Kickstarter And Mossless Magazine

- - The Future

The website Mossless Magazine is looking to print a real magazine and they’ve taken to Kickstarter to try and fund it (here). The magazine itself looks pretty cool with four 50 page booklets each dedicated to “emerging photographers based in NY” and they’ve got 7 days left to raise a couple grand to make it happen.

What’s interesting is a recent project at Kickstarter that may have revealed the true use of a website that “helps people collect funding for creative projects.” Product designer Scott Wilson, founder of the Chicago-based MINIMAL studio, started a kickstarter project to build a watch out of an iPod Nano (here). When the new Nano launched geeks everywhere were murmuring about what a cool nerdy watch it would make, so Scott decided to do something about it. But, rather than follow the normal course of funding and developing the project in-house then getting it into stores and selling it he took to kickstarter to fund and pre-sell. He was initially looking for $15,000 to get it off the ground but by the time it closed last night he had nearly a million dollars pledged.

A similar project to build an iPhone tripod (here) had the same kind of success as they went 13 times past their pledge amount. So, what this reveals about kickstarter is that manufacturing projects put forth by people who have a track record of creating solid products, that fill an immediate need will be successful (provided the internet helps spread the word as well). I think there are photography projects that fit this mold as well, we just haven’t seen them yet.

Looking From The Inside Out

- - Photographers

Surf photographer Jeff Flindt shows us what its like to be in the thick of it. Just like Capa said “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” which has nothing to do with proximity and everything to do with connecting with your subject.

Shooting Motion With Stills – How To Do It, What To Charge And What Rights To Give

I received an email the other day from an established still photographer who was feeling the heat to get with this motion business. The subject of motion was brought up twice in one week by editors he works with all “tethered to the rise in magazines producing iPad content.” He was having the “panicked realization” that he needed to start learning this new skill set and start buying expensive new equipment and software. He wanted to hear from some folks who’ve already made the transition to adding motion to their stills shoots to “get an understanding from them about what they are charging in the way of fees, the rights they’re granting, the production charges that get folded in.” He fears that most editorial clients are “going to do what they did when digital came out and say, hey, we’re not going to pay anything additional for this since we’re already paying you for the still shoot.”

So, I picked up the keyboard and contacted a handful of photographers from a full blown commercial director to someone who told me that shooting motion saved his bottom line in 2010. I think you will enjoy their thoughtful, varied and honest responses. I’d love to hear more in the comments.

Photographer 1
I figured this was starting to happen to folks. In the commercial world we keep the two budgets separate, because they really are two different animals. That being said I know mags are starting to pressure photographers to shoot video, sound, etc.. At minimum if they wanted video and sound, I’d make sure they pay for a seasoned camera assistant (that has experience with 5D, 7D, etc..) and an experienced sound person + their gear. You might pressure them to let you charge some extra rental for video accessories, monitors, and camera support, follow focus, etc.. which can cost two or three times the cost of the camera itself.

You can make it look good without a crew, but so many things can go wrong when you start shooting video with sound, to have a few people helping is huge. Also, if you are just getting started doing this I’d stay away from the whole post production monster, it’s such a big learning curve AND super time consuming, it can be very frustrating. But, I will say on the other side of the coin, if you are really serious about telling stories with video or film, sitting in an edit bay working with an experienced editor is a great way to learn. You can see all your mistakes and what a cut needs, to move it forward. Content is everything.

On the money front I get paid a creative fee to:
1. shoot stills (and then we license those images for additional $$$, but retain copyright)
2. direct and/or shoot video (usually the client owns all that footage, the agency/client pay a fee and walk away, unless I’m involved in post, which we are doing more and more of).

We also make money by owning the production company (a lot more responsibility, but we have much more control over the production, and we control the budget on our end) it’s standard to charge a production fee when you are running the production. I’m not sure editorial clients understand yet how complicated it can be to create visually engaging footage with sound. If they just want some rough footage with sound from a mic mounted on the camera, that’s one thing, but if they want a cohesive piece that actually works as motion with high production values.. that’s another beast altogether.

Photographer 2
I do hope people realize that you cannot tack a video shoot onto the back end of a photo shoot without compromising your photography (and your video). If you have an hour with a subject and you have to spend valuable shooting time dicking around with video you are likely going to miss the shot. Besides, making a video of any quality requires a fair amount of time committed also. Definitely more that 15 min.

I don’t know of any sane photo editor that would sacrifice quality of image just to get some b-roll for the website. I know some people like it, but I personally hate BTS video and I most certainly don’t feel like taking video of myself taking photographs. On a lot of my shoots there is an EPK crew hired by the client lurking in the background and I have to spend time trying to keep them out of my way. Annoying.

I know photographers are experimenting with different methods and different techniques in video with varying degrees of success. I see a whole lot of video that should of stayed on the editing room floor, but if you get the opportunity to charge a fee for your services then you should charge what you feel your services are worth. There are no standards for video right now. Everybody is just making this shit up as they go. But to put things in perspective when I moved to New York in 1985 the day rate for editorial photography was $400-$500 a day. 25 years later the editorial fees are still the same. How much more do you really think magazines are going to cough up for a 3-minute video clip?

I think people are seriously underestimating the complexity of video and if they think they can just quickly learn sound design and Final Cut and storytelling and directing they are gravely mistaken. These jobs are not photography. But if you can get away with charging for things you aren’t really very good at then more power to ya. That said, you could easily hire people to fill these positions for you. I have hired assistant camera guys, gaffers, sound guys and editors for $250 a day (and that is the cheapest you will find skilled people for.) And I have charged some camera and lighting rental used for video as part of the photo shoot.

Photographer 3
I realized I might not be the best person to respond to this question as I don’t really do much editorial work. Most of the video work I have done has been direct with my fashion clients and some advertisers. I know the trend of putting editorial content on iPad is driving a big changes in the editorial industry, but I can’t really speak to any of that. I can at least offer some general observations based on my limited experience. Maybe some of it will be helpful.

Shooting even a simple motion project requires quite a bit of specialized knowledge. I wouldn’t recommend anyone tackling something like this without having experienced professionals to back them up. And it’s important to keep in mind that the post production of a motion project can be a complicated and time consuming process that requires expensive professional services. One day of a motion shoot can sometimes turn into a solid MONTH of post-production. Even to quote a client on the production expenses of a motion shoot can require an expert! This all must be kept in mind when talking with clients about their motion needs. If you are lucky, they have some experience already with motion, so they know budgets for this kind of work are huge… by comparison what you quote will seem like a bargain. If the client has no experience, you will need to educate them on the associated costs to produce motion. There is no way for it to be folded into a still budget, and I think most clients realize this.

For simple motion projects that are done in conjunction with still photography shoots, I think the best way to figure out pricing is to base it on your experience level and what kind of production you have the ability to put together, how much your actual costs are going to be (keep in mind how much time you will spend in post) and come up with a flat charge based on that. And of course, you have to keep in mind what the clients expectations are. If they just want something basic, you can probably put this together yourself, with the right people to help out. But if they are coming to you for a high production value project, you need to be realistic about what you are capable of putting together, because it’s REALLY easy to get in over your head with motion.

For small motion projects, like behind the scenes videos that are shot at the same time as a still shoot, I started out only charging a flat fee of $800. That was basically at my cost, and I was actually losing a lot of money if I factored in how many hours I was putting in learning Final Cut during the editing process. But it was worth it because I had no experience with motion, and it was a way for me to learn without too much pressure. Over time, as I built my knowledge, and my ability to put together a higher end production grew, I raised the fees for this service. I am currently charging a flat fee of $2,500 for this simple motion project. I can do it this inexpensively because I own my own equipment, and I do a very basic production… I make sure the client understands that this is not going to look like a SuperBowl TV commercial. My main out of pocket expense is having an experienced and talented camera operator for the shoot, which will cost me about $600. And I know I will be doing a day of editing afterward. With each motion shoot I am building my knowledge and experience, I am hooking this client into the idea of coming to me for future motion projects, and I am building a reel that can be used to get work from other clients. We have been booked on several corporate videos, music videos, and a web series all based on starting out with these $600 little video projects.

The only usage I limit is TV Commercial, otherwise the client can use the video how they want for as long at they want.

Photographer 4
The question of how to handle changes in business that are brought about by technological innovation, cultural shifts, new laws and other forces are always interesting. Commercial photography is no different than other industries in that regard, and it’s frighteningly similar to all the other technical crafts or arts that have suffered through changes. Anyone who has In Design on their computer right now would all be well-served to talk to people who used to set type, and they should have spent some time with the monks who used to copy books by hand. Kindle anyone?

I have urged my assistants and other people in the industry to look at this from the point of view of the client, as we are all clients of many industries, and make our decisions based on what we think is rational criteria. If a client asks you to shoot, produce, provide or edit video along with the still photography, first look at the request from the client’s point of view. There are numerous technological and economic reasons for the request, and, quite literally, photographers now can provide something to clients that we didn’t have the capacity to provide before, with little extra effort. A clip for the iPad site on the web seems reasonable to me, especially considering a photographer’s talent in seeing the scene and the new capabilities of the cameras involved.

I have found in the last 25 years that the question of “what to do/charge/produce” is best approached by noting how different it would be from what’s been done so far. Practically, how much more difficult is it to record video than to shoot a still frame of an editorial subject? You may need more equipment than for just the still, but not that much more, especially for a clip on the web. Editing software comes as part of the Mac operating system, and while FCP Suite is now $1K, FCE is pretty cheap. Virtually everything I see on the web as a clip could be produced in iMovie.

So you should charge more if the client is asking you to add clips to the job, but not by much, and additionally the client should expect few still setups for a given amount of time. If they want edited footage, you should charge for that too, based on whatever retouching fees you charge. If you charge $1.00 for an hour of retouching time, it makes sense that you’d charge something near that for putting footage together. If the client wants clips along with the still take, figure out how much longer it would take to produce them and any other costs involved, and propose adding that to the estimate. A lot of the decision making is in the specifics, but for small jobs, a $1,500 fee might go to $2,000 and have fewer still images. On larger productions, we’ve added a camera operator and sound man to work under my direction to shoot the scenes that we set up for stills. It slows us down from our normal pace, but the client is forewarned, and happy.

If the client doesn’t have more money for more production, then they have a choice. If it’s a flat fee job for still images, and they want to add video clips, there will be fewer still images to pick from. The fee they pay you is based on your time at a certain level of expertise. It’s up to you to determine what you can produce in that amount of time (or for that amount of money – same thing.)

In my mind it makes sense to keep the rights to the clips the same as the stills, and I find that this makes sense to most clients as well. We have had jobs where the video was licensed separately from the stills, but in those cases, the video was for a certain purpose that didn’t relate to the purpose of the stills.

It’s heresy in the little pond of commercial photography, but the truth is that the quality of the still or video images doesn’t often affect the outcome of their use. A big client of mine – and by “big” I mean a company that is a household name and also pointed to frequently as being a cool and powerful force in advertising – told me a story of his daughter, shooting a video on her point and shoot, putting it together in iMovie, and by virtue of her father’s position in an enormous company, linking it to part of their web presence. That little video drove traffic and exposure up in that area of the company, a company who risks almost being overexposed in consumers’ minds. Was there posterization in the shadows? Absolutely. Bad focus? Check. Shaky, cell-phone quality sound? Yep. Was it effective? Very much so.

So put yourself in your client’s position in your own industry. You have a certain budget, and that budget comes from your boss or from common sense – think of your own willingness to spend money on a car, a plumbing call or for music on iTunes. In your client’s shoes, you know you need a certain number of readers or customers to make your business work – how do you get them? Your daughter’s video drives people to your website, strengthening your brand and maybe even leading to sales. Sure, a professional’s video might be cooler, better done, have fewer “technical” mistakes, but does it drive sales?

Instead of reacting to the requests for video with “now they want something for nothing,” start asking questions. What are they trying to do with the video. Who are they trying to reach? How can you help them? Become valuable, or better yet, irreplaceable. We will all pay more for that assistant that’s reliable, motivated, intelligent and devoted to the production going smoothly, so become that person to your client. Charging for that is easy. If your favorite irreplaceable assistant said he couldn’t afford to work at the rate you’re paying, wouldn’t you offer more?

Here’s the point: our clients, editorial and commercial, are running a business, for which they need customers. We are their partners in making that happen, and their challenges and changes aren’t personal, vindictive or immoral, any more than our own designing of a promo card isn’t an attempt to drive designers out of business. I’ve survived in photography for 25 years – albeit not perfectly – by approaching the business of photography as a business, combining the clients’ needs and limitations with my own, finding the common ground and then doing the best job I can.

Photographer 5
So yeah, a really important question – and of course with all the bullshit competition photographers feel for one another it’s turned into one of those total unknowns, wild west, each person pricing it on the spot things …

To some extent we’re all fiscally ignorant about how to charge for video work. I’ve taken on video in a couple capacities – editorially if I’m asked to try and pull some video content out of what is most first and foremost a stills shoot, I just do what I can, and for no extra charge – for a couple reasons … one, I see it as a gift that I’m being asked to do it, and don’t have to deal with a videographer that I have no history with, so that the overall production remains firmly in my camp – and two, what a kick ass opportunity to flex that muscle … you build your archive of video material, which you use to show off your skills when there really is video money in a budget.

I often shoot small video clips even when it wasn’t asked of me – no loss if it’s crappy, and such a plus if there’s a nice offering you can send off to the art department. Video has become such an important part of things, web content as well as iPad editions, that editors can’t be left in the dark about what they’re gonna get – they need assurances, which means video can’t be an after-thought – it must taken very seriously (which often means that both stills and video are compromised to some extent). So the idea of knocking out a stills shoot, and when something rich was going on that felt like great video content just switching modes on the 5D Mark II, are fading fast … my new approach, which everyone seems happy with, is to bring on my own video guy to work alongside me, someone I know and communicate well with, and charge accordingly for their rate – or frankly, just make it work with whatever budget the PE, AD, CD have put out there …

The money conversation becomes interesting when there’s real money involved, a robust budget from a commercial client… they love your photography and that’s why you got the job, and they’ve seen your video work and are satisfied & confident that this can be one-stop-shopping… then how to go about it? In two cases this past year, I shot stills and video for sizable, week-long projects, and in both cases I also hired a second video shooter and sort of self-assigned my primary role as the director of the whole production. I know at this point that I’ll get the necessary stills – I’m careful never to be too relaxed about it, but there’s a degree of confidence that comes with time that is helpful to lean back on when you need to take in the bigger picture – in this case, of where we’re at on both fronts… if I’m not thrilled with the video that I can see we’re getting, I jump in and pick up some of the slack, re-establish the energy & look of what we need to achieve and if I can see that video is right on target then I keep shooting the stills, and more importantly, steering the overall ship in the right direction (a task that isn’t talked about nearly enough).

As for money, in my experience, videographers don’t make nearly what still photographers can make on a commercial job – so we’ve estimated the job out with a slightly larger creative fee (for essentially playing the role of director of the thing) and brought on a trusted second or even third shooter solely dedicated to video. I paid them shoot day rates of between $1,500 and $2,500 and travel day rates of $750-$1,000. They seemed quite happy with that in both cases, but again it’s important to stress that this isn’t a Heineken commercial going to air – this is web content. Production expenses increase, for sure, because you’re talking about more people, more equipment, hotels, meals and flights, but I’ve always seen the goal as how to envelop video without it crushing the budget – essentially, how to make my version of capturing video as well as stills more attractive than another solution that’s gonna bum me out – like the ad agency piggy-backing a totally separate crew on top of mine which usually only serves to generate more stress and animosity on set, which of course hampers the efficiency and, let’s face it the enjoyment-factor, of doing the job right.

Equipment wise, it’s not expensive at all, unless you’re going Red. I shoot sort of real life, documentary, life-style type of work so lighting is kept as simple as possible (and if we need video & stills in the same condensed window of shoot time we opt for continuous lighting instead of strobes so that both parties have the set-up they need, and then it’s just a matter of dancing around one another, or laying out the timing of things so that everybody gets their moment). The 5D Mark II is a beautiful machine, as we all now know, and there are great solutions for audio that aren’t that complex, so there are fewer and fewer reasons not to bounce back and forth between stills & video on that camera based on what’s happening in front of you. The Panasonic systems, HVX-200 or HPX-170, are moderately priced rentals, as is the Sony EX-3… beyond that I don’t know much about different video bodies to work with. Granted rights, similar to stills, excluding advertising – and truthfully, I stay out of that… agents navigate that territory better than I can.

Ultimately my take on video isn’t that it’s another place to make more money, it’s a skill we all better get comfortable with and build into what we already do. Hell, so many industries have been crushed or disappeared entirely with the fall of the economy – if all we need to do is get comfortable with a similar medium and make that a part of what we deliver on a job, I see that as getting off easy – PLUS, what photographer hasn’t always wanted to play around with moving pictures?

Self-Promo Discussion

- - Promos

Jasmine DeFoore, former Redux rep and current photographer consultant, has a 3 part self-promo series running on her blog starting today. She rightly concedes that nailing down creatives on what works is impossible because if you “ask 5 different people [you will], get 5 different answers.” The general consensus as noted by DOP Brenda Milis is “not a lot of money needs to go into making a good, impactful photo promotion” and DOP Allyson Torrisi who says “great talent will stand out on a single postcard with two images. The goal is to drive me to your website to see your work.”

It’s well worth a visit (go here) because there are lots of examples and even discussion of certain promos.

Molly Roberts, Director of Photography, Smithsonian

Molly Roberts, Director of Photography, Smithsonian

In The Future Clients Will Visit Shoots Remotely

- - The Future

I ran into this post from Christopher Kilkus (here) about a shoot that the client couldn’t attend, so he setup a computer with a webcam so they could watch the shoot remotely. What initially struck me as creepy and weird on second thought makes sense when you think about cutting cost and collaborating with people all over the country. Heck, Nick Knight pioneered studio shoots live on the web 10 years ago with his SHOWstudio site. There’s even remote webcams that could roam around set controlled by the client (here). Anybody else have experience with this?

rovio

Ask Anything – Employee Wages

- - Ask Anything

Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

QUESTIONS:

I would love to see a post on employee wages. I am looking to hire studio manager and a full time first or possibly a hi-bred and am curious what people get paid for this sort of work. It would need to be broken down by experience I guess – New Grads, 3 yrs working experience, 5 yrs plus or something.

ANSWERS:

PHOTOGRAPHER 1:
I don’t have a studio manager now but I think that when I did I paid something like $130 a day.

As much as anything I think it has to do with where you’re hiring. A qualified person in New York is far more expensive than most places in the rest of the country. The high cost of living is part of it, but it’s also that people don’t move to New York to be studio managers or first assistants, so if you hope to keep them around for long you have to pay them well.

PHOTOGRAPHER 2:
We have only had part timers that work hourly. Most with little or no experience that we train- attitude is the best, not as much experience. We also give perks of using our equipment, us showing stuff in exchange…etc.

PHOTOGRAPHER 3:
Advice on hiring someone that would be beneficial to your company… it is a marriage.. use ones intuition when hiring. Look at experience, desire and sense of humor… then give direction and let the person make decisions, make mistakes, be accountable for all successes and failures and work together from a positive platform of teaching and learning each others strengths and weaknesses… trust, observe and encourage… that’s it.

PHOTOGRAPHER 4:
I personally would not hire someone full time until I could pay them at least $16 an hour or $30,000 a year.

PHOTOGRAPHER 5:

I think it really depends on where you live. We’ve only ever hired recent graduates so I don’t have any data on salaries for people with substantial experience.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve hired 7 people for full-time staff positions. Each time, we set the salary at a point that was pretty similar to an entry level admin assistant position (in our area right now, that would be $28-30,000 plus full benefits (health insurance, disability insurance, vacation, sick leave, etc.). We have not seen a big discrepancy between salary expectations for studio manager/in-house marketing work and full-time assistants, at least not among recent grads in this area.

Over time, we usually increase salaries by 5-7% per year and our employees have been content with that for several years. Employees that have stayed with us for more than a few years are also offered profit sharing.

One other thing that may be worth mentioning, especially since it sounds like your original query is from someone who may not have much experience with employees, is that the atmosphere of the workplace makes a huge difference. I stress, to feel good about their lives, people either have to make a lot of money or get a lot of personal satisfaction from the work they’re doing. So, if you’re not going to pay people at the top of the earning spectrum, you need to make sure you’re creating an environment where they’re able to get enough personal satisfaction out of the work they’re doing to feel good about working for you. Otherwise, you’re either going to have incredibly high turnover rates or a hostile and destructive work environment.

PHOTOGRAPHER 6:
The question asked about a “studio manager” not a “full time assistant.” These are two different positions.

Unless you are shooting more days than not, keeping assistants on staff does not make practical or financial sense. I have not employed full time assistants for over 15 years, however I have two great assistants that work with me on a first option basis.

I have not employed a studio manager for over two years. My last two studio mangers had over 5 years experience each and were paid $60K annually plus health plan, pension benefits and bonuses. (Keep in mind that the actual cost of an employee is approximately 30% higher than their payroll compensation.)

The studio manager’s responsibilities included day-to-day office organization, billing, some client and vendor communications and production coordination. One on the studio managers had great PR experience, which provided considerable added value to her employment. Having someone in the office with good phone and client skills was important when people actually used the telephone, but 95% of all communication is now via email.

I have found that with agents on each coast and a great freelance producer, that a full time studio manager is no longer needed. My staff on a non-shooting day is just me and my retoucher. This means I need to pour my own coffee, straighten up a bit, pick up the phone, and do some office work, but that’s not a big deal given the gross savings from the overhead is nearly $100K annually.

This is the perspective of a busy advertising photographer that keeps a small studio, and typically rents production stages for most shoots. A photographer maintaining a larger and busy commercial space would likely need a full-time studio manager.

PHOTOGRAPHER 7:
I don’t keep a full time person in house, but when I bring someone in for a non shoot day– I pay $200 a day or $15-25 per hour (depending).

We get asked this question in regards to billing clients for employees – so we reached out to an Art Producer to see how she feels about photographers charging for assistants (who are really PAID STAFF) on estimates/invoices:

ART PRODUCER:
I actually want to see these items outlined in estimates. I know ultimately I’m going to be charged for them anyway, rolled into the photographer’s fee or not. However, when they’re outlined I feel like I have more information and I’m able to see/get a feel for how many people will be on set without me having to ask/challenge the photographer on this. It helps me make sure that everything that I know my client is expecting will be covered. Also, when challenging budgets are presented, outlining as many aspects as possible really helps me see where I can cut, if needed.

To Summarize:
Finding the right person to run your studio or work along side you – has a lot to do with their personality. Some of the best assistants and managers have been TRAINED in the studio and were hired because of their personality. Find someone who compliments not only your work habits, but also your personality and the personality of your STUDIO. They have to be able to work well with others and play the role of second in command (but still know how to take charge).

Call To Action:
If you are unsure if you can manage someone in your studio – take on an intern to test the waters (many interns will do it for free just for the experience). Put money aside as if you are paying them (for 3-6 months) and see if you can really swing it. If you can – then you have 3-6 months of salary already put aside.

If you want more insight from Amanda and Suzanne you can contact them directly (here and here) or tune in once a week or so for more of “Ask Anything.”

its really a matter of trying to reconcile the conceptual considerations of the subject and the storyline with the logistics and the budget

- - Blog News

A lot of people like to use reference material for guidance and sometimes it can be appropriate to “pay homage” to a certain image or style, but I find it to be a little like cheating to rely to heavily on other images. I prefer the painful approach of trying to squeeze a few drops of an idea out of the moist sponginess of my own brain. I am going to assume that everybody does this but I go into every shoot with a strong notion of what I am planning on doing and then as the circumstances dictate, I improvise. And, as you can imagine, every possible scenario plays out over time.

via Q&A: Michael Lavine on Feature Shoot.

World Press – No Crap Please

- - Blog News

“Don’t send in something just because you shot it,” jury chair David Burnett advises. “Look at your work with a sharp eye. Don’t get tempted by fond or fuzzy memories, because the jurors will not have those. Be your own toughest editor. If you’re not tough on yourself, we will be. One bad picture in a story takes away the merit of two good ones.”

via PDN Pulse.

Visit http://submit.worldpressphoto.nl for more information.

New Service Aims To Help Photographers Price Their Work

Shakodo is a new website where photographers can share pricing information and from what I can tell it looks like it’s going to be an awesome tool for everyone. The features and design of the site are top notch but the real interesting part is going to be seeing real pricing information and debates over what should be charged.

From the press release:

Photography is one of those professions without any fixed prices; with almost everything being negotiated. Until recently, the photographic market was very isolated and the skill of price negotiation was one of the key success factors for professionals.

With the influx of talented amateurs a market-shift began to take place. With their lack of experience and knowledge about current market rates and not understanding client’s budgets and needs, these talented amateurs have settled for lower price offers. As a result, they have unintentionally undercut professionals while leaving money on the table because they are not aware of the true market value of their photos or services.

Let me know what you think.

shakado

Gallery Will Exhibit Your Work If You Pay Them

- - Gallery, Just Plain Dumb

I wrote a post on this practice over a year ago with a gallery in Montreal (here):

That one looked like a steal compared to the terms on this pay-to-play group show: £2200 for a group show. Times must be tough…

Dear [redacted],

Artspace-Galleries would like to invite you to take part in our upcoming group exhibitions in the hearts of Mayfair London and Paris. This presents a fantastic opportunity for you to move into the international market and to exhibit your artwork in two of the most significant art centers of the world.

The group exhibition includes all of the following:

  • One week exhibition in London
  • Two week exhibition in Paris
  • One art opening in both London and Paris
  • On-going promotion to our client list
  • PR & Marketing of the exhibition
  • Five year presence in the Events section of our website
  • One year presence in the Buy/Sell section of our website
  • Eligibility to be selected into the New & Emerging Artist Reward Program
  • No gallery commission on artwork sales

Group exhibition guidelines:

  • We are currently accepting registrations for group exhibitions in 2011 and 2012. We have a limited number of spaces available, so we urge you to register as soon as possible to ensure you will be able to exhibit.
  • After you register your profile and submit five samples of your artwork online, Artspace-Galleries will determine if you would be suitable for a group exhibition.
  • Once selected, we will organize and promote your group exhibition with direct mail & online marketing and targeted public relations. The total fee for these services is £2200, and we take no commission on the sale of your artwork.
  • When you have registered and have been selected, you will be asked to pay a £500 deposit, which will be applied towards your total fee. This will reserve your space in the group exhibition, and we will start promoting your work on our website and to our client base. The remaining balance of your payment should be paid in full 8 weeks before your mutually agreed-upon exhibition date.
  • Your group exhibition will bring together the works of six different artists, with each artist having the chance to exhibit up to six canvases or ten sculpture/installation pieces.
  • We offer shipping of artwork from the artist to London, from London to Paris, and from Paris back to the artist for the following fees:

£600 to/from Africa, North & South America, Asia, Australia, or Oceania

£200 to/from Europe

(These rates are based on a maximum of 20 kg and no wider than 1.5m. You may provide your own shipping, however your artwork will have to be shipped from one city to another within two days.)

New & Emerging Artist Reward Program:

  • At the end of the year, the jury of Artspace-Galleries consisting of art professionals, highly qualified art directors and curators will identify the six most outstanding group exhibition artists of the year.
  • If chosen, you will be rewarded with one year of online promotion and a two week group exhibition in both London and Paris, free of charge, based on sales commissions of 50/50.

Submission and additional information:

We look forward to hearing from you,

Elina Steinhauer
Group Exhibition Consultant

www.artspace-galleries.com
Prestigious  international art galleries In London Mayfair and Paris

Here’s the contract if you’re interested (here)

The Future of Advertising

Several Advertising Photographers sent me this article in Fast Company on the future of advertising (here). The story opens with a scene from a digital boot camp for agency veterans (average age 38) where hard-core immersion in the chaos digital technology has wrought takes place. I’m a little surprised by this and by the age of the participants, because I figured, if anyone had a grip on the opportunities of this groundswell it was the chameleons of the advertising world. But, the article goes on to tell us how the practice of advertising has “sat virtually unchanged for the last half-century” and that it appears to be next in line (news then music) to be destroyed by digital technology.

What’s got all these agencies in a tailspin?

“their clients’ ultimate fantasy — the ability to customize a specific message to a specific person at a specific moment — is within their grasp”

“while there have never been more ways to reach consumers, it’s never been harder to connect with consumers”

“sites such as Engadget and Yelp can make or break a product”

“With clients in a tailspin, the very role of agencies is in question”

“Producing an ad doesn’t have to be an expensive multiperson affair these days, given that commercial-quality high-definition video can now be shot on cameras that cost less than $2,000″

So, the agencies have begun to splinter into smaller specialist agencies (Kraft has assembled a growing Rolodex of 70 new specialist partners), most notable was Alex Bogusky leaving CPB this year. With digital many agencies wrongly assumed they were simply dealing with another medium, but were in fact facing a creative revolution.

Like news and music, much of what’s wrong with the agencies can be traced to the bloat from the fat and happy days of the 80’s and 90’s. Many firms rely on a 15% commission from the clients media spend and to drive that spend up the 30-second spot still anchors the creative. Clay Shirky doles out some tough love for agencies with his insight that “complex societies collapse because, when some stress comes, those societies have become too inflexible to respond.” Societies like the Romans and the lowland Mayans fell because further reductions became too uncomfortable for those in power. “Collapse is simply the last remaining method of simplification,” writes Shirky. “When the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity,” he writes, “it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”

Trending – Making Sense Of People, Their Behavior, Needs, And Mind Set

- - Creativity

While visiting NYC for the expo I met Karen DSilva, a former founding partner at Spark Visual Research and current creative consultant. At the Sony party she was telling me about a talk she gave at ShootNYC on trending and how to harness the power of societal trends to get your photography to connect. Now, I tell a lot of people that making a connection to someone with your photography is a lot less linear than they think, but I’ll admit I was a little nonplussed at the buzz-y sounding idea behind trending. Well, her talk has spawned a workshop and considering her pedigree (creative depts at Photonica, Getty and Image Bank) I asked her to explain it further. After reading her explanation, I have to say, this sound pretty awesome for the right person:

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images (television, books, internet, newspapers, packaging, billboards…) so the million dollar question now becomes, how do you get your images to stick? The secret to creating an image that resonates is simple, your images need to connect with people. When an image connects, it is because your image holds meaning for the viewer. Maybe there is an emotional connection or your image provides inspiration, or possibly it makes them feel empowered. Decoding our society is all about understanding how it evolves and what makes people tick. How do we do this? Two words, understanding trends.

Trending is about making sense of people, their behavior, needs, and mind set. It is about the direction in which something is moving. When we experience a shift or change in the way we live as a community, that reaction is a trend being born. For the last few years, life quite frankly has been a little scary. War, terrorism, foreclosures, and unemployment, need I say more? As a society we push back by craving something safe, something comforting. What gives us a sense of security? Historically, safe + comforting + security = tradition (the ultimate comfort zone). In the marketplace, we refer to this trend as HERITAGE. Heritage is thick wool sweaters, tweed, beards, old fashion barbershops, curves, artisan food, suits, and smart looking hats. It’s old world quality and time honored tradition. Heritage gives us a sense of identity, timeless elegance, and a soulful spirit.

Now, going back to getting your images to stick. As a photographer, when you tap into a trend like Heritage, you’re adding relevance to your image. Of course, the next question becomes how does one apply heritage to your images? First of all, it’s a lot easier to recognize a trend and even discuss the effects of a trend than actually incorporating the trend into your work. In order for it to be meaningful, the trend needs to complement your aesthetic and take into consideration the stories within your work. A true connection is made when an image embraces the spirit of the trend, rather than just adding a trend wash. Mixing in the trend of Heritage into your work, can add a modern marketplace vernacular to your images. Bottom line, it’s that extra something. The old “I’ll know it when I see it” client answer to the eternal question “what are you looking for?”

So, on December 6th (with the support of APA), myself and 2 other trenders are hosting our first trending, brainstorming, workshop extravaganza. The aim is to download our photographer audience on the trends of Heritage, Transparency, and Cinematic. We’ll break up into small groups and walk through different stations designed to make you apply these trends to your work. This is going to be about thinking outside the box, collaborating together, being creative, and just plain having fun. Go here for more information:

http://www.karendsilvacreativeservices.com/events/

There is no future in low-end web advertising

- - Blog News

Media buyers may know many of their measures of performance are misleading; the savvier ones know clickthroughs are an indicator of the blindness, senility or idiocy of readers rather than the effectiveness of the ads. But — on the agencies’ spreadsheets — garbage inventory from garbage sites aggregated on garbage networks often shows a lower cost per click. Many web advertisers, even those that buy banners, treat it as a direct marketing medium.

For premium media properties such as ours, this is a contest that should be avoided at all costs. It’s a race to the bottom — for the lowest quality ads and the least valuable visitors.

via Why Gawker is moving beyond the blog.