Good advice on reaching photo editors with your work: “It doesn’t matter how you approach me as long as it’s a good photo”.
Posts by: A Photo Editor
Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art, who testified on Ms. Crile’s behalf, said Monday that the ability to deduct art-related expenses — in art careers that might generate little money — was “one of the last remaining areas where the federal government cuts artists any slack to allow them to do what they do,” and that its protection was crucial.
“I’ve hustled to get meetings at some great agencies,” she says, “but it’s honestly the creative directors and the people who are following me on Instagram that I’ve gotten work from. They’re seeing me post every day, they’re commenting on the photos, I’m seeing them like the work. I know that I’m staying on their radar, and it’s not just a follow-up email after a meeting that’s fed into all their other emails: it’s what they’re looking at when they’re leaving work and going home.”
Which is, of course, the same reason brands want to get in on Instagram. As Randolph says, “People are flipping through it in their in-between moments, when they’re on the go, in bed.” So what is it that makes a successful Instagram post? “It should feel personal, like someone’s looking at something that you want to share with them,” she explains. “I think the most successful Instagram photos are the ones people feel like they can take themselves.”
Read More: PDN Online.
I sent takedown notices to a store selling phone cases, to Etsy for an artist hawking pirated prints of a fire ant, and to Twitter for an exterminator heading his company account with one of my bed bug photographs.This rate of commercial infringement is normal, as photographers and other online visual artists can attest. I deal with most cases by using a provision of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA that requires Web hosts to remove infringing content when informed. I send, on average, five takedown notices to Web hosts every day, devoting ten hours per week to infringements. Particularly egregious commercial infringers get invoices.
I actually have let a few of my most commonly infringed images go unenforced. I could not keep up, so I left these as a natural experiment. The result confirmed what I suspected: images that become widespread on the Internet are no longer commercially viable. Thousands of businesses worldwide now use one of my Australian ant photographs to market their services, for example, and not a single paying client has come forth to license that image since I gave up.
Copyright infringement for most artists is death by a thousand paper cuts. One $100 infringement here and there is harmless enough. But they add up, and when illegal commercial uses outnumber legal ones 20 to 1 in spite of ambitious attempts to stay ahead, we do not have a clear recourse. At some point, the vanishing proportion of content users who license content legally will turn professional creative artists into little more than charity cases, dependent only on the goodwill of those who pity artists enough to toss some change their way.
Many photographers and photo editors have asked me to look into rates for social media use. I reached out to Suzanne Sease for the first of what will be a series of articles looking into the pricing and usage. – rob
When Rob asked me to reach out to Art Directors and Art Producers to get an idea of what photographers are charging for social media, I got a surprising lesson. Since I was an Art Producer for over 20 years, I am very fortunate to be able to reach out to those currently in the field. To get a more complete understanding of pricing I spoke with people from traditional advertising agencies to social media ad agencies to in house corporate ad agencies. These businesses were all over the country from large to small cities.
I found quite a range in pricing with free use from amateurs to inexpensive stock to photographers shooting original content making the best rates. Several articles I found mentioned clients taking the ad budget for TV and allocating it to social media to use the free venues (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube to name a few) to promote their brand. Because these venues are free, clients sometimes put little value in paying for images. Many have social media marketing rolled into use by asking for unlimited. Some said they spell it out like consumer print, social and internet because they don’t need trade. If they don’t have a great budget they will not ask for unlimited because it is print where the money is spent and social is thrown in.
Many clients doing social media only are looking for stock and a Senior Art Producer at large top agency I talked to said they pay as little as $50.00 to $65.00 per image for use with top brands. The images were anything from a scuba diver, grandfather and grandson fishing, a campfire, sandcastle on the beach, and cows grazing that were shot well. These images came from Getty, Masterfile, Corbis and Shutterstock.
One Creative Director at a social media advertising agency said they felt that places like Flickr, Tumblr and Instagram were going to make a photographers business harder while another Senior Art Producer said that Flickr was a dangerous alternative, because releases are not filed and determining if the person who posted the image is actually the true owner of the copyright can be difficult. They said they will only work with known stock companies because their contracts protect as well as indemnify their client. Another Senior Art Producer at another large International ad agency said they recommend clients purchase royalty free images from $300 to $500 each so they can use it forever. They also said that banner ads would price between $500 and $700 for year with a rights managed image. If they used rights managed images for social media, the range is $300 to $500 for the year.
There are some photographers who have positioned themselves to work on social media campaigns. I interviewed one photographer who has been asked to do many social media only campaigns and the fees have a huge disparity because of different client budgets. On the high end, they got around $8,000 for 6 shots in 1 day of shooting.On the low end was $650 for one image/unlimited usage. They said that most clients are looking for quick images that do not have the detail and production value of a print shoot. On the average shoot, the client wants up to 25 images with social media use only for around $5,000.
The best way to position yourself is to be on a retainer for a client so you can shoot when the client has an immediate need (sometimes in real time). This goes for about $10,000 a month for social media use only.
A Creative Director at a social media ad agency said they would pay $500.00 for a one image shoot with lasting 2-3 hours total (pre-pro, shoot and edit). This is how fast clients want to get their social media marketing up. And for shoots when they need 15-25 images in one day, their client pays $2,000 max. Some clients will have usage based on time but more and more are asking for unlimited.
An example of the speed of the images needed, if you remember during the 2013 Super Bowl when the power went out, it was the ad agency for Oreo (360i) who sent this tweet out and it was advertising gold. It was because usage had been covered in the original negotiation that allowed them to tweet it.
Kit Kat just surpassed Oreo at Apple’s expense with the “bending” iPhone 6 plus.
And then there is Real Time, where someone is hired to shoot and send images out as they are shot. The fashion industry likes to do this as well as brands holding an event to get more people to the event. In this situation they will pay about $1,000 to $2,000.00 per day plus expenses for a full buyout.
Finally and unfortunately in some cases advertisers are starting to use everyday people to add to their social media marketing to give their brand more attention. They are not paying for the rights to use those image.
Here are some interesting articles I found:
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be brand driven and not specialty. Follow her at SuzanneSease.
She is presenting with Kat Dalager Market Right 2014 in NYC on Wednesday, October 29th http://yodelist.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/were-proud-to-announce-market-right-2014/
Nick Knight on… the appeal of Instagram
“Having a phone and an Instagram account means that I can create images on my own. When I first started using it a couple of years ago, it reminded me of the 70s, when I first started out in photography. It felt very direct – it was about me taking the image. It felt really authentic. I don’t have a Twitter account because it’s essentially about writing and my focus has always been visual. Instagram felt like the most appropriate way for me to communicate. I also really enjoy the instantaneous nature of it – you can publish images straight away – and get feedback from people across the globe. And I’m really interested in figures who have huge followings – such as Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevingne and Lily Allen. People have so much power to put out a message direct to their fans. It’s almost like when magazines were in their heyday – a printed publication would be where you could get celebrity images. Now it’s been reversed and the next generation is one that is used to getting information from digital mediums. The Diesel campaign acknowledges that and feels completely relevant. This is an exciting time – things are changing and I always think change is good.”
If you want to comment on the “Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration” that was widely reported to allow charging people $1500 to take photos on federal wild lands you can do so here (deadline extended to Dec. 3):
I can’t make heads or tails of the directive pasted below but on Friday the Washington Post reported:
After receiving complaints about a proposal to require photographers to have a permit to shoot on federal wild lands, the U.S. Forest Service says it will make some changes to ensure it doesn’t violate First Amendment rights.
And that the news media and private individuals will not be asked to apply for a permit to take pictures.
Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration
This Notice document was issued by the Forest Service (FS)
Notice of proposed directive; request for public comment.
The Forest Service proposes to incorporate interim directive (ID) 2709.11-2013.1 into Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2709.11, chapter 40 to make permanent guidance for the evaluation of proposals for still photography and commercial filming on National Forest System Lands. The proposed amendment would address the establishment of consistent national criteria to evaluate requests for special use permits on National Forest System (NFS) lands. Specifically, this policy provides the criteria used to evaluate request for special use permits related to still photography and commercial filming in congressionally designated wilderness areas. Public comment is invited and will be considered in the development of the final directive.
Comments must be received in writing on or before November 3, 2014 to be assured of consideration.
Submit comments electronically by following the instructions at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulation.gov or submit comments via fax to 703-605-5131 or 703-605-5106. Please identify faxed comments by including “Commercial Filming in Wilderness” on the cover sheet or first page. Comments may also be submitted via mail to Commercial Filming in Wilderness, USDA, Forest Service, Attn: Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers (WWSR), 201 14th Street SW., Mailstop Code: 1124, Washington, DC 20250-1124. Email comments may be sent to: email@example.com. If comments are submitted electronically, duplicate comments should not be sent by mail. Hand-delivered comments will not be accepted and receipt of comments cannot be confirmed. Please restrict comments to issues pertinent to the proposed directive, explain the reasons for any recommended changes, and, where possible, reference the specific section and wording being addressed.
All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be placed in the record and be made available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect the comments received at the USDA Forest Service Headquarters, Sidney R. Yates Federal Building, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC, in the Office of the Director, WWSR, 5th Floor South, during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to 202-644-4862 to facilitate entry to the building.
For Further Information Contact
Elwood York, WWSR, at 202-649-1727.
Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
1. Background and Need for the Proposed Directive
The proposed directive is necessary for the Forest Service to issue and administer special use authorizations that will allow the public to use and occupy National Forest System (NFS) lands for still photography and commercial filming in wilderness. The proposed directive FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, is currently issued as the third consecutive interim directive (ID) which is set to expire in October 2014. The previous directive addressed still photography in wilderness and did not provide adequate guidance to review commercial filming in wilderness permit proposals. The notice and comments are collected and used by Forest Service officials, unless otherwise noted, to ensure the use of NFS lands are authorized, in the public interest, and compatible with the Agency’s mission and/or record authorization of use granted by appropriate Forest Service officials.
2. Overview of Proposed Directive, FSH 2709.11, Chapter 40
The Forest Service is requesting public input with respect to Agency policy. Our intent with the issuance of this notice of proposed directive is to consider such input and, as appropriate, incorporate it into future policy. Certain suggestions, whether due to legislative or other limitations, may not be implemented through Agency policy, and we wish for the public to understand that as well.
The current language has been in place for 48 months. This proposal would make permanent guidelines for the acceptance and denial for still photography and commercial filming permits in congressionally designated wilderness areas.
Section 45.1c—Evaluation of Proposals
This proposed section would include criteria in addition to that of still photography to incorporate commercial filming activities. Furthermore, the Agency is proposing to clarify when a special use permit may be issued to authorize the use of NFS lands if the proposed activity, other than noncommercial still photography would be in a congressionally designated wilderness area.
The proposed directive for FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, section 45.1c is as follows:
45.1C—EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS
A special use permit may be issued (when required by sections 45.1a and 45.2a) to authorize the use of National Forest System lands for still photography or commercial filming when the proposed activity:
1. Meets the screening criteria in 36 CFR 251.54(e);
2. Would not cause unacceptable resource damage;
3. Would not unreasonably disrupt the public’s use and enjoyment of the site where the activity would occur;
4. Would not pose a public health and safety risk; and
5. Meets the following additional criteria, if the proposed activity, other than noncommercial still photography (36 CFR 251.51), would be in a congressionally designated wilderness area:
a. Has a primary objective of dissemination of information about the use and enjoyment of wilderness or its ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value (16 U.S.C. 1131(a) and (b));
b. Would preserve the wilderness character of the area proposed for use, for example, would leave it untrammeled, natural, and undeveloped and would preserve opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation (16 U.S.C. 1131(a));
c. Is wilderness-dependent, for example, a location within a wilderness area is identified for the proposed activity and there are no suitable locations outside of a wilderness area (16 U.S.C. 1133(d)(6));
d. Would not involve use of a motor vehicle, motorboat, or motorized equipment, including landing of aircraft, unless authorized by the enabling legislation for the wilderness area (36 CFR 261.18(a) and (c));
e. Would not involve the use of mechanical transport, such as a hang glider or bicycle, unless authorized by the enabling legislation for the wilderness area (36 CFR 261.18(b));
f. Would not violate any applicable order (36 CFR 261.57); and
g. Would not advertise any product or service (16 U.S.C. 1133(c)).
This is pretty funny in ways that it was meant to be and not.
From Paul Melcher’s blog “Thoughts of a Bohemian”
since editorial photography’s dominance in our cultural landscape diminished, the advertising world had to look elsewhere for inspiration. No longer can they count on their magazines to give them a hint on what type of photography is successful. Instead, they turned to the new trend indicator : Social media.
It will not be surprising, it is happening already, to see editorial photography influenced by brand photography. In an effort to keep pace with current trends, online and print publications are more and more looking into what works for brands and applying it to their spreads.
For now, we still live in a world slightly dominated by editorial photography, only because of cultural habits. But deeper, the evolution has already happened and is progressing with patient obstination.
Read The Article Here: Brands will define pro photography for the next decade. – Thoughts of a Bohemian.
What advice would you give to established photographers who are “on the fence” about attending a networking event?
To be honest, I’m not sure it’s worth it for established photographers who have a presence in NY already. It’s expensive and it’s probably more worth their while to put that money towards promos or testing. I would, however, suggest it for photographers who are trying to break into the scene and meet reps and art buyers.
Carter’s daily ritual included cocaine and other drug use, which would help him cope with his occupation’s horrors. He often confided in his friend Judith Matloff, a war correspondent. She said he would “talk about the guilt of the people he couldn’t save because he photographed them as they were being killed.”
“A lot of photographers” is basically referring to professional photographers, who make up a really small percentage of the people uploading photos to Facebook. We tend to think of ourselves as the most important class of photographers, but in the hundreds of millions of photos getting uploaded each day, we’re statistically insignificant. But a lot of these questions are actually being worked on, particularly the metadata stuff.
via VICE United States.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Anonymous Art Buyer: I nominate Jonathan Kozowyk. Not only is he very talented, he is very easy to work with.
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been working in the industry for a little over 12 years. I started out assisting, and have been shooting on my own for about 3 years now.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I went to Massachusetts College of Art for Graphic Design, but knew I wanted to make photographs. After I graduated I pursued my passion for photography and I was really lucky to apprentice some talented folks.
Who was your greatest influence that inspired you to get into this business?
I learned a ton from assisting Tibor Nemeth, Jason Grow, and Michael Prince.
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?
Really I find inspiration in everything around me. Sometimes it is from the creative people I work with, people I am photographing, or places I travel to. I try to absorb it all and then reinterpret it to show how I see the world. Within my work there is an element of timelessness, which I also feel is important. I always try to infuse that into whatever I am doing. I want my work to feel genuine.
Do you find that some creatives love your work but the client holds you back?
Of course, that can happen, but I believe there is always a nice middle ground that can be reached, I am not a diva, I know that I got hired for a reason. When I am shooting I have a good understanding of what the agency and client need to walk away with at the end of the shoot. But I always try to get a something that I personally love out of each job.
What are you doing to get your vision out to the buying audience?
Lately I have been making a ton of little small run books and send them to creatives I want to collaborate with. Also visiting agencies and magazines to share my latest projects.
What is your advice for those who are showing what they think the buyers want to see?
I guess that approach can work. But I have been really trying to push myself to show work that I love as well. I try to pepper in some of what they may need to see, but I think it’s important for people to know that you bring something to the table.
Are you shooting for yourself and creating new work to keep your artistic talent true to you?
Yes. I try to make pictures everyday, even if I am stuck in front of the computer doing post work, bidding on projects, or even while on phone calls. Sometimes they are just pictures of my dog or of people around the neighborhood.
How often are you shooting new work?
As much as possible. I have a few personal projects always going on. It ‘s a great way to stay loose and get motivated. I used to get caught up in thinking that I needed to “finish” a project, but lately I’ve been allowing myself the freedom to start a project and just let it take it’s course.
Jonathan Kozowyk is a commercial advertising and editorial photographer. He was formally trained at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he received his BFA in Graphic Design. After graduation he set out to pursue his passion of photography.
Today Jonathan is based in New York City and is lucky to travel often for commissions all over the world. Jonathan enjoys collaborating with creatives to capture genuine moments big and small.
In his down time he likes to surf, ride his skateboard, look at maps, and spend time with his beautiful girlfriend and his furry dog.
Contact: +1 347 901 2427 email@example.com
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information. Follow her@SuzanneSease.
Professional photographers were repelled by the weird, ungainly, often out-of-focus shots that amateurs produced. “Photography as a fad is well nigh on its last legs,” prayed the art photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Other pundits bemoaned “Kodak fiends,” camera obsessives who carried their device everywhere and were apparently so constantly taking pictures that they would space out and miss their trains.
PASSION, PURPOSE and PERSEVERANCE
“Passion and Purpose” – The credo put forth by Robert Frank as the necessary ingredients to creating successful and meaningful photography. I would add to that another, “Perseverance”. In any endeavor it would be impossible to attain true success without Passion and Purpose. Many photographers exhibit either passion, purpose or perseverance but the ones that succeed exhibit all three.
To create a successful photography book you must exhibit these three traits. Your work must have a purpose, it must communicate and strike a chord with the audience. This will be impossible if you are not passionate about your pictures and it will not get done if you can not persevere through some failure. Good work requires one to take risks and everyone who takes risks occasionally fails, however those failures can and will make you stronger if you allow them to.
I strongly recommend you research the work which has preceded you. Look at the masters’ books and then look some more. Determine what it is about these books that makes them successful. You’ll see lots of passion on those pages, the work will have a purpose and clearly exhibit such. It will strike a chord with the viewer and hopefully initiate a creative or intellectual a response from them. If you wish to have some of that limited shelf space allotted picture books then your work must elicit a strong response.
Assuming you have a strong body of work it needs to be edited into a stronger body of work to meet this publishing criteria. Editing is a very important component to creating a cohesive and strong book. It is also a very difficult process. We all know how hard it is to toss a picture we love because it just doesn’t fit. We all become infatuated with the newness of recent pictures or those that proved technically difficult. Unfortunately no one cares how hard it was technically for you to complete, or how fresh the picture is to you. It is the content that matters and good editing will assure that your content is as strong as it can be. Many of us tend to work in a vacuum, focused on the task at hand while completing a series of pictures. Once photography is completed it is very helpful to get a second or even third opinion on the book edit. You may find you need to create some new pictures to round out the book. I appreciate working with a good picture editor and find that their contribution manifests itself in the success of the book. If you are serious about your project I encourage you to solicit the help of an experienced picture editor working in your genre.
Keeping the work as simple and honest as possible works best. This does not mean you need to make simple pictures but rather should strive to eliminate any element that does not contribute to the purpose of the picture and subsequently also the book. Adhere to the credo that you are only as good as your weakest link. Show less but stronger pictures that engage the audience, don’t over tell the story. Leave a little open to interpretation for the audience to connect with.
Work with the best designer you can and be sure they are as passionate about the book as you are. It’s their work on those pages that will show yours in the best light possible. I like simple design. I adhere to the Bauhaus principle of “less is more”. I believe good design is unobtrusive and efficient but also compelling. Remember you are making a picture book and it is about the pictures. No amount of flashy design can mask poor picture content.
The decision to self publish or work with a publisher can only be made by you. It’s your book and your career. The same goes for ebook vs ink-book. The ebook has made it easy for anyone to put together a “book”. I use ebook format as a e-maquette editing tool. It helps to see content in order and adjust accordingly. While I am not affiliated with any companies I find the new version of Lightroom® 5. to be very accommodating in this regard. If you are not familiar with the Lightroom® book options you may wish to investigate it.
Publishing is a business. Businesses need to turn a profit and while some publishers are quite passionate about their titles and authors they never loose sight of the bottom line. This is responsible business practice and necessary for success. A first time author is a big risk. Picture books present even more risk as they are very expensive to produce. Publishing is also a tough business and getting tougher therefore the risk allowance is diminishing. Many publishers will ask a first time author to guarantee a return on investment. Requesting the author either purchase a quantity of books or contribute financially to the volumes production costs. It’s not unheard of to request a first time author pay all costs associated with producing the book.This is in addition to the cost of producing the original photography for the book. Adding up all these associated expenses makes it apparent that publishing a book can become quite an expensive endeavor. This will test your passion.
Be prepared for non appropriate deals to come your way from publishers and have the strength to say no to them. You have no negotiating power if you are not prepared to walk away from a deal. I encourage the first time author to be patient and wait for the right deal, to persevere. It took 7 years to get the right deal for my first book. It was frustrating at times but I am very pleased I waited for the right publisher to work with. Beware the vanity press that exists solely to profit from production of your book. Once they have delivered your book you will find yourself all on your own. I consider producing a book a partnership with the publisher, a joint effort with mutual benefit.
The advantages of working with a publisher are many and beyond the scope of this essay to allow for me to detail each. The most important benefit you gain by working with a publisher is credibility. Self publishing and vanity presses fall short on the credibility front. However vanity books can be viewed as promotional pieces and work within that venue for the assignment photographer, but only if done very well. However as an author credibility is very important and quite frankly the best return you will find from publishing a book is the credibility it affords you, the author. What you will get with a good book is a piece that, if used properly, will open doors for career growth.
Unfortunately as previously outlined there is no substantial author income to be had from your book. This is true whether you self publish or work with a publisher. If you are making a book with the intent of generating an income you will be disappointed. If income is your only goal invest the money and time elsewhere. You make a book because you have to, you are passionate about doing so. In my workshops and seminars I break down the associated costs of book making, the business of publishing and the ways you can use your book to help generate a livelihood. Remember the credibility associated with authoring a good book tops the list for opening doors to further opportunity.
Some of the advantages to working with a publisher are less or no financial risk, distribution and warehousing services ( you don’t want a garage full of 5000 books and be running to the Post office for every order ), guidance in editing, quality book design, production expertise and solid marketing. I cant stress this enough. Publishers want your book to succeed. Remember it’s all about the bottom line for them and sales of your books make a better bottom line. In addition more sales of your book means more credibility for you.
Self publishing has some merits as well. If you should be fortunate enough to create a best selling book your profits will be substantially better. You may actually recoup all the original photography and book production expenses and break even. That is a big “IF” however, and quite hard to almost impossible to do with out a publishers expertise behind it. Another advantage, if you view it as such, is that you will have complete control over the edit, design, production specs, warehousing, distribution, marketing and PR. However you will also have the expenses and responsibilities associated with the above. I am biased to working with a publisher. I am a photographer. I focus upon making pictures and let others more experienced than I in book production deal with the publishing aspects of making books.
WORKING WITH A PUBLISHER
If you decide to approach publishers here are several key items you need to know to assure your book receives the best possible opportunity to get published. I have outlined these below.
Define your goal with the book.
What is it you want from the book? Write down your goals think about them and be specific.
Select a topic that has a purpose.
Research is very helpful here. Look at where there are gaps in the medium. Does there need to be more coverage of a certain genre.
Select a topic you are passionate about.
People can feel if you are passionate about your pictures. Passion is conveyed by your demeanor but even more so from your pictures. If you are not passionate about what you are working on stop working and find something you are passionate about to do.
Be sure the book engages the audience.
Tell the story in your voice. Lead don’t follow, but never loose sight of who your audience is or you will loose them.
Estimate production costs of photography.
Be sure you can complete the book before you start. Find funding if needed through grants or corporate sponsorship.
Remember you are only as good as your weakest link. A great picture diminishes when in the company of mediocrity.
You never get it perfect the first time.
Go ahead and edit a third time.
And rarely on the second.
Create a maquette or book dummy (these are the same thing but “maquette” sounds smarter).
“Maquette” is French defined as a sculptor’s rough test sculpture done before hitting the marble or casting the bronze. The maquette is very important in bookmaking. It is a rough of the book made prior to publishing. It’s also a very tricky item to get right as you want it to be rough but also enticing. Too finished and the publisher may feel pigeonholed and limited in input. Too loose and they may not be enticed to investigate further. I recommend you share a few pages from the book as a maquette, a “this is what I was thinking” sample and follow up with a color corrected and detailed PDF of just pictures. You may find other avenues better suited to specific publishers. Read the publisher’s submission criteria and adhere to it.
Research publishers that are appropriate for your work.
Like photographers publishers specialize. Fashion, documentary, landscape, reportage, narrative are all genres that some publishers limit themselves to. Be sure the publishers you contact are appropriate for your book. They like knowing you do your research as well.
Respectfully approach publishers with the maquette.
Publishers are dedicated hard working people trying to survive in a dwindling and ever more competitive marketplace. It’s a tough job, be nice to them.
Negotiate a favorable contract for all.
Be sure you are happy with the deal you make. You will live with it. I assure you the publisher will be comfortable with any deal they make. You want a pleasant and honest partnership surrounding your book.
Be realistic in negotiations and prepared to walk away.
What are you getting from the publisher in exchange for all your hard work, original photography financial investment and passion? Be sure they have a finely tuned operation capable of supporting you and your book. Design, production quality, warehousing, distribution, marketing, PR, and payment are the areas you should be concerned with. Ask other authors about the publisher. Bring up these areas when negotiating with the publisher. If you are a first time author it’s a tougher go negotiating.
I doubt the first publisher who sees your book maquette will publish it. Probably not the second, third, fourth, fifth….. You can not let rejection be a reflection upon the merit of your book or more importantly you. There are many publishers and most won’t be right for your book. When your book is rejected politely ask what it that the publisher is looking for. If you see a common denominator from publishers possibly adjust your book to eliminate the problem.
I hope this brief and opinionated synopsis proves beneficial to those of you wishing to publish a picture book. While extremely difficult, authoring a picture book is a rewarding, satisfying undertaking. Your book can serve as the instrument to inform, elicit response, effect positive social change and open doors for you to continue to do even more with your pictures. Just remember these three words and you’ll be off to a good start: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance.
Carl Corey is the author of three books; “Rancher” – Bunker Hill 2007, “Tavern League” – WHS Press 2011 and “For Love and Money” – WHS Press 2014. He is the recipient of over 100 awards from the photographic and publishing communities including the Crystal Book Award for Best Photography Book 2012, National Best Sellers Award 2012, INDIE Publishers Award of Excellence 2014, Pub West Gold 2012 and Foreward Top Ten. He presents group seminars and teaches one on one workshops.
I am interested in ideas. I am not interested in doing the same thing over and over again. The reason I take photographs is to make discoveries for myself. Always trying to piece together the puzzle, that’s where I get my rush. Once I find the answer I am looking for that’s usually it for a project, the excitement and energy is gone. I move onto something else, or away from that subject matter until I can view it with fresh eyes again.
Despite Jacobson’s enthusiasm for smartphone photography, he believes that turning these images into physical prints and displaying them in a gallery context was an important step. “It not only verifies smartphone photography but also allows viewers to consider their relationship with the images,” he said.
I was riding in the passenger seat of a Volvo SUV. Headed North. My father was driving; my young son in the back seat.
We were going to Red River to ride some go-karts. A classic summertime ritual. The mountains were to the East, and out the driver side, we saw the great American desert, rolling all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The western sky was dark and ominous, as there were massive rainstorms approaching us faster than an unarmed man can raise his hands at the sight of a loaded gun. It had been raining for weeks, so the deluge was clearly imminent.
Which made our go-karting endeavor look a tad futile.
My son asked whether we would make it in time. My father replied that he was an optimist, so we’d plow forward. My son, clever, but not omniscient, asked what an optimist was.
My Dad explained an optimist was a person who looked on the bright side, and expected things to work out well. A pessimist, he countered, tended to fear the worst, and assume it would come to pass.
“Which are you, Daddy,” the boy asked me?
“I’m neither, I said. I’m the third thing. A realist. I think sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t.”
“OK. You’re a realist. So will we get to ride the go karts,” he asked?
“That storm is coming really fast. If we get a ride in, I’d say we were lucky. I doubt we’ll get there before the track is too wet to be safe.”
Not that my predictive qualities are always spot on, but that day, it was not to be. The heavens opened, and we had to settle for raiding the candy store, and then getting back in the Swedish Tank to go home.
C’est la vie.
It’s easy, these days, to succumb to the belief that the world is coming to an end. The militarized mess in the St. Louis suburbs. Another war in the Holy Land. ISIS gobbling up territory in Mesopotamia. Planes shot out of the sky by a newly voracious and expanding Russia. (Forgive me, I meant Putin’s proxies in Eastern Ukraine.)
And then there are the stories about elephants being massacred for their ivory. Tigers killed for fake Chinese medicine. Or Rhinos slaughtered for horn to make some old guy’s penis hard.
Onward we march towards oblivion, it seems.
What sayeth the realist? Well, it is hard to be optimistic these days. But what choice do we have? If you’ve bred children, it’s far too sad to assume the world will die around them. Better to hope we’ll figure it out, but I’m not so sure.
Just in case, it might be wise to record nature’s bounty while it’s here. To embed likeness in paper, and safe keep it for future generations. (Sample conversation in 2114, “Daddy, what’s an elephant look like? Why did they go extinct?”)
Fortunately, the Santa Fe-based photographer Brad Wilson had done it for us. Even better, for posterity, he used a super-badass-high-end-digital camera, so the details are there in their hyper-real glory. (Eyelashes and all.)
I know this, because I went to photo-eye this week to pick up a new stack of books, as promised. And there the photos were on the wall, staring me down like an angry drunk mad-dogging you outside the movie theater at 9:45pm on a Friday night. (Speaking of Fridays, the exhibition opens tonight, if you happen to be in town.)
The prints are big, black and gorgeous. (Insert random inappropriate joke here.) If you have a chance to go see them, I’d highly recommend it. If not, of course, we always have the book, “Wild Life,” recently published by Prestel.
According to a promotional video they showed me at the store, the artist hired animal trainers to bring the creatures to a studio in LA. And the book says other pictures were shot at a raptor sanctuary in Española, a zoo in Albuquerque, and, of course, a location in St Louis, Missouri. (Wouldn’t be one of my reviews if the snake didn’t eat its tail.)
The pictures manage to be beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. The chimps are so clearly sentient. The big cats so fierce. The eagles so mesmerizing. In fairness, the owl photos are trapped in full bleed in the book, so their impact is muted, compared to the prints.
But this book oozes “future-historical-importance.” I think I brought up some of these concepts when I reviewed Sebastião Salgado’s “Genesis” a while back. I prefer this book, though.
That one seemed a tad emotionally manipulative. This feels more clean. More objective, if I might use a taboo word, for once. He threw up a black backdrop, brought in some rapidly disappearing animals, got really close with a great camera, and made the pictures.
For now, the photographs are representations of living creatures. If we don’t change course, however, they will be all we have left. So says the realist.
Bottom Line: Fantastic record of the animal kingdom, while we have it
Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.
Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.