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The Sphere of the Blog

ASMP's Strictly Business - 20 hours 33 min ago

[by John Welsh]

Yeah, well, I never liked the word Blog. It’s clumsy. I think of Blah and Ugh and other reflections of ugly. And having heard “just read my blog” a few thousand times makes my eyes bleed at the thought of another rambling about a topic surely mundane.

Enter the writer and journalist, they have at least taken some of the sting away from language butchery. And there is the occasional Ordinary Citizen With Talent. They make me hate the word blog just a bit less. So where do all of the visual people fit in? I mean, in the old days, and with the only-speaking-for-me-opinion (how’s that for butchery?), I’ll say photographers shouldn’t have written captions for their own photos. They really were that bad.

Hello 2014. We are no longer mere image creators. Really. We are expected to be literate in many aspects and being professional requires it. And I know it’s been spouted lots of times, that we are communicators and story tellers and we need to live that way – it’s all true. So can photographers compete with the masses who fight for a slice of your ever decreasing attention span?

Yes, they can. How? Read good writing. Read what energizes you. Shoot what’s important to you, then read what’s important to you. Become all hipster-like, shoot some artsy beer can photos…then write a brilliant artist statement for your exhibit. Then the hard work begins. Promote it, talk about it, get it out there. Just write. And enjoy it when you suffer paralysis of the mind at 6am after an all-night video editing session (just like I’m suffering now, as I attempt to scratch this post out). Work hard. And then keep doing this, for years. Somewhere along the way I bet you’ll learn some things and prove The Opinionated wrong. We are more than people with cameras. Good night.

John Welsh is the current ASMP chapter president in Philadelphia and now that he’s half way done filming All Things Coal, he’s busy wracking the brain, juggling many things and wearing many hats in an attempt to hopefully tell a really good story.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Time Magazine: Spencer Lowell

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:35am

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TIME

Creative Director: D.W. Pine

Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise: Kira Pollack

Deputy Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise: Paul Moakley

Photographer: Spencer Lowell

Heidi: How did the cover concept develop, and why did the initial story become minimized?
Paul Moakley from Time called me at home in LA on the morning of August 7th and asked if I was interested in going to Atlanta that night and shooting a story on Ebola. At that time, the first two American patients had just been transported from West Africa to an infectious disease isolation unit at Emory Hospital in Atlanta.

The story was about America’s readiness to deal with an infectious disease as vicious as Ebola. I was assigned to photograph the facilities and staff at Emory Hospital and at the CDC. The subjects included the doctors and nurses treating the infected patients, as well as the Director of the CDC, Dr Tom Frieden. In addition, I photographed the CDC Emergency Operations Center and a staff member in the protective suiting needed to treat Ebola infected patients at hospitals.

After 3 days of shooting, the story was slated as the cover. Then on August 11th, two days before the issue was to go to print, Robin Williams died and his story took the cover and most of the issue, rightfully so.

Fast forward to September 30th, I get a notification on my phone that the first case of Ebola had been diagnosed in the US. I immediately emailed Paul Moakley a link to the article. We had worked closely together on the initial story so I thought of sharing the news with him first even though I was fairly certain he’d already seen it. He responded quickly saying that they were just talking about me and asked if I had any cover ideas that could be executed by the next day at 1:00 pm EST when they were to go to print(10:00 am PST for me).

Tell us about the time line.
That  email I mentioned was received at 2:38 pm PST so that gave me 19 hours and 22 minutes to conceptualize, pre-produce, shoot, edit and retouch. The following timeline (PST) is how things unfolded:

2:38 pm: Started researching.

2:59 pm: Emailed Paul my first idea, which was a super tight portrait of a cowboy wearing an antiviral face mask. The concept was that the cowboy symbolizes America and strength, which I thought would make for a strong contrast with the face mask, which symbolizes caution and vulnerability.

3:57 pm: Emailed Paul two more ideas – 1. overhead shot of an empty hospital bed with a quarantine enclosure and 2. an image of someone in a hazmat suit.

3:58 pm: Started looking on casting sites for a cowboy and calling prop shops and costume houses to see about getting a hospital bed and/or a hazmat suit.

5:09 pm: Kira Pollack, Director of Photography at Time emails me saying that they are definitely going with an Ebola cover and they think my ideas are great. She wants to know if I think I can pull this off over night. I wasn’t sure but I told her I was definitely willing to try.

5:30 pm: Found a costume house with an authentic Hazmat suit from the movie Contagion but they closed in 30 minutes and they were 40 minutes away. They said they’d stay open later for a fee so I emailed Kira asking if I should pull the trigger.

5:41 pm: Kira called and we spoke about which shot would be the most realistic to execute in the next 14 hours and 19 minutes. We ruled out the hospital bed because it would be impossible to source the props. Kira wasn’t entirely sold on the cowboy so we decided to go for the hazmat suit.

5:50 pm: The costume shop withdrew their offer of staying late saying that there was no one there able to stay past 6:00. At that point I called a friend of a friend who is motion picture costumer and asked if there was any way I could find a hazmat suit that night. She said absolutely not. At that point I started looking at other options. I thought back to the protective suiting I shot at the CDC and started researching the personal protective equipment (PPE) being used by healthcare workers in West Africa. I found a page on the WHO website that listed PPE requirements specifically for treating patients with Ebola. After a few phone calls, I found out that all the articles I needed could be purchased at a local army surplus store opened until 9:00 pm, a hardware store opened until 10:00 pm and drug store opened 24 hours.

6:30 pm: Called Kira back to let her know the change of plans. I told her I was able to find a yellow Tyvek suite and a white one. We talked about background options and agreed that yellow on yellow could make for a powerful image with an undertone of caution/hazard and we agreed white on white would make for a good secondary option. After we got off the phone, I set out to to purchase all the parts of the costume from around town.

10:00 pm: Met my assistant at my house to load up lights and seamlesses (luckily I had a yellow one from a previous shoot).

11:00 pm: Got to my office to unload and set up.

12:06 am: Started shooting.

3:34 am: Finished shooting. For options, we shot yellow suit on yellow background, yellow suit on midnight blue background, white suit on midnight blue background and white suit on white background.

4:33 am: Sent my edit of the shoot to Kira, Paul and DW Pine, the Creative Director of Time.

6:34 am: DW emailed me his two cover selects to be retouched – the first yellow on yellow and the other white on white.

7:28 am: DW updated me that they were definitely going with the yellow and asked me to focus my retouching on that shot. He had also comped yellow patches over the edges of my seamless to use for a mock up which he and his team thought looked like walls so he asked if I could composite yellow walls into the final image, which I did.

8:32 am: Final retouched image delivered.

What prompted you to reach out to the magazine about the ebola case?
On the day of the first US Ebola diagnosis, I received a news alert on my phone. Because I had worked so closely with Paul Moakley on the original Ebola story, he was the first person I thought about when I read the news.

Where you surprised when they offered you the assignment?
More than anything, I was surprised that they were willing to let me try to pull the assignment off in such a short period of time. I didn’t think it was impossible but I wasn’t sure it was possible. The fact that they wanted me to try gave me the confidence to push myself. It’s amazes me that not only are they constantly operating at that level of production, but that they maintain such a high level of aesthetic aspirations in the process. It’s really a privilege to get to work with such wonderful people.

What was running through your mind when you fully understood the short timeline?
I didn’t have time to fully understand the short timeline. In pressurized situations, I thrive off of not being able to overthink things and making decisions as they arise. The lack of time really acts as a filter and helps prioritize.

With such little time where did you source the props, and I’d image accuracy was essential.
I referred to the personal protective equipment for Ebola treatment section on the WHO website for accuracy. I also referred to the images I had taken at the CDC of the staff member wearing the PPE for Ebola treatment. From there, I purchased the Tyvek suits, rubber boots and plastic apron from an army surplus store; face shield from a hardware store; and gloves and antiviral face mask from a drugstore.

Who was the model in the image, seeing that the shoot started at 11:30 pm?
The model in the image is my friend/assistant, Pat Martin. I’m grateful that he was willing to drive across town last minute, help me set everything up, and pose in the very warm and uncomfortable suits all night. Now he can say he’s been on the cover of Time Magazine.

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Did you sleep at all?
I didn’t sleep at all. In fact, I told my wife who is also a photographer, that I’d be on set with her for a shoot she had for the Hollywood Reporter starting two hours after I delivered the final image. So, I woke up at 6 am on September 30th and didn’t go to sleep until 9 pm on October 1st. Definitely one of the longer days I’ve had.

What was the most rewarding part of this shoot?
Usually I’ll have a few days to think about an assignment before I start shooting and then a few days to live with the images afterwards. In that time there is a lot of static between my ears while trying to figure out the best decisions to make. The most rewarding part of this shoot was compressing my process to the essentials and becoming very aware of that static which I can definitely live without.

This was also my first cover for Time, which has been a goal as long as I can remember so that in and of itself is rewarding.

Categories: Business

The Blog is Dead! Long Live the Blog!

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

Blog. Don’t blog.

To blog or not to blog, that is the question. Well not really, but more on that in a little bit. First a brief history: In the late 1990′s people began keeping online journals, called weblogs (those morphed into ‘we blog’ as a joke and blog stuck). Posts would include the date they were written, they had a title and would become a repository of a single author writing about a single topic. Readers could comment on these entries and follow a blog automatically via RSS (Real Simple Syndication).

Today’s blogs are totally different  from those old weblogs (ok, not really) and the technology behind today’s blogs is light years ahead of where it was, less than 20 years ago (no, actually it’s not).  Rick Tuttle, one of the early bloggers and veteran web developers (he’s also one of the organizers of WordCamp Miami, which is the top blogging conference), believes “not that blogging has changed, but the rest of the world has changed.” 17 years ago there was no Facebook, no Twitter and the only way people found you online was via search or by typing in a URL that they found printed on your business card. So today’s question is:

Should you blog or should you not?

According to Wikipedia in early 2014 “there were around 248 million blogs in existence worldwide.” That’s up sharply from the 156 million public blogs 3 years prior. And that’s not even mentioning the 271 million active Twitter users who write half a billion tweets (or micro blog posts) every day – according to Twitter.

Today’s blog is often a MAB – a multi author blog (like the one you’re reading right now), with bloggers being courted by brands to write about them. (I’ve been invited to free pre- movie screening, because I blog. I have a friend in Austria, who got a Mercedes SUV for free for a few months, because he’s a blogger. One of my college buddies runs a social media ad agency and is inundated with gifts, perks and offers from companies – because he is very active and visible on social media and the blogosphere.) So should you blog or shouldn’t you?

Don’t blog.

If you’re thinking about starting a blog, those numbers seem insurmountable, the competition unbeatable. Is there even anyone who is going to be interested in what you have to say? So, I’ll agree with our blogging expert Rick Tuttle, when he says “Don’t blog, just put a webpage up with a phone number and a picture of yourself. And that’s it.

Or Do.

Rick does allow for one exception to this rule (and by now you should know how I feel about impossible odds).  Wanna know what Rick says about when you should blog? Spend 4 1/2 minutes with this expert and find out …

Rick Tuttle on Blogging

 

Strictly Business (ASMP’s MAB) will be talking about blogging all week long. You’ll hear other perspectives and opinions on why blogging is something we all should be doing. Pascal Depuhl has been blogging since the beginning of 2008 and his blog”…catching the light!” will talk about blogging topics all week as well (from how to get started, to why to blog, how to get sponsors for your blog to how to pitch your content to the big blogs.)  Contact him on twitter @photosbydepuhl, if you’d like some help in tackling your blog ideas …

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Expert Advice: How To Invoice A Client

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:03am

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

I have to admit that one of the most satisfying parts of producing a shoot is when I compile an invoice and every dollar and cent is perfectly accounted for. That’s partially because it proves I did a great job and made sure the project stayed within budget, but it’s also satisfying because I have a habit of being overly organized. That mentality extends to invoices, and I wouldn’t think of sending a client a document that was in any way incomprehensible.

From a photographer’s perspective, I know compiling an invoice isn’t as satisfying as receiving payment or seeing your images on a billboard or in a magazine. However, a client will most definitely appreciate the neatly organized paperwork, and it’s these sorts of mannerisms that might just make them want to hire you again. There is of course no right or wrong way to compile an invoice … wait, strike that … what I mean to say is that there is no right or wrong format for an invoice, as long as it’s clear and easy to understand.

Since every project is different, the information included in the invoice and its presentation can dramatically scale up or down. Sometimes a client will require receipts for all of your expenses, but other times you might be working on a bid or for a flat project fee where you don’t need to show receipts for anything. The latter of the two of course makes for a simpler invoice. Sometimes you may also have receipts within receipts. For instance, it’s ideal to present receipts for all “meals” together, but your assistant might include a copy of a receipt for a coffee on their invoice to you along with an invoice for their time, which you then need to pass along to the agency. So, while each project will be billed on a case-by-case basis, you should simply do your best to organize everything appropriately, which might mean setting invoicing requirements for the subcontractors you hire. Also, always be sure to keep the original copies of your receipts for absolutely everything you buy for a shoot, whether you plan to charge your client for it or not.

The following is an example of an invoice that I feel is straightforward, clean and easy to comprehend:

The first page of the invoice acts as a summary of all fees and expenses, and also notes the advance payment received as well as the final balance due. All of the following pages are either invoices or scanned receipts to justify the expenses. When estimating the project before the shoot, you might consider including items such as “shoot processing for client review” and “selects processed for reproduction” as expenses rather than fees since you might ultimately outsource retouching, and because it helps to potentially increase the amount of an advance (if you’re only permitted to receive an advance on expenses). However, since we do not need to include a receipt or invoice to justify these items, I’ve included them in the “fees” section at the top. Organizing it this way makes it clear that the pages following the front of the invoice are to justify the expenses only.

You’ll see that each receipt/invoice used to justify the expenses is formatted differently (because they all come from different vendors) and it’s therefore important to add uniformity to make them easier to digest. That’s why on each page I use Adobe Acrobat Pro to add a title to the upper left hand corner, then circle the total and note the total again on the bottom right corner. The titles help to clarify which line item on the invoice the page corresponds to, and while adding the total at the bottom may seem redundant, it helps to summarize pages where there may be multiple receipts (like for meals).

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I also use Adobe Acrobat Pro to create PDFs of each invoice/receipt and to compile the final invoicing packet by merging all of the PDFs into one file. To create a page of receipts (for meals in this instance), I lay the receipts down on a flatbed scanner and set the preferences on my computer to automatically save a PDF. You might try to use your phone to take a picture of your receipts (or even take photos of your receipts with a DSLR), but the quality of the images you’ll receive from a flatbed scanner will be well worth the investment, and prices for scanners have dropped dramatically over the past few years.

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Sometimes you might not be able to get a receipt for an expense (like a tip for a bellman or charges for mileage) but you’ll still want to be reimbursed. In these instances we use the petty cash log below to document these expenses.

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As I mentioned previously, the scale of your production will determine the formatting and length of your invoice. For instance, an invoice I recently submitted for a large production had 30 pages dedicated to wardrobe styling alone. In cases like this, it may make sense to have cover pages for each section (to correspond to the line items on the invoice) rather than just adding section titles to each page.

No matter how you format an invoice, you just need to be organized and present everything in a manner that is easy to comprehend. If you take a few extra minutes to create a well-formatted invoice, you’ll save the time and energy you’ll otherwise spend going back and forth with your client to justify your fees and expenses. In the end, it should help you receive payment faster, and will make your client (and their accounting department) enjoy working with you.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating, producing or invoicing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns

Categories: Business

Do Blogs Still Have a Place?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 12:02am

[by Tom Kennedy]

Circa 2000-2005, blogs were the primary way individuals could reach an audience on the Internet. Many used blogging to express themselves, offer insights and opinions, or address niche interests not being discussed in mainstream media. To a large degree, the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media streams in the past decade has affected the landscape of blogging. Social streams offer “sound bites” or short posts containing many of the same elements as blogs, but executed in a more naturally conversational style.

With that said, I think blogs still represent an opportunity to display the fruits of one’s skills and experience, express a more extended viewpoint on issues of importance to the community and demonstrate one’s value as a community member.

Successful blogs have a consistency of “voice” that reflects the personality of the blogger in a way that is accessible to the audience. The blog topics themselves can also contribute to shaping the perception of the voice being expressed.

Deciding on the primary purpose is crucial. Is the blog meant to raise concerns, share information, raise questions, entertain, or offer inspiration? Answering that question should determine the content and approach. Increasingly, blogs are more visual, which makes sense for our profession.

Ideally, a blog not only expresses the personality and intentionality of the blogger, but also fosters social interaction that builds community. To do that effectively, the blog must contain “hooks” that enable the community to respond to what has been posted. Providing feedback loops and two-way communication to the natural community of interest is critical.

Social stream mechanisms can be effective for driving attention to a blog and enabling the community to find it. I look at Twitter and Facebook or Google+ as steering mechanisms that can help a natural audience navigate to the deeper content offered on blogs or websites.

Part of the struggle of maintaining a blog is arriving at a way to generate enough content with enough frequency that it is valuable to the audience (and its value to the author exceeds the time invested). Publishing rhythms can vary widely. It is helpful to think about rhythm as a variable influenced by the content itself, and the capacity to sustain publication as part of one’s work activity. Various publishing frequency rhythms can work as long as the audience can learn what to expect.

Finally, determining the role of the blog as an indicator of one’s professional value is also a decision point. I’ve come to believe that I can use social streams to express thoughts more quickly and I can stimulate a more interactive conversation than if I relied solely on a blog. I still think a blog has value for allowing more full expression of my thoughts and I use it as such. But I supplement that usage with other more instantaneous and fluid forms of communication that are less time-consuming to produce, but still allow me to contribute to the community.

Tom Kennedy is an independent consultant coaching and mentoring individual photographers, while also working with various organizations to train individuals and teams on multimedia story creation, production, publication and distribution strategies for digital platforms, and enhancing creativity. He also regularly teaches at Universities and multimedia conferences. He has created, directed, and edited visual journalism projects that have earned Pulitzer Prizes, as well as EMMY, Peabody, and Edward R. Murrow awards.  He can be reached at kennedymedia@gmail.com.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Modern Blog

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 12:01am

When Blinkbid founder, Lou Lesko, asked the audience at a recent ASMP DC program how many had blogs, nearly every hand went up.  When he asked how many had updated their blogs within the past month, nearly every hand went down.  The days when bloggers posted daily and readers visited and commented almost as often have morphed into something rather different.  This week, our contributors share their thoughts on blogs today.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Berhnard Fuchs

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 10:01am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was riding in the car with my son, just the other day. He recently turned 7. As we approached my old studio, which I left in 2013, he let out a big sigh. It was demonstrative, that sigh.

Weighted.

“I miss your old studio,” he said. “I miss the good old days. Those were some good times, back then. We used to look at animal videos on Youtube, and play with stuff, and Juma the barber was still alive. He used to give me pretzels. We’d visit the Montoyas. Your landlords. They’re nice people, and they’re going to die soon too.”

“Those were some good times,” he finished.

Again, I stress this child is 7.

“You mean,” I said, “that you miss the days when you were 4? Back when life was simpler, and you didn’t have to do homework in 1st grade?”

“Exactly,” he answered.

“There’s a word for that,” I said. “It’s called nostalgia. It means you long for the easy days of your youth. It’s a kind of sadness that makes you feel good at the same time. It’s a complicated emotion. A first for you, I think.”

“Nostalgia,” he said. And then promptly forgot the word. But we did stop the car to visit the Montoyas, who are nearing 90, unwell, and not long for this world. His deep sigh, which kicked off the entire conversation, led us to visit our elders, which is always a mitzvah.

It’s funny how that thought-pattern seems so deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Did our ancestors used to say things like,

“Grog, I really miss that cave we used to live in, back in those mountains over that way. You know, the one by the broken tree near that river? The smell of bat shit was so pungent, its true, and we never saw the sun. But those were some good times, in that cave, making fires and painting horses on the wall with berry juice.”

I wonder.

I wonder, especially now, having just put down “Woodlands,” a new book by Berhnard Fuchs, published by Koenig. Back in 2011, when I first started this book review column, I reviewed a book by Mr. Fuchs. Those were some good days. I don’t remember his book, exactly, but if I hadn’t liked it, I wouldn’t have written about it.

This one, entirely made of color landscape pictures, was photographed in the land of his youth. I’m guessing it’s Germany, but I suppose it could be Austria.

Either way…

In a short, but relevant opening passage, Mr. Fuchs says these tree-filled hills bring him back to his youth, and give him a feeling of “everydayness.” (Which is a kind way of saying it all looks alike.)

You can feel the longing buried amongst the snow and gray skies. There are green, summery pictures too, for sure, but they all deny me the deep horizon that I crave, living in New Mexico, where I can see for 100 miles. They’re claustrophobic, these pictures, and there are a lot of them.

By the end, I was rushing through to get to the end, so I could breathe again. There are a few photographs that are stellar, on their own, but mostly, this is another experiential book.

You feel the place.

You get nostalgic, even if it’s for a city somewhere, or an island, or a waterfall that’s only for you.

There are no cultural markers here. No road signs. No irony, really. It is what is says it is. Woodlands.

Home.

Bottom Line: A seductive sameness in the woodlands of Germany

To Purchase “Woodlands” Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Categories: Business

I Know a Lot of People

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:01am

[by Todd Joyce]

Having been involved with ASMP on a national level, I know a lot of photographers all over the country. Great people too. They’re all resources to contact to ask about assistants, talent agencies, scouts, stylists, etc. I get calls from ASMP members coming to my area, too, and I’m glad to help. That’s what ASMP is about – being part of a large collective that can help our industry and help each other.

Several years ago, I traveled to 19 different cities in less than three months to photograph a series of portraits for a pharmaceutical company. I often didn’t have much lead time and I always needed a stylist and an assistant in every city.  My favorite story from the project comes from a day when I was already on location and I was told that we had a subject who was in another city and was only available the next morning.

It was already 5 pm so I knew that I might not be able to reach anyone and I had to move fast. I looked up an ASMP member and called to ask about an assistant and stylist. I explained my situation to the photographer and he replied, “Let me call you right back.” I waited anxiously for 10 minutes. When he called back, he told me he had booked both for me and gave me their contact info. I hadn’t asked him to book anyone – I had only asked for some referrals. But, he knew I was in a jam, so he called a few people he knew to check their availability.  Not only did he save me time, he made sure I had the right people for the job.   Now that is going the extra mile.

We’re all in the same boat.  As a member of ASMP, you get support.  And, you support the industry and each other.

Todd Joyce, past asmp national director and past national president.  

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Art Producers Speak: Chris Simpson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:19am

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Chris Simpson. I love him not only as an artist, but as a person. He has an unique style and is great to work with.

A simple citrus salad, I love the colors and shapes in this dish.

A simple citrus salad, I love the colors and shapes in this dish.

Working with a variety of cured meets and coming up with a playful arrangement.

Working with a variety of cured meets and coming up with a playful arrangement.

Shot a few steaks for my book recently.

Shot a few steaks for my book recently.

Onion Rings.

Onion Rings.

This is a classic summer recipe; the texture of the corn is beautiful.

This is a classic summer recipe; the texture of the corn is beautiful.

Finding beautiful ingredients at the farmers market and bringing them back to the studio.

Finding beautiful ingredients at the farmers market and bringing them back to the studio.

Creating a little narrative within the shot.

Creating a little narrative within the shot.

A coffee pour that I shot in order to get a project.

A coffee pour that I shot in order to get a project.

Chocolate Layer Cake and Truffle With Sea Salt

Chocolate Layer Cake and Truffle With Sea Salt

A shot that I took for Jell-O.  This was the food stylist’s first attempt at making this perfect swirl.  We tried many other variations but ultimately it was the first shot that stuck.

A shot that I took for Jell-O. This was the food stylist’s first attempt at making this perfect swirl. We tried many other variations but ultimately it was the first shot that stuck.

A recent campaign that I did for Lactaid, the campaign featured 6 different food and drink items all in different environments.

A recent campaign that I did for Lactaid, the campaign featured 6 different food and drink items all in different environments.

One of my first clients, it was great working with the client and agency on developing a way to showcase how thin the pretzels are and also show the front of them.

One of my first clients, it was great working with the client and agency on developing a way to showcase how thin the pretzels are and also show the front of them.

I repurposed some shots I did for AVON in order to make this composition.

I repurposed some shots I did for AVON in order to make this composition.

My assistant must have dropped this bottle 80 times in order to get this shot.

My assistant must have dropped this bottle 80 times in order to get this shot.

How many years have you been in business?
I have been shooting professionally for about 3 years now.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), with a BFA in photography. My four years there really helped to hone my eye and expand my creative sensibilities. I’ve also learned a tremendous amount in regard to the business end of photography as well as photographic techniques from working in the field. The knowledge I’ve gathered from those experiences coupled with my formal education is how I learned to make a career out of photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Throughout my career in photography there have been many people who have inspired me, teachers, peers, photographers I have assisted and photographers who’s work I admire, but nobody has inspired me as much as my Father, Jerry Simpson. My Father is an incredible director and cinematographer who started out as a print photographer. I have been lucky enough to work side by side with him on various shoots, where I do the stills and he shoots motion for clients. While working with him I have also learned a lot about motion, assisting him with shoots and even collaborating with him on projects. He has pushed me to achieve goals that sometimes seem impossible and has taught me a ton about the business.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I find inspiration in many different outlets: new restaurants I eat at, books I’m reading, meeting new people and places I’ve visited. Living in New York City is hugely inspirational too, there are always new shows to go to, new foods to eat. I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings and new experiences. All of this helps me to push the envelope, keep my eye sharp and come up with new ideas. I find that sometimes when my mind is clear and I’m not thinking about photography ideas pop into my head that then develop into images later on. It’s funny, a lot of times I won’t know that something has inspired me until a week, month or year later when that moment will reappear and push me to shoot something new. It’s also important for me to keep testing, through shooting personal work I’m able to work out ideas and develop different concepts.

I have also been able to travel extensively for work and for pleasure over the years. It’s always inspiring to be able to get on a plane and wind up in a completely different environment. Experiencing different cultures and different ways of life is very influential for me.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I truly enjoy the collaborative process of working with a team of creative folks and clients. Usually clients are excited to work with me because they love my work and trust me. I like working with other people and I’m comfortable articulating my vision to people that may not see what I’m seeing. Developing this trust is important and ultimately leads to the best end result.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I have found that most of my success comes from face to face meetings with people. I try and schedule meetings with buyers and creative people on a monthly basis. Most of this is up to me as I don’t have a rep, but I enjoy the process and know it’s all part of the career. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some great Art Buyers and Creative folks that are always happy to help me get meetings and give me feedback on what I’m doing. It’s always flattering to me that people who meet me for the first time are so willing to help me.

Personalized emails are also hugely beneficial, it doesn’t take much to reach out to someone and ask them about what they are doing. Being interested in other people in the business and wanting to know their perspective always helps in developing long lasting relationships.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Don’t do it. I can’t say enough about making work for yourself and pushing what you enjoy, the paid work will follow. It’s a bad cycle to produce work that you think people want to see, and as you do that you drift further away from what you want to be doing. Creatives, buyers and photo editors are so much more likely to higher you because they find your work to be amazing as opposed to seeing something that fits a campaign or story. Having edgy and interesting work is how you get your first projects and from there it keeps building.

I try to challenge myself constantly and put myself into situations that I’m not 100 percent comfortable with. Whether that’s in the studio or on location, it can be as simple as trying to light something that I have never had to light before or experimenting with a new camera or lens. It’s important to do this work on your own so that when a job comes along that’s challenging you are prepared for it.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Always, I feel strange if I don’t. I’m constantly thinking up new projects that I want to work on. It’s easy for me to go to the farmers market and develop new shots in my mind, and then before I know it I’m in the studio creating new work. I find that I’m constantly inspired to develop my work, and at the moment I’m editing a large body of travel photography. If I’m feeling stuck I go for a bike ride or head up to the woods and go camping for a night.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as I can, if I’m not busy I try and shoot for myself at least a few times a month. For me it’s a downward spiral if I’m not creating, I feel much better when I’m making work.

——————–

Since Chris was young he has always had a strong passion for photography, after seeing his first black and white image appear in the darkroom he was hooked. He decided to continue his passion when he enrolled in Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He received his BFA from MICA and quickly moved to Brooklyn, New York.

Since moving to New York his photography has taken him to countries such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Portugal, and Italy. He has worked for such clients as AVON, Johnson & Johnson, and 7-UP. He enjoys the collaborative process of photography and being able to help clients reach their visions. He loves that through photography he has been given opportunities to meet some of the most amazing people through out the world.

If Chris is not photographing or editing images, he enjoys cycling, camping and cooking meals with good friends.

CONTACT

Chris Simpson
www.chrisrsimpson.com
chris@simpsonfilms.com
Instagram: @chrisrsimpson
917.513.4263

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Catch Suzanne presenting with Kat Dalager for Market Right 2014 in NYC on Wednesday, October 29th http://yodelist.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/were-proud-to-announce-market-right-2014

Categories: Business

Fellow photographer. Mentor. Friend.

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:01am

[by Kevin Lock]

I met my mentor in college and didn’t even know it.

While attending San Diego State, I took my first ‘paying’ photographic job at the Daily Aztec.  After only being on staff for a few weeks I attended a slide show presentation on Somalia, presented by a photojournalist whom had begun the rocky transition from newspaper photographer to freelance.  After the presentation I ran down the photographer and interviewed him for an hour or so.  I had no idea at the time how profoundly this photographer would affect my career and how quickly.  I had just picked up my second job. Assistant.

Over the years my relationship with this photographer grew.  My photographic career metamorphosed.  He introduced me to his fellow photographers which led to new jobs, I mastered the art of being his gopher, dark room technician, second shooter, digital retoucher, studio manager, problem solver, occasional house sitter, and in time, business partner.  This ever evolving relationship has taken us on photographic adventures across the country and to a few international destinations.

It was with his encouragement that I joined the ASMP in 2003.   I attended a few board meetings and then he pushed me to run for president of my local chapter. After 2 years as president and as I approach my final year on the national board, I can’t help but think how differently things would be for me today had a photographer not taken interest in my journey and taken the time to help me succeed over the years.

Joel Zwink,  I thank you for your guidance, encouragement, and your friendship.

Kevin Lock is a current director of the ASMP.    While Kevin and Joel joined the ASMP at different times, they both continue to give back to their community by being photographers, helping photographers in San Diego and in a town near you.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

I Send On Average Five Takedown Notices To Web Hosts Every Day

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 10:39am

I sent takedown notices to a store selling phone cases, to Etsy for an artist hawking pirated prints of a fire ant, and to Twitter for an exterminator heading his company account with one of my bed bug photographs.This rate of commercial infringement is normal, as photographers and other online visual artists can attest. I deal with most cases by using a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA that requires Web hosts to remove infringing content when informed. I send, on average, five takedown notices to Web hosts every day, devoting ten hours per week to infringements. Particularly egregious commercial infringers get invoices.

I actually have let a few of my most commonly infringed images go unenforced. I could not keep up, so I left these as a natural experiment. The result confirmed what I suspected: images that become widespread on the Internet are no longer commercially viable. Thousands of businesses worldwide now use one of my Australian ant photographs to market their services, for example, and not a single paying client has come forth to license that image since I gave up.

Copyright infringement for most artists is death by a thousand paper cuts. One $100 infringement here and there is harmless enough. But they add up, and when illegal commercial uses outnumber legal ones 20 to 1 in spite of ambitious attempts to stay ahead, we do not have a clear recourse. At some point, the vanishing proportion of content users who license content legally will turn professional creative artists into little more than charity cases, dependent only on the goodwill of those who pity artists enough to toss some change their way.

via Bugging out: How rampant online piracy squashed one insect photographer | Ars Technica.

Categories: Business

The Phone Call That Made My Career.

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

One of my best friends is a photographer. I’ve known him for almost 25 years, actually he is the first guy I ever assisted, I’ve produced for him, he’s used my house as a location, I’ve borrowed his studio, he’s hired my wife as a model…but I want to share how he helped me without even knowing it.

It’s 1994.

I’ve been assisting in Chicago and Miami for two years and I want to move to the fashion capital of the world: New York City. And, I want to work with the best. So I fly to NYC for a few days to meet some photographers, see if they’d even consider hiring this young assistant who never went to photo school. Since my friend went to RIT, I figure I’d give him a call to get some introductions to his old classmates. Little did I know, that this phone call would make my career as an assistant.

He gives me a list of photographers he went to school with and I start making the calls.  Now my dream is to work with people like Peter Lindberg, Bruce Weber, Arthur Elgorth…you know, the legends in our industry. But, you gotta pay your dues, so I call his classmates, until I come to the last name on his list: Richard Avedon. “Tell Richard I said to call” my friend had joked. “Like that’s gonna help” I think, but I figure a phone call can’t hurt, so I spend the quarter (remember it’s the mid 90′s) and get the 4th assistant on the phone.

“How did you hear about the job?”

“What job?” I ask (I have no idea.), “We’re looking for a full time 4th assistant and are seeing people tomorrow. Here’s the address. Bring some personal work.” CLICK. Wow! Avedon. Can’t quite wrap my head around that. This guy is one of the pioneers of fashion photography! The next morning I show up in my Miami assistant uniform: desert camo combat boots, cut off jeans, T-shirt, with a few slides that I tool while traveling. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was walking into. Picture a room full of RIT and Brooks graduates, about 20 of them. Also in uniform. Everyone in suit and tie . Everyone with a degree in photography and everyone with a perfect school portfolio. I am so outgunned, it’s not even funny.

For some reason, the assistants who interviewed all of us like me and ask me back the next day. “We want to see you load some 8×10 film and meet with the 1st assistant.” Sure, no problem. I walk out. Mind you, I’ve never seen a large format camera, I have no clue how to load one. So I go to a photo store up the street and ask for one 8×10 film back and 2 sheets of large format film. I practice loading film the rest of the day. Load. Unload. Load. Unload. Wax on. Wax off. At the end of the day, I can do this blind-folded – which is a good thing, ’cause tomorrow I’ll have to do this blind.

I don’t remember if I slept …

… all I remember is standing in Avedon’s studio the next day. The first assistant asks me, while handing me a box of 8×10 film and a stack of holders, “Ever loaded a large format film before?” “Oh, sure.” I say, “Old pro.” Well to make a really long story short - a week later I’m working with Richard Avedon in New York City’s Industria Studio on the Pirelli Calendar. On the last day of that shoot Mr. Avedon comes over, shakes my hand and says: “Hi, I’m Dick. I hear your one of the hot New York assistants.”

“Honestly, sir,” I reply, “This is my first assisting job in New York.”

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Pascal Depuhl went on to work with Richard Avedon as a freelance assistant for two years in the mid 90′s, after having turned down the full time 4th assistant offer. He also got to work with 9 out of the 10 photographers he had on his list. Contact him on twitter @photosbydepuhl.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

With a Little Help From My Peers

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:02am

[by Francis Zera]

This may sound obvious for an ASMP blog, but the photographers I’ve met through ASMP have definitely made all the difference for my career and for my sanity.

Last year, I was invited to bid on what would turn out to be the most valuable gig of my career to date. Problem was, I’d never before bid on a project that was, in essence, a multi-year documentary project. I understood the scope of the project, along with the materials and equipment that would be required and usage parameters. What I didn’t know was how to package a bid like that. Or how to calculate an appropriate overall budget that would remain competitive in my regional market.

So what did I do? First, I did what most everyone probably does — I gave it my best shot on my own, but I certainly had little confidence in that first draft.

My next step was to call several of my ASMP peers, both locally and in other parts of the country. We never discussed actual dollar amounts. Instead, they offered suggestions on presentation ideas and tactics. Most importantly, they all offered unsolicited moral support, which really helped to boost my confidence in the bid that I eventually submitted. With their help, I put together a thorough and professional bid, and eventually won the job.

Competing photographers are not the enemy — we’re all in this together, and peers supporting peers is the normal order of business in many industries. We should look to our fellow photographers for advice, support, and shared wisdom, and definitely return the favor when asked. No one gave away any secrets, and much of the advice simply confirmed that I was on the right track, but that support made the whole process seem a lot less perilous. By being part of part of a larger community and not doing this on my own, I gained more than insights on tactics and presentation – I gained the confidence necessary to present my bid with the professionalism and poise needed to convince the client I was right for the job.

Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural and commercial photographer. He teaches the business curriculum in the photography department at the Art Institute of Seattle, and recently completed an M.A. Ed. in adult education and training. You can check out his work at zeraphoto.com and follow him on twitter.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Photographers Helping Photographers

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:01am

With everything changing so fast – technology, publishing, media, advertising, audience building, client needs, everything – going it alone is…well…it just doesn’t make sense.  It is time for photographers to come together, share knowledge, pool resources and support each other.  This week, our contributors share how they’ve benefited from building a strong network of peers. ~ Judy Herrmann, Editor

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Usage and Pricing of Photography in Social Media

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 10:10am

By Suzanne Sease, creative consultant

Many photographers and photo editors have asked me to look into rates for social media use. I reached out to Suzanne Sease for the first of what will be a series of articles looking into the pricing and usage. – rob

When Rob asked me to reach out to Art Directors and Art Producers to get an idea of what photographers are charging for social media, I got a surprising lesson. Since I was an Art Producer for over 20 years, I am very fortunate to be able to reach out to those currently in the field. To get a more complete understanding of pricing I spoke with people from traditional advertising agencies to social media ad agencies to in house corporate ad agencies. These businesses were all over the country from large to small cities.

I found quite a range in pricing with free use from amateurs to inexpensive stock to photographers shooting original content making the best rates. Several articles I found mentioned clients taking the ad budget for TV and allocating it to social media to use the free venues (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube to name a few) to promote their brand. Because these venues are free, clients sometimes put little value in paying for images. Many have social media marketing rolled into use by asking for unlimited. Some said they spell it out like consumer print, social and internet because they don’t need trade. If they don’t have a great budget they will not ask for unlimited because it is print where the money is spent and social is thrown in.

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Many clients doing social media only are looking for stock and a Senior Art Producer at large top agency I talked to said they pay as little as $50.00 to $65.00 per image for use with top brands. The images were anything from a scuba diver, grandfather and grandson fishing, a campfire, sandcastle on the beach, and cows grazing that were shot well. These images came from Getty, Masterfile, Corbis and Shutterstock.

One Creative Director at a social media advertising agency said they felt that places like Flickr, Tumblr and Instagram were going to make a photographers business harder while another Senior Art Producer said that Flickr was a dangerous alternative, because releases are not filed and determining if the person who posted the image is actually the true owner of the copyright can be difficult. They said they will only work with known stock companies because their contracts protect as well as indemnify their client. Another Senior Art Producer at another large International ad agency said they recommend clients purchase royalty free images from $300 to $500 each so they can use it forever. They also said that banner ads would price between $500 and $700 for year with a rights managed image. If they used rights managed images for social media, the range is $300 to $500 for the year.

There are some photographers who have positioned themselves to work on social media campaigns. I interviewed one photographer who has been asked to do many social media only campaigns and the fees have a huge disparity because of different client budgets. On the high end, they got around $8,000 for 6 shots in 1 day of shooting.On the low end was $650 for one image/unlimited usage. They said that most clients are looking for quick images that do not have the detail and production value of a print shoot. On the average shoot, the client wants up to 25 images with social media use only for around $5,000.

The best way to position yourself is to be on a retainer for a client so you can shoot when the client has an immediate need (sometimes in real time). This goes for about $10,000 a month for social media use only.

A Creative Director at a social media ad agency said they would pay $500.00 for a one image shoot with lasting 2-3 hours total (pre-pro, shoot and edit). This is how fast clients want to get their social media marketing up. And for shoots when they need 15-25 images in one day, their client pays $2,000 max. Some clients will have usage based on time but more and more are asking for unlimited.

An example of the speed of the images needed, if you remember during the 2013 Super Bowl when the power went out, it was the ad agency for Oreo (They use several agencies from Weiden + Kennedy and The Martin Agency where I once worked) who sent this tweet out and it was advertising gold. It was because usage had been covered in the original negotiation that allowed them to tweet it.

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Kit Kat just surpassed Oreo at Apple’s expense with the “bending” iPhone 6 plus.

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And then there is Real Time, where someone is hired to shoot and send images out as they are shot. The fashion industry likes to do this as well as brands holding an event to get more people to the event. In this situation they will pay about $1,000 to $2,000.00 per day plus expenses for a full buyout.

Finally and unfortunately in some cases advertisers are starting to use everyday people to add to their social media marketing to give their brand more attention. They are not paying for the rights to use those image.

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Here are some interesting articles I found:

http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/marketing-budget-shifts-from-traditional-to-digital-media-may-be-slowing-42159/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2011/08/26/online-ad-spend-to-overtake-tv/

http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/the-30-most-brilliant-social-media-campaigns-of-2014-so-far/

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be brand driven and not specialty. Follow her at SuzanneSease.

She is presenting with Kat Dalager Market Right 2014 in NYC on Wednesday, October 29th http://yodelist.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/were-proud-to-announce-market-right-2014/

Categories: Business

Come Together

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:01am

This Fall, ASMP has lined up some fantastic opportunities for you to learn from your peers for free or with substantial discounts for ASMP Members.  Join us:

Online Today!

e-Learning_eNewsLAST CHANCE – REGISTER TODAY!
Reaching New Heights with UAV Photography
Final Class:
Safely Operating & Professionally Using Your UAV

1:00 – 2:00 pm EDT / 10:00 – 11:00 PDT

For the past 3 weeks, UAV pilot, building and photographer Parker Gyokeres has packed a ton of information, insights and experience about how to use UAVs (aka drones) safely, efficiently and cost-effectively into ASMP’s online learning series.

Don’t miss this last chance to gain access to on-demand recordings from all 4 classes for a full 6 months. REGISTER TODAY!

 

Online This Wednesday!

BaU_logo4blogYou Got the Call, Now What?
with Cristopher Lapp
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 pm EDT / 10:00 – 11:00 am PDT

Acclaimed fashion photographer Cristopher Lapp walks you through how he developed the budget for a recent large-scale fashion shoot, breaking down every step from the questions he asked the client to the final presentation of his estimate. Join us for tips, tricks and insights that will help you land your next big job.

This informative online webinar is free for all live attendees.

Join us Wednesday, October 15 — REGISTER TODAY!

Save the date: Our November BaU features respected Agency Access consultants Amanda Sosa Stone & Jennifer Kilberg on developing your vision based portfolio.  Join us on Wednesday, November 12 at 1:00 pm eastern. Click here to register.

Online Next Week!

PrintGetting Paid:
Compensation for Photographers in the 21st Century
Tuesday, October 21 – 1:00 pm Eastern

Join host Richard Kelly for a conversation with ASMP Executive Director Eugene Mopsik about compensation for photographers. Gene’s experiences advocating on behalf of professional photographers — in negotiations with major publishers, before Congressional Committees, and during hearings at the U.S. Copyright Office — have given him a unique understanding of the forces at play, the pressure points that remain in the marketplace, and what photographers can do to overcome them.

This provocative online webinar is free for all live attendees.

Join us Tuesday, October 21 — REGISTER TODAY!

In New York:

 The 19th Annual PACA ConferencePACA Logo
Ocober 19 – 21
The Altman Building, New York

PACA, the Digital Media Licensing Association, a trade association for stock licensing agencies, invites photographers to attend their 19th Annual Conference in New York.  Photographers are welcome to attend the full conference or sign up for individual sessions.  All single session registrants may also attend the PACA Networking Reception at ICP on Tuesday night.

ASMP members:
Click here to save $250 on full conference registration
.

• • •

PPE_LOGOPhoto Plus Expo
October 30 – November 1
Javits Convention Center, New York

With over 80 seminars, keynote presentations featuring Martin Parr, Ben Folds and several prominent photojournalists working with A Day Without News, intensive Master Classes, Photo Walks and a huge trade expo, you won’t want to miss Photo Plus Expo this year! Register before July 31st and take advantage of their great early bird pricing. Learn more at photoplusexpo.com or download the PDF brochure.

Don’t miss these fabulous ASMP sponsored seminars:
Growing Your Business when Everyone has a Camera with Judy Herrmann
Road to Seeing: Nurturing Your Creative Sensibility with Dan Winters

ASMP members:
Click here to save $150 on a Full Conference Pass.  Add a VIP swag bag for just $75 and get exclusive access to the Halloween Monster Mash party and a chance to win one of 100+ gold ticket prizes!

• • •

PSPF_REVIEWS
The Official Portfolio Reviews at Photo Plus

October 30 – November 1
Javits Convention Center, New York

The Official Portfolio Review at PhotoPlus Expo is America’s premier review event for emerging and professional photographers. Organized by the Palm Springs Photo Festival in conjunction with Photo District News and The Photo Group, this event offers a fabulous opportunity to meet and present your work for critique, feedback and advice. At no other time can a photographer see such a cross-section of potential clients/representatives from both the commercial and fine art arenas in a three-day period.

ASMP members:
Click here to save 15% on your registration – the best discount available!

In a city near you:

IETtraiiler
The Illumination Experience Tour
with renowned cinematographer, Shane Hurlbut
Tour ends November 17

The Illumination Experience Tour delivers an intense educational experience about the fundamentals of cinematography. Taught by Shane Hurlbut, A.S.C. — Director of Photography for 18 Hollywood films — this full-day workshop will teach you powerful principles and techniques you can immediately use in your filmmaking projects.  Learn more at www.illumination-experience.com.

ASMP Members:
Click here to save $25 on all registration levels.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Nicolo Degiorgis

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 8:55am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I once made fun of the Chinese government. It’s true. You can look it up in the APE archives. I was defending Ai Weiwei, when he was unfairly incarcerated, and I said some rather indelicate things.

These days, the evil enemy de rigeur is ISIS, or ISIL, depending on which acronym you prefer. Those guys are genuinely awful, but I think I’ll stop short of name calling this time.

Why?

Because those fuckers are so crazy, and Internet-Savvy, they might just send a sleeper over the Mexican border to come chop off my head. So, to be clear, I’m not making fun of you, ISIS. I’m merely pointing out your preference for horrifying, anarchic violence, in the name of worshipping your deity. (Different strokes, different folks, I always say.)

One of the sad facts of the ISIS ascendance is that they cast a pall over the many millions, if not billions, of peaceful, law-abiding, God-loving Muslims around the planet. Those folks wouldn’t behead a fly, unless it was buzzing around their head incessantly. Then, maybe they’d just swat at it, trying desperately to make it go away, before they had to resort to insect murder.

Please, Mr. Fly, go somewhere else. Leave me alone. I bear you no ill will. I will not kill you unless you leave me no choice.

Muslims are people, like Jews and Christians and Buddhists and Hindus and Zoroastrians. Here in the United States, we talk a good game about respecting religious freedom. Hell, I can even remember that classic asshole George W. Bush declaring that Muslims were not the enemy, right after 9/11, and right after he put Iran and Iraq on the Axis of Evil list. (Mixed messages much, George?)

We may allow religious freedom here, but that doesn’t mean it flies elsewhere, even in the developed world. Apparently, though Islam is the second largest religion in Italy, after Catholicism, there are only 8 official mosques in the entire country. How can I rattle off this specific statistic so easily?

Good question.

I read it in a Martin Parr-scribed introduction to “Hidden Islam,” a new book by Nicolo Degiorgis, recently published by Rorhof, in Italy. The book is subtitled “Islamic Makeshift Places of Worship in North East Italy, 2009-2013,” so let’s not count this one among the many books that try to fool you, or dare you to figure out what the heck is going on.

Frankly, I really liked the clarity. It helped me adjust to the bleak, generic, black and white buildings that are broken down into categories on the cover as well. (Warehouses, shops, supermarkets, etc.)

I didn’t read the introduction right away, because I sometimes skip the text. (Dirty secret time.) Also, I didn’t see it, at first. It wasn’t obviously there.

I was turning the pages gingerly, for a while, believing this was one more book that used double-page, sewn spreads, just to make it seem more significant. Then, halfway through, one of the pages started to come undone. So I pulled it the rest of the way, hoping I wasn’t ruining it. (Again, I don’t get to keep these books. You break it, you bought it.)

To my great surprise, I had stumbled upon a color image of the inside of the makeshift mosque, with many people kneeling on the ground in prayer. Say what now?

I tried the trick again, and found it was, in fact, the way the book was built. Hidden Islam indeed.

The juxtaposition of the banal black and white and the revelatory color images is terrific. Really smartly done. Not something I’ve seen before, at least, not that I can easily recall.

This book is earnest, and means to show us things we cannot otherwise see. And it takes aim at some conservative fat cats in Northern Italy, who don’t allow the migrant worker Muslims to pray in any sort of official capacity. So that’s admirable, as one can imagine some of those power brokers are connected to the Mafia. The Cosa Nostra. Ndgragheta. (Call them what you will.)

I can’t claim that the photos within the book are legendarily good. But they don’t have to be. As I’ve said many times before, a book is an experience, when done properly. And this experience was memorable.

May we all, someday, live in a world where we can worship as we please. A world, I would hope, where murderous psychopaths in pickup trucks have been put in their proper place. (I don’t mean you, ISIS. You guys are swell. If you’re into that sort of thing. It’s all relative, right?)

Bottom Line: Terrific, sly book that shows us private moments of worship

To Purchase “Hidden Islam” Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Categories: Business

Tips to Leading a Successful Production

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 12:01am

[by Chris Winton-Stahle]

Planning a shoot well, problem solving on set and creating a great work atmosphere are essential for success. Here are a few pointers I’ve learned along the way.

Keep in mind the big picture.
Your main job is to solve problems for your client. Make your client’s day easier, help them look good to their client, and they will love you. The rest is details.

Plan ahead!
Scout all of your locations in advance when you can and make a back up plan. Write out a production schedule so everyone knows what is coming next and can be prepared. No shoot is ever 100% perfect but if you can show you were prepared, keep a healthy sense of humor and push on, you should be fine. Even mistakes will be forgiven if they like you.

Always be kind.
Respect your crew as a crucial part of what makes the production possible and makes you a success. Make sure your crew knows in advance what’s expected of them, especially if you have particular needs. Keep your crew busy and working on task. Encourage them to always be looking for something that can be done.Sometimes correcting a crew member is necessary but it should be done in private. Never publicly.

Everyone remembers the food! Make sure the craft services are the best you can afford. I’ve been known to even reach into my own pockets for this line item. You will want your crew, talent and clients feeling good. Maybe even think about the food as a marketing expense to secure your next job with that client!

Overall, make it fun! Being a photographer, an art director, a stylist or an assistant can be a stressful job. The days can be grueling and long if no one is having fun. Anything you can do to keep everyone having a good time and motivated is a good thing. Art directors, talent and crew members talk with each other about their experiences. What do you want them saying about you?

Chris Winton-Stahle is an award-winning photographer and accomplished photo illustration artist who sees the camera as only half of his process in creating great imagery. Chris often pulls components from multiple images and CGI when creating his work for clients in advertising, magazines and entertainment.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Art Producers Speak: Tania Quintanilla

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 9:48am

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Tania Quintanilla. Her style is very classic beauty. She has an excellent command of studio lighting and impeccable retouching skills. On set, she is fun but also very focused, she’s a great leader and she knows what she wants and how to get there. In my opinion, she is the best fashion photographer in central Texas and I feel her career is about to take off in other markets in a big way.

This is one of my recent North American Hair Awards (NAHA) images—an ocean inspired hair story.

This is one of my recent North American Hair Awards (NAHA) images—an ocean inspired hair story.

This was from a test I did recently.

This was from a test I did recently.

I’m obsessed with religious iconography.  Here’s an interpretation of the Sacred Heart.

I’m obsessed with religious iconography. Here’s an interpretation of the Sacred Heart.

A hair shoot for NAHA.

A hair shoot for NAHA.

For this western wear shoot we intentionally gave the model hat hair.

For this western wear shoot we intentionally gave the model hat hair.

Hair shoot for the styling director of Aveda, Allen Ruiz.

Hair shoot for the styling director of Aveda, Allen Ruiz.

This was shot for Leaf Camera a while back.

This was shot for Leaf Camera a while back.

An editorial shot for Austin Monthly last year.

An editorial shot for Austin Monthly last year.

I really love this outtake from a fashion editorial coming out this month—it reminds me of Botticelli’s Venus.

I really love this outtake from a fashion editorial coming out this month—it reminds me of Botticelli’s Venus.

An outtake from a hair shoot. The blackness in this photo..

An outtake from a hair shoot. The blackness in this photo..

An image taken for one of my side projects—Dance.

An image taken for one of my side projects—Dance.

Dance

Dance

How many years have you been in business?
My Austin studio opened in 2005, but I’ve been doing photography work since the mid 90’s.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A little of both: I started photographing my friends in makeshift fashion shoots in high school, later one of my teachers encouraged me to go to Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. I picked up a lot of technical skill at Brooks. When I was there digital SLR’s were just coming out, and they were still teaching us on large format film cameras and darkrooms. It was a really wonderful experience. I took some underwater classes where we would scuba dive near the Catalina islands, and every time you went under with all of your gear you could only shoot 36 frames max. It really taught you to slow down. Back then, instead of experimenting with Photoshop, students would mess around with high sensitive film and cross-processing. I would have to wait at least a week to get the results back from the lab. It’s funny to think that was only 15 years ago.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My early years were heavily influenced by MTV, Vogue magazine, and pop culture generally. My family moved to the U.S. from Monterrey Mexico in the mid 80’s. Whitney Houston and my mom were the center of my fashion universe. Later, my high school photography teacher, Mr. McNichols, showed me how I might make a living from something I seemed good at and enjoyed doing. He was the one who really pushed me to go to photography school.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I view my work as a team sport. I’m easily inspired and aim to be a great collaborator. I surround myself with talented people and we all bring our own experiences and ideas to the game. My job is to collect ideas and stay flexible; I want to be a conduit for the group energy. There are a lot of trends that are hard to appreciate at first– I stay open-minded. Once we put the shot together, if its not rubbing me the right way I can’t ignore it. When it’s right, it feels really right. Like in your guts right. In the end, staying true to myself is where my talents are tested. I get to bring it all home, bring it all together, and that’s the best part.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Sometimes. But coming from a fashion background, having too many people with too many opinions is part of the job description. So I’m used to it. Everyone wants that client with a money tree and a vivid imagination. That’s fun! But I can also enjoy the challenge of a small budget and a big idea. I also like to have really clear communication with my clients from the beginning. I try and always get on the same page way before the shooting starts.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I shoot a lot of fashion and beauty editorials. That’s my main outlet. In the last couple of months I have started working with a new magazine in Austin. The art director has really let me shape the direction of its fashion section, so I get to experiment with some new ideas that have been calling to me for a while. Of course, I also send out mailers, and work at keeping my book, website, and social media up to date.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You’ll never be better at being someone else than you are at being yourself. Shoot who you are, discover and use your voice. When you tap into that inner voice, people naturally want to hear it.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I work out a lot of my creative angst in my fashion editorial work and with my hair clients. And I love to shoot more abstract work, so I carry a small camera around wherever I go. I’m just fascinated with the human face. I paint too, and it’s always portraits. I can’t get away from portraits. I love retouching my own work. I get really into it. When I shoot for my hair clients, I have to pay such close attention to each strand, it’s like sculpting the image after its been captured.

How often are you shooting new work?
I’m either shooting or working on a photo project in some capacity every day. One of my favorite photography teachers, Ralph Clevenger, once told me after a holiday break from school, “If you’re not shooting or thinking about shooting every day then you’re in the wrong place.” There’s so much work that goes into each shoot, and I love to be a part of every step if I can. I never really stop being a photographer. Even if I had to walk around with my eyes closed I would still be dreaming up something to shoot.

——————–

Tania Quintanilla, fashion/advertising photographer and artist, born in Monterrey, Mexico, and now based in Austin, Texas.

Tania@tqphoto.com
(512) 632-2471
http://www.tqphoto.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Catch Suzanne presenting with Kat Dalager for Market Right 2014 in NYC on Wednesday, October 29th http://yodelist.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/were-proud-to-announce-market-right-2014

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Have a look (here).

Categories: Business

The Perfect Production Companion

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 12:01am

 I first met Francis through ASMP where he has served in leadership roles for the Seattle chapter for many years.  Every time I speak with him, I’m impressed by his clarity of thought and range of experience.  I am delighted to welcome him as our newest regular contributor.
~ Judy Herrmann, Editor

[by Francis Zera]

Every working photographer eventually develops a preferred workflow for working on set, whether it’s alone or with a full crew complete with art directors, producers, and, of course, your clients. Committing that workflow to paper is a simple step that, while often overlooked, is remarkably effective in helping to make sure everyone’s on board with the plan and has the ability to quickly reference it – no batteries required.

A proper production book contains a catalog of everything you can think of that will help ensure the shoot goes smoothly — the names, cellphone numbers and job descriptions of everyone involved in the shoot, the shot list and shooting schedule, treatments, reference/scouting images, weather and pertinent location information, wardrobe & prop details, vendors, menus and the address of the closest good coffee shop, and contact information for people who can solve problems on set. If your clients are traveling from elsewhere, their flight and hotel information should be included, as well as notes as to whether or not you’ll have someone meet them at the airport or pick them up at their hotel. A list of fun/interesting things to do in your city during off hours is great stuff to share with out-of-town visitors.

While you’re at it, think of all the things that could go wrong and what you’d do to solve them. If there’s a person or a business involved in that solution, their info goes in the book as well: your trusted contact at the local camera shop, an electrician, the address of the closest hardware store, etc. You can make two books if you’d like to keep this info separate — one for the crew that contains the additional troubleshooting info, and one for the clients that’s strictly about the shoot.

Putting copies of this information into three-ring binders allows everyone on set to have easy access to the day’s plan without having to shuffle through piles of loose notepaper or have to find a shared file in an online dropbox. Taking the extra time to create the book is a great way to show additional value to your clients by demonstrating that you take their project seriously and have planned for success. Even a quick shoot can benefit from making a one-page production book – these are not just for the big projects.

Referencing the production book when doing final planning with your crew, and during daily pre- and post-shoot meetings is a great way to make sure everyone is up to speed with the plan, as well as with the inevitable mid-stream changes. Put a couple of pens in each book, and include several blank pages for notes as well. Even in this age of electronic everything, an analog production book is a remarkably helpful tool.

Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural and commercial photographer. He teaches the business curriculum in the photography department at the Art Institute of Seattle, and recently completed an M.A. Ed. in adult education and training. You can check out his work at zeraphoto.com and follow him on twitter.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

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