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Who printed it?
This booklet was printed by J.S. McCarthy Printers.
Who designed it?
My studio manager and I designed it but we also got some key feedback from my studio mate Warren Corbitt of Primary & Co.
Who edited the images?
I edited the images with the help of my studio manager.
How many did you make?
We printed 750 and I sent out about 675, keeping the rest for leave-behinds.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
Two print promos per year seems to be my sweet spot lately. I always want to make sure there’s enough super fresh work to share and creating that work obviously takes time. So does the editing and design process too!
Did you shoot images specifically for this promo?
This promo featured a lot of work that was shot specifically for it and none of it had been seen before. We started the layout with FPO images, some brand new and some that were much older, to begin to create a sense of place, style, palette, and season. Some of the newer images that made the final edit were ones that I shot while on vacation in Iceland this summer and a couple came from editorial assignments. The majority of the images were captured on two different test shoots that I produced with this piece specifically in mind.
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[by Jenna Close]
2015 was pretty normal except that, more than any other year, there were months completely devoid of jobs followed by months so packed with work it was hard to keep up.
When I look back, it is clear that my confidence levels as a person and photographer corresponded with the spikes and drops in business. When I was busy, professional photography was indeed a fantastic profession and I was riding high. When things got slow, however, I had doubts about my worth as a person and about the sacrifices I made to pursue this career path.
This is not the happiest way to move through life, and in the slow times it can be difficult to get motivated. I had to find a way to get things done. What helped the most was to make myself accountable to someone else.
A few local photographers and I created a small marketing group and we make a point to meet every few months. During our meetings we discuss challenges, lay out marketing ideas and share personal projects we plan to pursue.
Putting all this out there and telling someone else gives me that extra boost to make sure they happen. When you have only yourself to answer to it’s easy to lose motivation and let things slip through the cracks, but when you involve other people it really gives you that extra drive to get the work done. Just getting out of the office and talking to colleagues can make a very real difference.
Jenna Close lives in San Diego, where she is one half of the duo P2. She can be found at www.p2photography.net.
The holiday season is the perfect time to count your blessings, enjoy friends and family, and reflect upon times that have past and those that are yet to come. This week, our contributors share some lessons learned in 2015 and ideas for moving forward more effectively in 2016.
Have you ever heard of Conor McGregor?
Yes? No? (If not, he’s an Irish fighter, currently taking the MMA world by storm.)
I’m not much of an MMA fan, myself. But I started watching the occasional match a couple of years ago, when I was training in Kung Fu, and became tangentially aware of a few of the big players in the sport.
McGregor had a huge fight this past weekend: a title challenge against a Brazilian named Jose Aldo. Mr. Aldo, the champion, was undefeated for a decade, and a tough mother-f-cker, by all accounts.
People spend $100 to watch these fights on Pay-per-View. They’re events and spectacles, as much as physical battles. Fans shell out for the entertainment and expect good value in return.
Apparently, Conor McGregor likes to talk a lot of sh-t. So many fighters do, but he always backs it up, which only increases the vehemence of his fan base.
This time, his words proved prophetic. I didn’t see the fight, of course, because no way am I dropping a hundred bucks on such a thing. Not when I need to buy my son a new ski jacket since he lost his old one last Spring.
But I didn’t need to see it. No one did. Because the fight was over as soon as it started. According to media accounts, Jose Aldo came out and threw a punch, which McGregor deflected. The Irishman countered with a straight punch of his own, to Aldo’s jaw, that knocked the champion out directly.
That’s all people got for their $100. Was it worth it? I have no idea.
But it got me thinking about what Jose Aldo must have felt like. He trained months for this bout. A decorated champion, cultured in the art of both attack and defense. He was likely just getting ready to get ready. Moving his body cursorily, adrenaline flowing, knowing he had a good long battle in front of him.
He’s lying on his back, staring at the little birdies circling his head.
“What just happened,” he would have thought, in Portuguese.
“How could my life be changed, that radically, in just a few seconds?”
It’s an interesting question. Like the people watching the Boston Marathon a few years ago. One moment, life exists as expected, and then, two seconds later, it’s different forever.
The limbo, the not knowing, must be the worst part. Disoriented, distressed, wondering if things will ever be the same again?
You know who else felt like that? The little birdies I just finished looking at as I perused “Ornithological Photographs,” an excellent new book by Todd R. Forsgren, recently published by Daylight. (Good thing he uses that R. I’m sure we’d otherwise confuse him with the other Todd Forsgren.)
This is a book that does what I’m always asking: it shows us things we’ve never seen before. Sure, we all see birds every day, and I can spot a raven just by looking out my window for 8 seconds. (Yes, I counted.) But this is something new.
Mr. Forsgren, who comes by his interest in ornithology honestly, having been steeped in its mystery by his parents, has photographed countess birds who’ve just been caught in a net.
You’re a Blue-Winged warbler, minding your own business. You’re thinking about food, because you always think about food. Mmmm, wouldn’t a little inchworm be delicious right about now? Or a lady-bug? That’s right, I love me some lady-bug.
You’re caught in a net. Your wings are trapped. You have absolutely no idea what’s going on, and unlike Jose Aldo, you don’t speak Portuguese. In what code does your brain express its massive fear?
I have no idea.
But this book allows us to read into those eyes. To wonder, how might a little bird react to such a drastic change in circumstances?
Apparently, the artist accompanied ornithologists in the field, and then set up a makeshift studio each time, to capture the image while the birds were being temporarily studied. My first thought, before reading any text, was that he’d trapped and killed these guys to get the photographs.
Awful, I know, but that was just an initial impression. The truth makes much more sense. These are glimpses of temporary interactions, and the birds were released unharmed. (But perhaps with trackers in them?)
The book is definitely one-note, as the typological aspect is not really broken up. It might have been more dynamic if they’d come up with a way of balancing the aesthetic consistency. But I’m splitting hairs.
This is a fascinating group of pictures, and definitely one that gives us something fresh. It adds to the overall body of knowledge we develop when we look at photography. (And art, by extension.) We, the photography lovers, are not so different from fight fans, or bird freaks.
We like to look.
Bottom Line: Badass bird book. Enough said.
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[by Chris Winton-Stahle]
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to shoot a big project in China and Tibet. I did some things right and I did some things wrong. Here’s what I learned.
Ultimately, people are people. Regardless of our cultural differences, we’re all kind of the same. We have the same emotions. We have the same fears. We have the same desires. If you approach people in an ethical way and treat them with respect, your experience of overseas travel as a photographer will be much more successful and the work you produce will be much more successful, too.
Chris Winton-Stahle is an award-winning photographer and accomplished photo illustration artist who sees the camera as only half of his process in creating great imagery. Chris often pulls components from multiple images and CGI when creating his work for clients in advertising, magazines and entertainment.
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: Mark Rogers
How long have you been shooting?
I picked up my first camera when I was 9. It was a Kodak x15 Instamatic with one of those cube flashbulbs. The first image I ever remember taking was of our black cat sitting in a bed of red azalea bushes. I think the pet photography thing was predestined.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. Both my dad and his dad were into photography and passed it on down to me. My grandfather was a newspaper reporter who shot his own stuff and my dad picked up the bug from him. I remember an image my dad took at a beach of a sandpiper running in the surf and thinking: “I want to be able to do that, too.” (see, animals again)
After that I did the classic shooting-for-a-high-school-year-book thing and always had a camera around but it stayed a hobby for a long, long time.
When I moved to San Francisco in the 90s I started volunteering at the San Francisco city animal shelter and began bringing my camera. Folks at the shelter started telling me the images were a lot different than the ones they were used to seeing of the animals there and that’s what inspired me to eventually leave my corporate job and spend my work day on the ground with dogs and cats instead of in a cubicle.
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
My career as a professional photographer had its roots in volunteerism and giving back and I continued doing pro bono work with animal welfare groups after I started shooting professionally 10 years ago. VET SOS (Veterinary Street Outreach Services) was one of the early ones. I knew immediately I’d found something special. When you go to one of those clinics and see firsthand the special bond between the homeless clients and their animals it’s a life changer. I knew it pretty much couldn’t not be a project after my second clinic. I photographed a young woman with her puppy while he got his first veterinary exam. Six months later I got an email from her out of the blue and she said she’d seen the photos online and sent one of her and the puppy to her parents. It was the first time they’d communicated in over a year but started them talking again. She moved back home a month later and was still there with her dog getting her life back in order. That blew me away.
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
Truth be told it’s been presented in bits and pieces the entire time. VET SOS has used a number of images over the years to help with fundraising and shots have appeared in a book on the human-animal bond as well as an exhibit in LA on pets of the homeless. I decided about 6 months ago to make it part of my project portfolio on my new website and it finally saw the light of day a few weeks ago when that site finally rolled out.
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I tend to have a hard time letting go of something once I start it so I’ll do my best to either make it work or see if there’s a way to use anything I’ve already shot on something else in the future. I find that if I stop working on something for a bit and go back to it another angle or approach becomes clear.
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
With the personal work I feel like I can stretch a bit more and worry less about specific outcomes. Portfolio and advertising jobs shoots are very planned out. They’re produced and lot more controlled. Granted, any shoot involving animals has an element of unpredictability but the VET SOS clinics are essentially veterinary MASH units set up in the middle of a street. There’s dozens of people and animals and no room for much equipment. It’s generally just me and my camera trying to stay out of the way and catch the moments so there’s not really time to plan it and do special set ups. It’s a lot more freeing but also tougher to get images you really want because of nasty light conditions or people walking in front of you at the perfect moment. I don’t know for sure if any given shot is going to work until afterwards but I also think that lack of control over all the external factors helps me focus a bit more. I don’t want to make it sound like combat photography but the element of risk of not being able to get a shot seems to make for a better shot.
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I post quite a bit on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. VET SOS actually posts the images on their facebook page and a lot of the clients are on facebook and have email. That was something that really surprised me.
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not quite viral yet but there’s more and more broad interest in tackling the homeless issue in the US and with a program like VET SOS where you have that plus the amazing bond between the homeless and their animals it’s something I hope the press and public takes more interest in.
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
My first book, was just published in October and many of the images in it were from personal projects I’ve done over the years. I’ve started sending that out as a piece to past and potential clients and have some other promos in the works for next year.
VET SOS (Veterinary Street Outreach Services) provides veterinary care to the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans through monthly mobile clinics. The relationships between these animals and their human guardians are some of the most profound examples of the human-animal bond I’ve ever seen and I’ve been continually drawn to them as subjects since I began volunteering with VET SOS in 2007.
Mark Rogers is a San Francisco–based pet photographer known for his ability to draw out the personalities and emotions of his animal and human subjects and the special bond they share. His eye-catching, often humorous images of dogs, cats, and other critters appear regularly in national advertising campaigns and print publications. Mark’s first book, Thanks for Picking Up My Poop: Everyday Gratitude From Dogs was recently published by Ulysses Press.
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.
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[by Pascal Depuhl]
Tips for the power (hungry) traveler
I love traveling into extremely remote areas on assignment. There’s something about filming in the Amazon rain forest, photographing a hidden monastery in a desert wadi or shooting video on a snow-covered airstrip in the Himalayan foothills, that recharges my creativity. On the flip side none of these places have electrical power so you have to bring it with you. That can mean packing in extra batteries or figuring out a way of generating power to run all of your digital devices – from laptops to light meters, from cameras to cell phones.
Solar power your gear
When I go far off the grid, I rely on solar energy to supply all of my power needs in a portable, yet powerful package. The solar panel I travel with folds up to the size of a paper back book and can charge my GoalZero Yeti 150 solar generator in about 8 hours of sunshine. This package ran a 2 week documentary film shoot in the Peruvian jungle, keeping all my gear charged – including the MacBook Pro I used to download and back up my footage.
Since that trip, I’ve been carrying the smaller GoalZero’s Sherpa 50 in each one of my bags. These little battery/inverters can power a GoPro (or two) on a multi-day time-lapse, top off my laptop or charge a couple of batteries (or devices) in the field.
Here are a few tips for planning your next off-the-grid production:
Pascal believes the further off-the-grid you travel, the better your projects can be. So don’t be surprised to see him on the silk route in Asia or the jungles of South America. Learn more travel tips in his ASMP post: 7 tips to keep your gear working on the road.
Shoot Concept: Fashion portraits of two models in an urban setting
Licensing: Native Advertising use of six images in perpetuity
Location: Exterior locations throughout Manhattan
Shoot Days: 2
Photographer: Fashion and beauty photographer based in New York
Agency: Regional lifestyle magazine
Client: National hair care brand
Licensing: As many struggle to find new streams of revenue and monetize consumers accustomed to getting their content for free, we’ve been receiving more and more requests from photographers working on advertorial or native advertising projects. Many media companies have taken on the challenge, with varying degrees of success. Much derided and often ignored, advertorials and native content are hard to pull off right. Some are overlooked completely, some annoy consumers, but the absolute best provide useful content that promotes the associated brand subtly and contextually, leaving a positive brand impression.
We were approached by a fashion and beauty photographer to help draft an estimate after she was contacted by a major lifestyle magazine based in the New York City area. The magazine was working with a national hair care brand, and was looking to produce some photos of professional talent styled with their client’s products for use on the magazine’s website as a web-only advertorial. The photos would show the fully-styled models in urban street scenes alongside videos explaining how to achieve the styles the models were showcasing with the brand’s products. Apart from being hosted on the magazine’s primary website, the photos and videos (shot by a separate crew) would also be featured on a fashion-centric blog owned by the magazine as well as a microsite that would host all the content indefinitely.
Because of the nature of this use, it might seem it doesn’t fit cleanly within the normal terms we use to describe licensing (which are Advertising, Collateral, Editorial and Publicity). However, we consider the use to be more along the lines of what we might normally call advertising use, due to the value the client is getting from the images, and the final use of those images, being similar. Of course, the client views this as a more editorial use, and wants to pay accordingly. Beyond the client’s ecpectations, due to the limited distribution (the magazine and its websites only) and the one-and-done nature of the project, we can’t charge as much as we might for what we typically call advertising use.
While this modern use of native advertising is still fairly new, the advertorial has been around for a while – think of all the “Special Advertising Sections” you’ve seen in magazines. As such, some of the tools we consult when calculating licensing fees do contain a print advertorial option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hit the mark in this case. Fotoquote, which includes a print advertorial option only, calculated $687 per image per year, while Getty Images quoted $2,230 for the same. Blinkbid’s Bid Consultant (which doesn’t really have enough options to appropriatly price this scenario) came in at $3,600 on the low end, and Corbis arrived at $1,080 for print advertorial use. Searching for web advertising use, Fotoquote gave me $671, Getty (which calls Web Advertising “Digital Advertisement”) returned $1,205, Corbis provided a range of $305 to $763 and Blinkbid offered information of the same accuracy as earlier.
As you can see, these numbers are all over the place, without a clear consensus. You might land on $1,000 for the first image for one year, which would be a sensible place to start. But perhaps the most salient consideration for this job was the client’s specific budget. The photographer was eager to get the job, and inclined to try and work within their parameters. As hard as we might work to divine the “objective” value of the image, if the client isn’t willing to pay that amount, we won’t get very far.
Client Provisions: The magazine had picked out the six locations, hired the talent, arranged transportation and designed the looks. The brand provided their own stylist, well versed in using only the brand’s products to achieve a variety of looks. Lighting was naturalistic, requiring minimal gear, and the on-the-move nature of the shoot prohibited much catering or wardrobe. The photographer, stylists, client and talent would drive around New York in a Sprinter, jumping from location to location. Overall, the magazine would be providing a lot of what photographers are normally asked to provide and what we normally include. This helped us keep our costs down, and also made pre-production a relative breeze. To avoid any miscommunication about what the client would provide and what the photographer would be responsible for, I included a list of client provisions in the estimate’s job description, listing everything that the client would provide clearly and completely.
Many of the provisions would be supplied by a video team that would be following along, capturing some BTS shots and creating how-to videos showing how the models were styled. In different ways, the photographs and the videos would be equally as important to the overall campaign, and just as prominent in the execution of the advertorials.
Tech/Scout Day: Even though the locations would be chosen and vetted by the magazine’s creative team, the photographer would need to visit each location to plan how she might shoot there. With six locations to get through in the day and an unknown amount of travel between, working quickly would be crucial to a successful shoot.
Assistant: Considering the lighting requirements (little) and the additional bodies (several) we opted for only one assistant here. We might have included a second assistant if not for the client-managed video crew, if only to make sure that the area of the shoot is secure. That aspect would be handled by the client and their video team, so in this case our photographer only needed her trusted first assistant. The client was fine with the idea of reviewing images on the back of the camera, so we opted not to include a digital tech.
Equipment: Even though the client was looking for natural light, we wanted to make sure there was enough money available for the photographer to rent additional lenses, or provide subtle lighting to supplement the existing scene. This money would also cover the photographer’s owned equipment, rented to the production at market rates.
Shoot Processing for Client Review: After the shoot, the photographer would need to upload all the images, cull the unusable frames, lightly batch process the images and upload them to a web gallery for the client to review and make their selects from. This takes at least a couple hours, so we want to make sure the photographer (or her retoucher) is compensated for the time, skill and equipment required to produce the previews.
Selects Processed for Reproduction: Once selects are chosen, the photographer will need to process the images for use in the final product. Some photographers might call this retouching, but in order to avoid confusion about how much or what kind of digital work a photographer is doing, we use the word “processing” to describe the work the photographer does to the images without specific client requests, and we use the word “retouching” to describe requests that the client makes after that.
Miles, Parking, Tolls, Misc. Expenses: During the scout day, the photographer and her assistant will need to travel and eat—this fee allows us to get reimbursed for that expense. This also gives us a little wiggle room if a line item turns out to be more expensive than we expected. We include this sort of line item on every shoot as a safety net to catch either small, unforeseen expenses or lump several minor expenses into one category.
Result: We were able to get a budget from the client before-hand, and we knew this was a bit above what they were hoping for. However, we were able to negotiate an increase to cover the additional cost, and the shoot was executed smoothly. The photographer delivered images quickly, and the client loved them. The images complemented the text and video well, helping to create social engagement and drive traffic to the client’s website.
Hindsight: As great as it is when a client accepts an estimate immediately, it always makes me wonder if we underbid the project. I’d much prefer to negotiate to reduce the costs for a shoot to a specific amount than submit an estimate that’s accepted without any negotiation. In this scenario, we were able to do just that – come in slightly over budget and negotiate approval, thereby getting as much money for the photographer as we could. We could have come in at or under the budget, but in the end we would have forfeited money on what was already a slimmer shoot.
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.
[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer]
Local projects aren’t always the norm for me, since most of my clients have projects all over the country. And, being a photographer and traveling light just aren’t things that are used together in a sentence. I will go so far as to say these are my company’s travel policies, and not just tricks and tips, because they have never steered me wrong.
I will search out the best airfare for my clients, but, if my “go-to” airline is not the cheapest, I book with them anyway and “eat” the difference. It is well worth having priority boarding, the occasional upgrade, priority customer service, free bag, and earning frequent flier miles on only one airline.
I learned this from my road warrior husband. If possible, always take one of the first flights out on the morning. The odds of having travel snarls are minimal compared to the rest of the day. You can work in your hotel room at the destination just as easily as you could work in your office if you were to take a risky afternoon/evening flight. Knock on wood, I have never been stranded overnight (except one catastrophic meltdown by an entire airline). This practice also holds true when heading home. I will stay the night and catch the first flight out. That way I don’t rush a project to get it done to get to the airport. I don’t need that kind of stress in my life. By flying earlier, you also tend to avoid “amateur travelers” or large families, which is a whole other subject.
First, no, I don’t travel on a plane without seat assignments. Tried it, don’t like it. Though the exit rows and the front of the plane can be wonderful, if you’re back in “steerage”, pick your seat in the far back end of the plane. Those overhead bins are the last to fill up, so the odds of your case being checked is minimal. But, think ahead if you have a connection, you don’t want a tight one when you’re in the back of a plane.
Essential/high ticket gear (camera body, lenses, laptop) go in my carry on, period. Plus, the set of clothes I will wear on the project and minimal toiletries. “Flight attendant, just try to check my carry on case, I dare you.” (hence the priority boarding-see Airfare above). Gear that is checked goes in Pelican cases, with TSA locks. No, that won’t completely protect it, but it will at least put a barrier between the goods and a “discount shopper.” I also have a small GPS tracker in each bag, and yes, I have had to tell the Lost Baggage Clerk which airport my bag was at (I could even show her which terminal it was in). The hotel can always provide you toiletries, and, if something happens to your tripod, you can always get an economic one at the destination to get you through the project. Always have a copy of your equipment with serial numbers “in the cloud” somewhere, so if you lose everything, you still have access to that.
Another tidbit, don’t place stickers or have logos identifying contents of any kind on your bags, carry-on or checked. No need to advertise “Hey, there’s good stuff in here!” unnecessarily.
TSA-Pre (other other equivalent) and Global Entry
For domestic travel, TSA-Pre is well worth the investment. Don’t chance that you might get it from your airline. Go through the process with the TSA and pay for it. The security lines are usually significantly shorter, and you don’t have to tear apart your bag or remove shoes, etc. thus minimizing one of the major hassles of air travel.
If you’re traveling internationally, definitely go through the process of Global Entry. This will make Customs an absolute breeze. However, you need to be thinking ahead. The process can take time and potentially a special trip to a major airport for an interview. Get it now, before you even have the project on your radar, so you have it when the opportunity arises.
Skip The Plane
This may or may not be an option (especially for international travel), but I have been doing this more frequently lately. Flying with gear is a major hassle, and, you’re on the airline’s schedule, no matter what. If it is a reasonable distance, I will drive to the project. That way I always have everything under my direct control, and should there be an issue at the project (especially with weather for exterior shoots), it is no problem to shift dates or extend a stay without monumental expense. But, don’t think I am jammin’ out to tunes the whole time I am driving. Through the “magic” audio books I put that time to good use expanding my knowledge in various subjects which can only help in the management of my business.
Kimberly Blom-Roemer is a Gulf-Coast based photographer that traveled so much in the last few years that the 6:15 AM flight crew knew me by sight for a while… is that a good thing?
What was your first paid editorial assignment?
It has been a while so I’m not totally sure, but I think it was a backcountry trip I shot for Powder Magazine. We got on the Durango-Silverton train and were dropped off in the middle of the Weminuche Wilderness. From there we would hike in six miles and climb a few thousand vertical, put in a base-camp and ski 14,000 foot peaks for a few days. When we got off the train, I had a fever of probably 102 and it was pouring rain. It was a brutal hike but I made it in, but my fever would’nt break for another 36 hours.
How many days a year do you travel?
I would guess about 150. I now have two young girls, Bergen 4 and Elsa 2, so being gone for long periods of time puts a lot of stress on the family. I am fortunate to have an amazing wife who very much supports my work and understands what it takes for me to achieve my photography goals.
For a shot like this there are no do overs. Are you stationary or also skiing?
During the shot I’m stationary of course but as a ski photographer you certainly have to be a very proficient skier.
How many locations did you scout for this cover shoot for Elevation Outdoors?
None really. The location is Coal Bank Pass which is between Durango and Silverton in southwest Colorado. My athlete Sven Brunso skis here regularly so he knew where the snow and light would be best. We were able to work about a 1,000 foot section of ridgeline from top to bottom and set up 8-10 different shots on the way down.
How long did it take you to skin up to this location.
( climbing skins are a tool that backcountry skiers use, to ascend the mountain ) We were moving pretty efficiently so I would guess about an hour maybe hour and a half.
How cold was it; does it affect your camera gear?
It was single digits when we left the car but as the sun came up it warmed to the low 20’s. I use a Canon 1DX and it has great battery life so the cold does not affect it really. I use Sigma lenses exclusively and they have never had any issues due to cold weather.
Where did you find the cover model, who is it?
Actually the athlete found me on this one. Sven Brunso called me up and invited me to come ski some of his favorite spots. We had a great shoot (this is our third cover together) and we continue to work together.
Since you’ve been doing this for so long, do you know you athletes limits?
I do…and they know mine!
For a fresh powder shots there are no do-overs. Do you train for ski season assignments since you are also carrying gear?
Fitness is a huge part of being a successful ski and outdoor photographer. I will do some ski specific training during the lead up to ski season but more importantly I try to maintain a high level of fitness throughout the year. You can’t concentrate on photography if you are exhausted from your hike up the mountain, so I am sure to build plenty of athletic time into my workweek. The few days a year that I get to ride/ski/hike without my pack I feel super fast!
How can you tell it’s time to call the shoot to avoid injury?
Unfortunately injuries are part deal in ski photography. They can happen anytime but usually it happens at the end of the day when everyone is getting tired. I have had numerous broken bones, deep lacerations, two blown knees and other injuries. Most of the skiers I work with have had the same or worse.
Tell us about the “Fresh” image for SKI, how does your equipment perform in those conditions?
This image came from a shoot up on Coal Bank Pass. I had just received Sigma’s new 120-300 f2.8 lens and was looking to put it through the paces. Sven Brunso (the skier) and I got up well before sunrise and drove to a spot on the pass that Sven had previously scouted. The 120-300 is a big lens so I can’t get it super deep in to the backcountry. Luckily this shot was close to the road. For anyone wondering the lens is stunningly sharp and we got a Photo Annual cover in Mountain Magazine and this full page for SKI the very first time I shot it.
[by Francis Zera]
Traveling is good fun, but traveling for a photo gig and dragging along all the necessary photo gear can quickly put a damper on that fun.
To help ease the pain, here are seven travel tips based on my frequent out-of-town photo projects.
And here’s my holiday wish for you all: may you find clients who will book your travel on private jets. Until that happens, travel wisely, politely, and safely.
Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural and commercial photographer. He currently serves as education chair at ASMP Seattle/NW, teaches architectural photography and business at the Art Institute of Seattle, and holds an M.A. Ed. in adult education and training. You can check out his work at zeraphoto.com and follow him on twitter and on instagram.
Who printed it?
I had this promo printed by a family-owned business in Anaheim called, Quality Graphic Services. They work on projects ranging from books to posters. Between emailing and a face-to-face meeting, they were amazing to work with.
Who designed it?
The design was done by Shannon Ritchie. We worked on it for about 2 months. My aim was to make something that could be folded and kept as a collection of images, or hung on a wall. I selected 2 images that worked as posters, then built around those 2 with images that worked together
Who edited the images?
I made the final edit, but had a lot of help from Shannon and my agent, Maren Levinson. As much of a struggle as it was, I really enjoyed the process. The final stages of editing consisted of removing photos as opposed to adding more. Once the images had enough room to breathe, it all fell into place and made sense.
How many did you make?
I made 1000 and have sent out about 600 so far. With offset printing, the price difference between 500 and 1000 wasn’t much so I decided to go with more.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
Every year has been different. It really depends on what kind of work I want to share and what I can afford. I try to send them at least twice a year.
If there is some sort of interesting backstory?
I scrapped 3 other promo designs before committing to this one. I went back and forth between designing a promo focused on a specific body of work and a collection of my favorite images. I ended up going with a combination of personal and commissioned work made in 2015.
[By Michael Clark]
When traveling, I am constantly trying to streamline my bags; how they are packed and how I get them through the airport. Let’s be honest, most clients aren’t paying for first class tickets or any extras. If you want to travel in style or travel comfortably you have to do some real planning up front. Here are some tips I have found to be invaluable:
Pick an airline and stick with them. It isn’t always possible to fly on the airline of your choice. Often the flights that you book – or that your client books for you – end up being the cheapest flights available. As a result, you may wind up flying a wide range of airlines. Whenever possible, choose an airline with a large array of destinations and stick with that airline so you can build up points and air miles, which can then be used to get free flights (for vacations or personal projects) or to upgrade yourself into a more comfortable seat. For international travel, upgrading to a “lay flat” style bed in first class or business class will have a huge impact in how rested and ready to go you are when you land.
Get a credit card from your main airline. Once you’ve picked your default airline, I highly recommend getting the credit card offered by that airline. There are some huge benefits to doing this, even if you don’t yet have many air miles built up with that airline. First, and foremost, for photographers is the fact that having an airlines credit card also allows you to board the airplane in the first few groups as opposed to Group 4 or 5. This means you to get on the plane early and can get a choice spot for your $20K to $50K worth of camera gear in the overhead bin. It also allows you to build up miles and status on the airline much faster.
Bring a power strip. With digital photography these days, everything has to be charged up. When I travel, I always take a small power strip, which allows me to charge up five items off one plug. It also allows me to only take one or two plug adapters because the power strip has USA plugs in it. Be sure that the power strip you buy can handle 110 – 220 Volts. Pretty much every electronic gadget I have these days incorporates a multi-voltage charger so that isn’t a huge issue anymore.
Get an international calling plan for your mobile phone or get an unlocked phone for international travel. One of the biggest issues when traveling internationally, especially when on an assignment, is just finding your destination. Google Maps is a huge help to any traveler and saves a ton of time and energy when navigating in a foreign country. I turn on an international mobile plan when I travel internationally so I can communicate with locals and clients, find my way, upload images to Instagram and social media and answer emails on the go. The other option is to buy an unlocked mobile phone and purchase SIM cards for that phone in the countries you visit.
Pack as light as possible. Ok, we are photographers so packing light isn’t one of our strong suits. As an adventure photographer, I often have twice as much (or more) outdoor gear than I do camera equipment. Clients don’t like paying for extra baggage fees and some countries (like Brazil) won’t even allow extra baggage—or if they do they charge exorbitant prices. Traveling with lighting gear or video equipment is the main issue for most of us. Lightware brand bags are great for getting your lighting gear to the location in one piece and they are less than half the weight of comparable Pelican cases. Whether or not that works for your needs depends on the cases you need on location—sometimes you do need the protection of a Pelican case. I also pack tripods, miscellaneous accessories, and even lighting gear, into my normal checked bags with a lot of soft clothing wrapped around them.
Get a Press Card. Having a press card from ASMP does allow you to check heavier bags at no extra cost (or at a discount) on some airlines. Members can order them for $15 by logging into your profile at http://admin.asmp.org and selecting “Order a Member ID Badge.”
Find camera bags that can work on smaller regional jets. Living in New Mexico, I usually have to take a smaller regional jets to get to just about any location. My Lowepro Vertex 300 AW can hold a ridiculous amount of camera gear and still slots into the tiny overhead bins of regional jets. If I need to take a hard shell case, like the Pelican 1510, I often use an F-Stop XL Pro ICU insert inside of it and can pull that out to put into the smaller storage bin of the regional jets since they won’t fit a Pelican 1510 case.
Michael Clark is an internationally published adventure photographer and author. For more stories and inspiration check out his Newsletter, which is a quarterly magazine that goes out to over 6,000 photographers and clients. He also recently published an updated version of his e-book, A Professional Photographer’s Workflow: Using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which can be purchased on his website. See more of Michael’s work at www.michaelclarkphoto.com.
From packing and transporting your gear to powering equipment abroad, planning ahead, and troubleshooting on the road, traveling for a shoot is a completely different animal from traveling for pleasure. This week, some of our most distinguished road warriors share their best tips for traveling on the job.