The Daily Edit – Tuesday
7.12.11

- - The Daily Edit

Worth

Design Director: Dean Seabring

Art Director: Valerie Seabring

Illustrator: Kevin Sprouls

Heidi: Is your reference material one single photograph, even for groups of people?

Kevin: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It will often happen that I’ll receive a group shot to which I must add a figure or two. These will usually get placed on either end, facing into the group, if possible. The tricky part here is to get the add-ons scaled correctly to fit into the grouping properly— this is accomplished by careful scrutiny.

About how long did this particular illustration take?

5 days.

How big is your original work? Do you work keeping in mind that these will be scaled down or are you working at 100%?

These typically get reproduced at 35-40% of original size. The drawing displayed here was probably 17.5″ wide in the original.

The Daily Edit – Monday
7.11.11

- - The Daily Edit

ESPN

Art Director: Jason Lancaster

Director of Photography: Catriona Ni Aolain

Photographer: Aaron Fallon

Heidi: How many selects did you send in?

Aaron: From the main setup (the one pictured) I sent in about 50 images. I divided that 50 up into first and second selects. The second setup (not pictured) I had 25 total selects.

How much time did get to do the shoot?

I was told I would have Matt for 10-15 minutes.  In the end, I wound up having Matt for 25 minutes.

Was this your first shoot for ESPN? How did they find out about you? Email, promo, or word of mouth?

This was my second job for ESPN. The first was at the beginning of the year, I did a portrait for the Body Shots section of the magazine. I wish I knew how they found me. I’ve been sending promos, both print and e promos for the last year. Maybe that, maybe word of mouth…

Was it hard to photograph? meaning he was a little stiff in the beginning? Do you do any warm up shots to try and open him up or was he easy?

You’re right, the first images, often times, can be a bit stiff. But given that I was only supposed to have him for 15 minutes, the idea of a warm up shot isn’t something that consciously crossed my mind. However, on this shoot, I did a bit of warm up anyways without really thinking about it. I had asked Matt to put on his batting gloves and as he was putting the gloves on— not even in the exact area where we had positioned the lights—I grabbed the camera and began shooting. Sunlight was mixing in with my lights, the frame was a bit different than where I had tested, yet those first shots are some of my favorites from this shoot. It was almost reportage-like, with a full on lighting setup. I began giving him bits of direction and that’s how we started. He was really comfortable in front of the camera, so that made things flow pretty smoothly.

Some Logistics

I like to visualize and plan out an approach to my shoots ahead of time, whenever possible. But I’ve learned not to get too attached to those ideas in my head — as often times things don’t work out as planned, or the shoot itself creates better opportunities than what I had visualized.

On this shoot, though everything was seemingly in place beforehand (great direction from ESPN, I had spoken with Matt’s people, and had spoken with the stadium where we were shooting) — one thing that was unexpected was that the grounds crew at the stadium would not let us be on the field. I had asked Media Relations at the stadium about being on the field ahead of time and was told it would be fine, but just to respect the requests of the grounds crew. Apparently the grounds crew had a different take. They told us that we couldn’t be on the grass until we were shooting with talent (not even touching the grass with our feet or equipment), which made it about impossible to set up a shot on the field ahead of time. It didn’t make sense to spend time, effort, or risk any animosity with the grounds crew trying to override them, so instead we worked within their framework and stayed on the warning track area. And that worked out great as the main setup was at the dugout and when we got to the second setup the home team was already on the field taking batting practice.

What Is The Best Quality Of A Photo Editor?

- - Blog News

The main difficulty in this field lies in the fact of imagining the best coverage visually of an event and to know the photographers well enough to be sure about sending someone capable of bringing back perfect images. This requires a creative part as it is essential to suprise the reader. It is also important to work very quickly and to be able to rapidly make good decisions.

–Kathy Ryan, NYTimes Magazine

via La Lettre de la Photographie.

There Are Few If Any Original Ideas

- - Blog News

I know photographers who refuse to act on any ideas other than their own, and while I can appreciate this attitude on some fuzzy, idealistic, purist kind of level, I honestly can’t say I respect it very much. There are few if any original ideas, but there are lots of good ones. Listen to suggestions from your clients, your assistants, and yes even your subjects. You’ll be a better shooter, and I daresay, a better person for it.

via planet shapton.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday
7.5.11

- - The Daily Edit

GQ Magazine

Creative Director: Fred Woodward

Director of Photography: Dora Somosi

Photographer: Ture Lillegraven

Heidi: Was it hard to control the roosters? Did your rent those?

Ture: As for the roosters..it was tricky to control them. I rented them and they came with two animal wranglers. They did their best to keep them in a controlled area for me…but they still moved around and added an element of spontaneity which I like. While shooting in his actual truck, I would place them in certain places…then they would roam from there. For me this really makes things interesting and allows the subject to react to their actions and my direction…and catch those moments that happen between the moments. It was a blast.

One Hundred & Forty Characters

- - Blog News

So far, Twitter has plugged the hole, in the sense that it has created an opportunity for me to talk to people on a daily basis while I’m at work. What constitutes me being at work is vast swathes of time during the week, where I am sat alone at a computer for hours and hours and hours. The furthest my intellect gets stretched during these periods is when I get to do ‘Ctrl+C’ followed by ‘Ctrl+V’.

via Chris Floyd: Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances..

The Daily Edit: Tuesday
6.28.11

- - The Daily Edit

(click image to make bigger)


Fortune Magazine

Creative Director: John Korpics

Photography Director: Mia Diehl

Photographer: Rodney Smith

Prop Stylist: Renate Lindlar

Heidi: How did you create the set? Did you have that wall paper specially made?

Renate: The wall was hand made, every single $100 bill (fake theater money) was hand pasted on four foam 4 x 8 boards along with the floor boards. It took an friend who is an experienced  fashion designer and knows how to  work precisely and patiently almost 2 days.

How did you construct the dress and affix the money to get such a perfect graceful hemline?

I made the dress by covering an existing bustier with bills, mostly by hand and for the skirt part I constructed one big piece of cotton fabric  like an apron. We sewed the fake bills on ribbons  and sewed the ribbons on the apron that we then just tied over a big crinoline to give it the luscious fullness and fall.

New Feature: The Daily Edit

- - Uncategorized

I’m debuting a new column on APE called “The Daily Edit.” Heidi Volpe will be featuring a daily look at great editorial content: illustrations, layouts and of course photography. I will be taking a break from posting this week and next while we get this great new column off the ground.

How the stock industry ate itself

- - Blog News

Despite proof to the contrary, some full-time professionals still believe they are entitled to be primary image providers. It is time to stop the blame game and re-focus on the challenge – how to earn a living by making pictures. Photographers can no longer afford to hang out a shingle with the moniker “good photography at a reasonable price”. The differentiators for success are as follows: highly distinctive imagery reflecting a clear and compelling aesthetic vision, marketing savvy, sharp business skills, adaptability and persistence. Today’s professional photographer must deliver nothing less.

via British Journal of Photography.

ImageBrief – Crowdsourcing Image Requests

- - Working

ImageBrief is a company that aims to become the marketplace where Image buyers and professional photographers can connect. The buyers post a brief with their requirements and the photographers respond with images that match. Seems simple what could possibly go wrong? Plenty of course. This kind of thing has existed before. Back when I photo edited for Outside Magazine there was a fax service that would send requests out to thousands of photographers. You can imagine what happened when I gave it a try. A crush of submissions with many so far off the mark you wondered if they just had a package ready to send out no matter what the request was just to get something under your nose. You end up with this volume problem where there are so many misses it’s not worth it to wade through and see if there’s a hit.

It’s inevitable that crowd-sourcing would be coming to image requests. Advertising has version’s where people create commercial videos: poptent.net, tongal.com and zooppa.com. Graphic design has Crowdspring.com where a writer for slate.com was pleasantly surprised by the results (here) after he offered $200 to design his newsletter logo. The experts he polled were not impressed but generally concluded that he got what he paid for.

It’s not clear of image brief wants photographers to shoot on demand or simply offer up existing images that meet their needs. I’m sure they’d be fine with either. If done properly this could be a great way for image buyers to connect with high quality stock that’s not currently in circulation. The key is restricting the membership so you’re guaranteed great results and attracting clients with high paying requests. I would have loved to make requests directly to photographers studios with specific needs and a price I’d be willing to pay. The problem is companies working online generally go for the masses, wanting to make money in volume over quality. I asked the co-founder of the company Simon Moss how he plans to address this. Here’s his response:

Rob, Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let you know how we plan to tackle this, because we believe it is the most fundamental part of what will make this platform a success. To be clear though – our goal is about quality and not quantity, which is why we have only approved about 30% of the photographers who have registered interest with us so far.

At the moment we are watching extremely carefully as new briefs are posted, and how different photographers respond over time. We notice that the first couple of days the accuracy is not quite as good as entries that arrive on day 2/3 and beyond. We are still in embryonic phase so this may change as we approve more photographers to contribute.

We will soon test some mechanisms to ensure a continual improvement of accuracy and also quality of responses so that the buyers who do have good money to spend will flock to the platform, in the confidence they will get a great outcome.

Some of these include (but not limited to):

– Providing the buyer the ability to rate both images and photographers based on quality/accuracy
– Our team ranking images based on accuracy and ‘fit’
– Introducing the option for moderation (ie; the customer can choose to have us moderate before images are displayed publicly)
– Introducing a reputation ranking system for photographers and having this impact the way responses are presented
– Creating an increase in commission for photographers who consistently submit high quality, accurate responses (at the moment it is 70% to the photographer – we could potentially have premium photographers on a higher rate).

From the initial feedback (we are already engaged with a number of advertising agencies and editorial photo editors) we are getting a great response – we just need to keep tweaking and listening carefully to both sides of the market so that we continue to create significant value on both sides.

I hope that all makes sense!

It will be interesting to see what happens. I see potential for this to satisfy both parties but these things tend to never play out how you expect. Hopefully Simon will steer it in the right direction.