Posts by: A Photo Editor

Let’s Dispel The Notion That Commercial Photographers Have A Camera In Their Hands Every Day

- - Blog News

First, let’s dispel the notion that commercial photographers have a camera in their hands every day. This will vary for individuals, and by season, but I would guess that I spend a good 75-80% of my working hours in front of a computer – not out shooting. I consider that to be a pretty successful ratio. No one starting out really thinks about it, but digital workflow, retouching, billing, marketing, pre-production, post-production, accounting, taxes, etc… and the plethora of general business paperwork takes up a ton of time.

via The Definitive Guide to Starting a Successful Photography Business – Houston Tx Advertising Photographer Robert Seale.

For Me Shooting Still Images And Motion Simultaneously Changes Everything

- - Working

Guest post by Scott Pommier

Until recently I had no interest in the convergence of stills and motion. I bought a Canon 5d mark II well after the surge of photographer-made videos, and owned that camera for more than a year before I switched it to video mode. That was at the urging of my agent who had been telling me that it was becoming important to have some examples of moving-image to show clients. I shot one crummy video and went back to using my 35mm film SLR. I’d heard that photographers of the future would be shooting with magical hybrid cameras, but it didn’t seem relevant to my process (my camera of choice when shooting a portrait or a fashion story is still a Pentax 67). I knew that some photographers had been extracting stills from RED footage, but that was all purely academic, something that the Steven Kliens of the world were doing that made little sense for the way that I worked.
 
November of last year a friend let me know that RED was selling off their old Red One cameras at shockingly affordable price. These were cameras that company had taken as traded-in, and they’d been outfitted with a new sensor. Bigger and heavier than RED’s current models but fully capable of shooting a Hollywood feature. It seemed like an amazing opportunity and without nearly enough thought, I launched into a whole new dimension of my career. It’s now been a year since my first small moving-image production, and looking back it’s amazing to see how my mindset and how my way of working has changed. I thought I would share my understanding of what the latest breakthrough in cameras means for me.
 
I was looking to upgrade to a newer cinema camera, having outgrown the Red One. RED had recently announced an entirely new sensor. Current owners of the RED Epic could have their camera-bodies upgraded with the new 6k Dragon sensor (The Dragon camera is also available new, but, well, it’s complicated.

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RED has sort of tiered approach to ownership, which is a topic for another day.) I bought a camera from a guy who was already waiting in the upgrade line, he had quite a good spot as it turned out. Overnight I went from being 15-years behind the times to using a camera that only a handful of people in the world had access to.
 
Red has been claiming that their cameras were capable of producing a usable still image for some time now, and to be fair that was sorta’ true. With the best resources it was possible and there are Vogue covers to prove it, but, having pulled stills from both Red One and Epic cameras I have to say, the results were, maybe not underwhelming, but not exactly overwhelming either, maybe just whelming? But for anyone tempted to dismiss the latest hype about the Dragon camera as nothing more than the same predictable public relations blast, I will tell you, for me, this camera changes everything. The Dragon allows you to shoot still images and motion images simultaneously.
 
A few numbers, for the uninitiated: RED’s new Epic ‘Dragon’ is capable of producing 6k files. What that means is that each frame can be up to 19.4 megapixel or 6144 x 3160 which gives you a 20.48” x 10.53” image at 300dpi. The sensor boasts a 16.5 stop dynamic range.  Where the original Epic had a native ISO of 800, the Dragon performs well between 200 and 2000. Less impressive than the latest 35mm DSLRs but far more forgiving than current medium-format offerings (it is worth noting that DSLRs make use of ‘in-camera’ noise reduction, and which still results in significant loss of detail at high ISO settings.)
 
There are all kind of color-charts and controlled tests that plot one camera or film or digital back against another. I leave that kind of testing to people who are a good deal more thorough than I am. But after taking this thing out for a spin the difference was obvious. Shooting under the hot-noon sun yielded very similar results to print film, in terms of color rendering and contrast. There is also a sharp yet smooth quality to the images, like a high-resolution scan of medium-format film. In fact this ‘movie camera’ produces the best digital stills I’ve ever seen. I include in that list the Sony f55, the Arri Alexa, any and all DSLRs, Leica’s M9 and S2, The new Phase One back and even the Hasselblad that looks like a Ferrari, all of them. The Dragon is the first digital camera that has made me hopeful that I will be able to continue shooting images that match the look and feel of my current work even with the impending demise of film.
 
What does this all mean? Potentially it could mean a lot of things. One thing it could mean is that in many cases, photographers could be replaced. Talented DP’s who shoot day-in-day-out, use the sharpest lenses known to man and have a team of people to light a scene, they know how to take pictures, really good pictures. Now extracting those pictures is easier than ever, and the resolution of those pictures is greater than ever. Why bring in a photographer who’s going to disrupt the workflow when you could just reset, quickly change your shutterspeed/ISO (if that’s even necessary.) Imagine a 1st A.D. yelling out “Capturing for print! Okay, moving on.” Scary right?
 
Alternatively… say you’re hired to shoot stills but in addition to the stills you end up with broadcast-quality footage, footage that you could license to the client. Exciting right?
 
It’s what Homer Simpson might call a “crisi-tunity.” You can make of it what you will, but there’s every chance the world will change a little bit, for better or for worse, or perhaps for better and for worse.
 
Thrilled as I am with my new camera and all that it does, I will be the first to tell you that having your still camera wrapped up in a movie camera creates some difficulties. Here are a few things to consider:
 
Cost
Crisis: Expensive, buying the camera is just the start
 
Opportunity: Two cameras for the price of one.  As expensive as the Dragon is, when is the last time Canon or Nikon allowed you to swap out your sensor rather than simply selling you a new camera? Or offered a factory trade-in program? The fact is for a camera that shoots capital M Movies the Dragon comparatively cheap. Red has also kept the same form factor, despite criticisms (believe it or not) that the camera is too small. The advantage there is that accessories carry over between models, even after upgrades. There are also a number of third-party manufacturers such as Wooden Camera that make some very clever and affordable components.
 
Storage
Crisis: You’ll need lots of it, backed up even. See above.
 
Opportunity: N/A
 
Workflow
Crisis: If you like to chimp in the field (you know: shoot, look, shoot, look) it’s not nearly so quick to review footage, especially slow motion to double-check that you’ve got the shot.
 
Opportunity: When you’re editing you have the opportunity to find moments you hadn’t considered during capture. On slow-motion takes you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact timing you’re after. Also, programs like Premiere Pro 6 handle the native RAW files in a really interesting way, allowing your to review and edit the footage at a lower resolution, if you edit at say ¼ resolution, the footage is still sharp (HD sharp actually) but even a laptop is often able to play everything in real time. This is a huge leap forward from the old days of RED footage, the memory of which still haunts a lot of people who will tell you that the post workflow with RED cameras is prohibitively cumbersome. These are the people who thought that Elvis’ pelvic gyrations on the Ed Sullivan show were too obscene for the viewing public. Feel free to ignore these people.
 
Lenses
Crisis: Cinema lenses are expensive and heavy.
 
Opportunity: Interchangeable mounts allow you to use your ‘still’ lenses, also cinema lenses can be incredibly sharp. Also, when collimated the ‘witness marks’ (distance scale) are accurate, so you can measure to ensure focus, or set marks on the lens to track focus on moving subjects. Inferior to tracking autofocus in some ways, better in others.
 
Weight
Crisis: Heavy! Hand holdable, but flying with cinema gear is a drag. Lugging it around a set is a drag.
 
Opportunity: Solidly built, steadier than your 7d footage. The system is modular and can be configured in all kinds of ways, from a fairly portable one all the way to a Hollywood technocrane setup.
 
Learning Curve
Crisis: Lots to learn, from the gear to the workflow, to the jargon.
 
Opportunity: Lots of support to help you learn. Learning is fun. Mashing buttons is learning!
 
The Dragon is just the first of many cameras will further blur the line between still and motion capture. No matter how you feel about that, this is not the time stick your head in the sand, or to wait for the storm to pass, or to hope that the genie will go back in the bottle. Quite the opposite, which I guess means that, it’s time to emerge from the sand during a storm and unleash a genie? What I’m trying to say is that sooner or later this kind of technology will become commonplace, and you should think about what that will mean for how you work and how you market your talents.

Sample Images:

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How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

- - Blog News

…clients aren’t talking at all.

GQ and Harper’s Bazaar, which are two of Richardson’s regular (and most frequent) editorial clients, according to the Jezebel list, didn’t respond to numerous phone calls and e-mails for comment. The Wall Street Journal magazine, which has hired Richardson for several celebrity shoots in recent months, said through spokesperson Arianna Imperato, “We’re going to decline to comment.”

Modeling agencies are also silent. Requests for comment from Wilhelmina, Next, and Muse went unanswered.

via PDNPulse » How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?.

Art Producers Speak: Max Dworkin

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 Max Dworkin. He is a great up and coming photographer who I had the pleasure of working with him on a very large project for a major account. Its exciting to watch his career develop as well as be selected in PDN’s-Emerging Photographer’s Spring 2014 issue.

This was a shot from a story I did on a farm to table restaurant at Stone Barn in upstate New York.

This was a shot from a story I did on a farm to table restaurant at Stone Barn in upstate New York.

This is a portrait of Richard Kern I shot for Remember Paper magazine, he was one of the first photographer I assisted when I came to new york. I loved working with him and he was a big help along the way, learning from on set and talking with about making a living in photography.

This is a portrait of Richard Kern I shot for Remember Paper magazine, he was one of the first photographer I assisted when I came to new york. I loved working with him and he was a big help along the way, learning from on set and talking with about making a living in photography.

This is a shot from an ongoing series called “anonymous”

This is a shot from an ongoing series called “anonymous”

Another shot from the same series, this wasn’t a project I started intentionally I ended up realizing I was drawn to these shots of people with their faces hidden in natural ways.

Another shot from the same series, this wasn’t a project I started intentionally I ended up realizing I was drawn to these shots of people with their faces hidden in natural ways.

This is a shot from a vacation with a bunch of friends, I love having people around who are always up for adventure, I was fully out the passenger window on the hood going about 30 on tiny back roads, it was great.

This is a shot from a vacation with a bunch of friends, I love having people around who are always up for adventure, I was fully out the passenger window on the hood going about 30 on tiny back roads, it was great.

This was from a personal project I worked on and pitched to Greenpointers where we would sneak into abandoned Brooklyn factories, construction sites, and new buildings going up around the neighborhood.

This was from a personal project I worked on and pitched to Greenpointers where we would sneak into abandoned Brooklyn factories, construction sites, and new buildings going up around the neighborhood.

This was a detail shot from some commissioned work I did for Red Clouds Collective, I have been really into working with different artists and companies documenting the design, making, and finished product. I enjoy watching the process and figuring out how to best tell the story, what the strongest images will be and how it all comes together.

This was a detail shot from some commissioned work I did for Red Clouds Collective, I have been really into working with different artists and companies documenting the design, making, and finished product. I enjoy watching the process and figuring out how to best tell the story, what the strongest images will be and how it all comes together.

I used to shoot a lot of skateboarding and I still like to try and incorporate some of that action into my work, this was from an apparel look book I shot with some friends. I have started to notice that a lot of times work I shoot for myself will end up helping me out in work situations, I found this location while shooting the Abandoned Brooklyn series.

I used to shoot a lot of skateboarding and I still like to try and incorporate some of that action into my work, this was from an apparel look book I shot with some friends. I have started to notice that a lot of times work I shoot for myself will end up helping me out in work situations, I found this location while shooting the Abandoned Brooklyn series.

Traveling has always been really important to me and getting to go out on the road has been a dream come true, this was from a 3 month shoot for Visa where I got to travel all through the US and Canada. It was the first big job I ever got and its what allowed me to make the full transition from assisting to shooting full time.

Traveling has always been really important to me and getting to go out on the road has been a dream come true, this was from a 3 month shoot for Visa where I got to travel all through the US and Canada. It was the first big job I ever got and its what allowed me to make the full transition from assisting to shooting full time.

This is a portrait of my friend Maggie, Im lucky to have friends who put up with me pulling them into situations and letting me shoot them.

This is a portrait of my friend Maggie, Im lucky to have friends who put up with me pulling them into situations and letting me shoot them.

How many years have you been in business?
I am happy to say this was my first year shooting for myself full time, I have been getting work for the past 3 years or so but it was hard to fully transition out of assisting.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
School, I went to the school of visual arts for photography, but I was getting into experimenting with photography way before I had considered any formal training. I was really into the dark room and built one in my bathroom during high school.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
That is hard to say as I had a lot of great teachers who were very encouraging and gave me opportunities that opened my eyes to the different ways I could work with photography. I was a TA for Sarah A. Friedman right after I graduated and also started assisting her, that was a great leaning experience as far as seeing what it looked like to make a living in the business, she is a great friend and still always down to give advice or get an honest opinion from.

I did have an experience early on at SVA during a portfolio review where I was asked very straight forward “what was it that I want to do”? It seems like a basic question that I would have already asked myself but being put on the spot and seriously considering it made me realize what I wanted most was to be able to work and support myself as a photographer.

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 try to see new and different art as much as possible. It can get daunting at times to be so involved in my own process of shooting editing and retouching, seeing other work helps to break it up.

It gives me more confidence to try new things and take some chances, sometimes when I let go a bit and stop thinking so much about where I’m going with an image or series, I stumble across a fresh perspective. I like to go sit with a pile of magazines somewhere and just see whats out there from the ads to the stories, the internet has so much content available but to physically see who is shooting what and how the photos are run seems to help my process and inspire me.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I have never experienced this to the point where I feel like I’m compromising my work but having someone who may not share the same vision can either hold you back or push you further. Personally I have had good luck working with clients that are on board with what I do, and if certain things do come up, I welcome the challenge to problem solve and shift things so everyone involved feels like they are being heard and are happy with the results.

Probably not enough…. As I’m learning more and more about how the promotional side of this business works I’m trying to come up with creative ways to get my work seen. I love having the outlet of a blog and website but I like the idea a making something physical and putting it out into the world. I’m working on editing and printing small editions of books with different themes or subject matter and sending them out as gifts or giving them away to anyone interested. Email me and I would love you send you one! maxdworkinphoto@gmail.com

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
This can be especially tricky and in the past I have found myself going in a direction I may not necessarily have gone because I thought it was what people were looking for. At times it can be harder to stay true to yourself and show what you feel is your best work because it dosnt seem like its what people are responding to. In my experience, the payoff has been so much bigger when someone connects with work I have put a lot of myself into, In the end those are the people I want to work with anyway.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes I am shooting all the time, if I’m not booked for a job I’m going out on self-assigned projects or helping out anyone who is interested in collaborating. I have a blog Pictured.tumblr.com where I have been posting a photo a day since 2011 it has been a great outlet for work that doesn’t really have another place to go. The work could be from a recent trip, an outtake from a job, or just a photo I shot that day. Having the structure of an ongoing project like this has kept looking at photos and made sure I always have a camera in my hand. Another unexpected thing I enjoy about it is that it serves as a visual journal for the past week, month, and even year, I can go into the archive section and see 30 or so images from the past month that show where I have been or what I was working on. There has been some great feedback from this and I like that it can showcase a really large range of work that I wouldn’t necessarily want on my website. I don’t like to be labeled as a photographer who does just one thing…. Part of the reason I love this job is because it allows freedom and creativity to work with so many different kinds of people and explore new places… I can be shooting a portrait in the studio one day and be out in the street shooting skateboarding the next. It’s really what keeps me going.

How often are you shooting new work?
As much as possible, maybe 3-4 times a week. If I’m not shooting for a client I’m usually out shooting for a personal project or for someone who has reached out about working together. I like to keep really busy and having the luxury of working with digital and not paying out of pocket for jobs with no money I take on almost any project I’m approached with as long as I’m interested in the subject matter and have creative control.

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Max Dworkin is a NYC based photographer who lives and works in Brooklyn. He is the photo editor of Remember Paper magazine and co founder of Get Summered an arts and lifestyle company.
He is currently looking for representation.

Max Dworkin
Maxdworkinphoto@gmail.com
413 822 1480
maxdworkin.com
pictured.tumblr.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.

In The Past A Formulaic Marketing Plan Would Work 9 Times Out Of 10

- - Blog News

“In the past, if someone was talented you could put together a plan for them and if followed in a formulaic way, 9 times out of 10 it would work. Now it’s a little more unpredictable.” Patrick admits as we discuss how marketing is more important than ever. Luck and timing is much more of a factor now due to market saturation. “A great agent has to find smart and interesting ways of showing a photographer’s work and forge the right connections in the industry” says Patrick. Early on, however, a photographer is going to have to do this himself (or herself) before even trying to find an agent. Generally, a photographers’ agent will only sign a new artist who has an established client base. “The launching time to get photographers off the ground is so long now that photographers need to be able to sustain themselves, as well as the agency, during this period.  Being an agent is still one of the only jobs that works on spec and it may take years for the artist to start making real money.”

via ImageBrief Blog.

taking photographs changes the way we experience the world, but reviewing them can change the way we remember the experience

- - Blog News

Henkel found “a photo-taking-impairment effect”—photographing the object led students to remember fewer objects and fewer details than those who simply observed the art. In a second study, she asked students to observe the objects and then to photograph them using the camera’s zoom. Instructing students to zoom in reversed the impairment effect, improving the memories of the photographers over those of the observers.

via A Thousand Words: Writing From Photographs : The New Yorker.

Historical research—indeed, humanistic inquiry as a whole—is being undermined by the constant plugging of economic value as a measure of worth

- - Blog News

And so @HistoryInPics makes me angry not for what it fails to do, but that it gets so many people to participate in it, including people who care about the same issues that I do. Attribution, citation, and accuracy are the basis of understanding history. @HistoryInPics might not care about those things, but I would like to think that you do. The next time you come across one of these pictures, ask yourself what it shows and what it doesn’t, and what message you’re conveying by spreading it.

via it’s history, not a viral feed | Wynken de Worde.

This Week In Photography Books: Trent Parke

by Jonathan Blaustein

I used to have an Aussie friend named Pappy. We met when I was still impressionable, and were the best of mates for nearly 15 years. He looked like a pirate and drank like a Marine, so I did too.

Having an Australian wingman is kind of like having a criminal for an accountant. You might feel proud of yourself, for putting one over on the powers that be, but in the end, it’s not likely to work out very well. Australia is a culture in which drinking, partying, fighting and meat-binging are the norm.

Think about that for a second. All cultures have their oddities. Like the French and their extra-marital affairs, or the Puritans with their hatred of dancing. That’s part of what makes a culture distinct, as we’ve discussed here previously.

But an entire country, nay, Continent, filled with the descendants of law-breakers, all of whom like to get wasted and crash motorcycles? Can you imagine? What would that look like?

I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve just put down “The Christmas Tree Bucket,” by the Australian photographer Trent Parke, so we have a good chance to peek in on things. The book was published by Steidl, which does make me wonder what the production meetings might have looked like. (Perhaps some pursed German lips at the sight of such class-less behavior?)

The title refers to the bucket kept around, presumably, to be grabbed by the next person to vomit on Christmas. At the very least, we do get one photo of the putative subject filled with vile goop. (Has anyone started a satirical Gwyneth Paltrow blog with that title yet? Vile goop?)

One can only imagine the subtitle, “Trent Parke’s Family Album” is a truthful moniker. In which case, the many excellent photos within give us an inkling of what life is like at that time of year. The dude in the Borat suit in front of the open swimming pool reminds that Christmas comes in summer Down Under, and that’s enough to make your head spin. (As opposed the the bed spins. Which I’m sure were in evidence here too.)

Meat on the grill, dead mice on the floorboards, screaming kids, oddly placed blow up dolls, denuded Christmas trees: it’s all here. The run of pictures where everyone’s sleeping was a particular favorite. Great rhythm.

There are a lot of photos in the book, and they all have that hipsterish-off-kilter vibe. The awkwardness of a record store clerk who knows so much about esoteric music, but can’t quite figure out how to ask a girl out. So what does he do? He downs a bottle of Jack Daniels and drives to her house, where he sits in the driveway, idling the car, and scaring the bejeezus out of her dad, who comes out with a shotgun after 45 minutes of wondering who the asshole is on his driveway.

Sorry. I got off topic. That doesn’t actually happen here. But if it did, I’m guessing the father wouldn’t wait 45 minutes to see what’s going on. He’d come out after 90 seconds, with a baseball bat, pull the dude out of his car, beat him senseless, and then ask what the hell he was doing there anyway. Goodonya.

Bottom Line: Absurd Aussie take on Christmas in summer

To Purchase “The Christmas Tree Bucket” Visit Photo-Eye

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

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

Do we want a tech world defined by compassionless jerks?

- - Blog News

I’ve written before about the toxicity of the Silicon Valley/San Francisco cult of “disruption,” which has no empathy for the disrupted, and little place for any empathy at all. But my hackles were raised again by a BusinessWeek review of venture capitalist Ben Horowitz’s new book, which confirmed that Silicon Valley’s power brokers are passionately devoted to creating a society at war with itself.

via Why I Don’t Want My Daughter to Work in Silicon Valley | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

Art Producers Speak: John Davis

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 John Davis. His demeanor and professionalism, combined with his creativity and flexibility, make John our top choice for many different types of projects. He has literally turned a cloudy day into a sunny one! His work always exceeds our hopes and it’s a pleasure to review photography knowing that John sets out to deliver something truly impressive.

Wesleyan Student for Wesleyan University Marketing Materials and still to be used in student profile video.

Wesleyan Student for Wesleyan University Marketing Materials and still to be used in student profile video.

Baltimore Musician Katrina Ford of 4AD band Celebration.

Baltimore Musician Katrina Ford of 4AD band Celebration.

Tufts University for Marketing Materials.

Tufts University for Marketing Materials.

CEO of Mayorga Coffee for Inc. Magazine.

CEO of Mayorga Coffee for Inc. Magazine.

Runner for personal project.

Runner for personal project.

Junior Olympic Championships

Junior Olympic Championships

Junior Olympic Championships

Junior Olympic Championships

Student for University Alumni Magazine.

Student for University Alumni Magazine.

This is something we shot for online education company, 2U inc. for their Semester Online Ad Campaign.

This is something we shot for online education company, 2U inc. for their Semester Online Ad Campaign.

This is from an image Library we shot for an East Coast Restaurant chain, The Green Turtle. They were trying to rebrand themselves as more than just a sports bar.

This is from an image Library we shot for an East Coast Restaurant chain, The Green Turtle. They were trying to rebrand themselves as more than just a sports bar.

The Green Turtle

The Green Turtle

From a project, titled Anhinga, that I worked on with Baltimore based video production company, Shine Creative. It was part personal/test and part fashion spec for a Baltimore Vintage Clothing store. Images are in camera double exposures that combine our models with vintage clothing details.

From a project, titled Anhinga, that I worked on with Baltimore based video production company, Shine Creative. It was part personal/test and part fashion spec for a Baltimore Vintage Clothing store. Images are in camera double exposures that combine our models with vintage clothing details.

From a project, titled Anhinga, that I worked on with Baltimore based video production company, Shine Creative. It was part personal/test and part fashion spec for a Baltimore Vintage Clothing store. Images are in camera double exposures that combine our models with vintage clothing details.

From Anhinga

How many years have you been in business?
More or less, 15 years with the requisite assisting overlap.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I started as a Fine Art major at the University of Maine and transferred to The Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA) where I graduated with a BA in Photography.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I didn’t really have a professional influence until I was already in the flow of the photo assisting world. The business of photography, at least my perception of it at the time, seemed like my only option at the time. I knew I wanted to make a living doing something creative and I had just graduated with a degree in photo so that was that. There were definitely photographers that inspired me, but they were mostly fine artists/teachers of art that didn’t push the business side of things. Helen Levitt, Sally Mann, Emmit Gowin and my first Basic Photo professor at U. Maine were big ones for me artistically. Professionally, I would say Dan Winters and Chris Buck.

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?
Is this a trick question?

I try to keep an open mind and let things happen organically. If I’m shooting a lot of higher ed or people, I’ll force myself to do a multilple exposure light test with still life.

A couple of years ago I decided to work with a consultant to completely overhaul my website and put together a new book. The goal was to steer my business away from a certain kind of client. Within two months of the new site launch I was caught in an avalanche of RFPs to shoot for exactly the clients I was lookin for.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
I’ve been pretty lucky. The last few years clients have been mostly on board with my take on things. I think a lot of times they are hiring me because they want me to do what I do best.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Everything. Networking, Direct mail, Email promos, Social Media and other online resources like Wonderful Machine, Photoserve and ASMP Find a Photographer.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
If it’s original it will stand out. If it isn’t, it won’t.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes, as often as I can. I wouldn’t be in business right now without it.

How often are you shooting new work?
I’m always making pictures and keep a notebook / Evernote of ideas and images that inspire me. I love a good Moleskin but the Evernote app is great because it syncs across all my computers and devices. Realistically, I try to shoot a project every few months and don’t worry too much about whether the personal projects jive with my current paid gigs. I’m always thinking about how to change things up. I also try to collaborate with other artist friends.

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John is a photographer based in the Baltimore/Washington, DC Corridor and is represented by Wonderful Machine. He specializes in telling stories with images for a wide range of clients, from higher education and advertising to national editorial publications. On his “off” days he keeps busy by training for his next Marathon and photographing his fellow athletes.

You can see more of John’s work and a list of clients here http://www.jdph.com
Contact: john@jdph.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 Producers Speak: Helen Cathcart

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 Helen Cathcart who is a wonderful talent who deserves greatly to be recognized as she is an incredibly well-rounded photographer who can shoot just anything and make you want to either eat it/visit it/or meet it.

I chased this candy floss seller down Chowpatty beach like a madwoman. I was out there photographing for Mr. Todiwala’s Bombay Cookbook and this image made it onto the cover.

I chased this candy floss seller down Chowpatty beach like a madwoman. I was out there photographing for Mr. Todiwala’s Bombay Cookbook and this image made it onto the cover.

I have photographed backstage for Nicholas Oakwell Couture since his first show. He produces the most beautiful clothes. I love the crescendo that builds up backstage until the models walk out on the runway.

I have photographed backstage for Nicholas Oakwell Couture since his first show. He produces the most beautiful clothes. I love the crescendo that builds up backstage until the models walk out on the runway.

This shot was part of an Australian themed recipe shoot for House and Garden. I have a wonderful picture editor there and he has given me many opportunities in shooting a range of different things for the magazine.

This shot was part of an Australian themed recipe shoot for House and Garden. I have a wonderful picture editor there and he has given me many opportunities in shooting a range of different things for the magazine.

This was an advertorial shot for John Lewis and commissioned by the Guardian. I love to make my images look painterly and was particularly pleased with this one.

This was an advertorial shot for John Lewis and commissioned by the Guardian. I love to make my images look painterly and was particularly pleased with this one.

Conde Nast Traveler US sent me to shoot this amazing hotel in the desert in Israel and my poor friend got roped into donning a swimsuit and posing for me.

Conde Nast Traveler US sent me to shoot this amazing hotel in the desert in Israel and my poor friend got roped into donning a swimsuit and posing for me.

I really like this shot of Derren Brown standing in front of a painting he has done of his father. I think it captures a moment which shows his personality, which is actually quite shy, and also that it showcases the fact that he is an amazing portrait painter which not a lot of people know him for.

I really like this shot of Derren Brown standing in front of a painting he has done of his father. I think it captures a moment which shows his personality, which is actually quite shy, and also that it showcases the fact that he is an amazing portrait painter which not a lot of people know him for.

This is one of my favourite recipe shots of Limbu Pani, which I shot back in London for the Mr. Todiwala Bombay Cook Book.

This is one of my favourite recipe shots of Limbu Pani, which I shot back in London for the Mr. Todiwala Bombay Cook Book.

I absolutely fell in love with the Isle of Skye on this commission. This shot is of a deerstalker on the hunt for some venison.

I absolutely fell in love with the Isle of Skye on this commission. This shot is of a deerstalker on the hunt for some venison.

I shot a lovely book this year which was a bit of a departure for me called ‘The House Gardener’. This was an interior shot from a great location house we used.

I shot a lovely book this year which was a bit of a departure for me called ‘The House Gardener’. This was an interior shot from a great location house we used.

I got up at 4am to go out with Olivier Parpillon on his boat. It was for a feature on Bourget du Lac, a village with 4 Michelin starred restaurants. He supplies them all with Lavaret, a fish only found in that lake.

I got up at 4am to go out with Olivier Parpillon on his boat. It was for a feature on Bourget du Lac, a village with 4 Michelin starred restaurants. He supplies them all with Lavaret, a fish only found in that lake.

This was one of my favourite shots from a Cookbook I shot on recipes from the Amalfi Coast by the Caldesi’s. It was in fact my first of many cookbook’s, commissioned by Hardie Grant who I love working for.

This was one of my favourite shots from a Cookbook I shot on recipes from the Amalfi Coast by the Caldesi’s. It was in fact my first of many cookbook’s, commissioned by Hardie Grant who I love working for.

This image was part of a shoot for a Corney and Barrow Christmas Catalogue. It was the first time I realized the feel I could get if I was shooting in near darkness!

This image was part of a shoot for a Corney and Barrow Christmas Catalogue. It was the first time I realized the feel I could get if I was shooting in near darkness!

How many years have you been in business?
I actually started out as a photo editor for 5 years and when my boss found out I did photography too, he let me commission myself for some features, but I made the leap to full time photographer about 3 years ago.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I did a degree in Photography but I would not attribute that in any way to me making a living from Photography today. It was a very fine art based course with no interest in actually teaching you how to get a job at the end of it. I spent 8 hours a day in the dark room which isn’t very useful to me now. I followed it up with an MA in Design and Art Direction in order to get me out of waitressing and I learnt much more from that!

I gained most of my technical knowledge from two photographers I worked with on my picture desk but mainly I believe you learn on every shoot and that there is a way of seeing things that you can’t really teach.

Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I was given Eve Arnold’s Book ‘In Retrospect’ my by Aunt when I was quite young. I absolutely loved her style and what she captured and how she had just gone out there and put herself in situations. I think that was definitely my main inspiration that I could be a photographer. Although I don’t shoot fashion, fashion photography always inspired me and especially the early fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon and Herb Ritts.

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 have to say this can be quite difficult when you become busy and are shooting commissioned work all the time. For me I make sure to mix up the work I am doing which is why I shoot a lot of different things.

I am trying to be more strict with myself to shoot more personal work but I made a concerted effort at the end of last year that I was going to take some time away from shooting altogether to get my creativity back. I went to Cape Town for 6 weeks at the start of this year just to get to the light, get into a different way of life, even paint! It was just what I needed.

I find that somehow my work has always been inspired by nature and going back to that always helps me.

Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Every shoot is so different but this can definitely happen. At the end of the day you and the creative are usually on the same page so you will try to push the boundaries as much as possible. A lot of it is about dealing with people and explaining your point of view on the shoot. Almost selling it I guess. Once they see what I am doing they usually go with it. I have very rarely felt restricted and having been on the photo editor side of things I think I can see things from both sides quite well.

What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
It is sometimes so hard to find time to update the buying audience on your work but so important. I try to do a little newsletter every so often. I use instagram a lot and I have a blog that I like to show personal work and recent shoots, and this goes out to art buyers I have worked with and would like to work with.

What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I think you can easily slip into this, especially because it is very important to listen to what the buyer has asked for and make sure they get it, but I have always found that when you produce something that is entirely your point of view and you are really happy with it, it is usually different to anything else and that is the work attracts other work.

Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
I’m not shooting for myself as often as I would like. I really want to get a film camera so that when I shoot for myself it doesn’t feel like work, it feels completely different. I find it takes me a few days to unwind, not shooting at all for me to see things for myself again so I try to block out days where I don’t take commissions for this to happen. I get a lot of inspiration from travel though and this usually keeps my work fresh. I have been planning for ages to shoot behind the scenes at a strip club but can’t find any strippers! If anyone knows any, let me know!

How often are you shooting new work?
At the moment I’m shooting almost every day. I love what I do and keep getting commissions that I love which are very hard to say no to!

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Helen specialises in photographing food, travel, interiors and portraits. She started her career as a photo director, followed by freelance picture editing and photo direction on various news stand titles including British Vogue. After a move to Sydney she made the transition to full time photographer and now shoots for numerous magazines and brands and has photographed a number of cookbooks. Helen is currently based in London.
www.helencathcart.com
www.helencathcart.blogspot.com
twitter and Instagram: @helencathcart

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.

The Goal Of Tech Companies In Photography Is To Generate More

- - Blog News

they see photography as a communication tool. Like words. A language to interpret. While professionals certainly do not ignore photography as a communication tool, they also see it as a product . The finality of a photograph, for a pro, is to sell it. The finality of a photograph, for a tech company, it to generate more. What they sell is a continuous, uninterrupted stream. They do not care about individual images, they care about scale. A photograph is only as good as it effect on other users.

via Instagram knows more about photography than you | Photo/Tech.

Pricing & Negotiating: Book Cover For Politician’s Memoir

by Craig Oppenheimer Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Seamless and environmental portraits of a prominent politician.

Licensing: Use of up to two images on the front/back cover of a book with a print run of up to 200,000.

Location:  A state capitol building in the Northeast.

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Corporate and portraiture specialist

Client: Large publishing company

Here is the estimate:

estimate_redacted

Concept/Licensing:            

The publishing company was working with an active politician to create and distribute his memoir, and they asked the photographer to capture a few seamless and environmental portraits for the front and back covers. The assignment was pretty straightforward, but they needed the shoot to take place within a few days in a non-local city to the photographer, and given the subject, we knew that the photographer would have very little time to actually shoot the subject. These factors put upward pressure on the fee since it required a skilled photographer to work in these conditions and complete the project within a very tight timeframe.

The photographer completed a nearly identical project for the same publisher a few years ago, and while he couldn’t recall the print run of the book, the publisher agreed to a fee of $8,500 plus expenses. A quick chat with the publisher’s art director led me to believe that they were willing to pay the same amount this time, but they hoped to keep the bottom line around $15,000. The fee sounded healthy for the print run, but it did include two images, and I anticipated that their contract might include rights that would put additional upward pressure on an appropriate fee.

Just for reference, I did check the fee against a few pricing resources. Corbis suggested a rate of $1,258, but their options max out at a print run of 30,000. For a print run higher than 30,000, they ask that you contact them. Getty suggested $2,325 for a print run of up to 250,000 including electronic distribution, and Fotoquote suggested a rate up to $2,835 for a similar print run. If I didn’t know what the publishing company paid previously, I may have priced the two images around $2,750 each, and then added on a creative fee of a few thousand dollars, which happens to bring the fee close to $8,500. This (along with previous experience) reassured me that the fee was appropriate.

Photographer Travel/Pre-Production: The photographer planned to fly to the location the day before the shoot, and since the actual shooting time would likely wrap before noon, he planned to catch a flight back that same day. Additionally, he’d spend a considerable amount of time beforehand to coordinate his crew and make travel arrangements. We figured that getting there and back would add up to a full day, and added on a second day to account for the pre-production.

Assistants: Both assistants would be driving to the location from a major metropolitan city, but since the location was still a good distance from them, we figured they’d drive up the night before the shoot as well (bringing us to one shoot day, and two half-travel days). The first assistant would be responsible for renting an SUV and coordinating the equipment rental, so we added an extra day at a lower rate for him to do so beforehand.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: This is typically much lower than the rate I’d include for a hair/makeup stylist, but they were local to the remote location and offered to work a half day at this rate. We originally anticipated that the stylist would travel in with the assistants, and I’d typically anticipated a day-rate of up to $1,200 if that was the case. However, I wasn’t going to argue with the local stylist’s rate, especially since we knew the travel expenses would likely put us over the client’s suggested budget of $15,000.

SUV Rental: This covered three days to rent a large SUV big enough for the two assistants and the equipment ($475), fuel ($100) and insurance ($125).

Lodging: While we probably could have gotten away with a cheap hotel around $100/night (or less), we anticipated having to pay higher rates since the reservations would be made just a day before traveling. I figured $200/night for three rooms would be plenty.

Equipment Rental: The photographer would bring his camera and a minimal amount of gear, but the first assistant would still need to pick up a backup body with multiple lenses ($500), a roll of paper and stands for the seamless backdrop ($100), as well as various lighting/grip equipment including backups ($1,500). The backup equipment pushed the rental fees up a bit, but when you only have a few minutes with a subject, you better be prepared if your equipment fails.

Airfare: Rates for flights were about $500, and I anticipated paying $50 in baggage fees both ways.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time it would take the photographer to download, edit, color process, rename files and deliver a web gallery for the publisher to review.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: The photographer would further process the two final images that the publisher selected, and he anticipated it taking less than an hour per image.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Taxi, Misc.: I included a $75/day/person “per diem” to cover meals for the photographer and his assistants for both the travel and shoot days ($450 total), as well as $100 for the taxi the photographer would take to/from the airport and $200 for unanticipated miscellaneous expenses.

Results: Despite the fact that our estimate was above their suggested budget, the photographer was quickly awarded the job and completed the assignment two days later. While the publisher signed our estimate/terms, they also provided us with the following contract:

contract_original_Redacted

The formatting and organization of the contract was a bit confusing, and it seemed like a combination of a “fill in the blank” document (a lot of which was already filled out by the art director) and a “choose your own adventure” novel (especially section 4). In addition to some reformatting, I made the following changes:

– I noted that there would be 2 selected final images

– In section 4, I clarified that they’d pay the photographer $10,000 (his creative/licensing fee plus his travel/pre-production fees) plus expenses.

– I initially clarified that the rights included in section 5 were for a print run of up to 200,000. However, the publisher’s rights manager preferred to not include that language. He said “occasionally [we] exceed our estimates, and we do not want to find ourselves in violation of the terms of our own agreement if the book surpasses expectations.” We were willing to remove the language about the print run, but I wanted the photographer to benefit from the use of his photos in future editions (including foreign language editions) of the book. I revised this section to state that they can use the photos in the “initial English language edition” only. It could be printed and distributed abroad, but not in any other language.

– Further down in section 5, they asked to detail a pre-determined rate for subsequent paperback editions. We noted that the photographer would receive 50% of his creative/licensing fee for use of his photos on the first English language paperback trade or mass-market editions of the book. This was based on the agreed upon percentage from his previous project with the publisher, plus our experience and knowledge of other publishing contracts.

– Lastly, I noted in section 7 that the photographer would retain self-promotional rights to the images.

Here is the revised version of the contract:

contract_revised_Redacted

The publishing company accepted our revisions, and the book will be in stores within the next few months.

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.