of you, when you hit those special dates that remind you of something in your past, take the time to find some of those old photographs. They'll help remind you of how much your clients, family, and friends appreciate and need your skill set as a photographer!
A big thanks to Bambi Cantrell for the images she captured in 2008 of my folks. It was early on in my mother's battle with Alzheimer's, but through the fight, that never slowed down her beauty or the wonderful outlook she had on life.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Since launching in 2016, we've shared thousands of posts here on the SCU blog, with information on virtually every type of idea to help you build a stronger business. Well, as we get more into 2019, we're going to be sharing more technique posts to help you not only develop a stronger and more successful business but raise the bar on your skill set.
I love this post we're sharing today, thanks to Suzette Allen. While it might seem like a lesson in outdoor landscape photography, learning to work with slow shutter speeds is a skill applicable to so many different images you capture, including photographing a wedding and children playing, to name a couple.
Roday is "Mirrorless Monday," and Suzette is out with with a LUMIX G9 and two different lenses. More information about each one is linked in the thumbnails below.
Suzette has several different blogs, all filled with great content on technique, new ideas and often providing inspiration and insight into her passion for the craft, people and life. She's just a click away. Then, follow her and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. In fact, she'll be with me and several of the other LUMIX Ambassadors at WPPI in the Panasonic booth #934 February 27-29. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
by Suzette Allen
There’s something magical about the silky softness of a waterfall, shot with a slow shutter speed! While it’s very easy to do once you know how and have the right equipment, it seems just like pure magic before you master it! In this blog, you will learn how to capture water flow with a silky soft look, whether it be a grand waterfall like Havasu or a babbling brook down the road from you.
One thing that is necessary is a tripod, or at the very least, set your camera on a rock or log or something very stationary. Camera movement will destroy this effect in a fraction of a hot second!
In the examples here I’m using a Mirrorless Micro 4/3 camera- the Lumix G9 and either the 7-14mm lens above or the 8-18mm lens. I have my camera on a MeFoto Backpacker tripod which is light and easy to hike with, so it was my companion for the 57 miles we hiked in 7 days in the Grand Canyon on this trip!
Note: There were times I used it as a walking stick as well, when we walked the Narrows in freezing cold water in Zion National Park too! But next time I won’t do that—I’ll tell you why (and show images) in a different blog!.
Anyway, the trick to getting a soft silky water look is shooting in manual mode and using a slow shutter speed. Typically, you are shooting in the daytime, and hopefully in shade (or you will NEED neutral density filters), and you want to shoot with the shutter speed at 1/8 of a second or slower if possible. It was relatively soft light, but at ISO 200, which is the lowest my camera goes, and the aperture at F22, the highest f-s top it offers, the slowest I could go was in the range of 1/5 to 1/8 of a second. Otherwise my image was overexposed.
It usually requires a bit of experimenting with a DSLR because you cannot see the effect or the exposure through the view finder and you need to shoot and adjust and re-shoot and adjust a few times until you get the right combination. Even if you use a meter, there is some experimentation or at least bracketing.
What I love about the Mirrorless Lumix is the EVF, or Electronic View Finder, which shows you exactly what your exposure looks like AND the effect of a slow shutter speed! [Be sure to turn on the Constant Preview feature to see that]. My camera is ON Constant Preview all the time and I literally cannot live without it.
The other benefit is the Zebras feature, which shows any part of the image that is overexposed with little black zebra stripes, alerting you to the overexposure BEFORE you take the shot! Take a look at this short video taken of Havasu Falls, where I show how I can confidently get a great exposure without any blown-out pixels (or needing to bracket or use a meter).
This feature is also turned on ALL the time on my camera and is an invaluable tool for getting great exposures all the time.
Turning on Constant Preview on the Lumix G9
Menu>Custom Wrench>Monitor&Display>Page4, bottom item: Constant Preview
turn to ON
Setting the Zebras on the Lumix G9
Menu>Custom Wrench>Monitor&Display>Page5, almost bottom item: Zebras
Choose SET and then choose [Zebra2 100%] and then turn it ON. Hit the center Set button on the camera back to be sure it is turned ON.
A few notes about this technique.
Image copyright Jonathan Thorpe. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
The word recipe is used over and again in so many conversations and often beyond food. We've all heard it in reference to business models and especially "the recipe for success."
What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients:
chose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team.
Welcome back to Tamron Recipes! This is our second in the series, and we're sharing the ingredients for great photography, and combining imaging with success by one of the finest "chefs" in the industry.
Jonathan Thorpe joins us, and he lives by the quote above from Ben Fairless: Jonathan loves the career path he's chosen. He never compromises on anything but the best, and his creativity never slows down, capturing images that always tell a story. And, without question, he's part of a remarkable team, the Tamron family.
About the Image and the SP 45mm lens: The image was created/captured in the local backyard of a friend's home. On the upcoming podcast, you'll hear Jonathan refer to the SP 45mm as one of his favorite "go to" lenses.
About "Chef" Jonathan: Getting to know Jonathan started with the Tamron Image Masters many years ago. There’s always more to his images than just a great photograph – he’s the ultimate storyteller, often sharing images that leave us looking into them, not just at them. He's a commercial and advertising photographer out of the D.C. area, but I'm not sure there's anything he can't photograph, and always with the passion that's become his signature.
Jonathan never slows down in making photography "fun," both from the capture side as well as viewing. "Fun" is one of those words so often lost in business today, but he never disappoints. His tagline of a photographer, director, gentlemen says it all.
There's a lot of Jonathan's work in the SCU archives. He needs to be on your radar. Just click on his image above to visit his website. And, you'll often find him speaking in the Tamron USA booth at the various conventions!
On my bucket list of things to do in photography is someday being a crew member on one of Jonathan's shoots. His ability to tell a story isn't always limited to the final image. He's a team player and I loved this shot of the whole crew when it was all over!
Assistant: Erich Morse
Monster: Helen Bloom
Additional Makeup: Joan Jones
Costume: FXCA Studios
Location Owner: Brad Masters
Stay tuned - there's a lot more coming this year from the "Tamron Kitchen." And, if you'd like more information about this remarkable new lens, just click on the banner below.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Over the years I've heard so many ugly stories from photographers about lost images. In the "old days" it was lost rolls of film, often the photographer's fault, but when breaking the news to the client, it was always blamed on a mistake at the lab! LOL Then there are those gut-wrenching moments when your computer crashes and you weren't backing things up the way you should have been. Today, it's a lot tougher to shift the blame to anybody beyond the face in the mirror!
I've written a lot over the years about having backup gear and a backup for yourself should a family emergency, or health issues prevent you from an assignment, but we've never talked about the best ways to back up your images and data on your computer.
Thanks to a good buddy of so many of us, Dave Doeppel, offered to share a guest post. And, while some of it is a little over my head, I have a deep appreciation and respect for the process. But I'm not the one whose entire business is built on a foundation of client images and thousands of photographs!
It's not that complicated a process, but sadly too many of you treat it as if it's something you'll take care of tomorrow. Well, "mañana" isn't a skill set. Sure it would be great if there was a button you could push and you'd be protected, but to Dave's point at the end of his post - whatever you do, make it automated. If you need to rely on doing something manually to get files backed up, chances are it won’t happen. Protect yourself and never lose your data.
Dave needs to be on your radar. Just a click on his headshot, and you're there!
I talk about this a lot. At least once a week I hear a horror story about a photographer who has lost critical images. Then I discover they have no backups, or they thought they had backups but couldn’t find the missing files. I will only add that as a photographer, you do have one possibility for losing files that probably cannot be avoided, complete destruction of your camera with the cards still in the slot. Beyond that there are so many ways of protecting your images.
First off, and this is been a sore point for the latest mirrorless options, Dual Card Slots. Barring internal camera malfunction, this gives you an immediate secondary backup of your shoot. That at least gives you two copies of your images. It’s just the beginning.
Those images need to go somewhere. Where? That’s the question. Here is where many photographer’s and other creatives start having problems. Obviously the images need to be transferred to a local hard drive. There are many many options here. RAID, NAS, DAS, Simple external drives, SSD etc. Many think that if they store images on a RAID or other system they are backed up because a RAID has redundancy built in. There are different flavors of RAID and some will survive a hard drive failure and some (i.e. RAID 0) will not. You also have a single point of failure in the drive enclosure itself. If you lose a RAID enclosure, you lose access to the data until it is either repaired or replaced. You cannot take those drives and access them in any other system. So no you are not backed up just because you are using a RAID.
Your images are also just one singular piece of what should be included in your backup strategy. Your operating system, applications and any other data you have should also be backed up. So what is a good strategy for backing up your systems? Dropbox? Smugmug? Google Drive? Backblaze? These all can work to some degree but let’s go back to the basics here.
A solid backup strategy is something called a 3-2-1. 3 copies of all your data, 2 copies are local and on different media if possible, 1 copy offsite either in the cloud or another physical location. There are many ways to accomplish this. Another factor of backups is that backup media is rotated in and out. In the IT world we call this Grandfather-Father-Son. It is a common rotation scheme for backup media, in which there are three or more backup cycles, such as daily, weekly and monthly. The daily backups are rotated on a daily basis using a First In First Out system. The weekly backups are similarly rotated on a weekly basis, and the monthly backup on a monthly basis. In addition, quarterly, half-yearly, and/or annual backups could also be separately retained. Often some of these backups are removed from the site for safekeeping and disaster recovery purposes.
There is a huge difference in using a Synchronization/Collaboration service like Dropbox or Google Drive when you compare it to running an actual backup program. Both Mac and Microsoft do have some built in backup functionality, Apple has Time Machine and Microsoft has File History. Both create running backups with versioning. Not quite the same as a GFS backup scheme but not terrible. There are many options for backup software. On the Mac side I prefer to use Chronosync. For PC’s Acronis is one of the top backup software providers.
So now you have 2 copies running locally, your primary working data and a backup. That just leaves offsite. If you have decent unmetered internet bandwidth a cloud backup is great. Something like Backblaze. If not then your best option is just to add in additional hard drives to your backup scheme and store them offsite. Some will use a relative's home or a safe deposit box.
The last thing I will add is whatever you do, make it automated. If you need to rely on doing something manually to get files backed up, chances are it won’t happen. Protect yourself and never lose your data. Whether it is images for a client or your own precious family photos, backup your files today!!!!!
About Dave Doeppel - Dave is an award-winning Professional Photographer who specializes in Pinup and Boudoir. Back in the 70s, he developed an unwavering passion for photography as he was rolling and developing 35mm film. He hasn’t looked back ever since.
Throughout his creative career, Dave has helped countless fellow photographers hone their craft. He has also served as a speaker at numerous National Photo Conferences, including but not limited to WPPI, Shutterfest and Imaging U.S.A. Today, Dave is on a mission to educate emerging photographers on the ins and outs of the art of photography and the technology they need to be successful.
Where's Dave? Upcoming Events
ClickCon was AMAZING!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry last week. Great speakers, a busy trade show and 1300 attendees loaded with a passion to learn and grow. Put the show on your radar so you know the dates for 2020 when they're announced!
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.