Category "The Future"

Harness And Make Sense Of The Noise

- - The Future

If anything is the antithesis of Instagram it’s Mary Ellen Mark carrying a 400 pound Polaroid 20×24 Land Camera into your prom to make a picture. And, if anything separates professional photographers from the pack it’s a book like Prom: a collection of 137 portraits from 13 schools across the country, shot between 2006 and 2009 that includes a documentary produced by Mark’s husband, Martin Bell (story on NPR: Not Your Average Prom Portraits).

But, I think professionals are doing their audience a disservice by not figuring out a way to incorporate the millions of images available online into projects of this scope. Whether it’s some kind of curation, software automated mining or public participation, ignoring that resource is a mistake. This is a wonderful and unknown time for photography, everyone should consider ways to harness and make sense of all that noise.

Instagram Joins The Brownie As The Next Great Photography Disruptor

- - The Future

In an article on La Letter De La Photograpie, Paul Melcher says Instagram just showed the world that “there is no limit to what photography can earn.” That is of course in reaction to the 1 billion dollars Facebook paid to acquire the company last week. Paul goes on to describe the leaps that evolve photography from the massive camera to the instamatic, from manual to automatic (focus, metering and imaging) and how a company that figured out how to make crappy phone camera images look interesting and easy to share, can suddenly be worth a billion dollars without a dime of profits on the income statement (read the whole article here).

This, my friends, is a trend in business called “Software Will Eat The World” coined in an article for the Wall Street Journal by Marc Andreessen (here):

we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy.

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

Why is this happening now?

Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.

Over two billion people now use the broadband Internet, up from perhaps 50 million a decade ago, when I was at Netscape, the company I co-founded. In the next 10 years, I expect at least five billion people worldwide to own smartphones, giving every individual with such a phone instant access to the full power of the Internet, every moment of every day.

On the back end, software programming tools and Internet-based services make it easy to launch new global software-powered start-ups in many industries—without the need to invest in new infrastructure and train new employees.

Which explains how a company with 13 employees and no profits can replace a now bankrupt company that once employed over 120,000 people with annual sales of $10 billion as the “manufacturer” of a device to bring photography to the masses.

 

Diving Dogs Photos Boost Photographers Career

- - The Future

The story of Seth Casteel and his diving dog photos is the perfect example of what happens when something goes viral and the person is prepared to take advantage of it. Seth was your typical on-the-move freelance photographer when he created the now famous underwater images of dogs diving in a pool after balls. As you’ll see in the story below by Wired on the Raw File blog, he was prepared to handle all the inquiries about him and his work, because he’d teamed up with the good people at Tandem Stills + Motion to handle licensing and PR. While it’s impossible to make something go viral or predict when it might happen it’s good to know professionals can turn all that attention into business.

On that fateful February 9th, the photos mysteriously landed on Reddit, Facebook, Google+ and then Warholian, becoming one of the hottest trends amongst viewers on at least five or six continents.

More than 1,000 people all over the world have subsequently asked him to shoot photos of their pets. He’s got a line of publishing houses fighting to get the rights to his forthcoming book of underwater dog photos, and he’s made appearance on, or in, most major American news publications from the The New York Times to Good Morning America.

He credits his licensing and PR firm, Tandem Stills + Motion, with successfully converting his new audience. Where many internet stars fade away after a few days of intense popularity, his firm capitalized on the traffic by handling most of Casteel’s business transactions and press requests.

“The business side is so important because you can have something go viral and be silly about it and you won’t make a dollar off it,” Casteel says. “Without [Tandem Stills + Motion] it would have been a fail.”

via Diving Dogs Are Good Catch for Photographer | Raw File | Wired.com.

Is A Payday In Photography Like Playing Lottery?

- - The Future

There’s an excellent piece in the NY Times last week titled “Why Are Harvard Graduates in the Mailroom?” that talks about the number of professions where workers accept lower-paying jobs in exchange for a slim but real chance of a large, future payday. Drug dealers have rich kingpins supported by hard working street-corner guys, ambitious accountants toil away at big firms in hopes of making partner, silicon valley startups use stock options to entice young people into working for free, Warner Brothers mailroom clerks accept $25,000 to $35,000 a year in hopes of making a meteoric leap like Barry Diller or David Geffen did, and aspiring actors watch rich people hand each other golden statues on TV each year with dreams of joining their ranks someday.

Certainly we can all see how photography fits nicely in the lottery model where there are a neat group of successful photographers at the top, a few jobs here and there that hint at a big payoff, but putting together a career in photography is harder and more lottery like than it looks. What’s really interesting and counter intuitive about the piece is how this lottery system is actually a good idea. It encourages hard work and attracts lots of potential candidates, but only lets the most tenacious through. The problem, as the NY Times notes, is that the comfortable plan B jobs are disappearing. Solid plan B jobs allow you to go for it and if it doesn’t work out you still have something interesting to fall back on for a career:

New York City and Los Angeles are buoyed by teachers, store owners, arts administrators and others who came to town to make it big in film or music or publishing, eventually gave up on that dream and ended up doing fine in another field.

I received this email recently from a reader who was dismayed at all the commenters on this blog who only look at photography as a six figure job:

I love your blog, but I am disappointed in your reader’s comments. Specifically on the article “Is editorial photography dead?“. Most of the photographers that comment fiercely oppose anyone trying to become a professional photographer and it is quite a deterrent for someone like myself just starting out. I read all the comments trying to understand where they are coming from, but I can’t, because it seems like your commenters are all photographers who used to make six figures. I was raised in a family who never made a six figure income, in fact none of my family ever went to college—I was the first. For me a good job is an income of not much more than $30,000 a year.

What your commenters don’t realize is that many people are happy making less. I have worked for several city magazines and I’ve found that they struggle to find ANY photographers to work with. It seems like most people only consider themselves successful if they work for major publications. I would love for you to highlight someone who is successful in their hometown, based on finding work at smaller magazines and local work. Many times the magazines I work with can’t even find journalists. I think smaller publications are often overlooked because they don’t pay tens of thousands of dollars for photo shoots, but I recently got a gig with one that paid over $3,000 and for just starting out, it was huge for me.

My point is, I just don’t think people actually look for the work, they expect it to come to them. I think many photographers, like other artists, are too snobby to actually go find a job. Instead, they expect publications to find them.

Did my reader miss the point of looking at photography as a high paying career? The lottery system produces talented, hardworking and tenacious photographers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The NY Times goes on to say:

It’s not clear what today’s eager 23-year-old will do in 5 or 10 years when she decides that acting (or that accounting partnership) isn’t going to work out after all. The best advice may be to accept that economic success in America will come as much from the labor lottery as from hard work and tenacity. The Oscars make clear that there is only so much room at the top. In a lottery-based economy, you need some luck, too; now, perhaps, more than ever. People should be prepared to enter a few different lotteries, because the new Plan B is just going to be another long shot in a different field.

The plan B in photography was a mid-level career, but now we see photographers who test the waters in video, writing, publishing and teaching. Looking to enter as many lotteries as possible. Seems like a smart plan.

Don’t Like Me

- - The Future

Lots of chatter online about how photographers should embrace sharing their work and stop complaining about copyright. All started by this post (here) by the king of HDR (Trey Ratcliff) who says:

As this future becomes more and more plain to me, I see a rapture of sorts, where old-school photographers clinging to the old-fashioned ways of doing things will be “left behind.”

Which is funny because this sort of rapture, where a photo blogger suddenly loses their virginity, is pretty common. Witness the Strobist back in December of 2008: Four Reasons to Consider Working for Free.

Now, I can’t blame them for their rapture, because they and many others have discovered a perfectly legitimate business model for making a living with a camera: Selling Something Besides Photographs.

So, I want to provide a little perspective here. Making a living selling photographs will not die. On the same note photographers should look at, understand and possibly adopt some of what they are doing into their own business. Selling ebooks, dvds, workshops and giving lectures will make up part of the income for successful photographers in the future. Nothing wrong with that. Declaring that everyone will be left behind unless they share everything and make up the difference with ebooks on tips for punters is completely wrong.

The key is this: Focus your attention on the people who you have a legitimate business interest with and be okay with not being liked by everyone.

Is There a Mass Market For Good Journalism?

- - The Future

There’s a new great post by Clay Shirky titled “Newspapers, Paywalls, and Core Users” that investigates the metered paywall that the NY Times and others have deployed to stem shrinking profits. As he’s talked about before Clay discusses the bundling of desperate content that a newspaper represents and the tough reality of unbundled content on the internet; where Dear Abbey, horoscopes and crossword puzzels are more popular than investigative journalism. The metered paywall gives national papers the ability to attract a large audience interested in a few things and still charge hardcore users. Currently there are two successful models to charge people for media content: mass, where you go for that largest possible audience and advertisers who want to reach them and niche, where you carefully define your audience and advertisers who need a very specific demographic. Combining the two is the metered paywall where you get a massive audience and a readily identified hardcore group willing to pay.

Clay goes on to say:

This is new territory for mainstream papers, who have always had head count rather than engagement as their principal business metric. Celebrities behaving badly always drive page-views through the roof, but those readers will be anything but committed. Meanwhile, the people who hit the threshold and then hand over money are, almost by definition, people who regard the paper not just as an occasional source of interesting articles, but as an essential institution, one whose continued existence is vital no matter what today’s offerings are.

Unfortunately this is not a good solution for smaller papers because “they produce so little original content.”

So, is there a mass market for good journalism?

There has never been a mass market for good journalism in this country. What there used to be was a mass market for print ads, coupled with a mass market for a physical bundle of entertainment, opinion, and information; these were tied to an institutional agreement to subsidize a modicum of real journalism.

The metered paywall appears to solve this problem.

2012 – Success Or Die Trying

- - The Future

I think everyone is feeling the same thing about 2012, “time to go kick some ass” and I wanted to point out a couple posts that I saw from the end of last year that I know you will find helpful. Before I do that I want to emphasize my own commitment to finding and reporting on success in media and photography. Being unsuccessful is easy. Lets look at and talk to people who are having a career in the middle of the information revolution. And lets not get hung up on the path they took to get there.

I have two pieces of advice for you to begin 2012. Go to this wonderful list of business books and pick one out (http://personalmba.com/best-business-books) to read. Don’t worry about reading it cover to cover or memorizing everything or taking notes. This is not college. You’re in a unique position of owning your own business. You can discover an idea or principle and put it into action immediately and move on. It’s an awesome position to be in, so take advantage of it. One of the books I read last year was “Blue Ocean Strategy” and learned that all things being equal between two competing companies the only thing left is to do is lower your price. To avoid this Red Ocean scenario, get rid of something others find valuable and use that time/energy/money to create something nobody else has.

The first post I found comes from Luke Copping and is titled Lessons For 2012:

Stop hanging around people who have given up

I see it all the time on blogs, on forums, at industry events, and any other place that photographers and creatives might gather en masse – an overwhelming sense of negativity that pervades this industry like a virus. What the finger of accusation is pointing at seems to change weekly, and complaints about clients, rates, technology, MWACs, pro-sumers, students, the internet, micro-stock, and the economy all start to sound the same after a while – a jumble of depressing but comforting noise that can suck you in and have you spouting the same rhetoric back at others. But, if you listen to that noise long enough, one crystal clear idea starts to creep through – that this is ultimately about blame. The underlying mantra behind so many of these complaints can often be reduced and simplified to one statement; “This is not my fault, this is caused by something beyond my control, so I do not have to act to fix it.” This kind of thinking may bring some small amount of cathartic relief, especially when joining in with the masses collectively laying blame on something else, but it will do absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.

I am so over it, and I don’t want to be part of that culture of excuses.

That is why I am so grateful to have made a conscious decision over the last year to surround myself with people so against this type of hive negativity that the idea of giving up and giving in is completely alien to them – either because of their unrelenting positivity, or their indefatigable passion pushing them to take actions that they believe in to find answers to their problems.

Read the whole thing here.

And, this gem from Leslie Burns titled “10 Things to do for Your Biz in 2012 (the gloves come off).”

Forget about old selling tools like “elevator speeches.” Look, no one gives a shit who you are or what you do when you shill.

Fuck SEO. Seriously, unless you are shooting weddings/portraits and/or your work is specifically related to your geography, fuck it (and even for those of you who do weddings, etc., don’t spend too much time at it).

Get out of your office/out from behind your computer and interact with people. Social media is a form of connection but it’s a weak one. You want to get work, you need to meet people in real life.

Go check it out (here). It’s plenty incendiary and a great way to get in a kick-ass mood. I wish everyone “success or die trying” in 2012.

 

ED McCulloch On Creating A Directors Reel From Scratch

Photographer and (now) Director Ed McCulloch sent me his new reel website: http://EDdirects.com which I thought looked amazing, so I asked him about the process:

What was the impetus for getting into directing and creating your reel?
Over the last couple of years I’ve seen the needs of agency creatives change. I did not want to be left behind. Last year I was shooting a campaign with Cramer-Krasselt in Austin Texas. On set the creative director for the agency told me that if I had a reel I would’ve been directing the tv spot as well. That’s when I started seriously thinking about film and director’s reel.

How do you go about creating a reel from scratch? Walk us through the process.
It was definitely a lot of work. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create a reel that was on the same quality level as my photography. I knew it would take time. The learning curve would be steep and keep my head spinning for months.

The hardest decision I had to make was deciding between creating a director’s reel or a director of photography (DP) reel. Did I want to direct or did I want to shoot? Being a photographer my natural instinct was to become a DP. DP’s are responsible for everything composition, camera movements and lighting. They collaborate with the director to make sure his vision comes to life. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that in my photography my biggest enjoyment came from directing the photo shoots; choosing locations, talent, wardrobe and getting the right performances out of the talent which all culminate in the final product. For me photography was always more about the story and the creative aspects, not the technical side.

After that decision was made I started brainstorming ideas and writing the scripts for the spots. That was one of the most important things: the creation of the concepts and the stories I would be telling. I chose brands that people would recognize but not brands so huge that everyone knows exactly what agency or what director shoots them. I do however have a Nike spot on my reel. The decision to use Nike as a brand was made because I was shooting an NBA player who is really sponsored by Nike.

While writing the scripts I searched for specialized crew members that were willing to help me build the reel. I did use some of my photography crew like assistants and stylists but in the end film is so much more collaborative and involved than photography so I knew I would need crew members that were also experienced in film. I definitely encountered plenty of no’s but kept pushing forward. In the end I found a great group of people willing to help me build the reel. We had anywhere from 15-25 crew members on set for each shoot.

After I had scripts and crew I set dates for the first couple of shoots then started producing them. I scouted locations, applied for permits, gathered insurance certificates, scheduled casting calls, chose wardrobe with my stylist, made compositional and lighting decisions with my DP, put together call sheets and shoot schedules etc. That was extremely time consuming and exhausting.

Next was shooting and directing the talent and overall look and feel of each piece. Shoot days were definitely the most fun. Collaborating with actors was a learning process, it’s much different than working with talent in photography. Learning the way actors think and the language they use to communicate takes time to understand. The whole process of collaborating with them was incredibly fulfilling.

After shooting came editing. I could not for the life of me find a good editor willing to help, so my DP and I had to learn it. Editing is an art form in and of itself. Editors have a unique talent for problem solving and story telling. It was incredibly difficult to learn. It takes a completely different creative thought process, it was challenging. We edited all of our pieces on Final Cut Pro 7.

Sound design was another challenge. Collecting high quality sound and laying it in the right places at the right times of the commercial is an art form. I enlisted the help of a sound designer for this part.

Put all of that together and you have a :30 or :60 second spot. Everything currently on my reel was shot this year between February and November.

What are your thoughts on taking your vision from print/digital and applying it to motion?
Yeah that was definitely an important part of the process. Having your own unique style of directing is just as important as it is in photography. I think it’s extremely important to stay consistent throughout your photography portfolio and motion reel but there are so many more variables in film to consider. This one thing caused an immense amount of stress for me. I knew how to create photographs, how do get the look and feel that I needed, how to tell a story with one frame. Initially film blew my mind in this aspect because instead of one frame I now had many many frames to tell my stories. There are so many different processes in producing and directing a commercial that it was initially a challenge to make sure ALL decisions were being made with my vision in mind.

What’s the next step, working with a production company? That seems a bit different than the photography business, so tell us how that works?
After the reel was created the next step was contacting production companies. These companies represent directors. They are the middlemen between the director and the ad agency. They take care of all the estimating much like a photographers agent would do. What differentiates them from photographers agent is they actually produce the commercials which is where their money is made. A director is assigned an executive producer within the company to work with. Production companies are represented by reps that are positioned by territory; east coast, mid west and west coast. These reps travel to ad agencies within their territories and funnel projects to the production companies they represent. Most reps represent multiple production companies, editorial (editors), music and visual effects companies.

I researched these companies and contacted the executive producers to set up the meetings. The process took about six months, they are incredibly hard to get a hold of. I was told they receive thousands of email requests each month. I’ve recently returned from LA where I met with some great production companies. I will be up and running with one of them in January.

Drowning In Photography

- - The Future

Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer, Amsterdam) | Photography in abundance
Through the digitalisation of photography and the rise of sites such as Flickr and Facebook, everyone now takes photos, and distributes and shares them with the world – the result is countless photos at our disposal. Kessels visualises ‘drowning in pictures of the experiences of others’, by printing all the images that were posted on Flickr during a 24-hour period and dumping them in the exhibition space. The end result is an overwhelming presentation of 350,000 prints.


via, foam.org

What a fantastic idea and an important reminder of the era we’re living in.

Then, I saw this press release yesterday :

Aurora Photos is excited to announce the launch of the myPhone Collection of stock photography, a collection of images taken with iPhones and other mobile devices by some of the world’s top photographers and iPhoneographers, and now made available to pictures buyers for both editorial and commercial licensing.

What struck me was how worthless I think iPhone images are and how I can’t imagine anyone licensing them. Obviously, this blanket statement cannot be true since it’s never mattered what photographers used to take their pictures with but I can’t get over the feeling that pictures taken with a camera in a phone that everyone owns have no value. I think iPhone images only have value when they depict breaking news or when they are curated by someone to understand a bigger picture.

Creating value beyond how a picture was created and what the picture depicts is the most important challenge facing photography professionals today.

Facing The Future

- - The Future


Donald Weber, Canadian documentary photographer, VII Photo

PhotoQ interviewed nine photographers on how they respond to the tension between lowering income in the profession, and exploding interest in photography (more museums, galleries, magazines, web, phones, tablets). They were participating in the Day of Photography (in Dutch: Dag van de Fotografie) at the Amsterdam venue of Pakhuis De Zwijger on October 21st, 2011, as organised by the agency Hollandse Hoogte. More than 600 people visited interviews, presentations, discussions and other events.

More (here).

A Rep Who Makes Apps

- - The Future

Tricia Scott of Merge Left Reps sent me an email recently about a new cooking app called Matt’s Pantry that was shot by one of her photographers, Matthew Furman. What caught my attention was that the agency produced the app. I’ve talked with many photographers recently about providing finished products to clients where photography and video are only components of what’s being delivered. This is along those lines, so I asked Tricia a few questions to find out what she was up to.

Rob: Why did you decide to produce this yourself?
Tricia: I wanted to own the content and it was a bit of an experiment. I feel like the business has gotten so out of control, everyone is complaining about it but not doing anything. I wanted some control over my destiny. The photography industry is shrinking, fees are shrinking and usage is being squeezed. Why not own the content and the actual app itself.

Shouldn’t you go looking for someone producing a cookbook app to hire your photographers?
I love producing work for our clients, but to me, the future of photography is uncertain. I hired a developer and kept the rights to the wireframes, so I can now reach out to others who might have a need for this type of app, and create it for them. We had a meeting recently with a medium size book publisher that we’ve shot for before and they are interested in the app because for them, it’s an unknown still and I’ve done all the legwork.

Do you think this could be a real revenu stream?
The production costs and time of a cookbook app are high, but Matt Furman shot it, the chef brought the recipes to the table and I brought the money. We will all get proceeds and everyone is happy. The key to making money with an app is in the marketing and that is where you really have to put a ton of time. As a photo agent, I don’t have that time, and need to delegate that responsibility.

It was really a great project for Matt, since he isn’t a food photographer, but of course did a beautiful job. He and the chef grew up together – and we all had lunch one day. I left there thinking I wanted to do an app with them, and here we are – it’s done. I think pigeonholing photographers is in the nature of the business but it was great to see him out of his comfort zone and pushing himself to do something he wouldn’t normally do.

What about producing apps for clients, is that something you see happening?
I have more ideas for apps cooking (no pun intended) – I have a good relationship with Soho Interactive – they developed it, who I met through an art director client, Todd Lynch.

Matt’s Pantry is now available for $3.99 in the itunes App Store. Screen shots, a video and complete list of features can be seen at http://www.mattspantry.com.

The illusion of patronage

- - The Future

Along the lines of my “Camera Operators Wanted” post, Seth Godin tackles the idea that a writers job is no longer just to write:

Many successful, serious authors are in love with the notion that they get to be serious and successful merely by writing.

There was a brief interlude, perhaps 50 years in all post-Gutenberg, in which it was possible for a talented writer to be chosen, anointed, edited, promoted and paid for her work. Where the ‘work’ refers to the writing.

This idea that JD Salinger could hide out in his cabin, write, and periodically cash royalty checks is now dying.

Authors of the future are small enterprises, just one person or perhaps two or three. But they include fan engagement specialists, licensors, new media development managers, public speakers, endorsement and bizdev VPs, and more.

No one has your back.

Sad but true. The author of today (and tomorrow) is either going to build and maintain and work with his tribe or someone is going to take it away.

That whole thing with the Medicis didn’t last forever either.

via The illusion of patronage.

Wanted: Camera Operators

- - The Future

You can trace the decline of the Camera Operator job back to the days when being a photographer meant you were actually a chemist. Steady technological advances in film, lenses, cameras and software have turned operating a camera into something a monkey can do. You don’t have to look any further than Craigslist to see postings for camera operators listed at $0.25 per object and $10/hr, to realize operating cameras is not a good way to make a living. I don’t think I’m stating anything new here, just working my way to several points I want to make in response to this email I received:

As a benchmark, I am interested in PDN’s 30 under 30, but I can’t help feeling, that it’s about being connected to the right channels, presenting to the right audience and in the right manner. I wrestle with the notion of, “It’s who you know, not what you can do.” And a lot of times, it all feels like a networking popularity contest, or how one presents/markets his or herself.

How does a photographer best position his or her work to a photo editor to be considered at that level? What draws their intrigue? Is it a look, a ton of skill, getting published in the places, being unique in a world when everyone is trying to be unique and therefore mimics one another?

Photography as a business is not about operating cameras. It’s about operating a business and applying the rules that govern successful businesses: advertising, marketing, networking, professionalism, instilling confidence, igniting word of mouth, leadership, standing out, evolving, defining your offering, building a team of talented people… etc. While it may be horrific to see jobs that once paid well go for McDonalds wages, those people are only looking for someone to operate a camera.

The other point I want to make, is that hitching your wagon to something like the PDN 30 is not a good idea. Professional photographers have multiple points of contact with their clients before getting hired. If the first time anyone sees your work or has heard of you is in the PDN 30 you will disappointed by the lack of response. As a benchmark your appearance in the PDN 30 should be accompanied by your 3rd year of direct marketing, a spread in a great magazine, successful portfolio meetings and the completion of an intense personal project.

The job of camera operator has been in decline for many decades, don’t follow it into the ground.

Welcome To The Demand Economy

- - The Future

I read an interesting excerpt from a book called “How Companies Win” where the authors (Rick Kash and David Calhoun) argue that we are in a state of oversupply and the companies that win are those who seek demand. They go on to say that “constant innovation–the ability to find and fulfill new demand opportunities–is essential.” We’ve gone from a supply and demand economy to a demand then supply economy. The old way of thinking was you supplied a product and built demand around it.

I’ve gotten a barrage of comments lately from people saying “nobody pays for photography anymore” and “photography is all but dead” and “technology killed photography.” And, I have to agree. “Photography” is in oversupply. If your job is simply delivering a photograph then all you are doing is adding to the oversupply. You don’t have to look further than the discussion boards on Sports Shooter where it was revealed in a deal for Gannett to buy US Presswire that photographers were happily shooting games for $100 (or on spec). How’s that for oversupply.

So, how does this new demand economy work: “the damand-and-supply world requires innovation, adaptation and flexibility.” The easiest examples of photographers innovating and reacting to demand are the those who shoot video and stills together and those who are using social media to reach their clients or their clients customers. Photographers who are creative problem solvers have always been in demand. The top tier of photography is mostly comprised of people who can solve problems.

I believe the job of photographer has always evolved (from chemist to technical guru to creative problem solver) and while this may be the most radical evolution we’ve seen, it doesn’t mean there are not opportunities for those willing to innovate. I met someone recently who started an advertising agency so he could give himself photography jobs. Sounds crazy, but really he’s just filling a demand he discovered.

SFMOMA Discussion – Is Photography Over?

- - The Future

A major symposium on the current state of the field was held at SFMOMA in April 2010. You can view all the videos and transcripts (here).

Watch Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Peter Galassi (former chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), Vince Aletti (New Yorker photography critic), Charlotte Cotton, Jennifer Blessing (Guggenheim Museum photography curator) and other luminaries discuss the topic.

Fascinating discussion best taken in small doses to avoid an ice cream like brain freeze (for example, they don’t agree on what photography is).

via, I heart photography.

Payment When Pulling Stills From A Work For Hire Video Shoot?

- - The Future, Working

A reader asks:

I’ve had a strange situation crop up. I went to your blog to find guidance but the closest I could find was this article on the breakdown of fees for shooting video vs. stills:

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2011/06/09/ask-anything-how-do-you-estimate-video-with-stills/

In this particular case, I’ve been hired by an ad agency to shoot stills for an annual review, and video for a mini-doc – shot concurrently. So far I followed the structure from the article above – having consulted a few different producers and agents (all of whom are doing their best guesswork since this stills-and-video space is so new). Video was work for hire, and the stills I shot required fees for their use in the review and elsewhere. But here’s the new snag: the client wants to take the annual review in a different direction and fill a portion of the review with stills we’ve pulled straight from the 5D video footage.

The question now is, am I able to charge usage on those frame grabs as well? My thought is yes; If you’re hired to shoot stills and video and decide to shoot it all on the epic and pull your stills from the footage, then those stills require their own usage fees. Though the client is suggesting differently.

It seems with better and better technology and the ability to shoot entire photo jobs with 90fps video bursts, usage would have to defined by their use and not by their method of capture.

I reached out to Vincent Laforet to see what he thought. Here’s his response:

Unless he specified it FIRST in his contract that no stills could be grabbed from video without further compensation, and a detail of how that would be dealt with – the client can grab as many frames from the video as they desire, because that video is WORK FOR HIRE.

Happened to me once and it will never happen again. That’s going to be in all of my contracts from now on.