Posts by: A Photo Editor

Do’s And Don’ts For Finding A Commercial Photography Agent

This guest re-post comes from Mark Winer at The Gren Group. The original post appeared here.

We’ve added some new talent to our roster recently, and with that often comes questions from photographers about how to find representation. So this is for you, the aspiring photographer searching for that perfect relationship with an agency representative. There is (as of this writing) no match.com for the photography industry – so we are are going to summon up 18 years of experience and give you the tools for your big search.

Rather than writing a long dissertation on the process of finding a rep, we’ve decided to give you a Cliffs Notes version – a handy, tried and true list to follow throughout your search. Please keep in mind this is aimed at photographers who are interested in working with agents who have mostly commercial clients. The TOP TEN Do’s and Don’ts below will vary based on your objective.

Here goes:

DO’S!

DO know that we get between 15 and 20 unique photographer requests each month. We may add just one new photographer a year, so you really need to stand out.
DO your research. Personalize your message to the rep you’re reaching out to and reference something worthwhile and specific. Find some common ground.
DO prove your business model. Show us that your own photography skills and marketing efforts have gotten you enough work where you need a business partner to help manage your growing business.
DO know thyself. What kind of photographer are you? Fashion? Lifestyle? Conceptual? Still Life? You should come to us already with a strong brand and self identity. We should be able to ‘know’ you in 90 seconds or less.
DO support the US Postal Service (before they close your branch)! Mail us samples of the great promos you’ve been sending to clients.
DO share your most recent commercial success stories – recognizable brands really get our attention. This is kind of a ‘what have you done lately’ business.
DO tell us about the industry trade shows you’ve attended and the Art Producers or Creative Directors you’ve met with recently. Feel free to name drop – we may have connections in common!
DO be respectful, appreciative and humble. A good personality goes a long way.
DO be patient and realistic. This is a relationship business. It can take years for the rep to build relationships with both clients and photographers.
DO have a reasonable advertising & promotion budget. Attracting the attention of ad agency clients, and building relationships with them, can require an extensive financial commitment.

DON’TS

DON’T email us generic comments like “new website!” or “just want to take my photography to the next level”. Be creative – include the whats, whens and whys. First impressions are important!
DON’T worry if we don’t get back to you right away. We make every effort to respond to all requests – which can sometimes take several days or weeks, depending on our workload.
DON’T be a beauty, fashion, conceptual or product photographer if you’re reaching out to us. Nothing personal, just not our area of expertise. Do your research first, and know the agent – there are plenty of great reps who market celebrity & automotive work.
DON’T be lazy. Success in this business requires a ton of ambition, passion, and a positive outlook. Enthusiasm is contagious – clients and reps can feed off your energy.
DON’T worry if most of the projects come from your leads in the first year or two. That’s to be expected. After all, you’ve been promoting your own commercial work for the last 5-10 years, and we’ve just gotten started.
DON’T send us a personal Facebook request after just one email. We’re big fans of social media, so show us you know the difference between networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc …
DON’T be a photographer with only personal, fine art or wedding work. It may be beautiful, but we are advertising assignment reps – the work must be commercially viable and contain high production value.
DON’T be a prima donna. Character is very important – we prefer humble, appreciative, collaborative and genuine.
DON’T get bogged down into thinking that you must have a rep to build your business! Plenty of great photographers have achieved commercial success without representation.
DON’T get frustrated if you have no luck getting a rep in the first few months (or years) of trying. Take that as a sign that you have to continue working harder and smarter to appeal to an agent.

Hope this helps a little. The right photographer/agent partnership can be a great thing – creative, challenging, lucrative, rewarding and fun. It’s also a lot like a marriage, whose success relies on mutual understanding, respect and communication. And like a marriage, know your partner well – maybe even consider living together for awhile first – the goal is to be together for a long time.

Good luck in your search!

Part Of Being A Great Photographer Is An Innate Gift For The Drive To Do It

- - Blog News

I think that part of this (being a great photographer) is an innate gift. I think that all artists, whatever the medium, have some genetic luck. That gives them the drive for whatever the talent is, painter, writer, musician, photographer. There’s something that’s deep within their soul.

I use to tell photographers that I believe great photographers, artists, whomever have a third eye. Many decades ago I was weaving and doing rugs I remember looking down at my hands and being in wonder of what they were doing. I’d say to myself, just stay out of their way. Get out of the way and let them do what they do. I think the same thing is true with photographers.

When they are really good it’s intuitive. This is what happens when they don’t over think it. That is what Bresson says.

via Karen Mullarkey – An Interview Part Two.

In The World We Find Ourselves In Today, Hard Work Isn’t Enough

- - Blog News

…you’d better understand how to deploy those design skills in a way that helps solve business problems for your clients.

…the select few who are going to thrive in the months and years to come are going to be the ones who can tell a complex story across a range of media in a simple, clear and elegant way.

via AIGA | Apple’s Creative Director Alan Dye on Why Great Design Skills Aren’t Enough.

This Week In Photography Books: Motohiko Hasui

by Jonathan Blaustein

We’re approaching high summer here in the US. Which is the time to relax, soak up some sun, and drink Belgian beer to cool you down. Or ice water. Or lemonade. (You get the point.)

To all the readers in the Southern Hemisphere, however, you have my condolences. Winter isn’t as much fun as summer, unless you get to ski every day, and who really lives like that? So we’ll try to have all the fun for you, unless you’ve got the whole Equatorial-life-style thing going. (And that comes with requisite mosquitos.)

Where was I? Summer. What’s the next word that follows summer, like rty follows que? That’s right. Vacation.

I’m not taking one this year, though. As I live in a vacation destination, all I need is a change of attitude, the gumption to shut off the Internet, and my staycation will be just fine.

What about you? Are going anywhere fun? Have you planned your own ClarkGriswoldian adventure?

If not, I have a solution. Let’s pretend we WE’RE taking a trip. Where would you go? A Greek beach on the Mediterranean? Watch a World Cup game in the Amazonian jungles of Manaus. (Where you can imagine yourself a latter-day Klaus Kinski.) Spelunking in Mexico?

We could pretend to do all sorts of things. Volcano-hopping in Guatemala? The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam? What about Japan? Have you been? I’ve always wanted to go there. Who doesn’t have their own little “Lost in Translation” fantasy?

What if we just invaded some Japanese photographer’s travel journal? Would that work? The black, rounded-edges kind, with some elastic on the outside? (For holding your thoughts in place.) Motohiko Hasui’s new book “Personal Matters,” published by Bemojake, allows us just this opportunity.

Some of pictures have timestamps on them, from April of 2012, or around Christmas time. It varies. There’s no mention of where, but you know/suspect you’re in Japan. Are they real snapshots, taken for no other reason than recording a personal history? Who knows?

But you get the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing someone else’s memories of weirdos, flowers, parking lots, cute girls, trees, funny moments, fur coats, a ridiculous-looking dog monster wearing fake horns, a stark mattress in an empty room, a skyline, some woman eating sushi, that sort of thing.

I opened it up, unsure of what would be inside, and I got a fake, free, virtual vacation. As I don’t get to keep the book, I didn’t have to pay a dime. And as you don’t have to pay to utilize this website, we’re all in the same boat. (Alas, it’s not a yacht rounding the Cap d’Antibes…)

Bottom Line: A cool little photo diary for summer “reading”

To Purchase “Personal Matters” Visit Photo-Eye

IMG_0076

IMG_0077

IMG_0078

IMG_0079

IMG_0080

IMG_0081

IMG_0082

IMG_0083

IMG_0084

IMG_0085

IMG_0086

IMG_0087

IMG_0088

IMG_0089

IMG_0090

IMG_0091

IMG_0092

IMG_0093

Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Photography With A Voice Has A Better Chance Of Breaking Through The Clutter

- - Blog News

“It’s always been true, I guess, that the uniqueness of a photogra- pher and the photographer’s voice … is what got people hired, it’s just more true now,” he explains. Davis finds the old idea that a photographer should be an impartial observer of events no longer applies. Instead, he believes the photographers whose work is sought after today “are powerful in what they say [and] in how they take a photograph.

via Picture Editor Mike Davis On Clarity of Voice in Today's Media Landscape.

Art Producers Speak: Misha Taylor

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Misha Taylor. He is probably my favorite my favorite, he has an incredible eye and always perfectly captures that specific mood in his photos.

I love these images of Jamie Foxx, these are outtakes from ad campaign we did together. He is the ultimate entertainer, it didn't just start when the camera was on him either. He sang and danced and ruled the room. These images really tell that story to me.

I love these images of Jamie Foxx, these are outtakes from ad campaign we did together. He is the ultimate entertainer, it didn’t just start when the camera was on him either. He sang and danced and ruled the room. These images really tell that story to me.

I was asked to conceptualize and shoot the Kisua Campaign, I really wanted to do something contemporary and pop yet still African.. I love how the image comes to life. Its almost a still life, but somehow really jumps around the page.

I was asked to conceptualize and shoot the Kisua Campaign, I really wanted to do something contemporary and pop yet still African.. I love how the image comes to life. Its almost a still life, but somehow really jumps around the page.

This is one of my favorite images, I find the similarities between his face and Johannesburg cityscape really moving. His eyes and scarred face tells the story of the beauty, pain, struggle, and resilience of the still young S. Africa. something about it really gives me hope.

This is one of my favorite images, I find the similarities between his face and Johannesburg cityscape really moving. His eyes and scarred face tells the story of the beauty, pain, struggle, and resilience of the still young S. Africa. something about it really gives me hope.

the way the ice-cream drips through his fingers give the picture a strange desperation, yet reminds me of slow summer days. There is something magical about that parallel that really draws me in.

the way the ice-cream drips through his fingers give the picture a strange desperation, yet reminds me of slow summer days. There is something magical about that parallel that really draws me in.

This was one of the most fun shoot I have ever done, I got a good number of my friends together for an underwear special for Selfridges.  I love this moment, it reminds me of that reckless abandon of long summer days. My friends and I sneaking into pools that weren't ours, jumping off roofs, basically being a kid.

This was one of the most fun shoot I have ever done, I got a good number of my friends together for an underwear special for Selfridges. I love this moment, it reminds me of that reckless abandon of long summer days. My friends and I sneaking into pools that weren’t ours, jumping off roofs, basically being a kid.

This image of Diane Pernet was taking in Paris. She is one of that last  true eccentric fashion icons and working with people like her make portraiture such an incredible experience. I love that you can almost see her eyes, but cant quite see where she is looking.

This image of Diane Pernet was taking in Paris. She is one of that last true eccentric fashion icons and working with people like her make portraiture such an incredible experience. I love that you can almost see her eyes, but cant quite see where she is looking.

This image was featured on Nowness and was taken on the pan African Rovos rail. I love the starkness of the Karoo as it glides by behind her, and how she bisects it in quite a violent way. I find this image quite jarring in the end, even though at first glance its so peaceful

This image was featured on Nowness and was taken on the pan African Rovos rail. I love the starkness of the Karoo as it glides by behind her, and how she bisects it in quite a violent way. I find this image quite jarring in the end, even though at first glance its so peaceful

This image has such a wonderful stillness, I almost find myself holding my breath when I look over it, I never really find peace as far as a place to settle my eyes. I love when pictures have have little lives of their own.

This image has such a wonderful stillness, I almost find myself holding my breath when I look over it, I never really find peace as far as a place to settle my eyes. I love when pictures have have little lives of their own.

These two images were taken in Johannesburg, I cant help but feel that I am in the middle of them as they look at each other.

These two images were taken in Johannesburg, I cant help but feel that I am in the middle of them as they look at each other.

This was taken in Paris, the intensity of the photo is odd  as I find it quite weightless. They seem to counter balance each other. Its beautiful but as their faces come together quite bizarre as well. I really enjoy all these little permutations

This was taken in Paris, the intensity of the photo is odd as I find it quite weightless. They seem to counter balance each other. Its beautiful but as their faces come together quite bizarre as well. I really enjoy all these little permutations

This is one of my favorite places in the world, fitting to its' name; "Natures Valley".  A giant indian ocean on one side and this view inland up the river on the other. The air there has a weight to it. I was really pleased with this image as I can feel that weight when I look at it.

This is one of my favorite places in the world, fitting to its’ name; “Natures Valley”. A giant indian ocean on one side and this view inland up the river on the other. The air there has a weight to it. I was really pleased with this image as I can feel that weight when I look at it.

How many years have you been in business?
This question is a little different for me as some of my earliest memories are from film sets, my father, and award winning director and photographer used to let me look through the lens or operate the camera before I was even a teenager. He also had his crews work me to the absolute bone as soon as I was old enough to hold my own. I worked 22-hour days fetching water and carrying stands. Driving Trucks, writing treatments, setting up lights and loading cameras. But I suppose the question you are after is as far as me being in creative control, to be safe lets say 8 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I learned on the sets of my father and his friends, I tried taking a few classes in university but realized quickly that technically speaking what you learn through work experience and life far surpasses what you learn at school. Something also has to be said from seeing how the best in the world operate creatively, how they deal with clients, and how they stay true to their vision. However as far as theory goes, school was invaluable.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
First and foremost my parents, both artists filled our lives with art and travel. These memories dance their way through almost all of my creative process. Sitting on the front of small rubber boat in the deep Okovango delta and being charged by a giant bull elephant to beautiful girls in a studio.

When there wasn’t an adventure we made our own, seeing so many things allowed for me to see the world through my own lens. I was given the chance to allow my imagination to run wild, and this business gave me the incentive to want to tell stories beyond our day-to-day lives.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I really try to live my pictures, I try to see myself in my work, the wonderful and the mundane the challenging, the obscure, the loss the gain. We all share a common emotive process, and I hope that what brings my imagination to life will have the same effect on others.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Part of the process is reinvention to make old ideas new, to make bad ideas good, to make complex ideas simple. Of course there are moments in the bureaucracy of this business where the opposite seems to destine to happen, good ideas turn bad, the simple becomes complicated. In the end the fight for what we as creatives believe to be the best execution is best done with the image itself.

To show this image and let the story be right rather than the artist. However there are always the few that need convincing beyond the image, and this is as much an art as the work itself.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
I personally believe my work is better off for me concentrating on the art itself, rather than the propaganda and PR. Just to keep making art to keep shooting and experiencing and the reach of that is unmeasurable.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
Some people are better at this than others, if done correctly I think someone could do quite well. But in the end to live and love your work, you must do what it is that you want, and produce what it is you want to see.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
It’s important to constantly want to tell stories, even if this is done by other means than photography. To keep new ideas rolling off your tongue or your pen or out of your camera.

How often are you shooting new work?
This question is a bit convoluted, as we seem to be measured in quantity so often. I work everyday, and take a picture everyday. But I suppose I can only roll out new projects when they are finished. This can take less than a week from the birth of an idea to full realization. And there are other projects that I feel I will be working on forever.

But as I see an absolutely binding bond between work and life. I feel like I am working even when I am walking through town or lying watching the rain.

—————–

I was Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in the early 80’s, My Parents both Artists did their best to distract my sister and myself from the Politics at the time by taking us to the people, to the country, to what was real in a place plagued by misunderstanding and misinformation. We traveled feverishly, by all means and to some of the most remote and wonderful places in the world. Before my father’s career took us to the United States, they would pack us and our yellow dog in the back of our Landrover and drive for weeks on end.

When we moved to Los Angeles, in 1989 our lives changed somewhat. But our lust for adventure didn’t. They would pull us out of school and proclaim a fly-fishing trips to Montana or hikes through Monument Valley.

School in the United States was, incredible. I was able to be exactly who I was, and who I wanted to be. I grasped onto the contagious American mindset that allowed you to pursue your dreams and I was off.

I left California in 2000 and began my travels home and beyond. I wanted to see how much of my childhood imagination had painted of memories of Africa, I was desperate to be part of the new hope and new democracy. I fell in love with Africa all over again. And was able to see my life there through balanced eyes,

My love for travel however soon pushed me on my way. I wanted to live Italy and walk through the ruins of the Roman Empire, to live in France and read and drink wine in the same bars as my literary heroes. To Dance in the famous techno clubs of Berlin and ride bicycles down massively wide streets.

I did all this and more, everyday I wake up wanting to keep living, to keep watching all the serendipitous fortunes the world has to offer. I am quite young but have lived a life full to the brim. This is why I feel comfortable telling stories. Because I have so many to tell and the world has so many more to give us.

Check out more of Misha’s work www.assignmentagency.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Focus on Your Business with Judy Herrmann & Richard Kelly

- - Working

I’ve known Richard Kelly and Judy Herrmann for several years now through the ASMP and different panels and events I’ve been a part of, so when I heard from Richard that they were launching a new educational series for photographers I was intrigued. I think they are both excellent people, so I simply asked them to tell us all about it and you can decide if it’s something you want to check out.

Can you give me a little background on yourself and Judy?
We’re both working photographers and experienced educators. Judy and her partner, Mike Starke, run Herrmann + Starke in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. In 1994, as early adopters of digital photography, they recognized the business opportunities and competitive advantages of the technology. Frustrated by the lack of available information for photographers making that transition, they took it upon themselves to educate the professional community about digital photography and business practices. Since then, Judy has given literally hundreds of seminars on professional business practices for photographers. In fact, we met when Richard attended Working Digitally, a day-long workshop Judy & Mike presented in Pittsburgh on his 40th birthday.

Richard’s photography practice started in New York City, assisting and producing for fashion photographers. He began shooting front of the book for some major magazines and eventually relocated to Pittsburgh, where he realized how much he didn’t understand about business. He joined the local ASMP chapter and, with the help of some great mentors, began learning on the job. Not content to keep what he learned to himself, Richard began giving seminars and teaching at Pittsburgh Filmmakers where he helps students master both the craft and the business of photography. You can see his work at RichardKelly.com.

In the early 1990’s, we each separately attended an ASMP weekend workshop called Strictly Business, where we were both struck by concept of photographers helping photographers. We share a strong desire to use the challenges we’ve overcome and the hard-won knowledge we’ve gained to make the road easier for others to follow. It’s no surprise that we both became chapter leaders and later national ASMP presidents. Our experiences in our own businesses and in leadership roles at ASMP have given us a strong understanding of the variety of paths that can lead to professional success and the need for constant adaptation and evolution as creative entrepreneurs.

Through your involvement with ASMP and different panels and presentations to photographers groups you’ve seen the industry change quite a bit. What’s different today from when you started?
There are so many changes, it would be hard to list them all. Many of them, though, can be traced back to changes in how photography is created and viewed. On the craft side, the learning curve is not as steep and the tools are less expensive, so far more people are taking photographs than ever before. This is great and has led to a fantastic creative renaissance, but it also means that much of the bread and butter work that was profitable for professionals has gone away.

When people do hire professionals today, it’s often for very different reasons than in the past. When we were starting out, mastering the gear – knowing how to use a 4×5 camera or professional strobes – was enough of a differentiator to earn a living wage. Since everyone now has access to affordable tools that allow them to take technically perfect photographs, professionals have to bring a lot more to the table. It’s not enough to create great photographs – to have honed your craft and mastered the tools of your trade – that’s just the cost of entry. Today, more then ever, your understanding of all the complex elements that form the business side of the business matter more than ever before.

The connectivity that we all now have is awesome and also creates a radically different environment for the professional. We can see so many wonderful projects that people are creating – not just locally but all over the globe. For the first time in history, professional photographers have the opportunity to build and connect directly with vast audiences without going through a publisher or really any gatekeeper at all. That was not possible even 15 years ago. This new accessibility to the tools of production and distribution place us smack in the infancy of a new age of enlightenment for photography and it will be very exciting to see where it goes.

Tell us about the online series you’re launching?
Richard has been teaching at Pittsburgh Filmmakers the past nine years and every year, sees what he calls the two week rule kick in: about two weeks after students graduate from their photo programs, he starts to get the panicked calls from students wanting to know what they should do next. Many of these students had wonderful educational programs but for the first time in four years they don’t have an assignment. They know they should be doing something, but what?

We’ve both given countless seminars on business, marketing, copyright, licensing, releases, pricing, etc. and have seen first-hand that students and emerging photographers are not the only ones struggling with business practices. We’ve met hundreds of mid-career photographers with “gaps” in their practices that are really holding them back.

For several years, we’ve talked about running some kind of intensive bootcamp but presenting an in-person program that’s accessible to people all over the country was just too cost-prohibitive. So we’re taking advantage of digital technologies to build a modular series of e-learning courses that will guide the emerging photographer through the process of building their careers, while also filling the gaps for those who’ve already started down the path and don’t want to reinvent every single wheel themselves.

The series will allow us to share everything we’ve learned about starting, growing, running and reinventing a photography career – not just our own experiences but also everything we’ve learned from the thousands of photographers who’ve shared their stories with us over the years. Instead of locking our audience into a linear path, the modular structure will let them pick and choose which topics are the best investment for them.

We’re kicking off the series at 2:00 pm eastern, Thursday, June 26 with a free 60 minute introductory class called What You Really Need to Know. It provides a soup to nuts overview of everything professional photographers need to understand to build a successful business. Registration is open at http://asmp.adobeconnect.com/e29xfy2u5y7/event/registration.html and all registrants will get free access to the recording.

Our first module, Launching Your Career, runs from July 10 – 24. Designed for students, recent graduates or anyone transitioning into the field, it provides an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of starting and running your own business. Registration is open at http://focusonyourbusiness.eventbrite.com/?aff=1a0

APhotoEditor.com readers can save $40 by registering here or entering the promo code APFgo at the main registration site [APE does not receive any kind of commission for this].

How does your program differ from others photographers may be considering?
From a philosophical standpoint, the big difference is that neither of us believes that there’s a one-size-fits-all formula for how to build a successful photography career. We’re not saying, “Do what I do” or selling a non-existent magic bullet. Instead, we’re providing a toolkit – we’re sharing information and insights we’ve gained from a wide range of sources along with a framework for thinking about your business that will help people figure out what’s going to give them the best outcomes no matter what their goals are or the challenges they encounter.

We’ve also designed a unique format. Not only does our modular approach allow registrants to choose the topics they want but each module includes lectures, readings, exercises and live online office hours where we log into the e-learning platform with our students to take questions and discuss whatever they’re struggling with. The lectures provide insights and information. The readings deepen your understanding. The exercises personalize the information and foster deeper thinking. But it’s the Office Hours – where we’re interacting with our students and providing real time answers after they’ve had a chance to process and apply the information – that really set us apart.

Does the future of photography look bright to you? What can emerging photographers expect?
We are absolutely living through a new golden age for photography; the accessibility of capture tools and editing software plus the ease of getting your work out into the world has heralded a creative resurgence that shows no signs of slowing.

For professional photographers, though, the rate of change has created some significant challenges. There used to be clear career paths in this industry – you might become a staffer, a freelancer or start your own studio but if you followed certain steps you were almost guaranteed a decent living. Today, those paths are less clear and there are far fewer guarantees, but as communications become increasingly visual and audiences get more visually sophisticated, we’re seeing some great opportunities moving forward.

There are more collaborative opportunities for creative working together rather than going it alone. Our clients are starting to use photography in new and unique ways – often with the photographer as the lead creative – which allows for exciting new business models. Companies are starting to realize that repurposing print & TV content or taking a “DIY” approach to online and social media uses isn’t effective and are hiring professionals to create work just for these channels. So yes, despite the challenge of learning how to adapt to ongoing change (which is one of the big factors that drove us to create this new series), we see a bright future for professional photographers as well.

That’s not to say it will be easy. Emerging photographers – you need to be prepared to work your ass off. You’ll need a solid work ethic and a fierce commitment to this profession. You’ll need to invest the same time and energy into mastering the business side as you put into mastering your craft. But, if you put some real thought into designing your career, master some basic business practices and learn how to apply your creative problem solving skills to business decisions, we believe you can build a sustainable and satisfying career as a professional photographer.

Don’t Compete; Find What’s Uniquely Yours And Obsess Over It

- - Blog News

“By my fourth year in school, I was shooting every day and every night. I photographed every little thing—all my food, doorways covered in graffiti, and my friends and roommates. I tortured my first boyfriend, Marc, by capturing each moment of our relationship. I was obsessed with documenting my life. So that’s my advice to you: Find something to be obsessed with, and then obsess over it. Don’t compete; find what’s uniquely yours. Take your experience of life and connect that with your knowledge of photographic history. Mix it all together, and create an artistic world that we can enter into.”

via Ryan McGinley’s Advice to Young Photographers | VICE United States.

Pricing & Negotiating: Architectural Images For A TV Commercial

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Exterior architectural images of 20 restaurants

Licensing: Use of all images captured in multiple broadcast television commercials

Location: 4 cities on the East Coast

Shoot Days: 7

Photographer: Architectural and portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast.

Client: Large restaurant chain

Here is the estimate:

Blinkbid

Creative/Licensing: The ad agency was in the process of creating a series of TV commercials, and wanted to feature still images of the exteriors of their client’s restaurants within the spots. They anticipated that there would be up to five restaurants in each of the four cities where their client had locations, and with an accelerated timeframe for the media placement, they hoped to shoot all 20 locations in one week.

After a call with the art buyer, I approached the creative/licensing fee with the knowledge that while there were 20 locations, that it was most likely that 5 of them would be featured prominently in the videos, and the rest of the locations were options to choose from when compiling the final commercial. I felt that the size of the client, accelerated pace of the project and likely exposure level of the commercials put strong upward pressure on the fee, but the fact that I knew this was a last minute overage on top of the overall budget for the commercial applied a bit of downward pressure. I decided to price each of the first five shots at $5,000 each, then discount the next five locations to $3,000 each, and then further discount the last 10 locations to $1,000 each, which tallies up to $50,000.

After determining the value of the usage, I checked out Getty to see how they may have priced this since it’s not often that I’m asked to price stills for TV. For TV advertising use for three years (which is the longest duration they offer for this use), they priced one image at $4,870, which was nearly right on the nose of what I priced each of the first 5 images. Corbis similarly priced the same use at $4,160. Based on my research and the fact that this was a big project that needed to be completed blazingly fast, I felt that the $50,000 fee was appropriate.

Pre-Production Day: The photographer would require 1 day to pull together all of his travel arrangements and test out a few pieces of special equipment (mainly lenses) he’d need to buy for the shoot. I would typically include travel/scout days, but the rushed schedule broke down in such a way that there would be days when shooting would happen prior to travel on the same day, and I discussed with the art buyer and photographer that it was better to just figure on a week’s worth of shooting (and charge for it accordingly in the creative/licensing fee) and have the photographer shoot and travel on days that worked best for him, rather than specifying a certain number of shoot and travel days.

Equipment: In addition to the special gear he’d need to purchase (which would cost $1,500), I included a fee for the equipment he owned and would be using on the shoot. For these items I anticipated $800/day (including the camera body, lenses, cards and minor grip equipment), and typically estimate that gear rentals for a full week are often rented for the price of three days at most major rental houses.

Lodging, Airfare and Car Rental: One of the locations was local to the photographer, another was a lengthy car ride away, and the other two were plane rides away. We were able to work out a schedule that required five nights of lodging, for which I estimated a rate of $300/night. That’s typically higher than I’d estimate, but the locations were in major cities and would be booked just a day or two before arriving, which would make for expensive reservations. After shooting the local cities, the photographer would be flying to the third city, shooting and then flying to the fouth city, and then flying home after that. I used kayak.com to research flights which ranged from $200-$600. Combined with $60 for each flight to account for checked bags, airfare totaled about $1,400. I then rounded up this number to account for a slight increase on costs should fares increase between the time of estimating and booking. The photographer would only need to rent a car in two of the cities, which tallied up to an estimated rate of about $550 including gas.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: I estimated $50/day for parking for 7 days, $75/day for meals for 7 days, and built in an extra $225 for mileage and other miscellaneous charges/fees throughout the trip.

Post Processing and Delivery of All Images by Hard Drive: The agency would be handling all of the post production, and required a hard drive containing all of the RAW images captured. In addition to the cost of the hard drive and shipment (which I anticipated being about $250), I wanted to make sure the photographer would be paid for his time to organize and manage the transfer of the files (which wasn’t a very difficult process, but it would take a long time).

Results: After submitting the estimate, the art buyer told us they had a budget of $60,000. In an effort to move the project along quickly, the agency asked if the photographer would be willing to take on the project for a flat 60k fee. This meant that the photographer wouldn’t have to compile or submit receipts when invoicing after the shoot, which would have taken a decent amount of time given the travel. Additionally, this meant that any cost savings would go into the photographer’s pocket. For these reasons, he felt the $550 discount was worth it and agreed to the flat fee. He was awarded the project and shot it the following week.

Hindsight: While the scope of the shoot was detailed and fast paced, the photographer was confident that he could accomplish it on his own without an assistant since it would be just him, his camera and a tripod. However, he did ultimately decide to allocate some of the cost savings to hire an assistant as he felt that an extra set of hands was well worth the money to help him move quickly around each city.

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.

Art Producers Speak: Tobias Hutzler

We emailed Art Buyers and Art Producers around the world asking them to submit names of established photographers who were keeping it fresh and up-and-comers who they are keeping their eye on. If you are an Art Buyer/Producer or an Art Director at an agency and want to submit a photographer anonymously for this column email: Suzanne.sease@verizon.net

Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Tobias Hutzler. He has gorgeous work and he is so hardworking and humble. I think he is going to be a star some day! He also has some amazing video work on Vimeo.

A recent project for Sony Music, an exciting project with a lot of creative freedom. The light trails are created by the movement of the water.

A recent project for Sony Music, an exciting project with a lot of creative freedom.
The light trails are created by the movement of the water.

Shot in the SouthWestern desert at night in moonlight.

Shot in the SouthWestern desert at night in moonlight.

A series on energy, light and space, shot in deserts across the US.

A series on energy, light and space, shot in deserts across the US.

This image was shot on location at night.

This image was shot on location at night.

An international Honda campaign for Wieden+Kennedy . The concept was to create a warm graphic and modern look.

An international Honda campaign for Wieden+Kennedy . The concept was to create a warm graphic and modern look.

International campaign for Honda. The concept was to create mirroring images, a car that appeals to both, the head and heart. Images that highlight the versatility of the car.

International campaign for Honda. The concept was to create mirroring images, a car that appeals to both, the head and heart. Images that highlight the versatility of the car.

This cover image we shot recently in LA; illuminated solely by moonlight.

This cover image we shot recently in LA; illuminated solely by moonlight.

A portrait of Maedir Eugster from the personal film project "Balance," which led to a global campaign for Titan watches.

A portrait of Maedir Eugster from the personal film project “Balance,” which led to a global campaign for Titan watches.

This is from a series on dancers. We shot this image on a rooftop in midtown Manhattan New York.

This is from a series on dancers. We shot this image on a rooftop in midtown Manhattan New York.

Commissioned by TIME magazine, photographed in Brooklyn.

Commissioned by TIME magazine, photographed in Brooklyn.

Lower East Side at night, New York City

Lower East Side at night, New York City

this image is from a series photographed for TheNewYorkTimes Magazine, a huge festival in the unexplored Western part of India. We scouted locations and captured the stunning sceneries in different parts of the city, like this candle-lit ballon flying.

this image is from a series photographed for TheNewYorkTimes Magazine, a huge festival in the unexplored Western part of India. We scouted locations and captured the stunning sceneries in different parts of the city, like this candle-lit ballon flying.

The NewYorkTimes Magazine commissioned me to photograph a new concept for refugee camps on the border to Syria. We created a custom device to capture unseen overviews to show both the structure and how people interact with the space.

The NewYorkTimes Magazine commissioned me to photograph a new concept for refugee camps on the border to Syria. We created a custom device to capture unseen overviews to show both the structure and how people interact with the space.

This image was commissioned by The New Yorker Magazine, New York July 4th.

This image was commissioned by The New Yorker Magazine, New York July 4th.

How many years have you been in business?
I have been shooting professionally for 3.5 years, but I have been photographing since I was 13, inspired by the work of the German Becher school, Bauhaus, Pop Art and Cubism. I am very interested in illustration, film art, painting and contemporary culture.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at some of the best universities in Europe before receiving my MFA in the US on a Fulbright scholarship. That said, my work has also evolved through experience—learning by doing, constantly pushing the boundaries and experimenting in finding new ways. I learned to think outside the photographic box through things like studying film and contemporary culture in all facets.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
My greatest influence was traveling around the world. At an early age, I became very curious about the world and started backpacking throughout Europe, then Africa and Asia. Photography helped me to process all these experiences with different cultures worldwide. I crossed the Sahara and traveled in very remote corners of the world. Through photography, I was able to understand, communicate and tell stories.

How do you find your inspiration to be so fresh, push the envelope, stay true to yourself so that creative folks are noticing you and hiring you?
I don’t shoot to be noticed or hired, but to create work that is new and significant. Inspiration is everywhere. I want to introduce new ways and perspectives and make visible what’s hidden. I want to photograph what we all have in common, to find something universal that we can all connect with. This is really a magical thing and so essential.

There is so much that goes into an image: the light, time, composition and intention. Photography to me is more asking questions rather then looking for answers. I am grateful for every opportunity to collaborate with creatives and to go out and shoot exciting new work.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Every project is a collaboration. Art directors are creating great ideas. I am there to help the process come together as smoothly as possible. I’ve been fortunate to work with great art and creative directors. Recently, I had the chance to work with a wonderful creative director at Sony. The creative director was so open to my ideas; it was a dream collaboration.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Shooting editorial is a great way to get my work in front of potential advertising clients. Editorial is also a great way to work with interesting people and explore fascinating subjects with a great creative process and freedom. One week this year, for example, I was photographing large crowds in an unexplored area in India, and a few days later, I shot a cover in the Californian desert, in moonlight.

Personal meetings with clients are also very important to me. There is nothing better then a one-on-one and getting a feel for who the other person is.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
You must create your own market. You must develop a true self.
Who needs a copy of a copy of a copy?

As a photographer, I think it is very important to be able to come up with new ideas, perspectives and solutions. This helps the creatives produce something original and unique. And that’s everybody’s goal, isn’t it?

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes. This is the most important part of my work. I am constantly shooting, pushing the boundaries, exploring, challenging myself and working outside my comfort zone.

How often are you shooting new work?
At least weekly. If I’m not shooting, I am thinking about a new way, researching, planning or developing a concept.

In 2013, Time magazine debuted my short film “Balance,” which was produced with cutting-edge technology, It started as a personal project and soon went viral. Many millions of people around the world have viewed it, and it inspired an international ad campaign. For me, personal work is essential to growing as an artist as well as attracting new clients.

http://tobiashutzler.com/index.php?/motion/balance/

—————

Tobias Hutzler presents subjects in striking new ways, possessing a distinct point of view that has attracted advertising and editorial clients including Honda, Hyundai, Titan watches. He studied photography at some of the most prestigious schools in Europe and received his MFA in the US. He is a Fulbright Scholar and recipient of the prestigious DAAD and European Union fellowships. His work has received numerous international awards and he was named one of PDN’s 30 photographers to watch. “His pictures are both consistent and filled with surprises,” legendary director of photography Elisabeth Biondi wrote of Tobias’ images. As an image maker Tobias captures the pulse of our constantly moving and contemporary culture.

He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, TIME magazine and has been called “visionary” by AD Magazine and “one of the most exciting new artists working in photography.”

He is based in New York City and represented by Stockland Martel.

represented by Stockland Martel
www.stocklandmartel.com
talentinfo@stocklandmartel.com

New York studio:
www.tobiashutzler.com
tobias@tobiashutzler.com

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

Art Is Essential Yet Digital Abundance Has Diminished Our Sense Of Its Worth

- - Blog News

Art and culture are nonetheless vital, essential even, to what it means to be human, yet digital abundance has diminished our sense of their worth.

“Does it follow that culture has value only if there is a limited supply to drive up demand? And what is it that makes some bits worth paying for — food for a virtual pet, a video game app, or a song on iTunes — and others — an article, a streaming video, a photograph — not?”

via How Much Should We Pay For Art? – NYTimes.com.

It Is More Than Just Taking Pictures – It Is Thinking About Photography

- - Blog News

That’s what defines somebody who is taking the medium seriously and passionately. It’s not just about pulling your camera out. Similar to writing. We can all write, we all have pens and paper, we can all write a poem if we want to, an article or a novel and some people are better at that than others, some people take it much more seriously. I could write a poem right now and it would be a really shitty poem, but another person who reads a lot of poetry, who thinks about poetry, who looks at the history of poetry, could be capable of making really good poetry. Everybody can make a picture, but some people are really good at it and treat it with a sense of importance and urgency, photography is an integral part of their life. And other people want to show their friends that they are having a nice meal. And I’m OK with that.

–Aaron Schuman

via Interview with Aaron Schuman | FK.

Cheap, Dead-Simple Cameras Have Crept Into Everything Making Billions Of People Into Photographers

- - Blog News

For the most part, these photos are not designed to document an occasion. They have become a visual shorthand that is at once more emotionally resonant and more efficient than the words I might once have used to express the same ideas. This shift in the nature of communications will have a substantial effect on culture, business, and politics. It’s already reshaping entire industries from advertising to journalism to fashion. It’s powering political campaigns and will help decide elections. It’s changing the American approach to foreign diplomacy. It’s redefining art and our relationship with the cultural institutions that embody it.

via The Future of the Image: A series exploring the new visual literacy.

People still often have a misunderstanding about photography – that it’s a technique

- - Blog News

There is a lot of pressure for photography departments in universities to almost guarantee their students – you will have employable skills at the end of this, you will get a job, you will have expertise in the field. I think it should be treated more like a literature or philosophy degree. Of people who study philosophy – one of them might become a philosopher, the others go off and do other things, but nobody questions a philosophy department and asks – how are you giving your students employability skills? It’s just respected as a field of study. It means that there are a lot of people in the world who are intelligent, engaged, informed and interested in that subject. That’s how I see it.

via Interview with Aaron Schuman | FK.

I wanted to prove that actually you can make art with nothing

- - Blog News

Carroll, also known as MEC, has been performing variations of her “Nothing” since 1996. In a piece titled Nothing from 2006, Carroll writes, describing the intention of her work:

“Works where/when nothing happens. Images of nothing – is it the activity? Nothingness. Doing Nothing?

Hybrid-minimalism, do nothing – Don’t explain – Don’t modify behavior – Make a performance: nothing.”

via Art and design | The Guardian.

Hear About Amazon’s Patent on Studio (Lighting) Arrangement? Here’s What it Means for You – PPA Today

- - Blog News

should I take this thing seriously?

Yes! Much like our stance on copyright, PPA takes the position that all intellectual property rights should be respected. Whether we like it or not, this patent has been issued, and photographers are encouraged to follow the law and to avoid replicating the process outlined in the Patent’s claims.

That being said, PPA is monitoring the situation to ensure that Amazon’s attempts to protect its patent do not overreach in ways that are detrimental to the photography profession as a whole. If you are contacted by Amazon or a law firm representing them with a cease and desist demand, please contact PPA’s Customer Services… immediately. PPA takes this matter very seriously and we will help where needed.

via PPA Today.