by Skip Cohen
The purpose of Fast Food Friday never changes - to help you build a stronger business model. Every week there's been something that comes up that sparks an idea that leads to another blog post. This is a short one today, and all it takes is a scroll through YouTube.
Last night, while hanging out in Phoenix with Michele Celentano and her husband Paul, we wandered through YouTube. It started out looking for laughs, but by the end of the night, we'd used YouTube to search for old videos with Monte Zucker, Don Blair, and Dean Collins.
Most of you never knew any of them, but their role in our industry was instrumental in building a foundation for quality and consistency in imaging. But my point goes well beyond some of my heroes that we've lost over the years.
Too many of you have taken shortcuts to build your skillset. Sometimes it's been intentional, other times the result of the pressure to develop your business. Being a success as a professional photographer is about being able to meet the needs of each client. It's about listening more than talking. It's about building relationships and never compromising on the quality of a photograph.
Well, YouTube is jam-packed with thousands of videos from photographers who are no longer with us together with some of the finest artists in the world who you know today. All it takes is hanging out in the search box and putting in the names of artists you should know more about.
I found this short teaser that David Ziser posted in 2012, which tied back to Photovision. And if you've been around for a few years, you'll spot Clay Blackmore and a few other favorites. But, there's also some classic content that Monte shares.
And just to have some fun with a great example of timeless advice - check out this video from Creative Live featuring Michele Celentano on posing groups. With the fourth quarter seasonality now in full swing, along with the demand for family portraits, the timing is perfect for so many of you to watch this video!
Intro by Chamira Young
Whether you consider yourself a pro, semi-pro, or hobbyist photographer, you should always be looking for creative ideas to push the envelope of your creativity. Much of the fun of being a photographer is learning new things and exploring the possibilities. This includes being inspired by other fellow photographers!
That's why we love the series "One location, One Lesson, One Lens" the team at Tamron passionately produces. It gives you a first-hand peek over the shoulder of a professional photographer as they utilize their lenses, interact with their subjects, and create amazing images. In today's featured video, we get a fun look at how photographer Michael Gilbert interacts with his model and grabs some amazing shots with the new Tamron 35-150mm lens. Talk about an amazing piece of glass! Check it out below and get ready to be inspired!
by Skip Cohen
It's not only Marketing Monday, but as Walmart, Amazon, and even Canon launched their holiday specials last week, gift-shopping and holiday urgency has started earlier than usual. Why? Because retailers figured out there are six less actual shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. *Poof* The world has gone mad with a rush to get great deals!
Well, the good news is - with the rush to start shopping early, that means more time for you to have an impact on your target audience. And, being Marketing Monday, here's a list of things to think about to help make your presence more recognized and be a leader in service through the seasonality of the fourth quarter crunch.
There's a saying I heard years ago that's been modified numerous times by writers over the years. I still like this one:
If you do what you've always done, you'll never get more than you ever got!
Skip's Holiday Resource Center
I didn't want to turn the post above into an infomercial, but SCU has some outstanding partners and friends.
All of them focused on helping you through the holiday season!
Their links are below:
by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times in the past, the best thing about our industry has very little to do with imaging, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. This post is especially fun for me because it brings together two good buddies of mine - Denis Reggie, who I've been hanging out with since I joined Hasselblad in the late 80s and Steve Brazill who I just met a few months ago.
While I've only known Steve for a short time, thanks to a couple of marathon phone calls, we've got great chemistry. I first talked with him after he interviewed Dr. T, founder of Platypod. Then we did an episode of "Why?" together, and he shared so much insight into being a music photographer. From that point, the friendship took off. Now, the most fun aspect is thinking about catching up with each other LIVE in the not so distant future at any of the 2020 conventions.
Steve gave me one of the nicest compliments about SCU and my "Why?" series, describing it as a mini-version of his Behind the Shot program. My purpose with "Why?" was to introduce you to some of the most respected artists in imaging. Steve's taken the concept so much further. He's getting inside the heads of each artist, and talking about some of the most iconic photographs in the world.
Denis Reggie and I first met back in my early Hasselblad days. While most people know him as one of the finest photographers in the world, he's also responsible for changing the way wedding photographers think about their work. Denis helped change an entire industry in the 90s as he talked about the value of the wedding album. Think about it, the dress will never be worn again, the food is gone, the band's gone home, the flowers will die, but the photographs captured become the first family heirloom of a new family.
Together, Denis and Steve share a lot of terrific insight into technique, your skillset, relationship building, the importance of storytelling, and even copyright protection. Regardless of your specialty in photography, there's a lot you'll learn and enjoy in this new podcast.
Follow Steve with a click on the "Behind the Shot" thumbnail on the right. Every podcast is jam-packed with relevant content.
At a time when we're flooded with Internet content - this is a site that needs to be on your radar. And, you'll never regret a minute of the time you spend with Steve Brazill and his guests.
by Skip Cohen
Last May, I started shooting with the LUMIX G9, and my images have never looked better. I'm not sure I've ever had this much fun with a camera in my hand! I especially love the focus accuracy, the touch screen, the weight, low-light capability...oh, why not just say everything? There's a lot of remarkable technology in this camera!
Image copyright Nick Pappagallo Jr. All rights reserved.
Nick Pappagallo Jr is a LUMIX Ambassador and shared the image above on Facebook last week. Click on the image to enlarge it in the SCU Lightbox. When Nick posted it, he shared:
Shot with my Lumix G9 Camera in the studio with Godox 400pros and Backlit by the translucent garage door. Edited with Lightroom Classic.
But there's always a little more to the story. So, I thought it would be fun to contact Nick directly, and he had a lot more to share!
This shot was a brief test shot with the new Godox Lights - and to see how they worked in mixed lighting situations, including daylight. Jurnee was at the studio, and we hopped into studio 4 to test this out. She was having fun, and we only shot about 50 shots in total. The lower angle poses worked better for what I was envisioning. I was lying on my back on the cyc wall shooting up at her. Stands and other gear were left in the shot intentionally to give it a more cinematic feel.
For more information on the LUMIX G9 and the 35-100mm lens click on either thumbnail below.
Check out more of Nick's work. His website is just a click away. Then follow him and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. As I've written so many times before, they're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
And, if you're not in the LUMIX Photographers Group on Facebook, it's time to check it out. There's great content being shared regularly from talented artists all over the world.
It's Sunday morning, and while I always go off track from business and marketing, I'm staying in photography. Most of the time, I never know what I'm going to start writing about. As I jumped online this morning, there it was - a Facebook memory shot of me, Sheila and Robert Vanelli, AKA "V" or "Vanelli."
Ever had somebody come into your life and after just a few months, you can't remember when they weren't in it? For me, Vanelli is one of those people. With a heart as big has his three consecutive world champion titles in Karate back in the eighties, it just feels like he's always been there for so many of us.
Then there's the Kevin Bacon degrees of separation game and so many people come back to Vanelli. The same happens with photographs.
I needed a new shot for the crew at ShutterFest for my speaker banner in 2018. Headed to PPE last year, I asked Vanelli if he'd grab one for me. A few minutes after this shot with Sheila and me, he got the image I needed. It later became my headshot on my Facebook page.
Then there were the antics that happened at the same time - nothing beats giving noogies to a good buddy, especially when he could take you out with one swing. Andrew Darlow captured the fun and sent me the image. Next came the bobblehead joke for Sheila, based on my new headshot.
Last on the list; there's the common denominator of our mutual love for photography. Vanelli and I had never spent any quality time together. We'd been to a dinner or two, but after catching up to each other at trade shows for a few years, I suggested a boyz weekend. I invited him to the house for a couple of days in October of 2018. That's where the friendship and laughs escalated to a relationship I cherish today.
It was also at that time he captured two photographs that would become part of my collection of priceless memories - me and Molly the Wonder Dog.
And that brings me to my point - great friendships don't just happen. While they might start by chance, to flourish, they need an investment of time - real-time - not cyberspace. Social media is fine for keeping touch and sharing, but it's the phone calls and actual time together that brings the real quality of getting to know new friends.
Little did I know at that first meeting with "V" that he'd become such an inspiration, source of smiles and laughter, and most important of all a quality friend. We all wear multiple hats and live hectic, often insane lives. But trust me on this - nothing beats relationship building with great people. Commit to bringing more quality time into getting to know people you respect. You'll never regret it!
Wishing everybody a day when time represents an investment in good solid friendships. We're an industry involved in capturing memories and making intangible moments tangible. We capture them for clients all the time, but today I'm suggesting "charity starts at home." Make those memories today, just for your own heart! And, as always, go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs.
Happy Sunday, everybody...and yes, Happy Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
by Skip Cohen
Just crossing the seven-week mark, Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga hit 10,000 miles on the Bubble Trailer Light Tour today. It's been a fantastic project to follow and definitely falls under a work-hard-play-hard style of living. Along the way, they've spent time with hundreds of photographers both educationally and socially. If there were an award for Photography Ambassadors of the year, they'd get my vote along with every artist they've touched along the way.
Even Sheila and I caught them for a visit and a couple of nights just hanging out together. In addition to everyone's love for imaging, Light Tour is all about engagement. Social media is an amazing communication vehicle and allows us to all keep in touch - but we're all missing actual contact. Nothing beats talking directly with other artists and friends. Even more important, nothing beats being inspired.
And all along the way, whether in the middle of the country, NYC or driving along the Florida coast, they're sharing images...
The energy Suzette and Jonny have put into this project is only one ingredient in the recipe for its success. The sponsors and obviously the attendees have played a big role.
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour is sponsored by a stellar group of outstanding companies, each one committed to photography. They're all focused on helping artists raise the bar on their skill set. They don't just make great products - they believe in education.
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour has a few more weeks and a three thousand miles to go. Here's the schedule for next three weeks. Occasionally dates and locations are subject to change. The complete itinerary is available with a click on the button below!
by Skip Cohen
The purpose of Fast Food Friday posts is to give you ideas to build a stronger business and thrive rather than just survive. Just when I think we've run out of suggestions, another one pops up.
One of your biggest challenges as a professional photographer is planting seeds of ideas with your clients. It's not easy setting yourself apart from the competition these days, but not because it's difficult. The challenge comes with so many opportunities, and many of you fall into "analysis paralysis." You're not sure where to start, and procrastination takes over, and you wind up doing very little.
Your greatest marketing tool is in relationship building with your clients. That's a big umbrella and covers so many different aspects of building a successful business. Here's one that's so easy to put out there, and it falls into the category of just being helpful.
Throwback Thursday - Planting Idea "Seeds"
These days we're all tuned into Throwback Thursday and sharing old images. You've seen me share industry stories and photographs we can all relate to. You're my readers, and you're all seriously invested in photography, but what about your readership and "Mom?"
For most of you, "Mom" is your target audience. Remember, 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories are made by women, and Mom is almost always involved. Well, Throwback images allow you to get Mom thinking about an updated family portrait. We're headed into the holiday crunch, and it's the perfect time to remind your audience that it's time for an updated family portrait.
What I love most about this approach is that it's so soft-sell, it's hard-sell without being in anybody's face. Plus, it works on just about any image, even a headshot campaign. Have fun with the old photos you share. Use them to show your sense of humor and how much fun you are to work with.
When you can make fun of yourself, it makes you that much more approachable and becomes a relationship builder. Plus, you're reminding "Mom" the kids are growing up, and her family is changing. While we can't stop time - as a professional photographer, you have the ability to take time and turn it into a tangible memory and perfect gift this holiday season!
by Skip Cohen
I apologize for the quality of the images below, but NOT for the memories, they bring back. We've set the Way-Back Machine for the 90s, and it's thanks to Terry Deglau and Bill Burbank. Here's the backstory:
Last weekend I flew to Latrobe, PA, for Terry Deglau's memorial service. I wrote about my good buddy in a previous post, but the fun of the trip was all in the memories it would bring back. Sitting next to Bill Burbank, we started sharing Terry-stories. Out of that conversation came Bill showing me photographs of the two ads above. Bill and Terry were both with Kodak back then - Bill on the creative team and Terry as the marketing manager and industry liaison for the portrait/social side of professional photography.
The two ads above featured two of the industry's most favorite and respected photographers, Ken Whitmire on the left and Al Gilbert on the right. They were featured in full-page ads in Kodak's Fantasy-Reality series featuring VPH and VPS films.
It was a fantastic time in the industry. Film was in its glory; Kodak was a powerhouse, and Terry led the charge. Supported by some of the finest photographers in the world, this ad campaign was just one of the memorable ingredients.
Four years ago, St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, did an evening event featuring Terry's work. Several of us reconnected for the first time in many years, and that's what I love most about this industry, the history. We all share the same love for imaging and as sappy as it sounds, Terry.
The fun of Throwback Thursday is always in the memories old photographs bring back. In terms of imaging, the longer you've been in the industry, the more changes you've seen, especially during the transition of film to digital. New photographers don't realize how small this industry really is - we've all been to the same rubber-chicken dinners together, watched each other's backs, and often worked for the same companies and on various projects.
In terms of my buddy Terry, it's like the Kevin Bacon degrees of separation game, only Terry's at the hub. I couldn't be more proud to have been a part of his life and him a piece of mine.
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses, "I am a part of all that I have met." Well, Terry is a part of so many of us, and as the reverend said in Terry's eulogy, talking about how warm and friendly he was, "Terry never met a stranger!"
And meeting these phenomenal pros are just part of the excitement.
It's all happening in booth 620, right up front as you enter the main hall for PPE! And Tamron's Pet Studio is right next door! Here's your chance to meet and learn from some of the very best and test drive some of the very best glass in photography!
And, if you're interested in learning more about each of the Tamron pros who will be in the booth, click on their image above. They've all had feature pieces here at SCU, including podcasts!
It's all happening in booth 620 at PPE!
"Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams
than you are to your comfort zone!"
Just about every morning at 7:30, I tweet a quote to kick off the day. While I hope my followers find them inspirational, the search for a great quote is as much to start my day as it is yours. So often, I find quotes that get me thinking about the day/week ahead. It's like stretching before working out.
The quote above was shared this morning, and it got me thinking about so many different aspects of education, networking, marketing, business, and life. Yeah, all that coverage from just one sentence by an unknown author!
Here's my point to this short post. When we were kids, we all had dreams of what our lives would be like when we were older. Then, over the years, experience and our perceived reality put limitations on our goals. We let go of some dreams and hung on to others. Now we're adults, and our visions for the future are often limited by other responsibilities and the many hats we wear. We prioritize what we're going to do next.
Well, we all still have our dreams. At the same time, we let our comfort zones limit ourselves. In photography, it becomes especially apparent when you're headed to a conference, convention, or workshop. We all like to stay in our comfort zone, whether it's our skillset, new products, applications, or meeting other photographers.
This week is PPE in NYC. Then, in two and a half months, the convention season explodes with IUSA, WPPI, and a long list of state conventions and conferences. Give your dreams priority and step out of your comfort zone into areas to help you grow as an artist and business owner. Take the time to meet the staff at vendors whose products/services you use, but also get to know companies who are new to you. Make it a point to walk every inch of each trade show.
And when classes are offered, attend a couple of programs completely outside your expertise. Here's a great example: When I teach, I'll often ask for a show of hands of anybody who does tabletop work. Very few hands ever go up, especially if the audience is mostly wedding photographers. Yet, the hardest tabletop shots of all are great cake and ring shots. Imagine how wedding artists could expand their skillset, taking a few macro classes!
In the history of photography, there have never been more creative tools at your fingertips than today. They're in new products, techniques, and services. They're all supported by people excited to introduce you to new ideas and directions to help you grow as an artist!
Plan each trip to every convention you can attend. ALWAYS step out of your comfort zone. Don't be a you-snooze-you-lose artist when there are so many opportunities to grow!
Nothing beats the color and fun of outdoor merchandising in Madrid, NM!
Most of you know my passion for photography focuses mostly on the business and marketing sides. I don't make a living as a professional photographer, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate great technology. I'll match my passion for the craft with anybody! Plus, having worked with so many professional photographers over the years, I know more than I let on. The difference is that it would take most of you ten minutes to light a great portrait, and I'd work on it all day!
Last May, Sheila and I headed to New Mexico for a vacation. I've shared a few images here and there in past posts and tweets, but since it's Mirrorless Monday, I decided to share a few more. I took a lot of gear with me, but the LUMIX G9 with the 14-140mm lens wound up being my camera and lens of choice.
From its incredibly sharp and quick focus accuracy to simply being lightweight with a focal range giving me everything I needed, it was a kick to travel with. Every night I'd download the day's images, blown away by the sharpness and the beauty of working with the technology Panasonic's put into this camera.
So, at the risk of sounding like a kid doing a report for school called, "What I Did This Summer," welcome to New Mexico and the G9.
The image on the left is without any post-processing.
The right is using the preset "mild image enhancer" in Luminar.
I shot in every mode from IA to P, A, S, and M. The touch screen adds to the accuracy and fun of this camera. All of the images in this post are mostly right out of the can.
If there is any post-processing, it's in Luminar. Most often I use one of two presets, the clarity booster or mild image enhancer, and that's only because of personal taste. The images rarely needed any work. And remember, every image shared in this post is a screenshot too.
Late in the day shot after a storm and enlarged 100%.
B-Boys dancing in the Santa Fe plaza.
The fun of traveling mirrorless, especially with LUMIX, is carrying a minimal amount of gear and weight. I added a MeFOTO carbon-fiber tripod to my gear, and it was perfect. Easy to travel and hike and with - Plus, with the range on the 14-140mm lens, I always had what I needed.
One of the highlights of the trip was Georgia O'Keeffe's house, which is magnificent. You're surrounded by the beauty of New Mexico combined with the stunning simplicity of her taste. Because she passed away in 1986, you're struck by the contemporary beauty in the design of her home and the area around it.
I loved the simplicity of this interior courtyard.
Every corner of the house gives you a feeling of the love she had for this property.
The picture window from her office was designed to capture the view below. That's only a fraction of the panoramic scene when looking out the window.
The house is only accessible by guided tour, and there's no photography allowed inside her home. So, you shoot "neurochromes" inside and outside your camera's capturing images in every direction.
One of the things that hit us early on was how the preservation team has kept everything as Georgia O'Keeffe left it. From many of her plants and flowers to the spices in the kitchen to rocks she collected outside. The home has been preserved as she left it, and you can't help but feel her love for Abiquiú.
And as a side note - I bought Ansel Adams' '77 Cadillac back in my Hasselblad days, which we sold for charity. Knowing he was good friends with Georgia O'Keeffe, I couldn't help but wonder how many times he'd visited here in that same car that was parked in my garage for a month.
If you haven't checked out the G9, it's time to visit your LUMIX dealer.
Headed to PPE this week? Make it a point to stop by the Panasonic booth. Check out the LUMIX family, and not only the G9 but the incredible new full-frame S1. They're just inside the entrance to the main hall in booth 707, and I can promise you won't be disappointed! Plus, take the time to meet some of the LUMIX Ambassadors who will be at the show. They represent one of the most diverse teams in professional photography!
Click on either thumbnail for more information as well as the S1 Series below.
It's Sunday morning, and included in reminding you that I always go off-track on Sundays, I should also share a sarcasm alert.
Here's the scenario - It's 5:00 am, and I'm at Pittsburgh airport, headed home after my buddy Terry Deglau's memorial service yesterday. It was a pretty awesome day meeting so many of the friends he grew up with, getting time with his family, and telling stories about Terry over the years.
Well, I wanted to get home in time to spend the day with Sheila and booked a 7:00 am flight. I was hungry and hit Bruegger's Bagels on the way to the gate and thought I'd find the perfect place to sit and eat breakfast. I started at that first arrow but never noticed it was right next to the men's room. As guys came out zipping up, it just lacked the ambiance for a great bagel.
Second stop...no big deal, just move down two seats. NOT - a sweet little old lady decided to try and fill her water bottle. She asked me to hold her cane as she proceeded to come close to drowning me and everything with a 4-5 foot radius of the drinking fountain. Remember, it's early on a Sunday morning, and there shouldn't be a whole lot of people even here!
Last stop - I moved down more, and what you don't see is the entire hallway is empty on both sides. Ooops didn't notice I was right under the flight board. Obviously, there's a convention of far-sighted people in town...because everybody has to lean in to read the board, one guy practically crawling onto the seat I was in, as I'm trying to enjoy the ambiance of an "empty" airport and breakfast.
However, it did give me something to write about this morning. This is one of those posts that's here just for my benefit and the fun of writing. And, while the "location-location-location" rule is always relevant in retail, this morning, it applies to non-existent privacy and trying to be an anonymous traveler.
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead and time to enjoy what I'm hoping to do - be home with my honey! Make it a day of peace, family, and appreciate being home and not on the road. When I was a kid, I always hoped I'd grow up and have a job where I could travel. What a silly thing to wish! Then again, as somebody said to me in the TSA line, "Hey, remember, we're just livin' the dream!"
If work isn't fun, you're not playing on the right team!
by Skip Cohen
The Fast Food Friday series is all about tips to help you build a stronger business. The posts are meant to be short ideas - sort of quick tips to fine-tune your skillset, but as a business owner. This morning I'm going a little off track on business but not on your career.
Suzette Allen and Jon Yoshinaga have been here for the last couple of days, taking a break from the Bubble Trailer Light Tour I've written about so many times in the previous six weeks. As they leave today, I head to Latrobe, PA, for my buddy Terry Deglau's memorial service. Stay with me, because there's a great connection.
While my mind has been flooded with stories I want to share tomorrow about Terry, it occurred to me how much fun we had together over the years. Well, that brought me to this very minute, hanging out with Suzette and Jonny. They were here for a couple of days, and we did nothing except relax, talk, and enjoy the time we were able to have together.
And there's my point - having fun in what you're doing is as important as your skillset as a photographer. In fact, it's at the very core. But fun doesn't just happen - it takes work! You've got to take the time to have fun. You've got to recognize burnout. You've got to use those who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire lifelines and phone a friend.
During his years at Kodak, Terry and I simply had fun, but we worked hard to make it happen. We often tagged on extra days to several conventions - including driving Ansel Adams' Cadillac into Yosemite for three days with a trunk loaded with Hasselblad gear and Kodak film after PhotoWest many years ago.
And, as always, we had a blast with Suzette and Jonny this week as they hit day forty on the road for the tour. In the process of laughing and enjoying each other's company, new ideas bubbled to the surface, even a short conversation about the definition of success. It's not really about fame, money, or your skills, but about being happy in whatever you're doing, especially when it's just for you.
Here are some easy suggestions:
Work to put "FUN" into your business life. And, don't let your business interrupt the time you need to have with family and friends.
Have fun, work hard and money will come. Don't waste time - grab your chances.
Have a positive outlook on life. When it's not fun move on.
by Skip Cohen
"Beyond Technique" is all about stepping away from the technique of capturing images. Instead, we're sharing ideas on ways to better capture different aspects of marketing, education, diversity, giving-back, and today, communication. When Chamira Young and I relaunched this series just a few months ago, we completely underestimated its ability to create content to help expand everyone's view on different aspects of being a small-business owner.
Thanks to Platypod, the "Beyond Technique" series is back with a vengeance, relaunching last August. It's now here full time with a new episode each month!
Don Prentice is our guest, and we're diving deep into the components of mobile solutions. As a co-founder of PhotoTexting.com, you're going to find Don's experience and understanding of the ever-changing landscape of communication invaluable. The support and services PhotoTexting.com is providing are all about your strongest and best marketing tool - relationship building.
This episode is about how you communicate with your clients and how more and more people are keeping in touch today. We're talking about how to get the most out of a toll-free business number and ways you can set up to easily/automatically keep in touch with your regular and future clients. And, if you're a senior photographer, there's a complete program to build your business and increase revenue.
PhotoTexting is an SCU partner, but the conversation Chamira and I had with Don goes much deeper than just his support of the industry or SCU. This is about a better way for you to raise the bar on your marketing skills by being more responsive!
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
If you haven't checked out Platypod lately, visit their website, follow their Facebook page and especially put their Instagram page on your radar. There are always new products coming, and each one is designed to help photographers and videographers expand their creativity. Platypod doesn't just manufacture some of the best-designed accessory products in imaging - they provide solutions to different challenges to help you raise the bar on the quality of your work!
Headed to PPE in New York on October 24? Stop by the Platypod booth (#173) for an introduction to Max, Ultra, the Multi-kit and the new Goosenecks. What a kick to see the creative solutions Platypod is giving photographers as they capture new angles and different perspectives in their images.
A BIG thanks to Photofocus for the platform for both Beyond Technique and Mind Your Own Business! Check out both series along with the InFocus Interview Show. You'll never be disappointed.
by Skip Cohen
With every step in the evolution of imaging, there are always artists who hit the panic button. If you look at the last few decades of milestones, we had people upset when color came into the black and white world.
Then, we had photographers and even a few retailers upset when auto-focus lenses replaced manual focus. In the late 80's, I remember Calumet throwing Nikon out when it was announced they'd no longer manufacture manual focus lenses.
Digital came along, and once again, there was this quiet rumbling of discontent. I'm guessing it was the offspring of those artists upset over color, interrupting the black and white world who were most worried. They couldn't help it; it's in their genes.
Over and again, we've had moments when imaging has changed, as technology continues to push the evolution of imaging in other directions. So often, I hear artists upset because anybody can be a photographer today. But, here's the difference - It's not the gear that makes the artist - it's the skillset. "Uncle Harry" may have better equipment than you, but he doesn't have the skillset.
Photographer, artist, videographer, and educator, David Nguyen, made the point last week when he shared the video below all shot on an iPhone 11 Pro Max for a full wedding! He was a guest and wanted to put his iPhone through his own fun test. I'm not suggesting anybody should do this professionally, but David's skillset makes a great point. And as he mentioned, he was a guest at the wedding, not working professionally.
Technology isn't going to slow down for any of us, and "Uncle Harry" or "Debbie Digital" are going to keep getting in the way at weddings. Often they'll have better gear than you. But the difference is your ability to be a storyteller. It's your skill set in understanding lighting, exposure, and composition.
And in talking with David, when I asked for permission to share the video on the SCU blog, he reminded me of another important element that separates the pro from the hobbyist at a wedding..."As professional photographers, we also contribute by directing the portrait sessions, interacting with the people to create moments, and helping the B&G keep track of time." The intensity in relationship comes out of the trust established with the couple early on - usually starting in the engagement session.
Uncle Harry can only create an album - as a professional photographer, you can create the first family heirloom of a brand new family! There's a difference between great images and a great story that captures memories the bride and groom might have missed.
by Skip Cohen
Rick Sammon joins on this month's "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. Rick's a photographer, author, educator, musician, podcaster, and a good buddy to so many of us in the industry. His new book, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom – Discovering the Power of Pictures went straight to five-star reviews when it was released just a few weeks ago!
Rick's one of the most diverse artists in professional photography. I pulled a few of my favorite images of Rick's for the mini-gallery below. If you visit his website you'll see how difficult it is to choose!
I've written this so many times, but it's so relevant - the best thing about our industry isn't really about photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Rick and I go back to my early Hasselblad days. And like so many photographers, we share a lot of mutual friends and companies we both work with.
Rick is traveling almost non-stop, and ALWAYS with a camera. He's the industry's non-stop Ambassador of Imaging. In fact, on his recent trip to China, he captured the portrait on the right, using his Platypod.
Rick shares a lot of great insight into his passion for imaging. We started with his background story. Then the conversation grew into thoughts on avoiding burnout, imagery and writing, the discipline to write a book, and diversity in photography. We wrapped up the conversation with one of our favorite questions - advice for photographers just getting starting.
A BIG thanks to Rick for standing still long enough to join us on "Mind Your Own Business." Check out his website with a click on any image below and tune in to one of the best podcast series in imaging with Rick and Larry Becker, the Picturing Success Podcast.
Images copyright Rick Sammon. All rights reserved.
Images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved>
"You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game.
It's a business, it's our job,
but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun!"
by Skip Cohen
With each new "chef" who joins us in the Tamron kitchen, I like to go off in search of a quote that seems to fit their style and personality. Rick Friedman is definitely a photographer and educator who believes in fun. You can see it in every class he teaches. Walk by the Tamron booth at a convention or into a Tamron dealer where Rick is doing a demo, and you'll instantly be drawn to a photographer having fun!
While I've known Rick for a lot of years, we never seemed to find quality time to hang out and talk until a couple of years ago. That changed in 2018 at WPPI, and since then, we've worked on several different projects together. When he recently became one of Tamron's newest Ambassadors, it was the perfect time to have him join us in this series.
Rick's best known around the world for his work as a photojournalist for the last 40+ years. In the podcast, he talked about the backstory of getting his first magazine cover on the right.
But, Rick's also an educator, and he's been teaching for the last sixteen years. He's well-respected as one of the leaders in lighting. It's under that umbrella of education that he's had an impact on thousands of photographers.
As we discussed in this new podcast, being a successful photojournalist and educator is about relationship building. It's about establishing trust with the clients as a photographer and the students in any class or demonstration. Even a twenty-minute demo on the floor of a busy trade show requires a level of trust with the attendees!
Click on any of Rick's images below to visit his website. I pulled some of my favorites, but there was so much from which to choose.
"Chef" Rick's recipe is a click away if you missed it last week. And, check out two Tamron lenses that are a critical part of Rick's creative tools, no matter what the subject. Click on either thumbnail for more information.
Rick shared a lot of great insight in this new podcast. He's based in Boston, but the world is his home. As you look through his images, it's obvious wherever his creative eye and camera's needed, that's where he's going to be.
As Rick pointed out in the podcast, he believes in the expression, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Having lived in Boston a significant part of my life, Arthur Fiedler was a very special legend. Rick captured the image below shortly before Fiedler passed away, and all it took was a knock on his door.
The next thing you know, he's sitting in Arthur Fiedler's bedroom, having a conversation with one of the greatest conductors of all time! And what was Fiedler doing when Rick joined him? Reading music!
From photojournalism on the campaign trail to travel to lighting workshops and published editorial images, I'm not sure there isn't anything "Chef" Rick hasn't photographed!
If you haven't visited your local Tamron dealer, it's time to check out the entire family of Tamron lenses. And the Tamron team is on the road nationally all year long.
In just the next few weeks, you'll find the team in Greenfield, WI, Sacramento, CA; Reno, NV; Middleburg Hts, OH; Fort Worth, TX; Canton, OH; Saguaro Natl. Park, AZ; Omaha, NE; Greenville, NC; and Lansdale, PA.
And, if you're headed to PPE in NYC, stop by Tamron's booth. They've got a lot going on, including their Pet Portrait Studio!
Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in photography. You owe it to your clients and yourself to capture images with the very best tools available!
All images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
for a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life.
but there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first,
some unfinished business, time still to be served, a dept to be paid.
at last it dawned on me that these obstacle were my life.
this perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness.
happiness is the way. so treasure every moment you have
and remember that time waits for no one.
happiness is a journey, not a destination.
by Skip Cohen
Many years ago I published a series of posts based on the wisdom shared on refrigerator magnets. The quote above has been on our fridge for years, but I hadn't noticed it in a long time. When I read it this morning it hit me how there's no expiration date on the thought - happiness is a journey not a destination!
No need for me to write anything more about the concept.
It's Marketing Monday and the perfect time to talk about seniors. Having been in the industry my entire adult life, or at least the time I was supposed to act like an adult, I've seen so many changes in photography. One of the biggest is with high school seniors.
Today's senior sittings, if they're done right, should be part of a full experience. It's not just about a good headshot for the yearbook, family, and friends, but getting to know the subject. It's about listening more than talking and then capturing their personality and interests in a series of photographs and even short video clips.
Being a senior photographer is about establishing great relationships. Right at the top of the list of building blocks is how you communicate. Seniors live in a texting world. They're on their phones constantly.
While this is going to look like an infomercial, it's not without a huge benefit. PhotoTexting.com has built an entire platform to help you communicate faster, and expand your reach into the senior market more effectively. And, their Senior Rep Program is just one solution to helping you grow your business.
Besides building a business in the senior market, there's a reason that's significantly more long term - a strong relationship has the potential for future business. Remember, for most seniors; this is the first relationship they've had with a professional photographer. It's a time for you to build trust with both the senior and their family. Seniors have siblings; seniors grow up and become brides and grooms, and seniors start their own families. You want to be part of that cycle.
One other aspect of this program I appreciate - it gives you a better way to connect with Mom and Dad! Watch the short video below and then click on the banner to visit PhotoTexting.com and check out the 20+ solutions to help you thrive!
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.