Monday, March 31, 2008

what is an art buyer?

So a head hunter called me last week and set up a meeting for this morning. Her main question was, "what exactly is an art buyer/art producer?" A completely valid question. I usually will say "art producer" to people who are not in the advertising or photography industry. It sometimes makes it a bit clearer... I produce art. Mostly I help facilitate the process in which the idea gets from a creative's head or sketch to an ad.

An art buyer or art producer is one part creative services (creative support) and one part project management. The creative part is the fun part. I get to work with so many talented people whether they are an art director/designer or the photographer/illustrator. I help to resource and research great imagery for the client. I'll make some recommendations and work closely with the art director about the different artists. But ultimately it is the decision of the AD to recommend their favorite photographer to the client (or sometimes three which we call a triple bid). Then it rests in the hands of the client.

The project management part is the organizational part (a little OCD never hurt). This is more the technical side and where the negotiating, budgeting, scheduling and all the other small details come into play. Some of the details that may include problem solving ideas... the product we are showcasing is a running shoe that is only in a size 7.5 for women... the model is a beautiful, athletic, 6 foot tall woman with a size 10. Help come up with a solution to get her foot in the shoe, to run and look comfortable and to not permanently ruin her feet. The stylists will usually have ideas but the art buyer should always be prepared to run interference.

My opinion is that art buyers are artistic and happy people who have their home closets and pantries meticulously organized. They get the best of both worlds.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Artist Friday - Heather Conley

Heather Conley is a portrait photographer in New York. Probably one of my favorite portrait photographers and the reason is because she really captures the essence of each of her subjects. The subjects are in their environment or against seamless and there's a quietness that allows the viewer to really see the subject. It's an experience to view her portfolio, her images are honest and downright beautiful.

Check out Heather's work at
©Heather Conley, used with permission
all artwork is copyrighted and intellectual property and cannot be used without artist's permission.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Future Lions

I found this as a post on AdFreak and sent it along to a talented graphic arts student I know. I think this is such a smart idea. We've seen examples of this during the Superbowl... Doritos chose the best idea submitted by a consumer and turned it into an ad. But this opportunity is even more amazing because it encourages students striving to become creatives to submit an avant-garde idea.

One of my favorite things about the flash site is the painting, it gives you a close up tangible view to the brushstrokes and textural aspect. No idea who the artist is, unfortunately, but it is beautiful and showcased in a perfect way on the site.

On the Future Lions site there's a brief which simply states: "Advertise a product from a global brand in a way that was not possible five years ago..." The challenge is to think outside the box and come up with a revolutionary idea.

Join the Facebook Group: Future Lions.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Metadata and you

Why should photographers always put metadata attached to their digital images? Because a.) you should anyway and b.) it tells anyone where the image is from and what the precise usage is. Most art buyers/art producers and photo editors know that the metadata is attached to the image. It's as simple as pulling up the file info. But why don't more photographers attach metadata?

There's a great article all about metadata in ASMP's fall 2007 bulletin - Basic Metadata: A Photographer's Best Friend. In this digital age it's important and critical. Most digital cameras record the technical info but in post-production photographers should embed the personal aspects of that image with copyright, contact info, client, usage, etc. The usage is particularly important. Clients are always looking to use the imagery for all sorts of print and web use. The agency that does the print work is not necessarily the same that does the web. So if the client passes the image to the web agency the information should be attached to the image to notify if they can even use it for the web and if so, when does it expire. It would be great if there were one digital asset librarian trafficking and being responsible for the image. But as we all know from the time of the image capture to the actual production, it passes through many hands.

The ASMP article points out that there are templates in programs such as Photo Mechanic, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Apple's Aperture. I have personally used Adobe Bridge to input the agency's information into the image (info like client, job number, cost, usage, and expiration date). As an art buyer I love when I open up a file and the photographer has tagged everything because that way I know s/he's aware of the usage that was negotiated and can track the image if necessary.

This simple step ensures that all the pertinent information goes with the image through all its travels. Developing a good metadata workflow is like remembering to floss your teeth, it's a good habit to get into.

An exceptionally useful site is the Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines or UPDIG

Friday, March 21, 2008

Artist Friday - Bo Bridges

Bo Bridges is the artist of this week. I love the action shots. Even though they are still images they are action packed and have that adrenaline rush feeling. He's been all over the world photographing action events from the Xgames to Ironman to glacier surfing. He gets that one in a million shot almost each time. His landscape shots are equally as enticing but I feel those lend to his action shots... the tranquility before the shred. In each shot he also pays close attention to the subject and the background, so as not to forget about the background or let it drown out the subject, his placement of both and how he captures them is spot on. He himself is an outdoor sports enthusiast so it only makes sense that his camera followed him.

Check out Bo's work at his website
He is represented by Michele August at 212 Artists Representative.

©Bo Bridges, used with permission
all artwork is copyrighted and intellectual property and cannot be used without artist's permission.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Age of Social Media

So a lot of ad agencies are redesigning their website for the digital social media out there to attract potential clients, the feeling is that online social media is a "revolutionary opportunity" for advertisers. I have to say some of the website designs fall a little short and don't quite get the idea of social media. But there are a few agencies who absolutely will blow your doors off with their amazing sites.

Modenista! of Boston has an absolutely amazing site that opens as Wikipedia (with a note saying " Don't be alarmed. You are on the new Modernista! site"). The site links you to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Google... sites that most of us use daily. Check it out, I guarantee you'll be clicking through and having fun. granted it has some serious wikipedians (they call themselves that not me) up in arms.. but that's also what makes advertising great. did it get your attention? then it's a successful site.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, may not have their own social media site like Modernista! but they definitely have some fun entertaining tidbits on the site including their own podcast. And they've created quite the waves for the likes of Burger King ("whopper freakout" was one of the most successful viral marketing and media integration campaigns).

Saatchi +Saatchi in New York may have been around since 1970 but are getting this idea of social media with their off-site lovemarks. Through this site you can share on Facebook, post videos, comments and diggs all about the brands you love and with people worldwide.

I'm sure I've missed quite a bunch of agencies with redesigned websites but feel free to post them. If agencies can focus some of their attention and integrate the traditional advertising with this new live space on the web everyone is clambering for, they have great potential and the excitement for great creativity.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Photography Promos

A Photo Editor had a very interesting post with an art buyer interview this past Thursday. I would recommend photographers and reps to take a look, I found it incredibly interesting. As an art buyer, I completely agree with the interviewee.

I receive about 60 mailed promos a week and roughly 20 emails daily. The best way to grab my attention is to have an amazing photo. That is what I am going to hire you for. I am not so interested in receiving pens, stickies or a magnet with your logo on it. The thought is nice but most likely it gets tossed aside and forgotten about.

The promos with an amazing image.. drive me to your website to bookmark it and save it for a project. How do you differentiate yourself from the all the other noise? Do what you do best. If you are a great portrait photographer or a great landscape photographer - put that on your promo with your name and website. simple. clean. and to the point.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Marketing your way through a recession"

So I was perusing quickly through a few blogs after I finished my 4th 10 hour day on my recent production job and ran across an article posted by Burns Auto Parts... you can see it here.

So a few thoughts on this.. the article, as Leslie points out (and if you don't read her blog you should!), may not directly deal with creative business but you get some good insight. But in times of recession-talk the first things companies will usually cut back on are "unnecessary" advertising spending dollars (see blog post 1). My POV is that companies will want to advertise more to the consumer, especially to identify their brand as consumer friendly in these tough times.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All hail the final image

I have had the pleasure to produce on set with Christopher Churchill ( for the past couple of days. This new role has given me a profound appreciation of the entire crews on all past photo shoots that I've been an art buyer on!

But it's because of the obvious... the crew is there to assist the photographer, make every aspect of the shoot as seamless as possible so the photographer can focus on one thing... getting that fantastic shot. The photographer was hired for his/her artistic eye and beautiful work. The crew is there to make the photographer look good and for the client not to notice a single hiccup in the production of the shoot.

After calling, scheduling, booking, confirming and re-confirming 100 real people talent (that's right.. one hundred.. it's not a typo), I bow to the producers who are at this everyday and weekends too. Because as I've learned the emails and the phone calls come at all hours. I've been up at 5am and it's 8pm and I'm still scheduling.... but it's all worth it for the end product.

Monday, March 10, 2008

PDN's 30

Every year PDN's 30 creates quite the buzz in the photography community.
I had the opportunity to ask New York's, Emiliano Granado, a few questions about being included in PDN's 30 2008 emerging photographers to watch:

APP: What does this award mean to you both personally and professionally?

EG: Personally, the award is recognition of all the time and effort I've invested into my work. It serves to keep me focused and drive me to do better. It's one of the recent events that have built my confidence as a photographer and helped to assure me that I deserve to be among my peers. As a freelance photographer, you're working alone in your living room most of the time without a clear, focused goal. You're kinda going with the flow and hoping you get somewhere great. It's nice for an objective, outside party to give you such a positive response.

Professionally, this puts me alongside a really elite group of photographers. When I was looking for photographers to assist, I used the PDN 30 lists from previous years to pick and choose who I wanted to learn from, and now it's an honor to be on the same list. I think being included this year will definitely help me get more recognition, make it easier to get meetings, and bring in some additional work. But it's pretty clear that I have to keep producing great work and knocking on doors in order to keep getting great assignments.

APP: Which project have you found the most rewarding to work on?

EG: I really enjoy working in Argentina (where I was born). The focus of the work there is pretty undefined right now, but every time i go back, I keep shooting whatever feels right. I'm sure the project will define itself as it progresses.
I think it's the most rewarding because it allows me to reconnect to the country my parents emigrated from 25 years ago. It allows me to think critically about different social nuances. Also, the work feels more significant simply because Latin America has almost no photographic record compared to more developed countries.

APP: The article starts off with "The humble glamour..." how would you describe your work to someone unfamiliar with it?

EG: I really liked that introduction! That's exactly how I see a lot of my work. I mentioned in that article that I sometimes feel like a cultural tourist, so maybe that's how I would describe my work. Part documentary, a little bit of cinema, a little humor, and a deep respect for the subjects.

APP: PDN's 30 is a great nod to your work how do you see it impacting the future of your career?

EG: It's basically that. A great nod. My career is going to be made by me. With hard work and great images. I definitely don't think PDN 30 is going to catapult me into the photographic stratosphere by itself. I think the PDN 30 acknowledgment is 50% recognition of great work produced, and 50% an unwritten contract to keep producing great work.
The PDN editors have put great trust in each year's recipients. I definitely think they choose photographers who show great commitment and professionalism to /elevating/ their work - we've just started, this isn't a lifetime recognition award! That list loses significance if the photographers stop being relevant after a couple of years. Simply being on the list will NOT keep your career going, so it's important to keep grinding and hustling!

**Emiliano is represented by Jessica Oldham at

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Blog post 1

I'm hoping this will be the first entry of what will turn into something long-lasting and useful... and slightly controversial b/c we all love a little feistiness in our lives.

ok so here's the deal.. I've been an art buyer/art producer for a little over 5 years now (which to some people is nothing) but I've spent quite a bit of time researching photographers and reps and reading blogs and becoming as immersed as I possibly can in the commercial photography and advertising world. And as happens in my beloved advertising world, I was laid off last week.

So after throwing myself a "Caitlin Got Canned" party and going through a slight panic mode I thought a great way to use some of my now free time is to start a blog and share my thoughts as an art buyer and get people conversing about the creative industry we are in and passionate about.

- end blog post 1