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.
I’ve known Richard Kelly and Judy Herrmann for several years now through the ASMP and different panels and events I’ve been a part of, so when I heard from Richard that they were launching a new educational series for photographers I was intrigued. I think they are both excellent people, so I simply asked them to tell us all about it and you can decide if it’s something you want to check out.
Can you give me a little background on yourself and Judy?
We’re both working photographers and experienced educators. Judy and her partner, Mike Starke, run Herrmann + Starke in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. In 1994, as early adopters of digital photography, they recognized the business opportunities and competitive advantages of the technology. Frustrated by the lack of available information for photographers making that transition, they took it upon themselves to educate the professional community about digital photography and business practices. Since then, Judy has given literally hundreds of seminars on professional business practices for photographers. In fact, we met when Richard attended Working Digitally, a day-long workshop Judy & Mike presented in Pittsburgh on his 40th birthday.
Richard’s photography practice started in New York City, assisting and producing for fashion photographers. He began shooting front of the book for some major magazines and eventually relocated to Pittsburgh, where he realized how much he didn’t understand about business. He joined the local ASMP chapter and, with the help of some great mentors, began learning on the job. Not content to keep what he learned to himself, Richard began giving seminars and teaching at Pittsburgh Filmmakers where he helps students master both the craft and the business of photography. You can see his work at RichardKelly.com.
In the early 1990’s, we each separately attended an ASMP weekend workshop called Strictly Business, where we were both struck by concept of photographers helping photographers. We share a strong desire to use the challenges we’ve overcome and the hard-won knowledge we’ve gained to make the road easier for others to follow. It’s no surprise that we both became chapter leaders and later national ASMP presidents. Our experiences in our own businesses and in leadership roles at ASMP have given us a strong understanding of the variety of paths that can lead to professional success and the need for constant adaptation and evolution as creative entrepreneurs.
Through your involvement with ASMP and different panels and presentations to photographers groups you’ve seen the industry change quite a bit. What’s different today from when you started?
There are so many changes, it would be hard to list them all. Many of them, though, can be traced back to changes in how photography is created and viewed. On the craft side, the learning curve is not as steep and the tools are less expensive, so far more people are taking photographs than ever before. This is great and has led to a fantastic creative renaissance, but it also means that much of the bread and butter work that was profitable for professionals has gone away.
When people do hire professionals today, it’s often for very different reasons than in the past. When we were starting out, mastering the gear – knowing how to use a 4×5 camera or professional strobes – was enough of a differentiator to earn a living wage. Since everyone now has access to affordable tools that allow them to take technically perfect photographs, professionals have to bring a lot more to the table. It’s not enough to create great photographs – to have honed your craft and mastered the tools of your trade – that’s just the cost of entry. Today, more then ever, your understanding of all the complex elements that form the business side of the business matter more than ever before.
The connectivity that we all now have is awesome and also creates a radically different environment for the professional. We can see so many wonderful projects that people are creating – not just locally but all over the globe. For the first time in history, professional photographers have the opportunity to build and connect directly with vast audiences without going through a publisher or really any gatekeeper at all. That was not possible even 15 years ago. This new accessibility to the tools of production and distribution place us smack in the infancy of a new age of enlightenment for photography and it will be very exciting to see where it goes.
Tell us about the online series you’re launching?
Richard has been teaching at Pittsburgh Filmmakers the past nine years and every year, sees what he calls the two week rule kick in: about two weeks after students graduate from their photo programs, he starts to get the panicked calls from students wanting to know what they should do next. Many of these students had wonderful educational programs but for the first time in four years they don’t have an assignment. They know they should be doing something, but what?
We’ve both given countless seminars on business, marketing, copyright, licensing, releases, pricing, etc. and have seen first-hand that students and emerging photographers are not the only ones struggling with business practices. We’ve met hundreds of mid-career photographers with “gaps” in their practices that are really holding them back.
For several years, we’ve talked about running some kind of intensive bootcamp but presenting an in-person program that’s accessible to people all over the country was just too cost-prohibitive. So we’re taking advantage of digital technologies to build a modular series of e-learning courses that will guide the emerging photographer through the process of building their careers, while also filling the gaps for those who’ve already started down the path and don’t want to reinvent every single wheel themselves.
The series will allow us to share everything we’ve learned about starting, growing, running and reinventing a photography career – not just our own experiences but also everything we’ve learned from the thousands of photographers who’ve shared their stories with us over the years. Instead of locking our audience into a linear path, the modular structure will let them pick and choose which topics are the best investment for them.
We’re kicking off the series at 2:00 pm eastern, Thursday, June 26 with a free 60 minute introductory class called What You Really Need to Know. It provides a soup to nuts overview of everything professional photographers need to understand to build a successful business. Registration is open at http://asmp.adobeconnect.com/e29xfy2u5y7/event/registration.html and all registrants will get free access to the recording.
Our first module, Launching Your Career, runs from July 10 – 24. Designed for students, recent graduates or anyone transitioning into the field, it provides an in-depth understanding of the nuts and bolts of starting and running your own business. Registration is open at http://focusonyourbusiness.eventbrite.com/?aff=1a0
APhotoEditor.com readers can save $40 by registering here or entering the promo code APFgo at the main registration site [APE does not receive any kind of commission for this].
How does your program differ from others photographers may be considering?
From a philosophical standpoint, the big difference is that neither of us believes that there’s a one-size-fits-all formula for how to build a successful photography career. We’re not saying, “Do what I do” or selling a non-existent magic bullet. Instead, we’re providing a toolkit – we’re sharing information and insights we’ve gained from a wide range of sources along with a framework for thinking about your business that will help people figure out what’s going to give them the best outcomes no matter what their goals are or the challenges they encounter.
We’ve also designed a unique format. Not only does our modular approach allow registrants to choose the topics they want but each module includes lectures, readings, exercises and live online office hours where we log into the e-learning platform with our students to take questions and discuss whatever they’re struggling with. The lectures provide insights and information. The readings deepen your understanding. The exercises personalize the information and foster deeper thinking. But it’s the Office Hours – where we’re interacting with our students and providing real time answers after they’ve had a chance to process and apply the information – that really set us apart.
Does the future of photography look bright to you? What can emerging photographers expect?
We are absolutely living through a new golden age for photography; the accessibility of capture tools and editing software plus the ease of getting your work out into the world has heralded a creative resurgence that shows no signs of slowing.
For professional photographers, though, the rate of change has created some significant challenges. There used to be clear career paths in this industry – you might become a staffer, a freelancer or start your own studio but if you followed certain steps you were almost guaranteed a decent living. Today, those paths are less clear and there are far fewer guarantees, but as communications become increasingly visual and audiences get more visually sophisticated, we’re seeing some great opportunities moving forward.
There are more collaborative opportunities for creative working together rather than going it alone. Our clients are starting to use photography in new and unique ways – often with the photographer as the lead creative – which allows for exciting new business models. Companies are starting to realize that repurposing print & TV content or taking a “DIY” approach to online and social media uses isn’t effective and are hiring professionals to create work just for these channels. So yes, despite the challenge of learning how to adapt to ongoing change (which is one of the big factors that drove us to create this new series), we see a bright future for professional photographers as well.
That’s not to say it will be easy. Emerging photographers – you need to be prepared to work your ass off. You’ll need a solid work ethic and a fierce commitment to this profession. You’ll need to invest the same time and energy into mastering the business side as you put into mastering your craft. But, if you put some real thought into designing your career, master some basic business practices and learn how to apply your creative problem solving skills to business decisions, we believe you can build a sustainable and satisfying career as a professional photographer.
I’m writing to let you know that my next film, KORENGAL, is about to come out on May 30th in New York. Tim and I had planned to make a follow-up to Restrepo, but a few weeks after going to the Oscars, Tim was killed in Libya while covering the civil war. I teamed up with our original editor and continued the project anyway. Restrepo was intended to give civilians an idea of what combat feels like; KORENGAL is completely different. It is meant to help soldiers – and civilians – understand the experience of war. How does fear work? What is courage? Why do so many soldiers miss the war? Why is it so hard to come home?
KORENGAL is completely self-financed and self-released. The upside is that no one could tell us how to make our film; the downside is that it is incredibly hard – and expensive – to get an independent film to hit critical mass and go nationwide. But that is exactly what we are going to try to do. If we sell out the Sunshine Theater (Houston and First Avenue) on opening weekend (May 29-June 1), Landmark will take our film nationwide. It will be a real victory for independent film – and for the whole national conversation about war and its aftermath.
In addition, a ticket stub from the film will get you a free beer or house wine at the Half King (23rd Street and Tenth Avenue ) on opening weekend.
Below is a link to pre-buy tickets. Obviously the daytime shows are the hardest to fill, so if you can go to those instead of an evening show, that would be fantastic. Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to hear what you think of our film.
Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to hear what you think of our film.
If you haven’t seen the slideshow for American Photography 30 check it out here: http://www.ai-ap.com/slideshow/AP/30/
Winners we’re announced at the end of April. Congratulations to everyone who made it.
M. Sharkey is an award winning portrait photographer and filmmaker living in NYC. He began his “Queer Kids” project in 2006 not long after Time Magazine published “The Battle Over Gay Teens: What happens when you come out as a kid?” as the issue of gay youth was beginning to gain national attention. Sharkey’s editors at Getty were among the first people to support the project; knowing it would have legs, they provided a producer to liaise between Sharkey and kids at youth organizations across the US.
By 2010 he had photographed gay and bisexual teens in several states, and aCurator, my online photo mag, had published a series. By 2011 the project was picking up steam with multiple editorial features here and abroad.
When French magazine “Be” contacted the Paris office of Getty about hiring Sharkey for an assignment to photograph “hipsters,” Sharkey and the writer became good buddies; it turned out her father owns a gallery in Perpignan, and in 2012 Queer Kids had its debut in Perpignan, coinciding with Visa Pour L’Image. An organization in Brussels learned about Queer Kids from the exhibition’s press release, leading to an artist residency for Sharkey to show the series so far and to make a new body of work in Belgium. These photographs are themselves being exhibited now at Rainbow House in Brussels.
Meanwhile a feature in Time Lightbox had drawn the attention of the production director at Getty’s Paris office, Marie Borrel, who followed the project closely and when she was tasked with finding just three photographers to show at la Nuit de l’Année at Rencontres d’Arles this year, she selected “Queer Kids.” In July, the work will be projected alongside 8 other photographers on 14 screens around town.
Sharkey travels to exhibit and speak about the series. He is applying for grants and will go on to make portraits in Europe (especially Eastern) as well as Asia and South America.
© M. Sharkey
On April 18, an avalanche on Mount Everest swept through a line of Sherpas preparing the climbing route for their commercial clients. Sixteen men were killed, making it the deadliest day in the mountain’s history.
We are a group of ten photographers who have worked extensively with the Sherpa people and are devastated by this tragedy. For us, this is a moment to ask how we can help our Sherpa friends—both in this time of crisis and in the years to come. As a first step, we are donating the prints you see here, a selection of our photographs of the Everest region and its people, curated by our editors, National Geographic’s Sadie Quarrier and Outside’s Amy Silverman. One-hundred percent of proceeds from this sale (after the cost of printing) will go to the Sherpa community via the nonprofit Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, which has been working with Sherpa climbers in the Khumbu since 2003.
Go here to purchase a print: http://www.sherpasfund.org/
Sale ends midnight tonight PST
Sadly, found this amazing video because of this:
In January, Frere-Jones filed a lawsuit against Hoefler, saying that their company was not actually a partnership, but a long con in which Hoefler had tricked him into signing over the rights to all of his work, cheating Frere-Jones out of his half of the business. “In the most profound treachery and sustained exploitation of friendship, trust and confidence, Hoefler accepted all the benefits provided by Frere-Jones while repeatedly promising Frere-Jones that he would give him the agreed equity, only to refuse to do so when finally demanded,” the complaint charges. Frere-Jones is asking a court to grant him $20 million.
Until recently I had no interest in the convergence of stills and motion. I bought a Canon 5d mark II well after the surge of photographer-made videos, and owned that camera for more than a year before I switched it to video mode. That was at the urging of my agent who had been telling me that it was becoming important to have some examples of moving-image to show clients. I shot one crummy video and went back to using my 35mm film SLR. I’d heard that photographers of the future would be shooting with magical hybrid cameras, but it didn’t seem relevant to my process (my camera of choice when shooting a portrait or a fashion story is still a Pentax 67). I knew that some photographers had been extracting stills from RED footage, but that was all purely academic, something that the Steven Kliens of the world were doing that made little sense for the way that I worked.
November of last year a friend let me know that RED was selling off their old Red One cameras at shockingly affordable price. These were cameras that company had taken as traded-in, and they’d been outfitted with a new sensor. Bigger and heavier than RED’s current models but fully capable of shooting a Hollywood feature. It seemed like an amazing opportunity and without nearly enough thought, I launched into a whole new dimension of my career. It’s now been a year since my first small moving-image production, and looking back it’s amazing to see how my mindset and how my way of working has changed. I thought I would share my understanding of what the latest breakthrough in cameras means for me.
I was looking to upgrade to a newer cinema camera, having outgrown the Red One. RED had recently announced an entirely new sensor. Current owners of the RED Epic could have their camera-bodies upgraded with the new 6k Dragon sensor (The Dragon camera is also available new, but, well, it’s complicated.
RED has sort of tiered approach to ownership, which is a topic for another day.) I bought a camera from a guy who was already waiting in the upgrade line, he had quite a good spot as it turned out. Overnight I went from being 15-years behind the times to using a camera that only a handful of people in the world had access to.
Red has been claiming that their cameras were capable of producing a usable still image for some time now, and to be fair that was sorta’ true. With the best resources it was possible and there are Vogue covers to prove it, but, having pulled stills from both Red One and Epic cameras I have to say, the results were, maybe not underwhelming, but not exactly overwhelming either, maybe just whelming? But for anyone tempted to dismiss the latest hype about the Dragon camera as nothing more than the same predictable public relations blast, I will tell you, for me, this camera changes everything. The Dragon allows you to shoot still images and motion images simultaneously.
A few numbers, for the uninitiated: RED’s new Epic ‘Dragon’ is capable of producing 6k files. What that means is that each frame can be up to 19.4 megapixel or 6144 x 3160 which gives you a 20.48” x 10.53” image at 300dpi. The sensor boasts a 16.5 stop dynamic range. Where the original Epic had a native ISO of 800, the Dragon performs well between 200 and 2000. Less impressive than the latest 35mm DSLRs but far more forgiving than current medium-format offerings (it is worth noting that DSLRs make use of ‘in-camera’ noise reduction, and which still results in significant loss of detail at high ISO settings.)
There are all kind of color-charts and controlled tests that plot one camera or film or digital back against another. I leave that kind of testing to people who are a good deal more thorough than I am. But after taking this thing out for a spin the difference was obvious. Shooting under the hot-noon sun yielded very similar results to print film, in terms of color rendering and contrast. There is also a sharp yet smooth quality to the images, like a high-resolution scan of medium-format film. In fact this ‘movie camera’ produces the best digital stills I’ve ever seen. I include in that list the Sony f55, the Arri Alexa, any and all DSLRs, Leica’s M9 and S2, The new Phase One back and even the Hasselblad that looks like a Ferrari, all of them. The Dragon is the first digital camera that has made me hopeful that I will be able to continue shooting images that match the look and feel of my current work even with the impending demise of film.
What does this all mean? Potentially it could mean a lot of things. One thing it could mean is that in many cases, photographers could be replaced. Talented DP’s who shoot day-in-day-out, use the sharpest lenses known to man and have a team of people to light a scene, they know how to take pictures, really good pictures. Now extracting those pictures is easier than ever, and the resolution of those pictures is greater than ever. Why bring in a photographer who’s going to disrupt the workflow when you could just reset, quickly change your shutterspeed/ISO (if that’s even necessary.) Imagine a 1st A.D. yelling out “Capturing for print! Okay, moving on.” Scary right?
Alternatively… say you’re hired to shoot stills but in addition to the stills you end up with broadcast-quality footage, footage that you could license to the client. Exciting right?
It’s what Homer Simpson might call a “crisi-tunity.” You can make of it what you will, but there’s every chance the world will change a little bit, for better or for worse, or perhaps for better and for worse.
Thrilled as I am with my new camera and all that it does, I will be the first to tell you that having your still camera wrapped up in a movie camera creates some difficulties. Here are a few things to consider:
Crisis: Expensive, buying the camera is just the start
Opportunity: Two cameras for the price of one. As expensive as the Dragon is, when is the last time Canon or Nikon allowed you to swap out your sensor rather than simply selling you a new camera? Or offered a factory trade-in program? The fact is for a camera that shoots capital M Movies the Dragon comparatively cheap. Red has also kept the same form factor, despite criticisms (believe it or not) that the camera is too small. The advantage there is that accessories carry over between models, even after upgrades. There are also a number of third-party manufacturers such as Wooden Camera that make some very clever and affordable components.
Crisis: You’ll need lots of it, backed up even. See above.
Crisis: If you like to chimp in the field (you know: shoot, look, shoot, look) it’s not nearly so quick to review footage, especially slow motion to double-check that you’ve got the shot.
Opportunity: When you’re editing you have the opportunity to find moments you hadn’t considered during capture. On slow-motion takes you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact timing you’re after. Also, programs like Premiere Pro 6 handle the native RAW files in a really interesting way, allowing your to review and edit the footage at a lower resolution, if you edit at say ¼ resolution, the footage is still sharp (HD sharp actually) but even a laptop is often able to play everything in real time. This is a huge leap forward from the old days of RED footage, the memory of which still haunts a lot of people who will tell you that the post workflow with RED cameras is prohibitively cumbersome. These are the people who thought that Elvis’ pelvic gyrations on the Ed Sullivan show were too obscene for the viewing public. Feel free to ignore these people.
Crisis: Cinema lenses are expensive and heavy.
Opportunity: Interchangeable mounts allow you to use your ‘still’ lenses, also cinema lenses can be incredibly sharp. Also, when collimated the ‘witness marks’ (distance scale) are accurate, so you can measure to ensure focus, or set marks on the lens to track focus on moving subjects. Inferior to tracking autofocus in some ways, better in others.
Crisis: Heavy! Hand holdable, but flying with cinema gear is a drag. Lugging it around a set is a drag.
Opportunity: Solidly built, steadier than your 7d footage. The system is modular and can be configured in all kinds of ways, from a fairly portable one all the way to a Hollywood technocrane setup.
Crisis: Lots to learn, from the gear to the workflow, to the jargon.
Opportunity: Lots of support to help you learn. Learning is fun. Mashing buttons is learning!
The Dragon is just the first of many cameras will further blur the line between still and motion capture. No matter how you feel about that, this is not the time stick your head in the sand, or to wait for the storm to pass, or to hope that the genie will go back in the bottle. Quite the opposite, which I guess means that, it’s time to emerge from the sand during a storm and unleash a genie? What I’m trying to say is that sooner or later this kind of technology will become commonplace, and you should think about what that will mean for how you work and how you market your talents.
Last week news broke that Getty Images was making the majority of its collection available for editorial and acedemic embedding as long as they can append a footer at the bottom of the picture. The Verge reported that according to Craig Peters, a business development exec at Getty Images the ship sailed long ago as far as trying to prevent unauthorized use of their images online (story here) and their “content was everywhere already”.
Peter Krogh of The DAM Book has a different take on the situation. He speculates that the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm that has majority ownership of Getty is looking to cash out before a 1.2 billion dollar loan comes due in 2016 and given that Getty’s 2011 revenue was $900 million their profit is likely a small fraction of that and so they need to do something quickly to increase the value of the company.
Peter goes on to theorize that the whole embedding business is about gathering information which I agree can be more valuable than money to investors. You should read his entire post here: http://thedambook.com/getty-did-what
You only have to look the Facebook purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp or the stock price of Twitter to understand that users are more valuable than revenue. So I think Getty is going to get on the user bandwagon by allowing free use of their images. What’s crazy about everyone getting on the user bandwagon is they all have the same plan to make money in the end: advertising. I think some simple math will prove that adding up all the minutes spent on an application times the current ad rates does not equal the valuation all these companies supposedly have. Getty is very late to a game of chicken with companies that have a tiny fraction of the overhead. All signs point to a writedown for the Carlyle Group in 2016.
JR is amazing.
I’m excited to be attending the Texas Photo Roundup this year to interview Andy Anderson about his career and moderate a panel on social media for photographers. Andy’s also leading a workshop if you want to get even more insight from him. Information below:
In Conversation: Andy Anderson and Rob Haggart
Saturday, March 1 / 10:30am – 12:00pm Location: Long Center Kodosky Donor Lounge Join Rob Haggart, award-winning photo editor and founder of popular photography blog APhotoEditor.com, and Andy Anderson, acclaimed commercial and editorial photographer, for a frank one-on-one conversation. Andy and Rob will talk about Andy’s career, how he got his start, the challenges he’s faced, how he stays true to his vision and more. Q&A to follow. REGISTER HERE Or purchase an All Access Pass to all the morning talks and presentations
Andy Anderson Workshop: Keeping your Personal Vision Under the Demands of a Commercial Market
Thursday, February 27 / 9-6pm Friday, February 28 / 9-5pm Location: Whitebox Studio REGISTER HERE Join commercial and editorial photographer Andy Anderson for a unique 2-day workshop. One of the hardest situations a photographer can experience is staying true to one’s own personal style in the face of a commercial assignment where photo editors, art directors or account planners are all focusing on their objectives for a shoot. Making sure you are not just taking orders from these people — but instead bringing your own personal style and vision to life in the context of the assignment — is the ultimate goal. This is what we will work together to achieve over the course of this workshop.
I’m reposting this from our sister blog Photography and Architecture, because I think Joshua Dool has such smart answers to the question Why do architectural photographers charge so much?
Blue Planet Aquarium, Copenhagen. Designed by Danish architects 3XN. All images © Joshua Dool
Joshua Dool is an award-winning architectural and industrial photographer based in Vancouver, Canada. Joshua was interested in both architecture and photography from a young age but photography won out. We wanted to hear about the skills required to properly photograph a building, the costs to the architect, and how a photographer can be creative in meeting budgets – he was kindly most forthcoming.
Q: What justifies the cost of strong architectural imagery?
JD: Photography isn’t much different than anything else. Fast and cheap doesn’t equal good. With architecture photography, it takes time to get the perfect angle and the perfect lighting, so the fast category doesn’t really even apply to it. So then, we are left with either cheap or good, and you probably aren’t going to get both.
My experience has been: the cheaper the photographer, the poorer the image looks, and in a society that is becoming increasingly visually literate, thanks to social media and the internet, fantastic photos are a must! Strong images strengthen a brand, weak images diminish a brand. This is true for all advertising, and it is especially true for architecture. Great projects deserve great photos to represent them, because at the end of the day, for the vast majority of an architect’s future clients, this will be the only way they ever get to interact with that design!
This doesn’t mean the more expensive the better, but it does mean that good imagery comes at a justified price. Half-rate images can make a fantastic project look crappy, and fantastic images can make an average project really stick out. The strength of the imagery is going to define whether the local paper or national magazine features it; it will affect how professional your website looks; it’s going to be the face of that project for awards consideration, and it’s going to determine whether the project images get onto social media which can generate A LOT of buzz and flow to your website.
Q: Why do architecture photographers charge so much, and what is associated with the cost?
JD: Several things are associated with producing professional images. In order to produce great architecture photos, you need a decent amount of gear, and a lot of knowledge specific to the field of architecture photography.
It takes time to scout locations, find angles, and map the sun through the course of the day in order to show up and capture great images on the day of production. Most shoots require one day of scouting, and one or two days of actual capture, but then the images are not ready out of the camera either, and can often take another one to three hours per photo in postproduction. So, there is a considerable time investment in photographing architecture properly.
Professional camera equipment and lighting is not cheap either. I arrive on a shoot with usually $20k+ worth of my own gear. I have pro-camera systems, tilt shift lenses, a few strobe kits, large reflectors, multiple tripods, and then a swath of gear at home for editing the photos in post production. It’s an incredibly expensive form of photography. And then, in order for me to hone my craft and get proficient at using all the cameras, lighting, and reflector systems I use, I’ve put my time in assisting other photographers, doing lighting on movie sets, and in photo school. Architecture photography is a very specialized form of photography, and isn’t something that just anyone can do, especially if you want quality results.
Q: Do you find that a lot of clients are suprised at the cost of photography?
JD: Price is often a big factor, especially for smaller/newer firms. I am cognizant of this, and I am always happy to try to meet a price point where I can in order to build a relationship with a new firm.
I’ve had a specific scenario happen a few times this last year, where a firm has contacted me requesting a quote for me to photograph several of their projects. After collecting bids from a few different photographers, they called me back to see if I could budge my rate, basically saying that they wanted me as their photographer, but at the other guy’s price. So, I did my best to make something work, but they ended up going for the cheapest quote they’d received. In both of these instances, they didn’t end up posting any of the photographs from the other photographer on their website because they were unhappy with the results.
It’s a common practice for newer, less experienced photographers to try to compete on price point instead of on quality of imagery. The truth is, in order to work at some of these cut-throat prices, these photographers have to be either jet-set trust fund kids who are doing it as a passion and not for the money, or they are photographers who don’t have the same level of expertise and quality of equipment, and who probably won’t be around in another year to photograph your next project. That is, if you would even want them to!
I’m a big fan of architecture so it saddens me to see great projects end up being captured poorly.
Q: Is there a way that architects can keep the costs down or operate within a budget?
JD: YES! There are a few ways:
They can let the photographer know the budget they are working with, and see if the photographer has any suggestions. Personally, the best way to lower the price for me is to book me for two or more projects, as I offer discounts to firms when they package together a few commissions.
Or perhaps the photographer has a month with nothing booked they could move the shoot to, and offer a reduced rate. Here in Vancouver, it rains from November to March, so I would be more inclined to offer a discount on an interior shoot if it took place in the months I’m not busy shooting exteriors in the sunshine!
Another way is to perhaps shave a couple images off the wishlist, and make it a one day shoot instead of a two or three day shoot. Would you rather have image 12 images that look great, or have all 18 and run the risk of the discount photographer messing it up?
Q: What gets you excited about architecture photography?
JD: I am especially intrigued by the human interaction with architecture. Architecture is after all designed for people. So I try to include a human element in my photographs. Early on, I noticed that most renderings the architects had included people, because this is how they sell the functionality of the design, but most photographs I was seeing were empty spaces devoid of human life. Being around great architecture is exciting, and seeing how structure are utilized, how they shape peoples daily experiences, and how they serve there intended purpose is one area I’m especially fascinated with in my photography.
Blue Planet Aquarium.
Peace Bridge, Calgary. Santiago Calatrava.
8 House, Copenhagen. Bjarke Ingels.
UBC Pharmaceutical, Vancouver. Saucier + Perrote.
Bella Sky Hotel, Copenhagen. 3XN.
Feeling the challenges of 2014? Take a moment to reflect on this: