Posts by: A Photo Editor

Promos Of The Year 2015 – Pack Of Single Images

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The pack of single image promos is probably the most useful and accessible promo there is for photographers. You don’t need a great designer, you can stick to your best images, there are plenty of printers available who do a great job with this and it’s fairly inexpensive compared to other promo types. Best of all, the recipient has a variety of images to choose from to save and remember you by. Here are the best I saw in 2015:

 

Brigitte Sire

https://www.instagram.com/bbbsire/

 

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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Foldout

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The foldout promo is a new one for me because it wasn’t popular many years ago when I was a photo editor and I have to say I think it’s awesome. It’s not entirely practical for tacking to the bulletin board or saving, but it has a great impact with the ability to show a poster size image along with a collection of smaller ones. Here are the foldout promos that stood out to me in 2015:

Stephanie Rausser

https://www.instagram.com/stephrausser/

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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Booklet

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There seem to be 7 popular types of promos (postcard, pack-of-singles, multi-panel, foldout, newsprint, zine and booklet). Of all 7 the booklet is the most difficult to get right. The printing and design need to be at a certain level to appeal to the advertising and editorial community but the real killer is the edit. Get it down to the best images, making a great sequence and stopping while you are ahead are all hallmarks of a great promo booklet. Here are many that I found compelling in 2015:

Mattia Balsamini

https://www.instagram.com/mattiabalsamini/

 

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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Artist Agency

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Agents don’t have an easy job when it comes to promos. With a roster of photographers to promote you are always in danger of crushing your recipients and your bank account sending out mailers. I really enjoyed the simple large cards Giant Artists sends out for each photographer and their year-end book was superb. Peter Bailey Productions went the opposite direction with the smallest and smartest little book of artists I have ever seen. DS Reps are known for sending out a top notch promo for all their artists and this years is no exception. Well designed and edited it was something worth hanging onto. Finally, Gill Turner had a book full of detachable cards that was beautiful and useful for identifying people you might want to work with.

Giant Artists

https://www.instagram.com/giantartists/

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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Commercial Studio

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It would be unfair to put Armstrong Pitts and their amazing studio in any other category but their own. The production and photography in their promos is out of this world. Add to that the frequency in which they send out these behemoth marketing pieces and there’s really no comparison to anything else I’ve received this year.

Armstrong Pitts Studios

https://www.instagram.com/armstrongpittsstudios/

 

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Promos Of The Year 2015

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Several years ago I decided to photograph a few of the promos photographers were sending me and post them on Instagram. I was looking for a way to get on Instagram and I hated to have all these nice promos collecting dust in my office. The response to my little experiment has been nothing short or overwhelming. My mailbox is filled every day with wonderful promos from around the world. And the notes you have been sending with them have really meant a lot to me, it’s so good to hear from photographers in the mail again and to hear your appreciation for the promo feed, the blog and the websites.

I received so many outstanding promos this year I decided to go back and pick out my favorites and make a special post for each category that they fit in. Well, it got a little out of hand and I have hundreds and hundreds of promos to show you, but I think this could be the start of another great feature here at APE and maybe I can get a better handle on it for 2016.

Over the next 4 days I will be making 5 posts a day for my different categories with my “Promos Of The Year for 2015”, so check back often or come be overwhelmed with all the promos when you have a little time to spend looking through it all. 2015 has been a great year for promos.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Michael Spain-Smith

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Michael Spain-Smith

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How long have you been shooting?
17 years – 1998 marked the opening of my first studio in Philadelphia.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Photography schooled – yet primarily, and especially, self-taught.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Principally? My insatiable sweet tooth! Specifically? This love of fresh, local honey that I have acquired from my travels around the world. For this project, I really just wanted to learn. Honey-harvesting, much like a vineyard produces wine, is a year long commitment. Nurturing the bee’s environment by planting selected floral varieties close to the hive and annually introducing a new queen is only some of many variables that factor into the equation for a successful season’s harvest – a dedicated and laborious process that stands only to be appreciated. And in my mind – photographed. My rep, Kim Knight, and I are big proponents of sustainable foods and farming. When I shared with her this opportunity to shoot a honey harvest, we knew it had the potential to bring awareness to a larger platform – the serious impacts on Honey Bee health that threaten an estimated one-third of all food and beverages that are made possible by pollination.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
One day of shooting. However, roughly one year of patience and planning for that late fall “day of harvest”.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It could be an immediate shoot planned on the fly or years in the making. In fact, some of my best work was never planned at all – merely just the result of me deciding to pack my camera! I think the important thing to highlight here is that I’m always shooting and always exploring light. It’s what keeps my skills fresh, my eye challenged and my work relevant.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I approach all assignments or portfolio shoots the same. Before reaching for my camera, I take some time to get inspired; to find something I can connect with – sometimes it’s the lighting, sometimes it’s a mood – but I find a connection. Reflecting on some of my best work, this critical component of my creative process has been ever-present. For me, shooting is a lifestyle – a passion. Yet, as a business, the goal of my personal work is to reflect my ability to fully understand the essence of a brand by illustrating its elements, details and emotion in a way that guarantees a captive audience.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Absolutely! I post regularly and share many visuals that may have been a moment from a national campaign or part of a series of a personal work. I feel it essential to your brand as an artist to take the time to post work that reflects your individual personality, vision, color palate and style.

One of the elements that is, now, a large part of requests for advertising work is: creating a gallery of custom visuals for the brands social media content. What better way to show your style and understanding a brand’s pulse than with a personal series of something you have captured naturally?

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
It has! Shooting celebrity pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini’s, recent cookbook project Sugar Rush images have gone viral from a single posting many times. It’s really fascinating to see the trajectory of social media making a global footprint in seconds to audiences across the globe. Social media is powerful tool that should be respected yet utilized.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
All the time. Virtually all of my personal work is used for marketing to either reach new, potential clients or touch base on past relationships. I shoot a personal project at least once a month and, if traveling, always plan for a day of creative time to shoot local elements or people in an environment not always accessible to me.

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MSS is a seasoned photographer, worldwide traveler and motorcycle racer who loves speed and adrenaline but often enjoys a long road trip as a favorite place to concept and unwind.

Following his passion as an advertising and lifestyle photographer, he is known to capture authentic moments often told with a luxury lifestyle feel in a story-telling and stylized way.

Classic and pure, consistent and deliberate whether in-studio or on remote locations, Michael is a veteran collaborator and patient problem solver that make him a memorable photographer to work with.

To MSS, it’s all about capturing and enjoying the smooth ride.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Interview with Santa Fe Photographic Workshop Instructor Paulette Tavormina

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aPhotoEditor: You make lovely, almost decadent still lives. Many, but not all, involve food, and are inspired by Old Master paintings. Has a passion for food played a role in your life and career?

Paulette Tavormina: I grew up in a Sicilian family and, with that heritage, my grandparents lived a mile away. I spent a childhood surrounded by family and we spent a lot of time together. Most of that time was around the dinner table, or talking about the food we were going to have at the next holiday. I had an amazing grandmother that baked fresh bread. It came with the territory.

And when I first moved to Santa Fe and became a photographer, I was renting a studio with two other photographers. One was doing Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe cookbook. I became good friends with Mark, so he asked me to photo-style the cookbook. I fell into photo-styling six or seven cookbooks. That’s how it all started.

Then, when I had taken a class at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, one of the professors said, “Paulette, you really need to specialize in something.” I thought food sounds perfect because one of my favorite things to do in Santa Fe was to go to the farmer’s market every Saturday morning with my friend Sarah. It was a ritual that I loved.

aPE: You said you were offered the chance to food-style the Mark Miller cookbooks. Does that mean you’d never done it before?

PT: Well, I did have a little bit of a background, as I had worked at Sotheby’s in New York for five or six years, and as a prop stylist in the film industry. That gave me my art history education. After Sotheby’s, I became a prop stylist for a commercial photographer here in New York.

A friend of a friend introduced us, and he took me on. I worked on Kent Cigarette shoots, AT&T shoots, Citibank. We worked on high-end commercial jobs, and he taught me how to find that perfect prop.

For example, if we were doing a scene that needed an English dartboard, and there wasn’t one in a prop house, I would run around going to English pubs, begging to borrow one. He gave me the experience I needed to be a stylist. It was a great education.

aPE: You’re now a successful fine art photographer, showing at the Robert Klein Gallery in Boston and you had your work at Paris Photo. At what point did you start shooting for yourself? Did you always make pictures for yourself, or did delving into photography commercially encourage you to make your own art as well?

PT: It started in New York after I became a stylist. I worked at a PR agency, and they asked me to go photograph Jean-Pierre Rampal, a famous flautist, after a concert.

All I had was this little Olympus clamshell camera, with a little, pop-up flash. I went to the concert, and lined up with the other photographers, and there I am with this little camera, and all the other photographers had their giant flash units. But I got the shot.

And I thought, “Well if my boss is going to hire me to do these events, I’m going to have to learn what to do.” So I took a class at ICP, and bought myself a manual Nikon camera, and just started learning. I went all over New York, photographing.

aPE: It’s so much fun, that phase when you’re roaming the streets of a big city, learning as you go.

PT: Then, in 1987, I moved to Santa Fe. I was working in the American Indian art business, and I’d loved that one photography class I had taken, so I took a black and white class at what was then the College of Santa Fe. You put the paper in the chemicals and an image that reflects back at you.

I was hooked.

Then, a friend who was an Indian dealer, said, “I have this historic Cochiti pottery collection, and I know you love photography, can you photograph it for a book I’d like to get together?”

I thought, now I need to learn how to do studio photography. It was 1990 and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops had just opened. I called Reid Callanan, whom I’d never met, and told him I had this potential job. I asked if he had a studio photography with lighting class.

He said, “No, actually, we don’t, but I will find you a photographer that can teach you.”

So he called up David Michael Kennedy. He was living in that little dusty town, Cerrillos, where they filmed Young Guns, and I drove out to his house every day from Santa Fe. He had a Hasselblad camera and some strobe lights.

I had all this expensive Indian pottery he showed me how to shoot for four days, so I got the job. I spent a year photographing that collection and that segued into doing the cookbooks.

aPE: And you also photographed art for Sotheby’s in New York, right? What’s the most incredible thing you’ve had your hands on? What’s the piece of art that made you melt, even though you’re a pro?

PT: There are a number of things, but for my first catalogue it was the collectibles. Baseball memorabilia. So I had to photograph Babe Ruth’s baseball mitt. And Lou Gehrig’s jersey.

aPE: Priceless.

PT: It meant so much to me that I was handling and photographing these American icons. I also photographed photographic prints, like Tina Modotti, or Ansel Adams. I spent a lot of time in Abiquiu, where he made his “Moonrise Over Hernandez,” and I used to pass by that spot all the time.

I’d look out the left-hand side of my car, and see that image all the time, and there I was photographing it. That was exciting. And one time I got to photograph a minuscule Rembrandt etching. It was like 3“x3”. There I was, holding an image of Rembrandt’s wife Saskia in my hand. That was pretty amazing, as were the Rothkos.

aPE: No doubt. It’s fun the way these strands tie together. You said earlier you go back with the Santa Fe Workshops to the very beginning. They’re sponsoring this interview, as you’ll be teaching your first workshop there in April. It’s called “The Art of Still Life,” yes?

PT: Yes, April 3rd through the 8th.

aPE: What’s that like for you, being an alumni who’s now taking the reins? How are you going to approach this?

PT: I’ve never taught before, but I feel that it’s been a really long journey. There were so many factors that brought me from becoming a photographer in Santa Fe to now being a successful fine art photographer. There are so many things to talk about and educate people with. Obviously, I’m very passionate about what I do and, like everything in life, we learn through our experiences. Now, I want to be able to impart a lot of my practical knowledge about being a photographer.

aPE: I’d think lighting has to be one of the single biggest keys to do what you do? Are you going to give away the lighting secrets to how you make your food look so luscious and Old-Mastery?

PT: I have to figure that all out. But what I’d love to do is bring the students, if they want to, to see really beautiful still life photography. I know several gallery owners in Santa Fe, so I thought it would be wonderful to take a field trip to some of these galleries, and look at work. It helps educate the students in all the different genres of still life photography, whether it’s Steichen or Irving Penn.

I also want to have beautiful surfaces for people to work with. Wood, marble, different kinds of backgrounds. I’ll gather different props, sources for beautiful flowers, and fabulous-looking fruits and vegetables from the markets.

aPE: I went right to lighting but you’re explaining it’s more than that. You need the background, the surface, the objects, the light. Are you going to look at everything and teach the photographers an immersive photographic experience?

PT: Yes. You have to marry everything. The texture of the surfaces with the texture of the objects. It could be a still life with using glasses, or shells. It could be anything. But it all comes together. It’s a blending of things. The composition and the relationship between the sizes of the objects. Many times I spend hours and hours setting something up and I don’t light it until the end. It’s getting all the elements together that tells the story.

Everyone’s lighting is different. Mine is based on the Old Masters, because that’s what I gravitated towards. But other people might like bright light. I can demonstrate how I light things, but in the final analysis, the students will do what appeals to them.

aPE: You must be excited to come back to your old stomping grounds for this teaching opportunity. It’s a chance to say, “I know what I’m doing. I’ve been doing it a long time. And I want to share my passion.”

PT: Yes. That’s exactly it. I was so honored when Reid called and said, “How about still life photography and who better than you?” I’m so excited. I’m educating myself about anything that could be meaningful to the students so that they come away from the workshop really happy with what they’ve created, and looking at another path they can take.

aPE: We wish you the best with the workshop.

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The Art of the Personal Project: Dana Hursey

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As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects. A personal project is the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director/photo editor or graphic designer. This column features the personal projects of photographers who use the database for their marketing with Yodelist. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com.

Today’s featured photographer is: Dana Hursey

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How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting since I was a teenager, but professionally 27 years.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I attended Art Center College of Design and studied both Photography and Film (BFA Photography)

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The 14 Days Project is the brainchild of David William Gibbons. It was meant to be a melding of film and photography coming together in a documentary format revealing the commonality and shared humanity of people regardless of age, ethnicity, locality, or economics. David had just completed the “14 Days in America” production when we met and the visuals revolved around a central location where the filming and still photography were taking place against a simple white seamless. In seeing the rough cuts of the “America” project I expressed my support to David about the project and its themes, and encouraged him to use me as a resource if I could be of any assistance moving forward. Almost immediately David started to prepare for the next production, 14 Days in Great Britain. Through several subsequent discussions it seemed like a natural fit for me to join the team. However rather than following the staid formula of photography on white I proposed “going out into the surrounding areas and photographing people in their environment. “

The project itself is a bit grueling and for me was emotionally draining. The concept is to traverse the entire country in 14 days. And that is exactly what we did. We started in the Isles’ of Northern Scotland and hit 14 cities, in 14 days (including Ireland) We would arrive on location and start setting up around 6 am. We would shoot all day (with a quick break for lunch as each individual found a moment) and wrap around 6 pm. We would then grab dinner and then drive (or in the case of Ireland – fly) to the next city. Get a few hours of sleep and then do it all again.
We started with a crew of about 24 (film & 2 still crews) but about half way through there was a group of 7 that walked off the production. (Drama!) The rest of the crew picked up the slack and we finished our tour in London. Personally I shot portraits of more than 600 people over the 14 days. This was a pivotal project in my career as it completely took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me beyond exhaustion. When I got back to the states I was convinced that I never wanted to do anything of that sort again. It took me nearly three months before I could truly sit down and look at the images objectively. And by the time 6 months had passed I could not wait to do it again! The people of Great Britain were SO generous. In requesting to photograph people spontaneously in the moment, out of over 600+ people my recollection is that less than 5 people said “No Thank You”! (AND they all signed model releases!!) I know it helped that we were part of “a Production” that had been publicized widely before our arrival, but still most were unaware of the project when we made our request.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
So the whole project was shot in 14 days. We started showing it about 6 months later. The imagery appeared in the 90 minute documentary and it was also shown in exhibitions in both the US and UK.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
For me, if something is not working immediately I move on… Thankfully on this project I had objective voices weighing in. This was SO outside my wheelhouse I felt like I was not getting ANYTHING, but David and others on the crew were overwhelming voices of reason and encouraged me to just continue what I was doing.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I am not sure I DO feel that it is different.. for me.. Anymore no matter what I shoot, if I am passionate about it, it somehow makes it into my portfolio.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Not as a complete package.. more of “an image here, or an image there”

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not Yet.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes, I do use personal work to connect with clients especially if they have reacted to it previously, while seeing it in my portfolio for instance.

The 14 Days Documentary Project is a collaboration of photography and film with the goal of unifying people through our commonality and shared humanity. Dana Hursey’s role in the project, Environmental Portrait Photographer, brought an additional layer to the “Great Britain” production, where he shot over 600 environmental portraits over 14 days.

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Dana Hursey is an award winning Los Angeles based Commercial Advertising Photographer and Southern California Native. Having graduated from Art Center College of Design, Dana’s broad-based knowledge has offered him the opportunity to shoot for a wide range of clients. Be it lifestyle, still life, or quirky conceptual images, he is able to imbue a sense of vibrancy, cleanliness, and humor. His work has been exhibited both here and abroad and his years of experience have afforded him the privilege of serving on boards of several organizations. Dana also recently completed a compilation cookbook featuring portraits and recipes from35 of L.A.’s top chefs. You can find more of Dana’s work at hursey.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 establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information in the belief that marketing should be brand driven and not by specialty.  Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Photographers, Reps Push Back on Time Inc Contract’s Rights Grab

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Photographers who have not returned a signed contract have continued to receive automated emails with the contract; one photographer has received it twice, another five times. But so far, many are ignoring it, or waiting to see if Time is willing to negotiate fairer terms. “I believe that any photographer who would consider accepting these terms must have little understanding of this industry and will surely regret it later on in their career,” says photographer Henry Leutwyler. “Hopefully, photographers will stick together and not only think for themselves but for each other and most importantly for the budding photographers of tomorrow. If the contract does indeed go through, it might be a good time to consider ditching the party and going fishing.”

Source: PDN Pulse

Experts Weigh In on Jeff Koons Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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“It’s a work in which Koons fully appropriated his source, Sherrie Levine–style,” Harrison added. “So in this instance, the case for Koons having transformed the original would have to rely almost entirely on the status of Koons’ work as art. From an aesthetic point of view, it’s difficult not to see this as pure pilfering, in line with much postmodernist appropriation at the time.”

Source: Experts Weigh In on Jeff Koons Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

The Killer App: Storytelling

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Every still photographer I know is struggling. But every still photographer I know that also does video is really busy. I love still photography. It’s the root of my whole career and I’m never going to abandon it. But it’s not enough by itself.

Source: The New York Times