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The Daily Edit – Real Simple: Danny Kim

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 10:24am


Real Simple

Photo Director: Casey Tierney
Photo Editor: Brian Madigan
Photographer: Danny Kim

What are the tricks for shooting ice cream in it’s half frozen, half-melted state?
The food stylist comes prepared with a styrofoam box filled with dry ice so the ice cream can reset faster than in the freezer. I will leave the modeling lights off on the strobe so they do not emit heat. Also some store bought ice creams do not melt like home-made or parlor style ice creams, certain sugars such as corn syrup and stabilizers such as cellulose gum slow down the melting and dripping process. For multiple scoops the ice cream is held up by long sticks if its unstable then retouched out.

Do you have any good behind the scenes info about this shoot?
This image was originally shot on yellow color aide, Real Simple converted the background to pink when they decided to use it as a cover.

You were previously a staff photographer at New York Magazine, and now you’re at Bon Appetit, are you staff or freelance only?
I was on staff at New York Magazine from 2010-2012, there I learned to shoot food, still life, & fashion. I am currently freelance only, Bon Appetit being one of my regulars.

What was your biggest break in your career thus far?
I got to meet and photograph Martin Short for a New York Times article. I was star struck, I am a huge fan of Jiminy Glick.

How did shooting the Strategist pages shape you as a photographer?
The Strategist openers forced me to think like a magazine designer. Headlines, text, and graphic quality were all in consideration when shooting those pages.

How hard was it to make the transition from staff to full time shooting for a variety of clients.
I worked with some of the best photo editors in the city at New York Magazine, they eventually moved on to other magazines and even become photo directors, we all keep in touch so finding work was not a problem.

What’s your creative process for the smart/witty/graphic still life images?
I listen to what the photo editors or art directors have in mind and I also ask for some context of the article, then I try to make many options as I can before the studio closes.

Do you have a journal? Do you write copy?
No journal, I do not write.

Categories: Business

Five Lessons I Learned from my Dad About Photography

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 12:02am

[by Richard Kelly]

My dad knows nothing about photography, but he is a mechanic who loves his tools. I learned a lot working with my dad on automobiles and home remodeling projects. I now pass these lessons on to my assistants, and I hope they pass them on to their assistants.

1) Always use the appropriate tool for the job.
Unless you are “Macgyvering,” never use a kitchen knife in place of a screwdriver, a leather shoe for a hammer or a camera body for a doorstop. I have witnessed all of these things on photo shoots, and it has never turned out well.

2) Always buy the best tools you can afford.
A cheap tripod will fail when you need it the most. Same for light stands, hard drives, flash heads, etc.

3) Store and pack your tools (cameras, lights grip gear, et al. ) with these in mind:

  • Ease of use – have the primary components together or at least accessible.
  • Weight – especially when traveling by air but also to reduce strain on your team members and yourself.
  • Safety – keep your gear protected, you want it to last.
  • Security – always pack your gear the same way, in the same location. This way you can quickly identify if something is missing, has a technical issue or is still in use.

4) Batteries not included.
The weakest link will bring a production down. A five thousand dollar camera is a brick if the batteries are not charged. Always have backups, and backup to the backups. Ditto for memory cards, hard drives, cables and any other affordable piece of gear.

5) The package matters, too.
Good, well padded equipment cases and bags are worth their weight in gold. I like cases that don’t look expensive and are not so big that I can fill them up without making them too heavy (see #3). For any gear that I put through baggage check, I use waterproof cases as well; my gear got soaked on the tarmac one time, and that was once too many.

Richard Kelly like well made and useful tools and the bags to carry them in. Although never a Boyscout he carries a swiss army knife and can make fire with a match. Follow Richard on Twitter @richardkellypho or Instagram @richardkellyphoto.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Easy Button

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 12:01am

Life is complicated enough.  Add being a photographer – let alone a self-employed photographer – and the complication factor goes through the roof!  This week, our contributors share tools, tips & tricks they use to make things a little easier.


Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo: Tim Tadder

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 10:26am

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.43.16 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.43.23 AM
Tim Tadder

Who printed it?
This was printed by my friends at Marathon Press in Nebraska. Marathon caters to the wedding and portrait market mostly, but after meeting there CEO at a trade show I was impressed with their color reproduction. These images are very very difficult to reproduce so I new that Marathon was the place to do it. After a few bad experiences with some other vendors, I was super excited to have a new partner to help get our images noticed by industry creative.

Who designed it?
Cheryln Read a talented designer in San Francisco. She is designing all of our promos and managing the process of getting one out each month. She pulls images from out sight and comes up with creative solutions. She comes from an agency background so its helpful to have her make promos that people want to keep. I am not a big fan of creating waste, so I wanted to partner with someone that felt the same way. We have to send out mailers to remain relevant, and we hope the ones we do send out do not immediately go into the trash.

Who edited the images?
We edited the images in house. I did have an amazing retoucher handle one image as the skin was particularly difficult for me to manage, but the rest were done by me.

How many did you make?

How many times a year do you send out promos?
8 to 10 times a year.

I understand you had some printing issues. Tell us about that.
I used another popular vendor for mailers and I noticed the color becoming more and more incorrect with each mailer. The reproduction is critical and we would always buy proofs to ensure great color. Sometimes we would go three rounds of proofs (expensive) and then when we would receive our mailers the color would be off dramatically. Their response was that they do proofs on a digital press and the finals on an offset press and that a color shift was normal. They reviewed our concerns and came back to us saying that the shift was “Acceptable”.

My clients would never be happy with me telling them that the color shift in their images were “acceptable.” Thats when we set out to find a better printer and a better partner to help us. We don’t like when things are “acceptable” we strive for AMAZING and EXCEPTIONAL. Shocked that someone would treat a finished product that way!

Categories: Business

Save Now, Save Later

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 12:01am

These last few weeks of summer are the perfect opportunity to save on some great learning opportunities available right now.  Save even more by registering early for Photo Plus Expo and the Palm Springs Portfolio Reviews coming up this fall!

VST2-Logo4eblastsAugust 4: Portland | August 6: Sacramento | August 7: San Jose | August 9: San Francisco | August 12: San Diego | August 14: Irvine | August 15: Burbank | August 17: Phoenix | August 20: Austin | August 21: Dallas | August 23: Houston | August 25: New Orleans | August 27: Orlando | August 28: Ft. Lauderdale | August 30: Atlanta | September 1: Charlotte | September 3: Nashville | September 4: Cincinnati | September 8: Chicago | September 10: Toronto | September 12: Philadelphia | September 13: Washington | September 15: Boston | September 17: Fairfield | September 18 & 20: New York City

Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling Tour 2  immerses you in an all-day learning experience about the principles of Visual Style and Subtext. In this workshop, Alex shares his approach to shooting distinct visual styles with hands-on demonstrations that utilize attendees as the crew. By understanding the visual patterns for different film genres and how to manifest each style through both lighting and camerawork, you will harness the power of visual cues for your own projects. Most importantly, you will learn how to modify light quality and direction, color temperature, lens choices, camera movement and more through a modest set of portable and affordable tools and techniques that you can immediately apply to your own work.

ASMP Members click here to save $20 on any of the 3 registration options.

 . . .

SoundAdviceDownloadIt’s Not Too Late to Get Sound Advice!

Did you miss the MZed SoundAvice Tour? Don’t fret – ASMP members can still get a solid foundation in working with audio for video, film and multimedia projects and save $20 when you order the recorded download.

The Sound Advice HD download provides a solid foundation in working with audio for video, film and multimedia projects from recording and editing sound to special effects, music tracks, and mixing.

ASMP members, get your $20 discount on the HD Download here.

Plus, instructor Mark Edward Lewis has offered ASMP members $5.00 off his excellent book on troubleshooting audio. Read our book review and click here to get your discount.

 . . .

600x150 Eblast HeaderPhotoPlus Expo 2015
October 21 – 24 • Javits Center, NYC

Focused on education and the cultivation of community, PhotoPlus Expo gives you the opportunity to learn from world-leading photographers, experiment with the latest innovations in technology, network with industry creatives, and attend keynote presentations by pioneers in their fields.

This year, PhotoPlus features over 100 interactive, educational Photo Walks, Master Classes, seminars and special events as well as the prominent three-day Expo featuring over 200 exhibitors. This year’s Conference is offering twice the number of Master Classes and Photo Walks, over 125 Golden Ticket prizes for VIP pass holders, 300 chances to trade in any working DSLR for a brand new Samsung camera, and the Next Gen special event plus discounted pricing for young and emerging photographers.

Don’t miss these ASMP seminars:

Your Roadmap to Success with Judy Herrmann
Thursday, October 22 from 10:15 – 12:15

Are you creatively satisfied with the work you’re getting?  Do your clients value what you bring to the table? Is your career taking you where you want to go?  Most of us become professional photographers because we want to earn a living doing work we love.  Achieving that dream, though, takes more than basic business skills.  In this energizing and informative seminar, Judy Herrmann, provides real world strategies for building a working business plan that will help you build the business of your dreams.  Unlike formal business plans that are designed to satisfy lenders, your working plan will help you set and achieve your creative and financial goals, identify and assess business opportunities, compete more successfully and attract the right clients for your business. Whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience, the tools and techniques shared in this program will help you earn more money doing work you love.

21st Century Copyright & You with Tom Kennedy
Show Floor Theater – Date & Time TBD

There is no legislative act that has a greater impact on your ability to earn a living as a creator than copyright.  For the first time since 1976, Congress and the Copyright Office have made a public commitment to significantly modernize the Copyright Act.  Global corporations with deep pockets have already aligned against the interests of independent creators.  Only our numbers and a strong unified voice can counter their lobbyists and their messaging. In this free seminar, ASMP Executive Director Tom Kennedy will give you a solid understanding of what’s at play and how you can contribute to the process to ensure that you’ll be able to earn a living in this new era of copyright.

ASMP members click here to get $150 off  a 3-day full conference pass or 20% off one-day conference passes and à la carte sessions.

 . . .

PSPFreviewsPPEPalm Springs Portfolio Reviews
at PhotoPlus Expo
October 21-24
Javits Center, NYC

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

Emerging and established professional photographers: present your work to key, hard-to-meet influencers who can give you jobs, exhibit or publish your work and advance your career by participating in the vetted Emerging & Professional Portfolio Review.

New pros and professionals testing new work: get valuable input from successful working pros who have navigated the same waters and others in a position to show the way and answer your questions in the October 21 Open Portfolio Review, which is not vetted.

ASMP Members, click here to save 7.5% off registration and fees for either review.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books:

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 10:58am

by Jonathan Blaustein

Did you read last week’s column? If so, you won’t be surprised to hear I’m a shade worn out this week. I feel like Doctor’s
office carpet that hasn’t been cleaned in two decades.

As such, for the first time in nearly 4 years, I asked for a week off, and Rob obliged. (He’s a good dude.)

And yet…

The idea of dropping out seems so foreign that I find myself typing these words. I can’t seem to cut the cord.

Rather than blowing you off completely, I thought I’d share a tiny bit about how I’m viewing the aftermath of my great disappointment. Thankfully, it gets easier each day.

I’ve been exercising like a steroid-fueled-flat-brim-hat-wearing-MMA fighter, to channel the frustration. AND spending extra time with the kids, to soak up the love.

The reality is that the challenges we face make us stronger. They give us character, and eventually, gray hair. We can’t control how people treat us; nor how they behave in our presence. But I can state with certainty that I kept my cool under pressure, and I learned more about myself through difficulty.

No book review today, unfortunately, and you might even find the above advice trite. C’est la vie. But when given the chance to abandon you for a week of leisure, the pull of normality, of routine, was too strong to resist.

I hope you all have a great Summer weekend, and I’ll be back next week with my first post in a series about the excellent work I saw at Review Santa Fe in June.

Categories: Business

So You Lost the Sale… Now What?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:01am

[by Blake Discher]

As a professional photographer, it’s easy to forget you’re actually in business of selling. Sure, you create images, but without sales skills your business is likely to fail because it cannot sustain itself.

Selling is difficult. It takes practice to get good at it. Naturally, you celebrate your successes, and with good reason: failure is brutal, while success is Oh so sweet. You’re hard on yourself when you fail and when you do fail, you need to spend time trying to figure out what went wrong in the process.

Here are some steps you might consider taking after you lose a sale:

1. Gracefully thank the prospect for having thought of you in the first place. Don’t burn a bridge now, clients move from company to company and her hands may have been tied by forces within her company that you couldn’t possibly have been aware of.

2. Absolutely follow up with a hand-written, snail-mailed card (ideally one featuring your work!) thanking her for contacting you and letting her know you’d still like to work with her in the future. Clients have told me that they’re sometimes reluctant to contact a photographer a second time because they “sensed anger from the photographer about having lost the job.” Again, this is not the time to be burning bridges.

3. Although often difficult, ask your lost prospect why they went elsewhere. Sure, in many cases – studies have shown as much as 50-percent of the time – you might not get the truth. Why? They expect to receive further pressure to use you or they don’t want to hurt your feelings. So don’t ask immediately. If you know when the shoot was scheduled, a good time for the follow up is after the shoot. Drop her an email expressing your sincere hope that the shoot went well for the company and ask if she wouldn’t mind sharing with you why you weren’t given the job. By now, it’s obvious you’re not going to try to convince her you were the better choice. Don’t be reluctant to ask for advice. “Can I get your advice on this?” is a great question to ask in order to get useful information and let her know you value her honesty and suggestions.

4. Keep in mind that the successful salespeople (er, I mean photographers) only sell to their ideal prospects. Ask yourself if she was a mismatch right from the beginning. Did you adequately qualify the prospect by asking about budget? Did you sneak a peek at the company’s website while you were talking on the phone to get a sense of the quality of photography they currently use? If not, that’s a great place to start. These steps can save you a ton of time by saving you from working on a proposal that’s just going to result in a No Sale.

5. And finally, did you leverage your differentiation? Or put another way, did you make the effort to show the prospect your value? Put simply, if you didn’t let her know why you were the best choice for the job, why should she have used you and not your low-priced competitor? You must, must, must figure out what value you bring to the table and talk about it during the interview. Yes, you’re being interviewed for a job. Again and again. Your value could be your level of experience. It could be the speed with which you work. It could be a specific style. It could be your client roster that helps to instill confidence in you. Whatever it is, now is when you talk about it. In most cases, if you didn’t get the job, it’s because you failed to show your value.

Want to be more successful as a photographer? Learn the art of selling. Read all you can on how to sell. Remember, you’re a salesperson first, a photographer second. Good luck!

Blake Discher is a salesperson first and foremost. He recalls something fellow ASMP member Michael Albany’s father, a used-car salesman for 47-years, told Michael: “A good salesman could get the customer to want to buy what you’re offering and think it was their idea. A great sales person could sell you a ticket to hell and have you look forward to the trip.” Read more of Blake’s sales advice at his blog.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Scott Lowden

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 10:57am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is Scott Lowden













How long have you been shooting?
Um….well….since 1991!

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m primarily self-taught, although I took a few intensive seminars at the Parsons/The New School early on.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I was first inspired by the location…this building. Holidays and random weekends, I would find myself driving on Rt. 309 in Hazleton, PA while visiting family. There’s this building that continually caught my eye, especially when the sun was low and bright. It’s an abandoned machine shop of some type, and I can only imagine the cool widgets they’d make inside. Once I decided I needed to shoot there I tapped a great local resource…my nieces and nephew. Imagining their differing personalities and being forced to spend a long afternoon shooting, Lord of the Flies, the novel by William Golding, immediately came to mind… of course only loosely. I wanted to focus on children exploring desolate space, but with a more lifestyle and upbeat lens. Further inspiration was borrowing wardrobe from my friend at LA’s Blu Pony Vintage and pulling a few key props from a nearby Salvation Army and Dollar Store. One of the challenges was the edit and keeping the story somewhat tight, as I ended up with some ‘happy’ images as well as some very moody ones.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
While I do have a few personal projects that are many years long and still going strong, this was conceived, produced, shot, and presented in a few months.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tough question, as I’m not one to shelve something even if it’s pushing back. I’ve moved a few things to the bottom of the list, but I don’t think I’ve ever completely removed a project. Because I’ve been working in photography for a very long time I’ve grown accustomed to having a very long time horizon.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I think it’s OK for the self-assigned personal work to be different than what I’d shoot for my commercial portfolio. It’s always an exercise in creating, stretching my brain, and sometimes doing things I’m not as comfortable with. Actually that’s probably one of the most important things. Anything that this type of shooting helps you work through or discover translates into your day job. For me personal shoots become an exercise in how little production value and crew I can put into a shoot while still realizing what I pictured in my head. This translates well into commercial shoots that sometimes don’t have the budgets they need.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
For sure. Most of my personal projects, and this one in particular, are well received on social media. I’m constantly adding to my list of internet based outlets that may be interested in my work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I’ve gotten a good response from projects that I’ve posted, but I wouldn’t say that they’ve gone viral. I believe that marketing is cumulative, so any time your name is out there along side interesting images it’s a good thing. This definitely doesn’t happen on it’s own…you have to push the story out as many places as you can.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I’d say about 40% of the images I use for marketing are from strictly personal projects, and the majority of the rest are from self-assigned shoots geared more toward the type of work I want to shoot. I swear sometimes my goal is simply to catch someone’s eye on the journey from his or her mailbox to the trash can. Work that lives outside the advertising context can sometimes do a better job at that.


Scott is a compulsive photographer who carries his camera everywhere. An avid team player, he consults both sides of his brain to bring concepts to life. An award winning photographer with over 20 years of experience, he’s been shooting for some of the biggest brands including Bose, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Delta, and AFLAC, just to name a few. He spent the first part of his career specializing in still life, a few years directing for TV and creating some festival worthy short films, and has been concentrating on lifestyle photography for the past 10 years or so. Shooting worldwide, he currently calls Atlanta home with his wife and Sophie the dog.

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 establishing 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 feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

Learning From Losing is Still a Win

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:01am

[by Michael Weschler]

There comes a time in every photographer’s career, when you’re up for something bigger than you ever imagined you might get. You’re out of your comfort zone, but the timing feels right to stretch a little and meet this challenge. Don’t panic, but don’t get too excited yet, either!

While it’s great that you’re now being considered for a level of work that you weren’t before, it might take another season to really prove it should be yours. Remember, just being on the field of play is a triumph. Before, you might have been passed by, but now you’re being recognized as having the potential ability to achieve the results this project requires.

Up your chances by treating it like an audition. If appropriate, spend the time to put a creative brief together, have a conference call with agency creatives, art buyers, account executives, and if possible, the clients, themselves. All of your communication is important, so don’t drop the ball. If it starts raining emails, just remember you need to instill confidence in a lot of people.

© Michael Weschler Photography

© Michael Weschler Photography

If, despite your best efforts, you don’t get the job, consider that people are risk averse, so if the option is there to select the guy who delivered the goods last time, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be kicked to the curb. That’s ok, though, because last time around, you weren’t even part of the conversation. Don’t consider it a defeat. Instead, be grateful that you’ve earned your way to the top of this very short list, and know that there are lots of forces at play, sometimes not entirely aligned with your desire to be the guy calling the shots.

Remind yourself that at one point in your career, it would have been laughable to have the audacity to be considered in certain company, but now you’re in a position to offer your unique talents and views in a conversation you are lucky to be invited to join.

So, instead of being bitter about not getting a project – especially one that’s being triple-bid – be thankful and literally express your gratitude to the team that has considered you. It is quite possible that you will be thought of again, because you don’t always know what the circumstances were that led the decision makers to select someone else. Quite often, the agency Art Buyer and Creative Director will put you in front of the client as their favorite, but the VP of Marketing or the CEO of the company may have someone else in mind. Decision makers can often be conservative and go with the guy who shot it last year or be cost-conscious and give it to a lower bidder.

If you asked a lot of questions and played a good game, now is the time to let it go, because you want to be invited back and you’ve earned your chance to take a swing. Consider that a decent Major League Baseball player might only have a hit once or twice, for every ten times he gets to bat. At least you’re on the field now, so be patient, and keep working on your game.

Michael Weschler is a Communication Arts 2014 Photo Award Recipient & currently on the ASMP National Board Communications Committee. When he’s not interpreting stories visually for his editorial and advertising clients, he’s on a constant search for knowledge and new challenges. Besides moving into directing motion recently, he’s also completed five triathlon races, although he’s never made it to the podium.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Instagram and Art Theory

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 11:26am

Technology has so democratized image-making that it has put the artistic power once mainly associated with aristocrats—to stylize your image and project yourself to an audience as desirable—into everyone’s hands. (Although the parallel to art as “celebration of private property” is probably most vivid in the case of those who most closely resemble modern-day aristocrats. See: “Rich Kids of Instagram”). But images retain their function as game pieces in the competition for social status. “Doesn’t this look delicious?” “Aren’t I fabulous?” “Look where I am!” “Look what I have!”

Source: Instagram and Art Theory – artnet News

Categories: Business

I’m Sorry the Plans Have Been Canceled …

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

Sunday afternoon a little after 2 pm, I get one of my favorite emails: “A new lead has been assigned to you.” Which is how my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software lets me know that a potential client has inquired about working with me through the online contact form on my website. If you own your own company you know that every single request for a photo shoot is like a job interview.

You know the rest of the drill: a couple of emails and phone calls to get all the details of the shoot, how many photos, usage, scope of production, etc. Estimates are written, dates are set and preparations are made. Ten days later I confirm the shoot date and am looking forward to another happy client.

Then I get my least favorite email first thing in the morning, the following Wednesday: “I’m sorry, the plans have been canceled.” Rejection. Remember that this can mean anything, project got axed, the client’s needs changed, their business partners had other ideas or – like in this case – he found a cheaper photographer.

How do you react? Do you demand your deposit anyway? Call the client and let him have it over the phone? Do nothing? Cut your rate? Curl up into a ball and cry? I’ve not found that any of these solutions work particularly well. Instead, I’ll usually write a nice and polite email response, thanking the client for considering me to create his photographs and I’ll sometimes contact them down the road.

In this case, though I got a phone call at 10:00 am the following Monday (the day we had originally scheduled the shoot): “Are you available to shoot now?” The client had flown into town and discovered that the cheaper photographer was not able to get the shots he needed. The other photographer was also asking him for more money – so much for being cheaper.

Long story short, I scrambled, shot the job and now have a client who’s thrilled with my work. I’ll let him tell you what he thought:


Pascal Depuhl doesn’t mind going onto a new job interview every single time he gets a request for a photo shoot. That’s part of running your own business. Tell me your worst or best rejection story on twitter (@photosbydepuhl). and what you did about it. Use the hashtag #EveryJobIsAJobInterview.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – “Aging Out” by Image Hoarders

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 9:35am


A group of LA based photographers and journalists joined together to create a project that would raise awareness and support for the young men and women of Los Angeles aging out of the foster care system.

This collaboration resulted in a book and exhibition called “Aging Out.” I had the pleasure of chatting with the photographers about the book and their collective.





Aaron Fallon

Heidi: What drew you to this project?
Aaron Fallon: 
Around 2007 or 2008, I had seen a photo project with an accompanying story about young adults who had or were about to age out of the foster care system.  I cannot recall the details, but the idea itself impacted me in the sense that I tried to imagine myself at 19, 20, or 21 years old having to face the world on my own without support of family, without someone to turn to or somewhere to go.  And it seemed so overwhelming and scary.  We all need support and a little help sometimes and to be at that stage in life without guidance or support — would, at the very least, be extraordinarily difficult.  I wanted to start my own version of the project in Los Angeles.  It was a way to use photography outside of my normal channels in a manner that might help others. Although I had done some other pro bono projects through the Taproot Foundation previously, this would be a project that truly resonated with me and I could have a lot more involvement and oversight of the entire process.

The idea stayed with me, but it didn’t come to fruition until  several years later after the subject came up during a meeting with Maggie Soladay, (former photo editor of American Lawyer Magazine and Corporate Counsel Magazine), she had overseen a New York City version of a similar project and advised me about how to get things going.  She suggested finding an editor/producer/creative director to partner with.  Around the same time Coral Von Zumwalt had just put together a monthly meeting of sorts with several photographers in what would become the Image Hoarders.  I reached out to Jacqueline Lee to take on the Editor/Producer/Creative Director role and pitched the idea to the Image Hoarders.

Joan Allen: Our earliest group conversations discussed the importance of having ongoing personal projects. Each of us would discuss the project we were currently working on or a new one we wanted to start and we would encourage one another to make progress on them, those of us who actually had time to get theirs started would share their accomplishments during meetings and would ask for feedback. When Aaron proposed this project to the group, it was during this time and we unanimously jumped at the opportunity to work on a creative group personal project, especially one that would raise awareness for such an important cause. The only creative conversations we had involved creating “a day in the life of” each subject. I think all of our photography and visions mixed very well together for a photo-journalistic, photo essay, reportage feel.

Matt Harbicht: I liked that we would be bringing attention to a subject that typically went unnoticed.  We all had heard about this, but had never seen what life was like for people who have had this kind of childhood.



Matt Hoover

 Matt Hoover: My passion is documentary photography, telling stories and meeting new people. One of the reasons I got into photography was to make a difference in my community or even the world if possible. This was an opportunity to tell a story of one persons life that might help others and bring awareness on what’s going on here in our own country.

Megan Miller: Aaron brought the idea and some information to our group.  Once he showed us the sheer number of children aging out here in LA each year, and that LA County had the most children in the system of any county in the country, I think we all realized that something was happening in our own community that we didn’t know enough about.  I wanted to learn more and then try and share that knowledge and awareness with others.




Yuri Hasegawa

Yuri Hasegawa:  When this project came up, I was grieving heavily from the loss of my husband. My loss changed my entire life. My loss also changed me as a person, my perspective about life itself and affected me in both good and bad ways. One of the good changes after my loss is that I developed a desire to use my photography skills to help create something more meaningful in life, yet I had no clue about any specific idea or plan. Also, I was still too weak to feel “passion” to do anything more than keep living day by day. In a way, it was the most difficult time to think about a personal project on my own, even though I knew how much a new project would help me, so when I heard about this, I immediately thought that this would be a great opportunity to be a part of a creative project and thought the timing was all happening for a reason. I then also learned more about the system and that California has the largest number of foster kids. Lastly, I simply liked the idea of having one project to work on with such an amazing collective of photographers (eventually to become the Image Hoarders) as a group collaboration.

Heidi: How did you find the subjects? Tell me about how you engaged with them and got them to open up?

Aaron: Joan Allen introduced us to the Alliance for Children’s Rights here in Los Angeles.  The Alliance reached out to many of the Foster Youth they work with and put us in contact with those that were interested in being a part of it.  Jacquie and I sorted through the potential subjects and tried to make sure we would be covering a broad spectrum of subjects and stories.

For both of my shoots, I met the subjects at their apartment and made sure we both allotted enough time to pretty much spend the day (afternoon) together.  To me, this approach was best, as I could meet them in their own environment and without any particular time or location restrictions.  We  would sit and chat for a while. They’d tell me their story.  I’d tell them about myself and the project.  And then eventually we’d get around to creating some photos.

My first shoot was just Ernesto and myself.  And the longer we chatted and then shot together, the more I learned about him.  We went to lunch as well, and I shot some stuff with him in his neighborhood and at his favorite local restaurant.

My second shoot with Chardea, was in tandem with the writer. I let the writer do her thing first and I sat and listened.  And after I chatted with Chardea.  And took a similar approach as my first shoot.  And we went to lunch as well.



Coral Von Zumwalt

Coral: Most of the subjects were brought to us through the Alliance for Children’s Rights which is an organization that serves as an advocate for foster kids and at-risk youth.  However, one of my subjects, Cody, and I were brought together via a personal connection.  My cousin worked with him years earlier as a childcare counselor at his group home.  She knew his story was powerful and was impressed with how he had taken control over his life at the time.

With my subject, LaKendrea, I had the luxury of time which helps immensely when you are trying to connect with a subject.  Over the course of three different days together, she became comfortable enough with my presence that I could just tag along and blend into the background as she lived her life.  She allowed me to document her while she went about every day tasks like caring for her son, giving rides to her friends, visiting with her family, and potentially life-changing events like searching for an apartment and trying to convince a landlord to rent to her.

I also strive to have an empathetic ear, and I hope that comes across when I am with my subject.  Being a good listener goes a long way toward helping anyone open up, and it holds true for subjects as well.

Lastly, it always helps to establish common ground between oneself and one’s subjects.  Both of my subjects, for instance, are parents of young children.  As a parent of young kids myself, we could share the universal joys and challenges that come with parenthood.  There was also a period of time in my childhood when my mother was having troubles and a social worker had to intervene.  I didn’t experience even one iota of what LaKendra or Cody went through, but there was a touchstone there I could go back to and it was easy to put myself in their shoes and understand them.

Joan: I was mentioning our book project to a dear friend of mine and at the time I had no idea she was independently highly involved and passionate about this cause on her own. She had a relationship with a non-profit organization who helps these young adults learn life and job skills to increase their chances of survival. She introduced me to a wonderful subject who ended up being one of the people I photographed and also to Alliance for Children’s Rights. We had a meeting with them and to my knowledge, most or all of the other subjects were introduced to us through the Alliance. My friend really helped us get the project off the ground in the beginning and I am very thankful to her for that.

Matt:   Locking down people who came from troubled pasts was difficult.  Sometimes people would fall out of contact because they had switched homes or had other trouble.  Some just fell out of contact completely.

Matt Hoover: Most of the time meeting someone new to photograph I like to sit down and introduce myself. Tell them where I’m from and what I’m doing. I like to listen to my subjects and here what they are doing, what’s going on in their life, etc… You can’t rush it, you have to sit down and take your time, get to know the person your going to photograph. No one is going to open up and feel comfortable around someone new who shoves a camera in their face. You have to gain trust first then let moments unfold in front of you.
I also like to use humor when meeting someone new, whether it be for a project or just out and about in the world.



Megan Miller

Megan: To get to know who I was photographing I just made sure to have a real, full conversation with them before I ever even took the camera out.  The great thing about it being a personal project, is that you can spend as much time as you need.


Heidi: When you shoot something this emotionally complex, how to you prepare for the shoot if at all?

Coral:  Shooting stories like these are really refreshing actually because I feel I have to prepare less. Instead of agonizing, like I often do for my editorial and commercial shoots, over what type of equipment to use, what assistant and/or digital tech is available, is there budget for a producer, will the subject give me more than 15 minutes, etc., I instead just get to concentrate on the subject.  It is just me and my camera and the subject.  And because neither of the stories had been written for Cody or LaKendra before I shot them, I went in with minimal information and got to hear their story firsthand.


Joan Allen

Joan: I don’t personally feel that I had to prepare any differently than I do with any other shoot. I just wanted to get to know these wonderful and strong peole and hear their stories. I asked to just hang out with them during normal daily routines, making dinner, etc. I didn’t just show up and grab my camera and go for it. I wasn’t in a hurry. I would meet and talk to my subjects and ask questions and just help them not think about it being a photo shoot until I sensed they were relaxed and I was just some regular friend hanging out in their living room. Then, when I was sure their guards were down, I would just keep talking but start taking photos as well. I did photography Lt. LaShanda Holmes for two separate days at the National Coast Guard at LAX Airport. Those shoot dates required being much more scheduled with our time, as, permission was needed for LaShanda to be part of the project, for me to be able to photograph at the Coast Guard, for me to be able to photograph the helicopters and her in uniform and for her specifically scheduled slots of time that needed approval.   Those days did not allow for the flexibility of just “hanging out” beforehand. 

* Joan Allen also shot the cover image.



Matt Harbicht

Matt: You think about what’s important to illustrate this person’s story.  If you are in their homes, the first thing you notice is how bare they are.  Most of us have acquired an enormous amount of “stuff” throughout lives.  We all knew this going into our shoots so things like the emptiness of their environment would be something to focus on.  For many people the idea of their own place or home was integral to their story.  In my case I didn’t know what the situation was going to be, so I just ran with it.

Matt Hoover: I really try to think about what this person has gone through. What obstacles might have come into their life. What would I have done or felt if these things happened to me.
You can’t really prep for certain things because you have no idea what this person has gone through. You just need to listen and go with the flow.

The portraits are a deep reveal into ove coming so much in their lives, how hard was the edit and what were you looking for in the final select?

Aaron: In making final submissions I wanted to show a broad range about the person I was photographing. Yes, both of the people I photographed had pasts that would be considered emotionally heavy, but that doesn’t define either those people.  So, if I have an image that may be reflective or poignant and could be viewed to reference their past — great, but I also looked for lighter moments, or moments that show who that person is now.  And with both of my subjects we had fun moments during the shoot, so I wanted to make sure to include those as well.

Coral: I found it hard to edit because as I became closer to my subjects, LaKendra in particular because we spent more time together, I found I was editing out images that told a fuller story because I was acutely aware of her feelings and did not want to show any images that didn’t paint her in the best light.  As with many jobs, however, I went back a second and third time – each time trying to put on fresh eyes – and put forward, what I hope, is the most honest story possible.

Matt: I think I was looking for something that showed their strengths and a look at the struggle they had gone through.  We visited her old school as school was always the driving force in Jasmine’s life.  She showed me the Taco Bell she waited at for people from the Hollywood Youth Shelter to come get her.  Seeing these places that had little or no meaning to me were the driving force behind what changed her life.  It was powerful to walk those steps with her.

Megan: As far as what I was looking for to send to Jacqui, I was just trying to show the entire range of the person I had gotten to know.  The positive moments, the struggles. That’s difficult to do in just a few images, so I was just hoping for that to come through.

Yuri: I do feel that I had more of a tendency to be subjective easily on this edit. My biggest problem was, shamefully, the lack of variation. There were a few technical issues on the shoot day, which limited our option to get more variety in terms of locations and different situations. I attempted to book a second shoot date, but, my efforts failed. That part was a huge challenge for me, wanting something more and not being able to create it.

Coral, tell us about why you created ImageHoarders.
Early in my career, I had the good fortune of working as Art Streiber’s  first assistant.  Over those five or so years, I truly felt part of a tight-knit photographic community.  Logistically, Art’s shoots were often quite big – they felt more like a small film shoot rather than a still shoot – so I was working along side many assistants, set designers, stylists, creatives, etc. I felt like part of a team and there was always a tremendous amount creative collaboration.  And more than any other photographer I’ve known, Art truly enjoys fostering photographic friendships and mentoring young photographers – he is very generous with his time and experience.

After shooting on my own for close to 10 years, I found myself feeling isolated and missing the sense of community I felt while working with Art.  My shoots are typically pretty intimate… oftentimes I am shooting with just one assistant by my side, and then I spend an ungodly amount of time alone while I edit (and edit again – I am a slooooow editor).  I missed the group dynamic and was craving the conversation of photography.  But I didn’t want to take part in something formal and regimented – I wanted something intimate and casual and inspiring.  One night, over beers and archiving woes in my garage, I was talking with a couple friends about this quest to find my own little photo version of the Algonquin Round Table and I realized other people were craving the same thing.  So that was the nexus of ImageHoarders.  I invited a handful of photographers whose work I respect into my living room.  Some are friends that I assisted alongside with years ago and are now established shooters.  Others are former assistants of mine who I missed working and hanging out with because they are now busy shooting on their own or making that transition into shooting full time.  There is a range of age and experience within the group which benefits us all, I think.  And it is a safe place to share information, bounce ideas off each other and show work in progress.  Now roughly two years later, we continue to inspire each other to do better work and we enjoy each other’s company while doing it.


Categories: Business

When Losing is Actually Winning

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 12:01am

[by Francis Zera]

The most important thing I keep in mind when bidding on projects, especially those gems that I really, really, want, is that this is business, and business can be rough, so stay confident but don’t get your hopes up.

I’ve had plenty of bids simply disappear into the void, with the client never contacting me again nor responding to a follow-up call or email.

I’ve also won many bids by being patient. There are as many reasons for a delayed reply to a tendered bid as there are bid opportunities, so no news is definitely not always bad news. I recently completed a great project last month that I bid on in early January and the client’s decision didn’t come until late May. I did send carefully-timed emails, letting them know I was still interested.

Some bid opportunities are nothing more than fishing expeditions. A potential client may not know how much a proper photo shoot costs, so they sometimes seek bids for a project just to price shop without intending to actually retain anyone’s services from the exercise.

This one’s a gem: I lost a bid, only to learn much later that the only reason I was asked to bid was to provide what the client correctly assumed would be market-rate pricing in order to justify a low-ball price from an amateur photographer friend. I spent the better part of a day putting together that bid. Bidding takes time, and therefore costs money, and, again, business can be rough. It’s difficult to avoid becoming a bit jaded.

Following up on bids is essential, even if you learn that you weren’t awarded the project. I’ve lost bids, only to wind up getting consistent work from the client in the future simply because I followed up to thank them for giving me an opportunity to bid and let them know that I’d be very interested in bidding on their next project. Professionalism and patience trump the poor customer service and/or lack of experience that usually accompany a low bid.

Whenever possible, be sure to ask why you weren’t awarded the bid. More often than not you’ll learn that it was for financial reasons. Other times, it’s a matter over which you’ve absolutely no control and has nothing to do with your capabilities, such as an art director’s particular stylistic preference. The information you get from asking questions often provides a clear road map to future success.

Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural and commercial photographer. He currently serves as education chair at ASMP Seattle/NW, teaches architectural photography at the Art Institute of Seattle, and holds an M.A. Ed. in adult education and training. You can check out his work at zeraphoto.com and follow him on twitter and on instagram.


Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo: Adam Cohen

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 10:41am

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.09.56 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.01 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.06 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.12 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.18 AM
Adam Cohen

Who printed it?
I used a local printer, Minute Man Press, that actually is a franchise of a larger company.

Who designed it?
I did all the design and layout myself.

Who edited the images?
I also edited all the images. I believe both editing and designing projects are important practices that a photographer participates in. I look at these zines as how rappers look at “mixtapes”. It’s a smaller, looser project that releases before the album, or in my case, the book.

How many did you make?
100 + 10 Artist Copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I wouldn’t necessarily call these “promos“. They are somewhere in between a book and a “zine” project. I generally make these when I’m interested in a smaller narrative that I want to explore for a shorter term. Additionally, these projects are functioning as “reportage” almost. In a sense, where I am publishing my own editorial projects. At some point, I’d rather break even with some of these projects and have complete control over the project than get payed a small fee by a publication and lose all authority over layout, edit, content, etc.

Tres De Mayo de 2015 , was a project I made about the Cinco De Mayo Celebration in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood of Chicago’s southwest side. There are subtle references throughout the project that I didn’t want to give away.

These are actually for sale on adamjasoncohen.bigcartel.com and each copy comes with a small 6×4″ digital C-Print.

Categories: Business

Losing Gracefully

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 12:02am

[by Chris Winton-Stahle]

I’m going to take a moment to hold my head up high, take a deep, soothing breath and confidently tell you that I most certainly have a lot of experience with losing bids… I’ve most likely lost as many jobs in my career as I’ve gotten!

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…the first rule of losing a job is to not take it personally. Losing a bid is tough, especially when you had your heart set on a particular project; as artists, we put so much of ourselves into each job we pursue, whether it’s awarded to us or not.

We often hear that “it’s not personal, it’s just business.” Though it’s important to keep yourself emotionally in check throughout this process, the truth is that it almost always feels personal.  And, not hearing anything can be heart wrenching.

But, no matter what you’re feeling, clients can sense apathy or frustration and it’ll always send the wrong message so don’t lose your positive energy. Do what you have to do blow of stream and express your frustration but when it comes to talking with potential clients don’t let the heartache of your last loss effect the outcome of your next win!

One of the most difficult losses I’ve faced recently was for a major tourism account. When the call came in for the project, the buyer was very excited about bringing me on board and was speaking to me as if the project was mine. I put my estimate together, talked with the buyer about it, everything looked good and I thought it was a done deal.

Then I waited. And I waited… No response. Finally I called back and when the buyer got on the phone the energy had completely changed. I was met with a cold, calculated “We decided to go in a different direction but thank you for your time” response. This was a tough blow for my ego.

I’ve experienced many situations just like this and each time I go through a brief mourning process of feeling defeated and beaten down. However, I always counteract this by doing something proactive. I try to look at the brighter side of everything without beating myself up and ask myself, “What did I learn from this experience?”

I often do something fun – something just for myself, totally unrelated to work – after I’ve lost a bid on a project. It’s healthy to separate ourselves from “the business” sometimes. Then, usually the next day, I jump right back on the horse  and do what I do best – creating a new image for fun! Some of my best self-assigned images that have opened the doors to my biggest clients were created just after I’ve found out I wasn’t chosen for a project that I had spent an entire day preparing an estimate for.

Very few people will ever understand the stress, the heartache or the disappointment that commercial photographers experience being rejected over and over for projects that we know we could knock out of the ball park! You almost have to learn to enjoy the pursuit, love taking the risk and embrace the heartache with open arms, knowing that each “no” you hear will make you a stronger person and will provide incentive to grow, learn and continue to get better at your craft and your business skills.

In the end, it’s still all about building a strong foundation with the people you work with or those you want to work with. Don’t give up on the people that you’ve been working to make your clients. It’s important to remember that they are often under a tremendous amount of pressure in their job and choosing photographers for projects is not always about choosing favorites or even the best person for the job.

There are many, many moving parts in play that we will never fully understand because of confidentiality concerns. So keep your head held high, stay positive and move on to the next lead.

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

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

When You’ve Lost a Bid…

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 12:01am

We’ve all been there – you submit an estimate for a job your really want and then…rejection, or sometimes just silence. This week, our contributors share their insights into what happens next – how to respond and how to move on, when you’ve lost a bid.


Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Mark Power

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 9:43am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I hate being cryptic. It’s not my thing. Ever since 2010, when Rob suggested I be as honest as possible, I’ve tried to do just that. (Sometimes to my detriment.)

Today, though, I find myself in something of a pickle. I had a very rough week, and normally would spill the beans forthwith. Straight-away. Right now.

But as my career has grown, and I’ve realized just how small is this photo-world of ours, the habit of discretion seems to have taken root. It would be a very bad idea to give the details of what just went down. But as much as I hate to tease, I also hate to miss out on a teachable moment. (You all roll your eyes at that, right?)

The crux of what happened, though, I can most definitely share: Someone dangled a life-long dream in front of my face, and then snatched it away. It went something like this.

Suppose I was a fox. A hungry fox named Reginald. Now Reginald was a bit more hungry than he was smart. He was walking down the normal dirt path through the forest, thinking about food, and all of a sudden he heard someone whisper.

Come here, kid. Come here.

Reginald turned to look, and he saw a big coyote.

I’m Carl, he said.

Carl the coyote?

Just so. And kid, you’ve got to see what I have behind this hedgerow. It’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen. A hundred chickens. Just for you.

What, said Reginald. That’s impossible. Do you know how hungry I am? I’d eat my way through the year on 100 chickens. I’ve dreamed all my life of running into a small city of chickens.

Well, said Carl, here you go then. Step right through this hedgerow here.

Reginald stepped through the hedgerow. He was sweating profusely from all the anticipation.

Just as he had his fingers within range of the first chicken, the amuse bouche… WHAM! Carl’s hand wrapped itself around his rear left paw, and he felt himself flying through the air. He landed on his head, back across the road, in a daze.

Stupid fox, said the coyote. Did you really think it would be that easy?

Most dreams don’t come true. That’s me talking. Not a coyote or a fox. Mine still might, and I have plenty to be thankful for regardless. But that doesn’t change the fact that most dreams don’t come true.

I know that.

And I also know that good fences make good neighbors. But what about walls?

The Berlin Wall, in particular. What must it have felt like to stand there, watching as it opened on that fateful day in 1989? How many people had dreamed of their freedom?

All those East Germans, dreaming of a better life. And then it happened. Someone made a call, after the rumors had spread, and the guards at the gates said let them through. What might that have looked like?

Well, we don’t have to wonder. I just finished looking at “Die Mauer ist Weg!,” a new book by Mark Power, published by Globtik Books. Yes, we’ve got a great one this week, folks.

Take it out of the wrapping, and it’s a weird cardboard thing all in German. The cover looks like a tabloid paper headline. (But I don’t read German.)

After a title page, we get a very cleanly written, engaging statement by the artist, setting the scene. He was about to quit his photo career, back then, and a friend convinced him to give it one more go, and sported him some cash to boot.

He used the money to buy a plane ticket to Berlin, maybe on a whim? And he’s standing there, somehow, when it all goes down.

These pictures are so cool. All those cameras. All that 80’s German style. All that history. In real time.

In the statement, Mr. Power suggests that such a thing could not happen now, a few people with cameras, shooting film, and telling the story for history. Now, of course, there would be thousands and thousands of live video feeds on Periscope.

(As I’ve said before, the 20th Century seems like a long time ago.)

The few pictures of empty East Berlin are dynamite. The whole thing is thoughtfully produced, with a cardboard inner wedge to keep the pages in place. (Removable, which is handy.)

This book captured a seminal time in modern history, but takes the effort to embed the pictures in a book package that doesn’t leave those photos to do the work alone. Very instructive, I think, for the rest of us.

Bottom Line: A great book that shows the fall of the Berlin Wall

To Purchase “Die Mauer ist Weg” Visit Photo-Eye
















Categories: Business

Hold Still, a Book I Recommend for Summer Reading

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:01am

[by Richard Kelly]

I like to read for inspiration during the summer. On my bedside table this week, is Hold Still, A Memoir with Photographs, by Sally Mann. I have been a fan of her photography since I saw her first book, At Twelve,  in the late 1980’s.

HoldStillI enjoy reading biographies and memoirs. Finding a book about a contemporary photographer, particularly someone with whom I have also enjoyed numerous conversations,  is especially interesting.

As a portrait photographer and as someone who attempts to document my family life, reading about Sally Mann’s life’s work – the internal struggles and the delicate balance it requires as a photographer, a mother and a wife – is a master’s class on living a creative life.

Originally organized for the Massey Lectures at Harvard University, the stories show us a complex family tree of relationships, love affairs, drug use, race and morality dramas and maybe even “murder.”  I was particularly curious how living in the modern south – with a heritage that goes much deeper – influences her work as a photographer, at least in the fashion of her unique lifestyle on her family farm in Lexington, Virginia, where a river literally runs through it. Mixed in are the back-stories to some of the most controversial of her family photos, as well as her work practices and inner thoughts as she diligently approaches her photography.

I am only half way through the book but seeing her work through the process of making 8×10 plates we learn to hold still for a moment. The lesson of Mann photographing her son, Emmett, in the Maury River again and again, dragging her cumbersome 8×10 camera and tripod back into the water to capture the right moment of subject, light and composition is a prime example of tenacity and intention that is worth a discussion in my Portrait photography class.

Hold Still, is a new type of Memoir; one that mixes the history of one’s family tree and explains both the emotional thought process and the working processes of an artist. I am anxious to read my way through to the end for a few more lessons.

Up next, Lynsey Addario It’s What I Do.

Richard Kelly is a Pittsburgh based photographer who has produced photography and motion projects in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Follow Richard on Twitter @richardkellypho or Instagram @richardkellyphoto.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Scott Van Osdol

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 9:22am

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Scott Van Osdol

01 Michael Burn MC, Wales

02 Royal Navy Tombstone LaBaule France

03 Erich DeLaTorre, Commando, Stoke-Lacey, Herefordshire

04 Leading Stoker Bill Bannister, Motor Launch 31, Portsmith UK

Documentary photos of WWII British Commandos returning to visit site of 1942 raid on St-Nazaire, Operation CHARIOT.

06 Sub-Lieutenant Richard Collinson, Motor Launch 192, Isle of Wight

07 Lt. Colonel Bob Montgomery MC, 2 Commando Sapper, Falmouth UK

08 Sub-Lieutenant Hugh Arnold DSC, Motor Launch 446, London

09 Micky Burn with his history, Beaudy Gwyn, Wales

10 Burn at Nazi Nuremberg Rally 1935

11 Burn at Munich cafe where he met Hitler, POW photo

12 Burn at Colditz Castle where he ran secret POW radio

13 Burn, Colditz Castle, met with former prison guard

14 Burn with some of the many books he wrote, Wales

15 Burn came ashore at Old Mole, St. Nazaire, France

How long have you been shooting?
I began shooting professional freelance in 1981. Before that I worked nine years as an institutional photographer while in college. That’s a scary long time, 43 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-taught at the school of hard knocks.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
“Last of Our Lads” portrays WWII British Commandos who survived a daring raid on the Nazi U-Boat base and battleship-capable dry dock at St. Nazaire, France. The documentary film “Turned Towards the Sun”, focused on one of those commandos, Micky Burn. As a Times of London reporter, Burn was the last person living to have met Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler. Burn was a prolific author, poet, socialist wag, and an openly gay man before that was an easy thing to do.

I’ve always been interested in WWII history. When offered the chance to travel through Great Britain and Europe to photograph these heroic figures, I jumped on it. The project was a labor of love—no shooting fee, but my travel costs were covered for multiple trips. I earned an Assistant Producer credit on the documentary film, and have “points on the back end” (Hollywood-speak for worth next to nothing).

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
We began shooting in 2008. The photos were put to immediate use for location and character documentation as we presented the story to producers, directors, and investors. After each trip I printed a few updated photo books. The photos became more dramatic and personal with each trip. The more I shot, the more clearly I defined my artistic intention.

The film “Turned Towards the Sun” premiered at the London Film Festival in 2012, where it was nominated for a BFI award. Our NYC director Greg Olliver recently struck a distribution deal with Matchbox Films. It is available on Amazon UK.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Generally I know within a few days if a project is going to work. If it isn’t working, I move on. Fail fast.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I try to collapse the distinction between personal and commercial work. If I love a photo it gets used in promotions and the portfolio. There is an old axiom, ‘Show what you want to shoot’. I know it works because I’ve had to re-invent myself multiple times over my career. Each time I did so by showing the work I wanted to shoot. My intention is to get more work I’m going to love. That profits everyone—the agency, the client, the audience, and me.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
My Twitter handle is @ScottDon’tTweet. Life is short, and I’d rather be shooting. So it’s taken a while for this old Analogasauras to gear up for social media. That said, with each step into twitterverse I am astonished at the results—it’s a big crazy place, social media.

Last week ImageBrief’s social feeds named me one of ten lifestyle photographers to watch, in part because of these photos. The buzz I was able to see was relatively small, a few dozen responses, but surprisingly eclectic. It included multiple photographers, two Paris fashion designers, a San Francisco serial entrepreneur, and a wannabe big game hunter from somewhere in Africa. Go figure.

Many of the Last of Our Lads photos appeared on Facebook pages belonging to project producers (it’s about all there was in 2008), which saw plenty of Likes and drove viewers to our websites.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The work largely pre-dated modern social media—so no, no buzz as we know it. We got a good deal of international press, however. That was mostly due to the amazing stories the commandos told. But I was there, ready with photos. We were offered a book deal with a UK publisher, but decided to wait and hitch our star to a leading UK film studio that assigned a screenwriter to the subject. I’ve learned “in development” actually means lost in limbo—we have no idea if and when the feature film will get made. If so, we’re ready with hours of Disc 2 interviews and B-roll.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Last of Our Lads photos were widely used in email promotions and in editions of portfolio books. The photos won several Austin and regional ADDY awards over the several years they were shot.

I show this kind of work to good effect. Some art directors want to see specific shots that match the stock-photo-generated comp the client approved. Others are more interested in ‘the vision thing’. Those are the creatives I want to work with, the ones driven by vision.

Showing this documentary-style photography means I don’t get hired to shoot traditional lifestyle and swimsuit-clad couples at resorts. But I do get hired to shoot for clients like Nocona Boots as they roll out their “Let’s Rodeo” campaign. That’s the stuff I love.


Scott shoots what he loves: documentary style in a commercial context. He keeps it simple, clear, and compelling. 
His work has won more prizes than a case of Cracker Jacks: CA, PRINT, HOW, PR Week Campaign of the Year, dozens of ADDYs and other national awards. 
Scott specializes in industry, technology and energy, agriculture and ranching, education and healthcare. He shoots real people wherever possible. This storytelling impulse goes way back. His first solo exhibit, “Working”, opened at the AFL-CIO Union Hall in Austin. Scott comes by this authenticity thing honestly.
Scott works hard at playing. He donates creative services to projects like Art from the Streets and Con Mi Madre. He serves on the board of the Austin Advertising Federation: 16 years, twice as president, winning Club of the Year four years running from the American Ad Fed. For the last decade he led the Hill Country Ride for AIDS marketing team, working with Austin’s best creatives to raise more than $7 million with campaigns that appeared in CA, PRINT, and HOW. He rides his bike silly long distances in the Texas heat.
All this earnestness and collaboration in the service of brand development and good art means Scott is real easy to work with. He’s WYSIWYG with a big smile.

See more of Scott’s work:

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 establishing 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 feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

Sometimes The Best Things In Life Really Are Free

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:01am

[by Barry Schwartz]

I love it when the fact that something is free overcomes the main rule about such things, that you get what you pay for.

These links are resources I get in the form of email newsletters that give me solid, valuable, and interesting notes on what’s happening in my professional world about places, companies, software, marketing techniques, and things I never knew I needed to know about.

Communications Arts -  http://www.commarts.com
A fantastic source about the media world, including in-depth profiles of photographers.  More important, however, is information about my client-base: how do they think and what do they want?

Plagiarism Today -  https://www.plagiarismtoday.com
Plagiarism is a copyright issue, and the newsletter often features a story about copyright abuses and triumphs, and every issue contains a segment called “3 Count” about three items in the news right now.

Vantage – https://medium.com/vantage
Part of the Medium family of online magazines and self-publishing (https://medium.com), Vantage is filled with photography stories of all kinds.

It’s Nice That – http://www.itsnicethat.com
Photography, graphic design, illustration and work that combines it all together.  From a European perspective, covering the U.S. as well.

Poynter – http://www.poynter.org
Highly respected reporting on the news business that has earned the respect.  While not directly about photojournalism, photojournalistic standards are journalistic standards, and they apply.  The site takes both the long and short view of the media industry of which we’re all apart.

Elizabeth Avedon – http://elizabethavedon.blogspot.com
A wonderful book designer, interviewer, and appreciator and connoisseur of all things photography. I always find out something new about a trend or photographer or a book or event I would not have heard about otherwise.

De-Mass’d, by Leora Kornfeld – http://www.demassed.blogspot.com
Big-picture stuff about media, creators, and business – as up-to-date as can be.

Arts Journal – http://www.artsjournal.com
I am a better artist if I keep up with other art-forms.  This newsletter will keep you informed on every kind of art you can imagine, and a few you haven’t, nicely broken out by category.

BagNews – http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/
Cogent, personal, and perceptive takes on photojournalism and journalism.  Associated with Salon.

Jane Friedman – http://janefriedman.com
While pitched at writers, Friedman presents great, solid information – particularly about marketing – that addresses common concerns of photographers.

Barry Schwartz is a photographer, writer, and educator in Los Angeles who believes (or tells himself to believe) that sleep is overrated.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry