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

Business

This Week In Photography Books: Aapo Huhta

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 9:38am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I just had some company in town. The official end of Summer. One last big dinner party to cook for, as my Aunt and Uncle came in from Jersey to meet my daughter, for her third birthday. Pasta and eggplant and cupcakes. (Oh My!)

It felt like an obligation, due to my general overtired-orneriness, rather than the pleasure I’d have normally taken it to be. My Uncle even commented that I didn’t look very happy, for a guy with lots of good things going on.

It was an odd conversation, because it was obviously true, but I knew I’d be a lot happier if I were relaxing all weekend, rather than chasing my kids and nephews around. Not a kind thing to say… so I kept it to myself.

Sometimes, there are things we ought not discuss. Either because they’re hurtful, or because they lead down dark, shadowy paths. Take politics. It’s a subject my Uncle and I avoid, as he’s a Fox-News-Addicted Republican, and I’m not.

We learned years ago, (when I was younger, and more easily riled,) that if we started talking politics, within 5 minutes, I’d be screaming and ranting like a frightened Drivers Ed instructor. (No, Jimmy, press the brake. The brake!)

Now that I’m past 40, and have a slightly better sense of how the world works, I know not to push those buttons. I’ve learned his opinions, and I choose not to pointlessly inflame his passion. (Back away from the bull, Timmy. Back away!) I love my Uncle despite his taste; not because of it.

As for my taste, I’ve got a nearly 4 year track record of writing about books I find cool and/or interesting. Is there anyone out there paying attention to my likes and dislikes? Is there a style that people expect I’ll praise?

I’m guessing yes. I suspect some astute readers have me pegged: if it’s weird, odd, discomfiting, and razor sharp, I bet Blaustein will have a field day. He digs the artsy stuff.

Is that right?

I’m starting to wonder, as Keher Verlag just sent me a book, unannounced. That rarely happens, where a publisher will drop something on me without checking in first. Even the artists will often feel me out, before spending the resources to get a book into my hands.

I opened up the packaging, swiped away the plastic wrap, and found a book called “Block,” by a Scandanavian-sounding artist named Aapo Huhta. (Turns out he’s Finnish.)

This seemed to be a book for me, as it opened up without any explication, and thrust me into a situation I needed to suss out. But right away, weird, odd, discomfiting pictures, razor sharp. (Either hi-res digital, or some good scans off of a medium or large format camera. Hard to tell, these days…)

It says “Block,” and then we’re in an urban environment that quickly resolves itself as Lower Manhattan. Is it one block? In the Financial District? I don’t know, but that’s the general read. These would be normal street photos, taken by a different photographer, but instead, we have that “slightly-Haruki-Murakami-parallel-universe” vibe that I love so much.

Why do some photographers have the ability to see paranormal energy in a mattress leaning against a building wall? Or in the candy-pink of some insulation melting out of a joint, sealing up a makeshift door to a construction site?

Who would make a photo implying a Buddhist Monk was being fellated by a faceless stranger, sitting on some steps outside a building? (This Guy, that’s who.) Again and again we see banker types, disappearing into shadow, which makes me think of Robert Frank’s amazing photos of British Bankers, made before he came to America.

And there are some similarities to Paul Graham’s book, “The Present,” which I reviewed a few years ago. (Image repetition, compositional style.) So I’m not suggesting that this work is radical, rather that it takes a certain kind of artist to find such weird moments, surrounded by normality.

With respect to context, there is only a small short story, by Jenny Hollowell, at the end. It doesn’t do much contextualizing, though it is a poignant read. (A mini-version of the super-sad opening of the Pixar movie “Up”.) Then, the thank you notes, and the first name listed was my former graduate school professor Allen Frame, whom I’ve mentioned here before. (Does that explain everything about where my preference for the awkward comes from?)

Regardless, we’re back on schedule. A book a week, each week. What will I write about next week? I don’t know. But I accept there are folks out there parsing the subtext, and bravo to Keher Verlag for getting it right, in this last week of August, 2015.

http://www.aapohuhta.com/BLOCK

IMG_0844

IMG_0845

IMG_0846

IMG_0847

IMG_0848

IMG_0849

IMG_0850

IMG_0851

IMG_0852

IMG_0853

IMG_0854

IMG_0855

IMG_0856

IMG_0857

IMG_0858

IMG_0859

IMG_0860

IMG_0861

IMG_0862

IMG_0863

Categories: Business

Sequencing Your Story

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 12:01am

[by Rob Rosenthal]

I’m a radio producer. Every story we tell is a “motion story.” There are no stills.

While there is no single “silver bullet” for producing captivating motion stories, there are a few things that are essential.

First, a sequence of events. Indeed, that’s the essence of narrative. This happened, then this happened, then this happened… I’m always on the hunt for a sequence. It’s how I typically organize a story.

So often, it seems to me, video producers simply string together a sequence of ideas. By that I mean, a producer pulls a few good quotes, puts them in a logical order, and calls that a story. It’s not. I suggest, instead, finding a sequence of events then embed the ideas in those events.

Next, conflict. A story benefits greatly from conflict. I’m not talking War and Peace. But, at a minimum, there should be a rub, some friction, a problem, something a character is working against.

After I find a sequence of events and a conflict, I try to sum up those two things in a sentence. I call it a focus sentence. I stole it from Canadian radio producer Todd Maffin: “Someone does something because, but…”

“Someone” is the character. “Does something” is the narrative. “Because” is the why or the context of the story. “But” is the friction.

Here’s an example of a focus sentence you might use for a profile: Mike St. Germain is nearing his 100th trophy as he races cars to win and for God, but the bleacher seats reserved for his family remain empty.

Getting back to a sequence of events, let me play out a possible structure for this story about Mike. The story may start at the end of a race – Mike wins or loses. Doesn’t matter (though winning would be helpful). In that moment in the story, we see Mike’s car covered in religious symbols, we learn about Mike, and we find out what he’s doing and why – he’s a stock car racer, he’s nearing his 100th trophy, and he races for God.

The next scene in the story might be at home. Mike’s working on his car between races, preparing for the next. That’s where we meet his wife. She says it’s too dangerous. She doesn’t want watch. So, she doesn’t go. But, Mike says he has to. God told him to race. (This is a true story by the way.)

Then, in the story, we’re off to the next race. It will be for his 99th trophy. In this scene, we hear about Mike’s conversion and what else is at stake for him – the danger, the cost, the time away from family.

Next scene – a phone call with his wife from the road. She talks about his worst accident.

And so on…

Do you see what I mean? This happens, then this happens, then this happens… As we follow Mike through a sequence, a producer introduces ideas along the way.

In short, for motion stories, look for narrative!

Rob Rosenthal teaches at the Transom Story Workshops, intensive radio storytelling workshops in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and around the country. He also produces documentaries, features, multi-media stories, and a podcast on audio storytelling called HowSound.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Ransom & Mitchell

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 11:34am

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: Ransom & Mitchell — the collaborative storytelling team of Digital Artist + Set / Prop maker Stacey Ransom and Director + Photographer Jason Mitchell.

rm_amazoniastrong-ss

rm_bonkersblack-ss

rm_drhuckleberryschuxley-ss

rm_fijimermaid-ss

rm_jewelsofthenile-ss

rm_maharishimistari-ss

rm_missheadylamour-ss

rm_mizbeardsley-ss

rm_shkipperandthemaneken-ss

rm_spidora-ss

rm_thefinalact-ss

rm_thepharaohsdaughters-ss

rm_twohalfsandawhole-ss

How long have you been shooting?
We’ve been working together with a focus on still production as a team for six years. Prior to that, our main focus was narrative film production. We both had been working in or near the industry for over 20 years.

Stacey started out art directing photoshoots while working in-house for major retail brands like Limited Stores and Columbia Sportswear. She then was the VP Design Director in charge of visual design and branding at the VIA San Francisco office. Soon after she transitioned behind the camera, to get back in touch with her roots as a set and prop maker for photos and film.

Jason was a broadcast journalist in the Navy for seven years before moving to San Francisco. There he began working in studio and field production for corporate clients which evolved into freelance commercial production as a cinematographer and director.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Interestingly enough, Stacey majored in photography at the Bauhaus-focused Columbus College of Art and Design, but it was the set design and art direction that really captured her interest. Jason first studied acting at Carnegie Mellon University, then decided to jump behind the camera. He joined the Navy and went through their year-long journalism school that incorporated photography and motion production. After working as a Navy broadcast journalist that included four years in Japan, he came back to the States and finished a degree in Cinema at San Francisco State University.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
We had been looking to create something that could take advantage of all of our skills, from photography to digital painting and compositing, to CGI. We also wanted to develop a body of work that lovingly recreated the once-common side show that was so filed with curious tales of mystery. It was wonderful to have so many different ideas to pick and choose from! Since many of the carny characters are infamously iconic, we were able put our own personal spin on the subjects and they were still very recognizable.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The initial release of this project was slated for a gallery show we had at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco in October of 2014. We shot the first series in May of 2014 and worked on the post production over the next few months. We approach all of our shoots in much the same way as we would produce a commercial shoot. In this case, we pulled together the right team of costume design, hair design and make-up artists to tackle the 10 shots of the various talent in two days (and we actually added on two other concepts to maximize our time). The post end was much more intensive, with each image requiring around 20 hours each to finish. Some images required a bit of CG and the gathering of other elements to be composited together.

The series has been received very well, and it has gone on to show at Scope Miami, The LA Art Show, and Vanilla Gallery in Tokyo. For the Vanilla show, we did another shoot in February of this year and finished two new images in the series, and we still have three more pieces from that shoot to release. One will be released in early fall 2015 with Loved to Death, the infamous shop of curiosity from the TV show “Oddities.” Two more will debut in a soon-to-be-announced gallery.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
We often will develop an idea anywhere between weeks and months until we feel that the concept is solid. In truth, we don’t move forward with any project until we feel it is 110% dialed in. We meticulously plan all of our shoots and treat them in many ways, the same way we treat a commercial job, often building treatments to communicate clearly with everyone on the project so very little is left to chance. By the time we move into production it becomes more of an execution with room for flexibility and collaboration.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
We try to satisfy both worlds whenever possible, or at the least, gather something for each. More and more, we’re finding that we tend to keep our portfolio pieces simpler in presentation, whereas our personal projects can become much more baroque and elaborate The artistic work is tremendously satisfying, and there are many, many roads we see that are worth exploring. The portfolio projects are great for really exercising our restraint, and challenge us to focus on the core concept of the image.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Instagram is our favorite outlet as we get to share so much of our art from works-in-progress, to on-set behind the scenes, to final pieces. We each have our own accounts (Stacey is @hld4ransom and @impureacts for Jason) where we share our individual processes, and we both use our artist account @ransom_mitchell to mostly focus on the finished work. These all feed into our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and occasionally Tumblr. Our recent expansion into international markets has us a little more focused on interacting on Twitter directly. We also participate in Behance, and we keep a few personal blogs such as http://www.fakebelieve.net that shares the Ransom & Mitchell process, http://jasonmitchell.org/blog/ where Jason shares his process and observations, and http://www.ransom-notes.net where Stacey writes about various artists and their work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
We had one really evocative image called “It Will Be Ours,” http://art.ransommitchell.com/overview/1 of a young boy in a bare room watching TV with the room behind him consumed by an embodied Mother Nature. It was shared on Facebook a couple of days before we planned to released it for a gallery show — they had pulled it off of our website where we had parked it in preparation for our PR release. There was a sudden influx of hits — a quick Google image search showed us the breadcrumbs to find the first share. By the time we saw it, it had around 40 thousand likes and been shared thousands of times and was all over the place (mostly without attribution). We still find it here and there, and have thankfully seen an uptick in it leading back to us.

Jason’s personal nude series Dream Away http://jasonmitchell.org/dreamaway/ was just shown in May of 2015 at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and was also a finalist for Critical Mass 2014. That series has been picked up by a number of international art and culture blogs as a result.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
We love using our personal work for marketing as it can really show off how much we can flex our talents. And this work is always nice to send as a follow up to make a personal connection.

We created an art card box set of our bizarre “Die Familie” series which is sold through our art store. http://store.ransommitchell.com/product/die-familie-postcard-set Since it’s such an elaborate and unique set, it made a great impression on the select folks in the ad world who we sent it to as a gift. We find that sending unique art pieces that art Directors and Art Buyers can have for their own personal collection is a welcome way to reach out.

We’ve used “A Curious Thing” from our Undertow series http://art.ransommitchell.com/undertow/2 and “The Last Good Man” http://art.ransommitchell.com/artist-portraits/3 from our Artist Portrait series as postcard mailers. We then further our outreach by using the remaining postcards to increase our social media followers and fan mailing list. We simply ask followers to email us with their address and we send them an art postcard for free anywhere in the world. It’s amazing how the meager cost of postage creates incredible “share buzz” which in turn really increases our fan base.

——————

Ransom & Mitchell is the the creative team of director – photographer Jason Mitchell and digital artist – set and prop designer Stacey Ransom. Together they create highly-detailed and visually-lush photographic portraits and scenarios. By seamlessly weaving their photography, digital artistry, CG, and motion skills, their unique style blurs the lines of photography and illustration. http://www.ransommitchell.com

The results of this pairing have been selected for Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers, twice for their 200 Best Digital Artists Worldwide, and included in the Photokina 2014 Best of CGI Gallery. Their clients include Young & Rubicam, DDB, DDB Remedy, Hub Strategy, Duncan/Channon, JVST, Virgin Records, KVP, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Decibel, Magnet, Apex, Kixeye, and The Oakland Museum of California.

Their fine art work draws upon the darker undercurrent that exists within all aspects of society. Described as pop-baroque, their art has exhibited worldwide at art fairs (Scope NY, Art Miami, LA Art Show) and galleries in cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Berlin, Tokyo, and Melbourne.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

The Philosophy Behind Riveting Story Telling

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 12:01am

[by Pascal Depuhl]

Story trumps everything

Story is the most important part of any video. Great story trumps great visuals, amazing audio or an intricate edit every time. As a photographer, you’ve been a visual storyteller for as long as you’ve captured still images so I’m not gonna waste your time on how to craft visual content that tells a compelling story designed to change the viewers mind.

(If you want to learn more about that kind of story telling, check out Alex Buono’s Visual Story Telling Tour that’s running through September 20th and don’t forget your ASMP member discount. Or check out the How to Step Up Your Video talk I gave at WordCamp Miami this past May.)

The 3 ingredients necessary to create a powerful story

I believe the philosophy behind creating a powerful visual story is simple. It consists of three basic steps that, when followed, make your story irresistible. These three ingredients are simple to learn, yet difficult to execute. I discovered them when creating my first documentary in Afghanistan, shared them in my TEDx talk called The Art of Changing Minds and try to incorporate them into all of my video productions.

 

Step #1: Vision
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
~ Jonathan Swift

Without vision you have no story. Without vision you are literally flying blind. How are you going to tell a story, if you don’t know how it ends, where it begins and what twists and turns there will be along the way? By the way, it was Aristotle who wrote that every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Your vision is imperative to transform your viewer. Without vision it’s the blind leading the blind. True vision can not be manufactured, it has to transform you first.

(As an aside, if all you have is vision, you’re a just dreamer; someone with a great idea who’s afraid of going out on a limb to make it happen. You need the next step to get the driving force to help you get your dream off the ground.)

Step #2: Passion
If you don’t have a passion for what you do, any rational person is going to give up.
~ Steve Jobs

Without passion your story is dull, boring, uninteresting and lame. Without passion your story is a carbon copy of someone else’s at best – a counterfeit clone at worst. How are you going to excite your audience if you’re not sharing something that you deeply believe in? More importantly, where are you gonna get the strength to deal with the people who will discourage you from telling your story without having that fire in your belly? It’s easy to give up if all you hear is “No!”…unless you have passion driving your vision.

Your passion is vital to inspire your audience. Without passion you’re producing a story that’s gonna put everyone to sleep. True passion can not be faked. Passion has to inspire you first, before it inspires your audience.

(As an aside, if you have passion, without vision – you’re like a bull in a china shop. There’s a lot of noise, but nothing good is gonna come out of it. Shoot first and ask questions later does not work.)

Step #3: Action
Your aspirations are in heaven, but your brains are in your feet.
~ Afghan proverb

Without action your story is going to die. I don’t care how transforming your vision is and how inspirational your passion is; without taking action, you will fail. It’s as simple as that. Without action your story never gets told and an untold story is worth as much as an unprocessed piece of film.

Your action inspires and breathes life into your story. Without action your story remains lifeless and dead. It stays buried inside your head or entombed in some dusty screenplay or faded storyboard, that’s never gonna get shared. Great stories need you to get your head out of the clouds and get going.

The philosophy behind riveting storytelling:

  • Be a true visionary and create a transformative story by staying true to your vision.
  • Become a person of passion, who shares an inspirational story fueled by the burning passion in your gut.
  • Take action! Produce an inspiring story that follows your vision and combine it with passion to let it rip…

Pascal has been telling visual stories for a couple of decades and believes that video is a powerful medium to create riveting stories that change minds. Check out his TEDx talk called “The Art of changing minds” and let him know, if you agree on twitter @photosbydepuhl.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

What Is Photographic Vision Or Voice?

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:45am

A reader sent me this question awhile back:

Lately I have been hearing about photographers with ” vision” or “photographic voice”. I guess with everyone being able to do everything technique is kinda not as important as vision? Some quotes I’ve read heard recently”true style is vision” “those who are in demand have vision or a voice and people want to buy into that”. So my question is…what do you think photographic vision or voice is? And who do you think displays it? What photographers would you point to who have “it”?

and then I ran into this interview John Keatley made with his agent Maren Levinson and I think it has some good advice on the questions asked:

Categories: Business

Process, Theory and Other Things

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 12:01am

[by John Welsh]

Perspective. Observation. Clarity. These words help me find vision. And vision is something we need in order to differentiate ourselves within the horde that’s creating images. But I believe these words are also a component and fundamental layer in storytelling.

So, what if we took the Big Bang Theory and applied it to storytelling? That the moment of creation is when the story begins to have structure. That it’s something tangible. That if you inserted all of your facts and research on a story into the three act formula, the result would be that moment. But what happens before the Big Bang moment?

Perspective

First, you must have one regarding your story and you must apply it. For a moment forget objectivity if you come from a journalistic background. Of course you must maintain ethics, but your vision is created from being subjective.

Perspective also can be used as a tool. The same story can be told from different points of view. Finding the viewpoint for your story is a key part of the information gathering process and deciding how to tell it. Brainstorming other POV’s is a great way to get around roadblocks; it’s an important tool to have in the box.

Observation.

This is a quality we already mastered when creating still images. It’s so ingrained in our thinking it’s hard to extract the idea from our thought process. It’s something we just do. But how do we use it when storytelling?

A great exercise is to engage in people watching. Do it whenever you have a few free minutes. (Airports are great places to practice.) Become a harmless stalker. Learn to read people, their reactions, their motivations. And if you want to go for gold, engage in conversation with strangers and take the next step as if you were interviewing a subject. You have nothing at stake, you’re just honing your skills of observation.

Clarity.

Learn to be clear. Learn to be direct. Ask others who understand story telling for blunt force feedback and become comfortable with it. Sure, it can be a shot to the ego, but you’ll need to get past that to grow as a storyteller.

In an effort to find clarity you may also have to go off on wild tangents. While they often turn out to be nothing more than distractions, exploring an alternate direction can sometimes lead to clarity. You may discover what’s important to cut from your story. Exploring tangents can also lead you to undiscovered perspectives and aid your story’s journey into existence, so don’t rule them out entirely.

John Welsh is a photographer from Philadelphia and, in an effort to keep himself sane, tries not to think about what was there before the cosmological Big Bang moment (if that truly is how we all got here).

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Parade: HollenderX2

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:07am

hollenderx2_Parade_cover

hollenderx2_parade_spread

Parade

Photo Director: Nicole Kopperud
Senior Art Director: Matt Taliaferro
Photographer: HollenderX2

Heidi: Tell us about the subjects.
Jordan: Bill Berloni and his dogs were  photographed in Connecticut on Bill’s farm.  We were able to choose the dogs we wanted to work with (he has about 30 dogs).    We knew we were in for a treat as his dogs are some of the best trained in the country, with high day rates.  Fortunately they weren’t divas. He has a new show “From Wags to Riches” on the Discovery Channel that just came out where he turns shelter dogs into stars.

How hard was it to manage the dogs?
The magazine didn’t want a studio setup for the cover shot of the dog, so we photographed them outside.  After we set up the cover shot, we were told that they needed to bring the dogs out one at a time.  We then shot the dogs individually in our scene and later composted them together.  The biggest challenge was the heat.  We had a van with AC near the set for the dogs to stay cool — we were able to shoot each dog for a few minutes.  Since our subject is a master trainer and has such a unique connection with these dogs we needed to do less wrangling from camera than usual, but that didn’t stop us from doing some kazoo blowing of our own.

Did you have treats on set? 
There were treats and tons of different noise makers ranging from kazoos to the plastic trombone-like- whistles which were a big hit and seized the most attention from the dogs.

Were you concerned about any of your equipment with dog hair?
No – whether we are sippin’ a cappuccino in studio or rollin around in the dirt with dogs, we usually know what we are in for and plan accordingly.  In this case, we had plastic bags under our equipment.
 
Can the dog really make his ears go up or did you do that in post?
Ah, unfortunately no, or at least not in the short time we had to shoot him!
We wanted to create an organic movement from the centered “star” dog, so we had Bill pick up his ears and drop them to get this effect.

What was the most remarkable training command of the day?
I wish I could say there was a word but it turns out its mostly about hand signals.
There was this one thing Bill would do to get the dogs to run.  He would simply walk away and get into his car, and they would come a runnin’.

How hard was it to get all of the dogs looking for the group shot or was that done in post?
For the group shot, they were all so well trained that we were able to position them on the couch and with hand signals, they would stay in place.  There was an assistant dog trainer behind camera for that shot to help us.  It was done in camera and felt like a small miracle to have them all just sitting and looking at us like that.    Had we not been in the company of such well trained animals and top notch trainers this would have required lots compositing.

Here’s some BTS shots by Tye Worthington and another shot from the day.  Their subject gave Jordan a dog bone handkercheif and it came in real handy!
hollenderx2_bts_2 hollenderx2_bts hollenderx2_dog_kiss

Categories: Business

“If You Want a Happy Ending…

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 12:01am

[by Gail Mooney]

“…it depends on where you stop the story.”
~Orson Welles

The story is everything, and as the director and/or the DP (Director of Photography), I must have a clear idea and commitment to the story that I want to tell. If don’t, I’ll confuse or lose my audience. When I set out to create storytelling pieces – short form or long form documentary or narratives, I am mindful at all times of the story I want to tell or the message that I want to deliver. Every decision I make from my choice of angle, lens, lighting, music or pacing in the edit room, is made with the story in mind.

Some considerations:

  • Have a story. Stories aren’t just a bunch of pretty visuals strung together on a music soundtrack.
  • Determine exactly what your story is. Be able to describe your story in one sentence.
  • Have you heard the expression “moving the story along”? Think about your story’s structure. Have a title. How will you start? How will you end? Where are the highs and lows? Good stories move and keep the audience engaged. There’s a great book about writing a screenplay called Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It’s all about great storytelling.
  • For short pieces, open with your strongest material or something that will get your audience’s attention. You have about 7 seconds to either get their attention or drive them away.
  • Sequencing – nothing is worse than watching long drawn out video takes. Break down your shots into sequences made up of a variety of focal lengths and/or angles. In the edit these can be cut together in many ways to have the impact you want with your audience.
  • Lens/Angle choices – Yes, different lenses will convey a different message. For example, using a very wide angle lens can force perspective creating an intimacy with the viewer or make them uneasy depending on other factors – lighting, music etc..
  • Camera movement – Cameras movement is a language of its own – tilts, pans, tracking, zooms all send different messages. Each move can change the feel and pace and move the story in different ways.
  • Music drives the story and sets the tone. It’s integral for creating the right mood. Choose the right music for various parts of your story to create the tension, sadness, triumph or resignation.

Gail Mooney is a photographer and filmmaker. Her latest book, “The Craft and Commerce of Video and Motion” provides helpful tips for photographers who want to expand into video.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo – Blair Gable

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 10:22am

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.49.25 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.49.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.49.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.49.43 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.49.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.49.57 PM

Blair Gable

Who printed it?
The books were printed by Photobook Canada – 40 copies. The postcards were printed by Vistaprint and the stickers were printed by Loudmouth Print House in Ottawa.

Who designed it?
The Gablehead, Blair Gable Photography, and Third Floor York logos were designed by Jason Harper at Strongvine Visual Communications. I designed the book and postcard myself – layout using Photo Mechanic and page design with Fundy Designer.

Who edited the images?
I edited the images myself, though I showed a pre-production book to close family and friends to see if there was anything missing.

How many did you make?
I send out packages to editors that I regularly work with at least once a year. This was my first time sending promo kits to a large number of new editors.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I mostly shoot politics and portraits for my editorial clients and rarely have time to work on personal or self-assigned projects. I worked on a number of projects last year that I shot first and sold later, so I thought I would showcase that work in this particular promo package.

I like the title, did you write that and was impact the goal? 
I did write the title, it came from the topics of the projects, but I thought together they were compelling enough to make someone crack the book. So I guess the goal was to make it as enticing as possible, as quickly as possible.

Categories: Business

Starting With The “Why” Of The Story

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 12:02am

[by Charles Gupton]

Taking the plunge from being a still photographer for 30+ years to creating motion projects was a huge one for me.

As I started out, I thought the greatest obstacles were going to be learning the technical aspects of editing and audio or the learning curve related to purchasing and understanding how motion equipment differed from my still cameras.

Although each of these areas has had its specific challenges, the greatest hurdle has been convincing the businesses we work with that the best way to communicate their message in a film or video is by using the amazing power of a great story.

But not just any story. The story needs to capture the emotion and energy behind why the people who work with that company do what they do.

Our storytelling process doesn’t begin with creating a storyboard, writing a script, scouting a location or making decisions about who will be in front of the camera.

Instead, we always begin every motion project by sitting down with our client and asking the question “Why?”

Why does your business exist? What are the values and motivations that lie behind why you do what you do? Why should that matter to your potential clients or customers?

Then we make the case for using a powerful and compelling story to communicate that “why” to the audience of potential customers or clients the company is trying to reach. It’s not what they do — or how they do it — that most interests customers or clients. Instead, it’s the stories that explain why they do what they do that build loyalty and connection.

The power of a well-told story is in the emotion that the story evokes in the mind and heart of the listener. Stories connect with listeners at the why level because stories are amazing conduits for communicating what we value – why we get out of bed every morning to do the work we do.

The answers to these why questions provide the foundation on which we base every other decision:

  • If this a business testimonial video, which stories have the greatest power to explain why customers are loyal?
  • If we want a particular call-to-action, how can we use a story of why the business exists to inspire and motivate?
  • How can the story be told from the point of view of why the customer is a fan?
  • If camera movement is important to telling the story, how can it be done to further the story rather than just be a gimmick?

The opportunities to use various media to tell stories that engage viewers — and make a difference for businesses that tell them effectively — has never been greater.

But too frequently, we get caught up in our technical ability to create something quickly or more affordably and, in the process, overlook the most fundamental element of telling a story – why we’re telling it.

Charles Gupton is the host of The Creator’s Journey podcast. He is a filmmaker, still photographer, writer and all around curious guy who loves asking questions and engaging in deep “why” conversations. cg@charlesguptonphoto.com |  www.charlesgupton.com

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Storytelling in Motion

ASMP's Strictly Business - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 12:01am

One of the biggest differences between creating an effective still photo and producing a captivating motion piece is how you approach telling the story. This week, our contributors share their insights, advice and practices for tellling engaging stories in motion.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Work from Review Santa Fe 2015, Part 3

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 10:04am

I’ve got my hands full at the moment.

In the last two weeks, I’ve begun a new job as the Chair of the Fine Arts Department at UNM-Taos, had a articles published online by APE, the NYT and The New Yorker, edited a new photo series of my own, put together the newest issue of Photographers Quarterly, and got my kids ready for a new school year.

Hell, just writing that sentence gave me a headache, much less living it.

Why am I complaining? As always, there’s a reason. In this case, it’s because I promised a book review this week. Back to normal, I assured you.

Alas…

I hate to be a liar, but in the mad rush to get everything done, I actually forgot to include an artist in last week’s article. Not something I’ve ever done before, but hopefully, given that my current to-do list is as ornery as a drunk barn owl, I’m hoping you’ll forgive me.

And of all the people to forget, I actually omitted the most memorable. I met Gloriann Liu at Review Santa Fe a couple of years ago. She showed me some pictures she’d made of Syrian refugees on the Turkish-Syrian border, as she’d spent significant time in the region, determined to see for herself what was happening.

I was floored for several reasons. To begin with, Ms. Liu had an Asian surname, but was a middle-aged, relatively small, blonde-haired woman. That’s the kind of detail that will stick in your mind. (It’s her husband’s name. Easy answer to that one.)

She also told me that she funds her travel herself. It’s art, for her, as she is so heartbroken and angry at the injustice that exists in the Middle East and Central Asia. As such, she spent much of her own savings making trips over there, reporting, working almost as a one-woman NGO.

And she shook with anger as she discussed what was happening to poor and vulnerable people. Literally, she was seething; physically manifesting her rage at a violent and unpredictable world. I’d never met anyone quite like her.

Most people who set foot over there have grant funding, or work for a major media organization. They have institutional protection of some sort. Gloriann was doing this as a private citizen, an artist whose inner necessity put her squarely in harms way. INCREDIBLE!

Fast forward to RSF ’15, and I reviewed her work, officially. She showed me a portfolio of images she made of Zarghona, a former Afghan child bride, now older, and the family she supports. One son, Barialy, who was injured by rocket-fire during the Afghan Civil War, is featured prominently in the project.

He has to be carried around, and sometimes his mother hires a man to cart him in a wheelbarrow, so that he can accompany her as she begs for money. Shocking stuff.

The only rational explanation for how I forgot to show you these photographs is that I was overwhelmed with life. It happens. But we’re rectifying things by showing Gloriann’s portfolio today, all by itself. The pictures are strong, of course, but also a great reminder that while we sometimes get wrapped up in our own lives…there are people out there who would kill to have our First World Problems.

In early February of 2013 I met Zarghoma. The first time I saw her she was with Barialy, her son, begging in the center of downtown Kabul.  In the beginning she was very shy. Najibullah, my guide , Zarif, my driver, and I offered to take her home in old Kabul. It was extremely cold and had been snowing off and on since I arrived several weeks earlier. The car could only get to about a quarter of a mile from her home. Zarghoma had to carry Barialy all of the way through the slush and patches of ice and snow. Their home was small and very cold but had a very cozy atmosphere.

In early February of 2013 I met Zarghoma. The first time I saw her she was with Barialy, her son, begging in the center of downtown Kabul. In the beginning she was very shy. Najibullah, my guide , Zarif, my driver, and I offered to take her home in old Kabul. It was extremely cold and had been snowing off and on since I arrived several weeks earlier. The car could only get to about a quarter of a mile from her home. Zarghoma had to carry Barialy all of the way through the slush and patches of ice and snow. Their home was small and very cold but had a very cozy atmosphere.

Zarghoma, her son, daughter-in-law and their children having tea several days before their  home was ruined.

Zarghoma, her son, daughter-in-law and their children having tea several days before their home was ruined.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Zarghona is visiting her home for the first time since the roof had fallen during a heavy snow storm.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Zarghona is visiting her home for the first time since the roof had fallen during a heavy snow storm.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Zarghona and part of her family live in an apartment in Shah Shaid. On this day, they are visiting her son and daughter-in-law Carmela and other members of the extended family.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Zarghona and part of her family live in an apartment in Shah Shaid. On this day, they are visiting her son and daughter-in-law Carmela and other members of the extended family.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Barialy is now eighteen and becoming too heavy for his mother, Zarghona, to carry.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Barialy is now eighteen and becoming too heavy for his mother, Zarghona, to carry.

Kabul, Afghanistan.  A child bride at ten, Zarghona, now fifty, has a large extended family.

Kabul, Afghanistan. A child bride at ten, Zarghona, now fifty, has a large extended family.

Zarghona and Ghulam-Faroq, her 92 year old husband.

Zarghona and Ghulam-Faroq, her 92 year old husband.

Ghulam-Faroq's Bookstore

Ghulam-Faroq’s Bookstore

Zarghona took her son Barialy to a shrine in Kabul. Barialy was injured in The Civil War. There the ritual of “Doing Dam” was performed; verses are read from the Holy Koran and the touching with a knife to a sick or injured person is to take away the injury or illness.

Zarghona took her son Barialy to a shrine in Kabul. Barialy was injured in The Civil War. There the ritual of “Doing Dam” was performed; verses are read from the Holy Koran and the touching with a knife to a sick or injured person is to take away the injury or illness.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Zarghona and family go to the shrine to be healed and to pray.

Kabul, Afghanistan. Zarghona and family go to the shrine to be healed and to pray.

Liu_G-11

Liu_G-12

Liu_G-13

Liu_G-14

Liu_G-15

Liu_G-16

Liu_G-17

Liu_G-18

Liu_G-19

Liu_G-20

Liu_G-21

Zarghona visiting the location of where her home had collapsed. She found out that night that her husband and son had sold the property and had not told her. Now, with an aging husband of ninety-two, an invalid son, one young daughter,  and several grandchildren to support, she has no property and has become severely depressed.

Zarghona visiting the location of where her home had collapsed. She found out that night that her husband and son had sold the property and had not told her. Now, with an aging husband of ninety-two, an invalid son, one young daughter, and several grandchildren to support, she has no property and has become severely depressed.

Categories: Business

Less is More

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 12:01am

[by Kat Dalager]

Scheduling a Portfolio Review
In-person reviews seem to be fewer and further between. If you can get an in-person review, consider it pure gold.

Whether by email, LinkedIn or by phone, be concise in your messaging. If you’re sending an email or LinkedIn request, you should be descriptive in your subject line: “Lifestyle Photography / Portfolio Review Requested.”

If you are calling by phone, ask if your contact has a moment and then keep your pitch to under 15 seconds. If you don’t reach the desired contact, leave a brief message that includes your name, phone number and URL – but don’t ask for or expect a call back. If you get one, great.

The Review
“Less is more” should be your mantra when it comes to portfolio reviews. The idea is not to show your prospective client everything you’ve ever shot, but to share with them enough images to give them an idea of what you are capable of relevant to their accounts.

Some people prefer hard copy portfolios, others prefer iPad. The fact is, the format of your portfolio won’t be held against you so choose a format that is right for you.

Because your time is limited during an in-person portfolio review, show enough images that will hold their attention for about 90 seconds. If you have a lot of similar images, that could mean 20-30 images. If your images are each arresting enough, that might mean 12-15 images.

You are better off leaving them wanting for more than showing them images that will unsell you. In other words, if you show images that aren’t your best work just to fill space, you will be judged by those less-than-stellar images and they will unravel your prospective client’s confidence in you. If you show fewer images, you can always follow up with additional images specific to their needs.

Repeat Exposure
Remember that with all marketing, it’s about repeat exposure rather than one point of contact. One person may prefer email contact, another phone contact. Since it’s impossible to tell what each person desires, you need to leverage all possible points of contact to discover what works for them. It also means multiple efforts in each contact area.

Follow Up
A soft sell follow up will give you more results. “What else would you like to see” will get a better response than “Do you have a job for me?”

Kat Dalager has reviewed thousands of portfolios during her career and it’s still the highlight of her day.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Christina Richards

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 10:16am

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: Christina Richards

ChristinaRichardsEna_001

ChristinaRichardsEna_002

ChristinaRichardsEna_003

ChristinaRichardsEna_004

ChristinaRichardsEna_005

ChristinaRichardsEna_006

ChristinaRichardsEna_007

ChristinaRichardsEna_008

ChristinaRichardsEna_009

ChristinaRichardsEna_010

ChristinaRichardsEna_011

ChristinaRichardsEna_012

ChristinaRichardsEna_013

How long have you been shooting?
About 10 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
As a kid I loved flipping through the family photo albums at my great-grandmother’s house. Her name was Georgena, everyone called her Ena. Ena also had a painting of a house on a green hill. She told me this was the house she was born in, at Lake Ainslie in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I loved hearing stories about the house, Ena was a great story teller. When I found out that the house was still there and was still owned by a family member I knew I had to go and see it for myself. Once I got to Cape Breton it was such an adventure to actually find the house, there was no address and no one had lived there for years. I had the painting, a picture, and a verbal description from my grandmother and her sister. We knew it was at Lake Ainsley but not much else. When we finally caught a glimpse of the house we drove as far as we could then hiked up the overgrown drive and there is was. Being inside was thrilling. It was a dream come true to finally be there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
The idea to photograph the house and the land that surrounds it was in my head for years. I was working as a photo assistant when I finally had the opportunity and the means to make the trip. I spent about a week there, visiting the house, exploring the beautiful island of Cape Breton and of course taking pictures. The house is no longer standing, but I would love to go back and see what has happened to the land.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It really depends on the project and how excited I am about it. I really value the input of my peers and friends when I start a project. I’ve started many projects that don’t end up working but they hopefully lead to something else.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
For me shooting for the portfolio is a balancing act, I want it to feel like a personal project but also be marketable, fill a gap in the portfolio, strengthen my brand, etc. With personal work you are just working for yourself and it’s such a joy when it’s working and so discouraging when you can’t find inspiration or the images aren’t what you imagined they would be.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
No, I still can’t quite figure out the social media aspect. I’m working on it!

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Not yet, but I’m working on a new promo piece and it’s possible some of these shots will make it on at lease one version.

Artist Statement
My great-grand mother, Ena was a wonderful storyteller. I loved to hear the stories of her life in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her stories sparked a curiosity about family history and how it shaped my life and the lives of others. Discovering Ena’s childhood home was the beginning of a continued exploration of memory and family.

—————-

Christina is an east coast native who calls California home.
She is fascinated by the fleeting, honest, and spontaneous moments of life. Her photography explores the themes of family, childhood, memory, and a sense of place and time. Christina spent her youth in New England and studied photography at the Savannah College and Design. After college she moved to NYC and finally to the bay area where she now lives with her husband and dogs. Christina loves exploring the wild and urban spaces that surround her. She often takes along one of her many film camera’s with the hope of finding magic in everyday life.
www.christinarichards.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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Categories: Business

A Strong Portfolio…

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:01am

With experience as an art producer for the likes of Arnold Worldwide, Wieden & Kennedy and Grey Worldwide, a rep for legendary British photographer Norman Parkinson, the creator of 4 book projects and chair/program director for the National Arts Club Photography Committee, Catherine Johnson‘s understanding of what it takes to produce a commercial or fine art portfolio that will impress – and generate revenue – is unparalleled.  She recently applied her discerning eye to jurying  ASMP’s Best of 2015 annual and shares her wisdom here today.  ~Judy Herrmann, Editor

A strong portfolio has never been more important or relevant in our Digital World – especially since there is so little personal interface with potential clients today.

A well edited portfolio communicates a lot about you and your work in a few seconds. Here are a few tips.  You may think these sound fairly obvious, but I am often surprised by how many of the portfolios I review could benefit from a few simple tweaks.

1)   Your online presence/portfolio is your most important selling tool, keep the work current and updated.

2)   Make sure your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate to keep the viewer engaged.

3)   When selecting imagery – keep the edit tight. Usually less is more.

4)   Envision your portfolio as a book with short chapters in which each chapter tells a story and each image is equally impactful.

5)   And most importantly only show your most stellar work .  The most effective portfolio leaves a clear impression of what makes you a unique artist and what you do best.

Catherine Johnson is an art producer, book editor and author based in New York City.
She serves on the Exhibitions Committee and the Curatorial Committee of the National Arts Club. She is the author of the the book Thank You Andy Warhol.  A collection of her vintage snapshots of Dogs was published by Phaidon in 2007.  Her other book projects include:  Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession: 1902, The Luminous Years, and Paris 1962.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Photographers Quarterly Issue No. 2

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 9:12am

Photographers Quarterly is a new online magazine edited by Jonathan Blaustein and designed by myself, that gives us an opportunity to to show portfolios and make something purely about the photography. And of course, being an online magazine, we can do whatever the hell we want with it, which I love.

Please enjoy the Summer issue of Photographers Quarterly featuring the work of David Gonzalez, Gay Block, Phillip Toledano, Maude Schuyler Clay, and Susan Worsham.

http://photographersquarterly.com

pqno2

Categories: Business

What Has to “Click” to Get Work?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 12:01am

[by Carolyn Potts]

What critical info– besides great and relevant imagery– is a portfolio reviewer actually looking for during your review?

Since most reviewers are “speed readers” (consider how many thousands of books they’ve looked at over the course of their career), they can tell in micro-seconds if your work applies to their current account needs.

But they’re also looking for other non-photographic cues that tell them who to hire and who to pass on. Call it your basic vibe check. They’re looking for the same internal “click” that you get when you know you’ve nailed the shot. It’s a gut instinct that comes together in the present moment and leverages all of your experience and expertise.

Buyers also have to make choices based on their experience and their gut intuition.
It’s a rational and irrational decision. That’s one of their skills.

During a review, you may experience the unhelpful thought that the future of your career is on the line. If you can’t let that thought pass by without ruminating on it, you may end up feeling nervous or insecure. You may feel uncomfortable if they look at your work in silence. You may start to talk too much or try to show more images hoping that something will appeal to them. The buyer will likely pick up on your self-doubt.

If you’re in front of an experienced reviewer, they may feel compassionately towards you, but it doesn’t usually create the trust they need to assign you a big job. It’s important to understand that “wherever you go, there you are.” You need to be able to demonstrate an ability to manage your mind and emotions when they act up.

Learning to observe your fear-based thoughts and let them go without reacting to them is a high-level business skill that can be learned. (Refer to my other posts for tips on how to do that.)

A photographer who is punctual, prepared, relaxed, a good listener, truly interested in the other person, allows the reviewer to go through the book at their own pace, pays close attention to non-verbal clues and offers comments only when appropriate, is able to roll with any schedule snafus without getting upset, etc., is demonstrating the very personality traits that a buyer wants in a photographer on a high-dollar, high-stress shoot when it’s their career that’s on the line.

The photographer who is fully present – who can drop any feelings of worry and insecurity as they arise – creates a powerfully magnetic and memorable presence. This is the critical first step in building a real relationship with any buyer and one that will usually create a career advantage down the road.

A good handshake and eye-contact on top of great composition and lighting, creates ripe conditions for a powerful career “click!”

Carolyn Potts, creative consultant, speaker, and writer, gives talks and leads marketing workshops for pro photographers. A former successful photo rep, she’s created over 10,000 portfolio edits that have helped land assignments for photographers. She also creates customized marketing plans for seasoned and emerging photographers. Find her at www.cpotts.com, Facebook and Google+

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Fast Company: Zach Gross

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 10:07am

unnamed-2

unnamed

unnamed-1
Fast Company


Photo Director: Sarah Filippi
Photo Editor: Annie Chia
Photographer: Zach Gross

Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Zach: Annie asked me to do something a little creepy and eerie: using double exposures and shutter dragging to distort/obscure their faces. She wanted the portraits of David and Robert to look a little unsettling like their television show, The Walking Dead.

What was your technique for this?
I used three strobes mixed with the ambient light coming down from a skylight in the studio, and a smoke machine to create a hazy atmosphere.

How much time did you have to do the portraits?
Because of their tight schedules, I had thirty minutes with each subject.

It’s so refreshing to see a different style of portrait that suits the content. Have you done this type of portrait before?
I’ve experimented with this type of technique before while photographing dancers and performance artists.  This time it was a bit different because the subjects were not performers. I had to direct them more and suspend their literal interpretations of a portrait, asking them to perform a little more then they were used to.

Did you do any testing for this?
I arrived at the studio early, and did some tests for about an hour to adjust the light and get the technique dialed in. I came to the studio with specific ideas and goals. I sketched out some ideas on paper to help visualize the shoot. During the process, details get adjusted and tweaked but it was good to have a blueprint.

The blurs seem to be directional, how did you do that?
The blurs are directional because both the subjects and I were moving. The shoot was a bit of a dance trying to find the convergence of all the elements: strobe light, natural light, smoke, and expression. A lot of exploring different compositions…it felt like choreography.

Categories: Business

I Wish I Could Have a Do-Over For All Of My Portfolio Reviews

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:01am

[by Richard Kelly]

I could write a book on how to not do a portfolio review. I have made all the mistakes and despite that I have somehow crafted a long and satisfying career. Here are 10 important tips I’ve learned along the way:

1) Know who you are going to see before you step out the door. Nothing leaves a bad impression more than showing a book of pictures to a reviewer that is not relevant to what they do.

2) Know the sales story you are trying to tell and practice that story with your book.

3) Practice your sales story with people who love you and if you can handle it, with people who don’t like you. Talk about honesty! Scratch that, only practice with people who don’t like you, that way the reviewer will seem like a loved one in the end.

4) Do not talk too much.

5) Always have something to pull out of your back pocket when they ask you for more.

6) Show work with a personal vision, not the work that you think they expect to see.

7) You only have one chance to make a first impression so make it a great one. Mediocre they have seen before, and they will forget you once you leave the room.

8) Have support materials ready to leave behind.

9) Follow up with a handwritten thank you note.

10) Portfolio Drop-offs are acceptable, too; reviewers do look at them. Two of my best assignments early on in my career were from drop-offs. Not long ago, I got an assignment from a portfolio drop off – from ten years ago – they finally had the right assignment for me, and she remembered.

Richard Kelly is a Pittsburgh based photographer who stills shows a box of prints to whoever is willing to look at them. Follow Richard on Twitter @richardkellypho or Instagram @richardkellyphoto.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo: Kevin Zacher

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 10:43am

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.48.21 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.48.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.48.43 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.48.50 PM

Kevin Zacher

Who printed it?
Source Print Media in LA.  I like to keep it local and in America.  We used a traditional litho process but with the new technology of UV inks and UV lamps. This allows the printer to not have any dry back issues in the uncoated stock which in turn keeps the colors more vibrant.  There is also less waste in this process.

Who designed it?
Eric Pfleeger who is a freelance art director in LA  and formerly in New York and Amsterdam doing the agency thing.  He’s done promos for Christa Renee, Amanda Marsalis, Karen Caruso, Justin Hollar and logos for Peter Bohler and Brian Stevens. He is currently working on a super cool top-secret book project with an entertainment artist.   He’s been doing all my promos for the last 2 years and has a great sense for simplicity and editing.   He did a mini book for me that I shipped a couple of years ago and it looked beautiful so I just kept going with him.

We wanted them to be more or less simple and utilitarian.  A promo that isn’t so much about the design, but the work, the ease of use and  the fun of a poster.  The fold is very specific, that is because I wanted the images to be upright almost no matter how you look at it.  If it’s completely folded you can sort of flip it like a magazine and the images will be right side up.  And then of course for those who are into posters we offer that.  Who doesn’t like a good poster.  All time best poster?  Farrah Fawcett in the one piece swim suit.  Don’t know it??   Look it up- you won’t be disappointed male for female.

Who edited the images?
A mix between myself and Eric Pfleeger.  Each promo is built from photographs from one specific shoot, not a montage of many shoots or images over time. I wanted to challenge myself to do a promo I was happy with from a limited amount of work.   Limited in that it’s not curated from anything I’ve done in the last year, but from a single shoot that might last a day or a week.  I shoot a lot, but it’s still a challenge to commit to so few images.    I will send Eric as broad an edit of a shoot as I can and he will whittle it down and put into 3 to 4 layouts for me to review.   I will then bounce back some images I don’t like or add ones that weren’t included and then we will battle it out until we are both happy.  I want him to be happy, because it’s not just about me.  It’s about the integrity and I want Eric to gain something for himself as well.

How many did you make?
4,250.  4,000 get shipped out and 175 go to my agent Anderson Hopkins for hand outs and I keep the rest to hand out and mail to awesome people as they come into my life like Rob Haggart!!!  If anyone wants one hit me up!

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This year I am doing 4.  Roughly every 3 months or when the timing and work seem right.  I’ve shipped two so far:  Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.  I would ship more if I didn’t think it was wasteful and that people aren’t already tired of getting promos.  I will fill in with some email promos here and there when the work calls for it.

Categories: Business

Pages