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This Week In Photography Books: William Christenberry

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:30am

by Jonathan Blaustein

Colin looked away, unable to meet her eye. Shame has many tells, and this one was screaming louder than an infant at the witching hour. He’d wanted to tell her the truth for months, of course, but couldn’t bring himself to speak the words.

Now, it was too late.

Maddy had opened a letter addressed to him. She’d never done that before, but he understood why she’d done it. They’d been married for nigh on 30 years, and he was sure she’d noticed the change in his behavior.

First, he started drinking more heavily. When they could afford the extra whiskey, it hadn’t been so noticeable. But as fortunes faded, it became more obvious that $5 a week mattered elsewhere.

Colin thought he’d be able to pick up some extra day labor, but, honestly, he knew it was as illusory as magic. The economy in rural Alabama, such as it was, did not allow for extra anything, much less work or money.

Soon enough, his sex drive began to abate. Men need confidence to feel good about themselves, and a no-job-having, no-money-making, lie-around-the-house-and-drink type of man doesn’t feel desire like he used to. When he was younger, and the future held promise instead of a slow decline into ruin.

That’s the part they always gloss over in the history books. For all the talk of progress, and ideas building to the future, like the march from horses to trains to automobiles. That’s what people like to talk about.

It’s easier to forget forgotten places. They die slowly, like a malnourished child. There’s no bloody mess, and no one there to hear you scream. Though most lack the energy at the end, for screaming.

No, Colin wasn’t surprised that Maddy opened the letter from the bank. If anything, he was embarrassed not to have the guts to tell her to her face. But if he couldn’t meet her eye these days, how was he to summon such courage?

They were to be out in 30 days, even though no one in their right mind would want the house. It was falling apart as it was, and wouldn’t be standing for long, without some money and TLC. Outside of him and Maddy, there was no one who’d care about one more slanting shack. No one at all.

Except for William Christenberry, of course. Thankfully, he’s been out and about, cruising the back roads and dirt lanes of Alabama for many, many years. I’ve always loved his work, dramatic and subtle at the same time.

If you’re unaware, Mr. Christenberry has visited and revisited the types of falling down, incredibly nostalgic, romantic little shotgun shacks, and taken their pictures over many years, as they slowly succumb to entropy. Books are great for these sorts of projects. All you need to do is turn the page, and another year, or 5, has passed. No need to wait.

Should you care to see such work in a beautifully made book, you’ve come to the right place. The Fundacion Mapfre in Spain has just released an eponymous monograph, in conjunction with a pair of major exhibitions there. I will show it to you in the snapshots below, because that is what I do.

I was unaware, actually, that Mr. Christenberry also made sculptures. It’s very common in the art world, for artists to work in multiple media, but less so among more traditional photographers. I’ve been encouraging experimentation for years, as my long-time readers know, and this work can provide inspiration.

The photos of these churches and BBQ joints are amazing, but then, rendered in miniature as sculpture, the feeling changes. It must. Expressing similar, important ideas in varying ways is the sign of a genuinely engaged mind. Brilliant stuff.

Bottom line: Big, beautiful monograph by a deserving legend

To Purchase William Christenberry 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

Paolo Roversi: My Life Is Full Of Pictures I Didn’t Take

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:00am

I’m not the kind of photographer who always has a camera around his neck, always taking pictures of everything, with the fear of losing the moment. My life is full of pictures I didn’t take, or that I just took with my mind because I wasn’t fast enough with the camera. Maybe one day I’ll write a book about the pictures I didn’t take.

via Paolo Roversi Interview | The Talks.

Categories: Business

A Well-Managed Team is Better than the Sum of its Parts

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:01am

[by Gail Mooney]

Most still photographers are independent entrepreneurs. Some of us may employ a “studio manager” or a small staff, but many of us run the day-to-day operations by ourselves.  However, when working on large projects or assignments, we frequently need to build a team to help us carry these projects out.  This is especially true if you are producing motion projects.

It’s not that difficult to “build” a team, but managing a team is another story.  It requires a skillful balance of being able to manage a project AND manage people.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when managing a team:

  • Be confident – You need to “be in charge” and instill confidence in your team.  If they sense that you don’t have control, they will lose trust in you and the team will quickly fall apart.
  • Communicate – Be clear and specific in all your communications with your team. Make sure that everyone is informed and on the same page in terms of the overall project and also has a clear idea of what is expected of them, individually.
  • Don’t micro-manage – If you have assembled the right team with the smartest people you can find, then each person will bring their expertise and unique strengths to the project.  Give your team members specific tasks with goals and a deadline and let them do their jobs.
  • Be consistent – You will erode your team’s trust if you aren’t consistent in how you manage people.  This also holds true when making decisions. I always try to “take the face out” of any decisions that I make.
  • Listen – Leading a team isn’t all about relaying your perspective.  A good team is made up of people who have a variety of diverse perspectives and viewpoints.  What’s important is to be able to listen to each with an open mind.
  • Admit your mistakes – Everyone makes mistakes, even the guys at the top – especially the guys at the top, because if they are doing their jobs right, they are taking risks and facing challenges.  Own your mistakes, rather than throwing the blame elsewhere.  Your team will respect you more.
  • Remember – If you do your job right in managing your team – the team will be better than the sum of its parts.

Gail Mooney produced and directed Opening Our Eyes, a film about individuals creating positive change in the world.  More tips from Gail can be found here.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Art Producers Speak: Sean Murphy

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:11am

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 Sean Murphy. Sean is tenacious at living. He is vibrant, happy with an eye of the finest artist. Each of his takes makes me say AH! and I am an artist, so that’s not always an easy thing. He goes anywhere and traveling in his giant truck, he becomes part of the culture of what he is shooting and it shows.

Monterey Tourism / Cramer-Kresselt

Monterey Tourism / Cramer-Kresselt

47 Brand / The Fantastical

47 Brand / The Fantastical

Personal trip to Nicaragua

Personal trip to Nicaragua

SRT / The Richards Group

SRT / The Richards Group

Tosin Abasi / Guitar World

Tosin Abasi / Guitar World

Stock shoot for Image Source

Stock shoot for Image Source

Cedar Fair / Cramer-Kresselt

Cedar Fair / Cramer-Kresselt

Evan Seinfeld

Evan Seinfeld

Nature's Recipe / Draft

Nature’s Recipe / Draft

AAA / The Richards Group

AAA / The Richards Group

How many years have you been in business?
Well, I got out of college in 1993. It was around 1995 that I started getting my first jobs, which at that time were mostly editorial. I knew a lot of bands, so I also ended up shooting rock and roll and album covers. I didn’t get my first advertising job until 1999, but by 2000 it became and remains the primary work that I do. I still do shoot music and editorial and I love the creative freedom it brings, but I don’t focus my energy on acquiring that work so much anymore. So, that’s the “too long” answer…it’s been about 20 years. :)

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
School. I spent a lot of time painting and sculpting while I was growing up. I had a girlfriend with an old Pentax that she loaned me and, on a whim, I signed up for a photo class at a community college in Orlando, Florida. I got the bug immediately, quit mid-semester, and moved to Boston to go to the New England School of Photography. I graduated Valedictorian in 1993.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Before I went to Boston, I attended that photography class in Orlando. The teacher was a retired Time-Life photographer. His hands were gnarled from years of working with the chemicals. Cool guy. He said to me, “I never say this, but you have something special. If I were you, I’d leave here and go to Boston or New York.” So I did. Within a month, I was gone.

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?
Well, for starters, I’m shooting ALL the time. I surround myself with uber-talented people. I get fueled by their vibes. And I have a crew of crazy, crazy-talented friends. They’re always keeping me laughing and I’m always inspired. So ultimately, I’m just photographing my life. I’m just grateful that who and what’s around me happens to be interesting.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Hmm, I don’t know if I really get that direct input from the client. The creatives are acting as the intermediary.

I present my work as I see fit on my website and on social media.

Frequently, I’ll be asked by the creatives to put together a selection of work or a special presentation that they can show to the clients. If the client approves, I guess I get hired. Lately, I’m having the most fun in my career I’ve ever had. I’m getting hired to shoot exactly what I love to shoot. :)

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
As far as the internet is concerned: website/blog, Facebook, and Instagram. The usual suspects.

My primary engagement from the buying audience comes from my website, with Facebook coming a close second.

I travel a great deal. When I do, I always make arrangements to meet art buyers and creatives all across the country.

I’ll do a mailer a few times a year, and I also have books made of my work that I’ll bring with me to show to prospective clients.

Lately, I’ve been getting more attention for some of my rock and roll photography from years past, which is now going to be shown in some galleries, so that is also another new avenue that is exposing my work.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You need to show a cohesive body of work. I’ve found that that’s more impressive to the buyer than trying to show your entire bag of tricks. You want to create a relation of your name to the type of work you are selling yourself to do. You want them to say “Sean” or “this guy” can do this type of work. You don’t want to show a thousand styles.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Non-stop. I shoot everyday. I don’t leave the house without my camera strapped around my back. I’m not doing it on purpose to keep myself fresh. I’m doing it because I love it so much.

How often are you shooting new work?
Pretty much all the time. If I’m not shooting paid work, I’m busy lining up pro-bono shoots for companies that I find interesting, working with new super creative art directors, working on collaborations with other artists, or shooting new material for stock with Getty. So my time is always busy. I’m not motivated by the money. I’m just motivated by shooting cool stuff all the time. :)

————

Over a decade later, Sean is now internationally known for creating influential, diverse award-winning campaigns for clients such as Ford, Chevy, Old Navy, Playstation, Wal-Mart and Hard Rock Café – and he’s always on time and within budgets, even when they seem unrealistic. He has also shot album covers for bands like Weezer and Tenacious D. Sean is universally recognized for his approachability with his subjects. From kids to celebrities, businessmen to bikers, everyone is at home with Sean’s larger-than-life personality, and that comfort level brings out the best in people.

www.seanmurphyphoto.com
Represented by Tom Zumpano 310-409-0249 tom@zumpanos.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.

 

Buying a new website?
APhotoFolio.com builds portfolio websites for photographers.
Have a look (here).

Categories: Business

Once Instagram Disappears What’s Next?

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:00am

Once Instagram disappears, and it will, what’s next? I’m already getting bored of it. I think it has served its purpose. We need to find another outlet, especially since in a couple of years we’ll all be on a level playing field in terms of the number of followers, so we’ll have to look at something else.

via Benjamin Lowy: “The end of Instagram?” » FLTR.

Categories: Business

Developing Talent

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 12:01am

[by Tom Kennedy]

Among other things, team management is about alignment, coordination, and developing the strengths of those around you by understanding individual aspirations.

A wise manager ignites personal passions and makes developing team chemistry a high priority.  This starts with having a vision for each person’s role on the team, and making that vision a jointly shared responsibility.  A manager who is passionate about developing the skills of others on the team is more likely to gain useful support than one who is solely focused on achieving results for clients.  While the latter is essential, it can only be accomplished if people contributing to a group effort feel good about their own position.

It is important to put people on a team in a position to succeed individually by understanding their own view of their talents and career goals.  Those can be very important as clues when trying to gain maximum creative effort from others.  Ideally, a good manager is able at every moment to reflect back to a team member how he or she is performing and how individual skills might be further developed.

Inevitably, team management requires the alignment of individual efforts to accomplish a group goal.  To do that effectively, one needs to be able to understand the business objective being sought by a client and the why behind “the ask.” If that isn’t clear to all on the team at the outset of any project, it will be very difficult to harness everyone’s full efforts.   The team leader must be able to articulate the objective to be accomplished, as well as explain how each team member’s efforts will contribute to the total effort.   It is also important to make each team member feel valued for his or her contribution.

To do that effectively, a good manager asks for input, particularly at the outset of a project or assignment, and then examines fully the “why” behind what is being brought to the table by all team members.  All inputs need to be considered as variables and understood for their meaning.  For example, if someone is negative because they are anxious about their individual performance contribution, that needs to be understood.  Surfacing underlying issues and varying perspectives is crucial to full communication. Listening purposefully and paying attention to underlying meaning builds trust in a team.

In turn, trust and confidence produce the optimal performance that makes a team and a manager successful.

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

Frere-Jones and Hoefler

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 9:45am

Sadly, found this amazing video because of this:

In January, Frere-Jones filed a lawsuit against Hoefler, saying that their company was not actually a partnership, but a long con in which Hoefler had tricked him into signing over the rights to all of his work, cheating Frere-Jones out of his half of the business. “In the most profound treachery and sustained exploitation of friendship, trust and confidence, Hoefler accepted all the benefits provided by Frere-Jones while repeatedly promising Frere-Jones that he would give him the agreed equity, only to refuse to do so when finally demanded,” the complaint charges. Frere-Jones is asking a court to grant him $20 million.

via, spd.org.

Categories: Business

Cindy Sherman on James Franco: ‘I Don’t Know That I Can Say It’s Art’

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 8:45am

James Franco’s recent appropriation of her acclaimed “Untitled Film Stills” series, which raised more than a few eyebrows when it debuted at Pace Gallery a few days earlier. “I was flattered, I can only be flattered,” she said with a slight sigh. “I don’t know that I can say it’s art, but I think it’s weirder that Pace would show them than that he would make them.”

via Cindy Sherman on James Franco: ‘I Don’t Know That I Can Say It’s Art’ | Gallerist.

Categories: Business

Managing a Creative Team

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 12:01am

[by Thomas Werner]

Building a strong, unified, and reliable team is essential to a photographer’s success. Professional images depend upon a team of experts, each applying their specific skills toward one goal. At its core this team may include; photographer’s assistants, hair and make-up stylists, and a wardrobe stylist. For larger scale shoots you may hire a producer to handle all of the details surrounding shoot preparation, as well as a location scout, prop stylist, digital technician, and construction crew may be part of your team. Finding a team of reliable collaborators who work well together and understand your and your client’s vision is important, but if you want to build a truly successful team you need to consider a few other things.

Being paid may be what brings everyone to the shoot, but turning someone from a participant into a positive collaborator will mean fulfilling other needs, as everyone has different goals. People will want to work on your set for any number of reasons, to; work with you, learn technical skills, develop business skills, build a portfolio, be respected creatively, network, develop their career, or simply to be part of something. Your job is to understand each team member’s deeper motivation and help him or her achieve their goal without undermining the success of the shoot. Once your team understands that you have their success in mind, as well as your own, you will find that you have a far more dedicated, and energized crew.

Thomas Werner; Lecturer, Educator, Curator, Consultant.
Thomas Werner Projects on Facebook.
Launching soon: Thomaswernerprojects.com
.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

New York Times Wins Two Photography Pulitzers

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:11am

The New York Times has swept the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for photography. The staff photographer Tyler Hicks won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography for his coverage of a terrorist attack at an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left more than 60 people dead. Josh Haner was awarded the Pulitzer in feature photography for his images of the slow and painful recovery process for a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing.

via New York Times Wins Two Photography Pulitzers.

Categories: Business

The Weekly Edit: Ethan Pines: Forbes Magazine

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 9:59am

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Forbes

Art and Design Director:  Robert Mansfield
Photo Editor: Meredith Nicholson
Photographer: Ethan Pines
Retouchers: Rebecca Bausher and Gretchen Hilmers

Heidi: You were shooting some of the wealthiest people in the US, what sort of production perks came with this? Besides simple things like Formula One cars and NASCAR as a back up?

Ethan: You’d think there would be loads of perks, right? This was a DIY production, like so many editorial shoots. But the benefit of shooting venture capitalists is, they’re the guys with the money. Sequoia Capital (subject of the article, stars of the race-car shot) paid for the Formula One and NASCAR cars, the props to round it out, extra lighting / grip, and my favorite prop stylist Shannon Amos. And the nice people at the Bay Area Discovery Center let us use the location in exchange for, I believe, a fine bottle of Bourbon.

As for the large gathering of company founders, we shot it quickly on the floor of the Tesla Motors factory. The perks were (1) someone brought me BBQ chips and a vitamin water; (2) high ceilings and plenty of shooting space; (3) getting to explore the Tesla factory, which is this amazing confluence of people, technology and robots reminiscent of dinosaurs.

You mentioned this was an ad-scale production. Did you produce this alone or did the magazine help you?
I typically produce my own shoots for Forbes, once they secure the subject. Since I’m the one who insisted the pit-crew shot wouldn’t be too over-the-top, it pretty much fell to me to produce this one.

In this case, I and Andrew Kovacs at Sequoia essentially co-produced it. Andrew and Forbes coordinated the company founders for the cover, all of whom were originally backed by Sequoia as start-ups. Andrew organized the race cars, secured pit-crew wardrobe and props, and helped with various details. I spent three days texting, emailing and phone-calling my brains out to get everything in place. Sequoia was extremely excited about the pit-crew shot, but I don’t think they realized what it takes to produce a photo shoot. All those details — locations, access, parking, power, water, food, shade, props, restrooms, being able to see at 4 a.m., directions, permission, weather, wind — you can’t take anything for granted. Then there’s the actual shoot, when you’re asking business guys to act and inhabit roles — and do it for an hour or so.
The magazine was available for whatever help I needed, from approving locations to using their pull to make things happen. The entire crew helped by working hard and passionately as always. I have to recognize my assistants Brad Wenner and Podbereski, who did a great job on too little sleep.

Scheduling billionaires is no small feat. What was the biggest challenge?
Fortunately it was not me but the the good people of Sequoia who scheduled that group. I’m sure there were scores of challenges I never heard about; all these major company founders were rearranging their schedules and flying in just for the shoot. I did, however, field a lot of questions about what people should wear.

My tough moment came at the shoot when Doug Leone, the head of Sequoia Capital, refused to be out in front of everyone on the cover as Forbes had planned. He wanted this to be about the founders, not about himself. Which is understandable. I’m standing there at the shoot, in front of 14 billionaires who are giving us 30 minutes, thinking, OK, what now? Do I argue on behalf of my client and jeopardize the good vibe at the shoot? No, but maybe there’s a middle ground. We compromised on having him second row, somewhere just off center. I scrapped my pre-laid plan for arranging everyone and did it on the fly.

How many days was this project?
All told, probably seven to eight days. A day of pre-production emails and phone calls from L.A. Two days of scouting and prepro in the Bay Area. Two days of shooting. Two days in post. Not to mention two days roundtrip driving to the Bay Area and back.

What sort of monkey wrench did running out of gas on the freeway do to your productivity?
I’m often overextended and pushing the fuel gauge to E, but this had never happened before. When emails, texts and phone calls are coming and going, it’s easy to forget about gas. I got rescued pretty quickly by the roaming Metro guys who patrol freeways looking for stalled cars during rush hour. What an incredible service. They’re like traffic guardian angels.

The episode actually didn’t hurt my schedule that badly. I was a bit shaken after sitting on the freeway with cars rushing by on both sides. And it made me realize that I need to take a breath.

How much time did you get with the subjects?
For the cover shot we had 30 minutes, which of course just flew by. At the end we yanked away the grey seamless, formed them into a loose line and used the factory as background for another eight minutes or so. For the race-car shoot, we set up from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., then had about an hour with all the Sequoia guys. I tend to ask for as much time as I can get.

For the race-car shoot, we set up from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., then had about an hour with all the Sequoia guys. I tend to ask for as much time as I can get.

Were you nervous prior/during the shoot?
Oh, sure. Before, during and after. How the hell do you arrange a large group vertically on a plain background, without furniture or a room to rely on? Would they be on time and easy to work with? What do you do with them once they’re arranged? How do you light and shoot two large group setups (grey background, factory background) in 30-40 minutes? I planned a lot of this during the drive to San Francisco. And it’s always amazing how even the busiest, wealthiest people will listen to and grant control to the photographer. You just have to take charge (in a friendly way) and ask for what you want. I told them that they could all go out and destroy each other’s companies if they wanted to when this was over, but here they were all buddies, and I wanted some good loose interaction among the group.

For the race-car shot, we didn’t have a location finalized until the day before. And there were so many moving parts to put together. Makes you really appreciate what producers do. Once I was on board for these shoots, they consumed my days and my thoughts until they were done. I think that nervousness helps you be prepared.

How difficult was it to get your cover shot?
Not easy, but not torturous either. My crew and I showed up three hours early to load in and set up lighting, so I could focus on the subjects when we started shooting. Once we got everyone up on apple boxes and did some positioning and re-positioning, I mostly worked on creating an atmosphere where people felt at ease and trusted me. We got some straight shots, like the one that ultimately ran, some lighter ones, and some with everyone interacting. There were only supposed to be 12 people in the cover shot. And suddenly that night I was counting 14 on the set! That was a little surprise.

The toughest parts were the time limit — I was working like a madman for those 30 minutes — arranging 14 people vertically, watching 14 people at once in the viewfinder, and trying to get quality moments from everyone.
I also try to monitor the small details, like the woman in front placing her hand on her hip. All that being said, the shot on the cover is a single capture. No mixing and matching of faces. No one even blinking in that shot.

What about your work struck the magazine to award you this job?
I think they like the way that I always bring back surprises. And I try to make the business world as colorful and unusual as I can. 

Most interesting thing you learned on set with such game changers?
Due to the short time frame, not a lot. You know what I loved seeing? The variety among them. A group of billionaire company founders is no longer a group of middle-aged white guys. They were also very human, easygoing and funny. I’d love to hang out with that group again.

Who’s in the driver seat?
The “driver” in the F1 car is a woman from Sequoia. We even gave her extensions so her hair could be flowing out of the helmet. The location is a walkway in a kids-oriented museum in the Bay Area. We had a NASCAR car as backup, trucked all the way up from L.A. We never even got to fire them up. That F1 car is 16 feet long. It’s a monstrous beauty in person.

 

 

 

Categories: Business

Not Unlike Parenting

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:01am

[by Kat Dalager]

Managing a team is about practicing a philosophy as much as it is about performing a function. As a manager, ask yourself if you are setting people up to succeed rather than setting them up to fail. The most effective managers provide their teams with the environment, the guidance and the opportunities that will allow others to succeed. A few tips:

  1. Be aware. An essential skill of managing is listening. This means not only hearing what your team is telling you, but listening for the things they DON’T say. Private one-on-one conversations can reveal a lot of information and insights that you may not normally be aware of.
  2. Identify and understand the different personalities at play. In this instance, experience is the best teacher. The person you may think is the “problem child” may not truly be the source of the problem. Skilled troublemakers are adept at deflecting attention from themselves. Learning to identify different personality types will help you discern if someone is covert or if they are simply socially awkward. Apply coaching/instructing/leading based on the individual circumstance.
  3. Be fair. Managers should be Switzerland. Don’t play favorites and don’t unfairly scrutinize others. Be sure to investigate all sides of a story before making a judgment on a situation. Try to maintain a consistent temperament so that team members don’t have to guess if you are Jekyl or Hyde that day.
  4. Provide clear direction. Unclear expectations combined with unclear direction is a formula for failure. Make statements that explain what is needed and the reason why it is needed. Refrain from making “editorial” statements either verbally or in writing. Example: “As I mentioned yesterday, please pick up that extra lens or we won’t be able to pack it before we leave” instead of “Apparently it doesn’t bother you that I’ve had to tell you twice to pick up that extra lens.”
  5. Build trust. Trust goes both ways. If you have hired people with adequate skills, then you must trust that they are fully capable of performing the tasks needed. Give them every opportunity to succeed – or allow them to fail in a controlled circumstance in order to learn.
  6. “Perfection” is relative (and subjective). Just because someone does something differently than you doesn’t mean they are doing it incorrectly. Be open to other approaches. Know that what you consider “perfect” may not be the best solution.

Recommended reference: The First Time Supervisor’s Survival Guide by George Fuller

In addition to being the mother of two grown children, Kat has extensive experience managing work teams both large and small. She hopes you will learn from her mistakes.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

I Can’t Do One Damn Thing Without The Love And Support Of My Wife

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:01am

I’m just a dude taking pictures. I appreciate the amazing opportunities that come my way but I don’t really enjoy being in the spotlight. I’m not trying to be anyone’s idol. That’s for sure. The fact of the matter is I can’t do one damn thing without the love and support of my wife. She is my better 7/8ths. When I’m sitting at a table listening to Joe McNally tell stories and share his experiences, she’s at home folding laundry. When I’m hoping and praying that I get an upgrade to business class, she’s getting four kids to four different schools in the morning. When I’m out with a camera in my hand, her piano sits dormant.

via GPP Shootout :: A Story For My Wife · DEDPXL.

Categories: Business

Pricing & Negotiating: Industrial Lifestyle Shoot

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 9:58am

by Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Industrial lifestyle shoot

Licensing: North American collateral use of all images in perpetuity (15 per day)

Location: Manufacturing facility

Shoot Days: Up to 20

Photographer: Lifestyle and portrait specialist

Agency: Client direct

Client: Not a household name, but well known within it’s industry

One of our west coast-based photographers was approached by a fairly large industrial manufacturer and asked to shoot industrial lifestyle images of their employees at work, manufacturing a variety of products in a number of different locations in North America. They were mostly interested in using the images on their website and in a self-published coffee table book that would be given out to investors, executives and employees. Their products are generally larger than a semi-truck and manufactured in facilities on the scale of an airplane hanger. Think big.

The client wasn’t accustomed to hiring photographers (it’d been nearly 20 years since they’d hired a professional). Thankfully, they thought it was wise to get us involved pretty early on before they firmly established their needs, so that they didn’t develop a creative concept and plan that would break the bank. Their initial thought was to shoot 10-15 different locations, 1-2 shoot days at each, for a total of approximately 20 shoot days. This presents a bit of a dilemma. Because we were in the planning stage and they wouldn’t commit to 20 days or any specific number of images (although as usual, they were expecting a deal because of all of the potential work), we couldn’t approach the presentation of the fees for this project in our typical way. We had to present an estimate that was scalable from a single day on up, but also factored in a discount for a volume that the client was unwilling to commit to. Also unknown was the number of scout and travel days. Here’s how we addressed all the issue:

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We needed to create a fee structure that the photographer would be happy with if the client only booked one day and that the client would be happy with if they booked 20. I’m sure just about every photographer has had this same experience— a client asks for a quote and pushes back on the numbers saying something along the lines of  “if there’s a lot of work down the road, can you be flexible on your rate/fees?” It’s not an unreasonable request, however the work down the road almost never materializes. The approach we took here protects the photographer’s interest, keeps the client honest and gives them a break for the volume.

We based the day rate on the typical collateral library rate we’ve negotiated with other industrial clients. The rate usually varies from 2500.00-3500.00 depending on the size of the client and scale of the project. In this case, we started a bit higher because of the self-publishing use requested, though if the client did ultimately book the photographer for 20 days, the fee would average out to just over 3500/day. Although we didn’t explicitly limit the number of scenarios or images, in the course of our conversations we determined that the photographer would probably be able to shoot in five different scenarios per shoot day and that the client could expect 2-3 variations of images per scenario. We didn’t want to commit to a specific number in the estimate because certain factories may be easier or harder to shoot in than others, which would seriously impact how much could be accomplished in a given day.

The client signed the proposal and requested a detailed estimate for the first leg of the shoot – one-day, local to the photographer. We extrapolated a one-day version which the client approved. During the course of the pre-production, the client requested a certificate of insurance. Since we hadn’t been asked to provide any sort of unusual coverage, and the photographer carries a fairly standard business liability policy year round, we’d opted not to charge a fee for the insurance in the estimate (however, like equipment, it would not be unusual to charge the client a fee for the use of your insurance policy). As it turned out, the client’s legal team was requiring the photographer to provide workman’s comp insurance and specialty insurance specific to their industry. I’ve seen this a lot lately and it’s getting old. The client presents a project, approves the estimate, then comes back with unusually high insurance coverage requirements. If the client requires you to provide coverage that substantially exceeds a standard business liability policy (ie workman’s comp, weather, specialty, etc.) and they don’t tell you about it beforehand, it’s considered a change in the scope of work and the cost should be approved as an overage. In this case, we gave the client two options – pay for the insurance or waive the requirement. They opted to pay for the insurance, so we resubmitted the one-day estimate. Here’s the final version:

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Tech/Scout Day: We included a half tech/scout day for the photographer and agency to walk through the location, determine the ideal scenarios and try to nail down a shot list.

Assistant Days: The photographer wanted two assistants for this shoot. Although there wouldn’t be much in the way of equipment, the size of the space and materials was daunting, so the photographer wanted an extra set of hands.

Equipment: This covered the one day rental costs for a DSLR, a backup DSLR, grip equipment and a small portable strobe kit, all of which the photographer owned and would be renting to the production.

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

Selects Processed for Reproduction: This covered color correction and basic touch-up of the 15 selects. Any necessary retouching would be estimated and billed separately.

File Transfer: This covers the cost to deliver the 15 selects via hard drive, including overnight shipping.

Miles, Expendables, FTP, and Misc: This covered the basic out of pocket expenses the photographer would accrue between mileage, FTP costs, lunch for him and his assistants on the shoot day, and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise.

Insurance: We included the cost to provide the specialty insurance the client required.

Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing: Location, releases, subjects, escorts and safety equipment.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer is in the midst of the project and has already shot two additional days.

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

Expectations

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:03am

[by Rosh Sillars]

When working with a team, employees or coworkers it is common to feel that people are not meeting your expectations.  Sometimes you don’t live up to their expectations, either.  I’ve found that the common thread in most cases is that no one explained the expectations in the first place.

Prepare you team for success. Don’t assume they should know your ways, needs, goals and desires. Everyone will approach a project differently. These differences are based on experience and the people they have worked with in the past.

If you believe people should be able to figure it out on their own or they shouldn’t be working with you, you are right. This way of thinking sets up everyone for failure.

Be very clear about the things that are important to you.  Let the entire team know what your methodologies, expectations and goals are for every project. This takes communication. Develop a plan, list or packet that you can share with new team members, freelancers and employees. Keep the instructions light and informational rather than strict, demanding and scary.

Give team members the opportunity to succeed by sharing regular emails and articles related to best practices and new ideas to improve work skills and confidence.

Now that you have your team running like a well-optimized engine, what about your bosses and clients?

Ask a lot of questions.  Make sure you fully understand the projects being presented to you.  Ask how they envision the outcome of the project. What are the goals and expectations of the people hiring you?  Make sure lines of communication are open and you know who to contact when questions arise.

Don’t take the idea of clear expectations lightly.  A good team-client relationship will develop over time.  Keep the communication lines open and active so your business runs smoothly.

Rosh Sillars shares marketing and business ideas for creative professionals at www.roshsillars.com

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Managing Your Team

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:01am

For many of us, professional photography has become a team sport.  Whether you’re collaborating with other independent business owners or have taken the step of hiring employees, your skills as a manager can make or break your photography business.  This week, our contributors share their insights on how to successfully manage your creative team.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Paul D’Amato

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 9:13am

by Jonathan Blaustein

Last week I claimed I was tired and listless. Poor Blaustein, you must have thought. All worn out from galavanting around the mountains. Crying because it’s gray a few days a year. Boo hoo.

You’re probably hoping I’ll come back strong this week, and write one of those columns that starts out like a story. (“Colin looked away, unable to meet her eye. Shame has many tells, and this one was screaming louder than an infant at the witching hour.”)

Sorry to tease, but it’s not going to happen. I spent most of the last week running around New York City like a miner headed towards the claims office with a hunk of gold. It was intense, but worth it. Especially as I was able to see some genuinely excellent photography at the NY Times Portfolio Review, which I will share with you in the coming weeks. (As always, I am but your almost-humble proxy.)

One of my favorite things about plugging into the NYC nuclear reactor is how much you can get done in short amount of time. It’s the adrenal equivalent of paying it forward. Extra juice, so you can pull insanely productive 18 hour days, but then…

That’s the part you always forget about while you’re living in the glory. The crash. All that extra juice had to come from somewhere. NYC may inspire activity, but it doesn’t actually fill your blood with surplus protein and such. It has to come from somewhere: your future self.

So here I sit, my muscles twitching like a horse in labor. Wondering if I fell from ten feet into a pile of rocks. Cursing the city for its seductive qualities. Among them, the chance to hang with people from all over the world, and to revel in ethnic diversity. It’s a drug of its own sort.

On the flip side, no sooner did I get on the A train in Howard Beach than I realized it was only running in sections, so I’d have take 3 trains instead of 1. (If you’re counting, that’s a bus to a train to a train to a train to a train to get from JFK to Upper Manhattan. 2.5 hours to go what, 10 miles?)

And that was just the ride into the city, after taking a 3.5 hour redeye from ABQ to NYC. Which is to say, given how I’m feeling, it’s time to segue to the book.

Here we go.

As soon as I got home, still vibrating with NYC pollution on my skin, a friend who was raised in Brooklyn Heights said on Facebook that he likes Chicago better than New York these days.

What now? Chicago?

I was only there once, coincidentally with this same guy, nearly 20 years ago. I don’t know anything about the place, as that quick trip was a blur for many reasons. It’s almost like I wasn’t there.

And he up and says Chicago is the better town? Big words.

Wouldn’t you know the first book I picked up off the pile was of African-American culture in Chicago: “We Shall,” photographs by Paul D’Amato. (Another Guggenheim winner. Two in a row. And wouldn’t you know the 2014 Fellowship winners were announced today. Co-incidence, or Taos Hippie Juju? By the way, let’s give a shout out to a really, really great photographers list this year.)

This book of photos is excellent. No two ways about it. Or three ways, I should say, as the artist uses the technique of multiple images more viscerally than his contemporary Paul Graham. The triptych pictures in particular, which show delicately how different a few similar photographs can be, based upon the subtle energy in a set of eyes.

But my word count is getting higher than my IQ, which means it’s time to wrap it up. I implied in the beginning that I wasn’t planning to bring it this week. Maybe I pulled one out in the end, but I don’t have as much to say about the book itself as I ought, what with all the whining and pontificating.

Let’s summarize. I like this book very much. I suspect you would too. Despite the fact that I live in the hinterlands, I’m glad the great cities are out there, attracting people and ideas, thriving and allowing folks to live in any style they’d like. Bastions of creativity. Long may they prosper.

Bottom line: Taut book of African-American stories in the Windy city

To Purchase “We Shall” 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

Sometimes Less is Actually More

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:01am

[by Jenna Close]

My name is Jenna, and I am a workaholic. If left to my own devices, I will consistently slave away until the end of time, and I will do it happily…almost. For years, having an extreme work ethic was very beneficial to my business. Then 2013 came around, and I literally woke up one morning in a funk. I felt lethargic, uninspired and dull. Thinking it was just a phase, I soldiered on. Day after day the feelings continued and I grew increasingly detached from everything I had previously loved about this business. My work suffered, my health suffered, I didn’t want to travel and soon I was avoiding pretty much everything and enjoying next to nothing.

After some serious consideration, I realized that having a life is an extremely important part of being a small business owner. But…for me that was easier said than done. I still felt compelled to spend all my time focused on my career, and if I did take a day or even an hour off, the crushing guilt and anxiety I felt prevented me from enjoying the free time. A few very simple changes helped me allow for personal time and still fulfill all my business responsibilities.

1) Make a schedule. This may sound ridiculous, but I have a schedule that includes both business and personal tasks. I have a time for exercising and a time for relaxation built in right alongside everything else. In the beginning I adhered to this schedule fanatically, but over time I have become more flexible without falling back into the work-all-the-time trap. Initially, I needed strict rules to teach myself that time for ME was OK. The schedule helped relieve some of my anxiety about getting everything done, thus allowing me to actually use time off to my benefit.

2) Take advantage of work travel. A lot of my business involves shoots that are out of town. While many people find this enviable, there is a very big difference between traveling for work and traveling for pleasure. As often as I can, I build in a day or two of personal time on the back end of the shoot. Sometimes I take some photographs for myself, sometimes I leave my camera at home and just wander around. If I have friends nearby, I try to stop in for a day or two and hang out. This has been instrumental in reducing travel-fatigue and reviving my love of hitting the road.

3) Set small goals and keep them as often as you can. For example: “When I’m home I will stop work at 6pm in order to sit down for dinner with my family.” Even if you have to get up an hour earlier to get everything done, keeping promises like these will be worth it.

Without you, your business doesn’t exist. The care and feeding of your personal life should share equal importance with time spent on your career. Getting a life has actually increased my energy, optimism and creativity immeasurably, and that has translated directly to my work.

Jenna Close can usually be found working in some industrial setting or another. If she’s not there, she’s most likely surfing. 

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Art Producers Speak: Therese + Joel

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 9:45am

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 Therese + Joel as they are a great team and the one’s to keep an eye on!

Portrait of pop singer Betty Who for Out Magazine's "The Young and Restless" Musician Portfolio.

Portrait of pop singer Betty Who for Out Magazine’s “The Young and Restless” Musician Portfolio.

Victoria's Secret Model Elsa Hosk channeling Nancy Sinatra for Galore Mag's "Women Who Rock" issue.

Victoria’s Secret Model Elsa Hosk channeling Nancy Sinatra for Galore Mag’s “Women Who Rock” issue.

Campaign for FLKLR Surf, shot at Rockaway Beach, New York.

Campaign for FLKLR Surf, shot at Rockaway Beach, New York.

Portrait of the actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig shot for TIME Magazine. It was also named one of TIME's Best Portraits of 2013

Portrait of the actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig shot for TIME Magazine.
It was also named one of TIME’s Best Portraits of 2013

We were commissioned by TIME Magazine to document New York Fashion week. This is one of our favorite photographs, shot at the Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2013 show. The image depicts models walking towards a large indoor "sun" installed at the venue, referencing artist Ólafur Elíasson's weather project.

We were commissioned by TIME Magazine to document New York Fashion week. This is one of our favorite photographs, shot at the Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2013 show. The image depicts models walking towards a large indoor “sun” installed at the venue, referencing artist Ólafur Elíasson’s weather project.

One of our favorite photographs of model Sara Blomqvist, included in our personal series "On Leaving".

One of our favorite photographs of model Sara Blomqvist, included in our personal series “On Leaving”.

Fashion editorial for Revs Magazine, shot in Lidingö, Sweden.

Fashion editorial for Revs Magazine, shot in Lidingö, Sweden.

 B-list horror movies, The Cramps and goths at the beach.

Campaign for womenswear label Skotison. We absolutely loved the concept of the collection: B-list horror movies, The Cramps and goths at the beach.

Personal work, from the series "Three Graces", photographed in Sweden.

Personal work, from the series “Three Graces”, photographed in Sweden.

A very recent portrait of director Woody Allen, together with theatre director and choreographer Susan Stroman for TIME Magazine, shot at the St. James Theatre in New York City.

A very recent portrait of director Woody Allen, together with theatre director and choreographer Susan Stroman for TIME Magazine, shot at the St. James Theatre in New York City.

How many years have you been in business?
About four years now. 

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
We met while both studying at Parsons in Paris and later transferred over to Parsons the New School of Design in New York, from where we graduated.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
Therese was very influenced by her mother, who is a photographer. Joel doesn’t have one exact source of inspiration; the fascination for storytelling has been there as far as he can remember – it has just perhaps changed mediums over the range of years from written to visual. However, the greatest inspiration for both of us must be film - early European cinema, great minds like Ingmar Bergman, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Douglas Sirk, the melodrama of film noir, our similar taste in music (power ballads, italo disco), as well as 90s masterpieces like Twin Peaks, and Tim Burton’s Catwoman – tragic pop culture icons.

We were also heavily influenced by our Nordic surroundings – Therese grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, and Joel in Finnish Lapland. Even if a bit of a cliché, the pitch-black, arctic surroundings have definitely played a great influence on us. 

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?
Perhaps it’s not so much about staying fresh and/or following trends – we rather try to do what we find interesting, inspiring and beautiful. 

Since we are two it is important for us to discuss and communicate our ideas with one another. It is helpful though that we share a lot of interests, but also important to disagree at times to challenge each other. Usually one of us comes up with something they find inspiring, and the other one takes it to another level. In that way, we complete each other’s sentences. 

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Communication is truly key, as well as staying true to your vision and doing what you do best – not trying to mimic something else to become more accessible. That being said, it is of course important to stay flexible. And occasionally art buyers or creatives find our darker work the most interesting, but have a difficult time to convince the client to go for something less mainstream. 

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Editorial work has been very important for us in approaching different and larger audiences.

We find social media to be extremely helpful: Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr. Not only just to get our work out there, but also for other reasons like casting for example. We also find that social media makes us more accessible; it’s a great way to interact, as well as to show our process.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Understand your audience. Taste varies, but it’s really hard to get away from bad editing – sequencing your book appropriately is a crucial step in storytelling. 

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
We work when we are not working: personal projects are incredibly important to us. We find it very helpful to our creative process to constantly produce new work – not only to try out new things, but also keep exceeding at what we do.

How often are you shooting new work?
As often as possible - commissioned work keeps us very busy, but we try to shoot at least one new personal project every month.

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Therese Öhrvall and Joel Jägerroos are a Swedish-Finnish photography team. They live and work in New York City.

Therese + Joel’s work has been exhibited internationally, including The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia, Krasnoyarsk State Museum in Siberia, Milk Gallery & F.L.O.A.T. Gallery in New York City, Gallery S. Bensimon in Paris, France and Ricoh Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

Their clients include TIME Magazine, Wired, REVS, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, S Magazine, Out Magazine, FLATT Magazine, Milk Made, Galore Mag, IVANAHelsinki, Bullett Magazine and New York Post, amongst others.

Therese + Joel were selected as one of the 30 emerging photographers to watch in 2011 by Photo District News. Their photo of Greta Gerwig was named as one of TIME’s Best Portraits of 2013.

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

Balancing Demands through Blending

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 12:01am

[by Charles Gupton]

When I hear people talk about getting a life, my internal response is almost always, “You’ve got a life. It’s the one you’ve chosen. If you want a different life, make the choices that’ll lead you there!” I want to be clear that although I think this response, I never say it out loud to anyone. But I also make the statement on a regular basis to myself when I don’t like the direction the choices I’m making are taking me.

I recently returned from this year’s South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, where balance of life issues came up in almost every speaker session I attended. I decided to go this year with the idea that I needed to have a better grasp on how to use technology as a tool to help me reach my goals rather than becoming a slave to the ever-present temptation to be turned on with it. I returned with a strengthened awareness that I’ll never be satisfied with trying to achieve a balanced existence. What fits me best is the quest for a more well-blended lifestyle.

When I think of balance, I think of scales, with each side bearing equal amounts of weight. In my mind, forty hours of work needed to be balanced against an equal amount of time off from work endeavors, which always left me feeling frustrated that my partitions broke down so easily.

My visual image of blending is of a painter bringing two colors of the palette together is such a way that they merge together and out again so that your eye doesn’t have a line to distinguish or divide them.

As I’ve worked to blend re-creation and play activities into my work schedule – such as exercising during the middle of the day when my mental energy is at its lowest – it allows me to use my energy to its fullest when and where I need it most effectively.

In my early years as an artist, I viewed having processes and routines as being anathema to the creative spontaneity that I thought best served my work. But through the years I’ve learned – and am still learning – the power of having rituals that shape my day. When I skip daily practices such as meditation, journaling, thought-processing walks, exercise, reading — or cheat myself of needed sleep to push through on completion of a work project — the return on my efforts diminishes quickly.

When I find that my creative energy has waned and the work I’m producing feels like a chore rather than a satisfying experience, I know it’s my choices that are leading to a life that’s less than creatively sustainable. Too frequently, we make statements about the direction of our lives as if it’s someone else’s responsibility to step in and make a change when the choices are well within our current grasp. We just have to take them.

Based in Raleigh, N.C., Charles creates cinematic short films to engage clients for business on the web. 

cg@charlesguptonphoto.com | www.charlesguptonphoto.com | www.charlesgupton.com

 

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

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