MISSION STATEMENT - This site is dedicated to professional music photographers. Our mission is to advocate sound business practices, warn against predatory client practices, provide helpful and educational resources, and foster a sense of community. All discussions related to capturing, processing, cataloging and licensing music photographs are welcome.

You are here


Where Copyright Law Fails Photographers

ASMP's Strictly Business - 2 hours 14 min ago

[by Richard Kelly]

When I speak to photographers about copyright, I often use a variation of William Patry’s metaphor from his book Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars:

Picture a copyright battlefield. On the right-side are the traditional Copyright aggregators – publishers, record companies, and the licensing monoliths – including the artists that they represent. Beside them are the trade organizations that represent them – ASMP included. On the left-side are the libraries, nonprofits, technology companies and free culture advocates – many of us artists feel comfortable here as well.

Most of the time, artists are stuck in the middle of this battlefield getting pummeled by shrapnel and the falling arrows of this war. We are collateral damage to the huge amount of money on both sides of this digital disruption and the algorithmic aggregation of content.

On even days, I find myself aligned with the left because I think some information should be freely accessible. I believe that the term of copyright is too long, that artists build upon other creative works and that the Fair Use defense is necessary for a balanced and creative environment. Besides, who doesn’t love a good library or museum?

On odd days, I am firmly on the right because I want to be compensated for my work, I want to have some say over its use, and I want credit where it is due. Most days, though, neither side is the friend of the artist who is trying to put food on the table and live a well-deserved prosperous and creative life.

As artists, we are constantly being subjected to the downward pressure of creative fees, license fees, and the overuse of Work Made For Hire contracts. Every day, there are more over-reaching right grabs that extend well beyond the basic economic necessities of most companies, and they are all served up by the clients, publishers and others who want to benefit from our copyrights.

On the Left, the “Free Culture” has been replaced by the older business model of the free-stuff-adds=eyeballs-and-sells-advertising. The use of EULA’s and Terms of Use that benefit the technology companies in ways that are not completely understood or even exercised yet has become a standard practice. These rights are demanded from all who participate yield nothing to the independent creator other than free access to upload, create and share the rights to even more free content.

My ever-increasing cynicism towards copyright has led me to conclude that for the photographer, copyright has become a red herring or even worse a MacGuffin.  Current copyright practice seems to equate with registering in bulk thousands of images (at best are an inconvenience and at worse an expensive nightmare), all the while betting that one day some entity will infringe, and the photographer will have “caught” the infringer – or at least the ones with money who are worth pursuing.

Sure retroactive licensing to infringers is a business model if you want to play that game of “whack-a mole,” but most photographers want to create new work, not stalk their images online. Registration is not, in and of itself, a real solution to the control and compensation that artists need to prosper.

I have also realized that changing public sentiment toward the value of copyright for the artist only goes so far. Most people don’t infringe to hurt an artist but rather they borrow to solve a communication problem all the while celebrating through exposure the artists they love. Intellectual Property theft is different than other property thefts. Stealing a car means the car is no longer there for the owner to use. IP theft leaves the property intact. I also recognize, to some degree, that we all infringe copyright every day with innocent intentions.

And even when it is not outright infringement, the sharing we love to do on social media rarely provides any economic benefit to the copyright holder. It may be legal, but only the hosting platform benefits.

I don’t have an easy answer. I do have some ideas about how to change copyright to benefit the artist. However, that is for another post on another day. My suggestion to photographers, today, is that we do our best to work with the copyright laws we have. And work together – like in our ASMP community- to influence lawmakers to improve copyright to benefit artists and promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

So what day is it, Even or Odd?

Richard Kelly is a photographer & educator living in Pittsburgh. He often asks himself the question, which is better control or compensation? Follow Richard on Instagram or twitter.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Industry Trends

ASMP's Strictly Business - 2 hours 15 min ago

Love them. Hate them.  Follow them or ignore them.  It’s in every photographer’s best interests to be aware of the trends affecting our industry and our clients. This week, our contributors share some of the trends they’re watching, which trends they’re responding to and how those trends are affecting the decisions they’re making.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo – Arkan Zakharov

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:07am

Arkan Zakharov

Who Printed it?
This was printed on a sheet-fed press in Toronto.

Who Designed and edited the images?
I designed and did all press prep on this book, all editing done by me as well.

How Many did you make?
I did a run of 170 copies. 150 were quarter folded for easier shipping in envelopes. The remaining 20 were folded into a book which was sent in a tube to few select locations.

How Many Times a year do you send out promos?
This was the first time I have done a promo. I am planning on sending one out annually.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.19.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.19.33 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.19.43 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.19.49 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.19.55 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.20.01 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.20.15 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.20.21 PM


@heidivolpe is reaching out to photographers from the Insta-Promo feed @aphotoeditor to learn more about how the promo was made. If you’d like to know more about a specific promo leave a comment on instagram.

Categories: Business

Your Roadmap to Success

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 12:01am

Join ASMP for a series of online and in-person events that will help you grow your business, master and monetize new skills, adapt to a changing marketplace, and inspire your creative vision.

This week:

ASMP Members save $75 on WPPI

Wedding & Portrait Photography International

Annual Conference
February 26 – March 5, 2015
Las Vegas, NV


The premier industry event for wedding and portrait photographers, WPPI 2015 is happening right now in Las Vegas.  Don’t miss Your Roadmap to Success with Judy Herrmann on Wednesday, March 4 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm:

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 your love.

Learn more and register at www.wppionline.com.
ASMP Members, click here to save $75 on registration.

• • •

This Month:

SPE_LogoSociety for Photographic Education
Annual Conference
March 12 – 15, 2015
New Orleans, LA


Register by February 20th to save on the Society for Photographic Education’s annual conference, Atmospheres: Climate, Equity and Community in Photography, in New Orleans, from March 12 – 15.  Don’t miss ASMP’s industry seminars on March 12, featuring Vision + U = Success with Jennifer Kilberg and Amanda Sosa Stone, Growing Your Audience: the Secret Sauce is You with Andrew Fingerman, Estimating with Confidence with Lynn Kyle and Launch Your Career with Judy Herrmann. Learn more and register at www.spenational.com.


Using CGI to Grow Your Business

with Photographer/CGI Producer Walt Jones
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
1:00 – 2:00 pm EDT / 10:00 – 11:00 am PDT
Extended Q&A to follow until 2:30 EDT at www.facebook.com/asmpnational

Today, many types of photography are increasingly relying on Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) to bring new creative freedoms and realize cost efficiencies. Award-winning photographer and CGI producer/designer Walt Jones walks you through what CGI can (and can’t) do for your imagery and creative process while discussing how these incredible tools can open doors to new business. Whether you’re looking to provide new creative options to your existing clients or attract new business from untapped regions of your market, you’ll get the tools you need to take your creative work to the next level.  Don’t miss out – register today!

• • •

Next Month:

ASMP Members Save $100 on NAB & Post|Production World



National Association of Broadcasters
Annual Conference & Expo
April 11 – 16, 2015
Las Vegas, NV

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual expo brings nearly 98,000 media and entertainment professionals together for over 500 skill-building sessions and a tradeshow featuring nearly 2,000 exhibitors.  ASMP members save $100 off a Smart Pass, which gives you access to nearly everything NAB has to offer or registration for the Post | Production World Conference at NAB, featuring educational programs specifically for creators.  Learn more about NAB at www.nabshow.com or about P|PW at www.nabshow.com/attend/post-production-world.
ASMP members, click here to get your $100 discount.


ASMP Members Save 10% – the Best Discount Available!



Palm Springs Photo Festival
April 26 – May 1, 2015

Palm Springs, CA

Spend three exhilarating days with Mark Seliger, Dan Winters, Frank Ockenfels III, Jock Sturges, Ron Haviv and other celebrated master photographers.  Present your portfolio to some of the most sought-after ad agencies, magazines, galleries and more.  It all happens at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.  Learn more at http://2015.palmspringsphotofestival.com.
ASMP Members click here to get your 10% savings.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Staff vs. Independent - Why Staff Photographer Jobs are Declining and What to Do About It

Photo Business Forum - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 5:02pm
There has been much ado in recent years about the overall decline in the number of staff photographer positions at newspapers, yet an anecdotal observation of these same newspapers shows they are publishing the same number of photographs in print, and even more images are being consumed online.  The dire declines in circulation of a newspaper is irrelevant to the number of photos used, it's the same paper (save for the instances where there's also a reduction in page count) just fewer copies are printed. So why are staff photography jobs being slashed practically everywhere you turn?

It's simple math really.

Consider the cost of a staff photographer. Let's break it down using validatable figures:

The mean wage of a news photographer is $43,090 (US Govt DOL, here).  To outfit that photographer with two cameras, lenses, etc, is roughly $10,000 a year (updating, replacing, new, repairs, etc) and about $3k every three years for a new laptop equates to $1k a year for a computer, and a smart phone at $100/mo which allows you to transmit photos, or $1,200 a year.  It also takes approximately 151 square feet of office space per employee (see here for details) and at $23.23 per foot (see here for details), or $3,507.73 per month to provide an employee with a desk, chair, parking, shared cost of a break room,  etc, so that's $42,092.76 a year.  The average person drives about 12,000 miles a year. For a photographer, who is always driving to every assignment, that's low, but let's use that low figure. That equates (at $0.57mile, the IRS  rate) to $6,840 a year. The cost for their employee benefits works out to be 1.25 to 1.4 times the salary (see here), so on the low end, benefits and taxes cost the employer $10,772.50. For futher review, MIT has an interesting outline of costs, here). And a paid employee typically has two weeks vacation, so they work 50 weeks a year.
$  43,090.00 Base salary
$  10,000.00 Gear
$    1,000.00 Laptop and software licensing
$    1,200.00 Cell phone (not incl. office desk line)
$  42,092.76 Office space
$    6,840.00 Vehicle (or reimbursement allowance)
$  10,772.50 Benefits
$114,995.26   TOTAL COST FOR ONE EMPLOYEE PHOTOGRAPHERAs such, the average cost, per week, to have one staff photographer with gear and desk and car is 2,299.91 over 50 weeks.  Every day of a 5 day week, that's $459.98. Even if  you want to debate the cost of the office space, and say it's $0, the daily cost of the staff photographer is still $291.61. It's not $0 though, and accounting and HR don't think it's $0, so don't make an argument that you'll likely lose on this point. (FYI - for those of you in the Washington DC area, where the mean salary for photographers is $66,130, that's benefits of $16,532.50, and with DC as the most expensive place for office space, at $48.96 per square foot, that's $88,715 for your office space. As such, the total cost is $190,417.50, or $761.67 per day 5 days a week.)

It doesn't matter if it's a slow news day.  That is a hard cost for an employee whether they are shooting or not. The rights that photographer grants are work-made-for-hire. They do not own their photographs, the employer does. They pay you every day regardless of whether you're shooting, sick, on vacation, on a comp-day, preparing your entries for a contest, booking your itinerary for your next assignment, or editing your photos at your desk.

There is not a single wire service or newspaper that pays $459 (or more) for an independent photographer. In fact, there are many who pay less than the cost of renting the equipment.

The same rights that the employee grants to the outlet are being demanded - and provided - by the freelancer. This means that the outlet has just as many rights to the visuals produced as they did with their employee.

In addition, these independent photographers are available, in abundance, on an as-needed basis. Why obligate a company to paying for someone 5 days a week when you only need to pay for someone when you need them to actually produce?

What can those in the industry do?
(Continued after the Jump)

What's a Photo Editor to Do?

Photo Editors want the ability to produce excellent results for their newspaper, on a consistent basis. The viewing public, in a landmark survey conducted recently by the NPPA bears out the importance of professionally produced images (more here). The churn in the independent photographer causes the photo editor to spend an inordinate amount of time constantly finding new photographers as others fail and drop out of the profession. The constant learning curve for these new photographers means lost time and dropped balls when it comes to working with them for the company.

A Photo Editor can be certain that a combined review of costs of an employee by both the HR department and the Accounting Department will result in the comparison of the employee versus independent costs of producing visual content.

A Simple analysis shows that if an as-needed photographer costs $250, and an always obligated employee photographer costs $459, why would the employer pay the higher rate? This does not take a rocket scientist to figure out. The Harvard Business Review (here) references that, without severance, it's near impossible to cut costs by 30%. The shift from $459 to $250 is a 54% cost savings, even considering you had an independent photographer working every day. That number can significantly increase if they are only working as-needed, not every day. (For those in DC, that's a 77% cost savings at $250 when the per-day employee cost is $761.)

As difficult as it sounds, one of the administrative obligations of a Photo Editor (or at the very least, the Director of Photography), should be to know the total cost of their department, factor in the value of each producing staff photographer every day, and then pay the independent photographers a rate that is at least equal to the cost to the company of the employee, if not more.

Yes, it's clear that this is not as easy as it sounds. However, if you want a department that will continue to exist, This is necessary. That also means if you value your own job, you should be doing this, or, you may lose your own job. If  you doubt the veracity of this concept, look no further than what happened at The Washington Times (here), and the Chicago Sun Times (here), among many others. Next, ask yourself, at the figures above, would any independent photographer be "living the high life"? They need benefits just like you have. They need an office space just like you have.

In order to preserve the ability to produce great content for your outlet, knowing the cost to your company of an employee allows you to ensure that you are doing the best service to the company.  Cost-cutting is not always what's in the best interests of your company, and when you cut too much, quality suffers. In the current environment, cuts have been so extreme, that quality has suffered.

Your department often sets the rate they will pay. Set one that ensures the quality and consistency of your outlet, not to mention survivability. As a side benefit, the photographic community will be better off as well.

What's a Staff Photographer to Do?

A staff photographer who knows what their job costs the company they are working for should look at an independent photographer working for less than that figure, as similar to a "scab". What's a "scab?" (see here) Simply put, it's someone who is putting the job of the employee (almost always a union employee) at risk during a strike, where the employees are fighting for their jobs and fair pay.  An independent photographer who works for less than half of what it costs your employer for you to do your job is, quite simply, putting your job at risk. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying. Countless other photo departments can prove this point. Just ask around. There are many out-of-work former staff photographers  who can validate this point.

Staff photographers should encourage independent photographers to demand a reasonable pay. They should educate their Photo Editors and Directors of Photography about what the independent photographer must do to pay their bills.  They should not facilitate photographers who are cheaper than them in getting work, it's cutting their own throat, with a very slow bleed-out.

What's an Independent Photographer to Do?

First, any independent photographer should know what it costs for them to be in business for a day. An easy calculator to figure this out is provided by the National Press Photographers Association - here - and once you know that figure, you should stick to it and not charge less. In addition, when a photo editor asks you to do a job that requires special equipment (a telephone lens, satellite phone, remote cameras, and so on) you should be billing a rental charge for the extra equipment. Make sure you are clear that you can bill for mileage associated with the assignment, and then do so. Ask for a production day to be added to your assignments for booking travel, doing research, scouting, and so on. Ensure that you can bill for parking and other expenses - don't eat them - and then bill for them. In the end, the higher your final bill the easier it will be for the client to justify their own staff, and yet you will also be making more money - because you won't be "eating" the costs for things associated with the shoot that the client should be paying for.

In addition, independent photographers should be helping those coming into the profession to understand all that is involved in the costs of being in business. Just because a newly minted photographer fresh out of school has a camera mom and dad bought them as a graduation present doesn't mean they shouldn't be factoring in the cost to replace that equipment when it breaks in a year. Just because they remain under mom and dad's insurance for a few more years doesn't mean they shouldn't be factoring in the costs of health insurance and savings for when they have their own policies.

A rising tide raises all ships.  The field of photography is not made up of people with yachts, vacation homes, and new cars every few years. Helping photographers so they can have a retirement, afford a family, and pay their bills, and avoid living down to the "starving artist" lifestyle, means that everyone wins.

digg_url = 'WEBSITE_URL'; digg_bgcolor = '#161d23';digg_skin = 'compact';
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.
Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Andrew Macpherson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 9:16am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I watched “Breaking Bad” for a little while, but then had to I quit. Cold Turkey. No more Heisenberg blue meth for me.

No sir.

I was doing a Netflix-binge-watch-thing, and made it into the beginning of Season 3. Darker and darker went the ride. Darker and darker still.

All of a sudden, after one more adrenaline dump, it became clear to me. There is no happy ending here, only a vortex of misery. Redemption is not interesting to Vince Gilligan. He’s just hooking people, deeper and deeper, so that the whole show
becomes a metaphor for addiction.

This train only runs in one direction, I thought, and it’s time to get off. Now. Before this shit gets any darker. Darker and darker, like the moonless night sky. That’s what’s ahead.

I don’t regret my decision, despite the near-universal-plaudits of the later era, and the mass-American-hysteria that accompanied the final season. It seemed like everyone but me was emotionally invested in the outcome, and that was just what I had planned.

That said, I’m completely in love with “Better Call Saul,” the newly introduced spin-off. First of all, Big Shout Out to Bob Odenkirk, who is brilliant. I know he gets plenty of props, but add mine to the list.

And having just been in Albuquerque the other day, it is oddly satisfying, as a New Mexican, to see scruffy Burque bathed in the glow of good camerawork. It might not be as warm and fuzzy as a breakfast burrito from the Frontier, smothered in scathingly spicy chile broth, but it comes close.

The story, if you’re not familiar, covers the backstory of Saul Goodman, Mr. Odenkirk’s character from “Breaking Bad.” Turns out he used to be a small-time hustler named Jimmy McGill. At what point does he adopt his new persona? His alter ego?

I don’t know.

They’ve just finished Episode 4, and most series like this take years to unfurl, like the American flag once had 13 stars, and then more, and more still. Hell, New Mexico didn’t even become a state until 1912, so they were adding stars for more than a century. Each time, making the previous flag irrelevant. Or, more likely, a very expensive collectible.

Even when you adopt a new identity, you’re mostly altering your name, at first. Authenticity takes time to develop, like a good green chile stew. We cook ourselves to condense the flavor, and build up complexity. Bit by bit.

Why am I waxing philosophical about such things today? (As always, good question.) It’s because I’ve just finished looking at “Pink: 10 Years,” a new book by Andrew Macpherson, published by Bravado. As I said last week, readers are sending me things these days, and this one popped up in my PO Box a little while ago.

It’s about as different from what I normally review as you can get, but I think that’s a good thing. As far as I know, Pink started out as a girl named Alicia, who could sing really well. I think maybe she’s from Pennsylvania, but you know how much I hate Googling things to be sure.

Truthfully, I’ve never been a fan of her work, nor have I gone out of my way to dislike it. She’s a massive Pop Star, so her music isn’t meant for the likes of me. She has a great voice, I know, and a rocking body too.

What else can I tell you?

Well, no one knows this, but before my wife and I moved to Brooklyn, in 2002, we spent 6 weeks criss-crossing Mexico by bus.
We ended up in Playa del Carmen, in Quintana Roo, in the middle of summer. It was hot as a bowl of habañero salsa. Your eyelids wanted to melt into your eyeballs, each time you walked down the Quinta.

When we weren’t in the ocean, we stayed in our hotel room, air condition cranking, watching TV and reading books. My wife would certainly be shocked to know I’m sharing this seemingly random detail, stolen from the bowels of my memory, but she spent hours at a time watching music videos, mostly in Spanish, which she doesn’t speak, to catch a Pink song, each time they brought it back around.

She might not remember that at all. And it would probably take me a fair bit of time on YouTube, which didn’t exist back then, to figure out which link to post here. So I won’t. (Update: Jessie confirms the story, and claims she was interested in “Get the Party Started” because it had a killer dance number.)

As for the book, it’s vibrant, and snappy, filled with well-made publicity stills, album covers, and behind the scenes concert shots. There is a running commentary, by Mr. Macpherson and Pink, which gives their current take on things that happened years ago.

Inspirational statements are graphically imposed, from time to time, and they all reflect a vision of positivity and hard work.

As for the pictures? I was mostly taken by how clearly Pink was “faking it until you make it,” in the beginning. The tongue came out, and the hair was bleached. True. But there was no gravitas in her expression, early on. No piercing intelligence behind the eyes.

More than once, contemporary Pink refers to her former self as a “baby,” and you can see why. She may have been captivating America’s teen-aged girls, and building a brand, but she was still figuring herself out.

As the book goes on, you think it’s going to be gradual, but really, it’s not. You reach a certain page, and there it is. Strength and confidence appear, like a black-hatted bad guy on the horizon. Soon after, we see her daughter. The baby has become a mother, and any and every parent can relate that feeling.

(“If I don’t grow up now, on the double, I’m going to ruin this little human, and that is one mistake I can’t allow myself to make.”)

There was one detail that really stuck out, like the shocking neon pink of the page edges. Pink shares that when she first wanted to sing and do acrobatics at the same time, her trainer was dubious. So Pink instructed her to punch her in the stomach, repeatedly, while she sang.

Can you imagine thinking of that, much less asking someone to do it to you? Totally. Fucking. Insane.

But I suppose that’s what it takes, if you want to become a Global Icon. A One-Named Brand. A color: personified. (My young daughter’s favorite color, incidentally. Like every other two-year-old girl on the planet…)

OK. We’re done here. This book is not like everything else I review. And last week’s book was about as typical of what I normally cover as you can get. So I guess that means next week, we’ll end up somewhere smack in the middle.

Bottom Line: Glossy look inside the evolution of a Pop Star, and, a human being too.





















Categories: Business

Dead End Negotiations or A Two-Way Street?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:01am

[by Kat Dalager]

Just last week I sent out project specifications to three photographers. I outlined the project and included a target budget. Of those three photographers, two came back with estimates and the third flat-out declined to participate due to the limited budget. Was I offended that the third photographer didn’t even send me an estimate? No, I was grateful. They saved my time and theirs knowing that we were too far apart on money to make the project happen. Their note to me was brief but courteous. Will I try to work with that shooter again? Absolutely.

It’s important to note that the other two photographers’ estimates exceeded my target budget as well. One of the photographers is someone we had never shot with before. He is very interested in working with us so he put together a detailed estimate that was not unreasonable. He’s shown great interest in trying to get the numbers to work without compromising the shoot. The other photographer is someone we’ve worked with before who also put together a detailed and reasonable estimate, who’s also willing to see what we can do to get the numbers where we need them.

Part of the give and take is discussing the areas of compromise. Could we reduce our shot list or number of shoot days? Could we adjust the usage or location?

If you find yourself in a situation where there doesn’t seem to be any compromise, you need to ask yourself what you will gain by continuing. Does adding that project to your portfolio or that client to your roster help you pitch to similar clients in the future? Will it give you creative fulfillment? Do you want to invest in the relationship? If not, you may want to gracefully decline. Be direct but courteous. “Wow, we’ve both given it all we’ve got, but it seems that we’re still too far apart to make this work. I really appreciate all the effort that you’ve put into this, but I feel I’m at the point of compromising the shoot if I cut costs any further. I think you’ve got a great brand and I hope you’ll consider me for future projects.”

Whatever you do, don’t accept the project, then fail to give it 100% – or worse, back out of the project at the last minute.

Kat Dalager has been walking the two-way street for over three decades. Every once in a while she’ll break into a jog.


Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Getty Images’ Downward Spiral Approaches Judgment Day

Photo Business Forum - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 7:00pm
A catastrophe of cataclysmic proportions for Getty Images (a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, NASDAQ: CG) is on the horizon. Below are some historical insights, and a break down of the latest Bloomberg reports on Getty. First though, here’s a very simple comparison that will illustrate the state of Getty’s bank accounts and loans:
If you owe so much money to others that you can’t even afford to pay the interest accrued on the loan, and there are no promises of large cash influxes in the near future, no one will loan you the money to pay your monthly interest expense, let alone pay down the principal you owe.
Simpler? ok try this:
Assume you have a $30,000 credit card debt. The interest rate is 17%, so  you are required to pay $418.89 a month – just in interest. In this example, using the numbers/income that apply to Getty’s situation, you would only have $52.36 of your income you can use to pay down your debt, thus you have NO WAY of paying off a mounting debt when your monthly increase in debt is 8 times what you have to pay down the debt. I can’t make it more simple than that.

If any banker looked at your situation above, there is no way they would loan you more money, it would be highly irresponsible – even predatory lenders wouldn’t touch the above situation. As such, Getty is doomed.

(Continued after the Jump)

Sources with knowledge of the situation revealed that mid-level financers were recently asked to come to New York City by Getty to discuss additional funding. Their take-away was that they were unimpressed.  Getty, no doubt at the behest of their parent company, the Carlysle Group, is trying to stem the blood-letting. There will be no silk purses from this sow's ear.

More and more, Getty is not producing the content they once were, and they are relying on their platform as a distribution of other third-party content producers, such as Getty licensing the content from The Washington Post, The New York Times, or Sports Illustrated.  Getty does have a few pockets of staff photographers in some areas, and those photographers are constantly producing, and in the short term, will continue to do so. And yes, Getty is very publically present at major sporting and entertainment events (largely because they are contracted to do so by those organizations),  but beyond that, their content production has significantly diminished – they are much more curatorial than being an original content-producer. Stories from inside Getty reveal that cost-cutting and restrictions on spending have never been tighter.

Case in point – Getty staff photographers used to find themselves in various “tiers” that categorized their tenure and caliber, and as such, their salary. These tiers have effectively been done away with for cost-saving purposes. Another example centers around Getty staff photographers, who were able to generate additional revenue from the content they produced by earning a percentage of the licensing of those images. That has been reduced to a 12-month rolling window only. The next step will be to do away with it completely.

It has been suggested that the impending demise of Getty Images may be bad for news photographers, and I’m not sure that that bears out in the light of day. The news isn’t going away. News photographers should tell their stories and they can use a platform like Newscom or Getty. One solution would be for Getty to open their platform beyond the big players – NYT/SI – and take a nominal percentage. It seems that if a photographer with content on their own Photoshelter archives could feed their images through Getty and convey to Getty a 10% royalty on those individual licensing fees, Getty could generate revenue, however these photographers would have to opt-out of the all-you-can-use subscription models, because the sad joke amongst all photographers who license their work within these models is where the sales reports show the $1.51 and $0.49 licensing fees. Frankly, Getty has been a massively negative contributory influence on news photographers and their ability to survive and thrive, and Getty has in turn licensed that content for less than it costs to produce to news outlets. One need only look at the demise of Sports Illustrated's team of photographers - Getty photographers are, more and more, filling those pages, and the magazine decided they could dump their staffers. I wouldn't say that Getty is the only reason SI made this move, but it certainly was contributory. Frankly, a reduction in news coverage by Getty either because of belt-tightening and fewer assignments, or their demise will force a re-set by those who have come to rely on Getty for images. In fact, it not only may mean a few more staff photography positions, it also certainly will mean more freelance work for individual papers, and, perhaps, even another editor or two hired to assign and manage those incoming images. What is bad for news photographers has been a situation where Getty has been able to convince someone to shoot an assignment for less than it would cost to rent the equipment and hand the equipment to a monkey. Zero value has been placed on the valuable contributions of the actual photographer. That will change once Getty is gone.

A look Back

How did Getty arrive at this spot? Getty Images first hit the stock market during an IPO on July 2, 1996 on the NASDAQ before moving to the NYSE on November 5, 2002. Much of the public scrutiny on Getty diminished when, after a disasterous turn in the stock market under what was then the ticker GYI, and it seemed, for the Getty family to help defend the impending failure of a scion of the famed Getty family, Mark Getty,  one of the many private equity funds they have a relationship with, Hellman & Friedman, in 2008 took the company off the stock market and private, where no one had to see the further decline, and where, according to a March 2012 article on private equity citing Moody’s (here) notes that “certain Getty family members” were also shareholders.  While the taking private of Getty was reported as a a 2.4B transaction, H&F only “invested up to $941.3 million equity in Getty as part of the buyout, according toSEC filings.”  a pair of dividends in 2010 and 2012 effectively allowed H&F to make back most of their investment. Enter the Carlysle Group.

In September of 2012, Moody’s reports on their review of $2.6B in debt that, according to the Moody’s report hereThe new debt instruments are being issued to fund the acquisition of the parent of Getty Images by an affiliate of The Carlyle Group.” Moody’s  goes further, “The downgrades reflect the increased amount of funded debt and related interest expense resulting in higher debt-to-EBITDA leverage and weaker coverage ratios.” Carlyle bought Getty for $3.3B in 2012.

Ok, so what is “EBITDA” and why should you care? Well, according to Investopedia (here) that alphabet soup is a fancy way of saying “revenue minus expenses”, and the expenses is where that alphabet soup comes from. Expenses Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization. EBITDA. Investopedia indicates (here):
"EBITDA is essentially net income with interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization added back to it, and can be used to analyze and compare profitability between companies and industries because it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions."
Now, let’s take a look at an article by Forbes (here) where they note, “In reality, EBITDA is akin to a blender, into which go normal financial statements and out of which comes a number that always seems to make the subject company look better than it did when the numbers went into said blender.”  That said, if everyone is using the same “lie” then even though it’s an erroneous yardstick, it’s the same erroneous yardstick for everyone.

Now, coming back to the September 2012 report, one of the really interesting things (if you like to read the fine print, that is) is that they provide the rationale behind their actions, and in this case, they are explaining why they downgraded the Getty debt. But let me reiterate one point from above – about GETTY debt - “The new debt instruments are being issued to fund the acquisition of the parent of Getty Images by an affiliate of The Carlyle Group.” Does that make sense? Carlyle is using loans they are getting to buy Getty, and then making Getty responsible for paying the loan back.

It’s perfectly normal to loan someone more money than they earn in a year. A person who earns $40,000 a year can have no more than 28% of their gross income each month usable for their mortgage. That means a house payment of no more than $933 on a maximum home price of $184,204.  (more here ) and (here).  The assumption is that that person will continue to earn that much, if not more, and remain employed. When a company is in an environment when their product sales figures are on the decline, that becomes a problem.

In Getty’s instance, in 2012, Moody’s noted a 6.7 debt to EBITDA ratio, in an environment where a 3 is reasonable. Moody’s cites “revenue is expected to be flat in FY2012 compared to the prior year… Muted revenue growth for continuing operations reflects the decline in traditional premium stills business being offset largely by growth in the midstock business…
A year later, in September of 2013 Moody’s was back, warning Getty of an impending downgrade on the value of their debt. They note here citing “weak performance within the midstock imagery segment” and a bump up from 6.7 to 7.1 in their ratio, and they began taking a serious look at “..Getty Images' operations, particularly our view of management's ability to stabilize revenue and cash flow in the midstock imagery segment despite economic weakness in Europe and heightened competition.

In December 2014, Three months ago, 15 months after the last report, Getty in fact, gets downgraded from stable to negative (see here) where they become what’s called “B3” on $2.5B of debt. What does that mean? “B” is defined as “Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk” but it gets worse. Moody’s notes “Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category.”  So, they are already in  the “junk” category. Their rationale refers to “reduced free cash flow-to-debt” into about 2017.  They again refer to “persistent revenue declines in the Midstock segment since the second half of 2012 compounded by increased operating expenses from stepped up investments in personnel, marketing, and technology largely aimed at positioning the Midstock segment to be more competitive. The operating performance of Getty Images is well below its plan presented in the October 2012 buyout which underestimated the impact of aggressive competition in Midstock.” Yet, the market doesn’t seem to be the problem, it seems to be Getty that is the problem, when they note “to the track record of competitors, including Shutterstock (publicly traded) and Fotolia, to grow their stock photo revenue by high double digit percentages.” They report that “Management confirms that excess cash will be used primarily to reduce debt balances with acquisitions being put on hold.”  (Below is a breakdown of the various ratings nomenclatures from Moody's. More on Moody’s “ratings” system here ).

The above explains why the mid-level financiers who recently paid Getty a visit were unimpressed. They saw the writing on the wall.

Present Day
In the last few days, a flurry of discussion has centered around A Bloomberg News report, Getty Images Is Running Tight on Cash (here) and a follow up, Getty Images’ Outlook Blurs as Photo Rivalry Triggers Price War ( here ) which lead to revelations about the dire circumstances at Getty. Let’s take a closer look at what was reported.

While Moody’s dire reporting was coming out, Getty was finishing 2014 “burned through a third of its cash in the last three months of 2014 as declining earnings limit the Carlyle Group LP-controlled photo archiver’s ability to invest and curb its access to credit…” and as a result, they only have $27 million left. Their February 23rd disclosure, according to Bloomberg shows a further decline of 7% for EBITDA, making things even worse. 
Under the terms of  their previous loans, because their EBITDA is greater than 6 (remember, it’s 8, and normal companies are around a 3) they can’t even get a loan.  Further, as Bloomberg reports, they do have a $150 million credit line, but can only take $30 million of it because they are already over-extended.  If they accessed more, they would be in violation of their other loan contracts.

Looking back for a moment, In the 2012 Moody’s report, they noted “…barriers to entry are lower for the price sensitive segments. Increased demand for the company's lower priced imagery products historically offset weakness in the traditional segment; however, there are risks related to the potential for increased competition, especially in the lower end stock imagery segment.” Moody’s went on to provide what was a harbinger of things to come, when they noted “…our expectation that demand for Getty Images' lower priced imagery products and for its new services will largely offset mature demand for the company's premium imagery business.”  

Getty now either has wholey-owned content of images they represent of approximately 170,000,000 images. Sources with knowledge of how valuators determined the value of that library-as-an-asset, each image is valued at $0.15 per image. That means the total valuation of their image library, were it to be sold off now, is $25,500,000 (that’s 25.5 million).  How many of those are they relying on in the mid-stock segment? According to Getty, they have just 8 million images that are unique. That means the unique value of their mid-stock image library is just $1.2 million. Even if the figures are much higher, the reality is that blood is in the water as Getty competitors, with no debt seek to topple Getty that is bleeding out. Both Shutterstock and Fotolia are leading competitors in that arena, and a price war, according to Bloomberg, is now underway. In an era where Getty must increase revenue, the concept of “selling for less and making it up on volume…” is just not going to work.

It did not help that last year Getty made tens of millions of their images available for free online (reported here - Monetizing Getty's 35M Image Archive via FREE Editorial Uses, (here) but the idea was to forgo what was just a few cents to a dollar in exchange for what was to be a critical mass of images providing viewer tracking data that Getty could then leverage to marketers and advertisers and be able to project revenues into the future. That didn’t work out so well.

The Bloomberg article closes with a very foreboding message, noting a Moody’s analyst who states that Getty has “two competitors who are relatively debt free who can invest”, and warns “If things don’t improve, there’s potential we’d lower the rating.”

Here’s a hint – they won’t improve.

The Future

Getty has made it clear in disclosures to Moody’s that they are not going to be acquiring other companies. Even if they wanted to, they don’t have any assets to do so. There is a strong distaste amongst contributors about the constant decline in the contributors’ share of licensing revenues, so a short-term shift further of even worse percentages would create a long term problem from which Getty would never recover.

Getty could utilize their platform that is already ingrained into the desktops and web-browser bookmarks of publishing entities around the world, and serve as a content platform only. Yet, companies like HBO, which started as a re-seller of movies moved successfully into producing content, and more recently, Netflix did the same thing, again, producing content. Getty is clearly moving away from that model.

Getty has a number of properties within the corporate umbrella that could be salable assets. They license video, audio/music, and microstock sites iStockphoto and Thinkstock. They also have valuable contracts with a number of sports leagues that could be sold to competitors. One contract that first started with WireImage was the NFL contract, which was largely the reason that Getty acquired WireImage) which now is in the hands of the Associated Press after a 2009 vap-getty-cred-300x179.pngendor change. Contracts with the NBA, NHL, and MLB all could be picked up by AP, Reuters, Corbis, or another provider. MLB extended their contract with Getty in September of 2013. Getty also has intellectual property of PicScout – the largest commercial image-recognition platform for locating and identifying unauthorized uses of photographs.  It was acquired in 2011 by Getty and remains operational as a separate entity under the Getty umbrella.

Each of these sub-entities could be spun-off or sold-off in a breakup of Getty. Under a bankruptcy scenario, these assets would all be sold off, but with no clear entities strongly interested in the assets, they would be for pennies on the dollar. The limited Getty staff photographers would be looking at the other wire-services for employment, because most if not all of them are highly talented. As for images, at 15-cents an image, those 8 million unique images would, as noted before, be valued at just a $1M or so. Where they will get anywhere close to the $2B+ they owe will be an exercise that involves a lot of smoke, mirrors, and a dance I’ve never seen before.

RELATED - Getty Stories on Photo Business News to Present:

UPDATED: Getty Infringement, 2/24/07When Your Agent is Not Your Friend, 6/14/07About the only good 'Short'-sighted Idea I can find, 7/8/07I told you so? No, not really. (Well, maybe, sort of), 8/4/07Getty Site - Site Down as Stock Is Down?, 8/24/07The 'Virus' is Spreading, 8/29/07JDK's World, 8/29/07UPDATED: GYI - The Downward Full Court Press Continues,  9/6/07Getty's Self-Immolation, 9/12/07UPDATED: Getty (GYI) Hit New 52 Week low, 9/18/07GYI's JDK: "our core stock photography business has stopped growing, in fact, it's declining.", 9/20/07Three Free Men - Getty Images on Lockdown, 9/21/07Photographer's Choice Chance, 9/23/07It's The Witching Hour - Are You Ready?,  10/30/07The Numbers Speak for Themselves - GYI down 30%, 11/1/07Getty Images (GYI) In Decline Again, 1/6/08BREAKING: Getty Images (GYI) Hits 52-Week Low (again), 1/7/08UPDATED: Karma's a (rhymes with witch), 1/8/08Getty, The Stock Market, and Warren Buffett, 1/15/08There's a sucker born every minute - Getty Images For Sale!, 1/21/08JDK - Getty Images' CEO and KKR's Track Record - History Repeats Itself?, 1/22/08Ho Humm. One More Q in Loser-ville for Getty, 2/1/08Getty Images - Down For The Count, 2/11/08Let The Exodus Begin (resume?) While PhotoShelter Picks Up More Talent, 2/12/08Getty Images - A New Beginning?, 2/26/08Getty Images - Moving Forward, 3/19/08Fool's Gold - Getty Images' Future, 4/1/08SI Pictures Boards A Sinking Ship, 4/2/08Assignment vs. Stock - Is Stock Risky?, 5/19/08The Curious Case of Getty and Flickr, 7/11/08The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions: Getty Images Buys JupiterImages, 10/24/08Micelotta out At Getty?, 2/1/09Getty Flushes Scoopt, 2/3/09Boo Hoo, and Buh-Bye, 3/5/09Getty Images And Paparazzi Pictures, 3/9/09"5 percent of our workforce, will be asked to leave Getty Images", 3/16/09When Do The Musicians Abandon Ship?, 3/17/09Livingstone Out At Getty Images, 3/24/09Getty Makes More Cuts, 3/26/09The Associated Press and the NFL, 4/15/09Getty's Got Game - (A Perfect One), 7/30/09Pushing Pixels: $5 Idiocy, 8/7/09Enter The Efficiency Experts, 8/17/09Getty Images Splitting Sales With Celebrity Subjects on the "DL", 8/30/09Ten Questions for Frank Micelotta, 9/11/09Getty Images - Business Fantasy Update, 10/10/09Tick...Tick...Tick...Getty Images Cuts More Staff, 10/21/09Getty Images and Bloomberg - Futurescape, 11/5/09NFL and the Wayward Getty Images, 4/9/09Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein - Delusional, Deceptive, or a Liar?, 2/26/10Who Gets Paid What? Getty & Corbis Edition, 4/9/10Getty Images and the Incredibly Shrinking Usage Fee, 5/13/10Getty and Flickr's New Relationship, 6/18/10Stock Loss: Stupid is, as Stupid Does, 2/24/11PicScout Acquired by Getty Images, 5/23/11Getty Images: (Not) Looking for Cash in All The Wrong (Right) Places, 3/23/12Getty Images Returning to the Stock Market with an IPO?, 5/22/12Deception? Getty Images & The Pinterest Deal, 12/13/13Monetizing Getty's 35M Image Archive via FREE Editorial Uses, 3/7/14Getty's Flickr Agreement Ends Like Titanic, 3/11/14

digg_url = 'WEBSITE_URL'; digg_bgcolor = '#161d23';digg_skin = 'compact';
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.
Categories: Business

The Art of the Personal Project: Geoff Levy

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 10:09am

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:

Geoff Levy






















How long have you been shooting?
I’ve dabbled with a camera for six years, but seriously shooting with professional intention for three.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self-taught. I studied cinematography and a lot of the principles applied, though.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
After assisting a friend on a shoot for a famous cake chef, I was asked to throw away about forty cakes. I was pretty ticked about all of the wasted food – even after giving away a dozen there was still so much going to waste. Since they were dumpster bound regardless, I figured I’d “recycle” them via preserving them in photographs. It has a subtext about New York city’s waste and inefficiency.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The entire project was shot over two months. These cakes had a shelf life.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
Since I’m shooting for my own self, the only governing rules are my tastes. When shooting portfolio work, you have the intention of adding a brand to it. Those projects have commercial contexts – but it’s freeing to make something that makes you happy. And that joy comes through, somehow.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
This project was first released bit-by-bit on Instagram.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
The momentum of #CakeAngry hashtag got me featured on some great sites/accounts, i.e. Refinery29, NotCot, Phoblographer. Once it got featured on a couple of sites, a lot of photography, art and food blogs reposted.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I’m making prints of the work but for a gallery showing. I’m currently not making mailers, though that’d be a good idea.


Geoff Levy is a photographer and filmmaker, transplanted from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to New York City. Driven by his love for cinematography, abstraction of narrative and a desire to bridge the gap between art and commerce, Geoff creates motion and still works that capture heightened fictional experiences that feel intimate and natural. He is currently working with advertising giant, Ogilvy & Mather, while producing personal projects.

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

Saying No to a Better Career

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:01am

[by Rosh Sillars]

When I began my photography career at the age of eight-teen, my mantra was YES, I can do it. If I don’t know how, I will figure it out. Soon I discovered that saying yes to everything lead me down a career path of average photography and mad clients.

This was a time before the World Wide Web and social media. Some might argue that today it is easier to say yes to everything because how-to do anything is at your fingertips. I do agree.

Should you?

I have a question for you. Name the most famous everything photographer you know. The photographer who isn’t known for a specialty or two. She photographs everything, in every way and is famous for it. There are famous photographers who have a style that they apply to multiple subjects. I’m at a loss to find the everything photographer who says yes to all opportunities and hits it out of the park every time. Maybe you know one; you must also know they are rare.

Once I started to say no and focused on a few specialties, larger clients began knocking on my door, taking my phone calls and my career took off.

Understanding and recognizing my limitations allows me to think strategically. Rather than take on a project that doesn’t fit my areas of specialty, I referred the clients to other photographers. I also take a cut for my referral.

I discovered that I rather have a happy client using a photographer friend than a mad client because I couldn’t say no.

Rosh Sillars is a Detroit based photographer.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – People Magazine Oscar Portfolio: Brenna Britton

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 9:57am

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.10.12 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.10.19 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.10.26 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.10.31 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.10.39 AM




People Magazine

Creative Director: Andrea Dunham
Director of Photography: Catriona Ni Aolain
Deputy Photography Director & Multimedia: Christine Ramage
Deputy Photo Editor-Entertainment: Brenna Britton
Deputy Design Director: Dean Markadakis- Designed this layout
Photographer+Director: Peggy Sirota

Heidi: We all know Peggy is a star, what was it specifically that made you choose her?
Brenna: Creative Director, Andrea Dunham, Director of Photography Catriona Ni Aolain, Deputy Director Christine Ramage, and myself wanted Peggy for her signature style, which means you’ll get the most stunning light, effortless moments of cool, and everyone looking beautiful. And for all those reasons, celebrities love to shoot with her. Working with Director of Visual Projects, Blaine Zuckerman, we also wanted a video series in Peggy’s style, to differentiate from the typical photo shoot interview, and have continuity from the still image portfolio through the video series.

With the Oscar’s coming up, how did you hope to set your portfolio apart from the media frenzy around these subjects
The original concept was to do a day in the life of Oscar, with a photojournalistic approach. Inspired by Paolo Pellegrin’s 2008 portfolio for the New York Times, we wanted each nominee to represent a slice of the day. Obsessed with Pellegrin’s image of Sean Penn making a sandwich in his kitchen, most photo editors and photographers dream of that kind of access, with that caliber of talent. That image gave you a private moment with an actor at the least private of times, awards season. To be able to photograph any of these nominees outside of the Beverly Hilton, or any other Hotel on the awards show conveyer belt is a miracle.

Unlike other publications that produce award season portfolios prior to the nominations, we actually wait till the nominations are out and then have about 2 weeks to produce a concept portfolio during the most hectic time for the talent. I’ll call the PR rep to ask to photograph the talent in a really soulful way that represents who they are as human beings at their home, waking up, brushing their kid’s teeth, hiking, driving, something reminiscent of the old LIFE magazine iconic images. I’ll ask for 5 hours for a photo shoot, video shoot, and interview.

The talent and PR reps are spread so thin during awards season, a possible offer of time would sound something like this:  “We have 10 mins in a corner of a hallway, after The “enter any awards event name here”, after 80 other photographers have photographed them in the same outfit, on the way out the door. You may be able to get them to actually stop for you, but I’m not sure, they have to be at Kimmel by 4:00pm, does that work? ” Not really the part of their soul I was going for, but let me see what we can do.

In all seriousness, the talent’s team is face with a mountain of asks, events and interviews, it’s a tremendous amount to juggle a successful campaign. Then I come along and ask for the most amount of time, and their soul on top of it, I’m the last person they want to hear from.  But in the end, each Talent’s teamwork to make the images happen, you have to respect what they are going through and still try to get close to your ideas.

Was this a multi day shoot?
Two weeks in Los Angeles producing what ended up being a 5 day shoot, with 2 shoots cancelled on top of that. Final outcome–5 image portfolio, 6 videos— 1 baby grand piano, 3 horses, 1 shoot cancelled the morning of, and numerous heart attacks. The only way to get through these types of numbers is with an outstanding team from Peggy, to producers Steve Bauerfeind, Cathy Mele, and numerous PEOPLE editors all-pushing to make this portfolio happen.

What type of direction did give the subjects? Were they characters in the films or themselves? 
I know it sounds cliché, but we really did want the talent to be themselves. It was incredibly important to Peggy to speak with each nominee directly, and ask what he or she really wanted to be doing during the shoot. Peggy is always looking to create an authentic environment that puts talent at ease the moment they arrive on set. Eddie is a great example. While we tried to get him on the phone with Peggy, I had done some research, and read interviews that he had a collection of guitars. We hired prop stylist Phillip Williams to get guitars, and worked on art directing the photo shoot around this premise. We had a tough time getting Eddie on the phone with Peggy, because he was filming in Germany, but they got on the phone the day before the shoot.

By the time I landed in LA, guitars had been nixed, and Eddie had told Peggy how he loved to play the piano. The hunt was on for a piano store, or a piano to be brought to set. The guitars were dropped, a vintage car was cancelled, and baby grand Piano was brought to set. I had a panic attack watching 6 guys carry the baby grand up wood steps to our Mid -Century location house and have it placed on a balcony that, to this day, I have no idea how it supported the piano, the crew, and Eddie. End result, a beautiful moment with Eddie doing something he loved.

What was the creative/video direction for this shoot? Did it all come from the photographer? 
Dunham, Ni Aolin, Ramage and myself really wanted a day in the life of a nominee, with each talent representing a different time of the day. Peggy was adamant that the talent be involved in deciding what those acts were so the image was authentic, and not just coming up with another roll for them to play. To make things a bit more complicated we had a video component that would be a trailer for the portfolio. The trailer would carry a narrative taking the viewer/reader through a full day in LA with each nominee photographed for a different portion of the day.  For example, Morning: Laura Dern with coffee, Afternoon: Keaton, riding his horses, Late Afternoon: Felicity Jones at High Tea, Evening: Eddie playing piano, and then came Late Evening: Hawke and Arquette, who where to be having dinner.

This shoot was a great lesson and a game changer to the portfolio narrative. There are the ideas you come up with in an office in New York and then there is the magic you can never predict that happens on set. It’s because of these rare moments I love my job. Everything with talent at this level is controlled and to get a true moment that’s not contrived is a gift. Both Ethan and Patricia couldn’t get on the phone with Peggy due to their schedules, but in the end, all you really needed was for them to show up. Sometimes you can get so attached to an idea that you miss the magic. On-set, you’re constantly ask yourself—“How will this fit into the narrative, the portfolio, the original concept?” You’ve got Ethan and Patricia, two people that have true chemistry, on location at Santa Barbara’s San Ysidro Ranch, at magic hour, with a master of capturing golden light – Peggy Sirota. When you’ve got all those elements together, your job is done, it’s gorgeous, and you didn’t have to do the photo shoot in a bland hotel hallway. The only problem, only one image can run in the portfolio, great problems to have! Then again, Online, Instagram, and the tablet, have solved that too.

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

Categories: Business

Finish the Sentence; “Just Say No If…”

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:01am

[by Gail Mooney]

There have been plenty of times when I’ve been asked to agree to things that were not in my best interests. In particular, I’ve had a lot of lousy, one sided contracts presented to me over the years, and sometimes I had to walk away.

One thing I’ve learned about contracts is that if I want to have any leverage in negotiating, I have to be in a favorable position. If the type of photography I am doing can easily be done by hundreds of other photographers, then my options are very limited – sign the contract – or not. There won’t be any negotiating. But if I set myself apart from the crowd and offer something unique or better than my competition, I’ll be in a far better negotiating position.

It seems like more clients are looking for “buy outs”, these days. They have a much greater need for imagery for multiple communication outlets – print, broadcast and digital, including social media portals. Art buyers are commissioning larger projects to fulfill the demand for lots of fresh content and it is impacting the traditional business model of “licensing” that most photographers have adapted. So, what can a photographer do – other than just say no to a bad deal?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Find out the real needs of the marketplace.   Most photographers are so focused on explaining what they offer – they forget to find out what clients need.
  • Do the research and then figure out where your skills and strengths fit in the marketplace. For example: I am good with interviews. People open up to me. That rapport I have with people is unique.
  • Raise your own bar. Be better than most. If your work is interchangeable with hundreds of other photographers, then you will always be negotiating on price and that’s a quick way to the poor house. Stand out from the pack. You will pull in the right clients and repel the ones just looking for the cheapest guy in town.
  • Flip the paradigm. If you have done your homework and found out your client’s needs, then you can offer solutions and present them as an upsell, putting more money in your pocket. For example – if you are asked to shoot one still image for an annual report and are given a budget – ask if they need more images for their social media portals. Then offer to shoot additional imagery for a bump up in fee. That’s an upsell.

These are simple basic business principles. Find out what the market wants. Do the work, be better, raise your own bar and finish the sentence “Just say no…because you can”.

Gail Mooney is National Board Chair of ASMP. Find more video tips for still photographers in Gail’s book: The Craft and Commerce of Video and Motion.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

A Productive No

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:01am

[by Bruce Katz]

There are times when saying no is a powerful tool for negotiation. It’s also a great way to get answers quickly.

Here are some examples of using “no” productively. One caveat – you have to be sincere about using “no” and be able to walk away from the deal if needed.

A friend called for advice. The TV show Law and Order sent him an email seeking a signed release for a photograph of his that was part of a restaurant interior used as a location for the show. L&O offered no payment. We both agreed that there was no value in the TV exposure, no one was going to pay attention to a photograph in the background of a short scene. His goal was a fee in return for the signed release.

I suggested that he politely answer the email with a simple “No, I am not interested in having my photograph appear on the show” and wait to see what happened.

They followed up his email with an immediate offer to pay.

This was the perfect way to qualify a client quickly – are they serious about the project and do they have money to spend?   We knew that L&O had the budget to pay.

We routinely get these ridiculous proposals. What we don’t know is whether there are real budgets associated with them. Saying no to the ridiculous offer establishes your terms quickly. You can then follow up the “no” with some pertinent questions to get to the budget answer.

A request to use a photograph of mine in a textbook (for free with the promise of great exposure) went like this:

Me: “Thanks for your interest in using my photo in your book. I have to tell you upfront that I have my marketing and exposure needs covered. I would be happy to discuss the appropriate fee for including my photo in the book. Are you interested in that?”

Author: “Well I’m on a very tight budget, but yes, go ahead and get me that number.”

I was able to find out quickly that he did have a budget, and I said “no” to his initial offer without actually using the word.

Used at the appropriate time with discretion, saying no can get things done quickly – you might even get paid for it.

Bruce Katz is a former national ASMP board member, and says no with discretion in NYC.










Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Peter Lik - Master Marketer and Successful Entrepreneur

Photo Business Forum - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 7:35pm
Peter Lik's "Ghost", which is the color version of his one-off "Phantom." ©Peter Lik

Say what you will about photographer Peter Lik, but you don't have 15 art galleries and a Chief Financial Officer and then belong anywhere but in the category of "successful businessman." An interesting article in the New York Times about Lik - Peter Lik’s Recipe for Success: Sell Prints. Print Money. somehow gave fodder for Artnet News to opine "New York Times Exposes Peter Lik Photography Fraud". Now, where do they get "fraud" in the NYT article? Questions? Sure. Fraud? That remains to be seen.

let's have a look at the math - actually, let's let the NYT to it for us:

"When 95 percent of an image has sold it becomes “Premium Peter Lik” and the price jumps to $17,500. At 98 percent, it’s “Second Level Premium Peter Lik” and leaps to $35,000. And when the image gets down to its last handful, the prices can go as high as $200,000 or more. When all copies of a photograph are sold, it can gross the company more than $7 million.

So, if someone wanted to by an entire edition of one of Lik's photographs, it would cost them "more than $7 million" and they'd have 995 prints in a stack. So, when someone pays "only" $6.5 million, they have one print and don't have to deal with 994 other prints, and they are saving at least $500,000. AND, they then have a one-of-a-kind piece to boot."

There are all sorts of quotes and colloquialisms "art is what you make of it", and "one person's junk is another person's treasure", and as Andy Warhol once said "Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." Oh, and you could quote P.T. Barnum's circus competitor, who, in cricism of Barnum, said, "there's a sucker born every minute."

Again, the NYT notes, on the resale value of Lik's work (or the work of ANY other artist, photographic or not, for that matter):

"It’s a truism that the price of a commodity doesn’t always correlate to its value. This is especially so in the art market, where experts say a stunningly small percent of what is sold will ever be worth more than it was on the day it was acquired."

"A stunningly small percent...will ever be worth more than on the say it was acquired." Yet others are being critical as if this is only the case with Lik. Artnet News, seeminingly critically, writes:

"With photos sold in limited editions of 995, Lik is able to create artificial demand by driving up the prices as he sells more copies."

How, exactly, is that any different than any other artist with editions? Ansel Adams? Picasso? Norman Rockwell? Thomas Kinkade? Every artist sets their edition sizes, creating an artificially limited supply. This is standard in the art world, yet they roll it out a criticism of Lik?

(Continued after the Jump)

Don't get me wrong - when Lik is quoted by the NYT as saying “I’m the world’s most famous photographer, most sought-after photographer, most awarded photographer,”, or “If you’re in Caesars Palace, you’re no joke,...That was a huge turning point. I’m in Caesars. I’m God. Nailed it.”, I think he's gone too far. "Most famous?" Well, depends on how you define "famous" - he's sold more signed prints than anyone else it seems. This argument also works for "most sought-after" too. Yet, he's using over-the-top marketing speak. When someone writes about Diamonds "She already knows you love her, now everyone else will too", or BMW's "The Ultimate Driving Machine" or Mercedes' "you deserve the very best" slogans - no one faults them.

Lik is making money, and lots of money at that. He's creating a demand for prints with an escalation of print prices as the edition sells out. He's no different than another self-taught photographer Rodney Lough Jr, who's creating an escalation of pricing with increased "appreciation levels" as editions sell out. In 1996 While Lik was selling postcards in Australia, Lough started his company in Oregon also selling landscape photography in limited editions as art, leaving his corporate life behind - both Lik and Lough are currently 55 years old. I suspect it's possible that Lik learned about these escalating prices and editions and scarcity from Lough. Lough will also "pre-sell" an edition, even before it's shot - sight unseen. So, you're buying a piece of Lough's future "vision", not even knowing what it looks like.

The photographic world of "art" is evolving rapidly, and also trying to evolve into an existing "art world" with trend-setters and taste-makers somehow telling people what's "in" and what's "out." Lik rejects that. How many "it" artists find themselves broke and penniless after the art world turns on them or they suddenly are no longer the "it" sensation?

In the NYT article, they note "The message is that the sooner you buy, the less you will pay. So buy now. 'If we had them at $3,950 the whole time, where is the sense of urgency?'" Indeed. Is it factually inaccurate to say "“This photograph started at $4,000 and it sold out at $200,000"? No, it's not. Someone bought an early edition of a print at $4k, and others later paid $17,500, and $35,000, and yes, eventually, it sold for $200k before no longer being sold. Fraud would exist if Lik later re-printed the image and started anew. Is art a good investment, photographically or otherwise? Generally speaking, no, it's not. People say, of art, "if you like the art, if it speaks to you, buy it because you like it." I agree. It is smart business to be very up front and say "it's $4k now, and in 8 months, it'll be $20k - the price goes up the scarcer it gets." Sure, people may be trying to re-sell a print and be having a hard time - right now. Others, like the Chicago real estate developer has 50 or so Peter Lik prints, and he's happy. The people he shows the photos to are "delighted."

The article notes "that the vast majority of Mr. Lik’s buyers are not well versed in the secondary art market" and it may be that conveniently located galleries in tourist destinations where there is high traffic and disposable income means that higher-net-worth people have $4k to drop on a photo, but when people are spending $35k and $200k in a photograph, these people are not idiots - they have huge piles of disposable income and want what they want and can afford to choose to buy these things. Who are we to say they shouldn't, any more than we should tell everyone to buy a Toyota or a Chevy as transportation because a Bentley or a Maclaren is just wasting your money? His galleries are smartly located and his sales teams well trained, and the NYT article notes that they risk their jobs if they start talking about Lik's works as an "investment." The Wall Street Journal in an article here notes that the art-as-investment industry is nascent at best, with little evidence a mid-teens return can be even be achieved yet. So why are people so focused on a "secondary art market"?

In another NYT article, the title of which inspired a part of the title of this article, about Ansel Adams, "Ansel Adams: Master Photographer,Master Marketer":

"Mr. Adams had printed his work in open editions up until then and sold the work for very little money. With the landmark decision to cease printing, they created a limited supply...Adams was by then in his 70s and had grown weary of the difficult darkroom toil."

I'm not suggesting here that Lik is Adams, and Lik certainly is quoted as having taken a swipe at Adams in the NYT article, but the concept remains - scarcity is the key to an increased valuation. With Adams gone, his print prices have increased. I'm guessing that will be the case once Lik is gone, but that seems like it'll be many decades from now.

In the meantime, those who have Lik pieces will enjoy their beauty, and no one has criticized Lik as having less than beautiful work, they've just criticized his marketing speak, success and business acumen.

digg_url = 'WEBSITE_URL'; digg_bgcolor = '#161d23';digg_skin = 'compact';
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.
Categories: Business

Saying “NO” is never easy…

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:02am

[by Chris Winton-Stahle]

You don’t have to take every job! We ALL know this. We’ve all experienced the “low ball” clients, the “triple bids” and “bad contracts”. It’s a reality of our business and it’s up to us to educate ourselves. Only we can know individually what’s good for us and what’s not.

But what happens when a dream job comes along with a healthy 5 figure budget but between the expenses and the liabilities involved, you realize that you’re going to have to walk away?

This happened to me recently. I had been nurturing a relationship with a prospective client who could send a lot of work my way. Finally, a project came up that would be perfect for us and they invited my team to be one of three companies that would bid on a terrific project shooting on location in a tropical paradise for 5 days.

Sounds like a dream, right? Not really…

First, the numbers didn’t work. No matter how hard I tried to meet their budget requirements, I just couldn’t compete with photographers who were local to that area.

Not only did my travel costs eat into the budget, but the client wanted “unlimited exclusive” rights to everything produced and wanted my company to handle hiring professional talent through an agency. This is where things really fell apart. The talent agencies’ premium for unlimited exclusive rights blew the client’s budget. I tried everything I could think of but no matter which way I turned, I hit a brick wall. The agencies were unwilling to budge on their premium, the client was unwilling to budge on the license parameters or their requirement that we cast through an agency.

I wanted this project but after crunching the numbers every way I could, I realized that by the time I covered the expenses, there was so little budget left, my ability to produce the caliber of work I’m known for would be compromised. It was a heartbreaking experience to go through but I knew that preserving my business reputation and my integrity by taking the safer path would be more valuable in the long run than lowering the my company’s standards to the place that would get us the job.

It’s hard to say “no,” but I firmly believe that it’s crucial to always look at the long-term investment of what you’re doing and to weigh the pros and cons as objectively as possible. In this case, I felt the liability of accepting this project under the client’s terms was too great and I was not willing to risk negatively affecting my reputation and my business.

In the end, I decided to submit a bid that included all the costs and expenses it would take for me to produce the job to my standards – the standards the client was expecting based on the work I’ve sent them over the years. I knew this would take me out of the game but it was the only decision that would let me sleep soundly at night.

A week after I submitted our estimate the client on the project emailed to let us know that we were not awarded the job, that he appreciated my time and was sorry it didn’t work out. Though I’m sad this particular project didn’t work out, I know it doesn’t mean that future projects won’t. It’s very important to me to build strong relationships with clients and to not inadvertently burn bridges when situations like this arise.

Remember that it’s never personal. It’s just business and the people you will want to work with will always respect you more for making the wiser, more mature business decisions.

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

Saying No

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:01am

Sometimes what the client wants, what they’re willing to pay and what’s best for you and your business don’t line up.  At what point do you decide to walk away?  How do you say no to a bad fit and still leave the door open for future collaborations? This week, our contributors share their insights on how to handle it when you can’t strike a deal.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Dafy Hagai

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 11:05am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I got a fat stack of books in Santa Fe the other day. Fresh meat. Yum yum.

I never know what I’m going to get, when I re-up at photo-eye. If it’s new, I’m willing to look at it. And these days, people also send me things, so that opens up new worlds of possibility.

As such, I’m wondering if it’s time to be a shade more discriminating in what I review, like a coin collector who won’t spring for just any old piece of silver. (“Excuse me, Bertram, but if you think I’m going to pay $2 million for an 1875 Buffalo nickel, you must be smoking the super-skunk.”)

The first book I reached for today was a Thomas Struth number made in Israel; part of the “This Place” project that I’ve mined for content on many an occasion. Struth? A German in Israel? It’s got to be good, right?

Well. I guess. If you’re into boring pictures.

I hate to throw another photo legend under the bus, but there you go. I’m sure he’s going to read this and have a good cry, but I’m no hater. When the man was good, he was genius, so we’ll always have the old days.

Co-incidentally, the very next book I grabbed, seduced by its snappy blue-on-white color palette, was also made in Israel. Now, I’m sure some of you will think that I have a predilection for such things, as I’m known to be Jewish. But I assure you, I’m as keen to see what’s going on in Kyrgyzstan, Kathmandu, and Kuala Lumpur.

As it happens, this book, the second one I grabbed with grubby hands, like a drunk frat boy reaching for one more In’n’out burger…it’s a doozy. And not necessarily in a good way.

Some weeks, I write about shit you’ve never seen before. Other weeks, like last Friday, I try to highlight really smart and innovative offerings that you might actually want to buy. And then there are the columns, like this one, where you might get agitated.

Consider yourself warned.

“Israeli Girls” is a new book by Dafy Hagai, recently published by Art Paper Editions, in Ghent. I’m writing about it now, because I’m so darn confused. Sometimes, seeing the words pop up on screen helps me suss out my thoughts. (That so many people are reading the results is almost ancillary.)

What’s my favorite catch phrase, beyond “The 21st Century Hustle?” That’s right: Boobs Sell Books℠. They must, or photographers wouldn’t insist on jamming them into their narratives like a Tokyo salaryman wedging onto the subway at rush-hour.

This book is one where, after the very first picture, of a young woman flashing her tennis-skirt-covered tush like a baboon in heat, I knew the boobs were coming.

Sure, the title, “Israeli Girls” hints at the subject: Israeli Girls. But, I thought, there has to be more to it than that? Not long ago, I wrote about Christopher Everard’s meticulously researched investigation of the pornography industry. Billions of dollars are spent helping people get their rocks off.

Does anyone really buy a photobook for that, when they can get it for free on the Internet, minus the classy production values? Or for $39.99 from Vivid Video, with more bells and whistles? Does it matter that these girls are Israeli? As opposed to Dutch? Or Californian?

The book features kind-of-edgy pictures, and we could whip out the Balthus reference, though these young women seem to be of proper age. But I don’t know anything about them, because the book lacks any supporting text at all.

It’s just a bunch of pictures of pretty girls, made in an arty style. Yes, there’s a pink tennis visor on a children’s slide. And when the boobs come, they’re accompanied by under-arm hair, which I’m sure is meant to counter-balance the traditional notions of beauty.

But I’m just not sure what to think. Is this book the equivalent of an ironic mustache, one of my all-time pet peeves? If you want to grow a mustache, grow a f-cking mustache, OK? Don’t pretend that you’re better than your mustache, and you’re only wearing it to make fun of every other tool who wants to look like a 19th Century barkeep. (“May I offer you gents a libation this fine afternoon?”)

If you like pictures of pretty girls, fine. Go for it. Get a job at Playboy, and shoot boobs to your heart’s content. More power to you.

But this book wants to have it both ways. So why am I writing about it? Because I’m annoyed that it’s crawling around inside my head. I don’t know much about VICE, though I’m aware it’s become a Billion Dollar Brand. Is this book made for VICE guys? Or has VICE become respectable these days?

Again, I don’t know, because there is no essay, no titles, no rambling narrative meant to give me so much as a clue. Just some pretty Jewish girls, seducing the camera with their pouty lips and firm flesh. (On general principle, I won’t show you the boob shots, as a faux-protest, but I’m just too wound up not to write about this one.)


OK. I’m done here. You might hate me for taking up your time to discuss a book I only like “ironically,” or you might thank me for giving you a properly pretty diversion on what’s likely to be a frigid Friday.

Either way, see you next week. (Same Bat time. Same Bat channel.)

Bottom Line: Odd, mysterious, and probably vapid book about pretty Israeli girls

To Purchase “Israeli Girls” Visit Photo-Eye
















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

Social Media = Smart Marketing

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 12:01am

[by Chris Winton-Stahle]

Social Media is still my best marketing tool. Even with recent changes, I am able to effectively use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram together to drive traffic to my website and blog and let people informed to what I’ve been doing. With these tools, you are able to find people who get what you’re doing and create a community. What you build should be a safe, creative space, as well as a productive environment for conversation. Here are a few things that have worked well for me with social media:

  • Write short, informative, to-the-point blurbs. You don’t want readers to scroll past your content because it’s too time consuming to read.
  • Learn to appropriately use hashtags. Twitter and Instagram make it easy to participate in global conversations via hashtags.
  • Create watermarked images for the content you release. If people see your work, you want them to know where it came from- but make sure it’s done in a tasteful way that doesn’t distract. Here’s how I do it:

  • BE SURE to include metadata in all of your images! I use an automated metadata template found in Adobe Bridge that will automatically batch process my files with my information. Here’s a tutorial video on how to do this if you’re interested.
  • Personal work is best, but if the work you’re sharing is commissioned, make sure you have permission from the client. Give credit to everyone involved- this is a great way to build trust in your brand.
  • Help to promote others! Social media is not all about you, you, you. Part of building loyalty in your community is helping others accomplish their goals.
  • Consider your audience. Is what you’re posting something that you would find interesting?
  • Engage with your followers. Don’t wait for them to comment or like your content; reach out to interact with them first.
  • Always keep it positive! If you come across as having a negative attitude, it will leave a negative impression of you and your brand. Every one has struggles, but be selective about how you share them. Don’t forget to set restrictions in your page setting so that you can preview what others are sharing or tagging you in.

Overall, I know it’s easy to get caught up in the amount of likes, follows or shares. While those may be good for our ego, the ultimate goal should be to build relationships and trust. Be intentional with your use of social media and it truly can become a driving force behind your business.

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

The Art of the Personal Project: Diana Zalucky

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 9:49am

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: Diana Zalucky
















How long have you been shooting?
More than half my life. I picked up a camera in high school and haven’t put it down since.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and from ages 21 to 29, I was shooting everything from advertising campaigns to celebrities for Disney. My experience working there was the education of a lifetime. This summer will mark my 3 year anniversary of having my own business!

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up in the US Virgin Islands and have always had a fascination with extreme cold weather. I like to read all the books about people losing limbs in the mountains and all the great epic adventure stories that go along with that lifestyle. I also have a strong fascination with people and the art they create. And by “art,” I mean whatever it is a person does that they love. I may not understand what you are doing, but I do understand that unwavering passion and need to create as if it’s your only choice. To be able to find that connection with others is very special to me.

My inspiration for this shoot came after reading a magazine in my doctor’s office. It was a small feature in Oprah about this amazing woman, Zoya Denure, who left the modeling world to become a dog musher in Alaska. I decided to look her up online and we planned an initial visit for the Iditarod a few months later. In a bittersweet moment, I had to cancel my trip for a big ad job with a dream client, but we stayed in touch rest of the year and planned my visit for a different race almost a year later.

Initially, I was planning to photograph Zoya, but her baby became sick and numerous dogs needed to be cared for at their kennel. Instead, I documented her husband, John Schandelmeir for the race. I really believe that everything works out as it’s meant to when you keep an open mind and expect very little. During my time with Zoya’s family I realized there is a bigger story that I want to tell, and I want to tell it in a way that’s far beyond my comfort zone. I hope to begin what I call Part 2 later this year.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I shot this project last month and made my first selects just for you!

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
If the subject matter or experience excites me and keeps me curious, then I know it’s working.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t feel a difference. I have to always be shooting or I’ll go crazy. Anytime I’m shooting and completely surrendering to the moment, I feel makes it personal and if the images make it into your portfolio, then even better!

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I use Instagram all the time and then link it up with Facebook and Tumblr.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not yet!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Thus far, all my promos have included a mix of commercial and personal work. I would like to do a special piece focusing on the images from this project.

Artist Statement:
January 2015 I spent a week with Crazy Dog Kennel, a competitive racing kennel dedicated to the training and rehabilitation of unwanted sled dogs. These particular selects are from the 4 days I spent with legendary musher John Schandelmeir. I was both shooting and helping as a dog handler during the Copper Basin 300, the toughest 300 mile race in Alaska. The Copper Basin is known as a mini Iditarod because it’s a good way for mushers to test the dogs’ endurance. My goal was to document the devotion, hard work and connection this team has with one another and experience a slice of the dog mushing lifestyle.


Diana Zalucky is a photographer/director hailing from St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands, who is happy to call Los Angeles home. Her passion and energy on set brings out the best in people, resulting in organic images that are filled with spirit.
An explorer at heart who has travelled on assignment to over 30 countries, her images inspire viewers to be adventurous and enjoy life to it’s fullest. She gets giddy over new passport stamps, beautiful light and good food. Diana loves narrating on set, playing in the mountains or ocean and finding the good life wherever she goes.

Diana Zalucky is represented by Held & Associates http://www.cynthiaheld.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.

Categories: Business

Keep Calm and Post On! When Social Media Turns Against You

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:01am

[by Ingrid Spangler]

If you find a negative review, blog or Facebook posting, don’t panic. After all, you can’t please all of the people all of time, right? Take a moment and ask yourself, “How bad is it?” Is it one comment or tweet by someone who’s not a client, who maybe saw some shots you posted they didn’t like? Replying with, “I appreciate your thoughts, thank you!” is enough. But if it’s a Facebook or blog post from a client who has an issue with your work or something contractual, read on.

Step back

  • Don’t reply in the heat of the moment. Speak to a friend or colleague and get their take.
  • Stay calm and professional. Don’t get personal, even if you know the client had just had a root canal or happened to be on a cleanse that day. Even if they’re calling you names, don’t go there.

Step up

  • Respond within an hour of seeing the post, and do so on the site the original post appeared. You want other readers to see that you’re addressing the issue.
  • Reply with empathy (for example: “I know it’s upsetting to feel as though you didn’t get what you paid for…”), and tell your side of the story. If you’re truly at fault, it’s best to say so and make it right.
  • Don’t argue. If they post again in response to you with more negativity, don’t take the bait; you’ll end up looking unprofessional. Instead, post that you’re sending an email to them within a certain time frame to discuss further.
  • If you need to confer with a lawyer, get your legal ducks in a row before emailing.

Preventative steps

  • Put your best work online. If there is a negative post about your work, there will also be plenty of examples to let it speak for itself.
  • Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn (a recommendation, NOT one of the next-tomeaningless “endorsements”).
  • Have a page on your website with testimonials from clients, and reviews on your Facebook page and on Google and Yelp, if applicable.
  • Use a written contract, even for clients who are friends and friends who are clients.

While it’s true that you can’t please all the people all the time, you can take a step in the right direction with these tips.

Ingrid Spangler is a social media consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. She’s been involved in social media since before it was called social media. Find her by googling “Ingrid Spangler.”

Editor’s Note: Ingrid is offering ASMP Members a $50 discount on an initial social media consultation. Click here to learn more!

Categories: Business, Photo Industry