Search Results for "suzanne sease"

Still Images in Great Advertising – Achim Lippoth

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I Β always like when fashion images push the envelope and stand out above the others. Most of the time that means pushing the images sexually, so I guess that is why I thought of these as a refreshing way to push the envelope!

Suzanne: What a brilliant way to get the attention of the viewer. How much input did you have in the concept of these ads?

Achim: the rough idea comes mostly from the agency, the client wants my point of view as well as how to bring the ideas Β to life with casting, location, setting, light, angels and so on.

Suzanne: How did you go about producing these ads. Did you have a chicken wrangler on set? How many chicken were actually photographed?

Achim: yes, actually we had a animal wrangler on set and we shot 15 chicken in many different positions and angels.

Suzanne: I see Achim has been used on some American campaigns but is based overseas. Does he come to the US to shoot? Like the Calvin Klein Jeans or American Eagle campaigns?

Susanne Bransch ( US Rep): Achim is booked for many ad-campaigns in the USA and frequently shoots for American Eagle, Target, Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole. If you go on the Bransch website, you can get more info about this work.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Geof Kern

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Geof Kern has been in the business for years and still continues to create beautiful and fresh images. This campaign has been on my radar for awhile so I couldn’t wait to ask Geof about it.

Suzanne: The ads for Ritz Carlton are so perfect for your sense and style. How much were you able to add your creative fingerprint to the concepts?

NOTE: When I asked Geof this question he sent me to a link where he already answered the question on his reps blog. I have copied it here so readers could see it.

When things align perfectly, the memory lasts forever. That’s the idea behind the new brand platform for Ritz-Carlton hotels. While the unspoken message of most hotel advertising may be β€œstay with us,” the creatives at Team One turned tradition on its head with their theme, β€œLet us stay with you.” It’s a strategy poised for a wealth of success. As the NY Times points out, β€œSince the financial crisis began, millions of wealthy consumers have decided to play down the joy of accumulating things in favor of the pleasure of accumulating experiences.” Team One’s approach appeals to this well-healed crowd by β€œdrawing explicitly on a guest’s power of memory,” conjuring serendipitous moments that equate to β€œone-of-a-kind experiences.”

Of course, translating magical moments into memorable images doesn’t just happen by chance. The creative team wanted a photographer whose work was as elegant and nuanced as a posh hotel chain. But artistry alone wouldn’t cut it. As Team One Art Producer Jill Hundenski puts it, β€œIt couldn’t look forced or faked. We needed a highly conceptual photographer. But it also had to be someone who could coordinate all the precise details.” β€œAnd trust me,” she laughs, β€œthere were a lot of details. Even I underestimated the amount of pre-pro involved.”

Fortunately, orchestrating the impossible is photographer Geof Kern’s idea of a β€œvery fun project.” β€œI absolutely loved working with Team One on this,” says Kern. β€œThe brief was to use the concept of seeing something unexpected in the scene, as random elements realign themselves from the viewer’s perspective. In this case, β€˜spontaneous’ took a lot of planning. Especially because we wanted to capture as much in-camera as possible.”

β€œFor example,” Kern continues, β€œfor the photograph of the woman holding the paper umbrella walking through the tea glass in an outdoor restaurantβ€”I mocked that up completely in advance in my studio to determine the exact focal length and aperture setting…the distance we’d need between the glass and the model…etc., etc., etc. That way, I was prepared.”

As far as Team One is concerned, the preparation paid off, in spades. β€œGeof pulled off a very challenging concept,” says Hundenski. β€œWe needed a master, and Geof was it.” The result is a series of photographs that draw viewers into a playful world where their own mind completes a visual pun of sorts, quite literally bringing readers along on a journey of discovery.

β€œSometimes you’ve just got to ask yourself, why leave spontaneity to chance?” says Kern. For the moment, Team One is very glad they didn’t.

Suzanne: Where were the images photographed? With five concepts, how many days did you have for prep, shoot and post? The perfect location is crucial to the success of the ads.
Geof: I think I was awarded the job late May and we shot mid June. Post was complete about a month later. Took a while because of much back and forth with the agency TeamOne, and also because there were some videos for my retoucher to do post on.

Suzanne: You have been in this business for years, what inspires you?
Geof: That’s something I don’t think about much, I’ve been doing this all my life. New things inspire me, and things done well… that is, originality and craftsmanship.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Geof Kern is based in Dallas where he maintains a studio to organize his shoots at home, New York, and elsewhere in the world.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images In Great Advertising – George Logan

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

When I found this ad campaign by George Logan, I reached out to his rep, Tim Mitchell. Β Tim mentioned to me that George is very busy these days with one in every four billboards in the UK. Β But George got his recognition from a book his did called, Translocation: Pictures of African animals in Scottish landscapes. Β It is a brilliant book and showcases the importance to do personal work.

Suzanne: Β After going to your site, I can see the campaigns done for Quantus and Shell were perfect inspiration for this campaign. Β Do you feel like those accounts helped the creative team know you were the perfect choice for this campaign?
George:Β Β The creatives were actually very keen on the look and feel of my personal work, but you’re right, they did say that Qantas and Shell had helped influence their decision to work with me.

Suzanne: Β What was first, the chicken or the egg? Β These images are composited but what came first, the images from the sports events or moments in life, well a woman’s life?
George:Β Chicken or egg? Good question. The concepts were drawn up quite specifically so the pairings had to sit together perfectly. We had to source suitable sports imagery from the Sky TV archive, then photograph the main plate in such a way that the elements would merge seamlessly without appearing forced or contrived.

Suzanne: I love the personal work on your website (his agent shows more commercial work), how have you felt showing that work is helping you secure Β great commissioned assignments?
George:Β I make a conscious effort to shoot my personal work in the direction that I’d like my commissioned work to take. I’ve always done this and it’s definitely worked. I’m often asked to shoot commissions in the style of my own personal projects, which is great.

The Agency is Brothers & Sisters London Β http://www.brothersandsisters.co.uk/blog/
Art Direction: Olly Courtney and Harv Bains
Art Buyer: Lu Howlett

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images in Great Advertising- Matt Barnes

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I am a true believer of doing pro-bono work, because it is not only for a great cause, but it is usually the most creative work. Why wouldn’t you want your signature on it. I found this campaign in Ads of the World (where I find a lot of my material) and not only loved the message but the way Matt Barnes shot it.

Suzanne: I see that you used stock images for the basis of the tattoos. Do you think it would have been too invasive to have used “real” victims?
Matt: While the turn around time didn’t allow for that approach, what was most important for us was presenting the message in the best way possible – with that idea in mind, I purposefully kept the lighting nondescript and the models almost shadowed. I was provided with the tag lines for the scrolls of the tattoos before the shoot so that helped me choose the stock images I wanted to use. I wanted a wide age range and preferred faces looking straight at camera. With a project like this, the identities of the models weren’t as important as the idea and message behind it all.

Suzanne: How did the tattoo artist, David Glantz, get the images on the figures? The work is so detailed that these are amazing pieces of art. How tricky was that?
Matt: As the subject is so significant, appropriately executing each facet was crucial. The process worked something like this; first off I found suitable stock personalities to fit each role – diversity was essential and I spent a lot of time searching out suitable people. Once they were selected, I made the images black & white, added contrast, removed detail and enhanced the edges, before passing the digital files along to David (who I had known already through friends that he’d tattooed). He printed and traced the images, added the banners and type and I was left with pulling off the trickiest bit – applying the tattoos to the models digitally, while maintaining a realistic look. It was difficult, but I gave them the appearance of age to better set them into the skin and was happy with the results. David was vital in pulling the project off and I was really pleased that he was into working on it with me. It wouldn’t have turned out half as well without him.

Suzanne: This campaign is very alarming and really gets your attention. I know so many people who ink their bodies because the loss of a loved one, so this is very powerful. How successful was the campaign?
Matt: I had a great response on my end; I received lots of feedback via my blog (http://mattbarnesphoto.tumblr.com) and a fair of bit of press at the time as well. The ads ran around the holidays, a topical time for the issue at hand, and I hope it made an impact.



Matt Barnes is a commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada and his work can be seen at http://www.thatsthespot.com

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images In Great Advertising- Shawn Michienzi

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I have known Shawn Michienzi for decades throughout my career as an art buyer. I never had the honor to work with him but came close once. Shawn is a pure advertising photographer-he loves the business and brings a lot to the table when he shots a campaign. I interviewed Shawn with his West Coast rep, Kate Chase (he was sick as a dog and had a hard time finishing his sentences before breaking into a coughing fit).

Suzanne: There is a lot of propping in this ad campaign- did you shoot it in Washington, DC or Minneapolis? And how big were the sets to create these scenarios? And if not from a commercial prop house, where did you get a lot of these props?
Shawn: This campaign was created to raise awareness for a special King Tut sponsored by National Geographic and exhibiting at the Science Museum in Minnesota. Ultimately it was meant to be two-fold and gain the interest of other museums around the country for additional exhibits too. We shot in Los Angeles, in conjunction with TV spots. The sets were used from the TV spots but are all real places. The props came with the our very real talent — as in the tool guy, Johnny Long, that was his actual garage and those were his tools. Same for Lord Andrew Fairfax, the Medieval Re-enactor, he attends festivals and with the exception of the Damsel in Distress, he had all those props. And Dr. Ruehl, we photographed him in his house too, some additional propping of the dinosaurs required there.

Suzanne: This campaign seems to have your funny quirk to it- were you able to add a lot of your creative input to this campaign?
Shawn: As is sometimes the case, there were no layouts, just an idea so I did pitch some of my thoughts to the creative director and we took it from there. In this process that is the fun part. I love portraits of people with their stuff and for these, there were many ways to execute but we went with the idea that I had envisioned of having them laying down, real-people as modern-day King Tut’s, in their environment, with their collections.

Suzanne: It is really refreshing to see a hometown agency using the talents of the local photographer. Do you have a long working relationship with Carmichael-Lynch?
Shawn: Yes, I do. Was happy to do this for their budget because of my long-term relationship with the creative director. Even though print is not currently produced as frequently as it was once was, I have been fortunate to work with them at least once a year. Though I don’t ever count on the theory of repeat business coming from an Agency, after all these year’s we enjoy working together and I believe we produce some great ads, and now it feels less formal too. I get what art directors are doing, I understand it’s a process and it doesn’t bother me creatively that you have to shoot for the gutter. I just want to make beautiful images that work hard, no ego. I think if you are not working with the right people then your work is only as good as the people who hire you. The majority of the work that is risk-taking is typically not US-based so when this came in the door and it was clear we could take some risks, I was in, and it was worth it to make it happen, call in favors as needed. Along the way and because of the relationship, I was also commissioned to direct the TV spot with The Conspiracy Theorist. And I like that I am doing more and more commercial TV work. I feel this is reflective of the folks I have relationships with that are also doing more commercial/motion work. The younger creatives don’t have that much craft beyond print yet – so motion is where I see myself headed to provide value to the relationships. I have always believed you have to stay true to who you are, be passionate about what you do, find the joy in it. Be inspired. Making ads is a great day job- and I love it.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Shawn Michienzi is an award-winning photographer whoseΒ work has been featured in everything from Cannes to Communication Art. HeΒ maintains residences in LA and Minneapolis,Β is represented on the West Coast by Kate Chase of Brite Productions and on the East Coast by JK AND Artist Management

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

 

Still Images In Great Advertising – Jeremy & Claire Weiss

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I reached out to Day 19 (Jeremy & Claire Weiss) after seeing this great Converse campaign, because they seem to work well as a husband and wife team.Β Here is our conversation about how they make it work… together.

Suzanne: This is a great campaign for Converse, who looks to be a very loyal client that allows you to create amazing campaigns. Tell us about the campaign, how you got started in the business, what your big break was and how have you hung on to Converse for all those years?
Jeremy & Claire: We shot it over 6 days all over Southern California in the spring. Converse has been great to us, that was our 7th campaign for them and at this point we all know each other so well we just go out and have as much fun as we can and take some photos in the process. Those shoots have led to so many other shoots its been ridiculous. Our son also has a lifetime supply on Chuck Taylors thanks to Jess.

We started in the picture taking business by shooting our friends who just all happened to be doing rad shit. We’ve know a lot of amazing musicians, skateboarders, etc. and we always just documented our lives. Honestly, we both saw ourselves working at a small town newspaper by this time since we both studied photojournalism and documentary photography. I started going on tour with bands in the early 2000’s because I tried assisting once and it was horrible and I need some money. I could go on tour, sell merch for an hour and have 23 hours to shoot people hanging out having fun. That led to shooting press photos, covers, magazine articles. So I’ve been making a living shooting photos for a decade now but it was nothing close to a good living until 2006ish. Claire and I started shooting together in 2005, because of a push from my old rep. I was up for a Dell campaign, but didn’t have a portfolio and we were rushing to put one together. Claire had an amazing shot of Jack Black that the rep wanted to include in my book and asked if Claire would let me use it. That made no sense to me so she said, “why don’t we just start pitching you two as a team?” It was so obvious but we never saw it. We got that Dell job and flew to London… but of course they didn’t want to pay for two tickets.

I would say our “big break” was from Natalie Flemming who pushed hard for us for a Nokia campaign back in 2006, maybe 2007? She had been following our website for years and waiting to find a project for us. When she called in our book we contemplated not sending it overnight like she asked, because we couldn’t afford the $50 to overnight it and we were too naive to know you could ask for a FedEx number. That job is how we met our current rep Giant Artists who we’ve been with since day one of the agency.

Most of our clients are repeat clients and they have been very loyal to us for the most part. I’d say 75% of our shoots this year have been 2nd or 3rd shoots with the agency or brand. We’ve made some lifelong friends at the agencies we’ve worked with and have had clients offer to put us up when we do our Day19 family world tour in 2013.

As a husband and wife team, does this confuse art directors and buyers and how is your creative process in pre-pro and on set?
We’ve been together since we were teenagers and met when we both first started taking pictures, so our whole picture taking life has been spent together. We are both a part of every step and we both shoot every job together. The #1 question on conference calls is always how it works with us shooting together and the answer is we both love shooting and we are both trying to one up each other in a fun, loving way. It gets comical sometimes us both saying “look at this”, oh yeah “well look at this!” all day. Years ago one would be more of the art director and one would shoot and we would pass the camera back and forth, but we were just always fighting for the camera so now we both just constantly shoot.

How do you keep such lose and natural feeling with your subjects when you still have to produce the work? How do you strike that balance? Do you work with the same producer?
We just have a ton of fun when we shoot. We have worked with the same team for years and we all know each other so well that it makes the environment relaxed and attitude free. On a recent shoot the client told us, “it’s so refreshing to work with you guys because you are just real people” and it was funny to us because we weren’t sure what that meant. She had been in the business for 20+ years and has done a million jobs, so what were all of her other experiences like? Were the photographers crazy or had huge egos? Maybe we are just naive, but how could you not have fun doing this job? We are getting to meet new people and be creative on a daily basis, and get paid for it! Blows my mind how anyone could not have fun doing a photo shoot.

Shit, did I even answer the question. I think our photos look natural because it’s very laid back and our subjects are actually having a great time. No model can fake having a great time, it’ll show through in their face. We have a couple producers we mostly work with but I will not tell you their names because we need them (sorry Nancy, Sarah and Wes).

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Jeremy & Claire Weiss live in Los Angeles, CA with their son Eli.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

 

Still Images In Great Advertising – Bryce Boyer

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a Β column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

In today’s feature, I reached out to Bryce Boyer,Β because the ads he shot show great lighting, clever concepts and the importance of showing your talent to an agency and creative person using a pro-bono campaign to establish a working relationship. The pay off can be huge, many times better than spending thousands on a direct mailer. Creative people look at award winning ads and find photographers to shoot their paying jobs. In the the begining of my career as an art buyer, Jim Erickson would shoot our creative work with little budgets and it was great creative work that got The Martin Agency and Jim Erickson on the map. It is best to look at some assignments based on how they can help the future of your career.

Suzanne: I would assume this ad is a pro-bono project for Burns Marketing? Is that true?
Bryce: I worked with Burns Marketing to create these images to promote entering work into The Denver Fifty (Note: The award show is tonight), a unique advertising competition sponsored by Ad Club Denver that celebrates the region’s fifty best ideas. To honor the spirit of this contest, we developed posters behind the concept β€œGreat Ideas Can’t Hide.” In other words, if you won’t submit your ideas to this show, Ad Club Denver will find them. That’s why every poster has a creative individual who is suddenly aware that someone is stalking them to take their idea.

Through this process, I had the privilege of teaming up with Jennifer Hohn, a fantastic art director at Burns Marketing, who was in charge of developing a marketing campaign to get creatives to submit ideas. This was my first time working with this agency. It gave me an opportunity to further expose my work to them and the Denver ad community. Fortunately, the posters were scooped up in blogs nationwide. Score!

And as a bonus, I thought this was a good time to give back to this vibrant, active ad community. I believe my creative energy should sometimes do more than move products off shelves. Twenty years from now, I want to look back and see my body of work with a sense of pride. So every year, I partner with a few non-profits that I share common values with. It’s a responsibility that has returns that benefit the soul, not the checkbook.

One more quick note about pro-bono work. There is never a convenient time to do something for free. To make it work, I have to schedule it just like any other job and give myself a real deadline. It’s easy for me to do it in my head, but a deadline makes it happen in real time.

Suzanne: Tell me about the lighting on this as the drama of the image makes the viewer stop versus a great headline with supporting image.
Bryce: For years I have built a style around complex lighting that requires a sizable crew and carts of equipment. This job had no budget, so I wanted to keep it simple. Most shots had one Kino for the key light, a Lowell DP casting a shadow from a foam core cut out of the pursuing “shadow man,” and a small Lowell Omni for fill.

But this wasn’t a one-man show. Jennifer art directed all aspects of the campaign. I pulled a favor from a Denver modeling agency called Radical Talent. I wanted to use actors instead of print models. It worked out great. We also shot a video spot edited by Stephen Zinn, had special effects added by friends at Spillt, and final color was donated by Post Modern. The print retouching was also provided by XYZ Graphics. Even though we had no budget, the whole campaign felt like it was a large job because I was surrounded by such an incredibly talented team.

Suzanne: Since this ad was targeted to creative people, did you see an increase in awareness to your work? Increase in work?
Bryce: Absolutely! I didn’t follow it too close because I shot this a week right before my son Aaron was born. At this point, I unplugged and vicariously watched the rest of the team perform the final touches. I work with a lot of local agencies and I’ve seen the posters pinned to walls all over which I find extremely gratifying. Since returning to the studio, I’ve been slammed…in a good way. I have no doubt that most active creatives in Denver saw the posters and this project will lead to more work in the future.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Bryce Boyer is a commercial photographer based in Denver, Colorado who specializes in photographing dynamic images of people for ads and a few select magazines. Clients include Chaco, Olay, Miller/Coors, Johnson & Johnson, Cricket, The Brown Palace, Denver Children’s Hospital, Visit Denver, and The Sports Authority.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images In Great Advertising – Danny Christensen

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Great Advertising is not only a print ad or billboard, it can be a vehicle that is not considered conventional. Today’s example is just that, a new show on E! called Scouted, which becomes an unconventional way to show a photographers work. I’m sure many will be critical of the show itself, but this is the reality of the business:

There are many people in this industry includes photo editors, art buyers and art directors who will watch and see Danny ChristensenΒ at work photographing and directing models. What better way to advertise how you shoot on set and then the final results in printed images. I reached out to Danny after watching the show to see if he would be interested in being a part of this series.

Suzanne: How did you get the opportunity to be the photographer of record for this program? I am sure they considered hundred’s of fashion photographers and you got the job, that is a great testament to your talent.
Danny: The executive producer and creator of the show, Michael Flutie, contacted my agent, Lorenzo at L&A Artists, and asked if I would be interested and requested a meeting. That was on a Tuesday, 7 days before the planned start of the filming the NYC part of the show. Originally, there was supposed to be 8 different photographers on the show, one for each episode of the first season. A few hours after the meeting they contacted my agent and requested a 2nd meeting the next day, where I was to meet the entire team of producers, including the guys from 51 Minds who produced the show and the Executive Producers from E!

The meeting went really well and Thursday morning they contacted us and asked if I was interested and able to do all 8 episodes – with pre-production meeting the following Monday! I guess I fit the bill of who they were looking for and I think a big part of it was my non-traditional look and feel to my work and my experience with motion, that Michael Flutie was keen on integrating in the shoots.

Suzanne: I have several clients who have been the photographers on Americas Next Top Model and it has been great for their careers. How have you seen changes in your business?
Danny: The response has been amazing. Especially the first couple of weeks here in 2012, where Season 1 episodes are coming to an end. I think everyone was waiting to see how the show developed and that the quality of my work, both the pictures and the videos was consistent.

I shot everything on the RED EPIC camera, so everything was shot in motion and we pulled still photos from the motion film with amazing results. It’s a quite new way to approach fashion and beauty photography. Additionally we cut together a fashion film clip that was shown to Scott from One Models the day after the filming, and Scott based his decision to sign the girls, both on the video and the stills. So, a lot of the response has been from clients who are interested in doing just that, filming a commercial/video component and shooting the stills.

Suzanne: Most the time you are working with young talent who have never been professionally photographed and to make it even more difficult, photographed for the first time on television. How do you work with them to get them to feel comfortable with the whole process? Is there a lot of unseen footage where you are coaching them? inspiring them? talking to them about the process?
Danny: It was very challenging for sure. I’ve worked with brand new talent many times before but as you mention, there is a crew of 30-40 people and 3-4 cameras on set for these shoots so most girls just froze like a deer in headlights when they came on set. I had to talk to the crew and we found a solution where only the people who had to be on set was there. That also included asking the girls parents and the scouts to wait off set, the girls simply couldn’t relax and I didn’t get a connection with them before the people they knew left the set. Then the girls were more relaxed and they connected with me and the camera.

When ever I could, I would go and say hi to them and introduce myself when they were in hair and make-up and I would explain a little about what we were going to do, but it was primarily to just break the ice before they came on set. I feel some times with brand new girls, it’s better to simply direct them on set rather than trying to explain them something before hand, that they don’t understand anyway. That normally only results in a girl trying to “model” as they might have seen online or on a tv show and that’s NOT going to work, especially in a video/motion piece.

In most cases, due to the production and time challenges, I didn’t even meet the girl beforehand and she would walk on set with the tv cameras rolling. That was really challenging ,but most of the girls warmed up after the first shot and we got beautiful pictures and videos.

What You don’t get a feel of on the show, because of the editing of the tv footage, is that I only had max 45 min filming time with each girl where we did 2-3 different looks. I have never done that before. Additionally, we had around 14 hours turn around time for final images plus edited and produced videos. It challenged me as a director and photographer and I feel I learned a lot from it. It forced me to practice and plan how I approached each girl, based on concept/look and a little profile video clip of each girl that the scouts provided me with – that was really exciting!

Danish-born Danny Christensen discovered his love for the visual arts working in advertising and PR in Copenhagen and New York. This passion for advertising led him to transition into fashion, portraiture, and fine-art photography during the following years. In 2006, Danny attended photography school in Denmark. He continued his creative journey in Paris where he assisted various fashion and portrait photographers It was also in Paris where Danny started started his career as a working photographer shooting, editorials, small commercial jobs, and film. Danny splits his time between New York and Copenhagen, Paris & Milan.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images In Great Advertising – John Fulton

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

When I saw this ad, I reached out to Blake Pearson, John Fulton’s agent. It caught my attention because it required the viewer to stop and look a little closer. You see the hula dancer and then you read the headline- very creative! I also like that this creative ad is done by a smaller agency showing folks you really should market to everyone in multiple platforms. I researched John and found out that he lived out of Savannah, GA but shot all over the world. A lot of times, you can live where you are happy and have a successful career.

Suzanne: I love the fact that John Fulton lives in Savannah, GA and has been featured in the Communication Arts “Fresh” feature. How did you join forces?
Blake: I noticed several of John’s images in PDN’s photo annual and felt he had great potential. We met in person a few weeks later and have been working together ever since.

The ad is a wonderful mix of John’s landscape style and humor- but this time instead of a person we have a humorous prop- Did John have a lot of say in the propping of the typical Hula Doll?
Initially, we thought surely a witty toy maker would have already made a geriatric hula girl, but no such luck. To make the elderly hula doll John photographed a dozen different dolls on location to attain as much source material as possible so it could be built digitally. Often, he does all his own retouching but in this case we sourced Chris Bodie (also with VISU ARTISTS) who has a background in illustration, to help with the actual build of the doll. John and Chris worked in tandem with the art director to dial in the final look of the image. The ad has been such a success for the client that they’re currently having elderly hula girls fabricated for several other promotions.

How did Brunner find John?
Brunner discovered John through a mix of personal relationships, direct mail and online marketing. John is wonderful to work with and we have developed a great relationship with Brunner. He’s photographed campaigns for several of the agency’s clients over the last couple of years.

 

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

John studied at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA and presently works out of Savannah, Ga. He is currently featured in American Photo’s Β column “One to Watch” and was named to the Archive 2012 – 2013 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide. He is represented by VISU ARTISTS.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images In Great Advertising – Ron Haviv

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Sometimes it amazes me what a small world it is in this business. I was asked to write an article for Resource Magazine on “Reps for Hire” and reached out to Frank Meo, Clare O’dea and Jess at Wondeful Machine. In the bios for “reps for hire”, Frank Meo of www.thephotocloser.com, mentions an example of hiring of drug consultant for a pro-bono project. Then weeks later, I amΒ researchingΒ powerful still images in advertising and I come across the work of Ron Haviv and “The Meth Project”. I reach out to Ron and he includes Frank in the conversation of how the project was shot. Small world, or what?

Suzanne: These are incredibly compelling images- are these real users? if so, how did you find them? How did you gain their trust?

Frank: The kids in the ads are not real users of the drug. We did our casting via high school students and with some great castingΒ contacts from our producer, Tricia Moran from Branching Out Productions. We got their trust by Ron, as always, being involved right from the start.Β This I believe was one of key elements to the success of the campaign. The kids, right from the video casting got direction from him.Β I’m sure that the familiarity between Ron and the talent from the earliest stages played a intricate role in getting these kids to buyΒ into the concept.

Then we hired a drug consultant to be part of our team. This too was a major factor is the success of the campaign.Β Having a recovering addict on set was in an intriguing way a stabilizing force. His presence brought gravitas to the entireΒ experience. Who better then a person who’s been to hell to convey what that trip is like?

Several other points about this:

1. In the five print and TV bids that the agency received no one else put in for a drug consultant.
2. This idea and results were so well received by the client and agency that they reached out to us for his contact information – they hiredΒ our guy for the TV shoot!
3. I’m positive it was this line item that secured us in winning the project.

Suzanne: I understand this is a pro-bono campaign but did the client realize the costs involved to pull this off? And what has the impact of these images had on the Meth problem where they were run?

Ron: This is I think the 6th version of this campaign. By many accounts the impact on meth and potential meth users is enormous. Research has shown that in the past there has been an effect on reducing meth usage where the campaign has been shown.

Frank: The client was great – right from the start. The realized that this was going to cost money to produce. I’m sure that the agency, Organic is the reason for this. From the outside looking in you could see the mutual respect in this client / agency relationship. After working in this business for many years you know a good fit when you see one. More to the point, I believe there’s a direct correlation between great work and a great clients – we were sure glad to be part of this.

The results from the images have been amazing. From all quarters we heard positive reactions. Most importantly the client sees them as “authentic”.Β The client knows their audience better then anyone. That single comment to Ron and I is the most beautiful music we could hear.Β Authentic is why I want people to hire Ron.

Suzanne: You have a photojournalistic style that does get you hired for campaigns like IBM, Intel, BAE Systems and ESPN- how do you create that natural feel while staying true to your documentary roots? Do you work with the same producer?

Ron: While each campaign has been different, the client’s overriding desire is for the capturing or recreating moments of reality. Working with a light footprint and letting the subjects, whether models or real life, become immersed and unaware of the camera is about as true to my documentary roots as I can be. The trick in doing so is reaching that point when you have the client and the creative team working with you hand in hand. When it works I feel the results have a great effect.

I’ve been lucky enough to do most of my campaigns with the same producer (Tricia Moran) who has helped me take the projects to the highest level possible.

Frank: All the clients you mentioned and American Express hire Ron based on a rather simple premise. They want reality based imagery. They want to know that he can produce the job at a high commercial level and that he wants to shoot for them. My job, as I see it is to eradicate any doubts and bring insight to how Ron approaches each job.

I believe the results seen on his website and my reputation as a commercial rep does that. Let’s face it, being one of the most respected photo journalists of our time is heavy stuff. I understand that. I must convey to the client that Ron embraces each project with passion and genuine understanding of each clients needs and their audience. Further I also ask Ron to write a creative brief as part of our presentation/estimate/bid offering. This too was part of our successful presentation for the Crystal Meth project.

Our producer, Tricia Moran and Ron work extremely well together as they both see the world the same way. She too is someone who “gets it” and has become an incredible reliable resource for Ron and myself. Having someone whom can produce, inspire and has a “get-it-done” attitude is a tremendous asset to all involved.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Ron Haviv is the co-founder for the photo agency VII and has been producing images of conflict and humanitarian crises since the end of the Cold War.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

The State of the Industry: John Boone, Boone-Oakley

The State of the Industry, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

John Boone is in my eyes one of the original virtual office pioneers. It was 1995 and John would work part time at The Martin Agency offices and part of the time in Charlotte, NC, where his family was located. We worked together on many projects and I loved the way he thought: “how can I do something that has not been done before.” Β After John decided to venture out on his own with copywriting partner, David Oakley, they continued that belief: For Bloom grocery stores they created a billboard with a muffin that fell off the billboard on to a car. I love that about him!

Suzanne: What other mediums do you see print images being used in advertising?
John: Direct mail will be around forever because it has always has a proven track record of ROI results. Point of sale is becoming more important as well. I think print images will always be strong in vertical publications (especially fashion, sports and automotive). Also, OOH will continue to be strong even though digital displays are becoming more prevalent.

What are your thoughts on Ambient media and do you see this taking off in the States as it has in other countries?
I think it’s been taking off for many years now. Like the non-traditional work Crispin did for Mini, Truth and Burger King. Now every client wants a viral video, a guerilla event, a flash mob, a crowd-sourced idea, etc.

When I go to adsoftheworld.com most of the print mediums that are featured are from outside the United States? Are we being too safe? Are clients pulling us back
Advertising in the U.S. has always been “safer” than other parts of the world. Primarily because the the old P&G model to buy tons of media GRP’s and hammer the sales message over and over. Europeans take a very different approach to advertising. They see it as a more subtle art form that uses intelligence, humor and striking imagery as provocative weapons of seduction. That being said, agencies like Droga 5, Wieden, Goodby and a few others are proudly representing the American ad scene in the right way.

Are clients requiring more and more rights and optional images from still photo shoots?
Yes, with the advent of the digital age, images have a shorter shelf life and can be used on a much bigger (often undefinable) scale. With more and more media options at their digital disposal, clients are looking for ways to expand their marketing message. An image that used to only be used in a print ad is now also used on a website, a banner ad, a blog, a billboard, a trade show booth, an email blast, etc. There’s also an overtone of, because it’s digital, it should cost less.

How many of your current clients require the estimates to process through cost consultants? Do you see more clients using them or realizing they donΚΌt know what they are talking about?
Usually, the bigger the client, the more they require cost consultants.

Do you think our buying society is educated and appreciates the quality creative advertising or is it the β€œyou tube” and reality show mentality?
With the advent of the digital age, there’s definitely been a shift towards clients demanding for faster, cheaper solutions. To many of them, digital = cheaper. With crowd-sourced commercials scoring high at the Super Bowl and low-budget videos going viral on youtube, it’s hard to justify the value of expensive commercials. And, with easier access to digital video/still cameras, editing software, retouching software, etc., it’s becoming more and more difficult to justify the expense of higher-quality imagery.

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?
We have several clients who have asked us to create viral videos for them. It’s hard to tell them that viral videos don’t exist. We can create a video and hope that it goes viral. But it’s kind of like writing a hit song. On the other hand, we’ve actually created old-fashioned billboards that have gone more “viral” than most viral videos. It’s just a matter of doing something that’s worth talking about giving people a reason to share it. Some things will phase out over time, just because they’ve become passe or uncool …like flash mobs.

What percentage of print work is your company doing today compared to 5 years ago? Or even a year ago?
In 2010 we did a ton of print work with Mizuno. Now, a majority of our work is digital and broadcast.

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Yes, absolutely. Clients and agencies are looking for more and more ways to create content to extend the brand message to all forms of media. It’s more often than not that print imagery will also need to be utilized in motion, whether it’s a web banner, a mobile app, a microsite, a web video or some other form of content.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
Read the answer above. Also, since more and more digital firms are doing the lion’s share of work for brands, photographers (and their reps) need to spend more time getting to know them and market to them.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

A Very Special Thanks To My Contributors

- - Awesome

I wanted to take a moment before we get to cranking out blog posts in 2012 to recognize all the awesome contributors here at APE.

The Daily Edit, is a column I think will someday outgrow APhotoEditor. The idea was sparked by conversations with advertising art directors who told me they love editorial photography and my own need to get back to what I loved about photo editing. Looking at lots of pictures. I never gave a second thought to how they were made or what the steps were in the hiring process or what was it exactly it was about the photographer that caught my attention. I just looked at pictures and hired people who made ones I liked. So, I hired Heidi Volpe to go to newsstands and browse the magazines. Whatever she found interesting (a magazine you didn’t expect to have good photography, a new take on an old subject, a photographer she’d been following getting hired by a magazine she respected, pictures that rock), she bought and took a picture of the layout for me to publish. The best part is, I never know what it will be until I look first thing each day. Heidi has great taste and her reaction to images is based on years of experience working at magazines as a creative director, plus she loves editorial photography like I do. I hear from photo editors all the time how much they love it, so I know we’re on the right track.

Jonathan Blaustein started writing for me over a year and a half ago. Originally, he was visiting some photography events and interviewing people working on the fine art side of things. Recently though, he hit his stride with writing that is highly entertaining and self aware. I really love going inside his head as he visits art exhibits and pages through photography books. I’ve spent plenty of time looking at pictures, exhibits and books thinking, WTF, people like this. Jonathan has been expanding my mind and helped me see the underpinnings of this crazy genre. An unexpected bonus has been the recognition his own work is receiving, giving us and inside (the head) look at a career on the move.

Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease were plucky enough to realize I had a bunch of photographers hungry for information about advertising and if they helped me find answers the goodwill would pay dividends. What started as a column called “ask anything” where questions and answers were exchanged anonymously and honestly has evolved into Suzanne Sease with a series of “state of the industry” posts and a new column looking at great advertising images. What I absolutely love about this series is how connected she is. She gets people at the top of the food chain to answer questions! I’ve also gained an appreciation for the difficulties facing advertising photography, but Suzanne handles it with such aplomb and a no BS attitude to boot.

Several years ago I asked a photographer I was talking with to send me the estimate for the job they’d just won. I said I was going to black out the identifying information and post it up on my blog to see what people thought. Well, I can only remember a couple other posts that set off a firestorm of comments like that one. I tried to get my hands on more estimates without much luck until the people at Wonderful Machine contacted me and said they be happy to provide them as a monthly column. It was a perfect match because I needed more estimates and they provided an estimating service to photographers. What I truly love about this column is how gutsy it is. Very few people could withstand the scrutiny of thousands of photographers looking at and downloading their latest estimate. Special thanks to Jess Dudley for keeping it alive.

So, here’s to the contributors, all your postings are honest, heartfelt and gutsy. My original mission, to talk about photography from inside the industry is alive because of you.

Still Images In Great Advertising

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Today’s sample is from International Agent, Michael Ash and his talent, Kenji Aoki. Sometimes an ad can feature a simple image shot beautifully to grab the attention of the viewer. These ads not only got the attention of the viewer but judges from several award shows:

Suzanne: Β I have never heard of Wing. I researched them and see they specialize in Hispanic advertising. Pantene is a large brand, how did you all get considered for this ad campaign?
Michael: Wing is one of the top 20 agencies in Hispanic advertising and have been a great client. The Pantene ads were done for a test market but were very well recieved in the award contests.

What I like about this campaign is that it take ordinary items and pushes them. There has been a decrease in creative product advertising so I think because this is clean and creative it got noticed by adsoftheworld.com. Kenji has always pushed the product. What advice can you give for photographers who want to shoot products but need to be better than their competition?
Light, design and simplicity for me are always the key.

What made you sign Kenji Aoki?
I’ve been with him for 4 years and he moved to NY last November. The secret is that he is magic. No one shoots like him. And, I’ve put him in front of all the right people for editorial and advertising plus I think he is amazing.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

The State of the Industry: Gregg Lhotsky, B&A

The State of the Industry, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

Gregg Lhotsky is a well-respected photography representative with the acclaimed Bernstein & Andruilli. Gregg and I have had the pleasure of working together when I was at The Martin Agency and have been friends ever since. I admire Gregg’s eye for talent, his professionalism and the fact that we both grew up in Baltimore, Maryland (same age but never knew each other).

Are clients requiring more and more rights and optional images from still photo shoots?
Yes. Sometimes it seems like a land grab. Often the weakest link are the AE’s who don’t really understand usage.

How many of your current clients require the estimates to process through cost consultants? Do you see more clients using them or realizing they don’t know what they are talking about?
I am seeing less of this lately. Perhaps it is because when clients do use CC’s the CC’s usually do not have an understanding of what things actually cost and waste a lot of time and money on randomly asking for line items to come down.

Do you think our buying society is educated and appreciates the quality creative advertising or is it the β€œyou tube” and reality show mentality?
I spend a lot of time educating younger buyers these days. First, most of them will not pick up the phone and would rather email which is difficult when you are trying to estimate or negotiate a job where nuances can be lost via email. Second, if I had a nickel for every time I had to describe why a stylist needs prep days or what a location van is for. Sometimes I think that they just hired someone, gave them a desk and said go for it!

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?
I believe that it is here to stay. There are so many more outlets now that the brands need multi platforms and voices to be seen and heard.

What percentage of print work is your company doing today compared to 5 years ago? Or even a year ago?
We are pretty diversified so we still do a lot of print but also a lot of new media.

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Definitely.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
Gotta have some other things in your tool kit (i.e. motion) and do it well!

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Still Images In Great Advertising

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

The big question in our industry is whether β€œPrint is Dead”. Β Β This feature reassures that not only is print not dead but great print is still very much alive. Β Today’s feature is an ad from the agency Walton Isaacson for Basil Hayden’s Whiskey. Β I interviewed Chris Lake, the photographer who shot the campaign to get the inside story about how he was chosen and the production of the campaign.

Chris was contacted by the art producer from Walton Isaacson to shoot the campaign for Basil Hayden’s (Jim Beam’s high-end small batch whiskey) for his ability to shoot β€œnot the perfect moment” images. Β He immediately enlisted Monica Joy Zaffarano www.azaffaranoproduction.com to help find the perfect location, casting of over 25 talent, and to keep all the moving parts of a large production running smoothly. Β Chris noted, β€œThere is no way to have pulled off this shoot without the talent and coordination of Monica. Shooting an afternoon happy hour and a crowded nighttime bar scene during a regular 10 hour day required some creativity in the production. After a lot of scouting with the AD, we found a bar that would work for both shots. For the nighttime shot, we had to get on the roof to block out huge skylights to make it seem like night. I wanted to create a real atmosphere where the principals and 20+ extras would actually feel like they were out in a bar. Monica found a DJ to set the mood and I hired a film DP to help light the room with HMI’s. I felt that strobes would make it feel too much like a photo shoot and less like a fun night out. With this approach, after they went through wardrobe and hair and makeup, the talent could talk and mingle naturally and hopefully forget they were on a shoot.”

Chris hired a Digital Tech so that he could focus on shooting. Β The tech was able to apply an approximation of the yellow treatment and bring the images directly into the layout so the clients could get an immediate sense of how the final ad would look. The agency is a great creative agency that realizes that with a good production budget, you can get better results. This campaign required creativity in the planning so that when on set, Chris was able to shoot for the client’s layout but still maintain his loose style and shoot a lot of variations. Β In the end, the agency and client were very happy with the results. Plus, Chris got great tearsheets for his portfolio.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Chris Lake is a Chicago based photographer who specializes in capturing authentic storytelling moments.Β  His client list includes Allstate, Chase, Johnson & Johnson, and many others. You can see more of his work atΒ www.chrislakephoto.com. Β When he’s not making pictures he can be found teaching himself the guitar or playing with his 10 month old son.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

The State of the Industry: Mike Hughes, The Martin Agency

The State of the Industry, is a new column whereΒ Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

I had the honor of having Mike Hughes as my supervisor while I was at The Martin Agency. The Martin Agency was voted the US Agency of the Year in 2010 and is known for their work for Wal-mart, Geico, Discover Card, Hanes, Moen and Miscrosoft. Mike was inducted in to The One Club Creative Hall of Fame in 2010, a prestigious group that includes David Ogilvy, Jay Chiat, Tom McElligott, Hal Riney, Dan Wieden, David Bernbach to name a few of the greats. It was such a pleasure to work with such a creative mind and you can see that in his answers.

Suzanne: I have asked the question before β€œIs print dead” and I know most of us will always love the tangible print, if so what is realistically the future of the still image? According to a 2011 Advertising forecast from Mediabrands, part of Interpublic Group: Over the next five years, magazine advertising will decline in each of the world’s 10 largest markets for magazines, with the exception of Brazil and Russia.
Mike: Magazines and newspapers will continue to morph in the years ahead. If personal printers take off, there might even be a resurgence of print edition customized for the reader. Two years ago, I might have said that the decline in print editions will be very steep; now I’m not so sure.

What are your thoughts on Ambient media and do you see this taking off in the States as it has in other countries?
The lines between types of media (OOH, print, broadcast, digital, earned, paid, audio, video, old, new, etc.) have been erased. Moving images can appear in books. Stills can be riveting on digital. Sights, sounds, signals and even smells can emanate from outdoor. Hopefully, the borderlines between countries will also become less thick. Certainly media
opportunities developed in one part of the world will soon emigrate to every other part.

When I go to www.adsoftheworld.com most of the print mediums that are featured are from outside the United States? Are we being too safe?
I suspect that we’re not caring enough.

Are clients pulling us back?
No. (A great agency never blames its clients.) I’m betting we’re not inspiring our clients enough with the print work we’re doing.

Do you think our buying society is educated and the β€œyou tube” and reality shows mentality verses the appreciation of quality creative advertising?
If there’s anything the world learned from Steve Jobs, it’s this: society loves quality when it’s relevant and helpful and cool.

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?
The language has changed over the years, but the goal of advertising has always been to help good products “go viral.” That won’t change. (Obviously, “going viral” isn’t limited to online connectivity.)

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?
Most should.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?
It’s more important than ever that whatever you do, you have to have an advantage over your competitors. The best way to do that, of course, is to be BETTER than your competitors.

APE contributorΒ Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

The State of the Industry: Marni Beardsley, W+K

The State of the Industry, is a new column where Suzanne Sease speaks with advertising industry professionals and influencers to discuss what’s happening and where we’re headed.

The State of the Industry with Marni Beardsley of W+K

Marni Beardsley is a highly respected art producers who has spearheaded the art production department of Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, OR for decades. Marni and I were both art buyers in the 90’s when we got to push the envelope for campaigns like Wrangler, Vanity Fair (late 90’s work), Seiko Watches and Saab and Nike. We bonded while working with Jayanta Jenkins an amazing creative person, now at TBWA Chiat Day. Β Marni is a very busy Art Producer and was extremely kind to answer these “state of the industry” questions.

What other mediums do you see print images being used in advertising?

Digital, digital, digital and digital. Say that 5 times really fast. photography isn’t something that should be strictly synonymous with print. We look to partner with photographers/artists to create the best ‘still assets,’ regardless of the medium it will be featured in. Print, in-store, pop, and the various out-of-home mediums also remain effective ways to share the message. Most photo productions continue to be executed to cover a combination all mediums, with digital often at the top. And there’s a growing amount of photo shoots we produce with digital solely in mind as the only and final intended use. The enormous volume of still assets often needed for each digital photo shoot can make your head spin. Digital shoots require a photographer who is equally quick and nimble as he or she is talented… they are going to be working their ass off. After the digital shoot has wrapped, we do our best to comfort the photographer by offering to read them a bedtime story or feeding them stiff drinks… whatever they may need for a quick and speedy recovery.

What are your thoughts on Ambient media and do you see this taking off in the States as it has in other countries?

With a greater demand for point of sale communications and the ability to provide precise audience targeting, ambient media is another smart way to connect with your consumer. Is it considered sexy? If you think snooki is sexy, then sure, the same can be said for ambient media (snooki finds the strangest ways to brand herself and constantly keep herself in the media). I’ve never seen one episode of the jersey shore, yet somehow I’ve become aware of her every move. She’s obviously bat-shit crazy, but you can’t argue that she’s also pretty damn savvy.

Ambient media also provides versatility, and while often bizarre, it can provide effective ways to push brand messages. For example, when you’re waiting in the security line at the airport, schlepping your shoes, computer and crap into the bins, I’d argue it’s smart business when there’s a message at the bottom of these bins we’re forced to deal with. I only wish the ads I’ve seen were better executed, interesting or clever.

Who knows, maybe someday i’ll see some twisted yet artfully executed photograph of snooki staring up at me and it’ll make me less annoyed with having to take my stinky shoes off in the first place.

When I go to www.adsoftheworld.com most of the print mediums that are featured are from outside the United States? Are we being too safe? Are clients pulling us back?

Aahhh, to be able to create work outside of the U.S. Many of my esteemed colleagues across the W+kK network have this opportunity and I’m often jealous. Ads are reflective of cultural identities and last I checked, France’s culture is pretty hip, so is their advertising. It’s well known the U.S. has the most restrictions, other markets can say and do far more than we can. This seems to extend into the client arena in many respects, U.S. based clients are naturally more conservative which again is a reflection of our culture. However, that shouldn’t deter us from collaborating with our clients in trying to achieve the best work that stands out above the rest. And when most companies out there are playing it safe, it’s refreshing to work with clients willing to take more risks β€” if done well, it will generally result in iconic work people will remember and talk about. We shouldn’t approach it as what we can’t do, it’s a matter of what can we do.

Are clients requiring more and more rights and optional images from still photo shoots?

Hell yes. The expectation is to have use for all outtakes from a shoot, the era of confining the number of images per day or basing fees per image is long over and there is definitely a push for extending usage. Clients want flexibility in all the mediums, increasing the time period or in some cases, asking for in perpetuity along with your first born. But, if you put yourself in our client’s shoes, they need efficiencies and flexibilities more than ever in an effort to manage their P + L, particularly in these last few years. The challenge is to manage clients expectations β€” and the request for multiple years or an unlimited time period naturally equates to an increase in fees. It’s always a fine balance in trying to make sure you’re being mindful of the client’s budget while making sure the artist is receiving fair compensation. The goal is to always make sure both parties walk away feeling happy. With tighter budgets across the board, it’s definitely become more challenging over time, that’s for damn sure. Having open and honest conversations to address certain realities is the best way to get through it together.

How many of your current clients require the estimates to process through cost consultants? Do you see more clients using them or are they realizing they don’t know what they are talking about?

Most of our clients require working in tandem with an independent cost consultant and/or internal creative buyer but we are fortunate to be working alongside many respected cost consultants who have prior art production experience. The shared goal is to provide a realistic, fair, well thought out, cost efficient estimate that allows for the best photographyΒ to be executed.

Do you think our buying society is educated and the β€œyou tube” and reality shows mentality verses the appreciation of quality creative advertising?

Quality creative + quality art will always stand out above the rest. It starts with a great idea coupled with the best execution. Sorry snooki.

What are your thoughts on trying to make a product become a viral sensation? Do you think this is the future or will it phase out?

In the end it is all still a popularity contest. Everyone wants their brand to be a viral sensation and they want other people to talk about their brand without having to pay other people to talk about their brand. A true viral campaign gains social momentum based on its inherent social value (If I think it’s pretty funny, I’ll send it to my friend).

I feel that brands are walking a bit of a fine line as they try to make viral sensations. We can’t lose sight of the original goal: If it’s good, then it’s good. The ability with which people can share content and distribute across the world instantaneously makes it easier for good work to reach more people. If it’s whack, it dies faster. So, virals with relevant, interesting content will distribute faster and have a longer shelf life.

When you maintain the relentless goal of doing great work, the rest follows. Our connections with each other is becoming quite valuable to brands and products. Who the hell knows how long the quest for the viral gold will last, but it’s very clear that products and brands will continue to try to produce things with more social currency. Pictures, videos, content, and ideas that will be less about what the product says, but more about what you or I will hopefully say about the product.

What percentage of print work is your company doing today compared to 5 years ago? Or even a year ago?

It seems to vary. It’s increased for some of our clients, decreased for others and for some stayed about the same. Strictly case by case depending on the brand and the varying approaches they want to share their message. It’s interesting to see the growth of some magazines soar this past year. Fashion publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W and Marie Clare. Entertainment and music pubs such as People, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone. Teen mags such as Seventeen and Teen Vogue. Dude publications such as GQ, Esquire and Men’s Health. And lifestyle and travel publications such as The New Yorker, National Geographic, CondΓ© Nast Traveler and Vanity Fair are all faring pretty damn well. Their revenue and ad spending have all increased just this past quarter even.

The power of print is still very much a viable media. In a time full of chaos, i feel we should take this opportunity to hail those who are doing it correctly in the print space.

Should photographers and illustrators learn the motion medium?

There are so many growing opportunities in motion. This industry is a constantly changing organism. And with so many advances in technology, the need for more motion and stills in digital, there’s no doubt it’s smart for artists to embrace movement. On top of the expanding commercial and editorial opportunities out there, it’s another creative outlet and experimentation for extending their look and style found in their photography or art. It’s exciting to watch, particularly when you see their motion and immediately recognize it as an amplification of their stills.Β And should it inspire illustrators and photographers to explore motion, even better. Nothing like curiosity mixed with a little fear to light a fire up your ass and really get your creative juices flowing.

What advice would you give someone who only does print (still) work?

I also strongly feel photographers and illustrators should stay true to their work. and create their art in the bestΒ medium(s) that truly speak to them. In other words, simply pursuing motion solely because they feel they have to, will naturally reflect in the work they create. Not to mention have an effect on their creative spirit and psyche. Bottom line, each artist/photographer should trust their own intuition. It’s what it’s here for. Intuition helps harness creative energy in producing art that means something to them and then good work comes of it. Then people like myself will come a knockin’.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Your Guide To Working With Consultants

- - Consultants

I get a lot of questions about the photography business and for any answers that are more involved I refer people to my list of photography consultants. I’ve always been curious what the process of working with a consultant is like so I asked Suzanne Sease to tell us about it. She interviewed a handful of her colleagues to get a broad perspective on the practice. I can assure you, after a few times consulting with photographers myself, that these people are really good at what they do.

Working with a consultant 101

You have done what you think is right for your business. You edited your images for your website, portfolio and promotional materials but still nothing is happening. To get another valued opinion, you have made a big decision to work with a creative consultant to help take your career to the next level or jumpstart it. There are a lot of consultants out there so it is hard to decide who is best for you. This article is to help you make the best decision for your business.

I reached out to several veterans whom I respect because of their experience before they chose to be consultants.Β I asked them the best way to maximize working with a consultant. The resulting checklist is designed to help you make the best decision for you if you want to work with a creative consultant. For this article, I interviewed Amanda Sosa Stone, Jennifer Kilberg, Leslie Burns, Katherine Hennessy, Mary Virginia Swanson and included my own thoughts from my experiences as a consultant since 1999.

Getting Started:

It is best to e-mail several consultants to check their availability and a time to talk about your work. Please understand that we get a lot of e-mails each day so it may take a day or two to get back to you. Be focused about what you are looking for and what you would like to achieve. Make sure you clearly articulate your needs and expectations regarding your hope of working with a consultant. Most consultants will review your website before they talk with you. Leslie says she looks at a potential client’s website before returning a call or e-mail to gain more information about their level of creativity or sign of it. Katherine and I do that as well. We look at your website as we want to see how you are presenting yourself on your website. If your website is not organized with a clear vision, it makes a buyer confused. Jennifer, Amanda, and I all agree that you need to ask what it is that you are currently doing that is not working and where you want to go. Mary Virginia Swanson has created a page on her website on β€œhow we work together”, and requires potential clients to fill out a β€œclient fact sheet”. Amanda has the philosophy that she wants her clients to hire her because she is the perfect match for them. Katherine feels like you need to be able to have open dialogue and set reasonable expectations regarding where you are and the expected outcome. Mary Virginia adds β€œNot every photographer is open to constructive criticism when it comes to their work and their business model(s) currently in practice. I encourage those investing in consultations to anticipate a tough review and the suggestion of investigation into new markets.”

The Editing Process:

Before a consultant can begin the process, the photographer needs to take the time to edit the images that they want to represent them. Jennifer asks for 250-500 images per market. She says having clients send her everything and anything does not benefit her client and is a waste of her time. I couldn’t agree more. Amanda and I both prefer about 1,000 images in one folder and not separated into categories. I have received thousands of images before and after selecting great images, the photographer says β€œ I have never liked that image”. You must not be emotionally attached to images and you need to remember that a photographer carries baggage about imagery – you need to look at working with the consultant as an independent force that will help you cull the best, not getting bogged down by your perspective and past perceptions. As Amanda says β€œ You should go into the consult completely open (in your head and in your calendar- meaning you have time to do the work you want to do).” Most consultants like to work with digital images that are sent to them and are editing in Aperture, Lightroom and other software. Amanda, Jennifer, Katherine and I like to create contact sheets of the images in the order they should appear in the website galleries. A portfolio is also created for the client to use on an iPad as well as a printed portfolio. Leslie likes to work on the backend of someone’s website or with jpegs. But for the printed portfolio she requires prints to play with. Since Mary Virginia works primarily with artists on their personal projects, many of her clients send physical prints so she can gain a sense of their craft, project edits and publication layouts utilizing on-line editing tools.

Discussing the Editing:

Each of the consultants in this article spend the time discussing the edits that have been tailored to their client. The edits are created to your vision and the markets it should target. Amanda and I both agree that the discussion needs to honest and about the photographer’s strengths. Weaknesses can be indentified, discussed and pushed aside for the strengths to shine. Each of the consultants discusses where you want to grow and their edits are a reflection of that. As Leslie says, β€œ Be open, be willing to listen and learn, and have some faith in her/himself in the process.” Mary Virginia helps her clients gain awareness of today’s diverse marketplace and where their work/skills are most likely to fit and teach them the necessary research skills aimed at targeting those most likely to respond to their work. Katherine, Amanda and I like to use our previous skills as an art buyer to look at your images as to what they sell- either a product or an emotion. In advertising and graphic design, your images have to stop the viewer to look at what is being advertised. In editorial, your image has to entice the viewer to read the article or want to buy the products featured, cook a meal or decorate a room. I look at the production value to your images. If your images look like you stumbled upon something, you got lucky. If your images look like you created a scenario and knew how to shoot within it, I know you have talent.

Marketing:

You have done all your work with your edits, you have uploaded the images on to your site, designed your portfolio from the edit, and have a selection of images for your marketing. At this point, we look at your marketing plan and discuss how it is best to approach your target. For Mary Virginia she enjoys seeing her long-term clients achieve their goals of exhibitions, gallery representation, publications and/or creative commissions in the style of their personal work. For the commercial side of consulting, you need to decide how you are willing to spend your marketing dollars. But you HAVE to market. Each of these consultants will work with you on your target market. The best way is to purchase the rights to use a database. Agency Access has merged the research from Adbase to create an excellent researched database of companies, contacts and brands. Each consultant knows how to create lists for you on your account and will select images for your e-promo materials and direct mail. Katherine adds β€œDirect Mail cannot be discounted in this technological world. It is an avenue that should still be pursued.” I like my clients to create personalized e-mails complimenting the work a buyer has done showing they have done their research on a case by case basis. It is encouraged that you go on the road and show your portfolio. I have clients send out personalized notecards telling potential buyers that you would like to meet with them and then giving them a call to set up a meeting. One of my clients said it perfectly β€œ I came to realize when I did all my marketing virtually, that client didn’t want to hire a virtual photographer.” But if folks are unable to meet, create a virtual portfolio that is an extension of your website. A PDF portfolio is usually too large to send to buyers (2MB can crash a buyers computer even at large companies). A good virtual portfolio company is www.issuu.com.

The Lessons Learned:

Each of the consultants agree with what Amanda wrote so perfectly:

My wish for all my clients is that once we show them the path – they learn to trust themselves and listen to their gut instincts.

The lessons I have learned from clients who hired another consultant and then hired me to fix what the first consultant didn’t do the first time (which I know happens to the best of us):

  • Sometimes it wasn’t the consultant who didn’t do the work,Β sometimes the client didn’t communicate they weren’t happy and felt bad and didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the consultant.
  • As a consultant you have to edit without an ego – you can’t please everyone and if you can’t, you better hope they speak up so you can fix the problem.
  • It’s a two way street – you have to be respectful of each other’s time and feelings, but still be honest about the process, the work and the state of one’s business.
  • Spending a lot of money doesn’t mean you are getting the best, it just means someone charges more than another (same with designers).
  • Listen to the work. Sometimes, the consultant is given a verbal direction by the photographer, but the works demands another direction, which might be out of the artist’s comfort zone (i.e. you want to shoot fashion, but your best work is portraits). In the end, the artist may not be ready to take their work to the next level or that direction, in which case the artists needs to clearly communicate this to the consultant. If they do not, they will have wasted their money by not communicating their needs.

Mary Virginia says β€œNot every photographer is open to constructive criticism when it comes to their work and their business model(s)Β currently in practice. I encourage those investing in consultations to anticipate a tough review and the suggestion of investigation into new markets.”

Jennifer says β€œWhen hiring a consultant you need to make sure you are a strong communicator and have expressed your expectations up front. A good consultant will help you figure out your goals and help you prioritize where your focus should be. We can help build a strong foundation to get you out the door, but you still need to do the work.”

Katherine would add β€œYou need to come with focused goals, but also be realistic with your expectations, acknowledging the industry and the economic situation. There is work out there, but our relationship and business partnership will not be the crystal ball answer. It’s simply one step in the process.”

And Leslie sums it up β€œ I draw the map, they have to drive the route.”

Most of the consultants are available ala carte or for packages. Check out their websites for more information. Mary Virginia doesn’t offer packages and bills for time spent on working with her clients.

The contributors to this article are:

Amanda Sosa Stone- www.sosastone.com, She has over 12 years experience as a former art buyer for FCB/Draft, rep/producer for over 27 photographers and photo editor. Amanda was the photo editor for Elyse Weisberg’s book. Co-author with Suzanne Sease on The Photographers Survivor’s Guide. Currently, Amanda is the in-house consultant for Agency Access.

Jennifer Kilberg- www.fluidvisioninc.com. She has over 15 years experience as a former photo editor for SciFi Channel, NYC Kodak, American PHOTO, professor at Parsons (NYC), current professor at Creative Circus and The Portfolio Center (GA), and producer for clients like American Airlines.

Leslie Burns, Esq.- www.burnsautoparts.com and burnstheattorney.com. She has worked for clients and commercial photographers since the 1990s, including being a photographers’ rep and adjunct prof at CCAD: A consultant for over 10 years, she is the author of 2 books and a frequent speaker. She recently passed the California Bar and can help with copyright and legal issues, too.

Mary Virginia Swanson- www.mvswanson.com is established in the fine art and quality fine art stock world. She maintains a popular blog β€œMarketing Photos” that showcases upcoming opportunities for photographers. Swanson contributes to many industry publications, lectures frequently, participates at portfolio review events such as FotoFest and Review Santa Fe, and earlier this year coauthored Publish Your Photography Book with Darius Himes (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011). Her next publication β€œFinding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs” is due early 2012. Swanson is based in Tucson and NYC.

Katherine Hennessy- www.kate-company.com Katherine has over 20 years experience in the business. She managed the art buying department at Arnold Worldwide- Boston, prior to that, was a buyer in NYC with McCann Erickson and Scali, McCabe, Sloves. Currently, in addition to consultations, Katherine is a photographers’ agent with her business, Kate & Company.

And me, Suzanne Sease- www.suzannesease.com I have over 25 years experience. I established the art buying department at The Martin Agency and when I left I had the opportunity to work at Kaplan Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and many small agencies. I co-authored the book with Amanda Sosa Stone β€œThe Photographer’s Survival Guide: How to Build and Grow a Succesful Business.” I am a contributor to blogs here on APE as well as Agency Access’s The Lab.