Your Most Important Client is Your Own Family!

Your Most Important Client is Your Own Family!

My mother used to use the line, “Shoemaker’s children need shoes,” about me being in the photographic industry and never getting her enough photographs of her grandchildren. I never took enough photographs!

I’ve been active in the photographic industry my entire adult life, which kind of makes me a one-trick pony when it comes to career paths. But there’s that old line about if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.  Well, that describes my career and the incredible experiences I’ve had over the years in photography.

When the pandemic hit, photographs (videos too) became an essential component in fighting off the frustration and depression of hunkering down. For example, “Throwback Thursday” became a weekly endeavor, not only sharing images in my blog and social media stream but often just enjoying them for me and my wife, Sheila. Every fun old photograph we’d find became an opportunity for one of us to share the backstory.

While I’ve always been an optimist and prefer to look forward rather than back, regular looks in my rearview mirror helped me stay focused on getting back to the good old days. I suppose that’s why Jodi Picoult’s quote has always been one of my favorites.

This is what I like about photographs.
They’re proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.” 

Jodi Picoult

When things are tough, whether, in life or business, we all get proactive and start making changes we should have been doing all along. So, before another day passes and you miss out on capturing special memories, here are some suggestions.

“My Journey” videos: The Senior Friendship Centers here in Sarasota has a program where for a small fee/donation, you can have a chapter of your life recorded to pass on to family members.

Everyone’s journey is a story. Through the years, you’ve accumulated a lifetime of knowledge and wisdom. Now, thanks to My Journey, a new initiative being launched at the Friendship Centers in Sarasota, you can record and preserve your story, in your words, to share.

ALL of you have aging relatives with stories to share. You also have cameras and phones that capture video. Get together with your oldest relatives and capture those stories. It couldn’t be easier – set up the camera and sit down with them and ask them to simply tell you their story.

Old Photographs: Everybody has old photographs, some in albums, others in shoe boxes. I get that it takes time to put them all in albums, but at the very least, clean out those drawers, along with everyplace else you’ve stashed prints. Please keep them in one dry place. Don’t let them take a beating, discarded, and stuffed in some obscure place in your home.

Write down who’s in those photographs. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at an old picture and not knowing who it is, where it was taken, or when. This comes up repeatedly when people share images in one of my favorite Facebook groups, “If You Grew Up In Painesville, Ohio You Remember…” People share photos all the time with question marks.

Your Family Shots: Digital photography is a kick, but how many pictures are on your phone right now without any information, never to be printed or shared? Your professional files I’m sure are relatively organized, but we all use our phones to capture images and most of us have them just sitting there.

Photographs and Therapy: When my mom was fighting Alzheimer’s, one of the most fun activities was pulling out old albums. While her memories of contemporary events were fast disappearing, we could pull out old photographs, and she was non-stop energy and accuracy. She might not remember what she had for dinner, but she knew everybody in those old pictures.

Social Media: I’m a huge fan of many of the forums on Facebook. There’s a group actively sharing images from my hometown in Ohio. Sharing old pictures of my grandparents, I connected with people who knew them both. They’ve both been gone at least forty years! Posting an old family photograph, I heard from the daughter of a woman who used to babysit for my sister and me. And sharing a 1930s shot of my grandmother at their summer cottage, the woman who lives in the house today, responded.

Sharing photographs in social media, especially when they involve old memories, puts the “social” into social media. They bring us all closer, and often it’s like the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game when we learn how so many of us are connected.

Don’t Miss Memories: When was the last time you did a family portrait of your own family? ​
For the first time in history, all of us went through the same horrible experiences because of the pandemic. Coming out of the challenge, there’s a renewed sense of family. Along with that renewal come opportunities to turn intangible memories into tangible photographs and videos to cherish for the future!

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This article was written by
Skip Cohen

Skip Cohen is an industry executive recognized for his diversity. He has served as past president of Hasselblad USA, Rangefinder/WPPI and in 2009 founded his own educational consulting company. In 2013 he launched Skip Cohen University dedicated to helping artists build a stronger business. He's a regular speaker at a variety of conventions and writes for several different magazines, as well as having two business classes at Lynda.com. Click above to visit the SCU blog.

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