by Skip Cohen
Sometimes the magic of Throwback Thursday comes in the hunt! A month ago, I stumbled across a box in storage, and it was packed to the top with disks, most of them not marked. Every couple of weeks, I take it down off the shelf and pull 4-6 disks to review. Well, this morning I hit the motherlode!
The year is 2005, and it's WPPI. It was always too busy during the show to kick back and have a few drinks with friends. Plus, with so much going on I couldn't risk a hangover in the morning...but on the last night, all bets were off!
For some reason, no matter where the show was held, that last night was ALWAYS at Red Square the vodka bar at Mandalay Bay. For an absurd amount, when you bought a bottle, you could have a drink in the walk-in cooler toasting whatever made you smile, while wearing Russian attire and joined by a bust of Stalin covered in mock bird crap!
Throwback Thursday photographs ALWAYS have a story - In honor of everyone's good friend Julianne Kost, we picked a bottle of vodka called "Tall Blonde." We paid $350 for it, and 6-8 of us went into the cooler to make a toast. A week later, my buddy Bob Rose, in the white hat in the back, saw it in the liquor concession at Rochester Airport for $14!
Whether you share your throwbacks on your blog, or enjoy privacy on your trip down Memory Lane, make it a habit on Thursdays to search for old photographs. You'll never be disappointed with their ability to throw you into the time-machine.
What you'll find is a fun change from the usual work you need to get done. You'll also be reminded of the importance of photography and capturing memories. Even a couple of blurry grab-shots serve a purpose in the fun of looking back at those priceless moments in our lives.
And, to whoever gave me a disk marked "Red Square" in the spring of 2005 - thank you!
There's an incredible amount of helpful content on the WestcottU site. And it's all FREE.
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I found the perfect piece of inspiration and support for a lot of you! Scrolling through, I found a topic that speaks to the help, so many of you need - product lighting. Now, before you roll your eyes, and suggest I don't know what I'm talking about because you don't do product shots and you're not a filmmaker.
Let's use wedding photographers as an example. I love going through the list of specialties to find out what everyone in each of my workshops is doing. When I ask about tabletop work, there are almost no hands that ever go up. Yet, wedding photographers have the toughest of all table-shots to get - the wedding take. And, what if the bride is using her great-grandmother's engraved cake knife and she wants the detail?
Then there are those of you who like to share product shots on your blogs as both still images and video. For example, coming up to this year's holiday season, you want to show a new frame line, albums or presentation boxes from a company like PhotoFlashDrive. (Note, I love their products to completely upgrade your client presentations!) You need to show these products with the same professional look you're working hard to achieve in all your work.
Tips for Capturing Tabletop and Product B-roll
This video was inspired by seeing how some of our favorite content creators have been using Flex LED mats in their production workflows. Whether doing an unboxing or creating a cooking channel, compact Flex light are awesome for creating a professional set even in the tightest of spaces. For this setup, we used a few Flex LED lights along with a variety of modifiers to create multiple lighting setups for a standard tabletop b-roll shoot. But before we got started, there were a few things we needed to prepare…
After we got our environment ready, it was time to begin placing our lights. When shooting tabletop b-roll, there were a few questions we had to keep in mind while setting up.
These things will typically be determined by the products that you’re shooting. If the items are extremely shiny, dark, or reflective, you’ll need to be aware of reflections as well. Shooting with a monitor is extremely helpful in this case, allowing you to see the finer details. Here, we were shooting on an A7III with HLG2 into an Atomos recorder using Kit and Gamma Assist.
For the shot above, we placed a Flex 1x1' Bi-Color mat in a China Cube overhead. This created a very soft key light. We used blocks on each side of the cube to flag the light off of the background and edges of the table, keeping the focus on the products. This light was set at 4500k.
Then, we added an edge light and back light to add some contrast. The back light, a Flex 1x1' RGBW set to a bright blue tone, was softened with a hard diffuser and mounted below the the table with a QR Mount. We placed an egg-crate grid on this light to really direct it onto the wall. This light reflected back onto our products slightly, acting as a subtle edge light.
Don't forget everything you buy, when connecting to any product from an SCU blog post or through the door to Westcott below puts 10% of your purchases in the funding for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. As a Westcott affiliate, SCU keeps no commission but for the rest of this year, directs it to one of the industry's most recognized nonprofits.
Westcott never slows down on their efforts to help photographers raise the bar on their skill set and capture the very best in imaging. And, their YouTube channel is packed with great content plus a never-ending flow of inspiration on the WestcottU site!
by Skip Cohen
If you've followed my posts for the last year or so, then the name Robert Vanelli won't be new to you. Attend just about any convention, and you'll find him walking the trade show, teaching or networking. He's a powerhouse and certainly not new to SCU. We've shared several of his images, and our adventures together have been highlighted in several blog posts.
He's an author, educator, podcaster, filmmaker, photographer and a good friend to so many of us in the industry. He's also one of those people who you meet, and a few months later you can't remember when he WASN'T in your life! "Vanelli" needs to be on your radar. Click on his image above to link to his website, and if you're looking for his podcasts and articles, they're at Photofocus.com - just a click away.
Recently he was shooting with Tamron's SP 35mm lens. When I saw the image above, I knew it had to be shared on Tamron Tuesday. He captured the image with a Nikon D810, the Tamron 35mm F/1.8 Di VC US lens. The exposure triad was f6.3 @ 1/50 ISO 800. It was all natural light and shot in aperture priority.
The model is Amber Intelisano, photographed at Tank America in Melbourne, Florida.
Tamron never slows down in the quality of their manufacturing and today is making some of the very finest optics in imaging! See the entire product line with a visit to the Tamron dealer nearest you.
For more information on this remarkable piece of glass, click the banner below.
It's Marketing Monday and the perfect time to remind you of one of the greatest self-destruct actions you can create: SHOWING MEDIOCRE/BAD IMAGES on your website and blog.
While there are a few thoughts in today's post out of the archives, there are still too many of you who just don't get it! Your galleries aren't about how much you can photograph, but how good you are as an artist.
Just for a second, pretend to be a business owner outside your own career. Would you expect to be successful selling inferior products? A dry cleaner couldn't survive with clients returning things only partially clean. A gas station wouldn't make it, short-changing customers with "almost a gallon" measurements. Your favorite restaurant wouldn't survive long with lousy food. I can see the tag line now, "Only a small chance you'll get sick!"
It doesn't matter what the product or service; people have to believe you're the best. With photography, they get a sneak preview by visiting your online galleries. That's why you've got them - to show people what you can do! Knowing then how important your galleries are, why are some of you still not cleaning them up? Why show an image you wouldn't buy yourself?
Then there's the other extreme; showing images that aren't yours! Fortunately, it's happening less and less these days, but it's a madness that needs to stop. If it's not your work, then don't show it!
And one more level of madness that comes out of workshops and conferences - using images you've taken in a workshop. I'm not against working with models to build your portfolio. I'm also not against taking things you've learned in a workshop and creating new images for your galleries and portfolio. What I am against is using that shot you got as you stood behind the instructor, while he/she was teaching. You piggy-backed off of somebody else's expertise. It's not your work, even if you did click the shutter.
There's only one way to build your business, and it's all about building your skill set. It's about directing your passion for imaging into your quest for quality. So, here's a suggestion for your galleries.
Take the time to review your website. Look at the images you're showing. Every photograph should be a "wow" print. That means if this was the only image you could show, you'd get hired!
This is a career field based on quality: Quality in your images, your relationships with your clients and the way you do business. Don't let yourself get caught up in the argument about showing lots of pictures just to fill up space. If an image isn't good enough, don't show it. Make visiting your galleries a great experience!
Vince Lombardi said it best,
"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."
Make your commitment to excellence and never compromise!
Cusi Taylor is a Panasonic LUMIX Ambassador and since it's "Mirrorless Monday," I was wandering through cyberspace when I came across this image. She wrote:
This composite was made using several images taken with both the GX8 and the G9 - my two favorite Lumix bodies. I love doing creative things with my photography!
(The Comicare volunteer goes by AZ_Spiderman on Instagram, if you'd like to see more of him in action!)
As much as "Mirrorless Monday" posts are about gear, they're also about raising awareness for community events. This photograph is of a Comicare volunteer, and up until this morning, I hadn't heard of Comicare.
Cusi also wrote:
Comicare is a group of volunteer cosplayers here in Arizona who collect donated comic books and deliver them (while in full costume) to kids in the hospital. It is a fantastic organization.
If you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time you know I'm a big fan of giving back to the community. I love it when photography and giving back combine forces and create an increased awareness of events, organizations, or simply people helping people. Find out more about Comicare with a click on the banner below.
Interested in finding out more about two of Cusi's favorite cameras? Just click on either thumbnail above. And, check out Cusi and the rest of the LUMIX Ambassador team. They're one of the most diverse groups of artists and educators in photography, and they're all just a click away!
Image copyright Will Cadena. All rights reserved.
When I started this series, it was to introduce you to some of the most talented and passionate artists in contemporary photography. However, with today's post, we're adding to that goal and introducing you to a wonderful nonprofit organization as well, HeartsApart.org.
Will Cadena is in the spotlight, and our growing friendship is a testimonial to social media and the importance of attending conferences. He's no stranger to SCU, and as a Westcott Pro, I shared one of his videos at the beginning of this month. Will needs to be on your radar. Just click the image above to link to his website.
We were both teaching at ClickCon August 5-7. That's where we had a chance to meet in person, but I also got to watch him teach on the trade show floor in the Westcott booth. *Poof* and there it is, one of the most significant reasons to attend workshops, conferences and conventions - it's how you build your network; meeting other artists. Watching Will work you couldn't help but recognize his passion for the craft!
Now, let's go one step further - the importance of giving back. I've got a particular soft spot for anything dealing with the military, but regardless, the connection and respect we should all share is without question. I've shared the link back to HeartsApart.org many times in the past, but here it is again. Just click on their banner at the bottom of the page.
Regardless of what nonprofit you choose to support, it's important to give back. Will comments about how important that is in the podcast.
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
Meanwhile, a big thanks to Westcott for the unofficial introduction to Will through WestcottU; ClickCon for creating a venue where I could meet Will along with hundreds of other photographers; and HeartsApart.org for helping our servicemen and women stay connected to what they're fighting for - their families and our freedom.
"Why?" is brought to you by...
Technology never slows down, especially when it comes to communication. Texting is growing at an incredible rate and with it your ability to reach potential clients faster, and often with the information they're looking for. Texting technology is expanding your ability as a professional photographer to build relationships with more potential customers, your current base of clients and increase revenue.
It's Sunday morning and if you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time you know "Reflections" is all about going off-track from business, marketing and technique. I love that time you've allowed me to take to share what's bouncing around in my head, no matter what the topic.
This morning I'm in one of those how-did-I-get-here moments. Every day we're given choices of doors to walk through. Each door comes in the form of emails, phone calls, text messages, forum threads on Facebook with other photographers and conferences/workshops we can attend.
If I look back on my life, it's always been without very much direction. I've never known what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was a kid, if you asked me, I thought it was clever to say "Peter Pan" and never grow up. We all have to grow up - but that doesn't mean we can't have fun in the process. My vote is walk through every door you can find time to open, and you'll be amazed at where each new path takes you!
Here's are some examples:
Here's my point - we all have a choice to make every day - be involved or be a couch potato, or I suppose more accurately put - an office/studio potato. You can't grow as an artist or for that matter a member of the human race if you don't get out of the house!
You need to attend every event you possibly can. Build your network of associates and friends. You never know when that person you're talking to on the elevator needs a little help or is going to help you. You need to be at every conference you possibly can attend: PPE in New York, IUSA in Nashville, SYNC in Florida, WPPI in Las Vegas, PhotoShop World in Orlando and Las Vegas, ShutterFest in St. Louis and ClickCon in Chicago. (Note: 2020 dates are not announced yet for all of these shows.) Then there are state and regional shows all year long.
And, for those of you who think you can't afford to go to so many shows - you can't afford NOT to! With each conference you attend you're going to experience a growth spurt and you never know what door might open next.
If over the next twelve months, you met new people at each conference and took at least one class outside your comfort zone - think about how much you'd raise the bar on your skillset. As your skillset and network grow - your life changes. It becomes richer and opportunities you never thought about become a part of your life.
So, how did I get here? It's a long list of events and great people. I wake up smiling every morning, never knowing what the day ahead is going to bring. In that group of great people are all of you, my readership. As I've written dozens of times in the past - the best thing about this industry is the friendships. The second best thing is where those friendships have the potential to take us.
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday. I hope the day is one of peace, love, and friendships. Go for those eleven-second hugs and take a minute to think about the people most important to you - how did they come into your life?
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're hanging out on the other side of the planet!
In January 2018 we kicked off the year with a great podcast series, sharing insight into the business and marketing of photography with some of the most respected artists in the world. The sponsor for the series, while liking the concept, decided they wanted to do something different on their own in 2019, and the series was put on the back-burner.
Working together with my co-host Chamira Young, we decided recently it was time to bring back the series and "Beyond Technique" is off the back-burner. And the heats turned up to HIGH with great guests and insights that go well beyond the business of photography.
This week Kevin Kuster joined us with some incredible insight into how his career has progressed and the importance of giving back. "Watt's of Love" is changing people's lives, and in the process Kevin Kuster's ability to be a phenomenal storyteller is in the spotlight. As I said in my intro on the podcast - "He's changing the world one light at a time!"
And if you missed our first podcast in the relaunch of the series, check out our podcast with Gareth Rockliffe. Just click on the banner above. This episode is clearly beyond technique!
Catching up on a phone call a couple of months ago, Gareth mentioned an idea he's had about the spirituality of imaging as it blends in with the way we live our lives.
"We start our lives in "P" mode, and as we get older, we spend the rest of our lives trying to get out of it!"
As kids, we're all pretty much put through the same process. We're given a foundation to live our lives by including always coloring within the lines. As we get older, we start to pursue other interests, ideas, and ways to live our lives. As we gain more experience, we also challenge the system, often coloring outside the lines.
Gareth is a talented artist and writer. I hope as his conversation did with Chamira and me, he'll get you thinking about how to enrich your life and take more time to step out of "P" mode!
A big thanks to Photofocus.com for the platform to share great insight provided by these terrific artists. Check out all of the podcasts on Photofocus - you'll never be disappointed!
by Skip Cohen
In February last year, I had an idea - a weekly series to help you fine-tune your business and marketing skills. I chose to write them fresh each week to give you content that was based on things I had noticed during the previous week. Well, here we are eighteen months later, and I think I've only missed two to three Fridays in the series.
There's a never-ending flow of topics all thanks to interactions I have with so many of you throughout the week via the Internet, phone and here and there in person. Each post in the series has hit on a topic most of you need to pay more attention to.
As I've written many times in the past, as right-brain artists, so many of you ignore the operational and marketing side of the business. Well, there are no Success Fairies who are going to come into your business in the middle of the night and boost sales, clients, or revenue. It's strictly up to you! Take a scroll through all the past "blue-plate" specials from the SCU Diner, and you'll find ideas to help you thrive in 2019 and not just survive!
The chefs in the kitchen today have put together an incredibly filling lunch special, critical to your success - the care and feeding of your network!
I hate quoting politicians, but Hillary Clinton gets credit for the "It takes a village" line. Your network is one of your most valuable tools for success. Sadly, too many of you meet somebody, talk for a few minutes, exchange business cards or transmit data to each other and then *poof* you do nothing to keep in touch!
The Care and Feeding of Your Network
I know it sounds hokey, but the analogy here is no different than a plant in your home. It needs water, light, fertilizer, and a pot big enough so it can grow. Your network is no different. There are so many ways to keep in touch and invest the necessary time to build relationships.
Building relationships is your greatest marketing tool! And as Scott Stratten says in his book "UnMarketing," stop marketing and start engaging!
Now let's hit a few ideas to help you care for your network!
A strong network needs to be more than just a fully loaded roll-a-dex. (I admit it - I'm an old fart and proud of it! Right about now there are too many of you who don't know what a roll-a-dex is/was. Before cell phones and email addresses, it's how we kept track of everybody in our networks!)
I'm right back to where I started this post, "It takes a village!" So, give your village the support it needs and be there to help people in your network because they're going to your best resource when you need help!
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
It's the first anniversary of my first Performance EXT Metal print! It's been outside in the sun, heat, and rain for a solid year. It's been bumped by friends with backpacks and even knocked off the wall a couple of times, and it hasn't shown one sign of aging or fading. (Note: what might look like fading in the photograph above is strictly the reflection of furniture and the frame of the pool cage.)
And besides loving Bay Photo's products and quality, there's a more significant reason for me to be sharing this today. All of you are looking for ways to make your work different. You're looking for ways to be a stronger competitor and always in need of products that are different.
I'm pretty proud of my sunset image from Nokomis Beach. Having a print like this outside makes it a conversation piece. Now, think about all your clients - everybody has a porch, patio or lanai.
Justin and Mary Marantz refer to that one incredibly unique image they always try and get at a wedding as "Shooting for the silver frame." Well, I'm suggesting with each family sitting you consider shooting for an outdoor print. In terms of your own images, how about a print on your back porch from that last vacation? Photography doesn't have to be exclusive to the indoor environment!
Need to see more prints and learn more about Performance EXT Metal prints? Suzzette Allen and husband Jonny are about to hit the road for an educational tour that's going to top the charts in programming and Bay Photo is a partner. Just click on the link below for more information: so that you can catch up to them during their travels.
I've written a lot over the years about being one of the luckiest guys in the industry. Part of that feeling comes from the talented friends I have who are some of the most skilled artists in the world.
Helen Yancy created the image above, and we're rolling back the clock to around 2002. It's my grandson and me on a beach in New England, and the water was cold. What better gift to get your grandson than his first wetsuit? I was never big on the watercolor look - that was until Helen took a 4x6 CVS print and turned into one of my most favorite pieces of art. Matted and framed it became a never-ending favorite in our home for many years.
The second image is by Bambi Cantrell and would have been around 2003. We were living in California when Bambi spent some time photographing my family. I found this 4x6 tucked between the pages of a book recently, which points out my need to do a better job of practicing what I preach. Photographs are everywhere and I need to get organized.
I have no excuse, except to point out that being in the industry with so many friends who have captured images of my life over the years, plus my own images - they're everywhere! Pull any box out of storage, regardless of what it says on the outside, and odds are you'll find a couple of stray photographs.
Sadly, I'm not close to my kids these days, but that doesn't change the value of the great memories and the fun of taking a stroll down Memory Lane. But there's another sidebar here...the importance of printing images. Both were initially captured on film and without these prints who knows where my memories would be stashed!
Six years ago Michele Celentano wrote "I Believe," and shared it with everybody at Skip's Summer School, that year in Chicago. Consider this a bonus this morning in a sort of triple throwback as I share Michele's "I Believe" statement together with two of my favorite old photographs. And, she's given all of you the rights to plagiarize away and use it with your own client presentations.
Why? First, because she's Michele Celentano and that's what she does. LOL Second, and more important is the need for everyone to educate their clients on the importance of printed images. While some of you will think I'm an alarmist, the truth is we have no idea what technology is going to do to our ability to look at photographs in the future.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Michele Celentano
I believe in photography - but more than that I believe in photographs. Printed photographs are tangible. We can hold on to them, pass them around, frame them and hang them on a wall. We can make albums to be treasured and looked through by children for years to come.
We can’t touch a file and the truth is we don’t know the longevity of a file or if we will even be able to find it someday. A digital file is a bit of a mystery - if it’s lost, where did it go. If a drive is damaged what happens to the files? How many people truly back up all their images?
What happened to disc cameras, eight track tapes, Walkman's and other technology we thought would last forever? What will our children be looking at in 20 or 30 years? Photographs are special - files are not!
I believe in printing my work professionally. I believe my work is more than a screen saver. Years of studying and perfecting my craft comes down to more than sending files via the internet.
The photographs I create for my clients are not only precious to my clients but they are precious to me. It is my work, a lifetime of work that deserves to be printed.
Photographs are passed on to children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a floppy disk, a DVD or a flash drive sitting in a frame representing your family portraits?
Like many photographers I have struggled with bending to the needs or wants of a clientele that is looking for files. But this is what I discovered over the last year - It makes me uncomfortable in the center of my gut to hand over digital files no matter the price. Clients have told me that the DVD is still sitting on a desk and they should have had me make the prints in the first place because they never have time to get to it.
I wonder about those files that were sold.... How were they printed? Did the client crop it too tight? Is the color correct? Did they attempt to alter the image? It troubles me because I put so much of myself into my work. And, I have to wonder... am I really acting as a professional and serving my client the best way I know how to by simply selling intangible files that may never be printed?
For some, it’s easy.... take some photos, edit them, burn them on a disk or flash-drive and make a few bucks. I don’t and can’t operate that way - I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations that might have no photographs because I wanted to make fast and easy money selling files.
I’m taking a stand! I am a photographer! I am without a doubt passionate about creating photographs - real pictures - printed on professional papers - and made into beautiful albums. I want your children, their children, my children and future grandchildren looking at and holding onto photographs not the latest greatest gadget.
It has taken deep soul searching, a lot of thought and time to define the value of my work. I am taking a stand against selling files and taking a strong stand for printing my photographs.
If being a business owner and photographer today means the current market will force me to sell files not photographs and to compromise my work and my values - well then, I’m out.
But, that won’t happen! I know it won’t because I know there are people and clients who value my work, understand and respect the value I have placed on my work and actually want photographs.
I am Michele Celentano , a professional photographer - I believe in and value photography and the images we leave for our children. My work and your portraits will be professionally printed to my standards, they will be available to frame and look at in albums...
The portraits I create for you will not become a part of your screen saver slide show. I have worked too hard and taken too much pride in my work for that to happen. I will not take the risk that in 20 years we will be a generation of lost photographs.
There I stand!
by Skip Cohen
It's "Wednesdays with Westcott," and I love the creativity/inspiration shared non-stop on Westcott's YouTube channel and on the WestcottU website. This one I particularly like because it's tied in a DIY level of creativity, and gives you complete control over the results depending on the textures you add to the plexiglass and the way you set up your lights.
Westcott never slows down in their efforts to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images. In this under two-minute video they take you through each step in the process, planting the seed for an infinite number of ways you can change the look of your portraits, starting with a piece of plexiglass. Just click on the banner below to watch the video.
And remember, everything you purchase through the SCU Gateway to Westcott's website helps one of the industry's most respected non-profits, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. SCU is a Westcott affiliate but we do not keep the 10% commission - it's all going to NILMDTS through the end of this year.
So, need lighting gear or accessories? Check out Westcott's extensive product line through the door below!
Need a little inspiration? There's so much available at WestcottU and it's just a click away!
Image copyright Paolo Cascio. All rights reserved.
I'm a big believer in the role fate plays in this industry. We all share a love for various aspects of the craft and as our paths cross, we grow, fed by each other's enthusiasm and love for imaging, people and memories. I've shared one of my favorite quotes many times over the years:
"I am a part of all that I have met!"
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Everybody we meet and talk with becomes a part of who we are. That's the story behind my growing friendship with Paolo Cascio. We met at ClickCon earlier this month when he sat in on my "Midnight Madness" class. We talked briefly that night and just seemed to hit it off. His passion for the craft is infectious. He's one of those people who the minute he starts talking about photography; you know you want to hang out with him.
Yesterday we caught up to each other for a long phone conversation about a project he's working on. He wants to capture the stories of the remaining survivors of the USS Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor, taking with it almost half of the fatalities that horrible day. With my Dad being a member of "the greatest generation," and serving in the Asia/Pacific, the events at Pearl Harbor are what pulled him and thousands of others into the war.
I wanted to share Paolo's story because it hits on so many important topics. First, the friendship that's kicked off for the two of us is a perfect example of why you should attend every possible conference you can work into your schedule. You never know what's going to come out of a chance meeting and talking with somebody new.
Second, most of you are developing your skillset to be more than just photographers - you're working to be artists and storytellers. There's a difference between capturing images and learning how to put them together to tell a story. And, there's even more skill involved in developing a story people want to watch, talk about, or listen to.
Third, no matter what your specialty in photography is, special projects are critical to your growth and creativity. You need to pick up your camera now and then for something other than paying your mortgage. You need to capture images you're passionate about just to feed your soul. It sounds a little exaggerated, but it's the best way to keep your flame of passion for the craft on high!
I hope you'll watch this video about Paolo's journey. Anton Lorimer is no stranger to SCU and the way he's worked with SmugMug Films to tell Paolo's story is remarkable. Pay close attention to Paolo's narrative; the images and video clips chosen, and especially the way it all comes together in a project that's become a big part of Paolo's heart.
And to Paolo and SmugMug Films - thanks making this story available and even better - my Dad passed away four years ago. Thanks for the smile you're putting on his face right now, telling a piece of his story.
Images copyright Voortex Productions. All rights reserved.
“Two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is that to go on living I have to tell stories,
that stories are the one sure way I know to touch the heart and change the world.”
by Skip Cohen
I love starting each Tamron Recipe with a quote that points out some unique characteristic of our "Chef." Well, it only took a few minutes to find a statement that describes Chef Charley Voorhis. He's a passionate storyteller, explorer, and adventurer. He's always focused on finding ways to expand the viewer's understanding of a subject via his filmmaking and still images. And, like the quote above he touches our hearts and changes the world one frame at a time.
A few weeks ago, I was able to sit in on one of Charley's workshops at ClickCon in Chicago. As he talked about the essential elements of a story, I couldn't help but notice that distinctive look you see on an artist's face when they're in the groove. Talking about filmmaking is all part of Charley's persona, and as an educator, he's entirely focused on the importance of the power of a great story when told in a film.
The short video below about Charley's company, Voortex Productions, says it all...
"We believe in the power of stories!"
Besides his love for imaging and storytelling, another quality immediately comes out in any conversation with Charley - he's a team player. While the videos he shares are deeply rooted in his visions, it's his crew that helps him turn them into reality. Together they've written some of the best stories in imaging!
And check out the entire Tamron family of outstanding glass with a visit to your Authorized USA Dealer. Just click on the banner above to find the dealer nearest you!
While most of the work shared in the Voortex Productions portfolio are video projects and campaigns, their Instagram and Facebook pages show more about their diversity and expertise. I pulled a few of my favorite still images, but check out their videos and pay close attention to the way they tell each client's story! Click on any image below to visit Voortex Productions.
All images copyright Voortex Productions. All rights reserved.
It's Marketing Monday and while the topic might seem more appropriate for a photographer just getting started, the challenge of "analysis paralysis" hits all of us at different times, and for various reasons! New technology, keeping up with the trends in social media and consumer communication can be just as overwhelming to a veteran in business as they are to a rookie!
There's a growing, incredibly active new Facebook community following the successful launch of ClickCon in Chicago this month. The excitement combined with a perpetual state of "where-the-hell-do-I-start syndrome is definitely bogging a few of you down. In fact, after every conference, people seem to get stressed over how much they need to learn or change.
At the same time, there are a lot of confused artists who simply don't know where to start. And, instead of jumping in with both feet, they're caught in the confusion of what to do next. They procrastinate, and all the excitement of what they learned at the conference gets put in that imaginary shoebox of ideas and kicked under the bed!
It's time to put an end to analysis paralysis and take action. It's not that difficult if you follow my lead:
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
Here's my point this morning...stop procrastinating, because the longer you ponder on where you should start, the more you're letting the stress of change build a wall between you and your dreams!
There is no "Success Fairy" who's going to come in the middle of the night, put a little magic under your pillow, and raise the bar on your skill set. You're the only one who can focus on what steps to take next.
"If you wait for all the lights to turn green, you'll never get started on your journey!"
When I was asked to speak at ClickCon months ago, I suggested doing something a little different. For everyone who was in any of my programs, I'm doing a follow-up online on September 9 at 8:00 - 9:00 PM CST. How to access will be announced in the "ClickCon Social" forum on Facebook.
And, if we need to go longer, I'll be there. My goal is to help you stay on point on things you need to do to grow your business, but I'm also going to touch on a new topic - becoming your own publicity machine. Stay tuned to the Facebook ClickCon Social group for information as we get closer.
And, if this goes well and there's interest, we'll looking at opening it up to everyone and expanding on the topic list.
It's "Mirrorless Monday," and Shiv Verma is no stranger to SCU. We've shared a lot of his images over the last few years, but there's something about the beautiful softness of this image he posted a few months back that I wanted to share today.
It's called "Echoing Curves," and it was captured with the new full-frame mirrorless, S1R and 24-105mm lens.
One of the things I love about the way Shiv shares many of his images is each photograph is a mini-lesson in technique. With this image, he added: A Benro filter holder with a 3 stop ND, a polarizer and a 3 stop soft edge grad was used for this image. The lens was at 35mm and the exposure triad: f/8, 8 sec, ISO 100.
If Shiv isn't already on your radar, he should be. Follow him and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. You'll find them speaking/teaching at LUMIX retailers and conventions all over the U.S. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in professional photography. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
Check out the complete S1R and LUMIX S 24-105mm lens with a click on either of the very short videos below.
I'm back in Florida, and it's a typical Sunday morning. I'm up early and Sheila's still asleep, and I'm in a strange mood trying to find the words to express a particular kind of sadness. Remember, "Sunday Morning Reflections" are always off the topic of photography, and this morning I'm a long way away from marketing and business.
Friday night the phone rang and a good buddy was calling me to tell me his wife had passed away that morning. I started to tear up, but did my best to try and console him. I hung up the phone and cried, not just for the loss of a great lady, but for the pain he's going through and I'm too far away to do very much.
I hate when people post things that are personal, but this is "Reflections." So, I'm going into forbidden territory, but I'll keep it brief.
I met Bob Thompson when I joined Hasselblad in 1987. Our friendship has been one adventure after another, and his wife Cindy supported all of it. We used to laugh every time we did a scuba trip, because Cindy wouldn't let him go until he cleaned his office! She wasn't big on traveling but the two photographs I found of them were on a trip to Sweden in 1998.
The Hasselblad sales force won a trip to Sweden, with spouses, and it was a kick to have Cindy and all the spouses with us. Years later we're still laughing about some of the things that happened on that trip, but that's not my point so much this morning.
Our friendships are the mortar that keeps the bricks of our lives together. From scuba-diving to snowmobiling to working trade shows, meetings, and sharing a love for imaging, Bob and I have been through a lot of great times together. We've spent hours talking about our lives outside the industry and shared mutual losses of good friends and associates, but losing Cindy was never something I anticipated and I'm simply at a loss.
I know she's going to be watching over him along with a circle of good friends. A few years ago, while they were still living in Denver, Sheila and I got out to dinner with them. It was non-stop laughs for the evening and those memories are something we'll always cherish.
So, for my good buddy this morning, I have to use a quote from the Internet:
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. "
There's no better caption for the photographs in this post today, than Jodi Picoult's quote I've used so often:
"This what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect."
Wishing everybody a day filled with the people most important in your life and time to appreciate them. Those eleven-second hugs are always important, but this morning when Sheila wakes up I'm going bump them up to longer. Life is just too short!
Happy Sunday everybody.
Going back twenty years ago, these letters were a lot more fun to receive via snail mail. Always from Nigeria, and if nothing else the stamps were fun to collect. The letters always went home with somebody from the office for their kids.
Well, there's simply no place we can hide. Sooner or later they find us, but at least it was in my spam folder. This morning's email below could be one of my most favorites, and certainly deserves points for creativity!
I NEVER respond, but if I was, Sheila suggested the following:
Dear Mr. Braunwalder, Mrs. Virgie Brown is correct. I died in a car accident last week. Please send her all funds that were due me!
Just keeping it light on a rainy Saturday morning in Florida. Wishing everybody a great weekend!
I am Mr. Braunwalder Garland of IMF Head Office.
Your email appeared among the beneficiaries, who will receive a part-payment of your contractual sum of 6.5 Million US Dollars and has been approved already for months. You are requested to get back to me
for more direction and instruction on how to receive your fund.
However, we received an email from one Mrs. Virgie Brown who told us that she is your next of kin and that you died in a car accident last week. She has also submitted her account for us to transfer the fund
to her. We want to hear from you before we can make the transfer to confirm if you are dead or not.
Please in confirmation that you are still alive, you are advised to reconfirm the below listed information to enable us facilitate an immediate payment for you.
1 Your full names
2 Your present contact address.
3 Your telephone & Fax numbers.
4 Your Occupations/age/sex.
5 Your Private E mail Address.
Once again, I apologize to you on behalf of IMF (International Monetary Funds) for failure to pay your funds in time, which according to records in the system had been long overdue.
Mr. Braunwalder Garland
Every time we think we're out of new "blue-plate" specials in the SCU kitchen, another topic comes along. This one is all thanks to questions that came up at ClickCon earlier this month from new professional photographers. It starts with developing your skillset, but then comes the biggest challenge of all - building brand awareness, or quite simply getting your name out there!
Remember why I started this series - to give you ideas to build a stronger business! Most of you are right-brain creative types with too little focus on growing your business. Many of you don't think of yourselves as small business owners. Even if you're working for another studio, imaging is a career choice that lends itself to freelance assignments, and you're ALWAYS building your brand.
These days, it's not who YOU know, but WHO knows you! So, I've put together a list of ideas to help you get recognized.
Twelve Tips to Getting Your Name Out There!
Too many of you think there's nothing you can do to build your brand until you're open for business. Relationship building is your strongest marketing tool - so, set up time every week to be building your foundation of awareness - beyond your skill set.
Tony Corbell, one of the most recognized photographers in the industry once told a story about when he first got started. "I might not have been the best photographer in town, but I was determined to be the nicest!" Tony's never strayed from that practice!
It's Throwback Thursday, and I'm having fun with a couple of throwbacks, starting with one that takes us back to line art versus photography, and a few additional fun elements.
First, the actual watch in the top left was my grandfather's. He died of ALS a couple of years before my parents were married, but I'm named after him and cherish his watch. Almost fifty years later, to the day, Don Blair's wife Donna died of ALS as well. And, I'm not sure there's been very much progress in beating this disease today.
Second, you can find anything on the Internet. A few years back I went hunting on eBay until I found somebody who had the Gruen ad for the watch from 1927. I think I spent ten dollars for the page.
I know it's hard to read, but take a look at the copy and think about how a watch is advertised today, along with the pricing. I love the way the ad kicks off: "Wisely, for the graduation gift you will select a good watch. This has always been the favored gift for graduation." Then, there's the push about what's hot and what's not: "For young men, the trend is decidedly away from the round watch."
I have the watch and ad framed in a shadow box on the wall in my office. Unlike most of today's watches that will more than likely not be running 90+ years from now, the watch still keeps perfect time!
"The Gruen Watch Company was formerly one of the largest watch manufacturers in the United States. It was in business from about 1894 to 1958 and was based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was founded in 1908 by German-born watchmaker Dietrich Grün, who changed the spelling of his name to "Gruen" because the letter ü does not exist in English." From Wikipedia
Since the ad was a graduation theme, I went looking through an old album and found my Dad's high school senior shot. Hand-colored thanks to Olan Mills in Springfield, Ohio! It would have been around 1940. I wonder if he got a watch for graduation?
Between the ad and my Dad's portrait, it's a fun look back, and a testimonial to the fact that most of the time you can find anything you want on the Internet!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
ClickCon was AMAZING!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry last week. Great speakers, a busy trade show and 1300 attendees loaded with a passion to learn and grow. Put the show on your radar so you know the dates for 2020 when they're announced!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.