Sunday, August 11, 2013

The power of the written word

Just wanted to share this inspirational little clip.

Chang the way you see things and it might change the way the world sees you

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Warning, This enitre post is me ranting and raving about a Magical Towel!

Ok, well it is not a magical towel, but it is kind of. I have been out shooting/working-out alot in these 100 degree days. The end of the day was horrible because I just got home and passed out. I could not up load photos or make dinner or anything. Additionally, one of the biggest things we have to worry about in this heat is passing out. It can cause all this nasty stuff like death and what not. So I was directed to give this towel a try.

The towel is the Mission Athletecare Enduracool Instant Cooling Towel. So the cool thing about this is you get it wet, wring out the excess water, and then here is the magic part... snap it three times. It instantly turns right around 60 degrees for about 2 hours or so. Lots of factors can effect how long it last, but it has lasted a good hour and a half for me before I had to douse it in water again and snap away.

They offer various size's shapes and colors. I got the bandana because that was all that was left in the store I purchased mine from. But you can explore through the different color and size selections. They are reusable and easy to clean.

So if you are having trouble with the heat check this guy out. It is great for use on the hot days when not being out is not an option. It is pretty outstanding!!!


P.S. Enduracool has not asked me to talk about this product. I just have found it so flipping amazing that I had to share with you guys. It has been huge to me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wild Flower for a Wild Place

Wild Flower for a Wild Place

The backyard at my rural home in PA was always an incredible place to the mind of a 9 year old. It seems the mind is awash with imagination. Adventure is around every corner and dangers lurking in every shadow. Some things never get old. Walking around that back yard with my camera now on the eve of being 30 and something truly special stirs inside of you. Flowers turn to stars. Trees still look great to climb. It is funny the only race we are ever really in is the one with our selves. SO sometimes it is really nice to go back to the start line just to see how far you have gone.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Do you Demand Zero?

Is this a moving video? Will the fact that is it a bunch of celebrities allow you to demand more from those that govern us?

What do you think?


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Part 3 of 4 in the revival series. The Customer!

Today we are going to talk about the types of customers out there in a very general sense. I have found that during this process of growth we run into a ton of different types of people. You have people that want to help you. People that want to hate you. People that think absolutely nothing of you good or bad. It is your job to convince total strangers that they need the service you provide. Many potential customers may not even know they need your services.

There are a few archetypes most customers can fall into:
  • Unsuspecting Customer
  • Consumer Searcher
  • Wedding Planner
What do these odd customer designators mean? Each label listed above describe the interaction between the photographer and the customer. Every customer is different so lets talk about those differences.

Unsuspecting Customer

I have found out to be generally the best type of customer to work with. You meet them in the elevator, dentist office, or dinner party. Casual conversation leads to the services the customer needs. Often times I describe a photographer as your agent to guide  you through a process that is foreign for you. Real estate agents guide you through buying a house. A loan officer guides you through the loan process. A photographer guides you through create/storing/managing all of those special moments in your life.

Consumer Searcher

This type of customer generally has searched every nook and cranny to find the best deal. Typically they will say I have this price, period! They can be hard to guide in this process. It is not impossible, but they typically will not understand that you are running a business and there is a fixed cost associated with every photographer. This customer will always go with some friend of the family that has a camera. They get a job cheaper they feel they have succeeded. Unfortunately, often times they get what they pay for.

Wedding Planner

I generalize the term wedding planner to include all planners for any type of event. These are folks that are well informed and recognize the price and time it takes to make a event truly special. This is often a third party representing the couple or organization looking for a photographer. They do not try to cut corners. When the day is done this type of customer wants to make sure their clients are happy.

I am not saying one type of person and how they find their services is better then another. What I am saying is that different style exist. Some customers are informed, some customers think they are informed, and others just need help. At the end of the day photographers cannot survive as a professional if  they do work for free. We have to survive by staying true and focus on what our cost is. A customer will always get what they pay for in this business. Stay honest to yourself, your customer, and to the photography. Things always work out how they are supposed to.

"Photography helps people to see." - Berenice Abbott

Sunday, June 16, 2013

How Bad Do you Want it?

I wanted to post this video because it truly hits home for some folks out there. The world can be a tough place. Together though and if you want it bad enough you can succeed. Another lesson photography has taught me. Making people smile and happy will not pay the bills, but it will pay your soul. If you want it bad enough just go for it. You might find yourself being hungry. You might find your self lonely. You might not think you are good enough. You have to take that energy that negative energy and turn it into something positive.

Then when you are there remember every single person that offered you a hand. Offered you advice. You did not make it on your own.When you can start to do that then you have really succeeded on all levels.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
Swami Vivekananda

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Gear in the Life of the Photographer Part 2 of 4

Here we are in our second post of the 4 part series. This series is the revival of the photographer blog for One World United Photos LLC. Where we discuss the growth we have experienced during our three years as a photographer company. You can reference the first post here if missed them.

So this post we are going to talking about the gear we have learned to use and love. I will briefly talk about:
  • Bags
  • Straps
  • Tripod
  • Mono-pods
  • Accessories
Bags and Straps
So lets get into it! First off you always need a bag to carry your gear. Our suggestion is a this URL: Think Tank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag - Pinestone It is a casual bag that blends into all situations. This is spacious allowing for room for a camera body and several lenses. Easy to carry over the shoulder. One feature I did not appreciate when I bought it, but has come in handy many times is a rain coat for the bag. It is an option but well worth it.
Another Bag I would suggest is at this URL: Lowepro Pro Runner 200 AW DSLR Backpack  - Black. This bag has all the slots for everything you could possible need, and then some. I easily carry two camera bodies with batter packs. four lenses and a flash or two. While having room for my CF cards, business cards, and laptop. I have gotten a ton of use out of this bag. Also just like the Think tank bag this has a rain coat that you can put on over the bag. It is something you don't think of, but it is a life saver!

While the bags help you get to where you are going, once you get there you have to remain comfortable and moving. Taking photos is not something you just sit around and snap some shots and hope that if you take enough you will get a good one. I suggest looking into three types of neck straps:
I have listed a single strap that takes the pressure off the neck. The Spider Pro is a belt that lets you hang your camera's off of a part of the belt. The final is a double strap. Allows you to hold two camera's at once. All of them are pretty incredible and serve a purpose. I like the looks of the Spider pro the most, but functionally is what drives this decision.

Tripods and Monopods
Next item I want to address is having a good Tripod and Monopod in your kit. If you are in nature or shooting sports a monopod is a must have. If you are doing portraits or any type of other still life work you have to have a tripod. It reduces weight/fatigue, shake on the camera, and gives a platform for you to work off of. The tripod I use is a Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black). The monopod I like is at:  Manfrotto 685B Neotec Monopod Deluxe with Safety Lock (Black). There are many options for tripods and monopods. Some factors to look at include the weight, material of the tripod, and price. Like any thing else in the photography word price can become a factor. Again I like functionality to drive this beast. If you are shooting alot of sports or wild life and you have large glass get a monopod. Cheaper then a tripod and you will get loads out of the shots using this. If you are doing product shoots you have to have a tripod to keep a steady platform. You have never seen a picture of a item and it is blurry from shake.
One feature about monopods and tripods you can get bogged down in is the type of head to purchase that will hold your camera. I have had experience with two different types. A Manfrotto 808RC4 3-Way Standard Head with Quick Release Plate 410PL (Black) is my preferred head on my tripod. It allows for great control of different degrees for the head. My preferred is at Manfrotto MH054M0-Q2 054 Magnesium Ball Head with Q2 Quick Release. It provides easy maneuverability for when action is happening all around you. One warning though is if you go for a cheaper model you and you have large glass on the camera body the ball socket will not be able to hold the weight and will slowly drift and change position. Just something else to think about.

The final few items I wanted to address are some accessories that have really become a blessing during our work. We do not know what the elements will throw at us. It has saved our bacon once or twice carrying around this item: Camera Rain Cover For Canon Models with lens combinations up to 13" long. Wind/dust/rain is no issue with this baby in your case.  Even if things do not go right, you can still get an incredible shot. Another item that has been awesome has been a Gary Fong GFLSC01 LightSphere Collapsible Flash Diffuser. If you have nasty shadows on your shots give this guy a try. It truly bends the light around the subject creating a more blurred line between shadow and subject. It also allows a great deal of diffused bounce through out the room if you are trying to supplement natural light sources. Either way don't leave home without it! Speaking of bounce light I have to mention how incredibly important it is to carry a diffuser/reflector with you. They come in neat little packages that often contain more then one use. This NEEWER® 22" 60CM Portable 5 in 1 Translucent, Silver, Gold, White, and Black Collapsible Round Multi Disc Light Reflector for Studio or any Photography Situation! It is another life saver!
The final item I wanted to mention might seem kind of odd but it is a small little grey card. The DGK Color Tools DGK-XL Extra Large Size 3 Card Set- 4-5 Inches Balance Card 18 Percent Digital Gray Card for Digital with Carry Lanyard-White allows you to capture the light at that moment. Then you can use the photo of the card as the ground for how to set up your light for your shots. It saves alot of time. Heck if you can shoot the picture correctly in the camera there is no wasted time post processing.

"The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it."
Ansel Adams

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Modern Photographer Paradox

The trap that exist today(Modern Photographer Paradox) is because of the readily available camera options that exist out there for a reasonable purchasing price. Everyone has fallen into the idea that they are a photographer. The root cause of this is the ability to buy better technology for more affordable prices. The effect is everyone says I am photographer and now alot of people are getting photos they are not happy with. The new wave of cyborg photographers are providing cheap prices for uninspired or poorly crafted photos. Picture this if you will -
 You have had someone take photos of your wedding. Yay! Now you have memories that should last a life time. You are provided a cd of your photos. Now you go to some super store and print off all of your special moments.
Whats wrong with that? It actually sounds nice and you did it at what you consider a reasonable price. Lets talk about those memories though. You printed on the cheap so your photos may fade. Unless you keep them in a air tight container away from all signs of life... basically on the moon.  Well, you still have the cd right it is digital so it is safe you can print more off. Yes, you can except the photos were probably delivered as Jpegs. Well arn't photos Jpegs? Sure a lot are but the problem is You cannot blow them up with out severely deteriorating the quality of the photo. Will that photographer you just paid even know how to blow up your photos if you want a bigger size? 4x6's all day long baby could be the best you get.

Now if you went to a photographer that cost a little more. I know they are rare. They can be hard to find, but ask them what do they do. Ask what they do differently compared to your Uncle Bob that just got this awesome DSLR. You might be surprised. Guess how much time a photographer actually stands behind a camera taking your shots making it look easy? It is not the majority. A real photographer has to edit photos. Imagine sitting and looking at all 5000 photos you just took. My experience is most folks become burned out looking at around 75 photos. While during major events they push themselves to looking at about 200 photos. After the editing of the photos they also go to training, visit clients, get contracts, market themselves, build/maintain their websites/equipment, creating packages/deals with vendors to get you more swag-perks for your purchase, while also trying to save money for their own 401k/health benefits and spend time with their family just to name a few. All while they are competing with the photographers that think equipment is the key and give you a cd.

The end of the story is this - with photography you get what you pay for. Great customer service, great product, and a experience you will smile about for the rest of your life may be worth paying a little more. Asking a few more questions. Your special moments are not cheap. Why treat them like they are.

wedding dance couple

“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Patrick Stewart is asked a hard question and he gives a incredible answer.

I saw this post on a blog called Upworthy. (Orginal Post) The words from Patrick Stewart are incredible and moving. I had to share with everyone.

It takes teamwork to make the dream work!

Becoming a photographer ... I believe

While I am working on the four part series I started in the last post, I did not want to leave any one high and dry. I honestly cannot wait to talk, share, and exchange ideas. I have learned so much during this time with my business.

I want to start with what I have learned about being a Photographer. Can a photographer be similar in theory to a unicorn? This mythical thing that possesses special powers that make moment in time stick forever. Leaving a moment that is beautiful, elegant, and unique.Often times growing up that is what I thought of photos. Magical devices that allow us to remember some of the most incredible times in our lives.

I have learned if you want to start a business period, I don't care what business you are talking about you have to want it. It is not some fairy tale world. You honestly have to be committed to working. Committed to realizing that things will not work out and the only thing you can plan on is not knowing what will happen next. You get to a point. Some call it a turning point. I call it a drowning point. You either step up and own your dream or you let it sink into the realm of the unicorn and continue to enjoy the idea of being a photographer. With only a fleeting moment appearing once in a while during your life that makes you regret you never took the blows and kept moving forward on the path to become a photographer. Take responsibility for the things you want and do them!

With today's world you have to hunt for your business. Being a photographer is not how it was 5 or 10 years ago(from what I am told). The modern day technology gives any one the ability to approach taking photos. Many people have turned an appreciation of photo taking into a hobby of photo taking. Now everyone thinks they are a photographer. I may have even been one of those people, perhaps I still am. I may have thought "I have taken a decent shot once or twice why not start a business". Why not try and make a living out of something you truly love. Then reality hits like a prop. No fancy foot work, just bone crushing force laying waste to all of your illusions, ill conceived notions, and pretending you have put into "Being a photographer".

You cannot be a photographer by waking up buying a camera and saying "Today I am a photographer!" One might find it easier to wake up and say I am a donkey. Equipment does not equal a photographer. Now, yes there are people that are just naturally artistically incredible. I have a co-worker, in plain simple language he is talented! Art, cooking, music, and a whole bunch of other things. Can he wake up and say I want to be a photographer? I would say he has a better chance then most. I don't want to harp on this point for to long, but I feel it is important to talk about this to display the growth of One World United Photos. If you put your honest open energy into something. If you break down your barriers that protect you from the idea failure. Open up to the possibility of success. Once you realize failure is not the end, you can become anything, do anything.

Photo taken by Shaun Collins One World United Photos LLC

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Start; New Post; Lets get started! Part 1 of 4

Since I promised to write about how some of the events that have happened have changed our business and our perspective. This will be a multiple post effort. While, I wish I could craft the words into one clear and concise blog for all of our fans, but I am not that good. So here is the plan, I am going to break this revival blog into four parts.
  • Introduction Blog discussing our plan, goal, and motivation
  • The first blog will be about our gear and the various locations which someone could be shooting at. I will be discussing the growth from a equipment perspective. Highlighting the brands and devices that have been serving me well.
  • The second part of this three part series will discuss customers. How customers have been attracted to us. What marketing we have been using to help get our name out there.
  • The final part of this series will about contracts and the growth from a bran new photographer three years ago to a photographer now who is doing more photography work that he ever has before
SO why are we doing this? Isn't this crazy talking about all this stuff? Who is going to listen to the ramblings of some crazy photographer?

Well the plan is to hopefully portray the hard work and effort put into being a photographer. Additionally, the incredible, sensational, rewarding feeling we get back from doing our job well. Our customers become our family. While this is a business it is also a special bond that develops between customers and photographer. Having the blessing of being welcomed into any number of crazy, memorable, and personal memories.

"If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given." Eve Arnold

One World United Photos set out with one mission. While it is a lofty mission it is something that with today's modern technology can be possible. We want to unite the world through photography. Open up the eyes of people everywhere. Hopefully they can see the beauty that exist.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where has the time gone!!

It is 2013, the Mayan Zombie Apocalypse has not happened. One World united Photos LLC is moving along. We have had a blessing with our business as we progress and grow. We have had more weddings this year then every before. We had our first Inauguration Ball. Our out look is bright! Stay tuned for more of this exciting news. We won't leave you high and dry again.

Start off by taking a look at our events gallery at our website. Check out the latest. We have been doing it all. You can visit the Events Gallery here

Below is a sample of one of the beautiful cakes at a Wedding we did recently. The next post will be about how the recent events have truly change me as a photographer, business man, and human been.

See you then!