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Business

Staying Afloat

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 03/18/2016 - 7:30am

[By John Welsh]

Life is about relationships and so is success. And since business is part of life, then success in business must also involve relationships, right?

Perhaps there’s flawed logic in that claim, but I still believe it’s true. And as each year passes and brings with it “better” technology, it leaves us with very little face time to develop our business relationships. It seems it’s becoming increasingly difficult to carve our niches as photographers, but the technology is here and we need to use it well.

The danger of being lost in the crowd would still be there even if we were competing only with each other (meaning other professionals) and didn’t include the hordes of People With Cameras who chip away at our perceived value and create a huge distraction – one that leads our clients away from us. So how do we steer the attention back to us?

I was never disciplined enough to create traditional mailing campaigns. Of course, that’s not the only way to get noticed (though it can be highly successful if done well). Mailings, whether electronic or in print, are part of a tool kit we all need. The important part is that we recognize the right tool, one that uses our strengths.

Coming from the business of photographing for newspapers, I learned to connect with people quickly and genuinely. It’s something we all had to do to get the shot. Connecting with people has helped me create successful images and it also has helped me build relationships.

So instead of plugging away diligently through mailing lists and follow-ups, I toss myself out there at multi-disciplinary workshops I enjoy attending and speak about new projects, or I engage clients, old or new, and talk about the same projects that fuel me creatively. Enthusiasm isn’t the flu. And if genuine, it’s highly contagious and it’s something that’s totally ok to pass along.

Sometimes connections form quickly, and I build relationships that generate success (which I define as not just pay, but the opportunity to create meaningful images and be compensated). And sometimes there’s nothing gained directly, though going through the repeated repetitions help me polish social skills I wouldn’t be able to practice had I not put myself out there.

Regardless of the tool you choose, it’s about putting yourself out there, showing your best work and your best self. Crafting your approach to clients in intelligent and creative ways is what makes us stand out as professionals. It’s what steers attention back to us and proves our value. And it’s what will keep this ship we are all on afloat.

John Welsh is a photographer & storyteller from Philadelphia. He’s a refugee from the land of photojournalism and still manages to carve out (hopefully) some truth for his clients.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Sasha Nialla

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 03/17/2016 - 9:05am

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: Sasha Nialla

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting for 13 years. I’ve been working solely as a photographer for 10 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I’m self-taught. I took one photography class at The New School to learn how to use the camera and one black and white printing class to learn about lighting, shading, how to look at a negative, that the film is just a blueprint…I also read lots of books. And of course, the never-ending class of ‘trial and error.’

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I am constantly getting involved in projects that bring awareness to different causes and life experiences. With immigration being one of the top issues on people’s minds today, I wanted to create a project that shows immigrants and refugees as people and not as social-political data.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I contacted New Women New Yorkers with a photo concept. We decided to make it into a photo exhibition to raise awareness about women immigrants in New York City. I photographed this series over 20 days. The exhibition is on Thursday, March 24 from 6-9pm at Centre for Social Innovation, 601 West 26th Street, Fl. 3.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
I jump into projects with both feet. I make all the commitments and agreements before I have even picked up the camera. So I shoot the whole project, usually over the course of a few days, and then walk away from it for a few days. With a clear head I start viewing the images and seeing how it affects me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s just great for the people involved but not for my portfolio. That is ok, because a huge part of why I shoot personal projects is the experience with my subjects. I love learning about other people, what makes them tick. To me, if that experience went well, I believe the work went well.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I view them as the same. I shoot personal projects with the intention of it going in my portfolio. I try to present work that I would like to get hired doing. Since I produce, art direct, photograph, and retouch all my personal projects I feel it is a good representation of my style.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yes, I do post on Facebook and Instagram (@snialla). I’ve gotten assignments and kept contacts this way. I feel it’s a good way to stay in front of people without being annoying. If they want to look at my page, great.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
I’ve yet to have a piece go viral…

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I almost always print my personal projects for marketing. I made a black and white magazine of portraits I took for Dance Theatre of Harlem. I mailed some out and kept some to leave behind at meetings. It was mentioned on PDN’s Promos We Kept and the series placed in the self-promotion category of the PDN Photo Annual 2015.

Artist Statement
Now more than ever, immigration is one of the top issue’s on people’s minds. Women immigrants and refugees constantly face sacrifices and challenges that deserve attention and recognition. Learning unknown customs, speaking a new language and adapting to different cultural norms is extremely hard. Establishing a career in the US workforce as a foreigner is even harder.

Through my photographic series entitled Real People. Real Lives. Women Immigrants of New York, I want to bring awareness to the fears and strength immigrant women carry each day. The cities they first called home are a huge part of who they are. For this reason, I chose to integrate their hometowns into their portraits. Landscape images of their birthplaces were projected onto their faces, bodies, and background to create highlights and shadows. These projections blended onto the sitter’s features, emphasizing their beauty, their emotion and the marks of their struggles, which are visible in their eyes and expression.

I approach all subjects in the same manner. I spend time getting to know the sitters, I ask them questions and connect with them. Only with their trust, I am able to show their vulnerabilities.

I think that it is important to underscore that although much is being said about immigration, immigrants and refugees are being treated as numbers. These portraits show immigrants and refugees as people and not as social-political data.

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Sasha Nialla was raised in California and spent the last 16 years in New York City. As a photographer for 10 years, she is constantly getting involved in photography projects that bring awareness to different causes and life experiences, including; children with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Iraq war survivors and many more. All these projects have resulted in supporting vulnerable groups and people, and those not exposed to these situations in their everyday lives. Highlights include multiple billboards in Times Square for Bideawee, standees of breast cancer survivors with NFL players in Kroger supermarkets and on PepsiCo and Gatorade packaging and an exhibition of cancer survivors in the NYU Medical Center art gallery.


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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Categories: Business

Breaking through the Noise

ASMP's Strictly Business - Thu, 03/17/2016 - 5:57am

[by Michael Clark]

Let’s be honest here, getting noticed no matter how you go about it always starts with the quality of the work you produce. If that isn’t where it needs to be then you can make all the noise in the world and no one is going to give you the time of day. This is ipso defacto, point #1. Create a unique set of images or motion content that sets you apart and the rest of this exercise will be substantially easier. I realize this is easier said than done, but this is where the hard work comes into play.

Once the work is where it needs to be, I publish it on my website, on social media, and I use it for e-promos and postcards that go out to prospective clients. Early on in my career, I would target specific clients and send one mailer a day to a client, which were mostly editorial clients back then. I found this to be a very effective marketing strategy. I’d suggest listing your top 25 or 50 clients and going after them very specifically – and to make sure that your amazing images are appropriate for them.

As for getting your images seen, that is not difficult these days. Send a postcard. Send an e-promo. It is actually much easier to get your work seen than it has ever been. If the work is good enough, you will get a response. I don’t advocate the “hard sell” technique. If you have to “sell” the clients on your images then the images are not good enough. Your work should sell itself. If you present your work in person, then your work and your polite, confident manner should seal the deal along with a few funny, adventurous stories if they seem appropriate.

Getting an actual assignment is a whole other kettle of fish though. You will not only have to present yourself as a true professional, but the client will need some assurance that you can take on said assignment and pull it off with ease. Hence, if you are just starting out and don’t have a solid list of clients and tearsheets on your website, then you might have to start small and build up to make that dream client a reality. That is just the nature of the game.

In the end, it has always been difficult to break through the noise in this industry. The ideal situation is to create buzz around you and your work, which means others are talking about you favorably and recommending you for various jobs. That takes consistently top-notch work from assignment to assignment and vigilant marketing via social media and everywhere else. Winning a few big awards along the way also doesn’t hurt. There is no set strategy or method to pulling this off but as I said in the beginning, it all starts with the work.

 
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.

 

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

You Said Timex But They Heard Rolex

ASMP's Strictly Business - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 10:10am

[by Francis Zera]

Being successful at managing client expectations often boils down to managing just one thing: communication. If you invest the time and effort to be a clear communicator and work with the client from the start to set objectives together, you’ll rarely have any problems in this regard.

When expectations are vague, problems can quickly materialize.

For instance, imagine that you’re at a camera shop and see a vaguely-worded sign that could possibly, just maybe, be loosely interpreted such that the new camera you’ve been dreaming of might be on sale for an obviously ridiculous price. You know in your heart of hearts that the odds are better than 99.99% that it’s simply a poorly-worded sign, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to give it a go just the same and try to get it for the unrealistic price. Your clients are no different – everyone loves a bargain.

We’ve been trained by the American retail juggernaut to be constantly on the alert for sales, and to take advantage of lapses in clarity of pricing or expectations to one’s own advantage. You’ve likely heard tales of airlines accidentally offering ridiculously low airfares, ultimately caving in and honoring those fares, usually as a face-saving PR move. It’s in our cultural DNA to be sale-shoppers, and we’ll save the moral soul-searching for after we’ve snagged that great deal, thank you very much.

On the flip side of that, venture into an Apple Store, and you’ll never have thoughts of stumbling across an accidental price break — you know that everything there is clearly presented and clearly described, and therefore your expectations are crystal clear. For any given purchase, you know what you’re getting, you know what you’re not getting, you know what it costs, and you know what to expect after the sale. It’s frustrating for bargain hunters, but people don’t go to the Apple Store looking for bargains — they’re after a specific high-end product, which is no different than our clients. The bargain-hunters will always go for the cheapest option regardless of consequences, and those in search of quality and consistency call the pros.

Offering clearly-written contracts is only the first step in the process of setting expectations. The rest comes from equally-clear conversations and emails which give you further opportunities to ask the questions that will ultimately result in a clear definition of the project such that everyone is happy.

Asking something as simple as, “This is my understanding of what you’re expecting, is that correct?” will at the very least get the conversation started. Your clients will appreciate your attention to detail, and you’ll need fewer antacids.

 

Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aviation, and commercial photographer. He currently serves on the board 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 Instagram.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

Studio visit: Nadav Kander

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/16/2016 - 9:43am

The artist, photographer and director takes us inside his London studio — discussing death, beauty, and the works that mean most to him

 

Source: Christie’s

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Categories: Business

The Daily Edit – Hugh Kretschmer : Oprah Magazine

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 9:33am
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Oprah Magazine

Photo Director: Christina Weber
Design Director: Jill Almus
Photo Editor: Scott Lacey
Photographer: Hugh Kretschmer

How long have you been working with the magazine; tell us about your collaboration.
I have been working with Oprah Magazine since the magazine’s inception back in 2000, and in every case it was always a very inclusive and collaborative process.  This project was no different.  All parties on the magazine’s team, Photo Director, Christina Weber, Design Director, Jill Almus, and Photo Editor, Scott Lacey, contributed to the cause both in time and insight, from start to finish.  The process started with a “party-line” conference call with all members online brainstorming ideas back and forth for a good hour or so.  It was great!  This is one of my favorite parts of the process where we bring everyone’s imagination and sensibilities to the table, and “daydream” together.

What type of direction did you get from the team? And, do you always sketch out ideas?
Primarily they wanted the visuals to connote a sense of hope, and we strived to inject a positive subtext.  So, in just about every image there is an element that contrasts with the remaining ensemble; i.e., a ray of sunshine, the word “Hope”, having the model looking up rather than down, etc.   Once the sketches were approved after a few rounds, we talked about details, coloring, set design, and how some of the specialty props would be constructed.  All in all, pre-production took about two weeks, which was fine by me because every detail needed to be looked at and designed into the respective visual, and that is how I typically work.  We discussed things like costume design and color to marry well with the particular set.  Belabored the written “prescription” on the pill bottle, and how the rays of light needed to be in a golden hue.  How the dark cloud was to be designed and how it’s own color needed to match the blue of the room.

Sketches are vital in that process and I have learned not to proceed unless it is sketched out, it simply makes my job much easier. They provide, not only a blueprint for me to work from, but I can gage size relationships, preview juxtapositions, and overall design and compositions. It segues between a vision in my head and the final photograph. The sketch is also a vital element to communicate my ideas to the art director and something I can get signed off on before production. In some cases, the designer might take my sketch and drop it into the layout, and we can all see how it fits and predict any pitfalls we may encounter during shooting. I am all about pre-production and I make sure I have enough time in the front of a project to make sure the post-production is minimized as much as possible. The sketch helps with that objective in so many ways.

What was the biggest challenge for project?
One hang-up was the chaise in the therapist office.  We searched high and low for the right one, and it was touch and go all the way up until the 11th hour when my set builder located a tufted, brown leather flat-bed type.  It just kind of showed up on shoot day with a collective sigh of relief.

What do you enjoy most about your creative process?
Another favorite part of my productions is prop making, and got the chance to create the dark cloud, pill bottle design, and the woven pigment print sculpture.  Prop making is something I love to do. So much so, Iand am now offering my services to other photographers as a side business through my agent, Renee Rhyner.

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Have you always built your own sets?
I don’t always build my own sets, but I do build them, yes. In this case, the timeline was too tight for me to create the props and set build, so I used my go-to set designer, Fabio Mascio and his team from his company, TractorVision. He and I have worked together for years, and have developed a symbiotic working relationship that clicks now that we know each other’s sensibilities and working styles.

Where or how did your love of prop making develop?
That is a good question and I never get asked it, surprisingly. I use to build things when I was a kid, whether a fort in the backyard with my neighbor, or some sort of functional gadget like a crossbow out of sticks or supplement my bicycle with whimsical handmade rockets or sidecar. And, I’m not talking about just throwing these handmade gadgets and gizmozs together, either. Whatever I did was detailed and elaborate, spending endless hours perfecting whatever I was making so it functioned and looked AWESOME.

How big was the team that produced this?
It was a pretty substantial production for an editorial job, and our collective teams were made up of 14+ people.  The shoot took two days to complete, in a sound stage at Quixote Studios, and that extra time just helped the images in the long run.  It made for very little compositing and post-production work, as we were able to cover everything needed in-camera.


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Love the woman unraveling, tell us about that.
For the image of the woven woman unraveling, I made several, 13×19 pigment prints of the image that I had previously retouched and color corrected beforehand.  The color of the print had to be right, and slightly color biased towards cool tones.  That was because the final sculpture was going to be photographed using a Nikon D800, and that sensor renders skin tones that are biased towards warm hues.  Once that was figured out, two prints were cut in half-inch strips, one in a direction 90 degrees opposite the other, in order for the weave to work as needed.  I used another print as the base to construct the woven assembly on top of and in order to make sure the woman’s face didn’t distort when assembled together.  Each strip was glued at intersecting sections, and I took liberties in forcing some dimension to the overall sculpture by bending some of the strips on the outer areas away from the face.  The sculpture was then placed on a piece of transparent Plexiglass that itself was cut to the overall shape, and placed on another larger piece of Plexiglass that was suspended over the pink seamless background.  The lighting on it was matched in direction and quality to the original set-up when I shot the model.

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Categories: Business

Communication is Key to Managing Expectations

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 03/15/2016 - 8:54am

[by Michael Weschler]

New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation© Michael Weschler

As with any business, preparation is crucial and while you can’t anticipate everything, you must eliminate the variables that you can. This is why in order to manage expectations best, it needs to be clarified right from the start of any project’s discussion, what those expectations might be. It’s critical to gain clarity on the number of shots, the specifics of the deliverables requested, the time frame allotted and the limited possibilities within the specific constraints and budget that are presented. Often times, understanding what your client’s needs are can be the the most important part of your dialogue to best manage expectations.

As creatives, we all know that there are an infinite number of ways to interpret how to make an image, but are you prepared to create usable image assets for your client? Is your picture just for you, like with personal work and Fine Art, or are you telling a story and making something marketable for someone else, or a very wide audience, for that matter? Hopefully, there is overlap in your career, but artists often miss this important distinction, especially early in their careers.

It’s vital that we understand when we’re not making a picture just for ourselves and how that doesn’t always overlap with capturing a feeling objectively for someone else, or creating the tone of a message, when you’ve been commissioned to shoot a project. In essence, when you begin to understand how to shift gears creatively, you are able to collaborate with more people and expand your repertoire.

When I first set out on my own to become a full time photographer, I hadn’t yet grasped this ability to become an artist that clients could depend on to deliver usable content on time and within a budget. Having spent a few years assisting some well regarded photographers, it eventually became more clear that editorial and commercial work puts constraints on you, but if you handle these challenges, you increase your work’s value and marketability. It’s not always easy to see how to differentiate yourself, but if you listen to what the marketplace is looking for, you can begin to adapt and create work where there perhaps was no demand.

The approach that has worked best for me is to listen closely and ask lots of questions. When you build trust, your clients will often step back and let you simply run with the ball, so to speak, and make pretty pictures. Occasionally, though, there is some nuance that wasn’t articulated beforehand, and on set, everyone is scrambling to figure it out, which can be too late. What helps is, before the shoot, to know who is making the final call on whether you captured the shot. Who is the decision maker and what are the “must-haves” vs. the “nice-to-haves”?

For editorial work, you can sometimes be lucky enough to have a lot of creative freedom, but oftentimes there’s a limited budget, leaner crew, and perhaps no art director on set. So, the added pressure to decide when you’ve got the shot falls on the photographer. I’ve worked on cover stories where the story isn’t written yet and with a quick call with the creative director, I’m sent on an assignment to shoot the story as I interpret it.

However, with commercial work, there can be teams of people involved, especially when it comes to an advertising campaign. The complexity here, to begin with, is that the ad agency is technically your client, but their client is really THE client. So, there can be miscommunication between the ad agency and the brand, and companies can surprise everyone with unexpected people that show up on the day of the shoot. Everyone wants to be on a photo shoot, so it’s crucial to cut through the chatter and know that not everyone has good set etiquette and there will be distractions. My preference is to stick to the script and provide as many image variations as time permits. This is what is central to managing client expectations, but it has to be done before you start shooting. Once a project is underway, it’s important to remain agile and able to pivot, but a complete turnaround may not be an option.

That’s why on the larger advertising shoots, my aim is to eliminate the variables and any confusion that may be present, because you’re creating compelling imagery for a lot of people. Brands have spent months or years developing concepts with their creative agencies and magazines have spent years developing their look, so if you plan to accept an assignment, you need to put that particular hat on to capture pictures that coincide well in your client’s context.

For the large productions I work on, with sometimes fifty people on set, all eyes are on me to deliver the goods, so eliminating any confusion before the actual shoot, ensures that when the time comes to execute the project, things will go smoothly. Because there can be different producers representing different teams, sometimes communication breaks down, so it’s important to always anticipate any misunderstandings, or halfbaked ideas, and deal with them in pre-production. We often promise the sun and the moon to our clients, but it’s essential that you or someone on your team is reminding everyone that the sun will go down precisely when it’s supposed to and there are only so many hours in a day. When Donatella Versace suddenly says to you that she’s leaving for Milan in twenty minutes, you don’t panic, because you were pre-lit for her and ready for her to only have five.

Michael Weschler is a Communication Arts Photo Award recipient & ASMP National Board Director on the Communications Committee. When he’s not conveying compelling stories visually for his editorial and advertising clients, he’s on a constant search for knowledge and new challenges to exceed his own expectations. Besides moving into directing motion recently, he’s also done five triathlon races and is competing in his sixth one in a few weeks.

 

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Promo – Dominic Perri

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/14/2016 - 9:39am

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Dominic Perri


Who printed it?
 
I used Nations Photo Lab to print the piece.    

Who designed it?
I designed it myself.

Who edited the images?
I have a few photographer and designer friends that I asked feedback after I made my initial selects, but for the most part it was me.

How many did you make?
I printed 100 and sent out 60. The other 40 I kept to use as leave behinds.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out at least a postcard every 3 months or so to keep my work in front of creatives.  This was my first “special” promo

What made you decide to include the coffee? ( certainly it was well received )
Creatives receive so many postcards and mailings a day I wanted to send something that someone would remember getting. It was also a great ice breaker for follow up calls and emails.  Also, I love Share coffee and love supporting local businesses so this collaboration was a no brainer for me.

What was harder, choosing the images or choosing the coffee?
I shot so many images of the roasting, and cupping process over at Share it was really difficult.  Picking the coffee was actually easier.  Share has a few different types, each with a different color label.  When we were shooting I realized that one of the bags had the same color blue as my logo.  I wanted to keep everything consistent so we went with that one.

Who and how did you decide who to send the promo to?
I have a list of people and agencies I really want to work with.  I worked off that list.

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Categories: Business

Always Let Clients Know What to Expect – In Writing

ASMP's Strictly Business - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 8:36am

Early on in my career, almost every client conflict I encountered was because my client’s expectations were out of sync with what I delivered. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve gotten much better at managing expectations, primarily through written communication instead of verbal.

I’ve learned to never give a price over the telephone. I always provide a written estimate that includes my terms and conditions. In essence, I’ve sent them my contract up front. The estimate provides a place for signatures, both theirs and mine. That form is my contract that must be signed prior to the start of photography. Very simply, I won’t shoot until the contract is signed. Important: The first time a client sees your terms and conditions cannot be on the back of your invoice. At that point they’re meaningless because they’re unsigned.

I’m convinced I’ve been awarded jobs because I’ve included my T&C in the estimate. It completes the estimate process with a level of thoroughness that some of my competitors lack. I’ve made it very clear, up front, what the client can expect in terms of deliverables, licensing, and payment schedules. If they order additional retouched images in the future for example, they know up front exactly what the cost will be.

Photographers will call from time to time asking for advice because they’re having trouble getting paid or experiencing some other problem with a client. I ask them what their contract stated. More often than not, they didn’t have a contract. I urge them to never work again without a signed contract prior to the start of the shoot.

It’s far more costly to get new clients than it is to retain existing ones, and managing expectations will help you to keep clients satisfied. And satisfied clients will contact you again for their next project and, best of all, provide referrals.

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Blake Discher is a photographer and search engine optimization (SEO) consultant. He writes two blogs, one on the topic of sales and marketing: www.groozi.com, and the other on SEO: www.go-seo.tips.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

This Week In Photography Books: Christine Osinski

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 03/11/2016 - 9:36am

by Jonathan Blaustein

My cousin had a baby yesterday.

Or, I should say, his wife did. I think he was at the bar, drinking, through much of the affair. (At least, that’s what I saw on Facebook.)

Certain things make you feel old, and they’re never what you expect. Cousin Kenny becoming a father is definitely one of them. (Even though he just turned 40.)

Kenny is the funniest person I know, (or co-funniest, with his brother,) and he became a stand-up comic a few years back.
I can easily imagine him onstage, but it’s harder to visualize him changing his new daughter’s diaper.

Why?

Kenny has always been lazy. He was nicknamed “The Snail,” when we were kids, and it’s not because he resembles a slimy curlicue shell.

He’s the type of guy who likes to sit on the couch all day, watching football, eating 56 chicken wings, and mocking everyone around him. That’s his style. The selflessness required of all new parents will be a challenge for him.

I’m sure he’ll sort it out, and I’m sure it won’t be easy. Hell, his comedy act features some serious bouts of misogyny, so that will likely change as well. (Or at least morph into complaining about having to say poo poo and pee pee instead of shit and piss.)

The whole thing makes me feel old as hell. I can remember Kenny, standing on his driveway in East Brunswick, New Jersey, back in the day, wearing some tube socks pulled up to his scrotum. Or riding his bike, replete with ginormous handlebars, up and down the road.

We all did that, back in the 80’s. We rocked the short shorts, long socks, dorky bikes, and overall lack of imagination about what life might offer us. There was no Internet, of course, which made it really hard to guess the world was wide, beyond our suburban horizons.

I haven’t lived in Jersey in almost 25 years, and still, it all comes back to me. The smell of fresh cut grass, or pollution on the New Jersey Turnpike. The sound of skee-ball machines at the Point Pleasant boardwalk.

The accents.

Hell, on Friday, while I was chatting with Kenny’s equally hilarious brother Jordan, we ended up slipping into a Staten Island accent to make each other laugh.

“Hey. Ha yaz doin’? Can I get yaz anotha ma-ga-ree-tah?”

It was always easy to make fun of Staten Island. It’s mostly just a huge landfill, so they say. The Outerbridge Crossing, the highway that connects Staten Island to New Jersey, might as well be a one way street: all the Islanders were moving to Jersey in hordes, when I was in high school.

What does Staten Island look like now, in 2016?
I have no idea.

But I can see the whole scene, back in the 80’s, having just put down “Summer Days Staten Island,” a new book by Christine Osinski, recently published by Damiani.

Will I get death threats from angry goombahs, for derogating their homeland? I have no idea. But if I were there now, insulting the Island, you can bet I’d get some seriously dirty looks from the locals. (They’d be mad-dogging me all day long.)

There were a few mad-dog photos in this most excellent book. A handful of pictures in which you can easily imagine the subject saying, “What the fuck a youz lookin’ at? Youz got a fuckin’ prahb-lem? Yeah, I’m tawkin’ to you. Who the fuck do you think I’m tawkin’ to?”

Stop me. I could go on all day.

Honestly, though, this book brought me straight back to my childhood. I guessed the images were made in 1984, and the end interview confirms ’83-84.

Pure. Classic. 80’s.

The hiked up tube-socks are my favorite detail, sure, but that must be because I can relate. The rampant shirtlessness is also perfect. But there is more subtlety here, if you care to look for it.

Like the house with two curlicue hedges, abutting an empty field. Man-made nature/ raw nature, sure, but I also wondered how far into the marsh a landfill might be? (We never see those.)

There is a picture of some kids playing in front of a bombed out car, holding up a van that says crime scene, while an actual van sits in a driveway across the street. (You bet I’m taking that as a Scooby Doo reference. The 80’s had the sleuths it deserved.)

Big cars are everywhere. (Obligatory Iroc Z28 included.) Big mustaches too. And a blonde, teen-aged girl, staring daggers at the camera, cradling a brown paper bag like it was her first born.

How much you wanna bet there was a bottle of liquor in there? I’m so curious, but like all my other questions, I’ll never know.

The answers are gone, forever.

That’s why I love this type of flashback photography so much. It reminds us that even though the global photography community now numbers in billions, and so many images are thrown away every tenth of a second, sometimes, we really are stopping time.

Freezing light, outside of the space time continuum.

It means I can sit at my white kitchen table, on a gray Tuesday afternoon, and be catapulted back to the 80’s, a time many of us would just as soon forget. (Yes, I had a mullet and braces. Find the pictures. I dare you.)

Bottom Line: Amazing pictures from Sta-en EYE-land, back in the day

To Purchase “Summer Days Staten Island” Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

Why is your client unhappy?

ASMP's Strictly Business - Fri, 03/11/2016 - 8:34am

So, your client isn’t happy. Why?

If you don’t know why, and if you are surprised at your client’s reaction to your images, then maybe you didn’t set up proper expectations.

The key to an excellent relationship with a client is communication. Never assume anything. The reality is you can’t please everyone all the time. However, if you lay down the plan and details for your work, photographic process and work flow, the chances of success are greater.

The more information you provide the better. I have a document called Working With Rosh. I keep it on my desktop and attach it to emails as a PDF for new clients. The document explains much of what I tell new clients before we begin work. Yet, it adds more detail to the little things that only a few people may care or wish to read about. For example, I’ll explain my workflow, what the client will receive and when to expect it. I explain my pricing structure, offer information about copyright and details on photographic terminology.

Often, communication breaks down because we think everyone knows the obvious stuff in our industry. A client may expect one thing based on your conversation, yet, the industry standard is completely different. Never assume.

Ask for examples of the type of work they like. Ask if there is a favorite photograph on your website or portfolio that represents their expectation for the project. Maybe it is a combination of other work they’ve seen online. Ask them to email links or examples.

I’ve found that the best solution to understanding client expectations is to ask: When all is said and done, what do you expect to see and receive.

Rosh Sillars is a professional photographer, author and speaker.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Art of the Personal Project: Judd Lamphere

A Photo Editor's Blog - Thu, 03/10/2016 - 9:01am

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: Judd Lamphere

Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

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Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

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Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

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Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

Old dogs photographed at Reciprocity Studio in Burlington by Vermont photographer Judd Lamphere

Spy-Diptic

How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting professionally for about 12 years now, but my love for photography began in my high school darkroom. I was fortunate enough to have access to a great art program back then. In fact, my high school arts program put many students on the path to professional careers in the arts.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I received a BS in Biomedical Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
It was my best friend’s dog Roxanne. I had known Roxy since, well, since we were all puppies, really. I saw her carry him through some of the hardest times in his life. The relationship was beautiful, and for a time, it felt like it would stay that way forever. As Roxanne got older, her black coat became lined with silver accents, and she mellowed out a lot from the rebellious teenager she used to be. Yet, she retained this kind of pride in herself. She carried herself with a sense of stateliness. But even more than that, was this bond between the two of them, this unconditional love for one another. My friend had to slowly start saying goodbye to his best friend one day at a time. I wanted to help him through this really difficult time, and the only thing I could think to do was take a picture.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I started showing pictures on my blog almost immediately. Friends started sharing links to my work on social media, and soon I had people lining up to have portraits made of their best friends too.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That’s a tricky question for me. I find my personal work comes in waves, with moments of cresting productivity followed by troughs. As such, it can take me awhile, maybe even two years, before I’ve explored a body of work to the point where I can tell myself if it’s succeeding or not.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love when the work is different. Variety is the spice of life, and it keeps me growing professionally and personally. The great thing about personal work is that it’s ok to fail. Real growth emerges from failure.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Typically I will only share a link to my blog on social media, out of various copyright concerns. This is for my professional and personal projects that I’ve edited closely. I’ll use Instagram or Facebook for fun “behind-the-scenes” type shots that I’m not concerned about. I did share a body of work through Reddit/Imgur, but this was a series of vertical landscape panoramas I did, and was just for fun.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
My old dogs project picked up a lot of interest locally and was featured in 7days (Burlington’s go-to free alternative weekly), and a local news story.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I have actually! I print and mail postcards to small, targeted groups of clients I really want to work with.

What do you want to do with this personal project?
My long-term goal for this project is to assemble a photo book, perhaps through some form of crowdfunding or self-publication. The idea is to have proceeds from the book go into a fund to help support the adoption of senior dogs.

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Judd Lamphere received a BS in Biomedical Photography with concentrations in Photojournalism and Creative Writing from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006. He has since worked as a photo editor, production manager, landscape and editorial photographer in a number of areas including advertising, editorial, travel, nonprofit, government organizations and outdoor adventure.

Judd has worked with a number of periodicals and organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Triathlete Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine and Greenpeace, though his true passion for photography lies in his personal work, ranging from portraits of Old Dogs for charity to his exploratory landscape series Architecture of Energy.

Judd is also a co-founder of Reciprocity Studio, a commercial studio in Burlington, Vermont whose clients include Seventh Generation, Tata Harper Skin Care, Caledonia Spirits and more.


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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Categories: Business

Hustle Is The Secret Ingredient In Professional Photography

A Photo Editor's Blog - Wed, 03/09/2016 - 9:32am

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, AUGUST

I was having coffee with a colleague the other day and remarked that I felt that in terms of making it in New York as a photographer, talent was only a small part of the battle. My colleague’s answer? “Oh, I actually think talent counts for only 30% of the equation”. This from an executive at one of the top-tier media conglomerates.

Increasingly, I’ve come to the conclusion that hustle is the secret ingredient.

I’ve been in the business for a decade now and I am still amazed that getting to look at art, all the livelong day, is my job. It’s something I truly love: communing with artists, delving into their process and getting them where they need to be professionally is what has made this stage of my career (I’ve at various times been a television producer, in-house marketing executive for a restaurant chain and co-founder of a fashion non-profit) so incredibly fulfilling.

However, the time I’ve logged has taught me a great deal in terms of who makes it and who doesn’t. Leslie Sweeney, one of the founders of the iconic firm Art + Commerce, once remarked to me that “this is such a subjective business”. You go with your gut a lot, what appeals to you viscerally. The first impression I get when I review a portfolio is generally the truest. I have an especially soft spot for new artists, the kids who are only just beginning to dip their toes into these murky waters.
There are so many gifted shooters out there, who seemingly keep missing that big break, while others with less ability seem to move forward effortlessly. What is it, really, that separates the wheat from the chaff? What accounts for the rise and longevity of a Martin Schoeller or an Inez and Vinoodh?
I think the secret ingredient is hustle.

If I may, therefore, I’d like to line up what I believe fuels that flame:

1. Work. It’s not enough to be a good shooter anymore. There’s so much out there visually that standing out truly takes a borderline obnoxious form of persistence. In my own day-to-day, I’ve realized that to get things done, to get through to the people with whom I want to develop partnerships or cultivate as clients, I have to keep knocking at that door constantly. So too must the artist. The good news is that your natural creative bent will allow you to dream up ways to distinguish yourself without becoming a pain. Don’t be discouraged. Keep pushing.

2. Promotion, Including Lo-Fi. A photographer with a defined promotional strategy wins the day. Social media and online promotional activities are huge and important, but their very ubiquity in today’s business transactions makes a printed piece all the more distinctive. In defining your promotional budget (and you should have one) set aside funds for at least 1 printed piece that lands on the desks of the editorial staff or art buyers you’d like to work with. I’m a particular fan of useful promotions, so think of what you’d appreciate. Talk to an editor about his/ her workday and perhaps an ingenious idea may emerge, for example: a beautifully wrapped box with 5 prints in varying sizes, perfect for the office or home gallery wall. You’d be remembered because that sort of thing rarely happens and people love to get an unexpected package in the mail.

3. A Head for Business. Signing with an Agent does not abdicate your responsibility to know what is being done and what has been signed on your behalf. Take the time to read your contracts. In the digital age, they have become increasingly complex, as companies of all stripes recognize the content value and longevity of the images they commission. Often artists are so eager to be on board with a title, they will go straight to the signature page, only to discover later on that they’ve signed away all their rights. Even if you agree to take a hit financially for exposure, sit with the Assigning Editor and see what else they might be able to do in terms of promotion that might be helpful to you. Maybe you do a piece for the magazine on selfies that slides in some of your personal work. Or perhaps you can negotiate for 2-3 advertorials, that both pay and align you with a big brand. And when you do get an Agent, be sure they’re a good fit. Do your due diligence and ensure that they have the relationships they claim to, because we necessarily talk a good game. Insist on a 12 month plan-of-action and check in often to review how things are going and adjust strategy if necessary. As I once told an artist having issues with his Assignment Agent: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

4. Network Cultivation. Be out. Be visible. If you’re not a social animal, unfortunately you’ll have to become “that guy”. When I first started, I realized that a lot of important stuff gets discussed during the inevitable smoke breaks, so I made sure I was out there too. I’ve witnessed photographers get jobs over cocktails. If you’re not a drinker, corral a few editors for a coffee. Go to the openings of established artists- there are sure to be influential people present. And be prepared for opportunity with a quick little flip book on your phone and a sleek business card.

5. Shoot. A Lot. While you’re building your network, hone your art. Stretch yourself. One of the things I admire about the incredible Inez and Vinoodh is that they never settle. They are at the top of their game but they are always reaching, as if they only started yesterday and that’s why their work is consistently surprising and brilliant. I’m also still a big fan of technical prowess- you should know the correct way to light a set, for example, and not rely on the “take-a-ton-of-pictures-and-hope-some-come-out-right” methodology. All of this takes practice.

6. Niceness. We’re all human and people like to work with the people they like. Personality counts heavily toward landing an assignment and if you’re overbearing or throw up a wall in the face of suggestions, no one is going to want to spend hours dealing with that. This is particularly important during celebrity assignments. An A-list cover shoot has made (and broken) many a career. You want publicists to go: “The photographer has to be X” aka you.
That said, you need to be able to be the boss of your set. Be polite but firm, in charge but open.

The moral of the story? Anything worth having requires planning and considerable effort. This is applicable to anything in life, but particularly necessary in making it in the arts in a city teeming with talent.

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, AUGUST

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Categories: Business

Getting your foot in the door – Hack the market!

ASMP's Strictly Business - Tue, 03/08/2016 - 11:42pm

[by Pascal Depuhl]

Getting your foot in the door

Sure, you can do what everyone else is doing. Or you could try something else. You can market in those tried and true channels, or you can rock the boat. If you’re looking to stand out in a very crowded field, here’s how you get your foot in the door.

Start on a firm footing

Before we go any further, there is one thing I want to stress: your work must be solid. Your pricing must be dead on, and your customer service must be top notch. If these things are not firmly in place, you may get that new client, but you won’t keep them. Here we’re taking about how to break through all the noise to reach new clients and that requires you to be different in your marketing.

Put your best foot forward

Who are you as a photographer? More importantly, who does your prospective client perceive you to be? With every interaction, you must put your best foot forward since you can’t make a first impression for the second time. When a client looks for a visual content creator, they are looking at more than one photographer. How do you stand out from that field? What can give you a leg up?

It’s not just your work – your client is looking at other people who can deliver similar quality.

It’s not just your price – unless you’re interested in a race to the bottom, there’s always someone willing to do it cheaper.

It’s not just your marketing – since we all are on social media, online, …

If the shoe fits…

Before a new client hires me, they almost always start looking for a generic “photographer” with a ‘cold’ google search. Once they’ve found my company, it stands out from the rest. How? By hacking the market. By doing things differently, especially by trying things other photographers say won’t work.

Step into your client’s shoes

Understand who your perfect client is. Then learn what they are looking for when they hire a photographer. If you know the answers to these two questions, then you can gear your marketing hacks to help those clients find and book you. Does this approach work? Listen to a recent client talk about her experience:

Great marketing can happen on a shoe-string budget

25 Marketing Hacks

About a year ago, I wrote “25 marketing hacks for creatives” here on the ASMP blog. Did you try some of these out? They range from the very simple act of mailing a copy of a magazine to an art director (MarketingHack #8) to flying a plane half way around the world for a movie premiere in an airplane hangar (MarketingHack #11).

One thing they all have in common is that they are unusual and are all done on a shoe-string budget. Many of these marketing hacks don’t look like your average photographer’s marketing efforts, but that’s just the point. If you’re looking for some more detail on the Marketing Hacks that have worked for me, I’ve got a blog post with all the details for each one of the 25+ hacks on my list.

Share your favorite way to hack the market in the comments.

Pascal has learned to market his company by hacking the market over the past 20 years. He works almost exclusively directly with clients that range from multi-national companies like SeaRay and Mars to local Miami startups like LIV watches and Armpocket. He writes about what he’s learned about marketing and branding on his blog.

Categories: Business, Photo Industry

The Daily Edit – Marv Watson Photographer / Photo Editor

A Photo Editor's Blog - Tue, 03/08/2016 - 9:20am

MW_LoL-World-Final_041013_0429League of Legends World Championship 2013 ( Staples Center )

The Mid Season Invitational of League of Legends 2015 Season, held at the David Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL, USA on 8 May, 2015.

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TIP and Team Liquid go head-to-head in the third/fourth place matchup of the North American LCS Playoffs, held in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 18 April, 2015. Team Liquid ran out eventual winners, overcoming their rivals 3-2, twice coming from behind.

The final match up at the Mid Season Invitational of League of Legends 2015 Season, between SKT (Korea) and EDG (China), held at the David Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL, USA on 10 May, 2015. The event was won by EDG, who came from a game down, to triumph 3-2.

Members of team EDG cheer on their team

 

The final match up at the Mid Season Invitational of League of Legends 2015 Season, between SKT (Korea) and EDG (China), held at the David Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL, USA on 10 May, 2015. The event was won by EDG, who came from a game down, to triumph 3-2.

Soren 'Bjergson' Bjerg poses for a portrait in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 9 January, 2016.

Soren ‘Bjergson’ Bjerg of Team SoloMid

 

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Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin, of Team Liquid, poses for a portrait in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 28 May, 2015.

Piglet of Team Liquid

 

BlizzCon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, CA, USA on 8 November, 2014.

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Marv Watson

mrvphotography for Instagram


How did you get involved with eSports, are you a gamer?

No, actually, I’m not. I would love to get into some of the games, even on a beginner level, but alas I don’t have the time to commit. I kind of fell into eSports very serendipitously. Red Bull started doing eSport events a few years ago, and I was asked to shoot one of those, which led to another assignment shooting purely editorial coverage of a third-party event, which was actually the 2013 World Championships of League of Legends. Coincidentally, a Red Bull colleague went to work for Riot Games, and threw my name in the mix, and I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with their events since then.

How is shooting this different from shooting a live sport event which I know you often do for Red Bull?
Well, I’d say the main difference is the fact that it’s such a static thing that’s going on. The players are obviously super engrossed in the game, and in the zone, and not much really happens on stage. With the Red Bull events I’ve shot, such as Double Pipe (a double-halfpipe snowboard event), or a Flugtag, there’s a ton of things going on, with a lot of movement; you’re looking to capture the peak/grab of a snowboard trick, or the best angle to show a craft in ‘flight’ so you’re constantly on the move. Naturally eSports doesn’t involve a lot of movement; most of the times the players don’t show much emotion on stage, unless they win the tie (it’s a multi-game format, say best of 5), so I’m always looking to show the energy of the whole event, be it by shooting as many angles and lenses as I can manage, or by focusing on the crowd, which is really where the energy is. The fans go crazy, just like you’d see spectators at an NBA game, it’s amazing.

Because the fans are so engaged (there are a lot that come in Cosplay of their favourite characters, they chant for the teams, they jump out of their seats and cheer) it really makes for great visuals. People often can’t imagine these events, and how thousands of people (Riot Games filled Madison Square Garden, for two days in 2015, at one of their events) can watch other people play video games, but when I show them the photos of the fans, it’s akin to a cartoon lightbulb going off above their heads. The fans are the key to the experience, and it’s shooting them that really helps to show what these events are all about. The ones that get dressed up in Cosplay really love being photographed, so that makes it easy.

One interesting thing, which happened a couple of times, at that MSG event I mentioned, was I had two or three fans ask me to sign their posters for them, purely because I was shooting for Riot.

What type of direction do you get from Riot Games when shooting for them?
They’re great, they don’t give us too much strict direction, other than “tell the story”, “show the fans”, “get behind the scenes” and so on. There’s naturally a lot of facets they want covered (the queue of fans waiting to get it, the players hanging out in the team rooms, the crowd going crazy, the shoutcasters etc), but they leave it up to us (there’s usually two of us shooting) to get creative and tell it our way. We have unprecedented access to the players, and that’s what regular media don’t get, so it’s important for us to get close to them and show what you don’t see anywhere else.

Chris Sharma climbs a Redwood tree in Eureka, CA, USA on 20 May, 2015.

                                                                    Chris Sharma in Eureka, CA

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What other type of work do you do besides sports and events?
I actually shoot all sorts of things, preferably portraits and travel, but also music (shows/festivals). When I shoot for Red Bull, or when I collaborate with another photographer at events at which I’m editing, there’s such a range of things to shoot.  These events are a great chance to practice shooting diverse content. Hence, I’ve been able to add BMX, snowboarding, climbing and various motorsports to my portfolio.

I mainly love to shoot portraits, where I enjoy throwing a few lights in the mixer, be it a studio-style shot, or preferably on-location. I love the challenge of trying to find a location on the fly and get a nice shot out of it, which often happens when you have an artist for just a few minutes at a show, and don’t want a static shot in front of a boring wall.

I get to travel a fair bit, whether on the road on shoots or taking vacation, and always make sure to have a camera with me, especially when I’m in a different culture. There’s so much to see when you go somewhere new, and I’m always on the lookout for the details that tourists wouldn’t normally look for, like the local people going about their business, markets, pretty much anywhere there aren’t a thousand tourists pointing iPhones in the same direction. It’s definitely an area in which I’d like to get more involved.

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 Los Angeles, at Los Globos in the Silverlake neighourhood of Los Angeles, CA, USA on 25 February, 2016.

Event winner DRG poses for a portrait during Red Bull Battle Grounds Global in Santa Monica, CA, USA on 10 August, 2014.

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How has being a photo editor influenced you as a photographer?

I’ve been able to work with some great photographers over the years, and hence have been able to observe different skills. Not just lighting techniques, though of course that has really helped me hone my portraiture, but also the way they handle the talent, location-scouting with little time, how to devise an event workflow, where the turnaround is very quick. It’s obviously not brain-surgery, but they’re all invaluable skills to be able to acquire from established professionals. I see a lot of work, so have been able to learn from a range of work, from the mundane to the brilliant, so seeing all that has helped establish a kind of mental yardstick of where I know I want my own work to be. There are a few photographers with whom I’m friendly, and to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude in helping me be where I am today (they know who they are – thanks guys!).

Can you edit your own work?
Hahaha, you would think that would be one of the skills I’d have really pinned down, wouldn’t you? It’s something I actually still struggle with, insomuch as I find it tricky to make a cohesive selection from a large body of my own images. When I have to, then of course I am making a narrower selection, such as after a music event, when the turnaround time is by 9am the following day, but that’s mostly motivated by a need to get some sleep!

I can zip through anyone else’s batch of, say, 100 images, and very quickly narrow it down to the 20-25 I think tell the story in the most concise way, but doing that with my own work is a struggle. I do what I really shouldn’t do, and that’s get attached to certain images. I think it’s always valuable to have another set of eyes look over your work, which is of course why outlets have Photo Editors in the first place. Sadly, I still fall victim to what I always preach not to do. Do what I say, not what I do, I guess!

I saw that the New York Times profiled Call of Duty player Matt ‘Nadeshot’ Haag not so long ago. You were also taking photos there, in the Red Bull High Performance Lab; how do you make yourself a fly on the wall but still get the shot.
Actually, the good thing about the HPL is that the guys are really relaxed about having a photographer in there; as long as I don’t get in the way of what they’re doing, they haven’t ever moaned at me; at least not to my face. As long as the subject are cool with it, I can get right in there and very personal with them. The good thing about eSports athletes, in my experience, is they aren’t as wary as pro sports athletes and don’t have inflated egos. The only thing is they tend not to be so savvy about being on-camera, so it’s a balance between making them feel awkward and getting ‘in there’ enough. Matt, on the other hand, was great to work with, and as he already knew me (I shot portraits of him when he signed with Red Bull), so that really helped me out. The tricky thing was how to make my photos look different than the NYT photographer’s, so I used off-camera strobes a lot for accent lighting,

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Categories: Business

The Daily Promo – Nicholas Duers

A Photo Editor's Blog - Mon, 03/07/2016 - 9:34am

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Nicholas Duers

Who printed it?
To print the promo, we utilized Blurb.com, using their premium lustre-finished paper and perfect binding style.

Who designed it?
The design intent was to create a minimal and immersive physical platform for the presentation of the work, and it was done by myself in collaboration with my Agent, Farimah Milani.

Who edited the images?
In terms of the edit, I worked closely with Farimah, to arrive at a sequence that worked for each of us. As a content creator, there is always the potential for choices to be influenced by sentimental attachment to the imagery. Having an outside perspective from an experienced Agent is tremendously useful! We were able to ensure an overall commercial appeal, and yet still be able to convey my personal aesthetic.

How many did you make?
250.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
We aim to send a physical promotion on a quarterly to bi-annual basis.

How long did this promo take?
The process from concept to execution required three months from start to finish: The back and forth discussions, creating new imagery to fill in any gaps, and the need to update my website before sending out led to the process taking longer than expected. This was our first major promo piece since collaborating, and I wanted to make sure it was executed as perfectly as possible.

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Categories: Business

This Week In Photography Books: Sally Mann

A Photo Editor's Blog - Fri, 03/04/2016 - 10:33am

by Jonathan Blaustein

I write about my kids all the time.
You know this.

(You, the faceless crowd of e-readers.)

I remember in the Summer of 2012, when my daughter was born, I shared my confusion about changing her first diaper. How do you deal with a tiny vajayjay?

Are you gentle, like handling a fragile print? Or do you have at it, like scrubbing a recalcitrant dish in the sink. (Off, spaghetti sauce, off!)

It felt edgy to write about such things.
Transgressive.

But never would I ever post pictures of her little lady parts. Never, ever, ever.

Never.

Our relationships with our loved ones are so personal. They define us, really, even though we pretend our work is more important. I’m guilty of it myself, though if you asked me to give up my creative pursuits, or my kids, it wouldn’t be a choice at all. (Goodbye camera. Goodbye keyboard.)

Just yesterday, while teaching my photo class, a student began to cry as we discussed a picture of her granddaughter. There were two photos in succession, one a sweet, generic, black and white shot of a girl smelling a bouquet of flowers, her eyes closed.

Seen it before. On a greeting card.

The very next image, however, was of the same girl, in color, standing with an arched back, staring daggers into the camera. Her red dress was echoed by the red roses. Other flowers, also in color, surrounded her head like a halo. She was not happy, but we couldn’t know why.

Everyone in class loved the second picture, and tried to explain to the photographer why it was so much better than the first.

Personal. Intimate. Honest. Engaging. Edgy.

The eyes had a story to tell, and we wanted to know more. She began to cry, hurt all over again, reliving the moment where the young girl leaked misery. Her granddaughter had taken her glasses off for the shot, and considered herself hideous. The other kids teased her. (She wanted to cry, so her grandmother, her proxy, did instead.)

We talked about how pictures that surprise us, that give us the unexpected, that walk the line of propriety, are the ones we remember. We compared the first picture to the shot that comes in the frame when you buy it, and the second with the picture you put in the frame once you’ve removed the filler.

I promised my student that the pain she was feeling, the raw emotion, if channelled properly, would lead to photo gold. If she could handle it properly. If she had the courage to look at her life with a penetrating gaze, and then share it with the rest of us.

It’s a big if. Most people shy away from the cliff, when it heads straight down to the Rio Grande river, 650 feet below.

But not Sally Mann.

No sir.

Sally Mann made some pictures back in the 80’s, of her life, of her children, wild and feral, running naked around the Virginia countryside, and we still talk about them to this day.

Hell, I’m talking about them now, having just put down Aperture’s re-issued publication of “Immediate Family,” which I plucked from my photo-eye box a little while ago.

Such. Great. Stuff.

It’s hard to write about something that people know so well. We all feel attached to what we love, even if it’s someone else’s work. (Quick sidebar: two red tailed hawks just screeched over my own country valley, and right now, they’re careening around the sky outside my window.)

Where were we?

These pictures were guaranteed to shock, as they showed off the naked bodies of young children. How could that not draw ire and anger in a predominantly Christian country like America? It had to, right? (Cue the ghost of Jesse Helms nodding slowly.)

But get past the nudity, and you see some striking imagery. The picture of the child’s legs covered with flour paste? Never before have I seen something alive look so dead. I really wish I’d made that picture. Even the crop, chopping off the feet, is genius.

Ramping up the tension, it hurts my viscera just thinking about it.

We see skinned squirrels, dead deer, and children living in a make-believe land of wonder. An imaginary playland that must look like Kiddie Heaven, when seen from above.

The picture of the little child covered in a shroud, as if dead, only reinforces the dark juju running through this world. A touch of “Lord of the Flies” invading Never Neverland.

Really, fantastic stuff.

But you knew that already, didn’t you?

Bottom Line: A re-issued classic.

To Purchase “Immediate Family” Visit Photo-Eye

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Categories: Business

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