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This Week In Photography Books: Christopher J Everard

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 10:24am

by Jonathan Blaustein

Have you ever heard of Sasha Grey? Maybe?
Maybe not.

As it happens, she’s a young actress from California. I first saw her in Steven Soderbergh’s taut little film, “The Girlfriend Experience.” She is lithe, Sasha Grey, with long, fine dark hair, and oil-black eyes. Those eyes are world-weary like Scarlett Johansson’s, but not in that same I-grew-up-in-New-York-so-I’m-smarter-and-cooler-than-you sort of way.

Do you know what I mean?

She was hard not to watch, Ms. Grey, as she played a very expensive call girl who provided a particular service: she pretends to be her John’s girlfriend, beyond just sexing him up.

Her acting is languid, sure, but again, it’s hard to look away. She was oddly mesmerizing. Then I saw her during her multi-episode cameo on “Entourage,” which I’m loathe to admit I ever watched.

At that point, I’d already learned her somewhat-but-not-really shocking story: Sasha Grey was a porn-star, despite her small boobs and overall lack of looking the part. What did I think, when I first heard the news?

That poor girl. She must have gotten all worn out. Apparently, she’d made a tremendous amount of movies, in which she often had sex with multiple partners at once.

My first thought was not, “Good for her. Making something of herself. Commodifying her compelling sexuality. Way to go. The American dream in the making.”

No. I half-worried that she was tarnished goods.

At no point did I consider tracking down some of her X-rated material online. That seemed a bit like peeking through the curtain at your neighbor undressing, as I’d first seen her in a “mainstream” film, though she did get naked, as I recall.

Can we all agree that my reaction was strange? Or maybe not strange, as it’s normal to be embarrassed by pornography, even though most people use it in some form or other.

No, my reaction was not strange. It was inappropriate. Yes, that’s the right word. I was practically Puritan, which is unpleasant to admit.

Our collective guilt at our carnal urges, and the manner in which we occasionally satisfy them via visual means, was the cause of the awkward thoughts I had vis a vis Ms. Grey, and her choice of professions.

My bad, in retrospect. More power to you, Sasha. (Because I’m sure you’re reading this, right?)

It’s one of the great hypocrisies of our time, the way we all engage in the same kind of behavior that we’re all pretty sure is wrong. I think the subject is worth investigating, which we can easily do via “Denied Reality- Episode 1: Our Industry,” a new book out by Christopher J Everard, published by Interlife Pictures.

The artist sent me a copy, suspecting that I might like it. If I didn’t know better, I’d think some people were paying attention with respect to the types of books I prefer. Because this one hit the mark in almost every way.

Mr. Everard is based in London, and is British by birth, near as I can tell, though he did spend many years living in the US. So his predilection for our culture is understandable, as is his curiosity about our prurient interest in sex, which he deems a “Denied Reality.”

Open up the book, and there are a succession of well-made-but-not brilliant images that come without an explanation. So I thought, “Gee, I wonder what I’m looking at?”

As if he perfectly anticipated the question, the very next page had small black and white thumbnail images, with well-written captions. I had a desire, and the book satisfied. (No pun intended.)

It appears that this book is a research-based, first-person narrative exploration inside the porn industry which is based, primarily, in Los Angeles. As the book is being released while Larry Sultan has his retrospective at LACMA, he is referenced appropriately within.

This is a book that speaks to photo-book-geeks, because it varies up its delivery like a crafty pitcher who can no longer throw the heat, so he has to keep the batters on their toes.

Immediately after a few more photos and caption pages, there’s an honest, hilarious essay by Daniel Blight. It’s also in a first person style, and breezy, without being pretentious. No art-speak, but lots of references to masturbation, smoking hash, and improper behavior.

Basically, it was the exact style I like to read. Mostly because I also like to write that way, as you well know.

This book, unlike almost everything I review, was one I had to put down and come back to. Because there is good, engaging writing interspersed throughout. It’s too dense to breeze through it like a normal photo-book, or read it in one shot, unless you’ve allotted the proper time.

In that regard, it’s different from what I normally see, which is something I’m always begging for in this space. Do it differently. Make the book into an experience I/ we’ll remember.

Mr. Everard seems to have interviewed a lot of subjects in the industry, walked red carpets, attended award banquets, traveled to Arizona to meet some professionals living outside the LA bubble, and road-tripped to Utah, after he learned that its residents are the highest per capita consumers of porn in the US. He actually mentions statistics in several places that suggest that most of the Red States/Republican States/States with the highest rate of church-goers actually top that list year in, year out.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

The conclusion reached, and perhaps dispensed a few too many times, is that the people in the pornography industry are hard working Americans. They bust their humps (no pun intended) to put food on their table, support their families, and have time on the weekends to play with their kids. They’re great dads, moms, and children.

The industry supplies jobs, and pays taxes. It is an American success story that we all pretend doesn’t exist. Because we are ashamed of ourselves; not the people who supply our fix. They deserve better, the artist suggests.

All in all, it’s a great book. The pictures within, which contain surprisingly few “nasty” images, and even fewer boobs, are not the type to blow you away. They’re not AMAZING. Just really good, particularly in illustration of the overall narrative.

But they don’t need to be more than that. It’s the book we judge, and the way in which the text and images support each another, and the pacing, degree of information, accessibility of the concept, it all makes for a genuinely excellent experience.

Mr. Blight has another great piece at the end, mocking Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” and I’m still not sure if it’s a reported story, or if he just made it up. There’s even a “Designer’s Cut” edit of pictures that wouldn’t have otherwise made book. That’s extra content that you get if you’re special, and buy this particular edition of the book. Extra stuff, like those porn sites are always offering, so I’m told, if you’re only willing to drop your credit card number.

Bottom Line: Honest, smart, very-well executed look at the things we like to see, but never discuss.

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Categories: Business

Lose the Addiction to Vanity Metrics

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

[by Blake Discher]

Studies continually show that small business owners largely limit their analysis of online data to so-called “vanity metrics” such as the number of Facebook friends or likes, or the number of Twitter followers they have garnered over time. This could be because analytics provided by Google are deemed by many to be difficult to implement or difficult to interpret. This is unfortunate because this data gathering tool provides meaningful information such as: a) the number of website visitors; b) the number of pages and total time their site was visited; and most importantly, c) conversion rates.

The problem with “likes” or “followers” or other such soft metrics is that they rarely can be directly attributed to customer conversions, or sales. Google Analytics provides incredibly useful information, but if it intimidates you, there is another great tool you can put to use immediately. The simple addition of a “Call to Action” on a website can become your internal analytical mechanism. We’ve all seen these on websites at one time or another. The company offers a useful, information-packed, free publication in exchange for your email address. What is it your potential customers need or want to learn more about your business or what you can do for them?

I’ve had a good amount of success offering a free whitepaper (a fancy name for an informational document!) titled, “Five Easy Steps to Take Now to Optimize Your Website” on my search engine optimization company website. It provides qualified leads and I can easily track which inquiries eventually become clients.

Los Angeles headshot photographer Vanie Poyey offers “Wardrobe Guidelines for Your Headshot Session” on her website’s homepage. Again, qualified leads and data that enables conversion analysis.

Determine what expert information your customers might benefit from, include a Call to Action on your homepage, set up an email auto-responder to fulfill the request, and hopefully those potential clients can be “converted” into paying clients!

Free SEO tips available at www.go-seo.tips.  Blake Discher is the founder of go-seo.com, a website search engine optimization company serving small businesses.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Cameron Davidson

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 9:56am

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: Cameron Davidson

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How long have you been shooting?
Professionally since 1980 – 34 years.  I started shooting as a 10th grader with an Agfa Isolete I found in a closet.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mixture of both.  I studied on my own through high school by constantly going through Modern and Popular Photography annuals and by studying the work of the photo gods of that era – Arnold Newman, Jay Maisel, Ernst Haas and Pete Turner.  I also did the indentured servant route by working with several DC based photographers – the most notable being Ross Chapple, an exceptional architectural shooter who taught me how to light. 

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I have worked and shot in Haiti since 1999.  I was on the board of the NGO Community Coalition for Haiti and shot many of their projects.  The work I shot for CCH between 1999 and 2012 documentary in approach.  This project was shot for a new NGO, Goals Beyond the Net and I wanted to slow my approach down.  The goal was to stay in one place – the soccer field in Jacmel and shoot portraits of the players over four days.  My goal was to take one lens, one strobe and one camera and keep it simple.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it? 
I shot the project in the summer of 2013.  I started showing it that winter and was fortunate to place second in the portraiture contest for the National APA contest.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working? 
I pre-planned what and how I was going to shoot.  I was committed to the project before I flew to Haiti and knew that it had to work.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I like it  – it shows a different side of me.  Many people think of me as an aerial photographer and I have always been more than that.  I love shooting portraits and showing a personal project that shows a different approach to me is always a positive.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I do use Instagram and Twitter.  Tumblr is the blog right now but that is getting ready to change when I launch my new web site this winter. 

Instagram is only black and white images shot on the road or on assignments.  Usually, behind the scenes pictures, found objects or views from helicopters.  Twitter is a mix.  Articles I found, links to stories about photography or web sites.

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If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Nothing has ever gone viral.  I’ve seen quite a bit of my aerial work posted to the click-bait sites – you know they type – 25 most interesting aerials views of the world or 10 sites to see from the air.  That type of site.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I have.  I printed with MagCloud, a retrospective of sorts.  It was called 13 years, and it is available light portraits shot in Haiti for CCH. 

STATEMENT:
The portraits in the Goals Beyond the Net project were shot over one week in Jacmel, Haiti in support of the NGO.  The goal was to shoot portraits of young soccer players who are enrolled in the GBN program.  I wanted clean and simple images without posturing that reflected the honesty and drive of these young players. 

The images have been used to increase donations, as gifts to donors and for promotion for the NGO.  I made prints of each person I photographed and send them to Jacmel.  Two months later, I was given a box of handwritten letters – in French, Creole and English thanking me for the photographs.

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Cameron Davidson’s passion for photography took root in his teens when he found an old Agfa Isolette camera at the bottom of his closet and began looking at life through a lens. It blossomed further, when he discovered the contours and contrasts of a world measured by altitude and sheer natural beauty from the rear cabin of a turbine helicopter.

For more than thirty years, Cameron developed the artistic skills that have helped him to become an acclaimed aerial, environmental, editorial, corporate, and fine art photographer. Simplicity and elegance make his work transcendent. He has photographed locations and people in 49 states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 29 countries. His compelling aerial images of North American landscapes and cities have graced the pages of publications ranging from National Geographic to The Washington Post. His six books – Chesapeake; Washington DC from Above; Chicago from Above; A Moment of Silence: Arlington National Cemetery; Over Florida; and Our Nation’s Capital: An Aerial Portrait – embed character and personality into the grandest and simplest photos. His eye for the visual has opened boardroom doors to many premier corporate assignments, including annual reports, as well as high-profile editorial venues. A partial list of his clients include ESPN, Money, Audubon, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Wired, Vanity Fair, AARP, Dominion Resources, General Dynamics, M&T Bank, Virginia Tourism, SEIU, Standard Life, and some of the top advertising agencies in the world.

Cameron has lived in Virginia, Texas, and Michigan. He now resides in the community of Alexandria in northern Virginia. Reach him at 703-845-0547 or via email.

Goals Beyond the Net: http://goalsbeyondthenet.org

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

Analytics – A Bunch of Useless Data!

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

Real time online data

(No it’s not the NSA, it’s my Google analytics in real time)

It’s December 27th, 2014 and I got to admit that it’s a little freaky that I know there is a guy in Campbell, CA, just down the street from Cupertino, who starts watching my documentary “On Wings of Hope” at a little after 7pm EST. There are also seven more readers on my blog as I’m writing this. Four of them are on page two of my latest post “How to save $1000 bucks on baggage fees” and during the last minute, three more just started to reading the post.

The click in Campbell is made on a desktop computer this Saturday evening at 7:03 pm and 58 seconds. That’s less than 10 seconds ago and he or she found the link to my video in a comment I made on PPA’s website in the section they call the Loop. Three of the other users are on mobile devices, two are on a desktop and the rest are reading my blog on their tablets. One of those users is in Texas, the other in Gonzales, LA and the guy from Brazil won’t start reading the post for another 13 minutes.

Google-Analytics

A bunch of useless data

I’m sitting here in front of my Google analytics dashboard and am watching this data stream in real time (click on the image to see a quick GIF of that data streaming across my screen). The blue, little vertical bars on the right side of the screen march across toward the “60 seconds ago mark” in eerie precision. They’ve been slowly sliding by from right to left all evening. Out of the 594 views on the blog today, over 420 have read the baggage fee post, making it the best post since I started blogging 7 years ago. Tomorrow will turn out to be the best day in terms of page views on my blog. 864 to be exact from 347 visitors – but I don’t know that as I’m writing this. The green highlight under the Active Pages headline, means my guy in California just started viewing the film. Watching this is addicting, fascinating and in the case of my West Coast reader utterly useless.

The most useful information

However, the big picture is where this data get’s fascinating. I write a blog called …catching the light!, which focuses on photography, cinematography and marketing, pulling posts from the experiences I’ve made at work. My goal is to have the decision-makers who hire photography and video services read my blog and hire me, but my analytics tell me they are not. The data also suggests that it’s my fault and not theirs: I’m creating content for the wrong audience.

My 3 best blog posts of 2014

Do you want to guess what my 3 best blog posts of this year where? Was it the one about how to create killer video for your blog? Or maybe the one that explained how I put together effective teams for my jobs. No? Well then it’s got to be the one about my TEDx talk, I mean TED’s a pretty big deal right?

Nope. Wrong again. Actually those three posts are toward the bottom of the list of views. Here are the top three:

3 top blog posts of 2014

None of the three top posts have to do with photography, well they all do, but that’s not immediately apparent, and 2 of the 3 were posted in December of 2014. My #1 post is about Facebook, my #2 post about blogging and my #3 top post in 2014 is the one I published last night. The one the GIF is about. The one the guy in Gonzales is reading. The one about airline baggage fees. Really? That’s my the best I can do since 2001? Baggage fees? [Full disclosure, the baggage fee post blew past the Facebook post in two days and screamed past 2,000 views after not even two weeks. It's now my most read post.]

So what?

Big deal” you say “who cares, which post did well? Why should I care about a blogging anyway? I’m a photographer. People hire me to shoot, not to write.” But, where do those people find you? It’s no longer just the ad in Workbook. It’s not enough to mail the occasional piece to agencies. (My last post on Strictly business was about having a strong online brand, remember?)

More and more of my clients find me through search. And they read what I write on my blog, at Strictly Business and in social media, before they make a decision to hire me. Granted, I don’t think the art buyer at the big agency is among my readers, but – if I look at my analytics – that’s not because they’re not looking, it’s because I’m creating content for the wrong audience.

WP Stats Jan 6

Notice a trend on my blog this year? Anything peculiar happen in December? My monthly average views over the previous 9 months were averaging less than 500 views per month. December is an over 500% increase in traffic. Why did that happen? Analytics gives you the tools figure this out. To show you what works and what doesn’t. What was effective and what was not. They are objective measurements that we can use to improve how we look to our clients online and aren’t just a bunch of useless data.

How do you use your analytic tools?

Pascal Depuhl learned his SEO, Social Media and online branding through trial and error. Analytics help him discover errors quickly. Contact him on twitter @photosbydepuhl and tell him how you use analytics. Also check out the post on his blog about how analytics work: Analyze this – if a tree falls in the forrest and there is no one there to hear it …

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The First Conversation Is No Longer About the Photography It’s About the Photographer

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 10:53am

Photographers Rep, Heather Elder, has a conversation with her photographers every year defining creatively and financially what a successful 2015 will look like. She has a post up on her blog notesfromarepsjournal.com with two very important trends happening in our industry: http://notesfromarepsjournal.com/2015/01/13/want-to-know-what-we-told-our-photographers-about-2015

These trends reveal a change in the conversation she has with creatives where it is now assumed that anyone being considered is 100% right for the project and has the talent, vision and skills to pull it off.

Now, instead of scrutinizing your work, it is about how much can you shoot? What is your vision for the photography? Do you have similar libraries to show the client? There will be a lot of moving parts, how will you produce this project? Are you willing to negotiate? And, will they enjoy being on the production with the photographer?

And social media is a natural conduit where these conversations can begin. Many photographers have the chops, but are not having the conversation with their potential clients. Here’s a post to push you in the right direction.

Categories: Business

How to Use Google Analytics to Sell More

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:01am

[by Liz Lockard]

As a photographer, your website probably has one of two main goals for your business:

  1. Help you sell more photos or licenses; or
  2. Help you book more photography clients.

Or maybe both.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your website could tell you exactly what was working and what wasn’t to help you achieve both of these? If you have a little tool called Google Analytics installed on your site – it can. Let’s walk through exactly how.

Step 1 – Install Google Analytics

If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed on your website, go do that now. All you have to do is visit www.google.com/analytics and follow the prompts on your screen. Depending on how tech-friendly you are, you might need a developer friend to help you add small piece of code to your site.

Step 2 – Take a Look At What’s Working

To sell more of what people want, you first have to know what they want, right? Using Google Analytics, we can figure out what you might want to highlight more of to help increase your bottom line.

Simply head to Reporting – Behavior – All Pages Report. From here, we can see which of your content is not only getting the most views, but which content people are viewing the longest (Time on Page) and which content keeps them on your site longer (lower Bounce Rate).

Step 3 – Act on What You See

Do you have portfolio pages centered around different topics? Which ones are people viewing more? Which ones are people spending more time with?

Do you have a blog? Which blog posts are seeing a lower bounce rate? Are there certain topics that seem to perform better than others?

Do you have a shop page for your photos on your site? Which photo sales pages are people viewing? Any themes or types of photography that seem to be more popular than others?

From here you can start to act on the insights your analytics tool has to share. You can start to publish more blog posts that are in line with the themes you see are popular. Or you can share some of your most popular portfolio pieces with sales prospects.

And then get back to the business of doing more of what you love to do.

If you find Google Analytics a little visually overwhelming, my blog post, What is Google Analytics, provides a quick visual tour that will help you understand exactly what you’re looking at.  Have you used analytics tools to help you improve your marketing?

Liz Lockard is an analytics and conversion nut who loves helping small business owners get more of the right kind of traffic to their websites & more out of that traffic. She’s also the creator of the Free Google Analytics Quickstart Email Course which you can grab here.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Mark Peterson: Men’s Journal

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 9:42am

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Men’s Journal

Creative Director: David Schlow
Director of Photography: Catriona Ni Aolain
Art Director: Todd Weinberger
Deputy Art Director: Kim Gray
Deputy Photography Editor: Jennifer Santana
Associate Photography Editor: Amy McNulty
Photographer: Mark Peterson

Did the magazine know you were from Minnesota and did that have an influence you being awarded the job?

When Catriona Ni Aolain the director of photography at Men’s Journal contacted me I think she assigned me because of my series Political Theatre. So I was looking forward to going back to Minnesota and photographing Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

Had you met the subject previously?

Yes. Jesse Ventura was a pro wrestler in the 80’s in Minnesota.  One of the first things I photographed when I started was pro wrestling.  Then a decade later when Ventura was elected to office in Minnesota I went back for Newsweekmagazine to photograph him.  He was always a great show, as a wrestler or Governor.

Describe your interaction on set.

I meet the former Gov. at his country club so that I could photograph him golfing. It was a cold raining November day in Minnesota so Jesse said he wasn’t going to play golf.  So we just wondered around the clubhouse looking for something that was visual to the story. Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura was talking nonstop about politics and himself so it was hard to concentrate on what I was doing.  Jesse is a true American Character…larger then life.

I love the range or scale shift in the Political Theatre gallery. Do the subjects realize you are shooting them that close or even register you are there?

The politicians know the press is there as there can be dozens of us trying to get a answer or a photo.  It’s like a kids soccer game where everyone surrounds the ball and just kicks at it.

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Is some of your close up work a result of the event “scrums”? 

I started to take very close pictures of the Gov. Christie because he has a reputation of being aggressive and I wanted to show that.  One of the first pictures I took for the Political Theatre series was a tight shot of his mouth while he was shouting at someone.  I wanted to show his aggressive appetite.

In a few words describe this body of work for us, how do you chose the edits, the direction, how calculated is this?

I started the series Political Theatre in reaction to a Tea Party rally on the lawn of the US Capitol.  The pictures I took didn’t show how fake the event was and how it was just a stage for politicians to get on TV.  So after that I started to shoot the pictures with my DSLR and then run them thru my cell phone apps to give them a dramatic look. I am trying to have fun with a subject that at times can be very boring and staged.

Categories: Business

Don’t Let the Average Make You Average

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

[by Luke Copping]

Analytics are a great tool – they can be illustrative of trends and provide needed data that can help you in your decision making process – but some of us can go a little too far with it, taking their stats and metrics as gospel, but ultimately missing the point of what they represent. It’s important to understand what sort of analytics and metrics you are reviewing and why – social media metrics are a good example of how people often misinterpret the importance of stats in relationship to their goals.

Is your goal to build a large following? It might be if your end game is to demonstrate a large audience that can be used to partner with large third party brands who are looking to take advantage of your reach, in this case your total number of followers (and that includes bots and spam accounts) might be seen as an important metric. If your goal is to build an engaged community because you rely on word of mouth to raise awareness of your consumer based photography services than engagement and comments might be the more a more relevant indicator of your success.

More likely, as a working photographer your goal is to acquire and retain paying clients – in some regards community size and engagement can be indicators of growth, but sometimes a better approach is to be active in interacting with your potential customers on their own pages and channels directly (There’s a saying I like in social media that goes something like ”Your readers don’t care about what you write, they care about what you write about what THEY write!”) and it can be difficult to track the metrics for this type of outreach.

Bottom line: you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with the data before you can decide what you ultimately want to do with it – growing your metrics won’t necessarily grow your business.

In the worst cases, you will see people start to equate the type and style of pictures they post with the growth of their social analytics . They can become obsessed with the growth of numbers that don’t really indicate anything about their business or their validity as a creative. Best case scenario, tailoring your work for maximum social impact can have little to no end-result on your sales and income. Worst case, your work can become a baseline, based on playing to the averages – homogenous, boring, and with its rough edges sanded off.

If you want to kick ass on social media, then you should be putting more energy into big wins, like creating real and interesting content that makes people want to visit your page. Not creating an endless litany of begging/tricking possible followers into liking your page. Posts like “just a few likes away from 1000, please like photo guy x on Facebook” or “Like my page to be entered in a contest to win a free print” aren’t going to make you successful. Are the followers you gain from those sorts of tactics the ones that are going to hire you for your next ad campaign? No! But the followers you gain from being an amazing photographer who writes genuinely interesting things and makes people WANT to visit your page might.

Luke Copping is a commercial and editorial photographer from Buffalo, NY

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Analytics

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

Analytics can offer invaluable insights into the effectiveness of the content you’re posting, but focus on the wrong numbers and you can make decisions that move you further from your goals.  This week, our contributors share their experiences and insights into using Analytics to grow your photography business.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Smarter. Stronger. Together.

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

ASMP is bringing you lots of ways, both online and in person, to get stronger and smarter this year.  Don’t miss these exciting opportunities to influence the future of our industry, save money, and change the course of your own future. Join us:

© Stanley C. Leary

© Stanley C. Leary

Meet Tom Kennedy

ASMP’s new Executive Director invites you join him for a candid online conversation about the future of ASMP. Tom will provide a brief introduction and then we’ll open the floor for you to engage with him directly in a live, interactive discussion.  Bring your ideas, your goals, your needs, your vision of what ASMP could be and how it can serve you best.  Together, we can build the strongest ASMP ever.

All three events are open to current members and anyone thinking about joining (or rejoining) the ASMP — pick the time and date that’s best for you:

• • •

BaU_logo4blogWhat’s Working in Social Media Today
with Social Media guru, Rosh Sillars
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
1:00 – 2:00 pm EDT / 10:00 – 11:00 am PDT

Social Media can help you build an engaged audience of dedicated clients and evangelists or it can be an enormous time suck that takes you nowhere. Join us for a conversation with Rosh Sillars, who literally wrote the book on social media for photographers. Rosh will talk about what’s changed, what’s the same and how to make social media work for you.

This informative webinar is free for all live attendees.

Join us Wednesday, February 18 — REGISTER TODAY!

• • •

300x250_Register

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 will be held in Las Vegas, February 26 – March 5. Don’t miss Your Roadmap to Success with Judy Herrmann on March 4 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Learn more and register at www.wppionline.com.

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SPE_Logo

Society 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.

• • •

NAB_P-PW_LogoASMP 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-worldASMP members, click here to get your $100 discount.

• • •

2015_PSPF_LogoASMP Members Save 10% – the Best Discount Available!

Palm Springs Photo Festival
April 26 – May 1, 2015

Palm Springs Photo Festival
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

Work from Photo NOLA, Part 3

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 9:13am

A couple of months ago, in this very space, I joked about being terrified to mock ISIS. I, who likes to make fun of almost anything, was afraid to offend those homicidal maniacs. And I said as much in a book review.

Around the same time, I also wrote a column proudly proclaiming my Jewish heritage. (Though with a last name like Blaustein, there’s only so much you can do to deny it.) I said, at the time, that my people have targets on our backs, often from those aforementioned lunatics, (and their ilk,) and that it felt a tad uncomfortable to out out myself as a Jew so publicly.

It’s 6am now, far earlier than I normally write, but I woke up before the sun, and started thinking about the Charlie Hebdo massacre last week, and the subsequent attack on a Kosher grocery store in Paris. Psychopaths lashed out at journalists who communicated through humor, and at Jews.

I’m far from the action, thankfully. Thousands of miles away. But it stuck in my mind this morning, and it won’t let go.

The sheer depth of the tragedy is mind-boggling. The anger, the hate, the efficiency with which those lives were taken. Since Cain killed Abel, and someone else wrote it down, most of the world has agreed that taking someone’s life is the worst thing you can do.

We human animals have a limited lifespan. We know this. For the most part, we choose not to think about it. When a person kills another, they rob them of their future. They steal their soul. Out of spite.

When it is done simply to shut someone up, or because they choose to call their God by another name, it seems even more heinous.

Now, I haven’t Tweeted “Je Suis Charlie,” nor have I changed my Facebook profile photo in solidarity. Not to disparage anyone who has, but to me, it somehow felt hollow. What difference will it make, I thought? Who wouldn’t be in support of these victims, who died for freedom of speech, a concept I’ve defended, so many times, in this very space?

Yesterday, I wrote a good opening to this article. It was about a coyote who walked right up to my house, just outside the sliding glass door. His coat was thick, resplendent, even in winter. (It practically glowed.) I relate to those coyotes, so I always pay attention when they present themselves.

He trotted away when he heard my iPhone beep, as a text had come in at that moment. So I wrote a piece about how he was turned off by technology. And how I turned off my technology this Christmas break, and suggested you consider doing the same, when you can.

But this morning, as I couldn’t sleep, I began to compose this new version of the article. In my mind’s eye, I imagined those poor people being killed. (The result of watching all that violence on a marathon of Soderbergh’s excellent “The Knick” this weekend, perhaps?)

I remembered that this column, in which I spout off each week, is a sincere privilege. Rob gives me the freedom to speak my mind, to a very large audience of people who live around this huge planet of ours. It is unique, this 21st Century experience, in which one can talk to so many, who ingest the information, instantaneously, for free, on their screens.

I was ready to slag it off, in a column, this Internet of ours, and remind you how vital it is to unplug, from time to time.

But today, I chose to pivot, even though this introduction has so little to do with the amazing time I had in New Orleans, at Photo NOLA, nor the terrific photography I saw, which I will soon discuss. The photos will be there too, below these words, for your perusal.

I decided, however, to make use of this platform, yet again, to pontificate. The forces that utilize terror and violence to silence people rarely win. Even in the totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union, there were some who chose to make art, and write. Underground networks disseminated information.

Though of course fear drove the masses silent. Would I have the courage to speak my mind in such circumstances? It’s doubtful.

I chose not to provoke these monsters, who pull triggers as a way of lashing out, and the brave men and women at Charlie Hebdo shared no such reservations. They knew they had targets on their backs, and continued to do their work, and bring humor into the equation.

They died for their beliefs.

Today, let’s all salute their efforts.

Rather than suggest there is no link whatsoever to those sentiments, and the photographers I will highlight now, I’ll just write what ought to be obvious: when you make art, and share it with the world, you’re really communicating your ideas in image form.

Visual communication is a massively powerful methodology, as it needs no translation, as does French, when it wants to be understood in English. When these artists came to New Orleans, and shared their work with me, they hoped that I’d put their pictures up on a website for countless people to see. In fact, I was able to do that for the vast majority of people I met, because the quality of work was so high.

I take this responsibility seriously, and it gives me great joy to promote their work on this space, where I so often goof around while trying to discuss serious issues. I do hope you enjoy the work, and as I said last week, the book reviews will return next Friday.

On to the photographers.

Bruce Morton had a big smile on his face, the entire time we sat together. And every time I saw him thereafter. It’s easy to understand why. Bruce got an MFA in the legendary Arizona State Program back in the day, studying with legends Bill Jay and Bill Jenkins.

But he gave it up shortly thereafter, to get a more practical job. He built a landscaping business in Phoenix, which was his focus for many years. (Imagine how hard it must be to work outside in that heat, all the time.) But about 8 years ago, he decided to rededicate himself to his photography.

He packed up and moved back to his original family home in a small town, Bowen, in rural Illinois. He’s currently working on several projects at once, all focusing on the local population and cultural landscape. I liked all of his work, as well as his attitude, which screams passion and joy.

These pictures are from his mini-series “Bowen,” though I could easily have shown you some photos from his other projects a well.

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Sandra Klein is a member of the Aline-Smithson-LA-photo-mafia, which I chronicled at length in my two-part series on the Medium Festival last year. Those folks are doing some impressive work, and have built themselves a supportive community that speaks to the power of Aline’s teaching ability and force of will.

Sandra showed me two projects, the first of which I’m sharing here. She has a background as a print-maker, and these images reference that medium heavily. She photographs plants and cacti, and then weaves them into a constructed aesthetic that also includes actual sewn thread. The addition of the 3-D manipulation, alongside her genuinely excellent color palette, left me impressed.

There was also a group of pictures made in Japan, which I found much-less-resolved. But there was one picture, of a park setting in falling snow, that was so beautiful and Zen that I questioned whether she needed anything else. Sometimes, one perfect picture is enough.

Klein_Sandra_02GracefulOpuntia

Klein_Sandra_03HombreDeEspinas

Klein_Sandra_04LeonardoSilvernitrate

Klein_Sandra_07CelestialMyrtle

Klein_Sandra_08GermanHeart

Klein_Sandra_10HombreSolo

Klein_Sandra_11MujerSola

Klein_Sandra_13TheBlueElf

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Klein_Sandra_15EuphoribaEsferica

Klein_Sandra_AloeMexicano

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Gloria Baker Feinstein is a photographer based in the Mid-West as well, yet showed me a project made in Uganda. She visited a village there 8 years ago, on a tour with an NGO, and fell in love with the place. As a result, she formed her own non-profit to support the community, and goes back for 3-4 weeks each year.

I thought the pictures were extremely well-made, and communicate a warmth that stems from her knowledge of the people and the place. They are the antithesis of photographs made on a one-off visit to a Third World locale, where people step off the bus, snap a few frames, and then head on to the next destination.

Gloria also showed me some newer, black and white work made in a community in Eastern Kentucky in which she’d spent very little time. As such, I thought they compared poorly to the work that was richly developed over many years. We agreed to disagree…

Beauty Salon

Blue Wall

Boy Climbing Wall

Bra Salesman

Children's Shoes

Church

Evalyn

Girl in Red Dress

Girls Bathing

Girls in Sunday Dresses

Green Mirror

Lake Victoria

Mother and Children

Newspapered Walls

Raindrops on Window

Sunlight on Face

Three Grandmothers

Finally, yes finally, I come to the two artists whose work I looked at after my official 24 reviews had come to an end. First, I peeked in at Monika Merva’s new project. She and I have a few friends in common, and I had heard of her project “City of Children,” which was published as a book, and has been exhibited widely.

Monika said that after the all-consuming nature of a specific, successful project, she was showing a group of pictures that she took simply because she wanted to click the shutter. There was no over-arching narrative beyond, “I am a photographer. I made these photographs. Have a look.”

At the end of a long slog, I found the pictures refreshing, along with her willingness to free up her process, simply because she could.

01.Alicia

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003.Doki'sHand

005.Orange

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009.Dad

010.Light2012

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013.Irma'sPeaches

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After that, with my brain cells mushier than a freshly baked burger bun, I met with Margo Cooper. She’d approached me earlier in the day, swearing that she’d wanted to get a review with me, but the lottery had not been kind. Margo told me she’d heard through the photo-grape-vine that I was a “very nice person,” and might I be willing to look at her work after everything was done?

I’m a sucker for a compliment as much as the next guy, and in this case, I do try to be as nice as I can to everyone. So how could I say no?

Unfortunately, as I was so crispy, and Margo is high-energy, our meeting was a bit tense. These things happen. But when I got a look at her gelatin silver prints, of photos made in poor rural communities in New England, I said yes right away. (And that’s what we’re publishing.)

Apparently, Margo is an attorney, a public defender in particular, and makes photographs of these folks, and of blues communities in the Deep South, as her outlet. She’s committed to long-term projects, which you can see as some of her subjects age in the pictures. I didn’t have too much to say to her at the time, but I think the photographs below speak for themselves.

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Hanging Out

Girl with Blanket

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Summer Day

Girl on a Swing

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Tristing Place

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Hide and Seek

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Categories: Business

Our policy on disseminating these sorts of policies can be found in the corresponding policy documents: How not to write terms, conditions, and policy documents

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 12:01am

[by Francis Zera]

Like many photographers, when I started out I did photo shoots on a gentleman’s agreement basis — no contracts, no terms and conditions, no policies, just verbal agreements.

Turns out that I was a combination of lucky and cautious, as I never got badly burned by a client, although I did lose one or two in those early days over misinterpretations of the aforementioned verbal agreements.

As my business matured, I made use of ASMP’s ready-made contracts as a basis for what has evolved into a pretty thorough, yet plainly written and concise, set of terms and conditions within my project contracts.

At first, my contract and policy documents were mostly boilerplate legalese, with a couple of overly specific clauses that were reactions to circumstances that caused me a bit of grief around cancellations and deliverables. Those clauses have since been removed and replaced by a clear bit of language that outlines exactly what the deliverables will be, and what differentiates the included post-production from additional work that requires additional billable time, along with clear information about how much that time costs.

I’ve found that, having translated the freely available boilerplate terms and conditions legalese into plain English, my clients actually read the documents, and therefore understand where I’m coming from, my responsibilities to them, and their responsibilities to me. If there are any negotiations required, we’re then starting from a place of mutual understanding rather than from some sort of misinterpretation. This alone makes the negotiation process a whole lot more cordial and productive.

Terms and policies written in plain English will serve to endear you to your clients, as they will demonstrate your communication skills and show that you’re willing to do a bit of extra work in order to make things easier on you and your clients.

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

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

PHOTOJOURNALISM AND ITS ROLE IN THE FINE ART WORLD

Debra Weiss - Creative Consultant - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:54pm

I’m excited to be presenting the following program this Sunday, January 18th at PhotoLA. Please note: Tickets for the program are $10.00, but in order to attend any programming a day pass to the fair must also be purchased.The fair opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday. For more information please visit  http://photola.com/.  The fair opens tomorrow through Sunday.

11:30 – 1pm

Photojournalism and Its Role in the Fine Art World

Once relegated to the front pages of newspapers, images created for photojournalistic purpose can now be found among collections belonging to prestigious institutions and discerning collectors throughout the world. Creative Consultant Debra Weiss leads a discussion that will explore the shift in perception of this incredible and important photographic genre. Join Debra and guests for what promises to be an informative and entertaining conversation.

Moderator: Debra Weiss, Creative Consultant

Panelists:

Sara Terry: Photographer, Founder and Director, The Aftermath Foundation
John Bailey: Collector, Cinematographer & Director
Sid Monroe: Gallerist, Owner Monroe Gallery, Santa Fe

The Art of the Personal Project: Ryan Heffernan

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 10:04am

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 advertise in LeBook. Check out his link at http://www.lebook.com/ryanheffernan. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Ryan Heffernan

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Grape Harvest

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How long have you been shooting?
9 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mix of both. I went the liberal arts route for undergrad but spent two seasons after working at the Santa Fe Photography Workshops. I consider that time to be photography school. Growing up with a photographer father immersed me in that world from an early age as well.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Growing up in St. Helena, CA it was amazing to watch the valley transform into a massive production every harvest. I wanted to explore the contrast between wine as a luxury good and the hard labor that went on behind the scenes.

The project took me to Mendoza, Argentina and Tarija, Bolivia in addition to the Napa Valley.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
3

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Tough to say. I plan to continue shooting this project for many years to come, so it’s hard to define where they begin and end.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
It feels pretty similar in the end. I’m always trying to make the most interesting images possible.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, mostly Instagram although I’m not prolific.

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?
I haven’t promoted them in print.

Born and raised in Northern California as the son of accomplished still-life photographer, Ryan was immersed in the world of photography and design from an early age. Today Heffernan is an advertising photographer and commercial director, based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Francisco, California. He specializes in photographing people in their landscapes, aiming to tell unique stories and works for diverse clients ranging from Adobe Systems, UBS, Leo Burnett, The Martin Agency, and New Mexico Tourism to Outside Magazine, GQ, McGarrah Jessee and a host of others.

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

Are Your Polices Focused in the Wrong Direction?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:01am

[by Rosh Sillars]

Policies should make it easy to do business with you. I believe most business owners approach polices wrong. They view their policies as a way to protect themselves and punish people looking to do them harm.

After years of cancelled appointments, rights grabs and requests for free photography, I don’t blame photographers for having a lengthy policy list. Unfortunately, a long list of punishing policies makes it harder to do business with you. You are punishing all of your new clients for the sins of a few old clients. This is no way to build new lasting relationships.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t have polices. You should, it’s good business. Rather than a long list of things you will not do, accept, or tolerate; create a shorter list of polices that focus on solutions to common problems. Make your goal to strengthen customer relations.

When developing policies, start with you. What do you need to do first to improve your customer service and client experience?  I have a policy that everything I do for a client is turned around within 72 hours. If I can’t complete the task, I must let them know twenty-four hours ahead of time.

Many photographers who deal with the public become frustrated with cancellations. A good policy to implement is calling the client the day before to confirm your appointment. Many photographers will not do this to avoid the chance the client will cancel. I’d rather have an opportunity the day before to reschedule. The option to fill an open space on my calendar is better than wasting valuable time getting mad at a valuable client.

Remember, no policy is foolproof. You can’t fix everything with more policies and punishment. Do your best and let it go.

Do you have a contract and share updated policies with your clients? If you don’t, don’t get mad when someone uses your service, time or photography inappropriately.

Look for new policies to reward people for doing the right thing rather than punishing them for doing you wrong. One method earns loyal clients and other unanswered phone calls and emails.

What positive solution policies do you implement for your business?

Rosh Sillars is a photographer and marketing consultant at Image 3 Marketing, Inc. 

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Hard Noses and Evolution – The Life and Times of Your Contracts

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 12:01am

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer]

The most steadfast policy I have for my business is…No Signed Estimate, No Shoot. Period. In the very rare occasion that I’ve made an exception, it didn’t end well, and you should be suspicious of a client who balks about it. Your estimate is there to ensure everyone is on the same page about the project, who does what, when, etc. To work without one is only inviting trouble.

In additions to the details of the shoot itself, your estimate should also contain a Terms and Conditions section; the “legalese” that protects both you and your client.

Don’t know where to start? ASMP’s web site has a terrific Terms and Conditions Tutorial. If you haven’t used it, it is a fantastic way to start! Check it out at: http://www.asmp.org/t&c.

Though based on the tutorial above, my policies have continually evolved over time. 99.9% of the time I have terrific clients. But, sadly, the rare exception has led to additions to my T&Cs.

Violation of Copyright
On both my Estimate and the Invoice it states “Usage Granted Upon Payment In Full” so it is extremely clear to my client that they need to pay for the images before they use them. Once I had a client who was particularly hard to deal with  - even going into the shoot. Within four hours of delivering the images, three of them were up on their web site, both as a thumbnail and a full sized image. Meanwhile, it took me over five months, and more than one strongly written letter, to finally receive payment. To avoid this in the future, my terms now state there will be a $1000 charge/mo for each unique use (thumbnail and full size counts as two) of any image used by the client in any manner before payment is received. Happily, I haven’t had the problem since.

Prompt Image Selection
In the event a client has not chosen their final images after 30 days, an Invoice will be generated based on the Estimate amount, and will be immediately due and payable. Should the number of images they finally select be more or less than the number estimated in this invoice, a refund for the difference will be made, or an additional invoice will be generated. I have only had this happen twice, but it was for very large contracts. One client I had finally paid nine months after the shoot, during which time they wanted me to provide images to their client (which weren’t included, much less paid for).

When your experience with a client warrants an addition to your Terms and Conditions, you may want to consider whether you want to continue work with them in the future. In the cases above, three out of the four are no longer my clients (yes, I “fired” them).  Remember, you have the power to decide what you are and aren’t willing to put up with and your policies are a great way to make the rules of the relationship clear to everyone.

Kimberly Blom-Roemer is a Gulf Coast-based architectural and aerial photographer that isn’t a lawyer, doesn’t pay one on TV, and certainly didn’t stay in a specific hotel to make her smarter. But the details in her Estimates have made her business exponentially smoother.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Dan Saelinger : Men’s Health

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 10:36am

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Men’s Health

Creative Director:  Tom O’Quinn
Photo Director:  Jeanne Graves
Photo Editor: Don Kinsella
Photographer: Dan Saelinger
Stylist: Dominique Baynes

What sort of creative direction did you get from the magazine? 
I’m very fortunate that often times when clients approach me the direction is relatively open ended.  I think they are very aware when hiring me of the type of work I produce and that it requires a lot of thought and creative decision making on my end to make it successful.   Don Kinsella (the PE on the project) just asked the the images feel energetic and interesting and hit home the point of the content.  

What was the initial idea and how did you develop it?
The story was about paths of success to a better career and the magazine initially approached me with an overall idea of an office worker taking off or being propelled in some fashion and tasked me with creating a set of three images. As if often the case with an ambitious project we had to take into consideration budget restrictions and Don and his team decided it best to create two great final images rather than sacrifice quality to make three.  Don and I had a couple creative chats and were able to verbally narrow things down pretty quickly and settled on the idea of a guy in a jetpack and a chainsaw cutting through a cubicle.
How do most of your ideas come to life? Is there a sketch process?  
There is definitely a sketch process for the majority of my work.  I find it helps to build trust in the final concept and works as a great tool towards pushing a client into a riskier endeavor.  Also being that I’m located in Portland now I think it eases the fact that the client won’t be on set and sets up for expectations better. Generally I ask the client to provide headlines and text.  I try not to get bogged down too much in the literal aspect of the story and try to pull out key ideas or phrases to help form ideas.
Is there a certain time of day or situation when your best ideas surface?
 I like to let things digest and normally sit on it for a day or two as the the ideas will often come late at night or while driving to work, sometimes even in the shower (the best ones always do).  Either way I like to let things brew, I find when forcing myself to sit down and sketch I often don’t get anywhere.
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How long did it take to build the sets?
Most editorial budgets require us to condense time wherever possible and my team and I have become pretty darn efficient on set builds.  I keep several rolling wall flats in my studio, a variety of flooring and background props so that we can assemble these on short notice.  The challenge on this was really building the cotton rocket effect so the stylist began a day prior building a frame out of chicken wire. Otherwise the rest was assembled and shot the same day.
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Since a lot of your ideas are conceptual I’d imagine you have your team of prop stylist and set builders. What made you chose this prop person?
I’m fortunate to have built a tight knit crew out here in Portland and have a couple of go to people for different tasks.  The stylist on this particular shoot, Dominique Baynes has a similar background to myself as a NYC transplant out here in Portland.  So she understands the demands and limitations of an editorial project quite well.  This shoot required the building of the cloud effect which she’s very experienced in and has done for me before as well a building a jetpack on a tight budget and fortunately she has knack for making the impossible possible.  In general we have a similar aesthetic as well which helps in creating this kind of complex conceptual work efficiently.
I love the analogue nature of this work, what made you refrain from compositing layers of images?
I have a general philosophy with my work to do what ever I can in camera.  I’m an absolute fanatic of all things props, so if it can be made and we can afford to do it will go that route.  While I’m a big user of photoshop and am incorporating CGI more and more into some of my work I think things can often get a bit cheesy and over processed looking.  There’s definitely a certain charm to an image with a traditional analogue approach and I try to make sure which ever way I go it was a choice based on creating the best possible image for each particular assignment.
Did you choose cotton rather than fog juice or any other special effect because it would have been to hard to control and last.
Not really.  I’ve done a lot of stuff using fog effect and it can be manipulated pretty easily in photoshop, and much more forgiving if its not captured perfectly in camera.  It was purely an aesthetic choice on my part.  I think the image is much more successful because of how the rocket smoke was handled, its really integral to the overall analogue feel I was aiming for.
Any particular difficulties along the way?
Not so much that anything that was super difficult – there are always a couple surprises in this line of work.  Often when I do conceptual work its there is something we do for the first time, in this case we had to figure out how to chainsaw the cubicle wall.  Of course it wasn’t simple as just taking the chainsaw to it. there was quite a bit of precision sawing and dissecting as well as drywall thrown at the chainsaw while in action to give the effect of it actually cutting through.
Categories: Business

Providing Structure for You and Your Clients

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 12:02am

[by Jim Cavanaugh]

Many small businesses consider policies the province of big business. They also often feel that policies restrict the flexibility and innovation necessary in entrepreneurial businesses.

Poor policies can have a detrimental effect, but having a reasonable number of clear, well-crafted policies adds structure to your business, helps resolve client disputes and automates your decision making process.

Policies should define activities your business encounters on a day-to-day basis. They should be reasonably broad and not so restrictive as to micro manage every aspect of your operations or interaction with clients.

Clear policies can be shown to clients to explain why you do or don’t do certain things. And policies tend to carry more weight in client negotiations. Many can be addressed in a single sentence. “Our policy is to require a retainer of 50% for all new clients.”

Some examples of standing policies you should have:

  • Requirement for a signed contract
  • Requirements for advance / retainer on assignments
  • Refund policy
  • Cancellation / postponement fees
  • Job change forms
  • Mark up on expenses
  • Overtime fees
  • Turn-around time / delivery schedules
  • Rush fees
  • Payment terms
  • Acceptance of credit cards
  • Late payment fees
  • Copyright ownership
  • Third party use of images
  • Requirement of a credit line
  • Social media use of images
  • Model releases
  • Indemnification clauses

Having these policies written down, and in some cases, included on your estimate / contract will be an effective tool when negotiating with your clients.

Jim Cavanaugh is an architectural & aerial photographer based in Buffalo, NY. He served as a Director of ASMP for 12 years and as the Society’s President.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Magic Word

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 12:01am

My 8-year old would tell you that The Magic Word is “Please,” but after 26 years in business, I’ve learned a different “P” word that can get you event better results: Policies.  Establishing (and communicating) clear policies can help you avoid a world of pain. And, even when it’s just you, there’s something about citing Policies that depersonalizes those rules in a way that makes it easier for you to enforce and your client to accept – it’s not you, it’s your policy.  This week, our contributors share their insights, advice and experiences with setting policies for their businesses.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Pricing & Negotiating: Motion For Small Business Service Company

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 10:14am

by Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Testimonials, man-on-the-street interviews and b-roll video of an annual corporate conference

Licensing: Web Collateral use of one 2:00 minute edited video

Location: Hotel conference center

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Portrait, Lifestyle and Motion Specialist

Agency: N/A – Client Direct

Client: A Small Business Services Company

A few months ago, one of our California-based photographers asked me to help her pull together an estimate for a motion shoot. Although the photographer had a long-standing relationship with this particular client, they’d never asked her to provide motion coverage. The client asked her to shoot four testimonial interviews of the executive team, man-on-the-street interviews of the other attendees and b-roll footage of the event in general. Ultimately, the client wanted to put together a 2:00 introduction/about video for their corporate website to loop on a flat screen at trade shows (within the context of the website). The client would be providing the shooting space, interviewers and scheduling the executives. The client also reserved a room for the testimonials so that the photographer could work in a mostly controlled environment with plenty of available light.

Since we were working directly with the client and providing the editing services, this presented a great opportunity to limit the licensing to their very specific needs (it is not uncommon in the motion world to work under a work for hire agreement or grant unrestricted usage). We seized the opportunity and put together an estimate including limited usage of the final piece.

Based on the needs of the client, we decided to price this out as a two-camera shoot including the photographer/director who would run camera 1, and a DP to manage the minimal lighting and run camera 2. In this case, the DP would be working under the instruction of the photographer/director and sign a work for hire agreement (much like a second photographer on a still shoot), to streamline the licensing process for the client (and photographer).

To arrive at the licensing fee, I took into account the intended audience (trade), limited use (collateral only), shelf-life (this event takes place every year, and the finished piece would likely include footage of current clients, who may not be clients next year) and level production (the team really only needed to show up and shoot). I also considered how much a comparable day of still shooting would yield and what a comparable licensing fee would be for those stills. After weighing all of the factors, we landed at $5,500 for the photographer/director’s creative and licensing fee. Since the client understood relative licensing values on the still side, they were comfortable negotiating limited licensing terms on the motion side as well. Not all clients are as flexible with regard to motion, but it’s always worth the attempt.

Here’s the approved estimate:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.50.28 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.50.59 PM

Grip: A grip is the motion world equivalent of a first assistant, though they are typically more specialized. They set up all the grip equipment and manage basic lighting under the direction of the director or the DP. Complex lighting or electrical work may require a gaffer. In this case, the photographer planned to shoot mostly available light and would only need a couple of florescent light banks for the testimonials, so a single grip would suffice.

Director of Photography: As I mentioned above, the DP would be running camera 2 and helping to manage the lighting. A DP is generally more experienced and has the expertise and wherewithal to operate independently of the director. Their rates vary based on the nature of the project and level of involvement required. In this case, we got a quote from a colleague experienced in corporate motion work.

Audio Engineer: Like location scouts, audio engineers have pretty standard rates, regardless of where they’re based or the details of the shoot. $800 covers their day rate and basic recording equipment.

Equipment: $2200 covered costs for two DSLR camera systems, lenses, mounting and grip equipment and two florescent light banks. The photographer and DP owned all of the equipment and would be renting to the production at the market rate.

Editing and Color Grading: We got an editing quote from an editor who the photographer had worked with in the past. $1000/minute is a good rule of thumb for editing costs, but that can fluctuate with the content available, number of revisions, quality of footage and graphic elements required.

File Transfer: This covered the FTP and hard drive costs to share the content with the client for review throughout editing and delivery.

Groomer: We included a groomer to make sure the testimonial subjects (executives), who were supposed to arrive camera ready, looked their best. The groomer would handle basic hair and make up styling and wardrobe finessing.

Miles, Parking, Shipping, etc: This covered out of pocket expenses the photographer and crew would accrue between mileage, parking, crew meals, shipping costs and any other miscellaneous expenses that may be incurred.

Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing. In this case, we were relying on the client to provide the locations, subject scheduling and necessary releases. The client also planned to guide the subjects through their interviews, which under normal circumstances could fall under the responsibility of the director.

The client reviewed our first estimate and asked for a revision excluding the man-on-the street component. Although the team would be generating less content overall, the time on site wouldn’t change significantly (it would still be about a full day) and the deliverable, a 2:00 finished piece, wouldn’t be impacted, which meant the value of the licensing wouldn’t really be impacted either. If it were entirely up to me, I wouldn’t have adjusted the fees at all, however the photographer felt a small decrease was reasonable. We presented an option with a $1000 lower bottom line, all of which came out of the creative/licensing fee. Seeing that the decrease was marginal, the client opted for the original approach.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer/director shot the project and the client has since come back asking to set up another shoot to capture similar content at their corporate headquarters.

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

Categories: Business

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