The Art of the Personal Project: Steve & Anne Truppe

- - Personal Project

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Steve & Anne Truppe
















How long have you been shooting?
5 years

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
We have always been drawn to local businesses that combine good people, beautiful spaces, and delicious food, plus we are huge coffee junkies. Heritage General Store hits all of those high notes for us–it’s a killer coffee shop, they have their own line of bicycles, and it’s run by the sweetest people. We decided to document the energy and character of the environment to bring attention and support to this wonderful establishment.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
This shoot only lasted a few hours, but the idea of it is deeply rooted in our beliefs of supporting local businesses that are doing great things.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
It really depends on how elaborate the idea is and how much production it involves. Sometimes it is only a few hours, sometimes it’s years. There was a shoot we did this year that involved live ducklings which we had to plan for months in advance and then wait for the little peepers to be born! Currently we are working on a personal video project that has taken almost a year to complete, so it really differs. We typically want to take the time to craft a cohesive story and vision for any personal project we work on, but sometimes it is nice to just dive into an environment and document things as they unfold like we did with Heritage General Store.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different? It feels very freeing to shoot personal work, but also challenging. Sometimes we get bogged down by the daily grind, leaving little room for the creative juices to flow, but it is extremely rewarding to see our ideas materialize. We’ve also noticed that showing personal work has attracted prospective clients and ends up shaping and influencing our paid gigs.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Not viral, but we have been featured on some great places: ADC Global, Working Not Working, and The Chicago Tribune.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
We have! What we have found is that our personal work tends to be the thing that connects with people the most. Plus, since they are passion projects, there is an excitement that comes out when we talk about it which can be infectious.

Artist Statement
As photographers with backgrounds in architecture, we have always been inspired by what makes a place special. It’s the people, the details, the process, the design, and the environment that brings that story to life for us. With documenting Heritage General Store, we were given free reign by them to do what we needed to do, even allowing us to jump behind the bar with the barista. Diving right in like that helps us to create authentic imagery that gets to the heart of what a place is all about.


Steve + Anne Truppe are a Chicago-based husband and wife photography and video team who strive to evoke emotion and authenticity in all of their work.

While studying architectural design at the same college, they quickly discovered how well their creative visions meshed, but decided to pursue a joint passion in photography instead. Together they established TRU STUDIO, shooting side by side on commercial and advertising projects.

Steve and Anne love to travel and explore new places while sipping delicious coffees. Every Friday Steve and Anne make homemade pizza, which they have dubbed ‘Pizza Friday!’

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

Pricing and Negotiating: Lifestyle Shoot for a Pharmaceutical Company

by Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Lifestyle images of two friends interacting

Licensing: Trade Advertising and Trade Collateral use of two images in the US for two years.

Location: A residential property

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Portraiture specialist in the Northeast.

Agency: Medium sized, based in the Midwest.

Client: A pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: While the creative brief called for one scenario and a single hero shot, the client hoped to acquire rights to two final images of the talent photographed in the same scenario, but with slight changes to their expressions, props and camera angle. I felt the second image would be a bit less valuable, but different enough that they’d be able to use in unique ways or to present a different message. Taking that and my previous experience pricing similar projects into consideration, I priced the first image at $7,000 and the second image at $5,000. I typically try to determine the licensing value for a single year first, and then extrapolate to account for additional years. However, while I might typically add 50% to jump from one year to two years, I felt that based on the simplicity of the concept and the likelihood of a limited shelf life to these images, that the price increase wasn’t justified. I also found out during conversation with the art buyer that their budget was around 50k, and I wanted to present appropriate fees while still keeping this in mind.

After determining what I felt was an appropriate fee, I checked other pricing resources to see what they suggested as well. While Blinkbid calculated a fee around $15,000, FotoQuote didn’t have a rate that included all advertising and collateral use while also taking into account trade and/or consumer usage. Getty suggests a price of $4,800 per image for print advertising, but didn’t have a catch-all collateral pricing rate or the option for specific trade usage. Corbis offers a “Print Ad, Collateral and Web Pack”, which seemed to fit the requested licensing nicely, and suggested a price close to $15,000 per image per year, but also didn’t include an option for trade usage.

The agency asked for an option to expand the licensing from trade to consumer use within a concurrent time frame, and I felt that this increase should fall somewhere in between an additional 50% to 100% of the fee, or at least be as valuable as 100% of the first hero shot. I settled on $7,500 to make it a palatable option, while also realizing the agency would have to take into account increased talent rates (which I developed with our casting director).

Photographer Scout Day: We planned to do a walkthrough of the location before the shoot, so I made sure to include pre-production time for the photographer to attend.

B-Roll Videographer and Video Equipment: While photography was definitely the main objective, the agency hoped to acquire video content as well during the shoot. The video was to mirror the photography but capture very subtle movement of the talent. Given the limited creative responsibilities, I felt $1,500 would cover a camera operator who could also offer grip and lighting expertise. I anticipated that the $1,000 would cover his camera, a basic slider and video monitors for the client to view the content they would be capturing.

First and Second Assistants: We’d need extra hands on site, not only to help set up and break down, but to also assist with moving furniture around and putting it back in place alongside the styling team.

Digital Tech: I anticipated a tech to charge $500/day and added $750 for a computer workstation and monitors for the client to review the images being captured.

Producer: This included three prep days, one scout day, one shoot day and one wrap day. With a crew this size and lengthy list of logistics to monitor, a producer would be a key role to take on those responsibilities.

Location Scout, Location Fee: Upon initial discussion regarding the creative direction, the client was looking for a pretty straightforward and simple residential property. Since most location scouts have plenty of residential properties that would fit this bill in their database, I included one day to account for a file pull, and one day to account for extra time they might need to spend shooting new pictures of the location we chose or to find additional options. In the area where the shoot would take place, and based on prior experience, I felt a location fee of $2,000 would return a solid list of options to choose from.

Production RV: When possible, I always try to include a production RV for shoots like this to keep as many cooks out of the kitchen as possible. An RV would afford a place for the stylists to set up, space for talent to wait, an area to arrange catering, and a private area with wifi for the client if needed. Many RVs charge $800-$900/day, but then mileage, dumping fees, generator run time and other charges are often added on which add up quickly. I included a buffer and bumped the rate to $1,200 to be safe.

Live Casting and Talent: The agency requested a live casting (rather than casting from cards) and wanted to capture video of each talent to see how they presented themselves and interacted with others. I contacted a local casting agency who quoted $950 to cover their prep time, a half day for the casting, delivery of the results and booking of two talent (the rate felt quite cheap from a print production perspective, but similar to rates I’ve seen other casting agencies quote that primarily cater to the video industry). I also discussed talent rates with the casting agent and determined that a fee of $3,000 per person would return a decent talent pool to choose from.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: Since the talent count was minimal, we included a hair/makeup stylist without an assistant for the day.

Wardrobe/Prop Styling: The wardrobe requested was rather straightforward, and after a conversation with a local stylist, we were confident that they needed just one assistant to accomplish the project. We included two prep days, one shoot day and one return day for both the stylist and their assistant. We anticipated that $350 per talent would be more than enough to cover non-returnable wardrobe, and that $1,650 would be a good starting point for extra props to fill out a room in a residential property (tables, chairs, other small pieces of furniture, flowers, picture frames, vases, etc). Since some of these items would be rather large, we included the cost of a van to help transport everything.

Equipment: At the time of estimating, we were debating whether it would make sense to shoot with strobes and then set up continuous lights for the video, or if we should just use the lighting setup for video and have the photographer just shoot without his strobes. Either way, I was confident that $1,500 would cover the photographer’s gear should he choose to use it, or it could be added to the $1,000 already included for the videographers gear to help supplement that to include a lighting setup.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included $250 for the photographer to do a quick edit and provide a web gallery, while adding $100 per image to touch up the chosen files and deliver them to the agency. I’d typically increase the rate for the gallery to $500, but we’d have a digital tech on site to help organize the assets and accomplish some of this work as it was being captured.

Catering: I anticipated catering to cost $50-$60 per person for the shoot day (including six agency/client attendees), and bumped it up a bit to account for potential meals during the scout day.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $100 for production books, $200 for miscellaneous expenses and mileage, and $300 for additional meals and parking for the wardrobe/prop stylist while shopping and returning everything.

Feedback: While we knew that our estimate fell within their budget, we also sensed that they might be interested in increasing the scope of the project. Sure enough, the agency came back and told us that they were interested in shooting another scenario with two additional talent during the same shoot day, and they asked for a revised estimate. This of course impacted many items across the board, and we put pen to paper and submitted the following revised estimate:

Creative/Licensing: In addition to capturing another concept, they asked for licensing to six images (three per concept), as opposed to just two. My first inclination was to double the price, but upon further consideration, I felt that the first image of the second scenario might be equally if not less valuable than the second image from the first concept. I had considered adding an extra $3,750 for image number three and $1,500 for image number four, and felt that the third image in each scenario didn’t bring enough value to increase the fee much further. While we wanted to bump the price to this amount, the photographer was eager to close the deal and wanted to offer a bit of a discount by capping it at $15,000 (we did however increase the licensing option to jump from trade to consumer use). Given the nature of the project, we agreed that this was still good for a one-day shoot, and I’ve seen similar projects land on similar rates while granting more licensing.

Live Casting and Talent: Since we’d be casting four talent instead of two, we increased the casting fee to account for more time to prep, shoot and book talent, and we increased the talent fees to account for two additional people.

Wardrobe: This also increased, but didn’t double since the outfits that were requested could easily accommodate more than one talent. So, instead of shopping for four unique outfits, many of the same items would be appropriate for multiple talent which I anticipated would result in cost savings. Interestingly, while I would have anticipated an increase to the prop budget since we’d be shooting in two scenarios, we felt that after analyzing some location options, that we’d be able to use many of the items already in the houses to set up a simple second scenario.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: This was a quick change to jump from two to six images, and to cover the time it would take to process more images.

Catering: I added an extra $60 per person to account for the two additional talent.

Production Insurance: Throughout the negotiation process, we learned that the agency had insurance requirements that the photographer’s policy didn’t specifically cover. The photographer would need to increase his policy and pay an additional fee to his insurance company in order to do so, and hoped to pass this cost along to the agency.

Results: The project was awarded, and the client opted to expand the licensing to include consumer use.

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 big ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Narayan Mahon: ESPN

- - The Daily Edit

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Photo Editor: Kaitlin Marron
Photographer: Narayan Mahon

Do you golf?
I have never golfed a day in my life. But I were to golf one day, it would definitely be on a frozen lake with lots of belly-warming booze and layers of wool.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Don’t get frostbite. But there really was no direction from the magazine other than to shoot anything and everything and just to make a fun photo essay.

How often do you work with ESPN?
It varies, of course, but about five times a year.

What was the biggest challenge for this shoot?
Originally the weather was supposed to be cloudy all day but it turned out to be sunnier, so the snow on the lake was intensely bright. My plan was to shoot this with a ringflash but the snow-sun combo was all the fill light I needed. After that the biggest challenge was staying warm while standing on ice and snow for eight hours. My face was wind burned and my corneas burned from the brightness of the snow, which hurt for a couple of days after the shoot. The things you do for love!

Did you learn anything new that you think could transcend into future shoots?
I learned that I need a pair of insulated overalls! I should have learned that on the previous year’s snowy cross country skiing shoot for ESPN when I was waist deep in snow; but seriously, insulated overalls.

I know the tournament started because of freak storm several years ago; had you shot this before?
It’s a neat way for people to get outside, raise money for a charity and, apparently, because they are on the lake, open container laws don’t apply, so there’s a lot of drinking, for better or worse! But this was the first time I had photographed it.

When your face froze to the camera, how did you peel it off and what did you do to prevent that from happening again?
Well, I had a wool neck gaiter on, too, which I had pulled up over my mouth and nose, but then the viewfinder fogs up so quickly I can’t have it on while shooting. So I take it off for a second and then there’s condensation of the back of the camera and my nose would freeze to it every time, like a tongue on a flag pole! Just a quick pull-apart to detach myself was all that was needed… but no fun either way.

I know this started out as a print project and then got bumped to the web, did you have to do anything different for delivery or edit?
The edit was the same, it just meant delivering smaller files. I shot this medium format so the files were pretty robust for something just going online.

Did you find out about the change in plan after you turned in your edit?
Yeah, I found out after. It’s always a possibility; still just as heartbreaking, though.

The Daily Promo: Michael Scott Slosar

- - The Daily Promo






Michael Scott Slosar

Who printed it?
This specific promotional piece I had printed at  They do tons of amazing creative printing techniques.  My direct contact there is Mike Hill.  He is such an awesome guy!

Who designed it?
The design came from a collaboration of myself and Mike Hill.  We have worked on a few other creative printing processes in the past on some larger prints on wood and metal and had discussed ideas like this in the past.

Who edited it?
The images were edited and selected by me.  This was a personal series i had shot beach camping in San Onofre Camp Pendleton south of San Clemente, CA

How many did you make?
My goal with these pieces was to share something that was close to me, with people whose creative impact I respect and value. So, I only printed this as a limited series of 50 pieces.  All of which are hand signed and numbered.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I have just begun to conceptualize more and more creative promotional series like this one for release in small personal runs.  In the past I have done more standard promos in bulk of 500-1,000 and sent out 3-5 times a year between LeBook shows and through direct mail.

How did this concept come about?
The concept behind this piece was to use materials that were natural to the environment of the images.  The burlap hand sewn sacks, the handmade and sanded drift wood box and the wood coasters.  I wanted something that people would want to have as decoration and consider a series of personal art released.  Im not trying to spam my promotional series out.  Moving forward, I want to continue creating promos that are intimate and close to my heart.  My goal with all my clients is to develop a working relationship on a more personal level.  My hopes are that this is felt and seen through this series.

Promos Of The Year 2015 – Postcard Special Mention

- - Working


This is how a promo is supposed to work. You open one and you are intrigued by the image so you go visit the photographers website. You really like what you see, so you file the promo away or tack it to your board, but then you head off to a meeting or go home for the day and immediately forget about the photographer.

Then the promos keep coming in (every month or two or three) and each time you are reminded how much you liked their work and each time you are enjoying the new image and then you begin to look forward to seeing the next one and then you start recognizing the envelopes when they come in. Eventually, you will hire them. This is how it is supposed to work and that why Sarah Wilmer deserves a special mention for sending promos in 2015.


Sarah Wilmer















Promos Of The Year 2015 – Postcard

- - Promos Of The Year


The humble postcard is the ultimate promo. I believe it can carry as much weight as a book full of images and a poster that can block out the sun. It is a testament to your ability to produce a single (sometimes two) arresting image. For me the ultimate postcard image is beyond arresting. It has more questions than answers. It makes you want to dig a little deeper and figure out what this photographer is all about. See what’s really going on in that image that caught your attention. Here are the postcards that caught my eye in 2015:


Melissa Lyttle



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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Zine

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I love zines. There really is an art to doing them well. The best seem to come from zine makers who happen to be photographers. Regardless, if you have a killer story to tell you can easily and cheaply make a zine about it, and those of us who have a passion for stories told through pictures will love it. Here are the zines that stood out in 2015:

Adam Jason Cohen


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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Pack Of Single Images

- - Promos Of The Year


The pack of single image promos is probably the most useful and accessible promo there is for photographers. You don’t need a great designer, you can stick to your best images, there are plenty of printers available who do a great job with this and it’s fairly inexpensive compared to other promo types. Best of all, the recipient has a variety of images to choose from to save and remember you by. Here are the best I saw in 2015:


Brigitte Sire



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Promos Of The Year 2015 – Foldout

- - Promos Of The Year




The foldout promo is a new one for me because it wasn’t popular many years ago when I was a photo editor and I have to say I think it’s awesome. It’s not entirely practical for tacking to the bulletin board or saving, but it has a great impact with the ability to show a poster size image along with a collection of smaller ones. Here are the foldout promos that stood out to me in 2015:

Stephanie Rausser


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