Double blog posts! Double creativity! Double followers! Double the sparkle!

I seem to love learning more than doing.  But I know when you learn how to do something to be successful, you have to actually DO it!  This is a lesson this old broad knows for a fact.  Whether you are old or young, it really is the secret of successful living.  Sometimes it's the details of actually doing it in a focused way.  It's so important to learn to direct your "blows so as not to be striking the air" or you exhaust yourself and your resources getting a lot of nothing accomplished.

Today I'm cleaning and organizing my closet (am I the only one that does this before packing my suitcase?) and I logged onto www.creativelive.com to make the time count.  Where have you been all this time April Bowles-Olin?  What a great resource this class is going to be!  It's hard to spring for an online class on the eve of a long trip but it's a five week course so I can purchase it when I get back.  But then you'll be ahead of me if you get it now!  

I am pretty excited to be motivated by a class like this on the eve of a trip to find my passion!  That means that maybe, just maybe there are other people like me who find themselves all over the place with that thing they love.  I am traveling to learn from fine art photographers for the next phase of my life, to see the Appalachians and to tie up my brain's loose ends by time alone to think as I drive through places I've never seen.  Will I follow the advice I've already learned as I caught up on laundry and folded?  What about you?  Do you want to try this with me?

I promised you some sparkle.  I've been taking lots of pictures of the pretty things I use for my photography when I style a shoot.  I've rekindled a love of just a little gold and sparkle in my life.  Not too much!  Just enough to make me smile.  I hope you have a little sparkly of your very own in your life!

Details so you can find the information that will Double your Dreams!

This post is a part of the Double Your Followers blog tour to spread the word about April Bowles-Olin’s upcoming CreativeLive course. Does hearing the word ‘marketing’ make your armpits start to drip with anxiety? Are you terrified of sounding salesy or like you have the personality of a dead blowfish? If so, come join me and 2,500+ entrepreneurs who’re taking April’s latest CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative MarketingYou can RSVP and watch for FREE. Yep, free. High fives, wildflowers, wine samples. Who doesn’t love free?


24 Frames in May

I joined a group of talented photographers for a film photography challenge to shoot 24 frames of film in May.  It's lots of fun to see what I can do when there are challenges.  I shot with a Hasselblad 500 cm and an 80mm lens which is like a normal 50mm lens with a DSLR.  I'm getting ready to sell it so I thought I would take it on a goodbye tour as I travelled to Providence Rhode Island, Boston and the Palm Springs Photography Festival.  24 frames on a Hassey means shooting 2 and a half rolls of film.  I chose to use Kodak Portra 400.

These are all the shots from my 24 frames.  We visited an amazing old library in Providence.  It was a dream location for a quiet moment to contemplate and imagine all the people through the time the library has been open.  Old wood card catalogs, nooks and crannies to read in, antique chairs and small desks.  It was a lovely town and I look forward to going back.  There are a couple shots from Newport Rhode Island.  The statue and arbor.  I wish they let you take pictures inside the beautiful old mansions!  We did a very quick tour of Boston and cocktails across the bay with a view of the city was a nice end of our day.  We walked around Harvard University and listened to their marching band play.  In Palm Springs I tried to photograph as many people as I could.  I will miss my Hasselblad because it always attracts attention, lets me photograph the most reticent of subjects and allows me access because it commands respect.  Funny because nowadays you can have one for a song but they have a long history of being an expensive professional photographers tool.
All in all a good month and lots of fun!  I wish my eyesight was better.  I really don't want to get rid of this beautiful camera.  I'll be shooting lots more film in the coming month.  I love not editing!  I love thinking carefully about what I shoot and learning how to use it well.  I love showing people the backwards view in the viewfinder and talking shop with fellow photographers who admire it.  Maybe I'll try a viewfinder with a diopter and keep it after all.


Awestruck - The Palm Springs Photo Festival 2015

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

Isaac Newton

The memories, contacts, and keepers from the Palm Springs Photo Festival I carefully packed away for home.
Last week I had the privilege of volunteering for the Palm Springs Photography festival.  Being a volunteer had amazing perks.  I was able to attend seminars and evening symposiums from some of the greatest photographers on the planet along with experts in marketing, archiving, software and the business of photography along with hearing about the opportunity for advocacy and social change.

I arrived late.  The festival started on a Sunday but I had travel plans.  I made sure to be there for a portrait presentation on Tuesday.  Too bad jet lag got the best of me and I forgot.   But I caught the seminar by Elizabeth Sunday on funding fine art photography through a collector's circle.  When photographers pursue a fine art or documentary photography they often need to be funded in order to have the time to do their work creatively and effectively full time. The festival provides excellent instruction on funding projects and this seminar was eye opening to say the least.  It was wonderful to get to know this talented artist as well.  Her work in Africa is so beautiful and unique.  The late evening presentation was Mary Ellen Mark who has led a long career in Documentary photography.  Her work has impacted the awareness of life beyond our own circumstances.  She is an icon and a gracious photographer glad to share her knowledge.

Mark Seliger & Jeff Dunas
Wednesday was a busy day working in the transportation department.  But it meant loading up the workshops for Frank Oeckenfels, Peter Hurley, Mark Seliger and working next to Ian Ruhters wet plate class.  I felt like a stalker and like a newbie kid.  "Who's that!" then the Facebook stalk.  What amazed me was the generosity of time by the people who sat in my shuttle.  After driving Mark Seliger a few times, I was comfortable in asking him if I could copy his Oscar Photo Booth set for weddings and it was interesting to me that it was as I saw it...an imagined recreation of a turn of the century traveling portrait photographers studio.  Then to hear him speak in the evenings presentation was a real treat!  Did you know he writes and performs music playing guitar and singing?  His song used for the background of a Brad Pitt session video was so good.  (Not fawning, the video technique could have been so much better - I kept thinking what my kids could have done with it!)

Late Wednesday evening was a symposium of Emerging Artists.  Hearing how they pursued their projects, how they funded it, where it led was informative and their enthusiasm for the art form was infectious.  The opportunities they created for themselves makes you realize the possibilities and they are abundant!

Really late in the evening there was a party to meet and network with all the attendees.  There were so many wonderful photographers I met of all ages.  I had a great conversation with Mark Seliger's assistant who shared the lighting for the Vanity Fair Oscar Photo Booth.  I also met a young woman who had Mary Ellen Mark as her mentor and she was very sharing (and wore an adorable dress).  I met a photo assistant from Scotland who came for a workshop who was a hoot.  It was late but I could hardly sleep!

Thursday I drove some prominent photo industry people to the airport.  It proved to be a great opportunity to network for me.  To hear I am on the right track with my portraiture and personal projects is reaffirming and hearing that they would be available to me is too exciting for words! I managed to attend a seminar on archiving film work.  Important information to be sure.  Agency Access provided a seminar on creating a vision based portfolio by a couple of great speakers.  Young, enthusiastic and knowledgeable with a great presentation every photographer needs to know to get the best out of their work, their portfolio and their website.  I'll definitely be sharing my notes on that one! Thursdays evening events more than made up for all I missed!  

The symposium was on Advocacy Photography as an agent for change.  Hearing photojournalists who have seen war, human suffering, issues that need to be heard and the changing scene of how photographers are hired and paid for this important work.  They face danger death, see the pain of men, women and children suffering unbelievable circumstances.  Without them we would have no knowledge of the important issues that need to be heard.  I hope to share their stories in future blog posts. 
Dan Winters hoping to win big

The last speaker was Dan Winters.  I studied his portraiture in Don Giannatti's 8 week portrait class and grew to appreciate his style in depth.  He taught a workshop for the first time in 10 years at the festival.  He brought his own assistants and was generous to the festival and attendees with his time and informative in his presentation.  He expressed his joy in participating and it was noticeable as he held his tickets for the evenings raffle of a Pentax 645z  then shouted as he was one number off.  He was one seat away and scared the tar out of me!  BTW, the new Pentax is my new camera of choice.  I'll be saving for it however long it takes. Many photographers who used it as part of the festivals vendor lending program raved about the results they got. 

A big part of the festival is slideshows submitted by photographers from around the world.  The winner won a new Canon EOS 7D MKII with lens.  The slideshows are always a great event with so much talent and variety of work!

Barry Schwartz giving us the business
Friday things wrap up. I attended one last seminar by Barry Schwartz on what it takes to build a creative career.  The copyright information alone, though brief was just what I needed.  Being able to ask questions of experts in a small group is such a great feature of this festival.  It's more of a discussion than being talked at and such great speakers.

I had some of my best networking contacts taking people to the airport.  I can't share til we see how things pan out.  Really huge exciting stuff.  All I can tell you is that any photographer who wants to have the opportunity to have their work seen and be paid well for it must attend this festival.  So many of the industry people said this festival allows them time to really get to know the attendees work well and discuss their finds with each other as well as have the time to hear what the photographers they meet have to offer.  They take their time with the portfolio reviews that are available every day.  The other volunteers are talented photographers, one was also a beautiful model I look forward to working with on a project.  So many great and sharing professionals and students.  The photographer/prison guard (really!) who ran the transportation department I worked at kept us laughing and happy through the nearly 110 degree heat!  He accommodated our schedule for seminars we wanted to attend and gave us opportunities to choose who we could shuttle and meet.  I am waiting for film to see the portrait I shot of him.  

I also drove the Aussie architecture photography workshop instructor to the airport.  I learned so many things in that short ride and his profound, passionate views on photography were inspiring.  He said that he tries to instill in his students the need to see the work as a portrait emphasizing the personality of the subject whether it is a building, room or detail. This being more important that the tools or technique.

Wow.  I'm still digesting all I learned and reading my new autographed copy of Dan Winters "The Road to Seeing" and excited to be on the path!

Attend this festival if you can.  Be inspired.



Never to old to learn...8 week Portrait Class - Lesson One is Skrebneski!

I have a mentor of sorts in Donald Giannatti of Lighting Essentials.  He is a commercial photographer who loves to share (as Wizwow on social media) and teaches workshops.  He is currently teaching an 8 week Portrait Class and each week features a different photographer to study and learn from.

We are learning lighting techniques, editing, style, composition and posing from these great photographers.  Our assignments require us to interpret what we learn in our own way.  I've seen many photographers I admire "borrow" from other photographers in their work, testing an inspiration in their own style.  I didn't realize it until I started researching and seeing the work of many famous photographers as I payed attention to the stories they were telling in their work.

The first photographer we studied is Viktor Skrebneski.  I would show you a google search but there would be lots of NSFW images, beautiful bodies shot in an artful manner but not everyone wants to see them.  He also shot many iconic advertising campaigns for Estee Lauder, Tiffany's and of course, many celebrities.

One of his famous series of images is his "Black Turtleneck" series.  I loved those images and the lighting.  He shot with film, I saw a Hasselblad in one video I watched.  I think I would like to do my own black turtleneck series because you can really capture the personality of a subject by distilling the styling so simply.  Here are a couple of my shots inspired by this series.

Inspired by Skrebneski's shot of Andy Warhol lit by a silk Japanese lantern over a bare daylight balanced fluorescent bulb.

Inspired by a shot of Bette Davis holding a cigarette.  A smudged chalkboard for a backdrop, same silk lantern lighting.
Inspired by Victor Skrebneski campaign for Estee Lauder of my makeup artist (how appropriate!)

So google Victor Skrebneski, notice his beautiful lighting and how the light drops off to darkness so as to accentuate the subject.  So how do you think I did?


Am I too old for dreams to come true? Has my time passed? Is it over before it's begun?

A reality check for an old broad trying to chase big dreams is the invisibility of age.  When you want to be included in conversations, industry events, even a celebration of something you worked hard to help accomplish yet get left out, cancelled on or ignored because, well...you're old!  It's like a synonym for invisible, unimportant and disposable.  It can happen when you're young, like being picked last for kickball.  I remind myself that life is full of moments like these, they just happen more often when you compete with younger people for attention, clients, success, inclusion.

But I think it's like the LA freeway system.  There are lots of ways to get where you want to go.  Sometimes you miss your offramp or your views are different.  Life goes by fast.  But I don't always have to take the freeway, I choose the scenic route (with stops for love, romance, great friends and food)!

Time to explore.


The Epic Blog Adventure!

For someone who always has a lot to say, blogging is pretty hard!  It commits to public viewing my two bit opinions, grammatical errors, misspellings and sometimes a great lack of knowledge on the subjects I love to talk about.  But I am always learning and willing to listen.  Hey, I'm not dead!  Always a good thing.  I started blogging recipes.  I like to cook and people kept asking me for the same recipes over and over so I figured a blog would keep track of them, provide a permanent place to refer people so I didn't have to write the same thing over and over.  It's a great idea however a big glitch in my plan happened when I had to go gluten and corn free.  Now I am learning to cook all over again and documenting my misadventures in cooking isn't what I had in mind.  It's pretty sad when you've built  up a reputation as a good cook only to have it destroyed by a dietary change. 

Then I started a photography business with my daughter.  I was the assistant and needed to keep up quick.  So I started this blog to remember the things I was learning and see if I was improving.  I also found out how hard it was to keep up a blog.  It got even worse when my beautiful wordpress blog got inundated with spam and then hacked, locked out and erased.  Do people have nothing better to do than tear down what other people work so hard to build?!  Now that I really have learned a few things, I am starting  The Epic Blog Adventure!  I cleaned and decorated my office with lots of light, weekly flowers and pretty desk accessories (blogged HERE) so I could have a spot to work.  I also started researching how to blog staying up late writing copious notes in bad light from magazines  (my favorite on blogging and business from Stampington) and blog experts like THIS ONE.  I decided to ditch wordpress and go back to bloodspot - where I started in the first place.  Simple, easy and Googable!  My old blogposts get action even though I hadn't blogged so I figured I should take advantage of that.  What would happen with regular blogging?  Of course that meant a great professional design for my business blog.  I looked everything up on my phone which taught me the importance of responsive design that matched across websites, blogs and social media.  I also looked to inspiration from other photographers

Everyone should see this photography website by wedding photographer Kari Bellamy.   She has branded herself with the cutest website (she is very cute!).  The work is amazing, cute is just a package for the powerhouse of a photographer she is.  Her images...I die!  I had the privilege of second shooting for her. She has fun, a great eye and works hard.  I love learning from photographers of all ages.  I have a lot to learn! Kari has a great business and continues to work on improving herself.  She has also made a commitment to blogging regularly this year.  It will be fun watching her efforts and blogstyle evolve. It also inspires me to keep blogging as well.

So I realized I couldn't just blog, I needed to rebrand as well.  More work!!!  A photographers job is not just taking lovely photographs (Kari has a pie chart on her blog explaining the whole thing).  I've been mulling over this whole rebrand for months.  I tried lots of colors, textures, some nice and some hideous.  But sitting in my pretty creamy white office with linen boxes holding a collection of vintage photography, advertising and ephemera, a shiny gold stapler and girly teal Anthropologie curtains...duh!  Most people have AHA! moments.  Mine are catching up to the obvious.  So here you go, my new rebranded Modern Vintage Photography blog using a great template I found on etsy.

It will be quite an epic adventure for me because I bought a book telling me to make it so.  It's an editorial planner.  I'm hoping it's not like all the other planners I buy and start out great but then by June it's in a drawer.  I plan on keeping it front and center on my desk as I also work to keep my desk clean and neat.  One month into 2015 and I'm good so far!Come back and see what I get myself into and what I learn.  I'll be checking in on Kari and other people who inspire me as well. 

My brain on a desk, all the important things to think about this year.
Who inspires you?  What do you hope to accomplish this year?  Did you buy the gold stapler at Target too?  Tell me in the comments, I'll be paying attention!

Virginia Smith


February Calendars to Download for FREEEEEEEEEEE!

I'm having fun making these, printing them and having them handy by my coffeemaker, bathroom and bedside table with the fun images I've worked so hard to create.  I hope you enjoy these!  You can download them free to print as a 5x7 HERE.

Did you notice February is a perfect calendar month?  Just sayin'.


A new year, a free Calendar a month to download!

So I've been designing calendars of my favorite images.  A food calendar to hang by my refrigerator, a flower calendar to hang by my alarm clock, an inspirational business calendar to put on my desk.  I created a template so I can even make custom calendars for my clients of their favorite images from a session.  They go on these little sycamore wood stands that started out as menu stands.  I like that I can print them up for each month or give them as gifts starting with the month I make them.  Who says a calendar must start at JANUARY?  If I give them to a client or friend in July, they don't want the previous 6 months.  I can start a one year calendar gift at whatever month I please.  How fun is that?

So I decided to give my blog readers a 5x7 calendar month for free to download and print on card stock.  Hang it on your fridge, tuck it into your list making notebook, tape it to your bathroom mirror.  You can place it on a small plate stand or easel to stand it up on your desk.  Every month there will be a new calendar.

Here on Old Mama Dog, New Tricks I will feature a page from my daughter's photography calendar for www.samanthasmitharroyo.com of her self portrait work with inspirational quotes because she continues to be my creative inspiration (seriously, her elopement photography is the stuff of dreams).  If you have an interest in food than you can find a food on film calendar page at Vintage Recipe Smith.   Flowers are featured on my The Vintage Eclectic Life calendars.
To download this calendar page go here and use the code 2170 to download your calendar.

Enjoy!  Next post I have some great organizing tips and tools for your business.  Wait til you see how cute my office is!  You'll love it.  I have jumped on the gold accent trend.  So glad gold is back, my 70's gold chandelier in my office is back in style!