Category "Working"

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

- - Working

webb_cover_render_1

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

- - Working

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

- - Working

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: http://aperture.org/blog/design-photobook/

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

- - Working

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:

https://www.facebook.com/dennis.keeley

Not Marketing Has Devastating Effects On Business

- - Working

…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

- - Working

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.

More: TheCopyrightZone.com

The Role Of Publishers In Photojournalism and Manipulation

- - Working

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

- - Working

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

- - Working

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

- - Working

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.24.23 AM

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 12.15.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 12.15.08 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 12.15.15 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 12.15.20 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 12.15.25 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 12.15.31 PM

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 (www.madebyshore.com) 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

- - Working

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

- - Working

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

- - Agents, Working

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.)

1

2

3

4

5

The Daily Promo – Lisa Shin

- - Working

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.26.26 PM

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.26.12 PM
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.

Hustle Is The Secret Ingredient In Professional Photography

- - Agents, Working

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, AUGUST

I was having coffee with a colleague the other day and remarked that I felt that in terms of making it in New York as a photographer, talent was only a small part of the battle. My colleague’s answer? “Oh, I actually think talent counts for only 30% of the equation”. This from an executive at one of the top-tier media conglomerates.

Increasingly, I’ve come to the conclusion that hustle is the secret ingredient.

I’ve been in the business for a decade now and I am still amazed that getting to look at art, all the livelong day, is my job. It’s something I truly love: communing with artists, delving into their process and getting them where they need to be professionally is what has made this stage of my career (I’ve at various times been a television producer, in-house marketing executive for a restaurant chain and co-founder of a fashion non-profit) so incredibly fulfilling.

However, the time I’ve logged has taught me a great deal in terms of who makes it and who doesn’t. Leslie Sweeney, one of the founders of the iconic firm Art + Commerce, once remarked to me that “this is such a subjective business”. You go with your gut a lot, what appeals to you viscerally. The first impression I get when I review a portfolio is generally the truest. I have an especially soft spot for new artists, the kids who are only just beginning to dip their toes into these murky waters.
There are so many gifted shooters out there, who seemingly keep missing that big break, while others with less ability seem to move forward effortlessly. What is it, really, that separates the wheat from the chaff? What accounts for the rise and longevity of a Martin Schoeller or an Inez and Vinoodh?
I think the secret ingredient is hustle.

If I may, therefore, I’d like to line up what I believe fuels that flame:

1. Work. It’s not enough to be a good shooter anymore. There’s so much out there visually that standing out truly takes a borderline obnoxious form of persistence. In my own day-to-day, I’ve realized that to get things done, to get through to the people with whom I want to develop partnerships or cultivate as clients, I have to keep knocking at that door constantly. So too must the artist. The good news is that your natural creative bent will allow you to dream up ways to distinguish yourself without becoming a pain. Don’t be discouraged. Keep pushing.

2. Promotion, Including Lo-Fi. A photographer with a defined promotional strategy wins the day. Social media and online promotional activities are huge and important, but their very ubiquity in today’s business transactions makes a printed piece all the more distinctive. In defining your promotional budget (and you should have one) set aside funds for at least 1 printed piece that lands on the desks of the editorial staff or art buyers you’d like to work with. I’m a particular fan of useful promotions, so think of what you’d appreciate. Talk to an editor about his/ her workday and perhaps an ingenious idea may emerge, for example: a beautifully wrapped box with 5 prints in varying sizes, perfect for the office or home gallery wall. You’d be remembered because that sort of thing rarely happens and people love to get an unexpected package in the mail.

3. A Head for Business. Signing with an Agent does not abdicate your responsibility to know what is being done and what has been signed on your behalf. Take the time to read your contracts. In the digital age, they have become increasingly complex, as companies of all stripes recognize the content value and longevity of the images they commission. Often artists are so eager to be on board with a title, they will go straight to the signature page, only to discover later on that they’ve signed away all their rights. Even if you agree to take a hit financially for exposure, sit with the Assigning Editor and see what else they might be able to do in terms of promotion that might be helpful to you. Maybe you do a piece for the magazine on selfies that slides in some of your personal work. Or perhaps you can negotiate for 2-3 advertorials, that both pay and align you with a big brand. And when you do get an Agent, be sure they’re a good fit. Do your due diligence and ensure that they have the relationships they claim to, because we necessarily talk a good game. Insist on a 12 month plan-of-action and check in often to review how things are going and adjust strategy if necessary. As I once told an artist having issues with his Assignment Agent: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

4. Network Cultivation. Be out. Be visible. If you’re not a social animal, unfortunately you’ll have to become “that guy”. When I first started, I realized that a lot of important stuff gets discussed during the inevitable smoke breaks, so I made sure I was out there too. I’ve witnessed photographers get jobs over cocktails. If you’re not a drinker, corral a few editors for a coffee. Go to the openings of established artists- there are sure to be influential people present. And be prepared for opportunity with a quick little flip book on your phone and a sleek business card.

5. Shoot. A Lot. While you’re building your network, hone your art. Stretch yourself. One of the things I admire about the incredible Inez and Vinoodh is that they never settle. They are at the top of their game but they are always reaching, as if they only started yesterday and that’s why their work is consistently surprising and brilliant. I’m also still a big fan of technical prowess- you should know the correct way to light a set, for example, and not rely on the “take-a-ton-of-pictures-and-hope-some-come-out-right” methodology. All of this takes practice.

6. Niceness. We’re all human and people like to work with the people they like. Personality counts heavily toward landing an assignment and if you’re overbearing or throw up a wall in the face of suggestions, no one is going to want to spend hours dealing with that. This is particularly important during celebrity assignments. An A-list cover shoot has made (and broken) many a career. You want publicists to go: “The photographer has to be X” aka you.
That said, you need to be able to be the boss of your set. Be polite but firm, in charge but open.

The moral of the story? Anything worth having requires planning and considerable effort. This is applicable to anything in life, but particularly necessary in making it in the arts in a city teeming with talent.

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, AUGUST