by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and while I'm rarely writing about imaging directly, photography is near and dear to my heart this morning. It's Halloween, October 31, and my Dad's birthday. Even though he passed away almost six years ago, it's a day deep rooted in great memories...all thanks in part to hundreds of photographs I cherish.
When we were kids, the poor guy never had a real birthday without the doorbell ringing and kids screaming, "Trick or treat!" And with the first ring of the bell, I was headed out the door with friends to fill my own bag with candy. The irony of it all is that Dad was in the wholesale candy and tobacco business in those early years, and I had a whole warehouse of candy at my fingertips. However, nothing compared with the fun of the "chase" for my own candy bars!
Dad was my best buddy with a non-stop flow of unconditional love. So moving to Florida to help him deal with my Mom's Alzheimer's was the first time since high school that I lived close by. I used to say I was so lucky to not only have my folks around in my sixties but to like them too!
But the fun of looking back on those early days, right up through Dad's 93 birthday two weeks before he passed away, are the photographs. Whether a more formal portrait or just a snapshot, every image brings back a flood of memories and stories. And each story is a reminder of the fantastic career path I stumbled onto so many years ago.
I've shared this quote so many times over the years in blog posts and workshops...
"'This is what I like about photographs. They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat,
everything was perfect."
But I found another one, also by Jodi Picoult that's just as strong:
“A photo says, you were happy, and I wanted to catch that. A photo says, you were so important to me that I put down everything else to come watch.”
Remember the Bucket Challenge? Well, we got Dad into it!
That brings me right to my point - we're part of an amazing industry, and all of you who are professional photographers are the magicians. You help people take intangible moments and turn them into something they can hold and appreciate for a lifetime!
And while I rarely share marketing ideas in Sunday Morning Reflections - here's one that's a guaranteed best-seller this holiday season. For your clients that are actual seniors (not high school), offer them a Legacy Session that includes both their portrait and video. The purpose of that video is for them to share a chapter of their journey for their children and grandchildren to enjoy and appreciate.
As I've written so many times over the last few months, there's a renewed sense of family in this country, and you've got the tools to help your clients enhance its importance. In the same way family portraiture is this year's hottest photographic product for grandma, so is helping her share the story of her past, right through to today.
Wishing everybody a wonderful Halloween Sunday, and time to wander through some of those old photographs and cherished memories. Always go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs I write about with the people most important in your life, and take a minute to appreciate what you see in the rearview mirror!
And to my Dad - sure do miss ya buddy! But there are no expiration dates on the memories we made together.
Happy Halloween everybody!
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.