Intro by Chamira Young
We've featured professional photographer Derrick Zellmann on the blog before in our Tamron Recipes series, and for good reason. His ability to interact with his subjects - both food and human - and create great images is downright inspiring. As you'll see in the post excerpt below, Derrick is meticulous in his philosophy on capturing the individual personality and appeal of his subjects. It's no surprise his services are in such high demand in the Boston area! His client list is robust, as is his willingness to share lessons from his experiences with his fellow photographers.
Check out the post below to see Derricks' work. Also, be sure to check out the lenses below, which Derrick often uses for food photography. We love the dedication of the Tamron team as they support the photography industry by bringing amazing lenses and content!
Capturing the Crave
Images by Derrick Zellmann
Derrick Zellmann gets viewers' mouths watering with the tasty dishes—and the culinary masters who create them—in front of his Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 VC and SP 90mm F/2.8 Macro VC lenses.
Derrick Zellmann has become an in-demand portrait photographer in Boston, capturing everyone from newborns, families, and engaged couples to athletes and local firefighters. Seven years ago, he added food photography into the mix, and he's been documenting the region's delectable dishes and the personalities who create them ever since. "Just like with my other portraits, whether I'm taking a picture of an executive chef, a farmer, or a pastry chef, I'm trying to pull out the character of that person, both by forging an intimate connection between the viewer and the subject, and also by taking an environmental portrait that shows enough of their background to paint a more complete picture," he says.
When he shoots the food itself, Derrick's main goal is to make his subject irresistible. "I want to create a craving for the viewer," he says. "I think the biggest compliment I ever got was when a vegetarian who'd seen a photo I'd taken of a steak said they were tempted to break from their vegetarianism."
Derrick—who typically uses the Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 VC lens for his portraits and the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Macro VC lens for his food photos—has also forged a unique photographic path with what he calls his "what if" photos. "I go into a shoot knowing the specific pictures I'm expected to come out with, but the whole time I'm thinking about an image that might be a little more unconventional," he says. "I'll save these 'what if we tried this' photos till the end, when the subject and I are really comfortable with each other."
That approach paid off when he photographed Matt King, the executive chef for Boston's Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. "I'd seen the restaurant's famous tomahawk rib-eye steaks when I'd come in, so at the end of our shoot, I had the idea to put Matt in front of the wood walls in one of the restaurant's banquet rooms, train a dramatic one-light blast on him, and have him simply smile and swing that tomahawk steak over his shoulder like he was going to work. He looked at me, grabbed the rib-eye—which was bleeding all over the place—and said, "Let's do it."
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
by Skip Cohen
The "Mind Your Own Business" podcast is all about sharing ideas, developing a solid skill set, and running a successful business in imaging. Although our opening and closing questions are always the same about how the guest got started in this business along with advice to photographers just starting, everything else is unscripted and unrehearsed. Each photographer has shared an incredible level of information about their journey to date.
Nicole Begley joined us on this recent podcast, and she continued the pattern of sharing great insight and information about pet photography. I met Nicole for the first time three years ago when she taught a pet photography workshop here in the Sarasota area. Her passion for the craft, together with being an educator and working hard to help artists expand their skill set, is remarkable to observe live, first hand.
The hierarchy of why people hire a professional photographer, based on a Kodak survey years back, goes brides, babies, and pets. I don't believe that's changed at all in over twenty years since the information was released. That means there's an incredible opportunity for photographers to diversify and include pets in your repertoire. And the ranking has moved a lot, because of so many weddings being cancelled or postponed.
While the official surveys don't all agree, the rough estimate is that 80% of American households have a dog or cat. That boils down to approximately 80 million dogs and 60 million cats. And if you want to argue with me about those numbers, you're missing the point. We love our pets. Through the pandemic of the last almost nine months, dog and cat owners have repeatedly talked about the family's furry members evolving into emotional support animals!
Now take it all one step further, pet owners love photographs of there dogs and cats, which is why they're ranked at the top of the Kodak survey I referenced earlier. Nicole Begley is all about helping artists raise the bar on their skill set when it comes to photographing pets, especially dogs. Check out her "Hair of the Dog Academy," and visit her website to view more of her incredible work!
As always, a BIG thanks to the team at Photofocus.com for their support in hosting the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. Check out all of their podcasts - you'll never be disappointed in the guests appearing on the various shows.
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.
Click on any image above to link to this great podcast!
by Skip Cohen
We're in the middle of a pandemic, and with so much downtime, I'm trying to understand how I missed several posts of the "Mind Your Own Business." Over the last six years, we've shared a new podcast every month, thanks to my co-host Chamira Young and the team at Photofocus.com.
So, I'm playing catch up on podcasts, but this isn't like the expiration date on a carton of milk! Kay Eskridge joined us on this past podcast, and her insight into the industry's challenges was remarkable. She shared so many great ideas, and knowing Kay for as many years as I have, it was a fun conversation.
Kay is all about relationship building. In fact, you can see it in her images - relaxed smiles, comfortable poses, and subjects who enjoy working with Kay and trust her to exceed their expectations. From the Boardroom to maternity, kids, families, couples, seniors, and pets - it wasn't easy for me to pick out my favorites. Click on any image below, and you'll link to Kay's website, and you'll see what I mean. She shares an incredible body of work. Every image demonstrates her commitment to her clients as well as the craft. She's one of the most diverse artists in the industry, and I'm not sure there's anything Kay can't photograph!
I've written it so many times before: The best part of this industry is all about the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Kay and I have worked together on different projects and have been friends for easily twenty years, and it's true what they say about time - it flies when you're having a good time!
A big thanks to Photofocus for their support in making "Mind Your Own Business," a podcast that needs to be on your radar!
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday morning, although I'm looking forward to turning the clocks back, so the puppies' first trip out in the morning isn't in the dark! There's a lot I'm looking forward to, like the end of the pandemic and trash mailings from both presidential candidates. What would happen if just once, instead of spending millions on over-sized postcards attacking the other candidate, they put the money into school lunch programs or helping the homeless?
Meanwhile, sorry about going off on a mini-rant - what I want to write about is one of the ways I'm surviving the pandemic. It started a few years back when Throwback Thursday became a weekly event. Turning back the clock once a week was fun to do, especially when it came to sharing old photographs of people we all know from the industry,
Well, in the process of needing to clean my home office this week, so furniture can be moved for a new floor, I've been finding old photographs from my grandmother's album. Then Sheila was cleaning out a closet and found pictures in her stash of memories over the years.
Now take it all one step further: I started sharing these with my hometown Facebook group. It's 12,000+ strong, with people who remember my family, especially my grandparents. My grandfather had a hardware store for fifty-two years in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. He did business on a handshake, which included credit for anybody who needed a little more time and never charged interest.
Here's my point - the pandemic has been awful for all of us. I'm not suggesting it's been easy to keep a good attitude and be optimistic, but like Zig Ziglar's old line - "It's your attitude that determines your altitude, NOT your aptitude." And taking regular walks down Memory Lane isn't just fun; it's interactive. These old photographs have kept me focused on the importance of what most of us do for a living - help people capture memories.
If you're looking for a great way to get away from the stress we're all faced with these days, find that album, drawer, trunk, or shoebox of old photographs! They'll give you a little respite from the challenges, and at the same time, remind you of the incredible career path you chose when you picked up your first camera!
Wishing everybody a day jam-packed with smiles, peace, and great memories. And remember, whatever happens today, will be a trip down Memory Lane years from now!
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
One spin-off benefit of the pandemic downtime has been cleaning out closets and opening mystery boxes. Each box has been the adult version of the free toy in a cereal box when I was a kid. Well, the matted print above is a definite treasure.
It was a surprise party for my 50th birthday at a restaurant just outside NYC. There were a whole bunch of my friends there, and these are two of my most favorite knuckleheads, who were in on the surprise, Tony Corbell and Terry Deglau. I shared a post last year when Terry passed away.
Here's the part that's brilliant and appropriate for many of you to start doing in your business. Bambi Cantrell was the photographer. She brought mattes to the party and had people sign them. She added their photographs and put them together in an image box later on, which at the time was an Art Leather product. The concept is stronger than just an album, because it adds another dimension to the photograph. Although, I don't know how this print got separated from the box, or even why.
The industry lost Terry last year, but so many of you know and have worked with Tony. In fact, next week, he and I are having some fun on John Corniciello's podcast, and Terry will probably come up in a few of the stories we're going to share.
Here's the point I hope I'm making this ThrowbackThursday - Don't let the pandemic and all the challenges in your life get in the way of remembering the magician you are as a photographer and artist. You turn intangible memories into tangible products people can cherish for a lifetime. That portrait of Tony and Terry is a perfect example of a priceless moment I can hold in my hands right now. While it isn't new, the product concept itself is an ideal way for you to exceed expectations with your clients.
I cropped out what Terry wrote, but the short version is that he referred to me as the "brother he never had." Over the years, we shared one adventure after another, and there are no words to describe how much a photograph like this means to me, or the memories it brings back.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Images copyright Vanessa Guzzo. All rights reserved.
Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.
Lana Del Ray
by Skip Cohen
We all know the expression, time flies when you're having a good time. Even through the pandemic's challenges, working with the "chefs" in the Tamron Kitchen has been a kick. I find it hard to believe this is our tenth installment for the year. Each chef has shared their love for the craft, along with Tamron lenses. And through the pandemic, these creative tools have been critical elements allowing them to continue to capture and create important memories for their clients.
Vanessa Guzzo is in the spotlight for this new episode of Tamron Recipes. Vanessa is all about family, children, and capturing joy. The quote I found above is perfect in describing her love for photography and working with her clients.
Chef Vanessa's recipe is a click away if you missed it when it was posted last week. For more information on Tamron's 24-70 mm F/2.8 lens, click on the banner below. And check out Vanessa's website. What I pulled for today's post are just a few of my favorites. (Click on any image to view in the SCU Light Box) As you look through her images, you'll notice a common theme...love.
As a result of the pandemic and everyone being hunkered down, I share the same comments so often in posts. We're all in this together, and everybody has the same frustrations. But as Vanessa talks about in her podcast, it's still important to keep in touch with your clients. Being hunkered down doesn't mean from your business or your clients.
This is also the perfect time to keep expanding your skill set and take a look at adding a new lens to your gear. Tamron's team isn't slowing down in their support for photographers all over the country - they've just moved to cyberspace. Check out Tamron's programs for rebates, online education, and even some terrific contests to share your work.
by Skip Cohen
If only there were a button on your keyboard to just click and immediately generate all your products, services, and marketing messages to adjust for the seasonality in photography! I missed posting this yesterday for Marketing Monday, but that changes nothing, and with the challenges of the pandemic, EVERY day needs to be focused a little on marketing.
There isn't a better time than right now for you to be thinking about the seasonality of the fourth quarter. And while it comes at the same time every year - this year is so different. Together with your clients, everybody has been hunkered down for the last eight months. Memory-making moments over the summer have been few and far between due to the restrictions of the pandemic. Still, at the same time, there's a renewed sense of family around the world, and everything under the imaging umbrella has the potential to become a service/product this holiday season.
Here a few of my favorites, which I've shared before, but a lot of you still don't get it!
Facetime Portraits: J.P. Elario's full-time business was wedding and event photography. So, when the pandemic hit, he went to work on alternatives. Just watch the short clip from the Albany news channel - the idea is self-explanatory.
Marathon's BOGO on Holiday Cards: This idea has three significant parts. First is the potential to increase revenue because of the outstanding savings of a BOGO offer. Second is the benefit of holiday cards in your lineup as an offer for your clients. Third is the benefit to you as an artist and business owner. There isn't an easier or better marketing tool than your own holiday card to remind your audience what you do for a living! Click on the banner below for more information.
Outdoor Prints: I've written about BayPhoto's Performance EXT Metal numerous times, but the pandemic has opened some new revenue streams for everyone. First, everybody has been stuck at home looking at the same artwork on their walls, and outside there's nothing!
Second, the pandemic forced restaurants to open outdoor seating, and many of them have nothing outside except tables and chairs. Here's a chance for some new clients and your opportunity to decorate the outside of your favorite restaurant. As winter approaches, your potential is obviously limited to the climate you live in. If that's the case, then consider moving indoors!
Indoor Commercial Opportunities: My good buddy Bob Coates started photographing musicians in an entertainment restaurant in Sedona seven years ago. That led to an expanded theme in the restaurant's decor, portraits of the musicians, and even a CD cover or two.
The restaurant now boasts their own Hall of Fame of musicians, all thanks to Bob's creativity. Click on either image to read the full story on the Photofocus.com blog.
Now think of all the restaurants in your area. If you're like places around here, so many of them could use a makeover. Again, there are two important parts of the concept.
First, this is about finding new B2B clients and helping them elevate their walls. Second, it's a great way to get your name out there in the community. For example, Bob's work is being seen by everybody who frequents the restaurant. You couldn't ask for better advertising!
Working With Other Vendors in Your Community: Now is the time for partnerships with other vendors in your community. Cross-promote with a florist for example. Doing a direct mail piece with two other partners reduces your cost to a third if you were going solo.
And here's a great idea from Norma Grieve in the UK: My business partner and daughter designed a page specifically to help eloping couples. It includes profiles of a number of other vendors. She contacted all the vendors to check on them and ask what services they would be offering as some restrictions ease. She had a phenomenal and heartwarming response from everyone with an unanticipated, reciprocally positive reaction to our business.
The result was top-of-mind awareness with other vendors in the area and a newfound appreciation for Norma and her daughter's business.
Video Holiday Cards: Suzette Allen has shared her hybrid cards repeatedly on her blog. Well, you've got opportunities with so many clients this holiday season for creating a video combining still images, video, and great music for your clients. It's not a new idea, but it will be for most of your target audience.
I pulled an old one from Suzette's archives because it's one of my favorites, the Nylin Grandkids. Think about the emotional value of a client being able to send something you've created like this to family and friends they haven't been able to be with through the pandemic.
With the real strength of seasonality right around the corner, consider all the opportunities. Due to the pandemic, this year will NOT be a year where thousands of people crash the doors for Walmart's midnight madness sale - but they will be shopping online.
Now's the time to beef up what you're offering through the holiday season, and use your blog to start planting seeds of ideas NOW! Think about how the pandemic has reinforced family values and memory-making. I'm not sure there's ever been a time when photography gifts have the potential to be this significant.
by Skip Cohen
It's "Sunday Morning Reflections," but while I'm going to be off-track from business and marketing, I want to stay close to the topic of what I love most about the photography industry. I've written many times that the best thing about this industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
Continuing to function through the pandemic would be impossible if it wasn't for my friends. Everybody has lots of friends, but think about those select few who are most important to you - you know, the ones you'd give up a kidney for. Even more important today, the ones that help keep your spirits up when you want to give up! They're your cheerleaders, and conversations sometimes turn into pep-rallies.
Here's a perfect example - my buddy Tony Corbell! We met in 1987 when I joined Hasselblad, and the company was a sponsor of Dean Collins' Tour. Years later, I'd succeed in closing the best sell-job of my career: talking Tony into giving up his view of the Pacific Ocean at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara for a parking lot in New Jersey, to work for Hasselblad.
We've laughed and cried our way through years of adventures working with so many of the artists who set the stage for making the industry what it is today. Dean Collins, Don Blair, and Monty Zucker, for example, are just three of the incredible legacy we both feel responsible for and maintain right up through this very minute. They left behind the standards for quality and excellence we all need to stay focused on, even through the compromises we have to make because of the pandemic.
Well, On November 2, Tony and I join another good friend, John Cornicello, on his podcast, and we're just going to have fun. We're going to share some of our favorite stories about the legends of this industry. "Fun" is one of those lost words today, buried under the stress of business, politics, and the economy. Well, we're going to do our best to bring it back. With John's help, you'll understand even more about why, like so many of you, there is no other industry we could have ever been this happy being in.
Tony and Skip's Awesome Adventures just might top Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - Plus, you can count on plenty of stories about the legends you might have met over the years, or at the very least you should know!
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday and time to create new adventures with those people most important in your life. It's our friends who keep us going when times get the toughest. Hunkering down is all about your health, not keeping in touch. And as my buddy Bob Coates got us all thinking about early on, "social distancing" is a misnomer - we have to stay social, but physical distancing is the point.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
See you on November 2!
by Skip Cohen
Throwback Thursday's fun is in two parts - First, there are the memories old photographs bring back. Second is the never-ending reminder of the important role photography plays in our lives. It's been eight months since most of us hunkered down, and spending a little more time looking in the rearview mirror has become a welcome change from the Covid-19 reports and politics - or for that matter, just about anything in the news!
The year is 1985, and Polaroid was a sponsor of an IMG event that turned the rodeo into team sports for two years. While many of us aren't in strong rodeo markets, if I remember my numbers, the rodeo was right up there with NASCAR when it came to popularity and attendance. IMG's push to get Polaroid involved was based on the fact there was a huge segment of the market the company's advertising just didn't reach.
For two seasons, I was the manager of Polaroid's rodeo team. The cowboys on each team contributed to their sponsor's points, and at the same time, maintained their individual standing with the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.) leading up to the Nationals.
If you follow rodeo, some very special cowboys were on our team. Right next to me, I'm the knucklehead with his eyes closed, is a bull-riding champion, Tuff Hedeman. He won the world championships three times, not mention dozens of other accomplishments over the years. You might also know a little more about him if you saw the movie "8 Seconds." It's the story of bull-riding champion Lane Frost, played by Luke Perry. One of Frost's best friends was Tuff, who in the movie was played by Stephen Baldwin.
Next to Tuff are Bud and Jimmie Monroe. They're both national champions; Bud as a saddle bronc rider and Jimmie as a barrel racer. And right behind Jimmie is Rod Lyman, who was also a national champion steer wrestler, and president of the PRCA for many years.
Every industry has its champions, not just because of their personal achievements but their support of their industry and local communities. I may not remember everybody's name in the group above, but I sure remember their attitude and love for the sport. I went into the assignment, not knowing anything about the rodeo, and came out totally impressed with the athletic ability and each member of the team's outlook on life - not to mention so many great memories. It was simply a great group of people, and always focused on giving back.
So, when you look back on your career, what are some of the more random and out-of-the-ordinary things you've done?
Meanwhile, one of the best lessons I learned is that when the cowboys start practicing backflips off the barstools, it's time to go home!
Happy Throwback Thursday! Take the time to wander down Memory Lane. These days you don't have to go back very far to find moments that will make you smile.
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!
Image copyright Vanessa Guzzo. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
October marks our tenth episode of Tamron Recipes for the year. Thanks to support from Tamron USA, it's been a kick for Chamira Young and me to help showcase the work from some very talented artists. But more than just their images, have been their backstories and insight to an industry they each love dearly. We always share one of their favorite photos to start and then follow a week later with the podcast interview.
When we started to build the concept, the idea of the chef analogy came into play. We had no idea how relevant that comparison would become. Like a fine chef at your favorite restaurant, each artist has their unique style, favorite cuisines, and their kitchen is home to hundreds of recipes, each demonstrating their passion for the craft and dedication to their clientele!
Vanessa Guzzo joins us in the Tamron Kitchen this month. Her favorite cuisine is about kids and family. She's all about people and couldn't love the craft more than she does.
At the beginning of this series, I started searching for quotes that seemed to match what I felt following my first conversation with each chef and looking at their work. It wasn't hard to find one that seemed to fit Vanessa. When her podcast airs next week, you'll definitely pick up on how much she loves the craft and her clients!
Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.
Lana Del Ray
About "Chef" Vanessa: Vanessa is all about families, lifestyle, and capturing memories. And as often as we all hear expressions about the importance of capturing those special moments, Vanessa makes it a point to stay in touch with her clients. She's the "palace guard" for every family she works with, guarding the gate making sure those special moments don't just disappear.
There's a statement on her website that describes it all:
Vanessa's stunning portfolio captures love, laughter, and joy, through an artist's eye with a keen attention to detail that only she can provide. Consistently going beyond creating images to making memories that last, it's no wonder so many families turn to her again and again for the most important moments in their lives.
I hope you'll take the time to visit Chef Vanessa's website. You'll notice a couple of common denominators in her images - JOY and style. And while I usually don't share more photographs than the first one in the Recipes series, her headers on her portfolio caught my eye. It doesn't get more appealing to "Mom" than this one.
About the Image: A well known photographer in our industry, when I asked him once to send a couple of his most favorite images replied, "Wow- that's almost impossible. It's like asking me which one of my kids I love the most." Well, It wasn't easy for Vanessa, but what she wrote about the image for today's recipe explains why it's a favorite.
This image was taken in Long Island City, NY. The inspiration for this image was “I LOVE NY”. Being a native New Yorker I always feel so alive and inspired by the glitz of the Big Apple. I also wanted to relay the feeling of being on top of the world.
Tamron never slows down on raising the bar on their optics' quality and creating the tools you need to expand your creativity. Quite simply, they make outstanding glass! And, they're a leader in educational support for photographers all over the world.
When it comes to workshops and conventions, the pandemic may have changed a few things for us, but Tamron's maintaining their presence through the support of local events around the country. Check out their listing of local events being held this fall, all within the safety and physical distancing guidelines.
And, take the time to visit Tamron's website, always loaded with great content, as well as their YouTube channel. And their tech team is regularly teaching online with workshops supported by Tamron retailers all over the country.
One of Vanessa's favorite lenses is featured in the current Tamron rebate program. Click on the banner below for information on their current promotion.
Hunkering down is about your health, NOT about growing as an artist by expanding your skill set. This is a great time to expand your gear and take full advantage of the downtime getting to know a new lens and taking your creativity to a new level.
by Skip Cohen...and Brian Palmer
Sunday Morning Reflections have ALWAYS been about something other than business, and this morning is no exception. I was thinking about what to write about when I noticed an IM from Brian Palmer about an old post he recently ran across. It became the perfect topic for today...the importance and roots of our most special friendships.
Here's the short backstory: In 2009, I resigned from Rangefinder Magazine and WPPI. While everyone thought I was nuts, I couldn't have been happier...or nervous. It was a recession, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to be when I grew up! I left California for Akron, Ohio. Sheila and I found a great house to rent together, but I knew nobody in the area.
Catching up to photographers online, I met a local artist, Brain Palmer. I'm the biggest lunch slut in photography, so we met for lunch. That kicked off a fantastic friendship that, ten years later, is still something Sheila and I cherish. Brian attended a couple of Skip's Summer Schools, and we got together socially with his wife Perla and daughter Sara.
At Skip's Summer School in 2010, Brian grabbed the shot above of Sheila and me. He sent me a print which has been in a frame on my desk all these years - it's one of my favorites of the two of us.
Meanwhile, Brian and his family moved to Tokyo, but we've never lost touch, thanks to social media. Today he lives in Melbourne, Australia, and this morning he ran across his post about the image, which he shared in September of 2010. I never saw it, but it's perfect for sharing today.
We're all fighting to keep our sanity through the pandemic and eight months of being hunkered down. But, hunkering down is about your health - it's about hiding from germs, NOT friends. Brian and I caught up a little on an IM this morning. Just a few IMs back and forth, but from the smile on my face and Sheila's when I told her about catching up to Brian, you'd think I'd won the lottery.
I wish all of you a day that keeps you in touch with great friends and memories that remind you that no matter where you are in the world - thanks to technology - you're NEVER really alone. And to Brian's point in his guest post today - you don't always need eye contact to capture a moment that's special to your subject.
Brian, Perla, and Sara - we sure do miss you guys! And you might be in Australia, but the world's getting to be a tiny place, thanks to social media. Thanks for catching up this morning - can't wait for the day we can figure out how to get beyond the pandemic and get together in person.
Happy Sunday, everybody. Make it a day worth remembering.
by Brian Palmer (Posted September, 2010)
As some of you know Perla and I were at Skip's Summer School this past August, which was an amazing experience, hosted by Skip Cohen. In addition to the speakers presentations there was a breakout session where Skip, Tony Corbell, Clay Blackmore, Scott Bourne, and Bambi Cantrell were having a Q&A session with anyone who wanted to participate.
As the session was winding down Skip & his wife, Shelia, turned in and I decided to play the photojournalist and capture a few moments of them leaving. Here is one I captured of them on the escalators.
I still cannot believe they didn't see me sneaking along behind them, as I was shooting with a 24-70mm so I didn't have a lot of reach. Would this had been a better shot with Skip and Shelia facing me? Maybe. But not interrupting that moment, regardless of what it was, will, in the long run, mean more to them than a posed straight on capture. This is in no way saying posed and camera aware captures do not have meaning, because they do, just as much and more just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This write up is only a comparison between the two. Just food for thought.
**Word of advice - be careful when laying on the ground next at the top of an escalator! The edges are sharp.
by Skip Cohen
I recently found a series of posts I'd written many years ago, and this one hit me as being just as relevant today, as it was back then. In fact, it might be more relevant today, since the pandemic has us talking and sharing more online.
I love it when somebody tells me, "I want to share something with you, but you've got to keep it just between us!" I smile and usually say, "If you're really uncomfortable, don't tell me, but be assured nothing ever gets passed on." I'm proud of the fact I've never passed any of those secrets on, but here's my point.
If you have something private and it would hurt somebody to repeat it, keep your mouth shut and keep it confidential. I know every time somebody tells me to "please keep it quiet," that I'm easily the 100th person who's been told. Add to the number of people who already heard the big secret before me; we're in an industry notorious for being way too inbred!
By inbred, I'm referring to the fact that everybody I know has at least one other company under their belt before whatever they're doing now. Use my own experience as an example. I started out working at Polaroid, then Hasselblad, followed by an Internet company and Rangefinder Publishing. At one point in the early '80s, at least five people from my Polaroid days worked at Fujifilm. While at Hasselblad, I wound up on the Board of the Center for Creative Photography. Who was chairman of the board? Peter Wensberg, past VP of Advertising at Polaroid.
Now, take anybody you know in the industry who's got a big secret and decides it's safe to tell just a handful of isolated people. Within a day or two, there might be hundreds who know about it, and even more damaging might be the consequences if word got out.
It's like playing the stages of the Kevin Bacon game. Take anybody who's been around more than ten years in photography, and I'm willing to bet you can connect them to almost anybody else in 3-4 stages.
So the moral of the story is, don't share your secrets unless you want them released. The best way to spread the news in the industry? Just tell somebody, "Please don't tell anybody but…"
This is what I like about photographs. They're proof that once,
even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.
by Skip Cohen
I've used that Jodi Picoult quote at least a dozen times, but I have yet to find one more appropriate when it comes to looking at photographs. Here's the short backstory:
Sheila and I moved to Florida in 2011. My Dad was 89, and although he had help, he was still alone most of the time, dealing with my mother's Alzheimer's. It was the one time in my life I could live anywhere there was a computer. Sheila supported the idea, and took an early retirement from Akron Children's Hospital. We got out of Ohio and moved to Sarasota, six miles away from my folks.
At least once a week, we'd take Mom out for ice cream, and she loved riding in the convertible. I had a Solara, which was perfect for her, Sheila, Dad, and a caregiver. The minute we got her into the car, she never stopped smiling.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, but NOT our ability to appreciate those moments that made us smile. And while everything wasn't "perfect" at the time, looking back, it's one of the moments that bring back the pure joy and blessing of having both my parents still around. I used to say; there aren't many guys my age with their parents still living, let alone parents I liked being with!
It's Throwback Thursday, and odds are you've got a little downtime - use it wisely and find a few old pictures that make you smile. It's a perfect break from the negativity that seems to surround us a little each day. And share those images on your blog - they're the ideal marketing tool to remind Mom it's time for a new family portrait. The pandemic hasn't slowed down the growth of the kids!
Intro by Chamira Young
Years from now when someone mentions 2020, it will undoubtedly conjure up foreboding images of masks, copious amounts of hand sanitizer...and of course, precious toilet paper! However, the year's not over yet, and there's still room to stuff it with as much creativity as safely possible! While it may currently require some modifications to your process (i.e. social distancing), there are still fun projects you can do to bust that pesky boredom during this slow season for your business.
In the article below, photographer Michael Schmitt shares how he is managing to stay creative and serve his community despite the pandemic. We love how he goes above and beyond while using his Tamron 35-150mm VC OSD zoom lens to take families’ portraits from the other side of their windows.
Check out the post below. We love the dedication of the Tamron team to bring you amazing lenses and inspiration to keep your creative juices flowing!
Reflections on a Pandemic
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Michael Schmitt
Like many of us, when commercial photographer Michael Schmitt found himself suddenly confined to his home in Portland, Oregon, due to the coronavirus pandemic, he also saw much of the work he’d had lined up for the next few months vanish. Instead, his time in lockdown has been spent taking long walks with his camera—“at least I’ve been able to scout for future locations to shoot”—and with his children, an eighth-grader and high school senior, having longer meals and discussions together and expanding on the kids’ life skills. “Our boys are learning how to cook more than they ever knew how to,” he says.
Then one afternoon in mid-March, Michael was working in his yard when he happened to catch a glimpse of his son in the house, through a window. “That was the first weekend after school had been canceled,” he says. “We didn’t yet have a shelter-in-place mandate, but we were just starting to go into isolation mode. I happened to spot my son, with the reflection of my wife outside caught in the window, and I thought, ‘That would make a really cool image.’”
Michael decided to take other photos like that, but though he’d initially planned to photograph just his own family and some neighbors as a way to document this time in history in Portland, locals soon got wind of the project. “I’ve now photographed about 35 families,” he says. “And I’m not asking for payment for these portraits. This is a way for me to give something to people to remember this time by, as well as a way for me to stay creative while I’m not officially working.”
The Tamron 35-150mm VC OSD portrait zoom was the lens Michael opted to use for this project. “The color and definition quality this lens offers gives my images a timeless quality, which is exactly the look I’m going for,” he says. “That, in addition to the wide range of focal lengths at my disposal, plus the Vibration Compensation feature that allows me to shoot handheld without having to bump up the ISO too much, has made this the perfect lens for what I’m trying to capture with these images.”
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.
Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially just be yourself...
Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday, and for those of you who regularly follow me, you already know I step away from business and marketing topics. Sunday Morning Reflections is often about things in our lives outside of imaging.
Most of the pandemic challenges over the last eight months have been negative and difficult to adjust to, but there's one change that's been fun - being more active in social media. I won't deny that nothing replaces LIVE human contact, but at least keeping in touch has been possible, primarily through Facebook. I'm online more than I've ever been, and in the process, I discovered a private group I've grown to really appreciate.
In a previous post, I wrote briefly about a group, "If You Grew Up in Painesville, Ohio You Remember..." It's my home town, and they're 12,200+ strong. I'm not sure how I found them, but it's been a kick to read the posts and share the love and memories we have for growing up in a small town in Ohio.
As I've shared the old photographs and backstories to the images above, there's another side benefit. It's like the six degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon game, I've connected with people from my childhood...
Over the last month I've shared old photographs, as well as photographs of contemporary events, like the summer Friday night car shows in the town square I've taken when up north on visits. Each time the response has opened the door to new conversations and things in the community so many of us remember.
The bottom line is the pandemic, combined with social media, has made the world a smaller place. I've been heavily active in social media for the last couple of decades, but almost always related to business or friends in the industry. Stepping back into my hometown and sharing memories is incredibly uplifting, but it's also pointed out the obvious, we really are all connected.
Wishing everybody a day to appreciate how connected we are to each other. Take the time to kick back and just chill. Don't let the negativity in the world through your front door - it'll still be there tomorrow! And if you want to have some fun, take a walk down Memory Lane - we can never go back, but we can look back and cherish our roots!
And to old friends and new ones from my hometown - what a kick it's been connecting. Looking forward to sharing so many more memories - now if somebody can just get the recipe for a pizza from Angelo's!
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
If there was ever a promotion with perfect timing on a necessity this holiday season, it's Marathon's BOGO on holiday cards that just launched!
Here's why this is more important for your business than ever before:
For the last eight months, everyone's world has been at a virtual standstill. You've been hunkered down, business disappeared, and has just recently started to pick up, and keeping in touch with clients for many of you has been limited. That makes this holiday season especially crucial for revenue, as well as for your clients. Everyone is dealing with the same challenges, regardless of what their business might be.
You've got an opportunity to meet the needs of your clients NOW. And while it might seem early to think about it, the timing is actually just right.
Here's your chance to start planting the seeds of ideas for holiday cards, and the importance of staying in touch with family and friends. It's a great product to offer your clients, but don't forget your own needs for your business.
If ever there was a holiday season where photography can play a significant role, 2020 is the year. And with Marathon's BOGO, you're cutting your cost in half and helping to increase the revenue stream.
Just click on the banner for more information. Don't miss the opportunity to help your customers connect with family and friends over this year's holiday season.
The pandemic may have moved the dates for ClickCon to August 10-13, 2021, but that's NOT slowing Team ClickCon down. ClickCon Nation launches this Sunday with nine months of programs!!!
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.