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Turning Smartphone Photography Into Physical Prints Is An Important Step

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 10:56am

Despite Jacobson’s enthusiasm for smartphone photography, he believes that turning these images into physical prints and displaying them in a gallery context was an important step. “It not only verifies smartphone photography but also allows viewers to consider their relationship with the images,” he said.

via Redefining Smartphone Photography – The New Yorker.

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Have a look (here).

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Brad Wilson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 10:26am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I was riding in the passenger seat of a Volvo SUV. Headed North. My father was driving; my young son in the back seat.

We were going to Red River to ride some go-karts. A classic summertime ritual. The mountains were to the East, and out the driver side, we saw the great American desert, rolling all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

The western sky was dark and ominous, as there were massive rainstorms approaching us faster than an unarmed man can raise his hands at the sight of a loaded gun. It had been raining for weeks, so the deluge was clearly imminent.

Which made our go-karting endeavor look a tad futile.

My son asked whether we would make it in time. My father replied that he was an optimist, so we’d plow forward. My son, clever, but not omniscient, asked what an optimist was.

My Dad explained an optimist was a person who looked on the bright side, and expected things to work out well. A pessimist, he countered, tended to fear the worst, and assume it would come to pass.

“Which are you, Daddy,” the boy asked me?

“I’m neither, I said. I’m the third thing. A realist. I think sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t.”

“OK. You’re a realist. So will we get to ride the go karts,” he asked?

“That storm is coming really fast. If we get a ride in, I’d say we were lucky. I doubt we’ll get there before the track is too wet to be safe.”

Not that my predictive qualities are always spot on, but that day, it was not to be. The heavens opened, and we had to settle for raiding the candy store, and then getting back in the Swedish Tank to go home.

C’est la vie.

It’s easy, these days, to succumb to the belief that the world is coming to an end. The militarized mess in the St. Louis suburbs. Another war in the Holy Land. ISIS gobbling up territory in Mesopotamia. Planes shot out of the sky by a newly voracious and expanding Russia. (Forgive me, I meant Putin’s proxies in Eastern Ukraine.)

And then there are the stories about elephants being massacred for their ivory. Tigers killed for fake Chinese medicine. Or Rhinos slaughtered for horn to make some old guy’s penis hard.

Onward we march towards oblivion, it seems.

What sayeth the realist? Well, it is hard to be optimistic these days. But what choice do we have? If you’ve bred children, it’s far too sad to assume the world will die around them. Better to hope we’ll figure it out, but I’m not so sure.

Just in case, it might be wise to record nature’s bounty while it’s here. To embed likeness in paper, and safe keep it for future generations. (Sample conversation in 2114, “Daddy, what’s an elephant look like? Why did they go extinct?”)

Fortunately, the Santa Fe-based photographer Brad Wilson had done it for us. Even better, for posterity, he used a super-badass-high-end-digital camera, so the details are there in their hyper-real glory. (Eyelashes and all.)

I know this, because I went to photo-eye this week to pick up a new stack of books, as promised. And there the photos were on the wall, staring me down like an angry drunk mad-dogging you outside the movie theater at 9:45pm on a Friday night. (Speaking of Fridays, the exhibition opens tonight, if you happen to be in town.)

The prints are big, black and gorgeous. (Insert random inappropriate joke here.) If you have a chance to go see them, I’d highly recommend it. If not, of course, we always have the book, “Wild Life,” recently published by Prestel.

According to a promotional video they showed me at the store, the artist hired animal trainers to bring the creatures to a studio in LA. And the book says other pictures were shot at a raptor sanctuary in Española, a zoo in Albuquerque, and, of course, a location in St Louis, Missouri. (Wouldn’t be one of my reviews if the snake didn’t eat its tail.)

The pictures manage to be beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. The chimps are so clearly sentient. The big cats so fierce. The eagles so mesmerizing. In fairness, the owl photos are trapped in full bleed in the book, so their impact is muted, compared to the prints.

But this book oozes “future-historical-importance.” I think I brought up some of these concepts when I reviewed Sebastião Salgado’s “Genesis” a while back. I prefer this book, though.

That one seemed a tad emotionally manipulative. This feels more clean. More objective, if I might use a taboo word, for once. He threw up a black backdrop, brought in some rapidly disappearing animals, got really close with a great camera, and made the pictures.

Here. Look.

For now, the photographs are representations of living creatures. If we don’t change course, however, they will be all we have left. So says the realist.

Bottom Line: Fantastic record of the animal kingdom, while we have it

To Purchase “Wild Life” 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

A Quick Shot of Inspiration

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:01am

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

There are good days, bad months, great years and unforeseen setbacks. Occasionally, you may ask yourself why you got into this profession in the first place. Now and then this is a good question to ask. If the answer is because there’s nothing else you would rather do, then quitting will accomplish far less than failure. Success often comes on the heels of disaster, because to survive disaster one needs to take risks, adapt and change. If you know that being a photographer is what you’re meant to do, the best tool you can have at your side is the ability to persevere.

Jenna Close quickly learned to persevere during her career as an actor. It was one of the most important things she took with her when she became a photographer. 

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Art Producers Speak: Kristyna Archer

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:56am

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 Kristyna Archer. Aside from her obvious talent as a shooter, she is personable, fun, able to roll with the punches and goes to the max to make people happy. We used her and my creatives are as smitten with her as I am. We are all excited about what the future holds for her.

This is part of a personal series I shot in 2012 called "Donut Doppelgängers." It seemed so nonsensical at the time, but I had to get out of my mind.  A 'stream-of-consciousness' later, I started comparing them to people.

This is part of a personal series I shot in 2012 called “Donut Doppelgängers.” It seemed so nonsensical at the time, but I had to get out of my mind.  A ‘stream-of-consciousness’ later, I started comparing them to people.

This image was inspired by Cast of Vices, an amazing Los Angeles designer who created these high end luxury versions of your average bodega bag (on right).  It struck a chord with me and I wanted to create a juxtaposition of the "faux" middle class trying so hard to uphold appearances, next to poverty level.  They are both still riding the bus ironically- not so far apart…

This image was inspired by Cast of Vices, an amazing Los Angeles designer who created these high end luxury versions of your average bodega bag (on right).  It struck a chord with me and I wanted to create a juxtaposition of the “faux” middle class trying so hard to uphold appearances, next to poverty level.  They are both still riding the bus ironically- not so far apart…

This image started with the phrase "We're all kids at heart" where I was using childlike props pairing them with adults showing vulnerability.  Yet this shot soon became about something entirely different when you pair a speedo next to a lollipop.  So I changed my crop and decided to get in your face about it.  I love how things can develop into something so much weirder and more vulgar- the subconscious at its best I guess?

This image started with the phrase “We’re all kids at heart” where I was using childlike props pairing them with adults showing vulnerability.  Yet this shot soon became about something entirely different when you pair a speedo next to a lollipop.  So I changed my crop and decided to get in your face about it.  I love how things can develop into something so much weirder and more vulgar- the subconscious at its best I guess?

Campaign I shot for Canon with GREY visually illustrating a sensory experience of the theme "baseball."

Campaign I shot for Canon with GREY visually illustrating a sensory experience of the theme “baseball.”

Campaign I shot for Oxxford Menswear.

Campaign I shot for Oxxford Menswear.

This is a personal project where I wanted it to feel like film stills, because the story is loaded with emotion.  The less purposeful and pulled back you are, the more honest it feels.

This is a personal project where I wanted it to feel like film stills, because the story is loaded with emotion.  The less purposeful and pulled back you are, the more honest it feels.

I do love denim- all kinds. And I wanted to celebrate it.

I do love denim- all kinds. And I wanted to celebrate it.

If you've grown up somewhere where you've never seen snow and freaked out when you saw it for the first time- thats how I felt when I saw an abundance of lemon trees in LA.  I was trying every possible way to make use.

If you’ve grown up somewhere where you’ve never seen snow and freaked out when you saw it for the first time- thats how I felt when I saw an abundance of lemon trees in LA.  I was trying every possible way to make use.

I like to document those people that have had an impact on my life.  Maren is one of them.

I like to document those people that have had an impact on my life.  Maren is one of them.

This happened randomly and all you can do is be ready to capture.  I thought for sure he would never smoke inside his beautiful "Restoration Hardware" home.  But I once I said it he was up for the challenge.

This happened randomly and all you can do is be ready to capture.  I thought for sure he would never smoke inside his beautiful “Restoration Hardware” home.  But I once I said it he was up for the challenge.

How many years have you been in business?
I went out on my own as a photographer 3 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Columbia College in Chicago and received a BFA in Photography. The camaraderie I experienced from both faculty and classmates during my time there was electric. Then you work your first day on set and you realize you know nothing about how this industry works. A formal education was a great foundation, but only scratched the surface.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I mean there’s a plethora of who, what, and whens that all culminated into “I don’t see how I could not do this everyday.” But specifically I had some amazing professors that would just rip apart your work in critique, which challenged me and pushed me to become a thorough and intentional artist. Linda Levy believed in me and pushed me out the door when I was afraid to make the leap from assisting to shooting. And of course there are those specific artists, directors, writers, cinematographers, that I am constantly inspired by and in awe of- Diane Arbus, Erwin Olaf, Wes Anderson, Anton Corbijn, Sagmiester, Larry David, Thom Yorke.

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 think the easiest way to answer this question is to “be random.” Put yourself in totally random places and situations, with different people all the time, and you will have a plethora of ideas to let bake until they are ready to hatch. That’s sort of what I do. Embrace the spontaneity in life. Also being present in the moment and in tune with all the hilarious human behavior that is happening constantly around you for great entertainment value. People are weird but we all try really hard not to show it. Yet the quirky parts of us are the best parts of us.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Ok, I am not trying to be a “goodie-two-shoes,” but honestly every client I have had thus far has had a respect for what I am bringing to the table and has allowed me to do what I do best. And vice versa, I respect what they need to make their client and team happy. You get exactly what they want, and then you give them a different perspective that sometimes you are unable to see from being too close to a project. It’s the perfect balance and a great collaboration. Everyone wants the best results for the most reasonable cost. You problem solve and think ‘out of the box’ to make something look expensive in a “bogo” kind of way.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
There’s nothing better than meeting someone in person, getting to know them, and seeing what work strikes a chord most for them personally. Yet meetings are hard to get, so I try to make sure my personality comes thru in the marketing materials that I put out into the world. Business is personal, so I love to write notes or make ironic statements on my printed promos. And as much as I wasn’t fond of social media before, now I’ve truly accepted it’s essential and a great tool for business. There are those that abuse it, but I think the power of the potential networking outweighs it.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
It’s over before its even started. That might be a little harsh on my part, but one thing about this industry is you must have a thick skin, strong sense of self, and succinct vision to get anywhere. Who really wants someone to spoon-feed what you think they want? It seems so disingenuous and unattractive. I suppose I relate it to dating. Stop trying so hard and just be yourself. Whatever you are passionate about the most will be the most obvious anyway.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Constantly. That’s the only thing you can do to perfect your craft, develop your style, and find your voice. You can’t be afraid of bad ideas. I think there’s a lot more to lose by not getting it down on paper, or further, creating and being afraid to share. What’s the point? It’s just a discussion or conversation I am trying to start, and there’s no right or wrong. I understand being vulnerable can be scary, but how can you be an artist and not put yourself out there and literally leave your heart on the page. It’s always your best stuff, even if it’s too revealing. The process of discovery and evolution of a concept will help cause a breakthrough. The more you create the higher your chances of making your best work all the time.

How often are you shooting new work?
All the time. Once a week to once a month I’m working on personal projects depending on how busy I get with client work.

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Kristyna is an advertising and editorial photographer who specializes in storytelling.  Her work focuses on conceptual narrative and portraiture. Her clients range from Canon, to Inc. Magazine, to the New York Times.  After growing up blocks from 8 Mile Road and traveling all over the Asia-Pacific as an on-location retoucher, she’s capable of finding a common denominator regardless of upbringing, culture, or language.  She is inspired by her own paradoxical observations, the idiosyncrasies of human behavior, and an inherent love for fashion and design. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Chicago. Kristyna is represented by Friend + Johnson.

www.kristynaarcher.com
www.friendandjohnson.com

Say hello at me@kristynaarcher.com
Follow her antics:
Instagram @kristynaarcher
Twitter @kristynaarcher

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.

Categories: Business

Don’t just do something—sit there!

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:01am

[by Colleen Wainwright]

Searching for the thing that has significantly changed my work life, I was surprised to find that it was not a tip or a tool or a tip on finding a tool, but a slow-acting, time-consuming, complete game-changer: sitting meditation. I started out using a guided meditation; then, two years ago, I got instruction in a meditation practice developed for civilians—i.e., folks with jobs and families, not “holy people”.

While meditating has made me neither rich nor famous, it has made me okay with not being either. I’m able to enjoy myself despite external circumstances in work life or life in general—both of which, if you haven’t noticed, can get pretty crazy these days!

Colleen Wainwright writes about approaching your work—and the marketing of it—in a different way. (And a very different way since she studied with her Vedic meditation teacher two years ago!)

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Max Gerber iPhone Promo

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:28am

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iPhone  Promo

18×18” square, printed on uncoated text stock

Photographer:  Max Gerber
Instagram: @msgphoto

How difficult was it to edit down to 81 images of the 700 you shot?
Actually, I stopped counting after 700, so I’m guessing I’m near 800 by now. But yes, the editing and selection was difficult. From the beginning the important thing for me was that it not seem to be about any one picture, or about any one individual. That goes for putting the promo together and also for the project as a whole. Anyone I come across under the right circumstances – that is, the light and environment – I’ll ask if I can take a photo of them,  over time it became rather democratic.

The promo poster is a 9×9 grid of 81 portraits in total. Since I caption each individual image with the person’s first name and occupation only, when trying to get an edit that represents an overview of the larger project, who the people are mattered to me a lot. To edit them I just went through and picked out the shots that either had special meaning to me because of my relationships with the people in the photos, or I chose people who just had remarkable faces. Unfortunately that didn’t narrow it down altogether too much. Nearly everyone’s face is fascinating, depending on what you’re looking for. I think my initial edit had something around 150 images, and then was further narrowed down from there. I built it like a jigsaw puzzle. It was a lot of shuffling things around at first, but then I worked out of anchor points. The corners were important. The middle edges were important. The center of the poster was important.

When approaching the layout of the grid I wanted mostly to make sure that no one area drew too much attention. This thing is not about any one person. You should be able to look at it and focus on something – someone – different each time. Also, to be honest, I’m very aware of the potential to be messing with things indefinitely. At a certain point you have to just call it done and move on with your life. With any promo I’m absolutely certain I’m agonizing over details far more than anyone who will actually receive it.

How did you decide what images were edited into each row? Was there a mix you were looking for?
Yes, definitely. I wanted a good mix of male and female, and a good mix of different visual types of people and different occupations. I have everything from students and laborers, kids to CEOs, actors and even a Nobel prize winner. Like I said, the primary goal was to make it so that no one person, regardless of who they are or what they do, took precedence over another. Of course, everyone’s eye settles somewhere at first and I’m always interested to see which pictures stand out to people. It’s always different.

In laying out each row I just had to attempt not to cluster similar types. For example, I like that the Nobel prize winner is sandwiched between a PA and a security guard. It’s an equalizer.

How long had you been working on this series and is it still ongoing?
I took the first picture that could arguably be said to be part of the series in the early summer of 2012. I was introduced to instagram by Charlie Hess, an art director here in LA, and did the standard thing that people did at the beginning of instagram – pictures of my wife, my cat, my lunch, etc. It was great fun and taking snapshots was very liberating at first. After I took the first real portrait using this processing method, I looked at it in the overall instagram grid of what I was doing previously and thought it might be cool to try to get a whole row to match up. So I did a couple more and liked it. Then, of course, I thought it would look cooler if I could get the whole screen of thumbnails to match, and it kind of took off from there. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to continue for so long and I didn’t expect people to respond to it. At the time I was doing a lot of corporate photography that I wasn’t very invested in personally. The instagram portraits became something I could do for myself under my own parameters that reminded me what I love about portrait photography.

The project is definitely still ongoing. After 50 portraits I found myself actively looking for people every day. After 100 I started to get a good idea of what types of things would work – what environments, what light, what clothing, what type of people. After 200 portraits I started to appreciate the sheer scope of the people I’d encounter. I assume that one day I’ll stop doing these portraits – that I’ll either get bored of them, or the various apps I use to process them will cease to be supported. Every time I consider moving on to something else, though, I find someone with such a remarkable face that I’m sucked right back in.

Carmelo, doorman

Carmelo, doorman

Kyle, auto body tech

Kyle, auto body tech

Sharky, student

Sharky, student

Sergio, shop foreman

Sergio, shop foreman

Daniel, carpenter

Daniel, carpenter

Jose, carpenter

Jose, carpenter

Dwain, neuroscientist

Dwain, neuroscientist

I heard your filters are proprietary, do you have plans to develop and license this?
Ha! I suppose it says a lot about my business acumen that this has never occurred to me before.
Short answer: No. Long answer: No, because focusing on the how distracts from the why. From the beginning the most common question I heard was “Hey, man, what filter is that?” and right away that distracted from the point for me. When I look at all the portraits together it’s not the commonality of processing that’s interesting to me, it’s the commonality of people. The specific parameters of the style I chose to spit them out into the world hopefully makes them seem nifty enough to look at closer, and democratizes them. Everyone treated the same way – same crop, same process, similar light. Everyone as a group.

All the photos are shot and edited fully in the iPhone. I think if people knew how straightforward it really was they’d be disappointed. In truth it’s not one filter, it’s a combination of things through a handful of different apps. It’s just a process I stumbled upon accidentally and sort of liked enough to try again. Photography seems to suffer somewhat from being an inherently technical medium. Everyone looks for the trick rather than for the intent. Tricks come and go, and ultimately trends fade and shift and blend into each other. But I totally get it. I understand that feeling of seeing a picture and being struck by the wizardry of it and wanting to know how it’s done. That’s part of the wonder that a technically based medium affords. It’s great, when it doesn’t overtake the intention of the photo. I see this from photo students a lot. They figure out Photoshop, or they learn to crank the clarity slider all the way up to 100, or they figure out how to use edge lights.  All. The. Time. Rather than taking pictures that have emotional meaning or strive for connection they instead have . . . a look. That said, I completely understant. There’s a lot of noise out there and it’s incredibly difficult to get noticed in this business. Having a look gets you in the door, but then there’s got to be something else.

Then again, maybe you’re right? Maybe I should reveal the trick and license it, perhaps that would free me to go on to the next thing. I think I’d miss doing it, though.

How did you select your subjects?
One of the nice things about the instagram portraits is that they’re truly not for anyone but myself. I didn’t start taking them with an eye toward making a promo, toward impressing an art director, toward pleasing a client, toward satisfying a subject. I just liked straightforward portraits, found a process that worked for me, and wanted to pay more attention to the people in my life. That’s really what it boils down to now, after so many. Photography has long been used as a tool for memory, and it’s been really wonderful having this record of all the people I encounter. I remember things better this way. I remember names. I remember where we were. I remember what we talked about. Without being vigilant for the next face I worry that sometimes the days would just blend into each other too much, if that makes any sense.

In terms of selecting subjects. . .well. . . first of all, any person that comes to my house during daylight hours is pretty much fair game, as far as I’m concerned. That’s why I’ve got so many pictures of handymen and contractors and cable installers and plumbers and such. My wife is very patient with me doubling back into a store or down a street to ask a stranger if I could take their picture while she waits. Someone on my feed recently commented “I love how you collect people”, and I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but maybe that’s what it is. Charlie Hess refers to it as my Family of Man, though that seems fairly lofty to me. I just like taking portraits with my phone. It’s great fun, even when other aspects of photography are not great fun.

How long did each portrait take, describe the process please.
I have a very low rate of refusal. Out of 800 or so subjects I think I’ve been turned down maybe 20-30 times. I consider that quite good. The actual process is very simple, and usually takes only around 30 seconds to a few minutes, depending on how chatty we’re all feeling. Some open shade or a good window, and a plain white wall, that’s it. I try to keep it as simple as possible so that the person can be the interesting thing. I don’t want it to be about the light or the environment.

We live in an age where people are hyper aware of the power of their image, of what it can be used for and how far it can travel away from them. People are cautious, and rightly so. Still, I think the fact that I’m shooting on my phone negates some of people’s suspicions. Certainly if I were walking around with a Canon and a 24-70mm lens trying to do the same thing I’d get shut down far more often. Everyone has an iPhone and everyone takes pictures with it all the time. It’s perceived as no big deal. I have a grid of about 30 of the photos on my phone’s lock screen and if someone asks why I want to take their picture I usually just show them my phone and say “Oh, I’ve done about 700 of these.” Which, of course, is not a reason at all, but that usually is all it takes. I think that because there are so many, and I tell potential subjects that there are so many, it both relieves them of the pressure and also gives them just enough attention that it’s incentive to proceed. That is, sure, it’s a little momentary ego boost, and then they can get lost in the crowd if they’re not thrilled with the result. At least, I think so. It probably also helps that i’m a short, scrawny man who seems vaguely non-threatening.

How did you take your portrait?
I took that on my birthday in 2012. Honestly I don’t know why I did a profile that day, maybe just to accent my out of control bedhead. In terms of using it on the reverse of the promo poster, that was a somewhat last minute decision. Initially I wanted to do a grid of silhouettes with captions to mimic the grid on the front of the poster. That proved to be too difficult in light of my limited Photoshop skills, low patience level and also because I was afraid it would bleed through too much once the final piece was printed. Ultimately in deciding to just put one larger photo and captions on the back it always seemed like it would be a self portrait. If I chose just one of the random 800 to make larger it would give that one person too much weight and it didn’t really make sense. Then again, now that i’m talking about it, it sure does seem egotistical to make my own head the biggest thing there, doesn’t it? I think I chose that one because I wanted it to be decidedly different from the main group. That profile makes me laugh, reminds me that I should get a haircut more often, and hopefully doesn’t seem too serious.

Has this promo been well received and gotten you some work?
I’ve printed 1000 pieces. I printed so many because separate even from photo editors and art directors/buyers/whatnot, I want to make sure that the people who actually like this series of pictures have the opportunity to get a poster. Therefore a lot of my first run of mailing was to non-potential-clients, some of whom I know personally, some not, who I just thought would enjoy having it. I plan to mail out approximately 600-800 or so. I’ve already sent out about 75 and gotten a pretty good response, mostly from people I already know. I’m in the process of addressing and sending out the remainder – which I’m doing by hand, therefore it’s taking a long time. Probably not the best plan, now that I think about it, but it feels so much better. Again, little details that nobody cares about except me. I still maintain that the survival rate of all of these promo pieces that photographers send out is so abysmally low that unless you’re doing something almost entirely for yourself because you want it to exist in the world as an object somewhere, then there’s really no point. I’m fully aware that 90% of them are destined for the trash. Life is an impermanent thing. I would be sending them out a whole lot faster, but at the moment I’ve been distracted by a week old infant. These portraits are at @msgphoto – The cutest newborn the world has ever seen is at @miloandclark.

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What are you typically shooting these days?
Most recently portraiture. I’ve photographed Frank Gehry for El Semenal, the largest Sunday magazine in Spain. Earlier this week I photographed a trauma surgeon in a specially configured operating room partially funded by the DOD for a hospital research magazine here in Los Angeles. Unfortunately those publications haven’t yet gone to print so I can’t share the photos. Most of my clients have long publication cycles, but here are a couple of relatively recent things.

Nicholas, 29 year old stomach cancer patient, for Discoveries Magazine

Nicholas, 29 year old stomach cancer patient, for Discoveries Magazine

Dr. Arieh Warshel, 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, photographed for USC

Dr. Arieh Warshel, 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, photographed for USC

DL Hughley for New Wave Entertainment/DVD Cover (out-take)

DL Hughley for New Wave Entertainment/DVD Cover (out-take)

 
Dan Curry, Visual Effects Supervisor for the Star Trek TV shows, photographed for Middlebury College.

Dan Curry, Visual Effects Supervisor for the Star Trek TV shows, photographed for Middlebury College.

Categories: Business

Quick Tip: Automate

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

I use technology wherever possible to help me be more efficient, accurate and responsive. Case in point – the contact form on my website. Looks like a couple of simple data fields, but under the hood it’s linked directly into my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.

© Pascal Depuhl

© Pascal Depuhl

As soon as the submit button is hit, a personalized email is sent automatically thanking the person for their interest in working with Photography by Depuhl, at the same time all data is entered into my cloud based CRM database, which emails me, letting me know that someone just contacted me via my website. This lets me get as close to the moment of relevance in a search as I know how to get. My clients love it.

Pascal Depuhl just was interviewed for the recent ASMP sponsored online course, Build Your Network, about how he uses SalesForce to manage his contacts, keep track of his schedule and how Salesforce helps in producing his projects.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Opposite of Certainty

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:01am

[by Tom Kennedy]

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”

Tony Schwartz, Author

This quote is at the heart of the intersection of curiosity and creativity. It is a location that should become a familiar destination to everyone engaged in visual communication. Often, the needs of clients are wrapped in the cloth of paradox. Rather than being uncomfortable and feeling a pressure to “know it all” in advance, we should see these states as opportunities. They enable us to ask the right questions of clients. Successful probing, and personal growth can then occur together.

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

You Are Not A Storyteller

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 1:01pm

Categories: Business

You Don’t Hire the Work

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:02am

[by Paul Oemig]

There’s a maxim that goes as follows: “You don’t hire the work, you hire the person.”

People may initially discover us because they saw striking work, whether in our portfolios or elsewhere, but it’s important to remember when it comes to hiring on a new project, past work is just that: past. You can’t hire “I Love New York,” but you can hire Milton Glaser. Ultimately, it is who we are — our abilities, our disposition, and daring — that contribute to the success of a project and a client relationship.

Simply put, no matter how good your work is, it’s how good you are to work with that matters most. Conversely, find good people to work with.

Paul Oemig is a Milwaukee-based creative and food photographer. He welcomes your story and comments at paul@pauloemig.com and @pauloemig.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Quick Tips

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:01am

I love the long form writing we usually feature in this blog but there’s also great power in a single idea quickly expressed.  This week, our contributors share quick tips on topics of their choosing. ~ Judy Herrmann, Editor

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Costly Business of Photo Book Publishing

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:47am

Founder and publisher Daniel Power says that as long as they believe they can sell a minimum quantity—a good portion of a 1,000- or 1,500-print run—they don’t ask the photographer to subsidize production costs.

Yet if the house sees potential in a project, “but not enough to pay for everything the artist wants—to make it really big or deluxe,” they will ask the artist to contribute to cover those costs.

via PDNonline.com.

Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Mark Mattock

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:23am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I saw my first yellow leaves this morning. It’s August 13th, as I write this. Seems a little early to be thinking about Autumn.

In fact, you’re probably sitting on a beach just now, nursing a cold one, cursing my reminder of Summer’s impending end. I hate you, Blaustein, you mutter under your breath.

Every year, I think I’m going to do so much more, with my free time in Summer, than I actually do. My wife and I make a metaphorical list of adventures, and then succumb to hanging out around the house, cooking good meals with farmers market produce.

No mountain climbing. No swimming in Abiquiu Lake, in the shadow of Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch. No road trips around the Southern Rockies. I guess we’re just lazy.

Hell, I didn’t even go fishing this year, and I have a trout stream in my backyard. (It might have less to do with my torpor, and more to do with the nasty, fishy taste of trout. Not enough honey and lemon in the world, to cover it up.)

I did take my son fishing a couple of years ago, with my wife’s family. We went to Hopewell Lake, less than an hour away. Most people would call it a pond, but f-ck those guys.

It ended up as one of the more traumatic experiences of my decade. Why? Because the entire place was covered with caterpillars. Am I exaggerating? For once… no.

They were so thick they blanketed every surface you could see, in 3 inch intervals. It was an alien infestation gone wrong. (As opposed to an alien infestation gone right?) They came in to eviscerate the local Aspen trees, and simply sucked all the fun out of our day. (Damn Global Warming. Such a buzz kill.)

Needless to say, I don’t know much about fishing, beyond the fact that I’m no good at it. But it is a Summer activity par excellence. So what do we do when we want to go fishing, that perfect euphemism for “not working,” but can’t do it IRL?

You know the answer. We look at a photo book. Or in your case, you look at pictures of a photo book, and read the nonsense I type above. (Yes, this nonsense.)

“The Angler who fell to Earth,” is a new hard cover book that ended up in my stack from photo-eye. It’s a gray, slim hardcover, and looks like something that MACK would put out. (Like the book from 2 weeks ago.)

Surprisingly, though, it’s an independent publication, designed and published by the artist, Mark Mattock. I learned that from the post script, as nothing in the volume itself suggested it was DIY.

In fact, nothing in the book suggests much of anything. It’s dedicated to Matisse, opens with a cool quote by Thoreau, and then is all pictures.

Like last week’s book, this one is abstract and obscure in it’s thinking. It gives you nothing but pictures, and leaves the rest up to you.

Who is our angler? Where is our angler? What does he do but fish? Why is he riding a train? Is he riding a train? What is going on here? How many questions can I ask in a paragraph before the Internet police arrest me for being overly inquisitive? I don’t know.

I like a book that crawls down into my brainstem, and this is one of them. Lots of cool pictures. Still lives mixed in with more narrative shots, which is another of MACK’s hallmarks. Does Mark Mattock like MACK books? Does he sell sea shells by the seashore? I don’t know, but I’m betting yes.

I love the upside-down newspaper headline about a worm crawling into someone’s brain. (Written in the first-person to boot.) And the fishhook tattoo. And especially the photo of a note telling our angler not to fish in a particular spot. (The detail “We know who you are” is so good I might have to steal it. Is it real? Once again, I don’t know.)

Last week, I ruminated on the beauty of the potential dialogue between artist and audience. Here, the artist is clearly going for it. Here are my pictures. I will not tell you what they are about. If you like my book, you’ll probably try to figure it out. If you don’t, you’ll likely get angry and confused, and hurl it against a wall, sad it won’t shatter.

Bottom Line: Cool, strange pictures about an Alien Fisherman

To Purchase “The Angler who fell to Earth” 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

Do Research, Sell Value, and Don’t Quote Hastily

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:01am

[by Blake Discher]

A Wall Street Journal article explained how travel website Orbitz reviewed purchasing data it had collected and discovered that Mac owners spend, on average, $20 to $30 more per night on hotels rooms than PC users.  Also, users making use of the Orbitz site on a Mac are 40% more likely to book a four or five-star hotel room.

Using this data, Orbitz rearranges the order in which hotel options are displayed based on the user agent.  It doesn’t show different prices for the same rooms, it just alters the order in which the rooms are presented.  In doing so, Orbitz increased its bottom line; read: dollars earned that otherwise might have been “left on the table” had it not done the research.

When a new potential client calls you for a price quote, do your research.  Start with their website.  How are they using photography?  Is their website’s appearance dated?  What does their marketing in general look like?  The answers to these questions can help you to glean insight into what emphasis and value they place on their image.  Generally speaking, if they value their image, they may have a larger budget for photography.

Next, sell your value.  What differentiates you from your competition?  Why should they work with you?  If you cannot demonstrate why you’re a better choice than a competitor, the photographer having the lowest estimate will likely get the job and you’re photography is nothing more than a commodity.  In sales, you sell the sizzle (value), not the steak (product).

The more value you can demonstrate, the higher the price you can command.  If you focus the conversation on price, the price goes down.  If you instead focus the conversation on value, the price goes up.

An example of how to sell your value:  “This job is right up my alley, Mr. Client, I have a lot of experience photographing in production facilities and my other clients really appreciate how non-disruptive myself and my crew is while we create great images.”

Here’s the value you’ve just demonstrated:  first, you’re experienced with this type of job;  second, you’re minimally disruptive as you work; and third, you create great images.  One sentence, three “sizzles”.  You are the better choice!  Talk up your successes. They’re calling you because they like your work; you’ve passed the first audition, now is the time to explain why you’re the best.

Or this:  “I’m really good at instantly putting people at ease and making them comfortable in front of the camera which results in more natural, great looking executive portraits.”  Again, you’ve explained your differentiation, your “sizzle.”

Finally, never, ever, blurt out a price on that initial phone call.  Explain to the client you want to take the time to put together a written estimate to email to her.  If you put out a price during that first conversation, you’ll surely forget some aspect of the job that you needed to be charging for but didn’t think of.  (Ask me how I know.)

Good luck!

Blake Discher is a photographer and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant to small business.  

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Art Producers Speak: Chris Sembrot

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:32am

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 Sembrot. I love him not only as an artist, but as a person. He has a unique style and was great to work with.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

Personal work from a mid-summer tri in Asbury Park, NJ 2013.

I love shooting friends especially on the first warm day after a long Winter.

I love shooting friends especially on the first warm day after a long Winter.

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne's studio in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne’s studio in NYC.

Music feature assignment for Billboard Magazine with DJ Martin Garrix, shot in Atlantic City, NJ.

Music feature assignment for Billboard Magazine with DJ Martin Garrix, shot in Atlantic City, NJ.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Ad campaign for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. We shot 14 locations and activities over the course of 4 days.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Cover assignment featuring the band Phoenix. Shot on location at the East Village Standard hotel in NYC.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Part of an ongoing personal project on androgyny.

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne's studio in NYC

Cover assignment featuring Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and David Byrne for the Guardian Guide. Was shot on location in David Byrne’s studio in NYC

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women's high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women’s high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women's high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Feature for Running Times highlighting an elite women’s high school cross country team in Pennsylvania.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Personal work and having fun with a new underwater housing.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled "Urban Surfers." Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject's home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled “Urban Surfers.” Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject’s home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled "Urban Surfers." Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject's home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled “Urban Surfers.” Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject’s home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled "Urban Surfers." Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject's home.

Part of my ongoing personal project titled “Urban Surfers.” Each portrait was shot around sunrise (the coldest months reserved for only those dedicated to Winter surfing), and within a 2 block radious of the subject’s home.

How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been on my own professionally for the past four years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
A combination of both. But, the best part of my education came after I left school. Working as an art buyer for five years really allowed me to learn the business of commercial photography from the inside out. Plus it gave me direct access to art/creative directors on a daily basis. It helped forge relationships with people I work with today.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
It had to be my mom. When we were growing up, she’s the one who always had a camera in her hand, capturing whatever moments she could. When referring to my eye, she always says, “You got that from me.” Hearing her say that always makes me smile!

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 try and shoot personal projects that have a different look and feel than my “normal” work. My biggest goal whenever I concept a project idea is to somehow bring out my personality. I stay in the moment and enjoy the freedom of capturing something that strikes me on that day, hour, minute. I don’t shoot nearly as many tests shoots as I do personal projects, because I want my personal work to stand on its own.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I think the honest answer is sometimes, yes. However, recently (more often than not) I have had the good fortune of creative freedom. Working with creative and account teams who trust that my creative vision will ultimately fill the needs of our client makes all the difference in a shoot. It’s not always easy but when you communicate with each other and collaborate as a team, it makes all the difference.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
When I’m not sending out my quarterly mailers, and personal emails, I’m meeting face to face. If I’m given 15 minutes of a busy art producer’s time, you better believe I’m giving it my all. Social media is also huge. I blog 2-3 times a month and am consistently reaching out on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Don’t. Show what moves you – what you’re proud of. Show work that is inspiring for a creative to see and hopefully he/she can envision it in a campaign or editorial spread. Be bold and show what you’re passionate about.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I am always keeping notes on ideas when they strike. I cull through them constantly and pursue the ideas that keep me inspired. I think many of my Facebook or Instagram friends would agree that I like to utilize both as creative outlets.

How often are you shooting new work?
I’m shooting every week. And when I’m not shooting, I’m thinking about it. New ideas fill my head constantly.

——————

Chris first cut his teeth in the commercial photography world while working as an agency art buyer and producer. He consciously chose the agency route because it offered him experience on the business side and allowed him to shoot and build his first professional portfolio.

Chris now works and lives in his hometown of Philadelphia where he is channeling his love for photojournalism into commercial work. His work has been featured in Communication Arts, Graphis, PDN, American Photography and OneEyeland. His clients include Converse, Reebok, Fuse Network, Guardian Guide, Red Bull Majestic Athletic and Nylon Magazine.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys surfing, building furniture, brewing beer and developing ideas for his next adventure.

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.

Categories: Business

The Ears-to-Mouth Ratio for Pricing

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:01am

[by Richard Kelly]

During ASMP’s Strictly Business 3 conference, my colleague Blake Discher reminded everyone that they have 2 ears and 1 mouth that should be used in the same proportion.  I know he wasn’t the first to say it, but it is great advice. Critical listening is key to building a successful and meaningful business.

You might thinking, how does this relate to pricing? Let’s consider pricing  a bit differently. If you are selling lots of widgets or ready to go products, your pricing model may follow a cost of goods plus overhead model. For some service based industries, an hourly rate works well and prices can be based simply on the time required.

Pricing photography, at least in my practice, has never been so straightforward. From week to week and project to project, the scale, scope and creativity have varied enormously, not to mention the value to the client, which also varies from client to client and assignment to assignment.

This is where the listening comes in. Listening to the client talk about the project, the who and the why’s can help you – the lead negotiator and head of sales for your business – fill in the blanks of the scope, scale and value to the client. If you are doing all the talking you are not listening, thereby missing an opportunity to learn the essential facts necessary to price the project.

Now I am not suggesting that you sit like a slug on a branch.  What I am suggesting is that you ask pertinent questions and listen more than you speak. What you hear will help you enormously when you draft a proposal or estimate.

Clients may not want to reveal actual numbers during the discussion but by asking open questions about their expectations, the internal value to the client and even their observations on their competition (or even your competition) can be very revealing.

Recently I had a conference call with the VP of Corporate marketing and her second-in-command for an upcoming project. I had worked with them on three or four occasions so I knew the company dynamics. I listened carefully to her explanations about where they were, where they wanted to go and how the photography project that they where querying me about was going to fit their strategic and marketing plans.

By using critical listening I was able to ascertain some of the changes they were making, where the pressure points were on both the deadline for deliverables and extrapolate a budget range. My written proposal addressed those concerns, and offered a menu of solutions at different price points so they could decide on an approach that best fit their internal process. The project is now on the calendar for September and October.

Richard Kelly is a Pittsburgh based photographer and educator working on his listening skills by practicing with his nine year old daughter, Grace. He is tweeting @richardkellypho.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:01am

[by Kat Dalager]

Note: There are always exceptions, so all statements below are “generally speaking.”

If you’re ready to reconsider the “Show Me Yours” method of pricing, here are a few first steps:

  1. Determine What the Market Will Bear by Understanding Your Market
    The larger the client, the more they’re used to paying. Small, local clients are typically not used to big budgets. Large, national or international clients tend to have larger budgets.A client that uses an agency is used to paying more for photography.Established brands are typically used to paying more for photography, while emerging brands typically have lower budgets.
  1. Understand the Uniqueness of the Assignment
    The more unique your skills, the more you can charge. Are you one of the few people that can shoot underwater shots of great white sharks? Or are you one the many that shoot executive portrait head shots?Your job will be to show the client that what you have to offer is something that others can’t provide, by technique, subject matter, style – anything that differentiates you.Uniqueness = Value; Value = Higher Prices.
  1. Understand the Budget
    Ask the magic question: “I typically charge between $xx and $yyy for this type of shoot. Is this close to what you’re thinking?”They will either reply with “Oh, no, I only have $zz!” or “Okay, that will work.” At least you will narrow it down.
  1. Determine the Usage
    The more extensive the use, the more the image is worth. It’s still negotiable, however.
  1. Determine What This Project Means to You
    Each project has its own value to you. Do you need the money? Is this a great client to include in your roster? Is this a great image for your portfolio? Is this fulfilling a favor that will pay off later?Consider “underpriced” shoots as an investment. However, you must assess if this is becoming the rule rather than the exception for a particular client.
  1. Determine Where This Project Stands on Your Experience Scale
    Be realistic on whether or not you need to bring in a producer or consultant to assist you with the estimate. It’s well worth the cost to pay someone whose expertise will make you look good to a client, particularly if it allows you to concentrate on the creative aspects of the project. Consider the long-term benefits rather than the short-term costs.

Kat has been trying to unveil the mysteries of the Pricing Dance for years. I hope this brings you one step closer to a Waltz.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – ESPN/ The Body Issue : Karen Frank

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 9:09am

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ESPN


VP Creative Digital and Print Media: John Korpics
Senior Director of Photography: Karen Frank
Creative Director: Chin Yang
 Magazine Art Director: John Yun
Senior Deputy Photo Editor: Nancy Weisman
Project Photo Editor: Kristen Schaefer Geisler

Heidi: What type of body celebration are you looking for from each of these shoots?
Karen: We’re looking to celebrate the athletic form – in all shapes and sizes. our goal is to capture the personality of each subject as well, and to create an intimate, intensely personal and radically different look at the most amazing bodies in the world.

Describe some of the considerations that go into choosing a final image. Do some of the images share the same attributes?
The body issue is about a six-month production. the first shoot happened in early January, and the last shoot in mid-June. we edit the shoots as they come in, and look for the strongest images overall. when we have a majority of the shoots, we take a look at the collection and edit for a mix of different moods and styles throughout the portfolio. it’s important to us to have a good amount of the images show the athlete engaged in his or her sport. we find that this really frees them up to be less self-conscious about being naked, and has made for some dramatic images and some beautiful locations. coco ho surfing in hawaii, ginger huber cliff diving in Texas, NigelSylvester with his bmx bike in an abandoned construction disposal site in Los Angeles, and Jimmy Spithill sailing in San Francisco harbor are some examples of this.

With a 6 month long production, is it hard to loose the flow? Do you revisit your previous shoots to refresh yourself?
Although it was a long production, the shoots seemed to happen in a fairly steady flow.  we did look back as new shoots came in, but we also kept in mind what we had already shot as we made new assignments.  it was exciting to see how everything came together.

Is this one of your most challenging edits?  If so why?
Yes, and no.

No, because the athletes we photograph are stunning, and each of them are totally committed to making strong images. the energy and integrity that they bring to the shoot is reflected in the images, and there are always lots of great shots to choose from. plus how lucky am i to be editing images of amazing bodies?

Yes, because the athletes who participate are taking a risk when they sign up for this. we want to honor that by choosing images that best reflect their strength, beauty and personality. Often – but not always – the athletes see the images on set, and have a strong opinion about their favorite images. there are a few – and it always surprises me – who choose not to look at the images, who completely trust in the process and are confident that we’ll represent them at their best. they put so much into it, and it’s difficult to choose just one image from the many strong options.

Fortunately, we run an extended online gallery where we get to share images that don’t make it into the magazine.
http://espn.go.com/espn/photos/gallery/_/id/11143740/image/1/venus-williams-bodies-want

In one of the behind the scenes galleries, you have poses sketched out on a paper plate, besides this sketch what other interesting reference was supplied by either the photographer or the athlete?
Peter Hapak sent us photo reference of a wood paneled gymnasium, reminiscent of an old Adirondack camp.  he asked that we try to find a basketball court like that for our shoot with Serge Ibaka.  we eventually did find the perfect place – it was an old court on the top floor of a church in Brooklyn. Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa really wanted to shoot bob sledder Aja Evans on location rather than in studio and had their hearts set on a space that felt sleek and aerodynamic, like Aja’s state-of-the-art bob sled.  they sent images of airplane hangars, and we ended up doing the shoot in a private airplane hangar at the Danbury, Connecticut Airport.
Travis and Lyn-z Pastrana had some very specific ideas about shots we could try and they had a jump built specifically for the shoot.  unfortunately, we weren’t able to use it on the day of the shoot due to the rain.  but the rain did make for some excellent mud, and they enjoyed having a mud fight with each other!

Can you share the process that happens for choosing the athletes and the appropriate photographer?
We worked with an extraordinary group of photographers on this portfolio: Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa, Richard Phibbs, Morgan Maassen, Carlos Serrao, Peter Hapak, Martin Schoeller, Alexei Hay, Dean Treml, Art Streiber, Finlay Mackay, Max Vadukul, Paola Kudacki, Peggy Sirota, and Steven Lippman.

We take the athletes personalities into consideration when choosing photographers for the shoots. as with any shoot, but even more so in this case, it’s really important to create an atmosphere of comfort and trust. the athletes’ trust in the photographers with whom they are paired and willingness to reveal themselves is evident in the images that result from these collaborations.

We look at photographers who are at the top of their field for some of the action sports. Morgan Maassen who photographed surfer coco ho is an example. Morgan grew up surfing, is well-respected among the surf community, and has a cult following of devoted fans.

How much discussion is there about the actual body language prior to the shoot? Are details reviewed with each athlete or does it unfold organically?
There is lots of discussion that happens prior to the shoot. Some athletes are very involved from the beginning stages before they even arrive on set, and contribute ideas about how they’d like to be photographed. the Pastrana’s are an example of this. Martin Schoeller photographed them at their home in Maryland where all of their “toys” (bikes, boards, jumps and pits, etc.) were at our disposal. we were conceptualizing ideas with them months in advance. they were invested in, and part of, the creative process which fostered the collaboration and feeling of trust that we hope for. their willingness to try anything and their fun-loving spirit really comes through in the photos.

Were you on set and what can you share?
Yes. What amazes me, year after year, is the great energy and spirit of fun that happens on the body shoot sets. there’s always a bit of nervousness and trepidation at the beginning of the shoot, but it quickly dissolves and the athletes, in general, become very comfortable being naked. We try to keep the set intimate when the shooting begins. some athletes prefer a closed set, and need time to warm up to the process. others arrive ready to go, and have absolutely no inhibitions about posing naked.

There are lots of fun moments that happen on set. for the past two years, we’ve created a behind-the-scenes gallery from the shoots.

http://espn.go.com/espnw/photos/gallery/_/id/11139818/image/1/venus-williams-scenes-body-2014

Did you have styling on set or just props?
We have a glam squad on set (hair, makeup, manicurist), a prop stylist, and sometimes set designers as well. An example of this is the Angel McCoughtry shoot where a silver basketball court was constructed within the set designer’s studio warehouse in Atlanta.

I had been on nude set recently.  I remember having some anxiety days before the shoot. It all seemed to fade away once I was actually on set and in production, business as usual. I glanced towards the talent wearing just a belt and heels thinking,  “Aren’t you….cold?” Did you have any matter of fact thoughts?
The biggest practical concerns i have are about the safety of the athletes and the photo crew. It was pouring rain in Graford, Texas on the day of our photo shoot with Ginger Huber, and the rocks were slick. Jimmy Spithill sailed in the frigid San Francisco bay on the windiest day of the year, he had to stop often to warm up and avoid hypothermia.

What type of range were you looking for from the collection? ( sport to body type? )
We look to represent a wide range of sports and body types in the portfolio. this year, we showcased athletes in tennis, football, surfing, bmx biking, soccer, rallycross, skateboarding, basketball, baseball, cliff diving, swimming, boxing, bob sled, snowboarding, hockey, and sailing.

 

If you had to choose an adjective for the body issue what would it be?
Revealing

 

 

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Travis + LynZ Pastrana photographed by Martin Schoeller

 

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Venus Williams photographed by Williams + Hirakawa

 

 

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Larry Fitzgerald photographed by Richard Phibbs

 

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Larry Fitzgerald photographed by Richard Phibbs

 

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Coco Ho photographed by Morgan Maassen

 

 

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Coco Ho photographed by Morgan Maassen

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Megan Rapinoe photographed by Peter Hapak

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Nigel Sylvester photographed by Carlos Serrao

 

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Nigel Sylvester photographed by Carlos Serrao

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Serge Ibaka photographed by Peter Hapak

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Prince Fielder photographed by Alexei Hay

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Ginger Huber photographed by Dean Treml

 

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Angel McCoughtry photographed by Art Streiber Screen shot 2014-08-08 at 4.38.38 PM Michael Phelps photographed by Carlos Serrao

 

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Michael Phelps photographed by Carlos Serrao

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Danyelle Wolf photographed by Peter Hapak

 

 

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Omar Gonzalez photographed by Finlay MacKay

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Aja Evans photographed by Williams+Hirakawa

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Tomas Berdych photographed by Max Vadukul

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Amy Purdy photographed by Paola Kudacki

 

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Bernard Hopkins photographed by Max Vadukul

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Marshawn Lynch photographed by Carlos Serrao

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Jamie Anderson photographed by Peggy Sirota

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Hilary Knight photographed by Martin Schoeller

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Jimmy Spithill photographed by Steven Lippman

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Categories: Business

How Much Are Your Eggs?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:01am

[by Todd Joyce]

Eggs are cheaper in the country (location) and by the dozen (quantity), yet two eggs over easy with a side of bacon costs more due to the work, service and extras included.  The two egg omelet with a flaming sauce, prepared by the Waldorf Astoria chef are priced for the ambiance, uniqueness, location and quality.  So, how much are eggs?  It depends.

Universal pricing doesn’t exist because job parameters, geography, markets and uses vary drastically, not to mention the differences in photographers’ styles and services.  Our unique worth changes, depending on what you offer and even the client’s perspective. See this older post that explains your value: It’s Not Always About Price.

I license the use of my work (learn more in the ASMP Licensing Guide) and I price on several factors – time shooting, pre- and post-production, difficulty, risk, scope and length of use. A typical license might read “two year, local billboard, web and direct mail marketing.”  Or, “two year regional TV and website.”  Over the years, I’ve priced a lot of work and found a zone of value for the markets I service.

I’ve lost jobs too, which is essential.  If you’re winning all your bids/estimates, your price is likely low. I talk with other photographers to get a second opinion too.  If you know me at all, you know that these photographers are fellow ASMP members.  ASMP’s network is an incredible resource throughout the country.

Cultivate your network of peers and talk to those who do the kind of work you’re pricing.  Value their experience, perspective and knowledge.  Two more great resources are ASMP’s  Pricing Guide and Paperwork Share. Real jobs with real pricing are outlined there.

Establishing a dialogue with the client is important.  My estimates include the following comment. “Please consider this estimate a dialogue. There are ways to do a job differently and if your budget is the problem, there may be a way to accomplish what you need, without changing much.  But, you’ll never know if you don’t ask.”  This leaves the door open to non-threatening negotiation.

If you cultivate open and honest dialogue, you’ll likely find a middle ground on price and approach that you can both work with.  Strive to improve your communication skills with prospective clients, just like you strive to improve your imaging skills.  You can make (or lose) a lot of money during the conversation, by asking (or not asking) questions and discovering their needs, priorities and spending limits.

Negotiation skills are also a big part of getting the price you need.  I’ll leave you with two other posts that you should read, too:  “Hmmm” and “Budgets.”

Todd Joyce has the gift of gab and it’s served him well.  See what he’s been talking about here and be sure to see the “What we do” link in the “about” menu.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Pricing And Negotiating: Executive Portraits For A Large Agency

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 9:41am

Jess Dudley

Shoot Concept: Create executive portraits and corporate lifestyle images of employees at work in their corporate headquarters and on-site at one client location

Licensing: Digital collateral and digital advertising use of up to 40 images

Location: Corporate headquarters and one retailer location

Shoot Days: Three

Photographer: Corporate lifestyle specialist

Agency: Large agency in the Mid-Atlantic

Client: Business consultant

A well-known ad agency recently commissioned one of our East Coast photographers to shoot a library of images for their client’s rebranding effort. The agency’s B2B client provides consulting services to mid-large sized national brands. The goal of the shoot was to capture a range of corporate lifestyle images of real employees at work in their company offices and on-site at one of their client’s locations. The images were created for, and would be primarily used on, the client’s newly redesigned website, so while the production machine was in motion, the agency wanted to create 10 executive portraits to round out the website about page. On top of the web use, the agency also requested digital/web advertising use to cover their trade advertising needs.

Although all of the images would be used on the site, it was likely that only a handful would be used for any of the somewhat limited advertising use granted. However, as is often the case, the agency was unwilling to carve up the usage into different components, making it impossible to impose more than one licensing agreement on different sets within the library. Additionally, the agency was unwilling to bend on the duration of use. Just as with the extent of the usage, we determined that the likelihood of the client taking full advantage of perpetual use was low enough that we were willing to be flexible on that point. The images have a shelf life, and we assume that the value to the client degrades considerably after three to five years — executives change, services change, and imagery needs to be refreshed. After careful consideration and discussion with the art buyer, we decided to price the usage closer to the value of the intended use.

To determine the licensing fee, I considered the caliber of the photographer (in-demand), reputation of the agency (solid), size of the client (niche), intended audience (non-consumer), limited use (web/digital only), assumed shelf-life, number of shot days (2.5, but we priced as 3 — half days are a myth) and intensity of the production (pretty low). I also considered that 1/4 of the images would consist of executive portraits. After weighing all of the factors, we landed at $20,000. Other pricing sources like Fotoquote, Blinkbid’s Bid Consultant and the various stock sites would have us quote the usage fee in the six-figure range, but those pricing resources don’t account for the nuance and just keep multiplying, regardless of the influencing factors and/or diminishing value to the client, and photographer, over time.

From a production standpoint, this project was relatively low impact. The photographer would need to show up to the provided locations with his or her crew, and make pictures of the provided resources. That being said, because we were working through a fairly large agency, their expectations would be slightly more intensive than you may initially expect.

Here’s the approved estimate:

P and N July

Tech/Scout Day: I included a tech/scout day for the photographer and agency to walk through the offices and client locations to make sure everyone was on the same page creatively, and allow the photographer to consider lighting and equipment needs.

1st Assistant Days: I included four days for the first assistant — one to prep gear (and/or attend the scout) and three to shoot.

2nd Assistant Days: The second assistant would be on hand for all three shoot days.

Digital Tech Days: The tech would only be needed on the corporate lifestyle days. The agency wouldn’t need to review the executive portraits on set, so we were able to forgo that expense on the portrait day.

Equipment: $4500 covered costs for a DSLR, a backup, lenses, grip equipment and portable strobe kit, some of which the photographer’s production company owned and would be renting at market rate for the shoot and some that would need to be rented from a local rental house.

Producer: Even though a great deal of the production elements would be provided by the client and agency, we felt that a producer would still be beneficial during the shoot. Since there wasn’t much in the way of pre-production I only included one day for prep (arrange catering, book/confirm the five crew members and pull together a call sheet), one day for the tech/scout and three days for the shoot.

Production RV: The client couldn’t guarantee the availability of convenient staging area so I included a production RV for the two lifestyle days. Since we would be stationary for the executive portraits, it wasn’t necessary on the third day.

Groomer: The subjects would be instructed to arrive camera-ready. The groomer would be on hand to make sure they were finessed a bit and looked their best when on camera.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: Covers time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images to an FTP for client review and selection.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: Color correction, basic touch-up and specialized processing of the 40 selects. As the result of considerable post-processing, all of photographer’s images all have a distinct feel, which increases the cost for standard file prep.

File Transfer: This covers the cost to deliver the 40 selects via FTP.

Catering: I estimated to provide lunch on the two corporate lifestyle days. Because the third day was a “half day” we didn’t need to cover catering.

Miles, Expendables, FTP, and Misc: This covered out-of-pocket expenses the photographer and crew would accrue between mileage, FTP costs and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise.

Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer shot the project and the client came back to licensing 10 additional images. We set the rate for those at $750 each, including processing.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing 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

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