Posts by: A Photo Editor

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

Dissecting the Terms and Conditions Document

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Valuable information from Heather Elder Represents

DISSECTING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS DOCUMENT On a few recent projects, we have spent a lot more time than usual reviewing specific terms and going back and forth with both agencies and lawyers to come up with language that works for everyone.  During these particular projects, I often felt at a bit of a disadvantage when there were lawyers involved and wishing we had one of our own to help navigate our point of view.

I figured we were not alone in this thinking so asked attorney Linda Joy Kattwinkel of Owen, Wickersham & Erickson, P.C. if she would help dissect a generic Terms and Conditions Document that we can share with our readers.  People were so appreciative of the information she shared regarding Copyright, we figured they would feel the same about Terms and Conditions.

The documents are a bit long and dense, so we are breaking this series up in a few posts.

The format we thought most helpful would be to 1) review the term 2) translate the term into layman’s language and 3) ask any relevant questions.

Terms #1-5 can be found here.
Terms #6-9 can be found here.
Terms #10-14 can be found here.

A Photographer’s Cheat Sheet to Making It In the Industry

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By Demetrius Fordham

In 2013, I was commissioned by Ilex Press and Hachette to write a book entitled “What They Didn’t Teach You in Photo School,” which just launched in the U.S. this month. The entire book is essentially a long cheat sheet on how to make it in the industry, based on the wisdom and advice of over 20+ photographers, photo editors, consultants, and industry leaders that I interviewed over the course of a year.

Though they covered every photography-related topic imaginable—from portfolio editing to managing finances—their collective advice can essentially be distilled into the following points. I hope you’ll find the following tips as helpful and enlightening as I did, regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry.

Find a mentor.
“You should never be the smartest person in the room,” was the best advice anyone ever gave me. It applies very literally to a career in photography: surround yourself with people who are smarter than you—they’ll push you to grow. Almost all of the photographers I interviewed cited a mentor, someone they went to for advice even long after they’d “made it,” someone who offered continual guidance and feedback on their work (generally a more illustrious, seasoned photographer). “Tap into the wisdom and genius of those who came before you,” advises commercial photographer Peter “Poby” Pobypicz. “Learn from their mistakes and lessons.”

Get business-savvy.
Without exception, the most successful photographers I met were the ones who treated their photography career like the business that it is. “The thing that holds back a lot of photographers is not having a plan, simply going from gig to gig,” says commercial and documentary photographer Doug Menuez. “They don’t have an understanding of the business side—the thing we all hate—and as a result, they never have enough cash to create the portfolio and marketing they need to establish themselves. It’s necessary to write a business plan that clearly states what the end game is, and how you see yourself getting there over however many years.”

Diversify.
Though making a living entirely from taking photographs is the dream, it’s becoming increasingly harder to realize. The reality is that to survive in this industry in the long-term, you’ll need to get creative and find ways to capitalize on your passion in more ways than one. “I would strongly advise having multiple income streams across different sectors of the industry, because unless you are a category killer, you are not going to make a living doing 100% editorial,” says photographer Robert Wright. “More likely, you’ll need a mix of publishing, stock, book publishing, corporate, consulting—some sort of blend so that when one revenue stream dwindles the others take up the slack.”

Get face-to-face.
Now, more than ever, making the effort to meet people and cultivate real world relationships is crucial to a photographer’s success. “Getting out there is key,” says Pobypicz. “You can’t sit at home hoping the phone will ring if you don’t show your face, literally. Insist on face-to-face meetings with clients you want to work with.” Even making real life connections that are indirectly work-related—taking a fellow photographer out for a beer, meeting a photo editor for coffee—helps to build networks that can serve you in the future.

Think outside the box.
Experts say that there’s no better time to be different, so don’t concern yourself too deeply with what will “sell,” or try to adapt your individual style into something that’s more commercial or mainstream. “Don’t be afraid of niche areas you’re interested in,” says Menuez. “There’s this amazing work being done by a guy shooting dogs jumping in pools that’s getting lots of attention. Now it’s all about finding your own thing that’s all yours, that you are passionate about, and then shoot that like hell.”

Have a good attitude.
Think it’s common sense? You’d be surprised. “This industry seems to spawn some huge egos of the ‘legends-in-their-own-mind’ variety, and in my experience, it always catches up with them,” says Ellen Erwitt, owner and producer at Big Splash Productions. “There are many photographers that can do one given job, and, all things being equal, the one that will get hired is the one with the best attitude and most simpatico personality. The one who contributes yet listens, is receptive to ideas, and is a team player.”

For more detailed advice on how to make it in today’s industry, pick up a copy of “What They Didn’t Teach You in Photo School,” available at Barnes & Noble stores, local bookstores, Urban Outfitters stores, and online at Amazon.com.

Pricing and Negotiating: In-Store Lifestyle Shoot for a Retailer

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Lifestyle images of families shopping and interacting

Licensing: Unlimited use of 20 images for 3 years

Location: A retail store on the West Coast

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Southern-based lifestyle specialist.

Agency: None. Client direct.

Client: A Midwestern-based retailer specializing in children’s products

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The client proposed a very ambitious shot list describing various scenarios featuring parents and children interacting with products in their store. After a conversation on what was accomplishable in one day and determining which shots were just “nice to have” as time allowed, we settled on 20 images to initially be licensed for three years of unlimited use.

As in most instances with this type of licensing, their requested use wasn’t 100% in line with their intended use and it was clear that although they may have taken advantage of the full licensing for one or two images, most of the images would primarily be used for collateral purposes only. With that in mind, I decided to first determine a price for one year of licensing and then extrapolate to determine what I thought was appropriate for three years. I initially priced the first image at $3,000, images two through five at $1,500 each, images six through ten at $750 each and images eleven through twenty at $500 each. I doubled the total to account for the requested three-year licensing duration and then took a look at how that broke out on a per-image basis. It prorated to $1,775/image, which I then reduced to just over $1,000/image given the probability of their intended use. While I would have liked to increase the creative/licensing fee, I felt that it may have been pushing the limit of what was appropriate for a one-day shoot for this type of project/client based on similar projects I’ve worked on previously and I also had my eye on the overall bottom line, which I felt was reaching the client’s threshold.

Based on the pro-rated per image fee I calculated, I noted the cost of additional images if they wanted to license any of the “nice to have” shots captured throughout the day. I also provided an option to increase the licensing from three years to five years for an additional 50% of the fee and from three years to perpetual use for 100% of the fee. While we provided these options as requested by the client, I felt that the shelf life of the images was actually likely to be less than three years given the fact that many of the products featured in the images would ultimately be replaced within that time frame.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: In a previous version of the estimate, I suggested to the photographer that we include one scout day and two travel days at $1,000 each since she was coming in from out of town and it would be advantageous to take a look around the store and meet with the client prior to the shoot day. The photographer opted to waive her travel day fees since she frequently visited friends/family in the area and decided to also waive her scout day fee in an effort to reduce the bottom line. Rather than removing the lines altogether, we decided to keep them in and simply include a “fee waived” note so the client would know that the photographer was willing to offer a discount.

B-Roll Videographer and Audio Tech: The client was originally hoping for the photographer to capture video and audio content throughout the day in addition to the still images. While she had a bit of experience shooting video, the shot list was so ambitious that we felt the production would be jeopardized if she had to switch back and forth from stills to video throughout the day. We therefore included a separate videographer along with an audio tech for the day and specifically noted that they’d be a “B-Roll” videographer to set the client’s expectations regarding the type of content they’d be capturing throughout the day. We also noted that any and all video editing would be provided by the client in the “Job Description” section of the estimate.

Assistants and Digital Tech: We anticipated that the photographer’s first assistant would attend the scout day and that they’d be joined by a second assistant and a digital tech on the shoot day. I typically anticipate a $500 day rate for a digital tech and I added in an extra $500 for them to bring a laptop and/or a workstation for the photographer to tether to.

Producer and Production Assistant: The photographer had a local producer lined-up for this project and we anticipated three prep days, one scout day, one shoot day and one day to wrap everything up. We also included a PA for the shoot day as well as an additional day for either the scouting or for other prep time to help the producer.

Hair/Makeup/Wardrobe/Prop Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist along with an assistant to help prep the talent on the shoot day, as well as a wardrobe stylist (also with an assistant) to shop for and prep the clothing. I anticipated that the wardrobe stylist would need three shopping days and one shoot day and that their assistant would help shop for two of those days, attend the shoot and then return the wardrobe afterwards. I figured that $300/person would be a good starting point for four adults and ten children and I rounded the total up a bit for some buffer. As for prop styling, we were told that while the client would be able to provide nearly all of the props and products, that one or two scenarios might call for some supplemental shopping items like boxes, gift bags and purses/wallets. I had originally anticipated two prep days for the stylist, but the photographer had corresponded with a stylist who was comfortable with just a half-day to pick up some of these items and suggested a budget of $500. It seemed light at first glance, but the client emphasized that these items would be supplemental and hoped to keep this part of the estimate/production as light as possible.

Live Casting and Talent: The photographer used to live in the city where the shoot was taking place and had really strong connections with local talent and agents. We included one day for the talent options to come to a studio and have their headshots taken for consideration and wrapped up all of the prep time, equipment and expenses into one line item. While the usage was extensive, the shoot was in a market where $1,000/day for an adult and $750/day for a child could bring in a decent talent pool. These rates were also based on the local producer’s previous experience on similar projects and we were therefore confident that the rates would suffice.

Equipment: I anticipated that the photographer would be traveling with her gear and included $1,500/day (and figured that most rental houses offer a “three days same as a week” discount). This was to cover wear and tear on her camera bodies, lenses, grip and lighting. If she ended up needing to actually rent gear, we previously included an extra day for a production assistant to help pick up equipment as needed and figured this rate would cover those items as well.

Airfare, Lodging and Car Rental: As noted earlier, while the photographer would incur these expenses, she was willing to work as a local and absorb the cost.

Shoot Processing for Client Review, Color Correction, File Cleanup and Delivery: While a digital tech would be on site to help manage the workflow, we included $500 to account for the photographer’s time to do an initial edit and provide a web gallery of the entire shoot. The client was willing to handle any necessary retouching, but asked that the photographer at least clean up the final selects a bit and apply a color correction treatment for which we charged $75/image.

Catering: We anticipated nine people on the scout day and up to 41 people on the shoot day (including crew, client, adult talent and child talent along with their parents) and based the rate on $50 per person.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: We included $350 to cover shopping meals/expenses for the stylists and $400 for miscellaneous expenses on the shoot and scout days.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

The Art of the Personal Project: Cole Barash

- - Personal Project

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 were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/coleBarash

Today’s featured photographer is: Cole Barash

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How long have you been shooting?
Since I was 14, I think… So 14 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Self taught. I tried going to photographer school and left after three weeks. Brooks was such a joke and rip off. I really wish I would have at least looked at a good school like Parsons, Pratt or Art Center in Pasadena which all have pretty legit programs.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
Talk Story is about the sub culture of the North Shore of Hawaii that is loosely anchored around John John Florence (prodigy surfer). Every year thousands of photos are shot of all the action of the progression of surfing on the North Shore on Oahu. The beach is lined with huge telephoto lenses and always focused on the action. I wanted to go there and create a body of work that was complete opposite of that, 180 degrees away from the water. Digging deep into the rugged localized north shore culture showing portraits of specific influential people, the colors and anything my gut re acted on why making the work not worrying about if it was going to work or not. Also focusing on the home life of John John as he is a very soft spoken but huge part of surfing that is kept pretty under wraps.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
One year.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
Depends. A few months to a year. I like to go out and make new initial work/ working images out from my brain- print them, look at them and see if it is worth exploring deeper and more details. I need to see it in a tangible way first- usually.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I make work that is quite different than what I am hired to shoot. Sometimes it has influences but mostly its different. When you are commissioned to make work you are under some one else approval, vision and at their mercy. Which is totally fine as I see it as a service that I can provide and can be into it as well. Personal work- I take pretty seriously and focus more time and energy on that than commercial work. When the commercial work comes it comes and I’m hyped to do it but I don’t stress on it or focus on how much money I can make every year. I focus on creating work from my gut, as it’s the only way I can progress personally- the only person I’m up against is myself. I want to create real bodies of work that puts my stamp on the map so when I die people can hopefully find my visions and different specific perspectives on certain things, which I do with books and prints.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Yea mostly MySpace. ). Naw, haha of course I for sure have but it’s not something I rate it with. I measure my work from how the people I respect react to it not how many likes or re blogs it has.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Sure. Tumblr madness- and some press on certain projects has been great. I think it is now a really valuable way to spread news and show people what you’re working on or what you’re thinking but not necessarily as a whole or tangible object.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Definitely not. I don’t believe in making my art books as promos. I don’t make books to get more work I do it as a creative expression and a tangible perspective as well as a contribution to the printed community of art and photography. Not saying that my rep hasn’t made promos with images from personal work which she has and it has looked great but the books as promos- not me.

Talk Story
I wanted to create a body of work that to show the true colors, beauty, grit and life of the North shore anchored around John as a main subject. Portraying the life at home inner details that makes/made his life what it is. I made it to make a statement of an era of surfing and Hawaii that ideally you will be able to look back in 20 years in your hands and see with your own two eyes not through a computer screen. This was made as a contribution to surfing for nothing but the true salt, blood and bones its roots.

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Cole Barash (b. 1987) began his journey when he left his New England home at sixteen to document snow and surf culture in California. Self-taught and dedicated, Cole soon made a name for himself. With an organic approach to film photography and a clever eye for composition, his portraiture and still lifes became known for their candid and spontaneous sense of intimacy.  Well acquainted with international subcultures, Cole seeks “subjects where the boundaries are more open, not as seasoned, not done before,” capturing “unpredictable outcomes in a predictable world.” In 2011, Cole relocated to Brooklyn, New York where he now resides permanently.      

One of PDN’s top 30 upcoming photographers (2009), Cole’s work has been featured in group shows “Get Gone” (2008), “SILENCE” (2009), “Hot Bed” (2013), One Eyed Jacks Gallery (2014) and the Annenberg Space (2015), and a solo exhibition “Cold Emotions” (2009) at Montanero Gallery in New Port, RI. Cole’s first monograph book, Talk Story, and accompanying exhibition opened at Brooklyn’s Picture Farm Gallery in July of 2014 with a subsequent exhibition at Venice Arts Gallery in LA.  Cole’s images have been featured in numerous publications including, Rolling Stone, ESPN Magazine, Relapse Mag, and No Thoughts, among many others. 


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.

Photography Is So Easy It’s Ridiculous

- - Working

Yes, photography is so easy it’s ridiculous and that’s what makes it so hard. In the end it’s not so much about making the pictures it’s what you do with them. It’s about process, having an idea, making the pictures and then giving them life.

It seems to me that so many photographers have a very narrow view of process. Because the image making part is so captivating, so seductive, it’s easy to make the pictures with no idea in mind and no end in sight.

Source: Harvey Benge: Paul Graham – photography is so easy it’s ridiculous

The Art of the Personal Project: Tim Tadder

- - Personal Project

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 were nominated in LeBook’s Connections. http://www.lebook.com/timtadder

Today’s featured photographer is: Tim Tadder

Las Muertas

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How long have you been shooting?
I spent 4 years as a photojournalist before entering the advertising world in 2005

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Both. And, it’s complicated. My father was a professional photographer in Baltimore so I grew up around the craft. During my 5-year stint as a high school teacher I picked up a camera as a hobby during my vacations. In 1999 I left teaching and started freelancing at the local newspaper. After two years grinding doing community news I went to graduate school for photojournalism at Ohio University. That lead me to California and eventually to the advertising industry.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The Las Muertas projects was inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos.

Two things came into play that inspired this project. First and foremost a wild fire burned homes and land very close (across the street) from our studio. It turned the landscape into this apocalyptic wasteland that I would pass daily. There was incredible beauty in the destruction, I knew I wanted to feature it, I was not sure how.

Then Halloween happened, and I saw people in costume walking the sidewalks past this barren landscape and a light bulb turned on. Being in Southern California, the Dia De Los Muertos holiday is very much an influence and the landscape was the perfect setting for featuring the subject matter.

Dia De Los Muertos is on November 2nd each year and its is a day in Mexican culture where the dead are remembered and celebrated. It is said that on that day the dead are able to walk through purgatory and visit their earthly haunts. The wildfire destruction to me, represented this purgatory. So that stage was set, and the rest of the project seemed to come together from there.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This was just a one day shoot followed up with a couple of days of postproduction. This is concept based not documentary so the time invested is more in the conceptualizing and pre/post production. Less time shooting more time planning and refining.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
That varies, there are things I spend a lot of time on that never work and something’s I spend a few days on that work really well. Time for me never determines the success of the project, because my projects don’t require months and months. I don’t have that kind of personal time to invest in my work. Between being a husband, father, and running a business I feel that my days of long-term projects are on hold. I find that the projects I can do are shorter an well thought out, which affords me the ability to keep my priorities central and my life balanced.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t agree with this point of view. I feel that my personal work should be my portfolio. That’s who I am as a visual communicator. My work is personal, and I pour my soul into every job I do, so if there is a disconnect between my personal work and my portfolio, I feel that my voice will be inauthentic. I want to inspire creative’s with my vision and my personal work is the vehicle.

I get more projects based off my personal work than any other images. Literally we get assignments that the creative is my personal work with the logo. Clients and agencies sometimes fall in love with the visuals and they want to contract it for their own messaging. That’s what drives my revenue, the more personal projects I do the more commercial projects I get. It’s a simple recipe that works.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I have never posted them on Reddit or Tumblr, but others have. Its crazy but the moment I release a new project it gets picked up and spread around the web quite quickly. If it hits Reddit, then game on, and the viral thing happens. We have enjoyed the success of some really powerful viral exposure, which always leads to magazine articles, TV interviews, and a zillion blog posts. Ultimately this leads to commercial exposure and success. The Las Muertas series has been featured around the world on tons of blogs and media outlets. Its been extremely well received in Mexico, and we are currently bidding a project based on this creative for a beer company. I am most proud that the Mexican audience likes the work.

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Yes see above. Las Muertas, when googled turns up tons and tons of results from news outlets and blogs around the world.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Yes we use them for mailers and source book ads, as well as post on creative sites like Behance.net We share them with our audience every chance we get.

Las Muertas is a celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead.” Inspired by the beautiful designs and colors of the November 2nd festival, I set out to pay homage to the beauty of the tradition but to also put an environmental connection to the dead and their journey. This project was a collaboration between talented artists that believed in the concept and lent their time and passion to make it a success. The beautiful head dresses were made by the celebrated Dia De Los Muertos sculpture artist Krisztianna and the incredible wardrobe provided by stylist Julia Reeser.

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Tim Tadder is a Southern California based creative photographer and director with a strong sport and conceptual portfolio. Since 2012 Tim Tadder has published multiple personal projects that have enjoyed viral success. The most wildly acclaimed “Water Wigs” received over 1 million unique views within the first 24 hours of publication.

Tadder is often hired to produce images and motion projects with either a sport thematic or a conceptual visual challenge. Recent clients include, Mercedes Benz, Reebok, NFL, New Era, McDonalds, Merck, Capri Sun, Modelo, Tecate, Bud Light, Avia, WD-40, Kia, Proctor and Gamble, Walmart

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.

Portfolio Review: iPad, Blurb Book or Printed Portfolio?

- - Portfolio Review

I received the following question from a reader:

I’m going to my first portfolio review at the PhotoPlus Expo next month in New York. I didn’t think I’d be able to make it, so the trip is coming together kind of last minute. I currently don’t have a printed portfolio and I don’t have the money to print up a proper one. I thought about having a book printed up though a company like Blurb or Artisan State, as that would be a lot cheaper. Or I could use my iPad that has a nice looking portfolio app.

Does showing up with just an iPad look bad? Does showing the cheaper photo books make me look cheap? Is it worth it to find a way to try and get a proper printed portfolio? Any advice you can share is greatly appreciated!

I asked Heidi, Suzanne and Brittain for their thoughts and I’d love to hear any advice readers have on the subject in the comments.

Personally, I’m inclined to wonder why you will spend all that money on a portfolio review if you’re not going to maximize the value. If you don’t have a printed book and polished pitch you’re not ready to meet with Photo Editors and Art Buyers in New York City. Sure, you can go in and get some advice on which images are strong and where you might improve, but this is the first impression you will make with many of these people. The gold standard for portfolio reviews is a book with finely crafted prints, a well rehearsed pitch, promo card leave behinds and some personal project options in a separate book, ipad or Blurb type book. You can be sure when you sit down in that chair the photographers before and after you are doing this.

Suzanne Sease:

It is completely fine to show your portfolio on an iPad. I recommend http://ipadportfolioapp.com as many of my clients use it and it has been received well by the viewer. I personally feel that many of the pre-printed bound books don’t look as nice as a hand printed ink-jet book. Since the purpose of a review is for the viewers to make suggestions and possible changes, why invest in a costly portfolio? If you are going to get out and get face to face meetings, then invest in an ink jet printed double sided portfolio and a nice portfolio shell.

Heidi Volpe:

I think it’s perfectly fine to show your portfolio on an ipad especially if you have motion to show.

Some of the less expensive book services you mentioned are perfectly fine as well. I will say if you choose to use these printed services, you’d need to have a good design sense and understanding the printing process, how images behave across the gutters in these books, accurately follow the template and be sure to build in time for revises and proofs. Whatever you choose, make it tight.

Brittain Stone:

I agree that an iPad presentation is more than fine for a portfolio review of this kind. Just a few things to consider when you do go this route:

• An iPad review will invariably go much quicker. It’s human nature to linger on paper longer than on a swipe-able tablet.

• Your edit on an iPad is invariable more linear and one-sized, and while that’s not a bad thing, it’s a consideration when selecting images. It’s harder to go back into a portfolio and muse about particular images after the swiping is done.

• At these portfolio reviews, reviewers are expecting some “green-ness” so an elaborate print production would be overkill, unless you are the next (insert important photographer here) or. The book printing services you mentioned are all pretty great.

• You’ll still want some printed collateral of some kind in order to make it into a file or a stack or the reviewer’s memory banks. Very little trace remains after a digital review.

• Bring Windex

Art Producers Speak: Payam

- - Art Producers Speak

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 Creative Director: I nominate Payam. Payam is awesome. Smart, fabulous eye, industrious and a wonder to work with. You should profile him.

Cover Portrait for Fashion Decode of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. My last idea was to get into a crowded train station and have them drown in balloons. Everyone had a blast – Even adults turn into kids when balloons are abound.

Cover Portrait for Fashion Decode of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. My last idea was to get into a crowded train station and have them drown in balloons. Everyone had a blast – Even adults turn into kids when balloons are abound.

Portrait series that I started called Alter Ego after discussing the project with the editor of SOMA magazine. Pictured is Hollywood Motion Picture Colorist  Beau Leon.

Portrait series that I started called Alter Ego after discussing the project with the editor of SOMA magazine. Pictured is Hollywood Motion Picture Colorist Beau Leon.

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers.

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers.

Portrait of The American Spirits

Portrait of The American Spirits

Cover for Fashion Decode beauty issue.

Cover for Fashion Decode beauty issue.

Portrait of designer Sonia Augostino for Fashion Decode Magazine.

Portrait of designer Sonia Augostino for Fashion Decode Magazine.

Portrait of Creative Directors Hungry Castle for ADC Global.

Portrait of Creative Directors Hungry Castle for ADC Global.

Excerpt from HBO’s pilot shoot.

Excerpt from HBO’s pilot shoot.

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers

Excerpt from a project on California Surfers

Portrait of Artist Tim Burke for the Detroit Industrial Gallery

Portrait of Artist Tim Burke for the Detroit Industrial Gallery

Q: How many years have you been in business?

A: I entered the business in 2002 after graduating with a degree in Bio-Psychology and Sociology, and over several years had the good fortune to work with some of the great masters such as Albert and Norman Watson, Patrick DeMarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Miles Aldridge, and Mark Abrahams. After assisting for some years, I was requested as a Lighting Director for large advertising, fashion and celebrity shoots from 2008 to 2012 and committed myself 100% to shooting my own work full-time thereafter.

Q: Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

A: During my years in NYC, I had the great fortune of working with world-renowned photographers as a first assistant, and credit a lot of my success to my exposure to various ways they approached their particular assignments and challenges therein.

I learned about charismatic lighting and keeping a cool head under fire (we literally had a 20x catch on fire above us on a shoot) at the Watson Studio, as much as I learned about controlling high key light and perspective with respect to beauty photography with Wolfgang Ludes. Everyday served as an opportunity for me to learn not only the technicality of photography, but also about the subtle nuances of psychology, diplomacy and language required to be a good photographer. This has been the best education any man could ever ask for.

Q: Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?

A: I think that you have to be inspired and fall in love with your work and this business everyday, just as one would need to fall in love with their life partner every day so as not to strangle them to death ☺

My first influence would be my High School Biology teacher Fred Tunnicliffe. It’s ironic, because he really motivated me to take interest in Biology and want to become a doctor first and foremost. Fred however, taught me something that I loved more than anything; photography.

As time progressed I started paying close attention to Patrick DeMarchelier and Annie Leibovitz were the photographers who I hold responsible for triggering my almost psychiatric obsession with photography later on on in my teens and early 20’s. I could not believe my eyes when the day arrived that I was actually on set with them in NYC.

Q: 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?

A: My downfall in my life has been my love for photography books. Norman Watson can be solely blamed for introducing me to this gateway drug and I hold him fully responsible for the financial ruin I find myself in. ☺ I fall in love with photography on a daily basis by obsessively devouring various forms of visual stimuli, from paintings of old, to fashion stories of Mario Testino and Peggy Sirota. The work of masters in cinema such as Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Luc Besson, Ridley Scott and Tarsem Singh have also had a huge impact on my visual story telling.

Q: Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?

A: I have been very fortunate to be trusted to execute briefs based on the way I shoot. I have been lucky to work with creative directors and art buyers who trust in me, and with their collaboration, we have created wonderful work together.

Q: What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?

A: I spend quite a lot of time researching and connecting with various agencies, and traveling to various states to do portfolio presentations. I have learned that creative teams and buyers love the opportunity to meet with me, not only to see my work, but also to see and know the person behind the lens, as I explain my approach, motivations and tell stories about how I created the photographs. One of the things I excel at is being self-deprecating, and as such I make people laugh; this adds a human element to an otherwise mundane experience. One CD at a large agency just told me that he does not like to go through agents and art buyers, because they dilute the communication and needs of his. He was grateful to have met me because we had a one on one and had conversations from the heart that in my opinion can only be done through interpersonal interactions.

I also maintain presence on all relevant web portals, send out newsletters with new work and travel schedules, and do quarterly printed campaigns.

Q: What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?

A: While I think that it’s important to study where the business is headed, so that I can be relevant and fresh, it’s also important to refine and consistently improve one’s visual vernacular. I find that I excel at capturing whatever it is that I am working on so long as it’s authentic to who I am. Exercising and refining my work is what I strive to do every time I pick up the camera. I think it’s also important to keep an open mind, as I always ask creatives and buyers if they would like to see me develop any more of a specific area that I am shooting in my personal projects, and I then update them with new work as it is created.

Q: Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?

A: I consistently strive to push myself and explore different approaches that help me to refine my work. Personal assignments happen to be the most interesting to me, not only because I have total creative freedom to express myself, but also because I have the opportunity to show clients what I am passionate about.

Q: How often are you shooting new work?

A: I work when I can to create new images that are contextually consistent on a larger and broader scale. I love collaborating with Creative Directors and Stylists to shoot some projects that they could not execute because of the limitations clients place on them.

Most recently, I met a wonderful team at a highly respected agency in San Francisco. In conversation with one of the CD’s, I agreed to photograph children in fashion for a pitch to an amazing clothing label. I suddenly found myself photographing kids, and fell in love with their innocence and found my inner child as I was given creative license to be one again. A month later, I was contacted by another very well known creative director, who had received one of my newsletters in which I had inquired about collaborating with him on any shoots that he may have wanted to execute. I had been waiting to work with him for the past six years, and my patience finally paid off. Were it not for patience, I would have jumped the Brooklyn Bridge long ago ☺

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Payam is an editorial and advertising portrait photographer based in both Los Angeles and NYC. Known for his lighting, direction and ease on set, Payam facilitates a shooting experience where all subjects can have fun, play and express themselves genuinely. In his free time, Payam teaches effective communication through photography to underprivileged students and also practices Thai Massage and Vinyasa Yoga.


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.