Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Vacation

Ahhh the holidays... it means family, friends, lots and lots of food and most often a little vacation from your day to day activities. So I took a short break from the blogging to get some other stuff done and participate in the all around merriness.

For most businesses this time of year sees a slow down in activity. How do you spend your down time? Aside from doing holiday stuff I managed to update records and my portfolio. It's usually a good time to gear up for the new year's mailings and meetings. To get your calendar in order for the new year to hit the ground running.

I always get a flurry of calls starting the first full week in January so I advise some of you to wait a few weeks after the start of the new year to begin your 2009 marketing. I'm still a big advocate of in person meetings so if you're traveling in the new year whether it's for business or personal try to schedule and additional afternoon to meet with some folks.

LeBook and Workbook will be sending out their new 2009 additions that creatives, art buyers, etc peruse through. AdBase usually updates and rechecks contact information around this time of year. Make sure you are up to date with your contact info and start getting in touch with people.

Hit the ground running for 2009!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Purchase Orders

In my mind a purchase order is more than an invoice receipt for the agency or client, it also acts as a contract between the artists/vendors and agency/client. The more descriptive a purchase order is, the better it is to protect all the parties involved on the agreed upon licensing and information accompanying it. Some clients or agencies might keep their purchase orders for internal billing only, in that case always make sure there is an agreement in writing, whether it is an email or on the artist invoice.

Here's what I usually include:
- Phone and fax number for artist and rep
- Team working on the project (Art Buyer, Art Director, Project Manager or Account Manager)
- Date of shoot and date of film/digital file due to agency
- Advance paid amount and date paid
- Usage parameters, if the usage is a limited usage and not unlimited I always like to include the date of first use and whether it is non-exclusive or exclusive.
- Shoot description, an outline of all the situations to be photographed and the number of shots expected as well as for final usage
- Outline a mini-schedule with travel, prep, shoot, and wrap dates
- Who is paying for talent/models if there are any
- A rights for self-promotion line for the agency and client
- Include all receipts when invoicing for backup of invoice. This also provides a paper trail of expenses for agency and client as well as proof for auditing purposes.
- Expenses not to exceed "X" amount without written authorization in advance (I find this helps keep track of any overages that occur on set and get client sign-off so there are no surprises.)

- When purchasing stock, whether from a stock house or a photographer, I include the image number, what the image description is, size, licensed usage and cost per image (not just the lump sum).

The other benefit of having paperwork that is this descriptive is that it allows as back-up for someone that may have to work off this at a later date (especially if the main person is not around) and it makes reference for re-use easy because you have all the original information available.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Usage - part one

Usage can be a tricky thing, whether it is licensed assignment photography or licensed stock photography. Determining the usage fee depends on several different factors specifically what the agency or client is licensing. License by definition mean to permit the use of something. The client is contracting specific rights to use the imagery the artist has produced.

Here are some usage terms to keep in mind:

Buyout - This refers to unlimited use for an unlimited time in all mediums unless otherwise specified for a specific medium or market. By no means should this be assumed as a transfer of copyright.

Transfer of Copyright - All rights to the artwork are transferred through contract from the creator/artist to the purchaser/client. unlimited use for an unlimited time.

Exclusivity - This limits how a copyright holder can offer work to a third party for reproduction. Clients who license usage with an exclusivity term want to block potential competitors from using the same imagery.

Limited use - Your typical usage that can be specified by a time frame, type of media, quantity, territory, etc.
This has several subsections like the following: print ads (newspaper, magazine, sponsorship, trade publications), point of sale/collateral (brochures, direct mail, catalogs, free standing inserts, take-ones), out of home (billboards, kiosks, wild postings, transit), packaging, global electronic/web (web sites, banners, mobile, viral, interactive). Mediums: Print, Web, or Broadcast.

Presentation/Research use - This normally refers to non-commissionable media or not for the public market. Simply for testing purposes or focus groups.

The higher the usage the higher the fee. Be sure to always get usage and licensing contract information in writing. Ensure the client understands the license and the usage parameters. It is a good idea to write out the specific usage in detail, for example, some clients still use the term buyout but in your contract you should write something like buyout, unlimited use for an unlimited time in all mediums.

Good resources for more usage information are ASMP and PLUS.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Adweek's list of Most Influential People

AdWeek is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. As one of their special anniversary exclusives they have highlighted 30 (technically only 27 are listed) of the most influential people working in advertising, marketing and media today.

See the article here on

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Notable Item

This AdWeek article published today discusses Mattel's Barbie vs MGA's Bratz and a ruling on intellectual property.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Notable Items

Some news and stuff that's worth taking a look at or taking a few minutes to peruse.

Seth Godin's article on his blog: The High Cost of Now

Photo Marketing Tips Blog has an interesting post regarding 7 things to do before you cold call.

ASMP's Year End 2008 bulletin is out, download the pdf here.

Head over to too much chocolate - thanks to post on Concientious blog - connecting emerging photographers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Personal Project - Jonathan Beller

One of the reasons I chose to feature Jonathan's project "Fans" is that aside from his wit, he really gets into the thick of the "fandom" to get people's true reactions, emotions, and expressions of being a fan.

What made you choose this project?

About five years ago, I was working with photographer, Julian Germain. After looking at my portfolio, he suggested that I do a personal project on fans. I decided to start by going to a celebrity signing, one of the more obvious places to find fans. I realized that in order to get at the essence of what being a "fan" meant, I would have to branch out. I talked with and photographed people outside of sporting events, waited with people in line hours before a show was starting, and have even gone to midnight book releases. Its easy to get as excited as they are when you get surrounded by hundreds of people who feel the same about something.

How many photos were there before you edited it down to the featured images?

This has been an ongoing project for me over the past five years. I continually update my site with new work. I have been preparing to make a book of these photographs.

What was your favorite aspect of this personal project?

My favorite part is getting to meet the people. This project has taken me all over the place. I've eaten sausages with Patriots Fans outside of Gillette Stadium, taken a charity walk with Hanson fans, and even did 10-pin bowling for the first time with Big Lebowski fans. We are all fans of something, no matter how different it is, being a fan is the same.

Check out Jonathan's project here and the rest of his portfolio at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

5 things about "Down and Dirty" shoots

These type of shoots have a few names that people call them: down and dirty shoots, guerrilla shoots, no time shoot.. etc. Whatever you refer to them as, normally these types of shoots/projects mean a few things: little money, little time, and big quality.

Here are my 5 likes and dis-likes (strictly in my opinion as an art buyer).

1. Think on your toes. While sometimes the production can keep you guessing (or confused) it proves what a good problem-solver you can be. I think it's also an adrenaline rush to get it all pulled together as quickly as possible.

2. The teamwork and collaboration. I have found that even more so on these types of jobs the teamwork and collaboration between the art director/designer, art buyer, photographer, rep and virtually everyone else working on the job really come together to make it happen.

3. Creativity. This goes hand-in-hand with the collaboration as well as thinking on your toes. Sometimes these shoots allow for more creativity because of the timing and nature of a project like this, the team doesn't have time to sit and stare and mull over the project. And I have found that photographers especially have great ideas and solutions on the fly that the art directors and designers are more willing to be avant-garde with or experimental.

4. Production Value. While this could also be in the dislike category, because yes the production value does suffer some, I feel it fits nicely here and touches on all the points above. We are still able to pull off a good shoot/project with the right production and elements. It requires effort and finagling but it can be done. I think a good shoot is achievable even with the constraints as long as people/team players are willing, problem solving and creative.

5. No matter what, it always comes together. It can start out as the craziest project with the worst timing and absolutely no budget and for whatever reason (mostly the effort of the whole team) it always comes together and it always works out. The thrill of pulling it all together and having beautiful work come out of it is so rewarding. I feel like it's more energizing knowing the hoops everyone had to jump through.

1. No budget or small budget. The no budget thing kind of puts a damper on the production value. It's tough for the photographer/producer to potentially call in favors, it's tough for the art buyer to explain to the photographer there's little budget and to the account team the importance of certain spending on certain production items, and it's tough for the client to understand why a shoot costs about the same amount as an employee's yearly salary.

2. Complaining. I think complaining doesn't get you anywhere. It's about getting the job done and trying your damnedest to get it done right and to get it done well. As an art buyer I totally get that down and dirty shoots are tough on both sides, for the photographer as well as for the agency. (And none of these dislikes are thought of as complaints.. more like speed bumps to the process of a normal production)

3. Post-production costs. In my experience (most of the time) when these types of shoots are completed and the high res artwork is in-house, they actually require more post-production time and money than normal. Sometimes the weather wasn't right on that day and the sky needs to be cloudier, sometimes the logo placement and cropping wasn't thought of correctly, sometimes in the rush to get a location there's a building the client wants to come out and trees to be put in... there are a few factors that aren't taken into consideration and once it's all said and done it usually needs a bit more work.

4. Timing. I've had different timelines with these types of productions.. some have been 2 days, some a week. It never fails that time ends up being my worst enemy on these down and dirty shoots. The hardest part is making sure that you've gotten everything done (casting, locations, permitting) and it has still gone through some sort of approval process and it's ready to go on the day of. (Doing casting and approvals in one day off headshots is always a crap shoot.)

5. Process. No one really likes the word process but there's always some sort of process or organization that goes into pulling a project together. When fast projects come up, inevitably something slips through the cracks. It could be an advance or PO doesn't get out soon enough, it could be that the location wasn't approved (or permitted correctly), it could be that the money allotment was put against the wrong job or project, it could be a number of things. We all just hope it's a small thing and preferably only one and not several.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Doing What You Love

Leslie Burns Dell'Acqua at Burns Auto Parts Blog had a post yesterday about a piece that well known photographer, Doug Menuez, has written. I think it's definitely worth the read and reinforces the idea of: do what you love and love what you do.
And as Leslie points out on her post: "It is scary, you might fail. But if you don’t try, you WILL fail."

Check out Doug's article here at

You can also view his work at his personal site or his rep's at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creative Opinion

The past few "Creative Opinion" queries have been a bit on the serious side and a reflection of recent trends.

This month I'd like to keep it a little lighthearted and a little more personal:

What is the best part of your job? (whether you're a photographer, illustrator, stylist, art buyer, etc.)

I'll give my answer with the responses in a few weeks.

You can email me here or post a comment.

Updating Materials

How often are you updating your site and marketing materials? If you're not thinking about updating your website and its imagery, it should be something on your to-do list. Most times it's your website that art buyers and photo editors peruse through to get a sense of your work and your clients before your book is ever called in or a conversation is had about a project. If it's not consistently updated, there may be a a possibility these people will pass over you.

It's so worth taking the time to add new projects/images that you've been working on and replace some of the older images... or keep the older ones if you love them but make sure the flow works well.

Does the layout of the site feel dated? If so, update that too.

These are the bells and whistles that attract people to hire you for jobs. While you might not be a designer by trade, photographers/illustrators are creative people and as a buyer I would this creativity transcends through your imagery and to your marketing material. It doesn't have to be changed every three months but update imagery when you can, definitely at least once a year. And when you have a new project or when you update this imagery send out some promos/newsletters to drive traffic to your site.

I just received a simple e-promo newsletter layout from Sharpe + Associates that included one new image from a recent project for each of their photographers. No lengthy explanation just brand new imagery to click on that sent me to the site and the blog for more news.

Updating your website and its imagery is a smart way to keep people interested and consistently drive traffic to your work.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Almost everyone knows an advance is essential to the production of a job. Sometimes there there is a client or a higher up (insert CFO here) who doesn't quite understand the necessity behind this. If it's a client that doesn't understand the importance of an advance it's a bit easier, because then the agency can front the advance check for the project.

I'm assuming that most understand what an advance is but for definition sake here you go: pay someone a monetary amount before a final date/billing invoice. The advance is normally 50-75% of the production expenses. This is essential to the photographer or producer working on the project in order for them to pay for anything immediate needed and even pay the crew on the day of. This way it's not all out of pocket for the photographer/producer.

When an advance is not paid prior to the start of the job most people have clauses written in their estimates that detail a markup will be charged or a percentage of costs per dollar amount will be charged. If you don't have this written in, you probably should. And if you're the person purchasing/negotiating for the project, keep an eye out for these clauses and make your client aware so there are no snags after you get the go ahead.

Advances are an unwritten and understood rule that we assume everyone knows about and most certainly should understand as part of the production process. However there are the few people that don't agree and if all the explaining in the world doesn't change their mind, you should make sure you're protected in some manner.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Unconventional Marketing

Had to share this email I received from Art + Commerce. Now granted this is Steven Meisel we're talking about and the puzzle is a little pricey but the idea is fantastic.:

Now available: Steven Meisel Limited-Edition Jigsaw Puzzle

1000-piece jigsaw puzzle
Edition of 1000
Signed and numbered by Steven Meisel

Legendary fashion photographer Steven Meisel has been reluctant to publish his work in conventional print editions or books. This special object will be a first: a signed, limited-edition jigsaw puzzle of an image from the amazing 'Patterns' story Meisel photographed for Italian Vogue. The 1000-piece puzzles are packaged in a custom box and are signed and numbered by Steven Meisel. They have been produced in an edition of 1000 and are $750 each.

Puzzles are also available at Colette in Paris, at Barneys New York, and at 10 Corso Como in Milan.

Creative Opinion - Responses

Back in the beginning of October I asked for opinions about whether people were noticing an influx of stock and were photographer and rep sites being used as an alternative to stock houses [here].

A couple of art buyers responded with the following:

I find that very few reps actually have stock on their sites and if they do-they are not very searchable.
Art and Commerce is the best one I think however they almost all use top models so you have to find out all the details and gain those rights.
I wish more agencies did sell stock.

We frequently search photographers sites for stock. it takes more time and doesn’t work out always but when it does it’s a higher quality creative that you can deliver to the client. also, if I’m renegotiating talent from one of our shoots the agents feel like they have it on us, and can be unreasonably demanding. in contacting these talent I’ve found they are much more agreeable to deal and negotiate with. since the image has been released by the client it was originally shot for, maybe it wouldn’t have ever gone anywhere or stimulated any more income so, it’s good news for them.

From photographers/peers:
I've been working with an ad agency in Chicago for the past 3 weeks. The rep I've been dealing with would rather deal with the photographers and not the stock agencies.
I prefer not to deal with the stock agencies

Only the mid-level players seem to toggle between stock and assignment. The higher end clients still need proprietary imagery and the low end (catalogs etc) have no choice. Generally speaking, everyone has put the brakes on for a month or so but I am getting calls almost every day lately so 'somebody' is hiring! (budgets are another story though....)

I am an editorial, corporate, advertising shooter in the Chicago market. Assignments are down and my stock agency, Photoshelter, is closing. I am considering moving my stock sales in-house in my website rather than with another stock house. Glad to hear there is some market for this.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Continuation of Stock Conversation

I'd like to introduce guest blogger today, Amy DeVoogd. Amy is an illustrator I've worked with in the past, being a fan of her work I've also featured her art on this blog, she's also an avid commenter and brings the much needed illustrator perspective to some of the conversations.

In Amy's words:
I thought this might be an interesting tangent to add to the conversation about stock.

I went to this panel discussion yesterday and panel members included an illustrator, a rep, an art buyer, and an art director.

Most of the audience were graduating students, I'm presuming mostly in Illustration, although I believe there were a few photographers and graphic designers in the mix.

The panel talked about typical things graduating seniors should know, like portfolios, marketing, etc. and then sort of framed the industry from their individual points of view.

At the end during the Q+A session, I asked, "How do you guys feel about stock?" I felt like the seniors should know that it exists as a valid way to make money and get exposure, and I was honestly curious to hear how the panel would respond, especially the rep, since I myself have been told that I can forget about ever being represented because of my involvement with Getty, and I keep waiting for the tide to turn!

The rep said it was the worst thing ever to happen to the industry and that he wouldn't touch an artist who had done stock (okay, no surprise there.) The illustrator said that only the worst-of-the-worst artists do it (okay, so he's rich and famous and his phone rings off the hook for commission work.) But the most surprising response was from the art buyer, who said that in her 25 yrs she has "never, ever" bought stock illustration or photography for a project. Never? I find that hard to believe. And it saddened me, really, because I think it's misleading to these young professionals. I do understand that it's always preferable to commission work, of course, but it's not always practical. And I also understand that when stock came along it was a giant change and it hurt some contingencies like the already-famous and reps. But its definitely part of the landscape now, and there's no going back.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Personal Project - Susana Raab

above images ©Susana Raab

When I first looked at Susana Raab's images I laughed a bit at the quirkiness and subject matter. Her personal project, Consumed | Fast Food in the US, was the one that stood out the most to me. What I really love about this series however is the storytelling effect and not the typical cliche shots of fast food, obesity, and unidentifiable ingredients. It's really a cross-country journey of a photographer observing the effect and influence of fast food in the U.S.

What made you choose this project?
I returned to grad school in 2003 at Ohio University's School of Visual Communications with the intention of focusing on a long term series and redefining my career as a photojournalist. I chose fast food after reading Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation because the idea of illustrating this problem challenged me. It was an ubiquitous problem that affects us all, whether we eat fast food or not, and it's a subject that is located in our backyard. Yet the problem of illustrating it without focusing on pictures of obese people or people eating food and the resulting visual cliches was huge. Despite the difficulties of illustrating it, I was committed to focusing my time and energy on a subject I felt had not been explored exhaustively. In the end this project is about consumption which to me is one of our more interesting modern dilemmas. I also share the same birthday as Big Mac, yes, we debuted on the same day. And my great-grandfather was a distinguished professor of animal husbandry at Penn State University, author of the The Meat We Eat (sadly out of print today). So my concern with food, how we make it and how we eat it, is in the genes.

How many photos were there before you edited it down to the featured images?
This is impossible to say, the project is on-going, dovetailing nicely with another project I'm working on about America at leisure. I've been working on it sporadically for 4 years, I edit straight from the negatives and very selectively, so I have only made prints for about 30 other images you do not see on my website. But I'm getting back film today so that might change by this afternoon!

What was your favorite aspect of this personal project?

There are many aspects about this project that I am grateful for: I have found a voice in this series that very much represents my inner monologue. I've always enjoyed humor, and I believe I've found a way to express something very important, but do it in an unexpected way, so people are more accepting of it, and then the message slyly sneaks in. That's my intention at least. I like to call it the Mary Poppins effect, as a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Like many photographers I love having that passport to trespass, to travel around and familiarize myself with the American milieu, sundry as it is.

These pictures are mostly impossible to plan, as they are all documentary and unstaged (with the exception of a couple of portraits) - so it's really helped hone my awareness and presence while I'm concentrating on making the work. But sharing the work and surprising people is definitely the most fun. I love it when people tell me that first they laugh when they look at my pictures (with, not at - I hope!) and then they think about the pervasive presence of this industry and the deeper message behind these photographs. I'm an English major and one of the lessons I took from that education was that humor and tragedy are intertwined.

Susana is a documentary and editorial photographer based in Washington D.C. Check out this project and Susana's other work at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

State of Stock II

Apologies for a complete disconnect the past week.

So to follow up on the original State of Stock post, I have licensed stock imagery directly for photographers. I have purchased imagery from photographers directly when it was an image on their site that attracted me or the art director OR when I have always wanted to work with the photographer but never had the perfect situation arise and stock was the way to go.

Stock photography has kind of an ugly connotation to it - some people assume it's a stereotypical cheesy image with people perfectly framed and perfectly smiling directly at the camera, others (like myself) view it as an already existing image (whether photographed specifically for stock, personal, or commercial use) that is available for licensing.

I have also found that photographers are in the running cost-wise with stock houses and most often more affordable (and more willing to negotiate). In fact in the past few weeks I was working on a project with designers scouring all sorts of stock sites while I was searching photographer sites. Rony Shram came up with some amazing shots that fit the bill... in fact they liked them so much that they decided to commission him to do a small shoot for the project. AND since he's mostly a fashion shooter they loved the sexy/sleek look to his images but asked if he could apply them to cityscape... which he did. We got great imagery at close to stock pricing.

My opinion is that if you reach out to people, network, and let them know what you're doing they will most likely respond. Offering additional services and opportunities to clients makes you that much more marketable and someone they are likely to reach out to to help with the creative needs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delayed posting...

I'm a traveling queen this week and unfortunately have a busy schedule that I can't keep up with postings this week.

I love the responses to the State of Stock post from Monday... I will most certainly follow up with a post on this answering questions and backing up opinions.

Other things to look forward to very soon:

Creative Opinion
follow up from October 6 - answers and opinions.

More personal projects to share - these are always fantastic, keep sending me stuff.

5 thing I like and don't like - I'll think of something, whether it's meetings, promos, reps, stylists, productions... dare I say it... clients (stay tuned).

I'll keep thinking of other things to come up with and share with the creative community and I encourage all of you to do the same.

Want to throw a question at me, get an opinion, or touch base on something I haven't thought of - You can email me here.

Cheers and chat soon

Monday, October 27, 2008

The State of Stock

PDN reported [here] last Thursday that JupiterImages has been acquired by Getty.

Today it's being reported [here]that Corbis is taking a hit with the economy and therefore are cutting the royalty rates it offers to their contributors (at least for rights managed).

With PhotoShelter having closed their stock house doors, Corbis cutting back, and Getty owning almost everything where does that leave the contributors who want other options. The microstock market offers images for a dollar - what royalty can they offer?

If stock imagery is still being purchased, which it is, and agencies want good images where do they head?

I still think individual photographers should offer stock imagery in addition to being commissioned for shoots. If the opportunity is there I say take it, especially since you get all the royalties and there isn't commission being paid to anyone but yourself (and you rep if you have one).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Suffering from a head cold today I left work (a freelance gig) early for the comfort of pajamas, cold medicine, and perhaps a nap... however being pretty busy, I feel like I was shirking some of my responsibilities.

What happens when you have a personal issue to address yet have work responsibilities you need to deal with as well? One ends up taking a back seat to the other unfortunately. The problem is trying to juggle personal things that pop up in addition to the work. Have a cold.. take the needed nap/rest and work a few extra hours in the evening. Have a larger personal family issue... talk to the people producing the job and open the lines of communications to find out if there is some wiggle room.

Most assuredly people will understand when you have personal things come up. Most people realize that everyone has a life outside of work where things come up and issues need to be handled. We all make it work out in the end and balance responsibilities.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Clients more and more want to have exclusive imagery... this is a good thing. And I should clarify that I don't mean proprietary but instead they want the usage to cover their needs but also to have industry exclusivity, meaning a competitor will not have access to the same image.

By definition exclusivity means excluding all but what is specified... and this is where you should pay attention. Because more clients are enlisting this term in their usage parameters it means you should acquire, in some form of writing, what that actually specifies. For example, if you have a financial client looking for financial industry exclusivity, does it include credit, 401k, banks, investment firms, etc.? The more info you have, the better understanding you have of the clients terms and expectations, this way you don't have a breach of contract or any confusion.

Also with the exclusivity and getting all the information about what it entails means you can adjust your fee appropriately. Depending on the contract it may refer just to the imagery and talent or it might mean the client doesn't want you shooting for a competitor for the length of their usage - knowing exactly what the expectations are allows you to be completely prepared with both production and creative fees.

Friday, October 17, 2008

5 Things About Phone Calls

Calls can be tough especially as a freelancer trying to get your name in with an agency, art buyer, photo editor, or any creative. Mail and email are easier because they are so much more impersonal. I like calls... granted I don't always have the time to get the calls or spend hours a day chatting with artists (while it is part of my job description I'm also responsible for a boatload of other things) but I do enjoy the calls.

5 things I like:
1. Staying on my radar/quick check-in - this doesn't mean call me every month but a twice a year check-in following up on a portfolio review or promos sent in, keeps you in mind.

2. Casual conversation - I like the casual and slightly more personable calls than direct sales call which can come off as pushy. Telling me what you're working on and asking how things are going at whatever agency is a great approach.

3. Directing me to a new personal project or artist show - I love to hear about things like this that might be considered outside of the advertising realm. Especially if you're doing a show in my area that I might not have heard of... but a personal invitation or update about a project I might be interested in is definitely welcome.

4. First time caller approach/schedule review - best way to do this is to leave a quick message or if you actually get a voice, to schedule a meeting or portfolio review. Cold calls don't really work if the art buyer/ photo editor/ et al. is not familiar with your name or your work.

5. Talking about your artwork - I love to chat about the photographs and recent work you may have done whether it's a production or personal. To me it's cool and it shows your passion. It touches back to the casual call and stays away from the super sales/hire me call.

5 things I do not like:
1. "Any work I'd be great for going on right now?" - I know this is the prime reason you are calling but starting the conversation with this is a turn-off. To be completely blunt... if you were perfect for a job, I would have called.

2. Too personal - unless I know you outside of work please don't get too personal. If I have met you once or only had a couple of phone conversations it's slightly uncomfortable for me to hear about overly personal information (like your colonosopy appointment that morning... don't need to know).

3. The website tracker call - It's been talked about before (especially on but these are totally creepy. After just visiting your website, a call to say "I saw you were on the website - anything of interest or can I do something for you?" Wait a week or two if you have to do this and don't mention you saw me on the site.. it just reeks of desperation ... and did I mention creepiness?

4. Calling several times in one day - Most likely I am sitting at my desk working on something and looking at the phone to see if I recognize the number. Call once and leave a message - if you don't hear back in 3-4 weeks give another call. DO NOT call ten times in one day but not leave a message it pretty much guarantees that I won't pick up or that I won't return a call once the message is finally left.

5. The over-sales call - Meaning you sound like a stereotypical car salesman (no offense to car salesmen). Coming off over-eager and over-pushy is too much and will end the call quickly. Saying your perfect for whatever client and have done some spec work with them in mind is not an appropriate route. There's a fine line you have to walk here with selling yourself and your work but not overdoing it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lucie Awards

© van Gens

Erwin Olaf is being honored at the 6th Annual Lucie Awards in NYC on Monday October 20th with the 2008 award for Achievement in Advertising.

His clients have included Diesel, Milk the Game, Playstation, Nokia, Kohler, New York Times... just to name a few.

To see more info about the awards and other honorees head over to

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Personal Project - Oscar "OG" Garcia

After a week of craziness and throwing the blog to the back burner... we're back (me and the blog that is).

I'm sad to say that Heather Morton is shutting her blog down until further notice. Hopefully we'll see more of this Canadian creative soon.

Happy Wednesday to all and I hope you enjoy some eye candy courtesy of OG's personal project, Destiny by Design.
©2008 Oscar Garcia

What made you choose this project?

The main reason for choosing to be involved with and produce a project for Destiny by Design program, was simply for community involvement and service. I know and understand the importance of having positive experiences growing up and how they can contribute to how an individual develops as they get older. Another point of interest was the subject and focus of the program, hip-hop. As a music photographer and hip-hop fan, being involved with a program that strives to provide youth with tools for cultural and career development within music was a simply a no-brainer for me.

How many photos were there before you edited it down to the featured images?

This project involved documenting a entire semester of the Destiny by Design program at Kealing Middle School in Austin, Texas. When it was all said and done, there were thousands of images to go through. Normally that may seem like a big burden, but to be honest, I had a blast. Editing down the images allowed me to revisit the moments that motivated me to get involved in the first place.

What was your favorite aspect of this personal project?

My favorite aspect of this project was definitely being able to directly interact with the kids and give back to the Austin community. The children were great to work with. Something else to note was that Chamillionaire, hip-hop artist and a longtime client of ours, autographed prints (photograph of Chamillionaire that I had taken a few years back) for each of the children who participated in the program. I had mentioned it to him on one of our shoots and he was more than willing to help out. Everyone of the kids were very thankful which aided in making this entire experience well worth it.

You can check out the project online at
Design by Destiny is an after school program provided by Narcisse-Banks Community Resource Center.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Art Buyer Conversation

I believe in being honest and up front with artists and reps, it makes things go a little more smoothly when there is an understanding there. Sometimes it's not always easy to relay information or get across the feelings and intentions of the team (AD, account manager, client, etc) but as art buyers it's our responsibility to try.

One of the things I can get frustrated with is when the creative gets ignored and more pressure is put on the finance part. I completely understand and get the finance part makes the creative happen but when so much attention is on the budget it hampers the creative and the creative collaboration.

I do my very best to remain fair to all involved. If I have a budget I will give it to you, if I even have a range of what is expected I will give it to you. The sad thing is when the conversation keeps going back to the fact that it's not enough money or that it's incredibly lean when we've gone back and forth several times abut the numbers... Don't bid on a project if you feel the budget does not work with your fees and your production value. On the opposite side of that conversation... Don't undercut to try and guarantee the job is yours, it sets you up for going over budget and taking a chunk of your fee to cover production expense overages.

The best way is to have open conversation with the art buyer on the project from the very beginning. It's very appreciated. If you have concerns about the budget up front ask all the questions so you can make an informed decision whether to participate. Know that the art buyer is doing their best to be fair to both sides - the client and the photographer. Also know that the more the conversation is kept candid and honest the more mutual respect grows for all the parties involved (candid to the professional sense, just don't call me names).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Creative Opinion

Keeping pace with a few of last weeks posts:

The consensus I've been hearing is that people are slowing up and stock is the word of the month (if not the next few months).

Through my blog and portfolio meetings I've been asked the question:
Do you search photographer and rep sites for stock?
And if so what do you think the benefits are as opposed to the larger stock houses?

As artists and reps, are you seeing the same thing? how are you adjusting/what are you offering?

I'd love to share (anonymously) any feedback people are willing to contribute on this subject to pass the information and thoughts to others.

I already have some feedback from fellow art buyers but would like to hear from all sides.

You can email me here or post a comment.

Friday, October 3, 2008

AdBase's Art Buyer Lounge

Be sure to check out this valuable resource AdBase brings to you.
Art Buyer Lounge: Episode 2

Juliette Wolf-Robin interviews three Art Buyers from McCann Worldwide. Find out their answers to some of her questions like:

* How do buyers look for talent?
* What promos really get noticed?
* Do buyers prefer to work with artists who have reps?
* What is the internal process for hiring artists?

Advertising and the Economy (part 2)

In response to Amy's question... I wonder if the economy (which actually has been affecting my own freelance income stream since LAST fall) is going to mean more stock buying as a way for clients to save cash?

In my opinion - probably.
Stock imagery, especially the royalty free kind, is a cheaper way for clients to get imagery in their advertising. It doesn't mean it's a great image or an exclusive image though and that's what art buyers and account managers need to reiterate.

The unfortunate thing with the economy being in the proverbial toilet is that budgets are going to be slashed considerably so it requires adjustments on the artist, crew, and agency's parts. I will still recommend original imagery to the clients in hopes of continuing to have original work done by photographers and illustrators but I'm pretty sure the budgets won't allow for much. Which in turn will force creatives to turn to stock imagery.

Here is a benefit - most art buyers are aware that artists are offering their own stock on their websites and will search there as well as the larger stock houses BUT make sure you let them know with your marketing. I highly recommend to all to have a section on your site that at least states you offer stock imagery. Even if you don't have a section to that allows viewers to search on their own offer to pull lightboxes that might be appropriate for the projects and clients.

Art + Commerce has an image archive section that offers imagery from their photographers. Jim Erickson is a photographer who balances commissioned shoots and stock imagery exceptionally well.

When in doubt adjust to the market and market yourself so you keep working and keep yourself busy (and with an income).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Advertising and the Economy

So while Wall Street is in a panic and the bailout bill failed yesterday, we sit here and wonder what is going on and what is going to happen, especially in the advertising world.

I want to share a few different reports regarding the economy and the advertising industry. Time to tighten the buckle on your spending and for those who are self employed to keep your heads up.

Suze Ormann was on the Today Show and CNN yesterday urging consumers to cut back their spending on unnecessary products. She stated that consumers need to reduce their debt and stop buying stuff.

AdAge is reporting the AdMarket 50 crashed 6.4% in yesterday's scramble. They're also reporting that McDonald's is getting hit from the credit/banking crisis. But on the upside AdAge has an article that retail brands are already clambering with holiday promotions which means more seasonal work.

Danny Flamberg has an interesting article on Talent Zoo, After the Crash: Rebuilding Financial Services Marketing.

Take a look at how the industry is being affected then take a look at your own marketing plan - how do you rise above others to ensure you get the job?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Client Projects

When assigning/awarding a project I do my best with the art director to give the photographer/illustrator a sense of the project at hand and information about the client. I also hope the artist does a little research on their own as well. It's most certainly not expected but goes a long way.

Granted the ultimate reason the artist is hired for a job is because of their work and the images they can create for the client but the artists who do a little client research on their own also adds to the project. It helps to understand the client and their product. For example if you're working on a project for a commercial retail client, go into the stores and check out the products and the signage, take a look at the catalogue, look at the most recent advertising campaign, etc.

Understanding where the client has come from and taking a look into the brand and their brand positioning can help you interpret the project better. Essentially artists are hired for their creativity and what they can bring to the project, not always do we want to hand over layouts and have you simply recreate something similar to the layout.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Åsk over at AdLand has posted an informational (and hysterical) tutorial [here] about how to work with freelancers. It is smartly written and helpful to those on both sides (the actual freelancers and those hiring). Definitely worth 10 minutes of your time to read through and I'm sure there are a few items in there we can all relate to.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

iPhone vs. Android

Which to get???

Check out the pros and cons at Popular Mechanics [here].

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

de Blob

©2008 THQ, Wii, Blue Tongue

It's a new game for Wii and it's creative. de Blob was designed by Dutch students that shuns violence and promotes creativity in the video game era.

I remember as a kid not being allowed to play video games and instead being enrolled in classes at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). For kids today the art programs are still there however the new rage is video gaming so this game seemed the sensible next step.

The concept: "Long live color!" and fight back from monochromatic mediocrity. It's an action puzzle game that allows players to explore and embark on a quest to re-animate and re-colorize the city. Splatter buildings, landmarks, and citizens with color.

Interested?... it's being made for Wii, Nintendo DS, and the iPhone.

I still prefer the "old school" way of creating art (with my own hands) but to each their own and whatever gets kids interested in art is okay in my book.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hitting the wall

There comes a time every once in a while where you hit a creative wall and aren't sure what the next step is. Reason I haven't posted in a few days... I hit a wall and wasn't sure which topic to discuss. I try to pull from my experiences as an art buyer and I also pull from the creative community (questions from artists, images from artists, discussions on blogs or articles from advertising/design sites).

The last few days I tried to think of things to share and was not coming up with anything. I personally don't feel like I have to post everyday just to post, I want to make sure it's relevant, interesting or entertaining but I do want to make sure I post frequently to keep people coming back to the blog and to promote discussions or thoughts.

So what to write about when I can't think of something to write... creative blocks. Do you get them and if so what do you do? Do you have a process or do you pick up your camera and run outside or into the studio?

I don't believe creative blocks come from self doubt or low self esteem or something from psychology monthly (Van Gogh cut an ear off.. I'm certainly not headed in that direction). But I do believe all creatives at some point experience creative highs and lows, the lows when they are not thrilled with what they are producing.

For me I think one of the solutions is keep pushing forward, I think laziness begets laziness. If you start suffering from inertia it can become your worst enemy and in the long run it makes it harder to create something. If you're running low on creative fuel, run with ideas... any idea because from just doing and being active with your work can come something fantastic.

Dad always says Carpe Diem (Seize the Day).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Personal Project - Chris Crisman

My favorite part about featuring these personal projects is that each photographer I've spoken to feels very strongly about the subject matter he/she has shot and a big part of them is in these photos. I just hope that passion comes across in these posts.
Chris Crisman's personal project in Titusville, PA is a great story and the images walk you through that story and the significance it had on the photographer. I think the characters chosen and their environments are brilliantly showcased and Chris has done a fantastic job to capture the human emotions and honesty in each.

©chris crisman

What made you choose this project?

I actually started a project connected to this back towards the end of college. This start was more concerned with the remains of the space that was Cytemp Specialty Steel in Titusville, PA. This is actually my hometown. The steel plant there is where my father worked during the years I was growing up. In the mid 90's the business there started to be sent overseas and the workforce was being drastically reduced. It was the largest employer in Titusville and it was a major economic disaster for the small community. When the mill was going down my father served as the Vice President of the Steelworkers Local Union. He knew every one of the men in the photos.

After I finished the college project and graduated from school, I decided I wanted to continue the project. I also realized that the more integral part of the story was actually the men that had worked there. In the winter of 2005 I started taking trips back to Titusville to photograph these men. At that point I was also trying to my career as a commercial photographer off the ground. Every week I would try and get any work I could here in Philly and if I didn't have any jobs around or through the weekend, I'd get in my car and drive back to Titusville to meet and photograph 2-5 of these men. It's about a 650 miles round trip from Philadelphia to Titusville. I think I have racked up about 12,000 miles in the car so far with this project.

These men are really quite a throwback. It's not just the men, but the entire community of Titusville. Growing up, I guess I always knew this and that's why I made the decision to move to Philly and live in a city for awhile. Most of the men in the photos worked at least 20 years in the mill, with some of them putting in over 40. You can see the toll it put on their bodies, but after working on the project I really feel it's a labor of love. My father was really such a big part of this project as he is the one who helped me find and make contact with the steelworkers. I also would usually bring him along on the shoots as most of the guys felt more comfortable with him there. At some point the shoots even started to have a script to the process. We would arrive, do an introduction to the project, then I'd sit them down with my dad as he would take them through a portfolio of my work. While they were looking at photos together I would scout around their home and/or property searching for some options for the photographs.

In the scouting process I usually would lean towards spaces or environments that would convey something about the current passion. Some of the men would live alone for different reasons and you can see that in the photos. There are others where the men still lived with their wives and you can see how much impact the wives have on the decor. In most situations, I would try to not disturb a room or space in any way. I really wanted to bring as much of a journalistic process as possible to what was coming into the camera. The post process is a different story.

How many photos were there before you edited it down to the featured images?
The photos you see is a pretty good sampling of the best of the best. I would usually shoot 2-3 scenarios with all of the men, then choose just one photo as my favorite. I would say there are 10-15 men/shoots that aren't represented in the edit that is online. A few of them didn't sit well with me, a few others just aren't that strong. There are even a few shots that I thought I had great options with a different setups, but those that I didn't select have just been tucked away for another day.

What was your favorite aspect of this personal project?
My favorite part of this project while I was doing it was the time I was able to spend with my father and these men. It was such an amazing feeling to listen to the conversations my dad and any of these men would have with me in the other room. Just sitting and talking about their lives and the time they worked at the mill, their families, the reconnection this project created because of it, and so on.

In retrospect, it's a good feeling that this project is getting some kind of recognition. When I started it I was in such awful financial shape, I had very little work, and I could hardly pay my bills. As a matter of fact, on one trip back to Titusville I was absolutely broke. I had enough money for gas and a meal and I thought if I just made it home I would be okay. About 50 miles from home my car broke down with a snapped belt and I was in trouble. My credit cards were maxed out and I had to call my parents to have them pay for a tow truck to get it back to Titusville. I was very embarrassed and to make matters worse my landlord at the time called me to tell me my rent check bounced and I was going to have to move out of my apartment. Did I tell you it was raining, too? It all worked out and I went on that weekend to make two of my favorite photos from the series. Actually, I think one of them got into the Comm Arts Photo Annual that year.

It might also be of interest to you to learn something about Titusville that has quite a bit of significance in our country right now. You can learn that here:,_Pennsylvania

Check our Chris' Titusville project [here] and his other work at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Creative Opinion - Responses

This month's Creative Opinion question was:
What do you wish/think art buyers or photo editors can improve upon?

And responses were pretty similar: returning a call or taking a risk

- I would like to have phone calls and emails answered in a more timely manner. regarding an ongoing project or introducing myself to someone for the first time.
- I know it's a bit much to ask, but would love to know the real reason why I wasn't the one chosen for a project.
- I've heard this "but we are oh so busy" excuse, but in all honesty, how long does it take you to apply some professional courtesy and drop a 1 line e-mail?
- I wish Photo Editors/Buyers would take more chances on talent that they aren't incredibly familiar with.
- Whether the price isn't working or whatever the deal is, it would be nice to get an acknowledgment for our response to their inquiry and an opportunity to try convincing them of our value.
- a return call or email when you bid on a job - especially if you don't receive the job - is greatly appreciated. it's frustrating putting time and effort into a bid and then never knowing what happened. Were we too high, did they go with a different style, did the job get killed?
- Letting us know if we DIDN'T get a project without me or my rep having to call or email 10 times about a job we were asked to bid on. Most of the time when we aren't awarded, we don't even find out until weeks after a projects been shot. I know everyone's extremely busy, just a quick email would show some respect for our time.
- I'd like to know what might get a PE or buyer to work with new talent? Great work is a definite I'm sure, but beyond that what can a photographer do to start a relationship? I understand that often it means putting their neck on the line, but what might make them take that chance? Or is that a risk they don't take?

My response...
I can only answer for myself as an art buyer, these are my opinions only. I would however like to try and formulate some of the questions above to get a few anonymous art buyer responses (I'll work on this but can't guarantee anything).

For the callbacks:
I think everyone deserves a callback or an email. I am guilty as well of not returning a few phone calls... more often than not it is because I didn't get the call out within the first few weeks and procrastinated so it turned into a non-returned call. (sad excuse I know). I can say that I try to return all calls as a professional courtesy especially when it involves a job. The complicated part is calling someone who did not get the job and letting them know why - sometimes there is no answer.. the AD just didn't think the images jived with the project at hand and therefore the portfolio was cut from the running. Sometimes the images are just not good or not what the creatives wanted to see - the hard part of my job as an art buyer is placing these calls and discussing why you didn't get the job. I try to be as honest as possible in the most professional manner. I do think it is the responsibility of an art buyer or photo editor to take the time to make these calls in regards to projects.

As for the "too busy" excuse. We are busy and many times are juggling several projects, inquiries, legal clearances, stock photo searches, productions, and fielding calls and emails. I think if a photographer or illustrator is calling or emailing just to check in or see if there are any ongoing projects they could be considered for, give the art buyer/photo editor a few days or weeks to respond. Since these are not urgent they sit on a back-burner. Some people do not return these calls, I'm not sure of the reasoning, if it is too busy or if it's can't be bothered right now or having a bad day, but don't take it personally. I like to save Friday afternoons to make my callbacks and email responses. I think it is important to respond to these because it helps strengthen relations between art buyer and artist/rep. It doesn't hurt to send a follow-up to remind them but don't push the annoying envelope by emailing or calling on a weekly basis... give it a few months but continue to stay on their radar.

Taking a chance on new talent: it takes risk on both parts but even more than that it takes great work (whether photography or illustration). To get an art buyer/photo editor to take a risk on you, you have to have the work to back it up. Make sure you are a good match for the client you're trying to go after. I've said it before... I am a huge proponent of face-to-face meetings and think this can get you far. The art buyer/photo editor can put a face and a personality to the portfolio of work. This is a good start to forming a relationship with the art buyer/photo editor. We'll take the risk if you're right for the project.. and being right for the project means you have beautiful images but it also means you have a personality, creative mind and production value to back it all up.

I'll see what I can do to get other opinions than mine. I also appreciate the responses I received because it helps me be a better art buyer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Notable Items

I'm sad to say that last Thursday I read Rachel Hulin was leaving PhotoShelter and Shoot! the Blog is no more. I have to admit I was one of many who had a blog crush on Hulin. Her witty and conversational writing kept us reading but also the photography she showcased, sharing all aspects of the art with all of us multiple times a day. Over at Heather Morton's blog she discusses the situation and debuts her own blog, where she remains ever faithful to photography and artists.

Over at Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua's blog she has posted about the job of an art buyer. I commend Leslie for writing on both sides of the issues but also injecting her honest opinions. As an art buyer, I thought I should comment. We have to walk the fine line of working for the agency and doing what is best in the interest of the client and agency and also act as an advocate for the photographer. Because we went with another photographer who shot it at half of what the other photographer bid at doesn't mean we're anti-photographer. It means the client made the decision to shoot with the photographer who bid cheaper or undercut their costs quite a bit to get the job. There are a ton of photographers out there competing for all the same jobs. We look at several photographers' websites before we call in portfolios, then we weed out the portfolios with our creatives, and then we bid. The fact that a photographer got to bid is a good step because it means the creatives liked the work enough to push it in front of the client. Ultimately it is the client's decision, but don't point fingers there and don't be cranky because you didn't get the job. It happens.

I want to work with the best photographer for the job and the photographer that the art director/designer feels can best accomplish the project/s. If your costs are not in line with the client's budget I'll tell you and I will do my best to be honest about the job. I cannot however force my client or creative team to choose you if the quality is comparable to your competitors but cost came in higher. I try to present the best case for each photographer, explain the costs of the line items and be a creative consultant. Art Buyers get flak, and that's okay it comes with the territory but be sure to understand the world of advertising... you need to have some thick skin in this industry. (more to come tomorrow with the creative opinion discussion).

And lastly, Jill Greenberg. Who knew another photographer (besides Annie Leibovitz) could cause such a commotion? PDN featured an article about her recent photo shoot with John McCain. Politics get heavy and people get very passionate and emotional about their views. Greenberg owns the images and negotiated certain usages regarding these images. McCain's people and the magazine should have had a legal person (or a producer, art buyer, etc.) review with her all their stipulations regarding his imagery and had someone on set to watch and manage. I'm not supporting Greenberg's actions (including her statements) or the reactions in the community.. I'm completely neutral on this but Greenberg does own the copyright to her own images. The magazine should have put limitations in effect prior to the shoot.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 Things to Improve Business

I read an article in Ad Age, Five Things to Do Now to Improve Your Agency, and I think it's definitely worth a read. I think it applies and is relevant to people outside of agency life, who are their own small business or freelancers. In an earlier post I mentioned using the beginning of the Fall season to revamp marketing strategies and I think these are another few ideas to gear yourself up for a successful season.

In the article Marc Brownstein (AdAge Small Agency journal reporter and president of The Brownstein Group) lists the 5 things as:
Grow Organically
Grow with new clients
Grow through merger/acquisition
Grow by improving your talent
Grow your profits

My own take/ideas on each:
Grow organically - you are your own leadership team with your own client relations, how do you continue these relationships and keep them coming back? What else can you do to "up the ante" for your current client roster? Marc mentions capabilities presentation... I say for photographers and illustrators what about a test shoot or rough sketch?

Grow with new clients - this is the goal for most, get new clients and to keep them on your current roster. How do you approach new clients? Is there a new way to attract clients or to market yourself other than traditional approaches and email bombardment? Do you have a new business program?

Grow through merger/acquisition - this doesn't really apply but it can resonate. My post from yesterday discussed a creative gathering, networking in the creative community is the greatest tool. It may not be a merger but you can join forces through networking, photography seminars, rep partnerships, etc. Connecting with other artists to discuss the industry and talk shop can get ideas flowing and create a support system.

Grow by improving your talent - you are your own talent (along with your crew on shoots). To improve your own talent, keep up with the personal work, try out new things with lighting or post-production techniques, push yourself. As for your crew - you know how you work best and you want to have the best support team around you to make sure things move along seamlessly and the best work comes out.

Grow your profits - In this economy, agencies are tightening up and cutting costs, budgets are getting even smaller. Don't sacrifice your pay and undercut by bidding incredibly low (this approach can back fire when the economy is on an upswing). There are ways to make things happen without breaking the bank.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Creative Gathering

Last night the Boston creative community of photographers, stylists, producers and art buyers came together for a social outing. It was incredible and smartly organized by Tanya Mathis and Maggie Yarlis of Fidelity along with Ennis Inc.

The idea of these gatherings is to foster camaraderie, networking and dialogue in our creative community. It's a great idea to get people of all facets together in one room and put the faces to the names and make new contacts.

I had great conversations last night about the industry and how we are being affected by this economy, about other people's experiences, about production value, about the value of a peer's critiques, about putting a photographer in touch with a company that I have a contact at, etc.

Advertising, print and photography - it really is a small world and even if you have never met someone before, you have this industry in common and therefore people in this industry generally want to help you out - this is how it should be.

Thing is, if you want to start this in your community or your city, do it. It's a great concept and it cultivates/promotes new partnerships and networking in your industry close to home.

Here are some of the people I encountered last night (some I knew and had worked with, some I knew their name, some I had never heard of before but am glad I met them last night:
Margaret Lampert
Dave Bradley
Bruce Peterson
Cheryl Clegg
Jonathan Beller
Kate Kelley
Francie Hill (rep for Scott Goodwin)
Mari Quirk - no website but a stylist extraordinaire who has at least 25 years under her belt
The ladies of Ennis Inc
Steve Marsel

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Personal Project - Graeme Mitchell

I'd like to share Graeme Michell's personal project, NYC Journal. It's a look into the regular life happening in New York City. The images have a gritty feel to them with the black and white photos. I personally like the natural feel of it all, the implied motion, and the different perspectives of the chosen object in frame.

What made you choose this project?
The short answer to this is heartbreak. And on that note, as is often the case, the project choose me more than I it. It was a necessity, not a whim. But the impetus for the NYC Journal was left by the wayside rather quickly and is now incidental. What became interesting is not the inspiration, but the motivation, or what kept me and keeps me working on it. It was so far from anything I'd ever even considered doing; one day I began it, and now over two years later I still work on it on a pretty consistent basis. The reasons why are various, ranging from the physical to the metaphysical, but most of all I do it (and love it) b/c the act of physically shooting it, that process of it, is rife with knowledge. And I love learning.

How many photos were there before you edited it down to the featured images?
Those sets on my site are not by any means static. the NYC Journal changes monthly, or every two months or so, and is not finished. To get an idea of how I work on it, and of the "journal" aspect that is in it's title, go here: On my blog there is pretty consistent update to it in the spirit of a journal. Then when I have new favorites, I do better scans, and then post them on my main portfolio page. The portfolio page is edited to ones that I think are effective (logos); the blog is more a stream of conscious - though not in the true sense - and is more visceral (pathos).

What was your favorite aspect of this personal project?
Like I said in the answer to the first question, it's all the things I learn doing it. The people I meet. The things I see. And it can be intense shooting it too, standing toe to toe with uncomfortable situations... Yes, it can be uneventful on some days when I work on it, but at it's best there are moments at once terrifying and sublime. That's a drug. It elevates. It can make the rest of the day seem slight.
The pictures are probably better without my attempt at talking about them.

And on that end note check out the project at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back in Action

Heather Morton is back from her summer hiatus. Check out her blog and get reacquainted.


In this business we often run into lots of personalities, some welcoming and knowledgeable, others that want to slam our fingers in the door. But it's all how you deal with them and to take it in stride.

I had a few people vent to me today about frustrations and impossible expectations being placed on them. Unfortunately you can't always say "yes" to everything but you can't say "no" either. Becoming a problem solver is a talent and a necessary one. Learning to deal with difficult personalities is another.

Don't be passive-aggressive about things, being a decisive prioritizer is key to collaborating with a team.

Don't get steam rolled. Different personality types is what makes the workplace and the projects. A good manager (not always of people but of situations) knows how to manage themselves as well as the things going on around them.

Don't be sensitive.. it's business. "It's just business" may sound like a cop out to some, especially those who are so passionate about what they do, but it's a reality.

Now get out there and play nice.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Creative Opinion

Trying to make this idea a monthly discussion on the blog.
You have the option of leaving a comment but you can also email your opinions to me (here) and I can post them in an anonymous manner. Depending on the amount of feedback I'll post answers next week or the week after.

Here is this month's question:
What do you wish/think art buyers or photo editors can improve upon? (whether it's regarding feedback, working on projects, responding to calls, etc. etc.)

Candid and honest answers are always appreciated focusing on positive and negative but still professionally appropriate.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Personal Project - Anthony Georgis

Back to the grindstone after a lovely long weekend and starting to ease back into things. I'm glad a lot of you found the rep list useful. I also am psyched about the personal projects post from last week, quite a few of you emailed me with links and info of upcoming personal work.

And on that note I'd like to share the first by Anthony Georgis. What I love about this project is that these girls are bruised and bleeding and ready to kill the opposing team yet at the same time thinking about prom and Anthony captures each aspect of them in a beautiful way.

What made you choose this project?

I walked out my front door and there it was. I know it sounds absurd, but I live across the street from a park. There was a big commotion over there one day with lots of girls shouting and pushing each other so I went outside to see what was going on. At first I thought, "Wow, that's a really violent soccer game" which was followed by, "Oh no, wait, that's just rugby" which was in turn followed by, "OMG!!! Are those high school girls playing rugby?!?"

I was fascinated by what was going on and I knew immediately that I wanted to go and take pictures. At that point I wasn't really thinking of it as a project. I watched a bit, took a few frames and talked to some of the girls. What really struck me was how much intensity these girls played with. They'd hit really hard but after the match they were as sweet as can be. That's when I knew there was something there and that I had to shoot more.

How many photos were there before you edited it down to the featured images?

I was using medium format film (which will either make me sound heroic and crazy or like a total elitist). In a way the format was helpful because there's always the "Who's this weird guy with the camera?" factor and the YashicaMat helps relieve a little of that, making it "Who's this weird guy with the cool camera?"

In the end I shot about 500 frames - 23 made the cut.

What was your favorite aspect of this personal project?

The project has been really well received and it's generated a couple of good assignments. From a personal standpoint, getting an assignment based on something that I loved shooting and that I would have shot anyway is truly a great feeling.

The most incredible thing, however, has been hearing back from some of the players who've seen the project. They love it and have gone on and on about how great it is, how it's a true representation of rugby culture and how they've never seen anything like it. They've also told me that I'm "super rad" and that's cool too.

Check out the project at

Friday, August 29, 2008

Photo Reps - The list

212 Artists Representatives Inc.
VII Photo Agency

Achard & Associates
Acme Photo
AFG Management
Ally Godfrey Represents
Alyssa Pizer Management
Anderson Hopkins
Anne Albrecht Artist Agents
Anyway Artists
Aperture Access
Arc Representation
Arlene Johnson & Associates
Art + Commerce
Art Department
Art Mix Photography
Artists and Creatives
Artist Representation Inc
Atelier Management
Aurora Select

Balcony Jump
Barbara Laurie Photographers
Beauty And Photo
Bernstein & Andriulli
Bill Charles
Blink Management
Blur Photo
Bockos Creative Representation
Bruml Conlon
Bryan Bantry Inc
Bunny Fisher Represents
Button Represents

Carole Lambert
Carolyn Somlo Talent
Chapman Represents
Charlene Colombini : CAC Reps
Chris Boals Artists
City Artists Management
Clare Agency
the Clik Group
CLM (Camila Lowther Management)
CPi Reps
Creative Exchange Agency

Daniela Wagner Photographers
Daniele Forsythe Photographers
Deb Ayerst
Deddens + Deddens
Deborah Schwartz Reps
Design House Reps
Doug Truppe Represents

Edge Reps
EH Management
Elyse Connolly
Emily Inman Artists Representative
Erica Chadwick : etc creative inc.
ESP Agency
Exposure NY
Eye Forward Inc.

Farimah Milani & associates
Faucher Artists
Felix Management
Friend and Johnson
Freda Scott
Fox Creative

Gary Mandel
Giant Artists
GF Represents

Hamilton Gray & Associates
Heather Elder
Held and Associates
Hennessy Represents
Holly Hahn + Co.

i2i Photography

Janice Moses Represents
Jean Gardner + Associates
Jed Root Inc.
Agent: Jeff Cerise
Jennifer Butters
Jennifur Condon & Associates
Jessica Oldham Representative
JH Artist Group
Jim Hanson Artist Agent
JK Reps
Jodi Zeitler artist representative
Joel Harlib Associates, Inc.
John Kenney &
Joseph Reps
Josette Lata
Judi Shin
Judith Miller Inc
Judy Casey
Judy McGrath
Julian Meijer Agency
Julian Richards

K. Ray and Company
Kate & Company
Kate Ryan Inc
the Katy Barker Agency
Korman + Company
Kramer + Kramer

L2 Agency
L&A Artists
Lamoine Photo Group
Laura Lemkowitz Represents
Lesley Zahara Represents
LVA represents

M Represents
M3 Reps
Magnum Photos
Mama Management
Management + Artists
Marco Santucci
Marek & Associates
Marge Casey + Associates
Marianne Campbell Associates
Marilyn Cadenbach
ME Reps
Meo Represents
MergeLeft Representatives
Michael Ash Partners
Michael Ginsburg Associates
Michele Filomeno
The Mitchell Agency
MiteyBig Representation
Monaco Reps
Moo Management
MS Logan

Nadine Kalmes Artist Representation
Nancy Grant
Norman Maslov

O'Gorman Schramm
Oliver Piro Inc.
Orchard Photographer Representation

Peter Bailey Company
Photographic Management Inc
Pinkstaff Photographers
Pojé + Associates
Punch Artists

Radical Media
Randy Cole Represents
The Rappaport Agency
Ray Brown Represents
Red Eye Reps
Redux Pictures
Rep Girl Inc.
Renee Rhyner and Company
Rich Hall Reps
Robert Bacall Representatives

Sally Bjornsen Represents
Sandberg Agency
Sarah Laird
Schumann & Company
See Management
Seed Reps
Sharpe + Associates
Shotview Photographers Management
Snap Artists
Snyder & Company
Spinnler Reps
Steichen Represents
Stockland Martel
Syndicate Six ::: A Photographer's Collaborative

They Representation Inc.
Tim Mitchell
Tom Maloney Reps
Tricia Joyce Inc
TTS Reps

Unit c.m.a.

Walter Schupfer Management
Watson + Spierman Productions
Webber represents
Weiss Artists, Inc.
Westside Studios
Wonderful Machine

Vaughan Hannigan
Velvet Reps
Vernon Jolly Inc
Vertical Reps
Vicki Sander Represents
Vince Kamin & Associates
Vis A Vis Reps
Visu Artists

Photography Agents

I am super stoked about the post I'll be putting up later today. After a few weeks of research, I've compiled a concise list of photography agents. Now I am sure I have missed some names and companies, please feel free to send names or links my way.

If you celebrate Labor Day, please enjoy your long weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wallace + Gromit in High Fashion

I felt the need to share this because I'm a huge fan of Aardman Animation and an even bigger fan of Wallace and Gromit (CHEEEEEEEESE Gromit!).

"Wallace & Gromit appear in high fashion for a store opening in their hometown.
The British claymation duo were created at Aardman Animations in Bristol, where department retailer Harvey Nichols in opening a new store. For the campaign, Wallace trades in his usual green sweater vest for tony threads from Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana."

text taken directly from Creativity Online