LA or NY. Pick One.

- - Photoshoot

Attention photographers living simultaneously in LA and NY (sometimes Europe) I know you have a house in one of these towns. Which one is it?

I know, I know, you don’t want to be left out of the jobs in NY or LA just because you don’t live there but honestly, if the budget exists and you are indeed the perfect photographer for the job I will fly you there.

But, when I have a job with no budget to fly or hotel a photographer it would be nice to know where you are.

Lately, everytime I call one of these photographers they’re in the wrong town and I’m suddenly adding a plane ticket to the shoot budget. Aaaaaargh!

There Are 29 Comments On This Article.

  1. So, do you have to live in either? If photographers are being flown in for shoots, can’t they just as easily come from a place other than NY or LA, where they can have a standard of living they enjoy and raise a family the way they want?

  2. I’m in New York and Albuquerque! Albuquerque’s basically the LA of the southwest, minus the whole beaches, and LA thing…

  3. Sorry PE – you made our point for us. You want either LA or NYC – I’m a local call from NYC, SF or Raleigh – take a wild guess where I call home? Now be totally honest with me and yourself: what do you think about a photographer from outside a major market?

  4. Paris Texas

    Let’s face it, girls, unless you’re the exception (Geof Kern, Dan Winters, Andy Anderson, Kurt Markus), the world revolves around 212, 971, 646, 213, 310, or 323.

    So you either keep your Family Life, or move to one of those area codes, or become Exceptional.

  5. Hey I’m stuck in NY too. You think I have a choice?

    NY or LA because that’s where most of the stories need to be shot.

    If I have a story in Raleigh I’ll check there first. Just don’t move to Austin, Whitefish, Mountain Home or Dallas…

  6. APhotographer

    Um – I think that you made your own point.

    If you have the budget and they’re right for the job, you’d fly the photographer out there. But for the jobs that you don’t have the budget, you’d like to know where they are. Makes sense.

    Yet you find yourself adding plane tickets to the budget. Herein lies the rub – you *do* have the budget when absolutely necessary, but you’d rather not do it. You could tell their agent, “Hey – you say he’s in both, so I’m not paying for a ticket – take it or leave it.” But I’m guess they’re saying “leave it” and so you’re paying for their ticket rather than finding someone who’s in town.

    Photographers travel a lot. We hate missing out on a big job because the magazine will pay $2K for catering but wouldn’t consider us if we’re not in town.

    Basically we’re saying, “Yes, I am comfortable shooting in these places and can put together your last minute shoot comfortably and recommend which studio will be appropriate for the elephant you need in the shot.”

  7. Oh Dang.
    I already had my business cards made up.
    Gila Bend, Pahrump and Phoenix.

    The only good thing is being the only beauty shooter in Gila Bend. Damn, that exclusivity is freakin’ awesome. Rent is cheap too.

  8. When I photo edited for a national newsmagazine, back in the pleistoscene era… my rolodex was organized alphabetically, and by state. I can’t imagine it’d be organized differently these days… though perhaps easier to keep up to date electronically, but airline tickets were not always possible with budgets, so finding folks whose work fit with us nearby was key. When a story was big enough, and we needed to fly people around… they were the photographers very well known to us.

    If I had no idea where someone spent most of their time, I probably wouldn’t have bothered calling… deadlines were too tight to take a day of calls to figure that out…

  9. If perceptions don’t matter, how do you explain Vanity Fair sending a photographer from NYC to Durham, NC to take a photo of the house where the Lacrosse boys partied instead of calling a local guy who could do it with there eyes closed?

    My take is that if the desire is there, the money is there. All us girls who choose a secondary market still need to prove we got the goods (and then some since we’re not there) – however we can try to lower the barriers. I always thought I was being gracious when I let east and west coast prospects make local calls. I guess Vanity Fair felt house shooting talent was only available in NYC.

    That said, however, I never did hide the fact I live in NC. No one is fooled by non disclosure – besides … all you NYC people … don’t you want a break in a really nice location?

  10. In a dream world, the reason that Vanity Fair sent a NY photographer to Durham, is because they called twelve local photographers in Durham, and every one of them turned them down, due to their rights-grab ridiculous terms, and their low rate. Ideally, all twelve photographers responded identically, in the phone call: “I wouldn’t drive across the street for $500, for a WFH contract”.

    The 212 guy is paying $3200 a month, for that one-bedroom in the East Village, so, as in so many cases involving rent coming due, you bite the pillow and get on the plane.

  11. So, this question of flying NYC-LA photographers to where ever the shoot happens to be is so bothersome to me and the answer, I think, is one of pure laziness. Brand names are easy to recognize and grab off the shelf. No one wants to take risks. No one is interested in digging any deeper than what their own Rolodex already has – a Rolodex that is approved by all the other magazines up and down Manhattan – face it, you all have the same phone numbers on speed dial and in your Outlook address books. Granted, many of these folks are geniuses and produce amazing work. But, I can say with absolute certainty that in every major city across the States, you’ll find an equal creative genius – whether it’s Albuquerque or Seattle or Indianapolis or Denver. It’s just no one is brave enough to look outside the box and find them. You’d rather go with what an established tastemaker already has given their own stamp of approval on. I mean, good Lord, the one photographer that I absolutely disagree with most everyone is Terry Richardson.. Derivative, un-creative, un-inspiring, amateur. And, let’s look at the Newsweek feature story some months back talking about greening of the planet and environmental solutions – and they had this batch of portraits in there – where they flew photographers in from all over to be the photographer on the shoot! I know for a fact that on at least one of those portraits, a fantastic option could have been found in the city where the subject lived without having to fly a photographer in from 1200 miles away. Doesn’t sound too environmentally friendly to me. Sigh. OK, I’m through with my rant!

  12. Why not just say to the photographer:

    The shoot is in LA.
    We need someone who is there.
    We don’t have the budget to fly someone in.
    Are you there?

    Then either:
    No? OK sorry.
    or
    Yep? OK great.

    Then go spend the money you saved on $2k of catering because Nic Cage likes his sandwiches with a special type of moroccan butter and no less than 4 varieties of orange soda or whatever the celebrity demands are.

  13. Mike, flying in NY/LA shooters should not be a bothersome thing. As an industry we should encourage these types of budgetary decisions. When money isn’t an issue and time is, it’s a no brainer to fly someone familiar in. What’s bothersome is the notion that good talent only resides in NY/LA.

  14. I enjoy being mobile, but I assume most photographers do not
    have an endless supply of buddy passes to fly where they wish.

  15. sye williams

    I’d like to thank Francis for calling attention to my New York number in a previous entry. I do live in Los Angeles, I feel so much better now that I have said it.

  16. Hey W.F. Hire–I live and shoot in Durham and I’ll happily walk across the street for $500. As much as I would like to charge as much as the NY guys, I find my equilibrium price is simply lower for what I do in Triangle (as is the cost of living!). While I try not to lowball, I do need pay the rent. I did a one-hour location portrait for PR Newswire the other day for about that much and a studio shot for Parade for considerably more, the point being that they don’t always fly someone down for the job, if you’re willing to work within their budget.