Category "Working"

Tim Tadder Interview

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Tim Tadder is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist. Most recognized for his highly inventive conceptual advertising photography Tadder has been ranked in the top 200 photographers worldwide by the prestigious Luezer Archive Magazine 8 years running. In 2015 Epson, the world leader in photographic printing technology recognized Tadder as one of the top influential photographers, producing a TV commercial and worldwide ad campaign featuring Tadder and his work.

Tim Tadder Steph Curry

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer? I grew up on the set of a commercial photographer in Baltimore, Maryland. I knew that I was fascinated with photography from an early age when I saw my father developing images for the first time in the darkroom. He had a black-and-white and a color darkroom in a small studio in Baltimore, and I used to watch him print pictures using an enlarger and chemicals. That was magical to me. I always thought it was amazing that you could re-create life from a camera and paper.

Tim Tadder Website

What was your path to becoming a professional photographer? I have a unique path to becoming a professional photographer. I was a high school teacher for five years, and during the summers I did mountaineering adventures. During those climbs, I would make images and host slideshows. People were really interested, and through the slideshows, I found that people liked the images that I created. I found I wasn’t a great teacher but that I really loved photography and so I decided to give it a try. I moved from South America where I was teaching and climbing to Baltimore where I grew up and had connections in the photography world. I decided I would see if I could make it for a year, mostly because that’s all the money I had saved. I worked out of my father’s studio in Baltimore but mostly for the local newspaper doing journalism while I was trying to learn the craft

Simone Bile Images

What formal schooling or training did you have in photography? After two years in Baltimore, I was really in love with photojournalism, so I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in photojournalism from the Ohio University School of Visual Communication. That program is amazing, and I highly recommend it. I learned so much in the short time that I was there not only about photojournalism but also about creating images that were capable of telling stories. I learned so much about visual communications while there. Truly so much of what we do in photography is at its very essence visual communication. Before I was aware of that, I was just making images that I thought looked interesting, but after the program, I started to make images that spoke and told stories. The resulting images were much more intelligent images, so to speak, and that process really helped me become a better photographer in a short period

Tim Tadder Website

Were your parents supportive of your desire to be an artist? Ironically my parents were not very supportive me at all. I think that my father was concerned I did not have the talent to make it as a photographer. I also think that he never really made a lot of money and I think he felt that money equated to success, and in some ways, he felt that I did not have tremendous talent, and thus would not “be successful”. There was a lot of clashing as to what I felt was a good photographer and what he saw as good or great. I can remember my mother delivering me the Help Wanted section with jobs that she thought I would like even though I was making great strides in photography. She continued to show me job openings that she thought would be great careers. I can remember her distinctly telling me that that there wasn’t any money in photography and that you couldn’t make a living as a photographer anymore but I didn’t care. I just wanted to make images, and I wasn’t concerned about money. I was working for peanuts as a photojournalist, and I was really in love with photography. I will say, though, that my father is super proud of me at this point and I think that he honestly just wanted the best for me and realized how competitive and how difficult it is to succeed in this industry. The reality is, that if you love something and that you are passionate about it I think in America you can succeed

Tim Tadder Las Muertas

Do you remember your first published image and how it felt when it first appeared? Not really, I don’t think that I was all that enamored with having a published image define me as a photographer. Ink on paper does not a photographer make. But rather the communicative value of the image. I can remember the first image I made that truly moved people and how that made me feel. I think that was always more important to me, making an image that people reacted to. I can remember getting many emails from viewers responding to how much the image moved them. From all over the world it was a powerful image, and I knew at that point in time I had important skills.

Tim Tadder Cross Fit

You shoot both stills and video. Are you more passionate about one medium over the other? I prefer stills for sure. I like the less is more approach, and with motion, it just takes more people more equipment more blah blah blah…I hate the fat in motion productions. Give me a camera and a lens, and I’ll make it happen, motion you need all kinds of stuff to do commercial work.

Tim Tadder New Work

After all this time, what still makes you passionate about the visual arts?I think how freaking hard it is to make images that move people. Truly to make a great image, it’s very hard and takes a lot of things to go right. Sure if you are a photojournalist you can get lucky, but normally it takes a huge investment of time, energy, people, etc. Greatness comes from the communicative collaboration of energy revealing itself in the well-crafted moment. That elusive search for perfection makes me passionate. If it was easy, I think I would be over it by now. Knowing that I have not done my bet work yet keeps me grinding. I will not stop until my impact is undeniable and that’s the passion.

Tim Tadder Sports

You seem to have so much creative energy in all your work. How do come up with the concepts for your projects? I consume imagery, from TV to movies to art and Instagram, I consume and consume, and I get inspired by what I see but more importantly what I do not see. I try to find voids. I try to find things that have not been visualized. Bringing new visuals to life no matter how absurd or different is a great challenge in our world today. It’s hard to have a visual impact with so much noise. So I try to fill the empty spots with something new.

Tim Tadder Website

When you go into a shoot do you have a detailed vision for the finished project or does it tend to be a collaboration with the subject to determine the result? Always. I am a great pre-visualizer. I know exactly what I want when I go into every shoot, but often I fall short. It’s one thing to see it in your mind’s eye, but it’s quite another to capture it. That’s the illusive search for perfection. We know what we want, but it is sure hard to get it. That’s search is what keeps me passionate. I can feel though that the more I do this, the more my mind and my visions are aligning…so maybe I am getting closer. I do feel I am much much better than I’ve ever been.

Tim Tadder Website CGI

Many photographers take full credit for the finished product from a shoot, but you are quick to point out that without your “team” your success wouldn’t be possible. How large is your team, how did you build the team and how much collaboration is done with this group? I think when you start it’s a very big ego thing. However, as you gain knowledge and wisdom you begin to look around and realize that individually you can only accomplish small things, but collectively you can accomplish great things. True impact comes from people that can harness the collective spirit of passionate individuals and align that energy towards a defined goal. I saw this in the people around me and when I grew up and left my ego behind, I realized that I was only as good as the weakest link on my team. I realized that the people around me love what they were doing and that I needed to embrace not only their passions but honor their contributions. That’s when it all clicked. I can’t do what I do without the support of others. No way. I love them, and I hope they love me because they make everything possible. My core crew is excellent. They are the best, and I will put them up against anyone. My normal team is made up of a first assistant that has been with me for ten years, my producer, our production coordinator, stylist, hair and makeup (sometimes two people) and a gaggle of other freelancers that contribute. The productions swell when needed, by my core is four.

Tim Tadder Website Water Wigs

On average, how much of the finished product that we see in images on your website is done in camera versus in CGI or post production? That goes from zero to a lot. There is much of my work that is captured in camera and sometimes quite a lot of post. I would say what you see is 75 percent in camera, truly only what you see in the CGI section of my website is CGI. Yes there are composites here and there, but I find the less time in the post the better the image. Less is more.

Tim Tadder reflection of Cam Newton

How many man hours went into your Tecate Calendar project including the building of props, the shoot, and CGI/post? Now that project was very very CGI and post heavy. But my favorite image in that collection was all captured on camera (The Gemini Twins shot below), so the key is to mix everything so the audience can’t quite put their finger on it..there is a great Behind the Scenes video ( on my site that really shows how this was done. That shoot was huge, and I spent weeks in Pre-production on it. The wardrobe was custom stitched, the CGI sets crafted before the shoot, the animals cast, and the cast was pulled from all over the globe. That shoot was a mission…I would say three weeks solid of pre-production and four weeks in post…but it’s unique and quite amazing. Of course, you only see what was selected by the client and how hey wanted it to sell beer, but the images I love are far more subtle, but that does not sell beer.

Tim Tadder Tecate Zodiac

Of all the athletes you have shot over the years, which one(s) would you say brought the most personality to the shoot? That’s too difficult to answer. There are so many levels of shoot energy, and sometimes the creative requires more personality than others. I will tell you Cam Newton was spectacular as a comedian and told the most jokes. Simone Biles was spectacular and amazing. But there have been so many. I love when I shoot athletes year after year sometimes for the same client sometimes for other clients, but they remember me. Sometimes they greet me with big hugs, and I feel like an old friend. That’s always surprising. I guess they liked the images.

Tim Tadder Website

Your personal projects are amazing. What inspired your Bella Umbrella project? Was that project as messy to shoot as it looks? This project was inspired by things I saw on Instagram. I had been following this LA street artist, and he did all this rad stuff with military smoke bombs. I wanted to do something with him, but he is really dark and quite theatrical. Then I saw this image with smoke and a vintage umbrella in a forest and thought that if I could simplify and elevate the elegance that I would have a beautiful collection of images. The project was a mess and destroyed some expensive vintage clothing. I think it looks easier than it actually was. We took the smoke bombs and taped them to the umbrellas, but when the umbrellas caught fire and the clothes burned, I had to take another approach. So some of these were in camera, and some were composites of smoke plates and the talent. The stylist freaked out and I freaked because I did not want to hurt anyone but we decided we could make happen without any risk.

Tim Tadder Bella Umbrella project

What piece of camera equipment can you not live without? Hmmm, I don’t really have a piece of camera equipment I can’t live without. I don’t believe the tools make the image I believe that the concept, thought, idea the passion make the image. The camera and lens are no more part of the process than a burner on a stove is to a chef.  A chef can make a meal with any type of stove, just as a photographer make can make an image with any type of camera.

Tim Tadder Website

From the behind the scenes video’s on your website, it looks like you have fun on the set when shooting. Do you find that keeping things fun puts people at ease and allows them to open up? Always. It’s a blessing and an honor to do what we do. It’s fun, but it’s really important to do a good job because people’s careers are at stake. We really must remember that we are doing something that is amazing, creative and fun. back in the day I used to get all worked up, but that never helped. It never makes a better image, so let’s make it easy and let’s make it fun so that people leave with a good taste in their mouth.

Tim Tadder Badasses on White

What does the perfect Tim Tadder day look like? Making pancakes for my kids, creating some amazing images that make people go “holy shit”, having dinner with my family and watching the Ravens beat the crap out of the Steelers on Monday Night Football.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers looking to enter this ultra-competitive industry? You better absolutely love, love, love creating images. You must be willing to work 20 hours a day for years and years. You must be willing to lay it all on the line and never give up. You must have to have a thick skin, a really thick skin, and not be deterred by failure. You have to be willing to make thousands of mistakes and keep making them until you get it right. You have to be willing to produce new work always and you need to be planning your personal work all the time. It’s never ending even for me. You can never take the foot off the gas. If your not willing to do that, then it might not be for you.

Tim Tadder Conept

If you weren’t a professional photographer what would you be doing? I’d run for President, seems like not a lot of people want that job these days.

This post is sponsored by: photofolio-io

Why did you choose Photo Folio for your website? I think the system is simple and presents my work in a clean and clear way. Clients can get right to the point. All I want is for my images to speak to the audience with nothing else getting in the way. The content management system is great and makes creating edits super easy.

Many of the world’s top photographers, like TimTadder, showcase their work with a website from PHOTO FOLIO . Isn’t it time you put the power of PHOTO FOLIO to work for you?

Webb’s pictures offer a soothing antidote of high quality craftsmanship

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For those that worry that the iPhone-toting hordes will soon overrun photography, Webb’s pictures offer a soothing antidote of high quality craftsmanship. As I passed from image to image, my head was continually nodding, acknowledging the real pleasure that is derived from smartly built photographs.

More here: Alex Webb: La Calle, Photographs from Mexico @Aperture – Collector Daily

Creative Calls Are Crucial

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Creative calls are a crucial part of the process and can shape opinions along the way. I go into each bidding process knowing that we could end up with any of the three shooters. Work alone probably won’t get the award; it’s very much about what you bring to the table on the creative calls & development, and of course how the numbers fall. I don’t think it would be doing anyone any favors to say they’re recommended shooter only to have a job potentially award to one of the other photographers also being considered.

Read More: Anonymous Art Producer Offers Tips on Estimating | Notes From A Rep’s Journal

How Not to Design a Photobook – All Photographers Need A Good Editor

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Because photographers are visual, they usually assume two things: that they can design and that they can edit. But they benefit by letting someone else in. It doesn’t matter how well-known a photographer is, the fact is all photographers need a good editor, someone who they can trust checking or proposing picture and sequence decisions. It’s probably the most important part of putting a book together. Often the photographer is too close to the work, or to certain images, and they have a tendency to want to use more images, when they should let some of them go. The reverse can also be true. A photographer can become fixed on particular pictures. I usually want to see a wider edit than the photographer initially has in mind, and quite often between ten and twenty percent of the final picture selection will come in from this broader selection. This doesn’t seem like much, but it can make the difference between the mediocre and the sublime.

Read More:

The Closing Of Brooks Institute Is Not A Statement About The Photography Market

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Photography has never been about how many professionals there are, and how or what they charge, where they went to school, how they learned, how hard or easy it is, how smart or stupid the successful ones are, what camera you use, or how many amateurs can look like or claim to be professionals. In every field of art, the people who put difficulty, practice, problem solving, commitment, learning, opportunity and service as the core to making a meaningful life will always find the answer. Looking into the masses of lawyers, accountants, guitarists, painters, plumbers, salespeople, teachers, drummers and photographers, and thinking that there are too many of this or that, or that it is easier to be one thing or another is just plain hysterical reaction to life. It isn’t easy to be alive in this world… it never has been… get over it.

Read more from Dennis Keeley on his Facebook page:

Not Marketing Has Devastating Effects On Business

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…not marketing has devastating effects on business. There are way too many talented photographers in the marketplace for a photographer not to market. Think about it. If a photographer chooses not to market, that means their imagery and their name is not as top of mind as the next person’s. That means, when a project comes up, most likely, the person who IS top of mind will rise to the top of the consideration list. That also means that the other photographer will get the opportunity to engage with the agency and client, they will get the opportunity to estimate and ultimately they will get the opportunity to bid on the job and develop the relationship.

More: Want to Know What I Told Photographers While I Reviewed Portfolios at the Palm Springs Photo Festival? | Notes From A Rep’s Journal

The Highsmith vs Getty Saga Begins

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The case alleges as many “bad acts” as we would typically see “spread out” among three or more unrelated lawsuits.

[…] The filing of this complaint is likely just the beginning of this saga. We will stay on it for you.

Regardless of how this case turns out, and we believe this will be news for a long time to come, for the love of your family and all you hold dear, register your images and protect yourself. Register even if you’re not licensing your images for fees or at all. We’ll keep saying this until we’re blue in the face.


The Role Of Publishers In Photojournalism and Manipulation

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In the McCurry case, fortunately, there was a very different take. A.D. Coleman published a letter written by Robert Dannin, who worked at Magnum and with McCurry in the late 1980s. Dannin squarely puts the onus on the publishing industry in general, and on National Geographic in particular. These are the kinds of discussions we — as the general public — are rarely exposed to. But to me, it seems completely obvious that we have to talk about this aspect of photojournalism, which is immensely important: the role of the publishers (who might or might not also still commission work). Given McCurry’s photographs are such kitsch, why are they so widely coveted by the likes of National Geographic? What does that tell us about the publishing industry?

Read More: Photojournalism and Manipulation | Conscientious Photography Magazine

Q&A: Sarah Meister Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA

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What are some photographs that you believe everybody should see?
There are so many photographs and digital images in the world today that instead of adding to the lists of things that everybody should see, I’d suggest a different exercise. I believe that most people would see more clearly if they took the time to look more closely… ideally at an old photograph that many people have held over many decades. In the digital era it strikes me as critically important to recognize the difference between a photograph (a physical object) and a photographic image (one that can assume new characteristics specific to the device on which it is seen, but which has no material presence), and that once you’ve really looked at a photograph you’ll have new tools to approach both photographic objects and images.

What are some of the most interesting things about the history of photography?
For a variety of reasons (cultural, economic, social, technical), throughout the history of the medium a significant percentage of the greatest photographers have been women. In fact, it is possible to tell a coherent history of photography featuring only women artists…

Read More Here: Sarah Meister – Quora Session on Jun 27, 2016

The Daily Edit – Oprah Magazine: Jonathan Kambouris

OPR060116OBeau (1)

The Oprah Magazine

Photographer: Jonathan Kambouris
Prop Stylist: Marissa Gimeo

Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Jonathan: O, The Oprah magazine approached prop stylist Marissa Gimeno and myself to photograph Mac’s new line of cosmetics for the O, Beautiful! page in the June 2016 issue. The client wanted to emulate the Navajo print of the packaging and create the pattern with the actual cosmetics. I love a good graphic pattern and I was completely on board with this concept!

How did this mosaic pattern idea develop?
We were inspired by the print on the actual packaging so we narrowed down which print worked the best. I did a few sketches with the idea that one of the actual products would be photographed on top of the pattern we were creating, possibly a lipstick or eyeshadow. In the end we decided the strongest composition would be to create the pattern out of the eyeshadow, blush and powder textures with no product on top.

Tell us about the actual build and was the crumble a happy accident?
The magazine supplied us with the product from Mac. However, there was not quite enough to complete the entire pattern. Marissa and I discussed the best way to tackle this challenge. In the end, I decided it would be best to create at least half of the pattern(specifically the top half). Once I got the light tweaked I had to shoot this in a few different stages. There was a good amount of planning  on set to ensure that this image was successful. I wanted to capture everything in camera rather than flipping it in post so the lighting felt consistent and natural with the way it falls off on the bottom. So I photographed each half and then flipped it on set and recaptured again. Once I captured the entire background we played around with different options for the top element. My digital tech quickly composited the several captures so we could see it as one image and decide what we needed to capture more of. In the end the top crumbled piece was a unanimous favorite. We did several variations and really perfected this crumble to make sure it felt natural and perfect. It was not necessarily pre-planned, however, it evolved very intuitively on set and the end result captured exactly what I wanted the image to look like.

How long did it take to build?
Marissa Gimeno: It took me half a day to measure and cut the risers for the composition prior to the shoot. On set, it took approximately 3 hours to apply the makeup to the risers and finesse the final layout.

Did you need to have special tools to handle the makeup?
Marissa Gimeno:
Nothing too unusual that couldn’t be found in a still-life stylist’s kit such as palette knives, makeup brushes and a little ingenuity.

Joe Riis stuggles to find the balance when work takes over your life

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The short film “Joe” highlights Riis’s work in the Yellowstone ecosystem, but it also exposes a much more relatable side of him—the struggle to find balance between life and a job that has basically become his life. “Is my work worth spending more time on my work than my girlfriend?” he asks in the film. “Is my work worth essentially dedicating my life to it? And that changes from time to time. Sometimes I think that, and other times I think: You know, I should just pack it in. I should just go into town and get a job, and actually have a real relationship.”

Source: adventure journal – Joe and the Pronghorns

The Daily Promo: Kyle Johnson

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Kyle Johnson

Who printed it?
This piece was printed by the incredible team at Blanchette Press in Vancouver B.C. This promo is the second piece I have printed with them, going with well respected offset printers sets a high bar for quality.  I had the pleasure of going up to B.C and directly working with owner Kim Blanchette on our press day. It was interesting to see exactly how the analog process works and the subtle changes Kim would make to get the best images possible. He told us “Our goal is to create 3 dimensions existing within 2d space”. I truly think the difference in offset vs digital quality is worth the extra cost and most professionals in the industry appreciate the print quality when looking at the piece.

Who designed it?
I teamed up with the designers at Shore ( for this promo. We had worked on a similar print promo last year together and decided to keep the design similar referencing last years piece yet changing some things on size, color, etc.. Joe & Julian have become close friends over the years and they have a good feel for my aesthetic as a photographer.  I like how they use design elements that feel consistent with my style. It’s not “over designed” and allows the photography to be the focus.

Their passion for design and creating a quality print piece is another reason our collaborations have been successful. They know that although I might not be their biggest client, I share a love for quality and the final piece will be one we are both proud of and that I am willing to invest in. I have to thank them for also finding the interesting paper stock we used on the “faux cover” as well as the addition of white foil lettering for such a clean finish.

Who edited the images?
The initial edit was done myself. I had some favorite images that I knew I wanted in there. I did however work with my agent Maria Bianco before finalizing the piece. I really enjoy the editing process with her. I think personal promotion is a great chance to re-visit shoots from the past year and find some hidden outtakes that may of not made the final story. Pairing unrelated things you wouldn’t expect can make a great overall piece. Maria has a real talent for editing and helped me pair of some of my favorite spreads. I also think its important to mix some personal work with things from jobs. It shows photo editors and art buyers the images you truly love to make.

How many did you make?
I decided on making 500 for this piece. The price for offset printing isn’t cheap and you often do save money if you get a lot made, however for a special piece like this, I wanted it to be limited and directed at specific clients. I didn’t need to spend too much money sending it to tons of people who don’t make sense for my work.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to do one special high quality promo book piece like this one, as well as a few smaller postcard type mailers throughout one year.

Competition is not your biggest problem

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If your focus is on what’s wrong with the marketplace, and you’re caught up in the illusion that there’s no way you can succeed because of an overcrowded market, that’s full of young people who don’t know photography, then that is the reality that you create. You will live inside of that fantasy and your business will suffer.

If your focus however, is on developing the most competitive body of work you can produce and you then take the necessary steps needed to consistently sell and market your work, then you are laying the groundwork for the success that you seek.

Source: Selina Maitreya

Pricing and Negotiating: Ingredients for Food Packaging

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Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Still life images of ingredients on white

Licensing: Unlimited use of four images in perpetuity

Location: A studio in New York

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Food/still life specialist

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast

Client: Packaged food manufacturer

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The agency kicked off the project by describing a need for isolated close-up ingredient shots with “high appetite appeal” based on new variations of their flagship product. They had four new products, each of which required a unique image featuring ingredients of the flavors. The ingredients would be shot on white, and they’d ultimately be composited together with a textured background and a few other design elements.

The intended use for these images would be for product packaging, and there was a very limited chance they would end up in advertisements, although the products themselves (with the images on the packaging) could end up being integrated into other marketing pieces. It was apparent that the shelf life of the images would likely be a year or so as they refresh their product’s packaging somewhat frequently, but despite the intended use, the agency/client requested unlimited use of the four images in perpetuity.

With the intended use in mind, I wanted to price each image between $1,500-$3,000 based on previous experience with similar projects/clients. In this instance, we were given a budget of around $13,000, and given the potential expenses, I knew that would force us to tighten up the creative/licensing fee. After fleshing out the rest of the estimate, we ended up coming in at $6,500, which based upon the straightforward nature of the project and the photographer’s experience level, still seemed appropriate.

Assistant and Digital Tech: We included the cost for one assistant to lend a hand with grip/lighting, and also added a digital tech to ingest and display the files for approval on-site. The digital tech’s rate included his time at $500 for the day, plus a workstation rental at $600/day.

Food Stylist and Assistant: In addition to the food stylist’s time on set, she would also need a day beforehand to shop for the ingredients, and she’d have an assistant with her on the shoot day to prepare and organize the food. We included a few hundred dollars to source plenty of options, and this included a bit of a buffer in case any items needed to be special ordered and/or shipped in.

Studio Rental and Equipment: This rate afforded a studio with a kitchen and plenty of space to prep and shoot the ingredients. The photographer would be using all of her own equipment, rather than renting gear, and was comfortable waiving any equipment fees in order to stay within the client’s budget.

Lunch Catering: We anticipated 2 client/agency representatives to be on set, as well as the 5 crew members, and included $50 per person for lunch catering.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: The photographer would be traveling from a few hours away, and we wanted to make sure we included supplemental funds for transportation to/from the studio, as well as parking and unanticipated expenses that might arise.

Color Correction, File Cleanup, Clipping and Delivery of 4 Selects by FTP: The agency would be handling the compositing of the images with the other design elements and backgrounds, but they needed the photographer to do some basic processing and create the clipping paths for each shot. I felt $150/image would be appropriate for this work.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project. Right before the shoot, the scope of the project changed a bit, and there was a need to bring on a prop stylist (at $800/day) to source a few surfaces, plates, bowls and utensils. The agency also ended up needing more help with the post processing than originally anticipated, and the photographer hired a retoucher who worked through 4 rounds of processing, clipping and color alterations, which added about $3,000 to the final invoice.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

There is no better time to grow your team than at the beginning

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Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, AUGUST

Defining your aesthetic requires many hours of self-examination, trial and practice. However, once you are somewhat (because it’s continually evolving) where you need to be, your thoughts should turn to the formation of your team, i.e., #squadgoals. The importance of team development as a photographer cannot be over-emphasized. Often, during the evaluation process, Creative and Photo Directors want to know that you and the circle of professionals around you “get it”.

Virtually every top-tier artist has one or more trusted assistants, a preferred wardrobe stylist, hairstylist, makeup artist, and manicurist, without whom he/she will not breach the portals of a set.

As the photographer, you are the general, and the battle plan’s basic structure is your sole province. However, it makes sense to develop a coterie of professionals who clearly understand the plan-of-action and possess the chops to execute it flawlessly. Not a bunch of yes-men, but confident experts who can tweak your thoughts and take them further than you’d originally envisioned. Schedules may sometimes clash, which means that you will sometimes need to substitute one or two members of your core group, but in my experience, artists who maintain a consistent team create consistently impactful imagery.

There is no better time to grow your team than at the beginning stages of your career.

As you gain in experience, a team will also be able to convey the appearance of a well-oiled, business-like machine, adding to your professionalism. Remember that your team is also a marketing tool: they will sing your praises to their clientele as well. I always say “you never know where the next job will come from,” so having 5-6 people constantly in touch makes for close relationships that play out in measurable dividends: actual jobs, recommendations, synergistic partnerships.

In essence, you’re looking for like-minded individuals who, like you, are on the hustle and willing to contribute their talent in exchange for tearsheets.

A good place to start whittling your team is via personal projects. Here I’d like to digress and state that personal projects are absolutely critical to career development: they hone the practical, technical skills and stretch the creative muscle, without the fetters of a Creative Director or nervous Editor hovering over you.

Stretch your net wide: register your interest with SVA or a school with a recognized photography program, which are virtual assembly lines of assistants with sound, basic skills who can grow with you. Many of the terrific beauty brands have apprenticeships/ training programs, and you can post with them for junior stylists. Try the old, faithful Craigslist. Put up a flyer in a trend epicenter: for New Yorkers, Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg or the byways of the Lower East Side are hotbeds of hungry, young artists. Ask if you can leave business cards at the buzzy local coffee shop. When you go to a gallery opening or any similar arts-driven event (here the need to be social again rears its complex head:)), ask those you meet for recommendations. It’ll serve as a wonderful icebreaker in terms of conversation, and the professionals you meet will have on-the-money recommendations.

Once you’ve gotten in touch with a few people who seem promising, work with them on at least three shoots. Ensure that they are distinct enough that the artists you’re auditioning get to show you a fair amount of range: good for-instances would be a series of close-up beauty shots, a fashion story on location and a lifestyle project that unfolds a story of some sort, frame by frame.

And remain aware: you’re not only analyzing expertise, you are auditioning people skills. Are they on-time? Do they need a minimum of resources to operate efficiently or will they fold if there are no sleek amenities? I will always remember the first season of Brooklyn Fashion Week{end}, the non-profit I co-founded. Everything that could go wrong did. Amongst many crises: the guy that we’d rented chairs from still hadn’t delivered at model call time. So our hairstyling/makeup team simply turned over boxes for their equipment and perched the girls on the few tables we had. No one told them to do it. They improvised because that is what professionals do when faced with a problem.

Carefully monitor the way they interact with people on set. Are they yelling to get their way? What about speed/efficiency? Did they get the models on set, beautifully done, with a minimum of time?

There should be a seamless quality to on-set interaction. I’ve always said that the best barometer that things are working is a quiet set. Your team should be so in tune with one another that no words will need to be said- the hairstylist will know when hair should be touched up. The makeup artist should know just where to hover to easily address that bit of shine. Your assistant should anticipate your next move so easily that you won’t even register that he’s already held up the fill card you need. Props should be organized and out of harm’s way if not in use.

A word on clothing stylists: I’ve found that the clothing stylist is often the lynchpin to a good shoot.

He or she, via the choices made, can really tell a story and contribute to the overall impact of the imagery. A good stylist isn’t just someone able to pull great clothes via solid relationships; it’s someone who can creatively utilize disparate elements to achieve an actual, defining look. You shouldn’t look back and say “You know, every model looked like a carbon copy of what the stylist wore that day.”

Most likely you’ll be taking care of production logistics on your own, initially, but as your brand develops, you will want to extend your team to include an organized, level-headed producer.

All this effort needs a showcase, right? In terms of venues, go to the bookstore and take note of all the publications that aren’t produced by major publishing houses. Smaller magazines often welcome spec submissions, just be aware that there is often no fee for this. And review the magazine’s well features to ensure that what you’ll be submitting is an aesthetic fit.

Lastly: get a strong database management system in place. There are many terrific options in this connected world, from workhorse Excel spreadsheets to apps like CircleBack, which will not only convert email signatures into actual contacts and scan business cards, it will also remind you to update older contact information.

No good getting that boss team together if you can’t recall how to get in touch.

And while we’re on the subject, keep in touch, even if you don’t have a current project to staff. Be sure to reach out periodically or better, touch base IRL, so your peeps stay your peeps.

I’m going to take this a bit further: tag this post with emerging stylists/ assistants who are showing promise but need a more weighty portfolio.

Who knows- this bit of networking may help further your own journey.

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, AUGUST

(I proudly represent Art Streiber and have included, with his permission, images of him & his team on set.)






The Daily Promo – Lisa Shin

- - Working

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Lisa Shin

Who printed it?
Agency Access printed, inserted, sealed and mailed the entire project with considerable customer service.

Who designed it?
The talented Mr. Christopher Lee. Check him out!

Who edited the images?
I did with the feedback of my fabulous agency, Anderson Hopkins.

How many did you make?
2000 were printed and mailed, 200 held for leave behinds.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first print promo we have done in a while. We aim to send out 3 more mailers by the end of the year.

Who did you decide who to send the promo to?
Our mailing list is comprised of advertising agencies nationally and local editorial. My agency worked to understand who the best audience was given our total numbers. We hope to expand the list in future mailings.