Search Results for "suzanne sease"

Suzanne Sease – Estimating An Advertising Shoot

After the post on “what to charge in advertising photography” received so much interest I decided to start exploring the topic further. A photographer I was talking with suggested I contact Suzanne Sease for more insight into the estimating process. As it turns out she was the perfect person to talk with about estimating an advertising job because of her background.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started in this business?

While I was in college I did internships at two ad agencies the first was with RMD (Richardson, Myer & Donofrio) now Grey-Kirk in Baltimore, Maryland. When I found out Hal Donofrio, CEO of RMD was good friends with Dave Martin, then CEO of The Martin Agency, I asked if I could use his name to get a second internship and subsequently landed an internship at the Martin Agency when I was a Junior in college. At RMD I was an intern with the art directors but fell in love with images so the Martin internship was in the print production department. I thought the visuals were so much more fascinating than what the art directors did. So, I wanted to be a print producer. And that is what I did when I first graduated.

What were you studying in college?

I studied Communication Arts and Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. I was in the interdisciplinary program that taught us how to be art directors, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers and video. I was in school from ’80 to ’84.

Really, does that kind of program still exist?

Yes, it’s at Virginia Commonwealth University and in fact a lot of graduates have gone off to do very well in the industry. A lot established art directors and creative directors were in the VCU program back in the 80’s. The program has been the precursor to the VCU Brand Center which has been getting International notice.

So, what happened after you graduated?

When I graduated in 1984, I went back to Baltimore and worked for a small agency as the print producer. It was great experience because I had to wear several hats like go on the photoshoots to work with the photographers and one client even requested that I be their account executive so I wore that hat as well.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to move back to Richmond and returned back in 87 but didn’t get a job in print production but in a position as a print project estimator for The Martin Agency. I was the print estimator which was the beginning and end of every single project that went through the Martin agency.

What did an estimator do?

Well, back then it was before everything was done on a fee base we had to estimate how much time the art director needs, the copywriter, studio art, photography, typography, how many xeroxes you would need. I was really entrenched in the whole project. It was really a great experience to understand what it took to do print advertising.

Then they created the Art Buying position in 1989 so I interviewed for the position and got the job. I trained under the amazing late, Linda Marso, then at Scali, McCabe & Sloves (now Lowe & Partners) I then worked for the next 6 years as the sole Art Buyer working all the campaigns until the department grew and they brought in Kat Dalager (now at Campbell Mithun) to run the department. I got to work on some amazing campaigns and with many of the great photographers at the time both of local and International fame.

In 1999, I decided to spend more time with my family and was looking for a career that would allow more flexibility. Bobbi Wendt suggested I should consider being a creative consultant. I gave it a shot and haven’t turned back.

Tell me about this book, The Photographer’s Survival Guide, that you wrote with Amanda Sosa Stone. I was just reading the chapter on estimating and it’s quite informative.

Amanda and I put together a program called The Photographers Survival Guide and we were going around the country giving a presentation once a month to associations and at one event there was a publisher in the audience and they approached us about making a book. We had this black and white xeroxed hand-out as well as a in depth PowerPoint Presentation that became the basis for the book.

First thing I want to know is if you are a photographer who’s never bid on a big advertising job but expect to be doing so in the near future what kinds of things should they be doing to prepare yourself for when that day comes?

The first thing would be to check out Blink Bid. It’s really the easiest way for a photographer to get a bid together and a great way to teach yourself. Blink Bid is a check off list to make sure you are not forgetting something and if your job has unique items you can customize them. I am beginning to think that this program will become the universal format that buyers will expect to see.

So, the first thing would be to practice by doing a fake job?

Yes and understand the verbiage. Like for example on the “real estimate” post you did someone in the comments was explaining what I call the Creative Fee for execution and usage. That is a term that all the big dogs use. It really comes in handy to lump the execution and usage together when you’re negotiating fees (as someone explained in the comments), but it’s also good for residuals because those fees will be based on the creative fee now instead of just the usage fee. In other words if you separate them out: $2,500.00 for shoot and $2,500.0 for usage residuals will be based on the usage fee of $2,500.00 not a combined $5,000.00 for a creative fee.

Another good reason for doing this is when, for example, you have a prototype or a product that’s new to market. Never do a shoot and usage because the chance of those products being held up is really great. When I was doing satellite art buying once the product wasn’t ready to come to market and I had to explain to the account executive that there was one fee to be paid and it was not the photographers fault that the product is not ready. So, I could not credit the client for not using it, as when you have a shoot and usage fee separate, but when they were ready to use it, they could for the negotiated two (2) years usage effective date of first use. And if it took them weeks, months or years, they had the rights from when it was first used. This protected the photographer who did all the work asked of him.

What I really want to get at is where do you come up with those numbers? The creative fee. How do you know what that should be?

Sometimes you can come up with those numbers by going to Getty Images and see what a stock shot is worth and use that as a parameter but there’s no real source out there for numbers because there are so many parameters go into an estimate.

What about the quoting systems like books, software and websites?

I have found that none of these are very reliable because there’s no experience of having done large advertising production jobs behind them. I think only someone like a rep, art director, photo editor or an art buyer can tell you what to charge.

Ok but there must be a source for the usage, right? The creative fee would grow the more experience you get and the more seasoned or in demand you become as a photographer but the usage is usually fixed isn’t it?

Well not exactly. I had a young client just a year out of school who I helped with his estimate and he was asking more than two seasoned photographers. He got the job because his estimate was so buttoned up. We spelled things out, how we would produce the job and we estimated for one division of a corporation that has International divisions. It has paid the photographer greatly and he shoots for them all the time now.

The estimate really has to speak the volume of how you plan to shoot a job and really shows your understanding of what it will take to execute the job.

As an art buyer I once had a job with Capitol One and I had to triple bid it and I had this one estimate where the producer was so good I just looked at it and said “this guy gets this job.” The other people bidding said “this can be done in post” but I didn’t want it done in post I had asked them to go get a prop and have the logo melted into brass and that’s what I had asked for. So don’t assume you can save money for the client when the client wants things the way they asked.

So, you’re reading into how they’re going to produce a shoot?

Right. The winning estimate was $100,000 more than the other two estimates and I got Capitol One to approve it because I told the creative director “this estimate will come under budget but the other two will be over budget,” because some people under estimate thinking the money will be there if you need it later when in fact the money is already allocated to other divisions.

I was reading in your book that you tell photographers they shouldn’t mark up invoices anymore, somethingΒ  you say will be controversial. Why is that?

In a large production any Art Director or Art Buyer is going to ask for receipts. You are required to give receipts and bill exactly what you have. So, there is no room for markup anymore. That went away when the agencies didn’t get to markup invoices anymore. Agencies used to markup the estimates 17.65% and that’s when the photographers started marking up expenses as well. Those days have gone away. The other thing that’s gone away is agencies now days are not purchasing the media buy so you cannot base your estimate on a media buy, because half the time the agency doesn’t even know exactly what it will be. The agencies used to make their money off the media buy plus per hour expenses but now it’s becoming a monthly retainer. It’s all done on retainers now. There’s no little fluff extras anymore.

Ok, but there’s really no place to get a number?

You and I could come up with a chart with a whole range of numbers and you can post that.

Yes, let’s do that, that sounds really cool.

Now with regards to the estimate again how thorough do you need to be in describing how everything will happen?

In the example I gave you earlier where the young photographer out bid 2 seasoned photographers he was bidding against a team of photographers who were friends with the creative director. They did a pdf thing with these superimposed shots on how they would execute the job, but they weren’t where the client was going and they had second guessed it thinking they were for sure getting the job. The other thing I’ve seen is where this photographer had a 2 or 3 page dossier of how he was going to execute every single aspect of an image but forgot to include props, location scouting, wardrobe, casting in his estimate. I will tell you this, Art Buyers don’t read. That’s why an estimate needs to be clean, concise and to the point. They’re looking at the numbers.

And in that example I gave on my blog earlier the estimate was a little loose because the photographer was the ringer on the job so they didn’t have to worry about making everything super tight they just had to hit the number.

Well, I can tell you on a job where I did have a ringer that I knew was going to do it but another photographer actually won the job over my ringer because of the way he talked to the Art Director about how he was going to expedite the job. The Art Director wasn’t sure how to do a shot and the other photographer said “let me show you” and sent over a sample while on the phone. I actually had another job where a big name photographer withheld information and lost the job because he thought it was proprietary and they might steal his ideas.

When I used to triple bid jobs I would set the fee at fair market value then tell the photographers who they were bidding against and just make it about the production and the photographer who I thought produced the job best would get it. It wasn’t about the fees.

Also, I will tell you one trick I used once when I wanted Richard Avedon to shoot a job I asked to see the media buy which was in the millions of dollars and found 1 insertion in Ladies Home Journal for $40,000 and told the account executive I needed that insertion for my shoot and to ask them for the $40,000. The client agreed. My philosophy was always that running crap 6 times is way worse than running something great 5 times so lets spend the money that we need on production.

Ok, if I’m a photographer and I get the call tomorrow to bid a big advertising job and I’ve never done anything like that before, what do I do?

I do estimates for people and even have people in my back pocket who can do it if I’m not around.

So, you call a professional estimator. What does that cost?

I charge $150-$200 plus 7.5% of the creative fees if you get the job. That’s just for the estimate negotiation is by the hour at $150.00 per hour plus the percentage of the creative fees.

Are there a number of people who do this kind of thing?

I don’t know for sure (comment if you know some – rob).

I wanted to comment on a couple of things in that example you gave the other day. There are profit centers that photographers don’t realize even with no markup. The biggest one is Tech Scouting. There were two locations scouted with no tech scouting and let me give you an example of why it’s so important to do this. The location scout goes to 5 or 10 areas a day but the actual chance of them going to the area where the shoot will happen at the time it will happen is close to nil. I have been on a golf course with a client at 6 am because the photographer thought the sun was going to clear the trees then and we sat for 3 hours waiting for it to happen. If the tech scout had actually happened I would have had a lot happier client. So, that’s how you can sell it to any client and a lot of times it can be half of the fee. Also, digital capture and even something like an ftp site. I have a client who charges $1500 for an ftp site. Another area people don’t charge for is liability insurance. You can actually mark that one up because of the time it takes you to go get the certificate.

Right, so don’t forget to charge for your time and equipment on a shoot.

When you’re negotiating a job how do you make sure you’ve not left money on the table?

I don’t think you can ever know for sure except maybe when they say “yes” really fast. There are times when you may have left money on the table but you are building a relationship and you get people to realize that you are a good value. So, in the example you gave earlier, the photographer was within the budget and the client is coming back.

There are always people who out bid you, you have to show value for what you are.

Any last thoughts on pricing advertising photography?

You can never gauge something by another person’s success, because you don’t know how they got there.

Only walk in your shoes.

Ask Anything With Amanda And Suzanne – How Not To Blow The Face To Face Meeting

- - 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 explore more of the commercial side of photography (not my area of expertise) and to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

Our Second Question:

I sent out mailers and emailers to agencies recently and received asurprising amount of positive replies.

I recently drove for 9 hours after an Art Buyer seemed really enthusiastic about my work on the website and replied to my mail saying sure make the trip, I’d love to see your book. We sat down with two of his colleagues and things were going well.

About a third of the way in to the book he started to lose interest and then wandered off like a grazing dairy cow, I was bewildered but continued with his colleagues. He reappeared when the we’d already finished the book. Shook hands, said thanks for coming in and left. I exchanged a few more pleasantries with his colleagues and was left to pack up and let myself out on my own. Humiliated. Ok so this is the industry, not for wimps, fine. Maybe if the book and all the answers were perfect you might still get a jerk or get the right person on the wrong day. But how do you avoided blowing that valuable opportunity?

Our Response combined with the help of a very sought after rep and art buyer:

Just from reading this question – we see many red flags.

Our first thoughtΒ  when he said – β€œWe were a third into the book and lost interest” and then follows up by saying β€œWe had finished the book” – lets us know he was controlling the book viewing process and dialoging it the whole way through.

We think the first thing to remember is that every one can have a bad day and that may have been the cause.Β  You never know what someone is dealing with on a personal level.Β  Maybe the AB had bad news that morning, thought he could handle the meeting but just couldn’t.Β  Since you don’t know, the best thing to do immediately is to send an e-mail thanking him for his time as you could see how busy he was and that you truly appreciate the time given.Β  That you will send new work as you shoot it and would love to hopefully work together in the future.Β  Okay, that being said after the fact what should you do in the future?

  1. Make sure your website and portfolio compliment each other- the best of your work in the beginning of your website while the portfolio has to be consistent throughout.Β  Sometimes it is best to work with a neutral person like a consultant or a client you have a close relationship with for a non-emotional attachment to the images.Β  Rob has a huge list (here)- interview the ones you are interested in working with.
  2. Make sure your portfolio is professional and what the industry is expecting to see.Β  If you portfolio looked thrown together, then you have cheapened the images.Β  The presentation talks about your attention to details as you would on a shoot- the production value of the book transfers to the production value of a shoot.
  3. Let the viewer look at the images at their pace- don’t comment on every image- wait till they ask a question.Β  If they don’t ask anything then you need to ask them questions from your research (i.e. about an ad you loved that they did)
  4. Research- who you are talking to and the agency.Β  This is why a database is so crucial to your marketing.Β  A database is not only for sending out e-promos and mailers but used more efficiently for research.Β  We like Agency Access for several reasons- it’s clean, folders tally up total contacts, accounts and titles plus it has map quest to get you to your meeting.
  5. Research the agency by going to their website to see their accounts.Β  Then research the person you are meeting with.Β  Also, go to these websites to find award winning work:
    http://www.commarts.com/annuals/2009-Advertising/winners
    http://adsoftheworld.com
    http://www.graphis.com
    http://www.oneclub.org

Kat Dalager of Campbell MithunΒ  in Minneapolis has been especially kind to show you how to do this.Β  The first thing I do is go to my Agency Access account and look her up.Β  She is listed as the Print Production Manager, but over sees art buying and buys herself.Β  So when making your list make sure you include art buyer, creative buyer , print producer and print production manager since Agency Access uses their titles but makes sure they purchase photography.

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From this page, you have a live link to the agency as well as the map:

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And you can see samples of their work:

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You can also look at their work at www.agencycompile.com This is a free service but used for new business and marketing managers so it will not give you the creative personnel, hence the reason for a database.

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After you have researched the company, research the person:

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And you can find a video with her talking about the business:

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When we went through more Google pages , we find this:

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She is adorable and friendly. You can see that in the video as well. And this from Plaxo:

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Read this and find common ground to create a non-invasive conversation- you don’t want to get too personal. But it is good to see who you are talking to. Suzanne found this info on her own and found a lot. You may not find this much information on one person but you can find plenty about the company where they work. Kat reviewed this and she said:

β€œOne thing to mention is cross-checking sources because they are only as current as the information provided to them. For example, we no longer have H&R Block.

Also, since they can see we don’t have any car accounts, it would not be the best use of my time or theirs to send me a car book.

1 technicality: I go by β€œart producer” rather than β€œart buyer”

To summarize, some meetings go bad and that’s just part of the process.Β  When I (Amanda) repped for a short period of time I experienced the same thing, so you are not alone.Β  I flew to NYC to meet someone and at the receptionist desk I was told she was too busy to meet with me.Β  I also had an AB look at the portfolio in the lobby.Β  So there are no prejudices against particular people for meetings – everyone will experience a bad meeting in their lifetime.Β  We say – good!Β  That means one important thing – you are doing meetings.Β  With every 5 bad meetings comes a great meeting.Β  A client once had a meeting and was told β€œGreat work, but we have no clients that need your style to ever hire you”.Β  A week later – that same agency called to book him for a job with a new client.Β  Go figure.Β  Keep your chin up and just battle through it…it’s part of the game

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 β€œAsk Anything.”

Ask anything with Amanda and Suzanne – How Much Money Do Commercial Photographers Make?

- - Ask Anything

I’m so excited about a great new column I’m kicking off today called “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 explore more of the commercial side of photography (not my area of expertise) and to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.

To submit a question you can email me or leave a comment in one of these posts.

The First Question comes from me:

One commercial photographer told me he was bringing in $250,000 in profits and another said he has several million in billings. So, what do successful commercial photographers make? I’ve always believed it was a lot. How has the economy effected the way people price? Are photographers starting to base their usage on their cost of doing business instead of the cost of the use?

Amanda and Suzanne: The responses have been amazing, from photographers with all levels of success to a very high level art producer. We really enjoyed the personal and honest insight we got as to how they bill and the thought process behind it. It reminds you that you are not alone in this negotiating process. Keep reading – we had 1 photographer bold enough to give the answer everyone has been waiting for.

Hot Emerging Photographer:

What is an average successful profit for a commercial photographer? My rep doesn’t price based on CODB, but on what the market bears. And it’s definitely going down from what it used to be (from the mouth of my rep). Times are changing, sadly enough it’s because the high earning commercial photographers with big overheads are struggling to stay alive and taking jobs for much lower fees in order to pay it. In turn, that makes the emerging photogs like us less competitive because we don’t have the experience and portfolio that they do. Then to think about hiring a staff, and having to pay for that. Now I understand why photographers get paid quite a bit. My rep basically bids on what the client’s budget is, we push the production as low as we can to do a good job then create the fee out of the gap. I think if everyone goes by CODB that will drive the market down even more because the smaller guys don’t have as high of a CODB. I vote to keep an industry standard of fees. Especially with this digital era.

Established Photographer 1:

250K in profits! I want to be him. In my best year, I grossed 225K and I was quite pleased. I can’t remember what I net’d but would have to guess around 1/3 of that.

I’m not sure I’m not a great one to compare as I keep it small, simple, and avoid big overhead. I’m happy with a couple of big jobs a year. I’d rather work fewer, better jobs than be cranking at 100% all the time (and burning out). It’s also difficult to compare me to most; I was away from business from 2005-2007 and have had a very challenging economy to grapple with upon my return so there’s no steady recent history for me to gather information with.

I have estimated jobs based on usage, and I haven’t won many of them :-(

Established Photographer 2:

I have always tried to avoid talking about this kind of stuff. Even though I bill well over a Million Dollars in gross billing annually. What you actually pay yourself is much, much less.

I am at the top of my game and probably make about what a halfway decent Attorney makes.

It is quite exaggerated what photographers make.

Keeping up with new equipment, software, insurance, salaries, and repair keep you from making any truly great money.

I assure you the owners of Advertising Agencies make much more money than us guys in the trenches.

Sure there are a few Super Star photographers but they even go broke. Take Annie Leibovitz for example.

Established Photographer 3:

Alas, I am south of 250K…. I think my rep told me once that most guys are around 20 – 25% of their gross, I was typically around that to maybe a bit more. I don’t know specifically what the numbers are, just in a general sense – as I remember that 08 taxable income was about the same as 07 but at less billings in 08.

I don’t do cost of business pricing per se, but can’t say I am a poster boy for usage fees either. I have found that it’s harder to get a premium for bigger usage on some projects (i.e. art buyers ask for a specific usage and then later want unlimited for a year or 2 for the same money or relatively modest increase in the fee). That’s big and small agencies, not across the board, but it’s not unusual. Maybe I am getting played, but it usually happens in competitive bids where they say the other guy will do this usage for this money, so to be competitive I need to come closer to that number – that kind of thing. I typically but not always cave into it, as my costs are relatively low now, I don’t have a staff or a rep, my equipment is paid for and my studio mortgage is relatively reasonable – less than what I was paying in rent a few years ago….. so in that sense my cost of business does figure into it, but I only consider it when pressed to meet another person’s price.

Established Photographer 4:

o.k. here is the poop in Vague terms.

Yes, many years the take home profit (the photographers net earnings after operations) is over 250K but that depends a lot on investments in equipment etc.

Last year for sure the usage is based on the size of the client and the size of the buy. For example a one year print license starts around $2,000 per shot. Big clients/ big media buy $5,000 per client. There are some exceptions for tiny clients and design firms.

Established Photographer 5:

Depending on what you shoot, it’s not necessary to bring in several million or even a million to generate 250k in profit (e.g. – Still life and product shooters don’t have the high production expenses compared to someone who shoots talent). In a good year, I can earn $200k personal salary on $800k in sales. (THIS AIN’T ONE OF THOSE YEARS….). I’m sure those billing 3 million can earn a profit of a million. What their personal salary comes to is another matter altogether.

It’s in our best interests to keep money in the corporation, as a corporation is taxed differently (lower) than an individual. Many buy company cars & new gear at the end of a good year to reduce taxes payable. There are creative accounting (and totally legal) ways to reduce one’s personal salary while maintaining a very nice lifestyle. The perks of running your own business.

Personally, I don’t believe in the CODB model. It’s far to limiting and does not represent what one’s competitors are charging. I don’t believe one’s fees should ever be based on one’s overhead. My overhead is my choice, and so is that of my competitors. But my fees need to be as high as possible while being as competitive as one can be. Low bids are generally not well received by art buyers.

Hi-end guys/gals don’t price themselves as commodities. They tend to price very high to maintain their perception as hi-end.

License model, combined with photographers fee (shown as one line item!!) is the way the top guys estimate.

An Established Photographer with Actual Salary Numbers:

We grossed in 2008, $218,000 in fees alone. In 2009, we grossed $253,000. In 2008, we paid $100,000 in salaries to assistant photographer and myself combined. In 2009, that figure was $125,000. That is most of the picture. There are other benefit issues, such as health insurance, meals and travel, that come out of the business and reduce the net of the company… If you look at our net between 15K-20K each year, after buying gear, bonuses and finding every write-off. We are also a C corp, which makes me a salaried employee.

A Very Established Art Buyer:

Believe it or not, top photographers do gross a million or more in fees. Of course, agent commissions come out of that, but it’s still a nice living. I don’t see top photographers any more willing to compromise on pricing than before the economic downturn. It still comes down to the project and what it’s worth to the photographer.

Usage pricing is all over the board and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. It’s simple survival: people are doing whatever it takes to survive. Sometimes the compensation is reasonable, but I’ve also heard horror stories of unreasonable compensation and even blatant disregard to copyright laws. Unfortunately, in those cases it comes down to who can hold out the longest with lawyer fees.

I wouldn’t say it’s the Wild West, but I certainly don’t see the solidarity in holding out on pricing that an β€œup” economy allows. There is definitely an air of desperation among many photographers, especially those just entering the market. I don’t know that it’s any different from any other business, though. It’s tough everywhere.

Stock imagery seems to be taking quite a bit of a hit this past year as well. Account reps are disappearing and even the Big Two (Corbis and Getty) are making drastic staffing cuts.

I hope the recovery heads our way soon!

Our 2 Cents:

From across the board – everyone has the same hope and desires – do good work and bill appropriately. Regardless of your status in this market – it all is interconnected. You have to know your worth creatively to bill appropriately. Of course – Joe Blow may gross $500k annually but his overhead could be $300k – which means he is not better off than the wedding photographer netting $250k with very little overhead other than equipment updates. So from a wide range of talents – you can still net 50k – 1MM in our BAD economy. But you have to do your part to get those jobs and keep those clients and ask for what you are worth – NOT WHAT IT COSTS TO PAY YOUR BILLS!

Call To Action:

If you are willing to share your actual annual earnings – what you grossed in fees and what you took home at the end of the day (net) – please email us your exact figure and how long you have been in business and the type of photography you do (editorial, commercial advertising, consumer, etc…). We will be thrilled to be able to share if with your peers – while keeping you anonymous! We respect everyone’s confidentiality. This information in the end is not for us – but for you the photographer!

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.”

My jobs tend to be fees inclusive of usage, and however high I can negotiate given the client.

The Art of the Personal Project: Bob Stevens

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Bob Stevens

An agent pal of mine in NY, reached out to me because he had gotten wind of a potential bid opportunity. He knows that I like to shoot personal, self-assigned images as often as possible, so thought I would be interested. He had few details except for these: the women needed to be 55+ years of age and photographed without any makeup. No clue who the client was, etc. And he wanted samples within a couple of days.

I called my bestie in the talent agency biz, shared the specs and had an online gallery to view within an hour. She offered me her casting room to shoot in. A 10’x10’ β€˜studio’ was not my ideal scenario, but hey, that β€˜Necessity/Invention” saying comes to mind.

Driven by logistics and a desire to make the environment as intimate as possible, I used one light, a fill card and a small canvas backdrop. My objective was to keep things simple and compact.

I invited these women to pose for me with no makeup, clothed in a way that would allow me to show them β€˜discreetly naked’,Β  to increase the vulnerability of the setting.

The draped, gray fabric was inspired by classic sculpture and paintings (’Venus de Milo’ for example), and the lighting is β€œ3/4”, the way Rembrandt he lit all his painted portraits.

I created a private atmosphere, where I spoke to each of them personally and individually before each session. As we spoke, each subject opened up in a remarkable way. I realized that their stories needed to be told with motion, because there was so much to relate.

I wrote a list of questions, and my plan was to ask each individual the same ones so that in editorial I could create the voice of β€˜Woman’.

What I discovered is just how much these ladies had to say, and how powerfully they related to the questions I asked them: β€˜Who are You?”, β€œHow is your life different now than it was 20-30 years ago?”, β€œWhat does it feel like to be you at this age?” among others.

I was after personal moments, simply executed. I chose a very simple lighting setup and a black backdrop to feature my subjects. This was not β€˜about me’, and I wanted to make sure that technique and production value took a backseat to the message.

An unexpected part of my experience is how vulnerable and candid they were, at times, breaking down. Not so much because of what they were saying, but my perception was that they were being β€˜listened’ to and were moved that someone cared enough to ask.

The working title of the still shoot was β€˜Authenticity’. After I shot the film, I changed it to β€œI Am” in honor of their statements.

I am grateful for the Vulnerability, Courage and Power of these amazing women.

Video Link

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Cade Martin

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Cade Martin

I have a strong affinity for Mexico, the place and its people. I have been traveling there since I was a little boy and have returned numerous times for personal and professional photography projects.

I visited the state of Tamaulipas for a couple of days and created this series of photographs on farm workers.

On a ranch just north of Tampico, I came across migrant workers harvesting onions from the fields.Β This part of Mexico, just south of the Tropic of Cancer and a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is ideal for growing onions, hot chili peppers, and soybeans – its rich, tropical soil yielding multiple crops year-round.Β The onion harvest is a hectic operation that involves picking the onions by hand. Once cut, they are left in the fields to dry before being trucked to a shed to be sorted, packed and ultimately shipped to market.Β To work the fields, a nomadic group of TamalΓ­n Indians makes a yearly journey here from the tropical state of Veracruz.Β  Their weather beaten faces tell a story of many years of hard work in the fields under the relentless sun. I made these images in a shed, close to the fields where they worked – in the middle of their day.

As a “commercial” photographer, I really enjoy what I do. Of course, there are great characters and stories to capture in any shoot – but I continue to be intrigued by real, every-day people. Β I try to seek them out whenever possible, like I did the migrant workers on this ranch.Β  You can’t make any of it up – the authenticity of their faces, their culture, how they carry themselves or what they face in the reality of their day is endlessly rewarding for me.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Jasmin Shah

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Jasmin Shah

After being based in Chicago for decades, in July of 2019, I branched out and started a nomadic photography journey to pursue more of the work I love around the world. I had nine wonderful months of travel and adventures before COVID-19 changed my plans.

My story is a story of pivotingβ€”of having a plan that needed to change but sticking with what is true to me.Β Like so many people, I have not had the 2020 I originally envisioned, but I am grateful to be healthy, to have generous friends, and to have found new faces to photograph and ways to experience the world around me, wherever that may be.

I have started a new project, and I’m calling it β€œReintroducing America.” From 1935 to 1944, the US government-sponsored FSA program hired photographers and writers to “introduce America to Americans.” Those photos today work as a time capsule of that era. While I do not fancy myself as being at the level of those famed photographers, I do feel the need to document this strange time. We are a divided nationβ€”there is no arguing thatβ€”but as I’ve been traveling around and talking to people, I find that even when we have completely different points of view, we are still living through this crazy time together, and we always find some way to relate. I am one person and currently sponsored by no organization, but I am going to do my best to document the many faces and stories that make up our country, one person at a time.

I love people. I love people’s storiesβ€”their joy, their pain, and the many realities of life. I will always keep telling these stories.

Eileen’s Caption:Β 

When planning my drive out west, I looked at campgrounds and Airbnbs between Kansas and California, and I stumbled upon an Airbnb in a ghost town in Cisco, Utah. It had no running water and looked rustic, but obviously, I was intrigued because I wanted to photograph it. I booked myself a spot.

When I arrived, I met Eileen, the visual artist who is the sole year-round resident of Cisco, Utah. She acquired the land in 2015 and has been rebuilding since then. Fun fact: Eileen is from the Milwaukee area and was living in Chicago just blocks from me before she left. But we never met until I arrived at her ghost town.

I admire Eileen, as this does not look like an easy place to live. While I was here it was over 100 degrees, and in the winter it gets really cold. But she is working to create an artist-in-residence program so others can come and be inspired. I spent some time photographing and talking with her. Then I went to my cabin and watched the sun set and the stars come out. I realized if I had another few days, I’d want to stay here too. (I included some photos of my β€œhotel” and the land because I really did love it.)

The best place to find the project is:Β here

(It is on my website but I’m in the process of changing my site so I don’t want to link to it if the direct link changes)

To support the project:

https://www.patreon.com/jasminshah

 

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Stephen Wilkes

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Stephen Wilkes

Stephen is known for his masterful ability to capture the heart of what makes this country what has always has been, a mixing bowl.

While things may feel unsettled right now, it’s a moment to reflect, to look at images that reinforce what makes us all uniquely American.

We are a strong nation, we are a resilient nation and we are a caring nation.

Β Β 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: John Henley

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β John Henley

The portraits of artists appearing in this book “A R T I S T S” were taken in and around the city of Richmond, Virginia, over a six-year period. As a photographer who previously spent many solitary days making landscape images, I found the time spent with these artists to be nothing less than thrilling. Every portrait was collaboration with its subject, and to share ideas with each of them was revelatory.
I left Richmond to study photography as an undergraduate student at the San Francisco Art Institute. When I returned to my hometown in the mid- 1970s, I had been on the West Coast for five years and knew nothing about the art scene in Richmond. Soon thereafter, as I began my MFA studies in the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film, it was my good fortune to meet artists who were doing great work, and who were interested in what I was doing. Willie Anne Wright, George Nan, David White, Rob Carter, and Myron Helfgott were among those influential teachers who made me feel
at home and helped me to gain an artistic footing here. When I decided to undertake this series of artist portraits in early 2014, I started with these individuals.
Since then, I have met and photographed many artists, initially at the suggestion of the people with whom I began the project. To say that this experience has been a source of discovery and inspiration is an understatement. Simply put, interacting with all of these creative people has been amazing. It has instilled in me a much greater understanding of how important our arts community is, personally and collectively.
During my long career as a commercial photographer, I worked with many talented designers and art directors, including Rob Carter. He and I traveled around the country making aerial photographs for a Best Products Annual Report in 1983. Rob designed this book with stunning results, and I am immensely grateful once again to have had the opportunity to work with him.

The first public presentation of these portraits took place at the Richmond headquarters of Capital One (June 2–November 21 2017), thanks to an invitation from Art Program Manager Francis Thompson. On behalf of 1708 Gallery, board member Amie Oliver subsequently organized a two-part satellite exhibition at Linden Row Inn (January 15–July 8, 2018). More recently, VMFA educator Jeffrey Allison assembled a show of the portraits for the Richmond International Airport (February 3–August 2, 2020.) Selected portraits were also shown at Richmond’s Glave Kocen Gallery (June 15–July 18, 2020).
First and foremost, I hope this book will extend the recognition due these artists who have been so instrumental in the growth and visibility of Richmond’s cultural landscape.

To see more of this project, click here.

To purchase “A R T I S T S” click here

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Jonathan May

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Jonathan May

I was working on a photography series in Queenstown Tasmania calledΒ After they leftΒ which is an ongoing essay on mining towns that are a shadow of their former self when I first met Ingo Hansen. He was renovating an old hospital and turning it into a hotel, and we ended up having dinner together. I was captivated by his ability to recollect the past, and the town of Andamooka,Β whereΒ Rear View MirrorΒ is set, sounded like it was from another planet. I knew right then and there that I had something special, and he toldΒ me to come visit him as the town was having a reunion.

I work as a commercial photographer and director with large crews; I enjoy theΒ structured nature of this process and theΒ collaboration with specialists. However, I do love the freedom that comes with breaking the rules and getting on the road with just my camera. There is something special in working organically, and it is the excitement of the unknown that I am drawn to. There is an unmatched opportunity to really dive deep into creativity without the usual constraints of life getting in the way.

I think coming through the ranks as aΒ photographerΒ has made me much more resourceful than mostΒ directors, being able to compose and shoot my own frames. I love taking the time getting to know my subjects, really embedding myself in their world… similar to Louis Theroux, but then applying an Emmanuel Lubezkin lens to it. While I do look at some of the frames and think they could be technically improved if I had a bigger crew with me, there is also a power that comes from being nimble and as I try to push the emotion that occurs from trust formed over time.

I originally went to Andamooka for 10 days with Ingo, as he gave me the guided tour I was shooting B-roll. I then interviewed him properly and with delving into his past, IΒ realized how engaging he is and how vibrant life was in the days gone by. His ability to transport the listener into another world with his storytelling was impressive. Most of the past residents lived there in the hope of finding opal, and as I was sitting there in a small miners shack in the middle of an interview it dawned on me, Ingo was my rare stone… he was the rough and raw that you would expect to find in the desert, yet unique, articulate and polished.

Ingo had so many riveting stories from his days there, it was hard to limit it to just a few, but I wanted to really give the audience a taste of his world and leave them wanting more. Once I was in the edit, with theΒ assembly and the narrative sorted, I organized another trip back with Ingo and this time I could be more specific with a shot list to match the chosen frames. Just prior to shooting Ingo had a serious health turn and his license was temporarily taken away, so I flew to Adelaide and drove to Andamooka with him. During the 6-hour drive I realized the film’s narrative had evolved, he was doing some serious soul searching and I needed to interview him again and flesh it out.

Music is such a big inspiration in my daily life, and with the film I needed theΒ score to amplify the hauntingly beautiful landscapes and build emotion around Ingo’sΒ world. While Ingo is the protagonist, I felt like Andamooka and the land was as much of a hero as Ingo was. I remember seeing the sunrise one morning over the countless piles of dirt in what can only be described as an alienesque landscape and was listening to Tillman Robinson’sΒ Deer HeartΒ album, it was giving me goose bumps as I imagined my visuals together with his score. He is a composer I’ve wanted to work with and I really felt that his artistic sensitivity would accurately complement the desolate and evocative landscapes captured inΒ Rear View Mirror.

While I was only in Andamooka for a short time, I made some really good friends there and I can see why the desert has a strong pull. Countless others like Ingo keep returning to clear their minds and ponder on life. There is something about seeing an endless horizon that is good for the soul….void of skyscrapers, traffic lights and less disengaged people rushing around for unachievable happiness.

 

https://vimeo.com/431343377

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Patrick Fraser

- - Personal Project

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Patrick Fraser

This series originated on a road trip from LA to Indiana four years ago.Β  I knew I wanted to make a series while on the road but wanted a focus.

I have always been most interested in sub cultures.Β  As an expat from the UK moving to America getting on for twenty years now the vast landscape you have here and the open road depicted in road movies has always fascinated me and fueled my photographic desire.

The idea for Women Truckers came to me before I departed Los Angeles when I was planning the series.Β  I ran it by a few trusted friends in the film business and started to write a series of searching question to ask the women drivers who I met at the truck stops.Β  I came up with a list of about 12 written out in a sketchbook knowing that this would come in handy when I was faced with someone I had never met and would provide context for the story.

I use my iPhone to record the interview and then later transcribe them into a text document.

My first stop was late in the evening driving out of LA near Ontario on the 10 freeway.Β  There was no light left for a daytime exterior shot so I headed inside the truck stop and had a good scout around.Β  I got some strange looks from people inside as I had a vintage film Hasselblad 501 cm hanging from my shoulder and a light meter, which people always wonder what it is.

On my first look around a real working truck stop I realized this was predominantly a man’s world.Β  There were a plenty of men eating junk food, looking for spare parts in the store, paying for gas.Β  Then I discovered that they had areas for showers and washing clothes.Β  I was discovering a new underworld where drivers, men and women lived out of a suitcase on the road for around three months at a time.

Women truckers would be hard to find, they are about one in twenty on the road.Β  I found a games room with pool table and sitting there in this sparse dimly lit room was a women and her young daughter who was wearing headphones.Β  I opened the door, walked in and plucked up the courage to ask her if she would mind having a portrait taken and if I could ask some questions about being on the road and a female. Regina Campbell and her daughter Shelby who rode with her in the summer turned out to be open to my request.Β  She too was heading to Indiana so we discussed route to break the ice.Β  It turns out she has been driving for seven years, has a BA degree in sociology and formally worked in law.Β  One point she made stuck with me in her words β€œ its one of the fairest places for a female to earn what a male earns”.Β  She then told me many of the solo women drivers stay in their cabs and don’t come out at night for safety.

Regina was my first subject and over a period of about four years I now have about twenty-five subjects and interviews.Β  Once I did a commercial shoot in New York and booked a one-way flight knowing that I wanted to drive back to Indy in a rental so I could make more truck stop portraits.Β  Always with these kinds of portrait series you get quite a bit of rejection and resistance.Β  There were times I spotted a woman who had an interesting face or who seemed like a character but they were not interested to be photographed or talk.Β  That’s when you can feel deflated and start doubting your idea.Β  Then you find someone who is really open to it and can’t stop talking and you are back on track.

My first edit seemed a bit monotonous just having portraits only.Β  Luckily in most of the stops on the road I captured landscapes and details to tell the story of the road and show the truck stop as an American subculture.Β  I would drive through the entrance which said trucks only and park my car right next to these huge 18 wheelers and start shooting details of trucks and anything which I thought was worthy of setting the scene to go alongside my portraits.Β  Many of these wider shots included men, which I think is ok because they are a big part of this landscape.

Four years later and I’m still editing and pairing landscapes with portraits and wondering if this or that is a good shot.Β  Finally it was time to show this work and get some feedback from editors like Suzanne.

I continue to shoot this subject and I have a whole binder full of color negatives of women truckers and the truck stops landscapes.Β  One day this could turn into a larger body and printed book.Β  I plan to make a zine next of some of my favorites to try it out in print and start paring up more and seeing if I have something worthy of ink.Β  If anything it has been an exercise in documenting culture for me and I have learnt a great deal from talking with these strong women about life on the road.

 

To see more of this project, click here

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Ian Spanier

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Ian Spanier

MoTo

Personal projects have always been an important part of my career as a photographer. I’ve been lucky enough to have found some success from previous projects where they have been published in coffee table books, magazine articles and presented in print in various venues. The importance of personal work for me lies in the fact that unlike my commercial work the vision is completely my own. It’s also been a place for me to challenge myself. I love to have many options for lighting in my β€œbag of tricks,” and often it’s personal work that allows me the freedom to try new ideas out.

I’ve always been fascinated by motorcycles, although I’ve actually never rode one…yet. Sure, I’ve been on scooters and mopeds, but never have I experienced the thrill of the open road on one of these two-wheeled beasts. Personally, I tend to be drawn to the classic street bikes from Triumph, Indian and Honda, as well as many custom bikes. Being on the road a lot here in California I see bikes everywhere and thought it might be interesting to make photographs of the riders. I have been shooting the bikes as well, but it’s the riders that take center stage.

I photographed my first subject, Cortni Joyner, an actress I have shot several times here in Los Angeles on March 11, just before the Stay-At-Home orders were placed. I was crushed. The pictures were exactly what I wanted to make, and now I am handcuffed. Of course, I had no idea what was to come of the quarantine, but I began to prepare how I would work once things lifted…little did I know where we’d be still today. Thankfully, my regular workflow was already halfway there as far as being capable in the new normal needs of safe photo shoots. Using a CamRanger 2, I am able to send wireless jpgs to a tablet, computer or cell phone. An added feature allows me to also send near real-time images to a shared folder to anyone with Internet access and permission to that folder. Add all the face coverings, temperature checks, Lysol wipes and safe distance and much of the criteria are met. After about five weeks, I was of course antsy to work. Since LA was still frozen, I began to speak with some other subjects I’d been in touch with about doing a β€œsafe” shoot. We made the necessary precautions and arranged a shoot date.

From a technical standpoint with this project I began with the premise of pushing a new style of lighting that would at a much higher aperture than I normally shoot as I tend to lean toward f7.1 as my go-to and wider apertures for lower depth of field in other cases. Here I am shooting at f20 or f22 in most cases. As an additional challenge, I am creating a studio look in my home. To do so, I am contending with distance limitations, a stairwell, lower ceilings in the β€œstudio,” and furniture of course. I am using Westcott FJ400 Portable Strobes and modifiers, as well as V-Flat World V-Flats along with seamless paper and black velvet. I am shooting on a Canon 5DM4 with a variety of Canon Lenses, the Camranger 2, an iPad, Sekonic Meter, Hoodman Memory Cards and my Spider Holster Pro camera support.

The pandemic has certainly presented challenges as well, and I have been careful to make many precautions before agreeing to a photo shoot. That said, I am using that to also carefully curate the subjects I want to make portraits of, and not just choosing every motorcycle rider I see. Often the choice is made on the bike first, and then if I like the subject’s look, I approach them. Given the current climate, Instagram has been a great tool for this. My second subject was literally found from a random post that appeared on my feed, and I made two new friends as a result.

The most important aspect of MoTo has been to just create. I go nuts when I don’t have time to make images. Keeping my creative mind active is so critical because I am able to control that. So much, as we all are experiencing, is controlling us right now, so I feel it’s imperative to be able to choose a path now. Between shooting and retouching the images I have been able to continue to keep quite busy while the out of my control pieces start (hopefully) to fall back into place/become a new norm of how we will work.

Ikedi O. Onyemaobim photographed with his 2004 Triumph Thruxton 900 “Wolf”

I met Indian Motorcycle rider and Los Angeles Gym Owner Pieter Vodden for the first time during a commercial photo shoot last year. Then ended up at the same gym a few months later for another shoot and saw his bike parked in front of the location. This stuck in my mind so I approached him after I began the series.

 

Vodden’s Indian Motorcycle glove still life.

 

 

 

Actress Cortni Joyner (CW’s Into the Dark) was my first subject for MoTo. Thankfully, I had worked with Cortni a couple times so she was comfortable with me establishing the ideas I had scripted before beginning to make these portraits.

 

Muscian and Actress Nina Bergman stepped in like someone out of Mad Max. The Danish talent became a connection through her agent who represents many of the fitness athletes I photograph on commercial assignments.

Former BodyBuilder Stan McQuay was one of my first assignments for Muscle & Fitness Magazine in the early 2000s. Thanks to social media we have remained aware of one another. He posted about his new custom show bike and was very happy to ride it over to be a part of my project.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Nigel Cox

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Nigel Cox

 

DRIFTΒ by Nigel Cox

This ongoing series entitled DRIFT, named equally for wind blown snow and for my meandering outdoor search for subjects – not to mention a car steering technique-Β began in New York City in 2006.

The contrast between delicate individual snowflakes and the humbling and disabling power of a snowstorm has always fascinated me. I see vehicles becoming blanketed in snow representing that dichotomy whilst providing interesting forms, textures and color compositions.

Most of the images were shot close to my home in Brooklyn. As the cars are densely parked in that area I never have to venture more than a few blocks each time I shoot. Every vehicle provides a unique canvas but I’m often drawn to the ones with interesting colors,Β carefully studying every angle, seeking out elements that arrest my eye.

Snow dampens sound and for me, that tranquility, combined with bitter cold and scarcity of people, allows for a heightened level of concentration and patience. As a result, these images feel very personal and remind me of why I fell in love with photography at an early age.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Art Streiber

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Art Streiber

According to the websiteΒ farmworkerfamily.org, between 1/3 and 1/2 of allΒ farmworkersΒ in America reside inΒ California, which means that there are roughly 500,000 – 800,000Β farmworkers laboring in the state’s fields and orchards and approximately 1/3 of them are women.

Mily TreviΓ±o-Sauceda and MΓ³nica RamΓ­rez had both spent years organizing andΒ representing farmworkers before theyΒ joined forces in 2012 as co-founders of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworkers Women’s Alliance). Β It was the first nationalΒ organization to represent the country’s 700,000 women farmworkers, uniting one of theΒ most vulnerableΒ groups in the American workforce. Β 

The intention of my group portrait was to have the dozen women farmworkers that agreed to beΒ photographed stand in for their (approximate) 200,000 counterparts. Β I wanted to create a sense of infinity with just a few subjects.

After the groupΒ portrait was finished my crew and I set up aΒ simpleΒ portrait station on the back of the equipment van in order to honor each woman individually.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports that California produces 1/3 of the country’s vegetables and 2/3 of the country’s fruits and nuts, which means that these women are responsible for providing Americans with lettuce, apricots, grapes, apples, almonds, broccoli andΒ avocadosΒ to name just seven of the 400Β agricultural commoditiesΒ produced in the state.

Keeping these women safe andΒ healthy is the mission of the Alianze and while the organization is addressing numerous issues from domesticΒ violence toΒ workplace environmental concerns and sexualΒ harassment, TreviΓ±o-Sauceda says,Β β€œThere’s still a lot of work out there we need to do.”

If you can donate to this organization and help these amazing women, please do as they are the ones keeping fruit and vegetables in the markets: https://www.alianzanacionaldecampesinas.org

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Clemens Ascher

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Β Clemens Ascher

Clemens Ascher graduated from the Miami Ad School Europe in Hamburg, where he completed his qualifications as an art director and commercial photographer. His talent was already discovered while he was still studying and won him awards such as the β€˜German Student of the year’ from the ADC.

Once he graduated he completed a long-term photography assistant job in Hamburg, before launching his freelance photographer career in 2008. Since then he has participated in several group and solo shows in Austria and works for international clients.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Doug Ross

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Doug Ross

Artist Statement (Repeat post to honor Coney Island):

β€œConey Island, a black and white retrospective” is my photographic journey of the past ten years shooting at Coney Island. My photographs, of Coney Island, Brooklyn NY, represent my vison of an ever-changing canvas of people and experiences by the water’s edge, on the boardwalk and the streets that surround. They bring the viewer into a place that is intimate, gritty and unretouched by society. The people are who they are and have no excuses or facades. The rich black and white tones strip away the screaming colors and even sounds of the seashore park and its patrons and leave the viewer to just be fixated by the subjects alone. I am pleased to present this compellation of some of my favorite images from the area I so love.

 

To order a copy of his book ($40), please contact him here

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.

The Art of the Personal Project: Adam Moran

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Adam Moran

When the world started to shut down due to Covid 19, all my future shoots were cancelled/postponed, and like many other parents suddenly my wife was working from home full time, and we had lost our childcare. Since I had no future work, I was there to take to over the childcare full-time for our daughter Mabel who was almost 2. She’s a kid with a lot of energy, she wants to be out running, chasing squirrels, climbing stairs, or just about anything active. Since I could no longer take her to the playground we only had a small grassy park in our neighborhood and our backyard as our little world to burn out her energy.
I take a million photos of her already to share with our families on the East Coast, but suddenly I found myself taking more and more since we were together 24/7. Β I would shoot a photo either on my iPhone or mirrorless that I bring everywhere, and then I started to notice funny similarities between some of my sports and fitness work. Β Sometimes it was the light and lines, sometimes the pose, and sometimes it was just a funny coincidence. I quickly realized that at times I couldn’t help it, I was trying to frame photos the same as I did at work, when she was just playing around. After a few weeks I started to dig into the drives, and match up the photos for fun, and then I started posting them on my instagram account. I’ve kept my instagram mostly work related for the last year, so this was suddenly making my daughter more public on there, but in a funny way. After a few shots I started getting so many messages from people to keep it coming, and they were looking forward to it each time. In the end I did 16 match ups with Mabel and athletes like Mike Trout, Tony Hawk, Megan Rapinoe and more. My time with Mabel is a break from all the craziness in the world right now, and I think these photos matchups were a simple way to keep things light, when it all seems so heavy. Β At one point I was stressing that I didn’t have a β€œcorona project” like everyone else was talking about, and then I realized I didn’t need to come up with one, my project was our life together, and I just getting to shoot that is the best project possible.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Aldo Chacon

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Aldo Chacon

Correfocs

Correfocs are some of the most interesting and dangerous things I’ve photographed in my life.Β In theΒ correfoc, a group of individuals will dress as devils and light up fireworksΒ that areΒ fixed on their devil’s pitchforks. Most of these dancing devils will move to the sound of a rhythmic drum group, as they set off their fireworks among crowds of spectators. As a spectatorΒ it is your choice to participate inside the ring of fire or watch from a distance. The spectators that participate dress to protect themselves against small burns and attempt to get as close as possible to the devils, running with the fire.

The first time I experienced this celebration, was while I was living in Barcelona. I saw it and thought it was the most insane thing, running around with blazing fireworks attached to your hands? Crazy! But truth is, it was also something very visual and exciting. Correfocs reminded me of an anarchist protest or a punk rock concert mosh pit. Observing all these people running around and pushing against each other in devil outfits with fire coming out of their hands was in a way a reflection of how they where not afraid of living on the edge.

Photographing this experience was a thrill. Everywhere I looked there where flares and little dots of light coming towards my camera. The energy was high,Β a frenzy. Everywhere I pointed a shadow or a highlight would create a beautiful abstract representation of what was happening. People where pushing against each other, running away from the fire, as of me I was trying to get as close as possible and I was trying to capture the atmosphere and the people, when it was time the fire came close and I just didn’tΒ stop pressing the shutter.

 

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

 

The Art of the Personal Project: Bryan Coppede

The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. Β I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. Β In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Β Please DO NOT send me your work. Β I do not take submissions.

 

Today’s featured artist: Β Bryan Coppede

Artist Statement:

I discovered the New York City and Los Angeles based non-profit Refoundry a few years ago, and immediately offered to volunteer my services at their New York location.Β  Their β€œmission is to provide formerly incarcerated people with the skills and opportunity to achieve financial independence and become leaders and job creators in our communities”.Β  RefoundryΒ works to break the cycle of incarceration and give people a sense of self-worth and empowerment.Β  It is a cause I believe in, and it is a cause worth amplifying, especially now.Β  Their Hand in Handβ„’ Project, documented here, is ongoing within the greater scope of their mission.

Below is Refoundry’s description of the Hand in Handβ„’ Project, used with permission:

β€œ68 million Americans have a criminal record; when arrested their hands are β€˜printed’ for identification. In this way the state coopts identity and brands these individuals as criminals for life, disseminating that β€˜record’ throughout our society in ways that create barriers to employment, housing, and essential services for millions of our fellow citizens.Β 

Refoundry’s Hand-in-Handβ„’ Project is designed to contrast this process, creating a new association with hand-printing – one that’s positive and creative, and that allows formerly incarcerated people to reclaim their identity and self-agency while embracing, and being embraced by, the larger community.Β 

The one criterion of the program is that people can’t paint their own hand, but must place their hand in the hand of someone else to paint, and in turn take another’s hand in theirs to paint. This process employs safe yet intimate touch within a common creative process, providing space for value, trust and empathy to flourish between individuals and communities.Β 

When displayed in large numbers, the visual impact of hundreds of hands simultaneously projects the uniqueness of each individual and the power and strength of community – our community. Refoundry’s Hand-in-Handβ„’ Project invites diverse people from many different neighborhoods, of many different colors, with many different stories – and draws them together, hand-in-hand, in a single expression of creativity, individuality and community.” 

Β 

To see more of this project, click here.

To learn more about Refoundry’s mission click hereΒ 

APE contributorΒ Suzanne SeaseΒ 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.Β  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 decided to be a consultant in 1999.Β She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.Β  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.Β  Instagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. Β And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.