by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm definitely not in my usual mode of being off the topic of photography.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives and not for the better. But it's also created some unique leadership opportunities in creativity and support to your clients and community. I know it's been an ugly year for virtually every business, but I also know there are ideas out there to help you get back on track and jumpstart your business.
ClickCon Nation kicks off today with an all-star cast, but more important than the educators/speakers is the timing and the topics. For example, I'm doing a program at 10:15 CST called "My Business Has Disappeared, Now What?" In one hour, I'm going to pack in 2-3 hours of material - one after another of things photographers can be doing RIGHT NOW to capture the seasonality in business.
And check out the company I'm with below.
The program is FREE - all you have to do is download the ClickCon Nation app, and you're in. I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but there are too many of you who have been crying the blues over the decline in business and not doing anything about it.
Remember that line of "God helps those who help themselves?" Well, regardless of what you believe spiritually, there's so much help in this industry. But you've got to make the first move - open your mind and join us!
Wishing everybody a day filled with ideas and opportunities to be a leader in creativity and business. The year isn't over yet. As I've written so many times in the last nine months - hunkering down is about your health - NOT about your business.
Image copyright Daniel Venter. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
We're all spending more time in Cyberspace than ever before, especially on Facebook. I spotted this image while scrolling through posts this morning. Daniel Venter is no stranger to SCU, and I love the power of this image. A high-key winter scene, it's a perfect example of one of Daniel's signature techniques, playing with the depth of field, not to mention the way he's created the image overall.
For those of you who get defensive when I share a manipulated image, Daniel has it posted as an offering for his educational sessions. Whether you're interested in what he has to share or not doesn't matter - this is about creating stunning images that would exceed client expectations and help make an artist habit-forming!
And yes, I did contact Daniel for permission to share in a post. Remember, even though somebody shares an image in a public space, and technically you don't have to ask, as members of the industry, we all should follow through with the original artist when showing somebody else's work.
by Skip Cohen
With so much content available online, while it's easy to keep up with what other artists are doing, it's challenging to find the very best quality content. Well, check out "LUMIX Stories." It's Panasonic's LUMIX Ambassador's page, and it's loaded with great stories and images from artists all over the world.
There are stories from 36 different artists currently on the site, with each thumbnail taking you to a different topic or destination.
Shooting with a G9 and loving it as I do, I clicked on my good friend Suzette Allen's story and loved what I found. Click on the banner below and join Suzette on a journey of great images and tips to help you build an even stronger skill set.
For more information on the remarkable G9 and all its features, click on the thumbnail to the right.
Check out Suzette Allen's website, her blogs and YouTube channel. There are 425 videos on her channel with an incredible range of topics. She's always sharing outstanding content, and ways to expand your skill set.
Each image includes the camera used along with the lens and exposure triad. There's so much good content featured in this series.
by Skip Cohen
One of the all-time top forbidden topics in most blogs is politics. In fact, everyone has been caught in conversations where we wish politics hadn't come up.
Well, I'm taking a chance with this blog post, but I'm counting on you not to agree or disagree, but pay attention to the technique, style, storytelling ability, and quality of the trailer for this full-length film.
It's all been the work of LUMIX Ambassador, Jordan Bunch, and I couldn't be more proud to consider him a buddy. Here's the backstory Jordan sent me after I asked about his role in this:
I was hired by the campaign to come along and make social media videos for 2.5 weeks. I rode on the bus with Dr. Jorgensen and four others for that time making two videos/day for social media. Then I asked to come back on my own and use what I did as well as one more week of footage to make a documentary that I would fund myself, but that I would maintain full ownership of. So that's what this is.
Now, take it all one step further. Because of Covid-19, he shot it all solo, not something he'd normally do. But, as we've all dealt with the challenges of downtime during the last eight months, had Jordan's wedding business not been suffering, he might not have had the time to make the film! Plus, all the editing was done in ten days.
The film trailer is below, and again, please watch it for the creative value and technique, NOT whether you agree or disagree with the topics being shared. And if you decide you want to watch the full film click on the poster above.
The film was shot with the new full-frame S1H. Jordan had two of them along with plenty of S1 Pro-glass - the LUMIX PRO 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 24-105mm. Click on any of the thumbnails below to check out these three outstanding lenses.
You'll find more information about Jordan Bunch with the rest of the LUMIX Ambassadors on the team page on Panasonic's website. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo. All the ambassadors should be on your radar. Plus, see more of Jordan's images in on his website at Ladybird Studios.
And don't miss out on great images being shared from LUMIX artists all over the world on the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page. There's new content being shared by close to 11,000 members regularly!
by Skip Cohen
I first met Jennifer and Charles Maring back in my early WPPI days, so we've been friends for close to twenty years. I've always admired how they work to exceed client expectations and never compromise on the quality of an image.
Jennifer's shooting with the LUMIX S1and LUMIX S 24-105 f/4 lens, plus a Profoto B10, but just as impressive as the gear and her results is the way she's working with the client. It's a senior portrait shoot, and you'll notice Jennifer's making it an experience, not just a sitting.
The short BTS video below is described as:
Chase your curiosities, because when you do that, curiosity turns to interest, interest turns into passion, and suddenly you find yourself living your dream... That's where the real magic happens. This week we have been behind the camera creating summer portraits on the Lumix S1 with the Lumix 24-105 f/4 and a Profoto B10. Join photographer Jennifer Maring BTS as she creates senior portraits outdoors at a client / friends home. A well rounded session that includes natural light, a touch of fill when it counts, and over the top flash do bring more drama to the skies. Video filmed on the Lumix G100 Vlogging Camera.
Jennifer talks in the video about "when the magic happens," not just for the client, but the photographer. There's that unique point where your passion, the craft, and business align, and the beauty of your skill set comes shining through.
Both Jennifer and Charles Maring are LUMIX Ambassadors. Follow them along with the LUMIX Ambassador team. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar. Plus, see more Jennifer and Charles' images with their portfolio on on their website, at MaringVisuals.com.
Looking for information about the new full-frame LUMIX S1? Just click on the thumbnail below, along with the 24-105 f/4 lens. The video was filmed by Charles with the NEW LUMIX G100 - just a click away. Panasonic never slows down in helping photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images!
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, a project comes along that just makes me smile. Meet the new Platypod Ultra Twin Pack. The short (under 2-minute video) is below, but here's the backstory.
One of the changes in our lives with the pandemic is the amount of time we're all spending in meetings online. Plus, for many occupations, there's a need for additional camera coverage, accessories and lighting. So, Platypod put together a twin pack at a great price with the components needed most.
But the fun of a project like this is working with Jay P. Morgan, whose creative skills have no limits! The finished video is below, and the product is officially being released today. You can check out more of Jay P.'s material on his YouTube channel, The Slanted Lens.
Whether you use a Platypod or not, I can promise you a few chuckles as you watch the video. From the boardroom to education to demonstrating various tasks, there's no limit to how Platypod can help give you a better perspective.
The new Ultra Twin Pack is ideal for setting up multiple cameras, lights and accessories. We've designed it for online education, the boardroom, industrial applications, vlogging and music videos - any place you need more than one angle of coverage.
The twin pack includes two Platypod Ultra mounting plates, two Platypod silicon rubber pads, two 3" spigot adapter 3/8"f to 1/4"f, and two 1/4" to 1/4" crossnut adapters.
Click on the twin pack components for more info.
by Skip Cohen
The pandemic has changed just about everything in business today, especially in imaging. But it's also opened up some new revenue streams, thanks to technology (Bay Photo), and new products.
I just recently hung the two 30x30 Performance EXT Metal prints outside on the back of the house. The other print had been out in the bright sun and rain for three years, and while it might have shown fading under the microscope, to the naked eye, it was still stunning. (Note: It's been recently replaced. It survived everything but the power wash guy who not only knocked it off the wall, but later rolled over it with his equipment.) The two additional prints, captured by Jonny Yoshinaga with a drone when he and Suzette Allen were here last year, are special reminders of a great friendship.
Performance EXT Metal is specially engineered for extended life in the elements! Perfect for use as outdoor art, photography, signage, and display, Performance EXT Metal will last 2-3 years in direct sunlight without noticeable fading.
Think about your client base and how many people would appreciate prints outside their home. Everyone is hunkered down with limited travel but maximum time at home - looking at the same walls! Now take the concept of photographs outdoors one step further - how many restaurants have outdoor seating, but nothing on display?
There's an entirely new revenue stream waiting to be tapped into. In each of your communities, you've got subjects to feature in photographs, whether it's scenes around the community, the restaurant's favorite dishes, or the staff - the list goes on and on. And, we're entering the seasonality of the fourth quarter. The need for creativity in gift-giving this year is going to be at an all time high.
by Skip Cohen
"Mirrorless Monday" went right on by as Labor Day, but who cares? It's Tuesday, and this short piece by my buddy and member of the LUMIX team, Mark Toal, is too much fun not to share on any day of the week.
We're all dealing with downtime, and even though business is starting to open up a little, being a photographer and artist is still a challenge. Time lapse is a whole new adventure, and if you think about things you're doing around the house, family time, etc. there are so many opportunities to have fun capturing a variety of events.
I'm also convinced that it's a great way to do your own video holiday card this year. Better yet, offer it as a product to your clients. It's not a new concept to any of us, but just like canvas prints - it's new to most of your clients, and something they'd get excited about!
Mark's description of how he captured refinishing his deck is below. There was one accessory to the capture that I couldn't be more proud to talk about, the link to the complete Platypod ecosystem.
Platypod products offer unlimited combinations of creative tools. They form an ecosystem of inspiration for photographers in macro, architecture, landscape, hiking, and traveling situations where tripods dare not go.
A big thanks to Mark for sharing one of his time-lapse adventures. Here's the link to Mark's website and blog. He's always sharing great content.
And take the time to get to know the LUMIX Ambassador team too. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar. Looking for more great content? Check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page - there are always great conversations and images shared by LUMIX artists from around the world.
By Mark Toal
I've recently been refinishing the deck on my house and wanted to record the final step of staining the newly sanded wood.
I needed a way to set up the camera without a tripod since I didn't have space for one. I used a bungee cord to secure the Platypod to the deck railing, set my Lumix G9 with the 7-14mm lens to Time Lapse mode and shot a photo every 5 seconds until I was finished.
The camera created the video internally. I then used WiFi to transfer the video to my phone and uploaded it to Facebook and my Vimeo.com account.
Panasonic's tagline from the start of the LUMIX family has been "Changing Photography." Well, they've stayed true to that goal. I've been shooting with the G9 for over a year and love this camera. For more information, click on either of the thumbnails below.
by Skip Cohen
Lately, it seems like every post I write starts out referencing something different in our lives because of the pandemic. Like you, I'm taking a look in the rearview mirror more often than in the past, and it's become part of my daily routine.
I miss the total freedom all of us took for granted. I miss friends, planning for the next convention, and thinking about where Sheila and I might go for a long weekend. Everything has changed, but here's a good thing I'm learning to appreciate, my photographs.
I'm spending more time looking at past files and immensely enjoying Skylum's Luminar. They do not pay me, and I'm not an active affiliate, but I appreciate the simplicity of understanding how to adjust an image and make it a little better.
I also enjoy getting to know the various filters as I adjust an image to my taste. And for those of you who want to criticize what I did in the above photo, remember, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder," and in this case, I'm my own client, and the checkbook holder.
In May of 2019, Sheila and I spent ten days in New Mexico and fell in love with so many different areas. We started in Albuquerque, then drove to Santa Fe and finished in Taos, making stops all along the way. One of the most interesting and poignant was Taos Pueblo. Acting like total tourists, we took the reservation tour, at that time still inhabited by a half dozen full-time residents.
There's a story behind the graveyard and church above:
From Craig K. Gowens page on Flickr in 2009
The original San Geronimo Church was built in 1619 when the Spanish settled the area and began forcibly converting the Tiwa people of the Taos Pueblo to Christianity. The Church was destroyed in the 1680 revolt that drove the Spanish from New Mexico, but rebuilt after their return a decade later. The second destruction of the church occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army in 1847.
During the American military occupation, the native Americans again made a bid for their own freedom, rejecting the authority of the new American territorial governor of New Mexico, Charles Bent, assassinating him in his home in Taos. The U.S. Army retaliated against the Taos Pueblo as one of the leaders of the revolt was a Tiwa native. Hundreds of Tiwa, mostly women and children, had taken refuge in the church during the attack and were killed when the Army bombarded the church with artillery. The bell tower of the church has been restored and serves as a remainder of lives lost in the attack.
One of the features I enjoy most with Luminar is my ability to see the before and after as I'm working on an image. I grabbed a screenshot of one small section of the picture. That bar down the middle slides left and right, allowing you to see each part of the image and the impact the changes you're making have on the finished product.
In this case, I used the one-touch clarity booster, gave the saturation a slight tweak, and then used the structure filter, which enhances clarity and micro-contrast in surface area between edges detected in an image, improving perceived detail and making photos stand out.
Besides sharing a small history lesson from New Mexico, and intro to Luminar, if you haven't used it - there's an even better bottom line.
The need to hunker down is wearing on all of us. Don't let the pandemic's challenges get in the way of the love you have as an artist and business owner. Business is out there, and it will come back - but in the meantime, keep working on your skill set.
Wander through your files and appreciate where you were a year ago. Use your photographs to keep your creative juices flowing, and that passion you have for imaging alive. Keep in touch with friends, stay active in social media, and keep your eye out for moments of inspiration from the people you respect most. Most important of all, don't let go of your dreams.
And one more thing to think about - It's that first convention we're all going to attend LIVE. What a celebration that's going to be. I'll meet all of you in the bar of the host hotel that first night in town...wherever that might be!
"Every lens ever made was created with a purpose in mind."
by Skip Cohen
Every Monday, I share a new post with images from the world of mirrorless cameras, especially LUMIX. Today's post features the GH5 and a portrait shoot during the pandemic by my good buddy Charles Maring. But, the real stars of the video are Jessica Rose and the Leica 42.5 f/1.2 Nocticron lens.
It's a short video, but pay attention to the way Charles is shooting - into the sun and taking full advantage of the narrow depth of field created through this amazing piece of glass. His quote above says it all, and you'll see in image after image how he takes full advantage of the creativity brought out by his vision, combined with the best characteristics of the lens.
"I'll often point this lens into the sun, because with its f1.2 aperture it gives a really soft elegant glow, and roll-off to the highlights."
For more information about this incredible camera and lens click on either thumbnail below.
Charles and Jennifer Maring need to be on your radar. Click on any of the portraits in this post to visit their website, "Together in Style." You'll never be disappointed in the content they share. And stay tuned - they're about to make an amazing change in their lives, and all of us have been invited to share a front-row seat to their new adventures!
Take the time to get to know the LUMIX Ambassador team too. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar as well. Looking for more great content? Check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page - there are always great conversations and images being shared by LUMIX artists from around the world.
Click on the above banners to understand what makes ClickCon and ClickCon Nation so unique!
by Skip Cohen
Last year ClickCon in Chicago kicked off its first conference and became the most successful launch of a new convention in the industry. Many factors were contributing to it being a great show, from the class selections, quality of the speakers, quality and enthusiasm of models and stylists to the involvement of the "Heart of ClickCon," the people involved in the planning.
This year we were all excited for the second show in their history when the pandemic hit. But nothing stops the Heart of ClickCon, and this weekend, ClickCon Nation kicks off a nine-month series of monthly classes and support for imaging artists.
The next ClickCon LIVE Conference is scheduled for August of 2021, but here's the best part - as part of your registration, you've got nine months of online educational programs from which to choose. Click on the thumbnail below to check out this Sunday's programming.
Everyone has different needs these days, but there are several common denominators - the need to share ideas, grow our skill sets and understand how to deal with the new norm. ClickCon Nation has five different levels of involvement - each one designed to help artists get the support they need most.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to catching up with many of you in cyberspace and then LIVE in Chicago next August. Registration is just a click away on the banner below!
by Skip Cohen
Jay P. Morgan knocks another one out of the park with this new video about raising the bar on the quality of your online presence in video. I found his video so helpful that I've duplicated Jay P's set up right down to a plexiglass stand to raise my laptop. Working closely with Platypod, I was already using the goosenecks with two LitraTorch 2.0 lights on an Ultra, but I decided it was time to upgrade everything.
The pandemic has created the new normal, and we're all on video calls more than ever before. Plus, we're part of an industry that prides itself on great visual presentations. Whether you're involved in online meetings, a presentation, or just talking with friends and family - looking good should be part of your profile. You're online live presence is no different than having a good headshot on your "About" page!
If you're looking for great educational support by one of the best educators in imaging, follow Jay P. Morgan on his YouTube channel, The Slanted Lens. There are over 500 videos, and he's always sharing terrific content with never-ending support to help artists raise the bar on the quality of their work.
And if you're looking for the latest in great gear from Platypod? Just click on the logo below to check out the current kits on sale along with the rest of the product line. Platypod also sells the LitraTorch 2.0s, but check out Litra. com for more information about their other lights and accessories too.
Image copyright Dave Stock. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
It's Mirrorless Monday, and I found this image shared by my buddy Dave Stock. At first glance, it looked like a cartoon character. It's pretty remarkable. Keep in mind I'm sharing a screenshot, and it's still got incredible detail. Give it a click and view in the SCU Lightbox.
I'm amazed to see how well Post Focus assisted by Dual IS can do, even when hand held at 1/60th with a long lens (50-200mm at 200mm on a G9). I was in my pool and held the camera overhead, viewing on the articulated screen as this guy perched on a lounge overlooking our pool.
Click on either thumbnail below for more information about the remarkable technology of the G9 and the LUMIX G Leica 50-200mm lens.
Dave Stock is a photographer who should be on your radar. Keep up with what he's doing and follow him on Instagram. And if you're on Facebook, wander over to the Lumix Photographers Community. With over 9,000 members, artists from all over the world are always sharing great images and creative ideas to help you build your skillset and vision.
"The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you are born
and never stops until you get up to speak in public."
by Skip Cohen
The pandemic has changed all the rules for so many different activities, especially public speaking. While overall things are more restricted, social media has given EVERYBODY the ability to become a presenter. At the risk of this sounding like a rant, I'm tired of people offering to help you build some aspect of your business or life who simply think they have something to say because they're online!
This isn't a new topic for me to write about. Over the years, I've probably written a half dozen posts and articles on the subject, but with so many people thinking it's time for them to teach, it's time to post a few reminders.
Whether you're online live, pre-recorded, or going back to the "old" days and presenting at a conference, NOTHING has changed in what your audience expects!
Baby steps! I've met so many artists over the years who have a great message to share, but they want to start at the top as a keynote speaker, often because they have a huge fan base in social media. Having a great fan base is terrific, but they've joined your program to hear what you have to share and learn something.
Unlike a live audience who will stay seated through even the worst presentations, online, if your style would put a rock to sleep, people will simply leave. There are no rules for being a great audience when everyone is hidden behind the anonymity of their monitor. So, don't rush the process and start by speaking to smaller groups and then build momentum. There's nothing worse than watching a potentially great speaker crash and burn because they simply weren't prepared.
“Don't wait for a huge platform before you give of your best performance”
Bernard Kelvin Clive
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, an image comes along that's just too much fun not to share. This morning while trying to get to know my way around Facebook's new format, I scrolled through my group section, and John Mitchell's post came up. The image above made me smile, and these days we all need more smiles.
I posted on my FB page to help let people know, and wasn't going to do a post here at SCU because it's already 8:00 am...that was until I dug deeper and John's based on the west coast - so it's PST. If you're dealing with a lazy Saturday, here's an event worth checking out. It's one more great way to expand your skill set during what's become the extended "slow season" in photography!
From the registration site:
Join us for a walk through into how John Mitchell creates an image with greatly contrasting sized elements and his steps for planning, shooting and editing. He will have a few examples of steps that he discovered as well as a gallery of images with the various ideas he has come up with.
Click on the image for registration information to this FREE event.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I don't make a living as a photographer. My passion is the business and marketing side, and that's where most of my career has been spent. However, hanging out with artists like Don Komarechka and Mike Moats over the last few years, I was bound to learn something.
Both Don and Mike have had a significant influence on the way I look at things, paying more attention to tiny details in the world around me. The little guy above was at best 3/16 of an inch and was just sitting on the pool cage's frame. We've had a lot of storms lately, and at first, I thought it was a chunk of dirt!
I missed the opportunity to get a shot to give you an idea of just how tiny this guy was. It's rare I've seen a frog this small, but here's roughly the size of the frog before the macro lens and enlargement.
The thumbnail on the right, with my new buddy next to a drop of water from the storm, shows how little he is too.
I took off this week to chill and enjoy time with Sheila and the pups. A side benefit was seeing this guy and having the time I needed to grab a camera. And while my skill set is still work in progress, having the right tools sure helps.
I should have used a tripod, but I didn't have a lot of time before "Kermit" took off. So, handheld and following him (or her) everywhere for about ten minutes was all I had.
I love the LUMIX G9, and teaming up with the LUMIX G 30mm macro lens, a Playpod Max, the new goosenecks, and two Litra Torch 2.0s gave me what I needed.
I also had some fun with Luminar, but only for minor tweaking. I lightened the image, sharpened slightly, cropped, enlarged, and erased a couple of distracting dirt spots.
The short video clip below was simply for the fun of it. The LUMIX line makes it so easy to push a button and grab a few seconds of video.
Shooting macro, handheld without a tripod, and having no video skills whatsoever, made focus a challenge. A tripod would have helped a lot, but at this point in my ten-minute adventure, I was standing on a ladder as my little buddy moved up the wall!
We've all been in some form of lockdown for almost three months. That means lots of time on our hands to do something different. Playing in the macro world is a kick, and with every image I get, I start to understand Don and Mike's love for the craft just a little better.
Click on any of the three thumbnails below for more information.
"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
by Skip Cohen
There isn't a professional photographer on the planet who isn't struggling with what's become the new normal! Quarantines, social distancing, sheltering in place have all become a way of life, but out of chaos and the pandemic crisis have come some remarkable new extensions for business.
A month ago, I shared a short video of JP Elario at his computer doing FaceTime portraits. Channel 13 in Albany, NY, picked up the story, and I have to share it here. I wish there was a way to make every artist watch this short clip.
JP's part of a father/son business and Joe, his Dad, and I go back to my early Hasselblad days. They're both remarkable artists specializing in wedding and portraiture, and exceptional service is part of their signature. Keeping in line with their never-ending quest to meet their clients' needs, JP starting doing online headshots.
These are challenging times, but who knows what other new ideas will come out of the pandemic crisis?
"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friend."
by Skip Cohen
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, especially the way we communicate. On a fairly regular basis, many of you are appearing live on Zoom, Skype, and the list goes on and on. But, just like the rules in creating a great image for print competition, there are some definite rules you need to follow when meeting in cyberspace. Your goal is to be just as professional in an online meeting as you would be in person at a conference or workshop.
And for those of you rolling your eyes, because you already know this stuff, just consider it a reminder. Like meeting with a new client, you've got a minimal amount of time to make a great impression. I'm not an expert in any of this stuff, but thanks to some great friends, I'm work in progress and there are a lot of you who could use a little help.
Let's start with the obvious - lighting. You don't need much. Ironically, none of you would light a basic headshot with a flashlight, but when it comes to your online presence, you do nothing. Yet, all of you understand lighting - so put a little light on the subject - YOU! While I've got a couple of softboxes in my office, my preference is thanks to Litra. I've got two LitraTorch 2.0s on goosenecks on either side of my laptop, which has become my leading computer when I've got to be on camera. When I'm on the iMac, I use the softboxes.
Here are a few more suggestions to consider:
1. Get a location without backlighting. When you've got something bright behind you, it fools the computer or your phone into thinking the scene is brighter than it really is. I have to remember myself to close the blinds in my office behind me.
2. Remove distractions: We don't all have the advantage of a movie set background. Often, I've forgotten turn the ceiling fan off in my office and have had people bothered by the distraction over my head.
3. Camera and your face on the same plane: Get your camera (computer or phone) on about the same plane as your face. Not only does it cut out chin and nostril shots, but it gives the audience your eye contact and more facial expression. When I'm using my phone, I have a Square Jellyfish adapter on a ball head with a Platypod Ultra. While there are plenty of phone holders out there, this little adapter gives my Platypod Ultra another useful application.
4. Make eye contact. Remember when talking, if you want to make eye contact, looking at your screen won't do it...you've got to look at the camera.
5. Cut down on the background noise. Mute your microphone when not talking. It's especially bad in a group of more than 3-4 people.
6. Earbuds or a headset cut down on feedback.
7. Consider a better microphone! The impact of the pandemic is here to stay for a long time. While we all wish there was a switch that could be flipped to end the crisis, it's not going to happen overnight. That means we're all going to be communicating differently for some time. My personal favorite is a Rode Podcast mic, but I also have a Yeti. Both are good, but the Rode seems to give my voice more clarity.
8. Smile more! It's a great tip from a photographer, author, and my good buddy, Larry Becker. He recently joined Chamira Young and me in a Mind Your Own Business podcast, which is now online. And check out his new book: Great on Camera. Written before the pandemic when we had no idea we were going to be on camera a lot more, Larry's approach couldn't be easier to follow, with great tips to raise the bar on your skill set as a podcaster, presenter and participant online.
And that brings me full circle to where I started. We're dealing with a new normal. While we all hope the good old days of just three months ago will come back, that doesn't change the need for looking good and professional online NOW.
From meetings with clients to edu-type presentations to meet-ups with other photographers, you're part of the imaging community. That means the expression "looking good" has a lot more meaning in cyberspace these days because it's often going to be all you have to start.
P.S. And if I missed any tips feel free to let me know and we'll do a post of add-ons!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Mark Toal's back today with a quick introduction to Snapseed, which I just downloaded a few minutes ago myself. The original title of his post was "SOOC" (Straight Out of Camera). Every photographer's goal is a clean well-exposed image right out of the can. I know I'm dating myself to film with that expression, but it's still one of my favorites.
The truth is, how much you manipulate an image is up to you, and it's all personal taste. But to add two more points to Mark's message today - if you've done things right during capture, you don't have to spend hours cleaning up files when all you need or want is a tweak to the saturation, contrast, etc.
And while Lightroom and Photoshop are incredible tools, he missed my favorite, Luminar 4 from Skylum. I've been using it for the last two years, and I love the ease of use, especially with their presets for adjustments in clarity, exposure and saturation.
Last but not least, those purists who want to argue against manipulation of an image, or people who simply criticize what they don't like in your photographs:
Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!
My old buddy, Dean, was responsible for one of the greatest quotes in photography and sales. It doesn't matter what anybody thinks about your images except the client. Sometimes, when you're shooting for your own pleasure and not on the job, that client is YOU!
by Mark Toal
After showing a few of my photos in a class I was teaching, one the students asked if I processed my images or they were straight out of the camera (SOOC). I assured them not one of my photos is straight out of the camera and that I hate the term SOOC. Once in a while I say something in a class that I immediately regret, and this was one of them. I could tell that people wanted to hear that they don’t have to do anything to their photos.
I see the photos from my camera as a starting point for me to create something from. I’m not talking about drastic changes as you can see in these two examples. I’m mostly just adding contrast and saturation.
I understand that people don’t want to invest in Lightroom and Photoshop or pay a monthly subscription fee. There are other alternatives like Adobe Photoshop Elements or the App Snapseed for your phone. Most of the photos you see on my Facebook and Instagram pages have been transferred via wi-fi from my Lumix camera to the iPhone and adjusted in Snapseed.
If you’ve resisted trying Lightroom or Photoshop or any another program, and your sitting at home wondering what to do until the world re-opens, this might be a good time to download a free trial version and watch some videos on YouTube to learn to use it.
by Skip Cohen
Like most of you, I'm tired of dealing with the pandemic. It's the topic everywhere. Even commercials on TV have changed to a social distancing theme. One company after another wants to assure us we're all in this together...but the reality not everybody is!
All of us as an industry might be in it together, but the number of stupid people on the planet seems to be growing. I had some fun this morning and Googled "stupid things done during the pandemic." I found a treasure chest of gems at buzzfeed.com.
They shared 19 stupid things people have done or said. Here are two more of my favorites:
I'm putting a few of my favorites below:
With Father's Day and graduation still in the timeline, there are so many opportunities to start getting back a small piece of your business as a photographer. There's no question it won't be easy, and business has changed, but many of you just need an encouraging first step to getting back on track...and this is where we are, all in it together.
Check out the NEW Multi-Accessory Kit!
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.