Monday, June 30, 2008

Photo Documentary

"My Heart vs. The Real World", a newly-released book by Max Gerber which includes his photographs and interviews with children living with heart disease.
It's a beautiful look into the personal lives and an intimate view into the real emotions of his subjects. The photos are bewitching and vulnerable and the stories that accompany them are equally raw.

Check it out:
Max Gerber's
his rep's blog, Wonderful Machine blog
or at

Photography Galleries

I was wandering around online and wanted to find some cool galleries in the US that are showcasing photography. Here are some that I found interesting to check out:

Robert Koch Gallery
in San Francisco is currently featuring Amy Stein, New American Fables, as is the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

Florida Museum of Photographic Art
is exhibiting Len Prince's Masks & Identity

Composition Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia has a new exhibit on July 12, Sorrowful Tunes from a Sunny Land, Photographs from the Republic of Georgia which is being co-presented by the Contemporary Art Club in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

Paul Kopeikin Gallery
is exhibiting J Bennett Fitts' Industrial Landscape[ing].

Silverstein Photography in New York is currently featuring W. Eugene Smith: The Art of History.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Independence Day photos

I'd like to do the same thing I did for Memorial Day weekend. Photographers and illustrators send in some work you do the week of July 4th and I'll post it here on the blog (the week after) with a bit of info and linkage. Depending on the number of submissions I'll probably post one photo per person.

The objective of this (in my mind) is to showcase your talent and what you do best and have some fun. I'm a big fan of 4th of July festivities so any incorporation of these will be a bonus but not necessary.

Send 'em on over to me: caitlin_tierney[AT]yahoo[DOT]com
looking forward to seeing and sharing the work

Friday, June 27, 2008

Artist Friday - Hany Farid

I was watching Nova ScienceNOW and saw a profile on digital forensics (also featured in American Scientific). I found the Nova piece so interesting I wanted to wade through more information about Dr. Farid and his craft. Hany Farid is a professor of computer science in the image science group at Dartmouth College. He has become an expert at the forefront of digital manipulation.

According to his bio, Dr. Farid has worked with federal law enforcement agencies on digital forensics to digital reconstruction of Ancient Egyptian Tombs. He has written numerous papers on digital imaging. Read through some of the papers and see what you think... I believe you'll find some interesting information and possibly helpful information for your photography and retouching.

While Dr. Farid is certainly an analyzer of photography and art he is also an artist. Check out some of his photography at

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Email promo subject lines

A little while back I posted some info about email promos and I made the offer for photographers and illustrators to send me their epromos for some feedback. I had a few people take me up on the offer (which still stands for anyone interested). Armando Bellmas had a great question: "What kind of subject lines make you open an epromo?"

It's always a little tough to say because everyone has a different reaction to the subject line. I've run across subject lines that were witty, some that were cheesy, and some that reflect the work. I try to open all the email promos I get.

I always like the "New Work by..." or "Hi Caitlin" - using someone's name and making it personal is always a good way to go... although I'm sure it would be hours of work for for the sender.

There's no sure-fire way but the subject line is usually what makes or breaks an email promo to be opened. You have approximately 2 seconds to grab your viewer's attention with the subject line and take the action you want (which is ultimately to go to your website). The other tricky part is to keep it away from junk file or spam detector software.

A helpful hint is to check out newspapers and magazines. Writers have to sum up the article in about 5 words to get the audience to read the entire piece. Making an announcement or sharing news is a great way to get the email opened. For example: Photographer won creativity award or Photographer just shot X campaign.

I would suggest testing out a few different ways and see if you get any feedback and what works best with your target audience (which subject line delivered the highest click through rate).

My "edit, copy and proof" college professor always use to say "when in doubt KISS"... Keep it simple short (or "keep it simple stupid" he preferred).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monocle Magazine

Reading through the most recent issue of PDN there was an article written by Julian Rodriguez that caught my eye. The article talks about Monocle magazine launched in 2007 (which I have to say I hadn't heard of) by the same founders of Wallpaper*. The exciting information is that the magazine has nearly 300 photographs in every issue... more proof that print is still kicking and not going anywhere. The beauty is the images range from photo journalistic to fashion and every genre in between.

The magazine is arranged in an A to E format, organizing stories under Affairs, Business, Culture, Design, and Edits. It's geared to "international jet-setting readers" and keeps the photography and design on par with the writing.

Photo Director, Rose Percy, says in the PDN article, "whoever gets sent on photo assignment to interpret the story must understand the Monocle brand and deliver the right artwork." She also states that she is very open to emerging artists and new talent to consider.

An annual subscription (ten issues) costs approximately $148 US or £75 UK and has worldwide distribution.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's in a portfolio?

Well a lot really.
Obviously your portfolio speaks volumes about your work and your best work. A website is great but you should also have a portfolio. I've said many times, art buyers and photo editors appreciate the tactile nature of a portfolio in their hands rather than a computer screen.

In my opinion, a portfolio should open and close with strong images and recent work. It also shouldn't have too many prints in it. Sometimes the more there is, the more daunting it becomes and I forget what I was just looking at 20 pages ago. The main benefit of a portfolio is to leave an impact with your work, or that one photo that says to the client you can shoot their project beautifully. The general consensus among art buyers is to keep the images at a manageable number. If you are a artist representative, more art buyers prefer to look at separate artist portfolios instead of one larger agency portfolio.

You can never accommodate everyone at once but it helps that when your portfolio is called in for a project to know a bit more about it, that way you can cater some of your images to that client.

My favorite and ideal portfolio?
I'm partial to black or white leather soft covers with the name embossed on the front (covers are covers and don't matter too much, but it's so very important to have your name somewhere on the front or the first page and not just on the carry case).
A super strong first image that flows beautifully from page to page almost like telling your photographic story or journey. I like when a body of work has newer, recent or personal images that I might not find on your website either.
A strong ending image that will stick in my mind and is a great closing to everything I have just viewed.
I personally also like a page at the end that has some sort of client list and contact information.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mac virus??

this comes via Digg: New trojan horse targeting Mac OS X

not sure how realistic this is especially when every year there is at least one comment about Mac being just as vulnerable as Windows PC. thought it was worth the share though.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Posting Delay

Sorry for the short hiatus but there will be an artist Saturday instead of Artist Friday this week. And then I'll be back to regular posting next week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Run Don't Walk to School of Stock

Shoot the Blog! is running an instructional online cache of info on how to shoot stock photography and the value of production (no matter how big or small). To begin with I'm a huge fan of this blog because it covers all sorts of aspects of creative, photography and design and the fact that Rachel Hulin is a sophisticated and witty writer is an additional bonus.

This particular section details what many buyers are looking for and feel the traditional stock houses lack. Learn about what content sells and what images buyers lean towards. Good locations vs. Bad locations... Good talent vs. Bad talent... etc., etc.

I think it's a great tool PhotoShelter is providing and it's eduacational for photographers and buyers alike.

check it out: School of Stock

Monday, June 16, 2008

Food Stylists

I was watching the Food Network Challenge show yesterday and the show was about superstar food stylists competing for a prize. This prompted me to write a post about food stylists and their talents (and why we love to have them on the set for a shoot).

Food Stylists are masters of making food look amazing for the camera, whether for print or video. They tweak, doctor and enhance the food while still making it appear natural and most importantly appetizing. It's very much about the form and the color that comes through on film. As one of the moderators on the show (Alice Hart) mentioned "We eat with our eyes. So if it doesn't look good, it probably doesn't taste good. It's all in the detail - the meticulous, fine, patient work - and that's where the art of food styling lands."

Food photographers, art buyers, creatives, and the client depend very heavily on the food stylist to make the product amazing and keep the ingredients alive and fresh looking. I love working with food stylists because they always have fun nuggets of information and tricks of the trade. Some things I've learned from food stylists I've worked with: Less is more and deliciousness is in its imperfection with drips and crumbs.

The best part is that food stylists understand food, ingredients, and how it comes together with photography.

Some resources:
Still Life With... - a food stylist and food photography blog
Food Styling for Photographers - a step-by-step book with instructions to create mouth-watering photographs
Food Stylist Directory - A comprehensive but not complete list of food stylists in the US, Canada, and Australia.
International Conference on Food Styling and Photography

Friday, June 13, 2008

Artist Friday - Jocelyn Gabriel

Jocelyn Gabriel is another recent graduate from New England School of Photography, where she studied photojournalism and documentary photography. Her style is definitely what we call shooting from the hip. She captures beautiful slice of life photos without being intrusive and allows the viewer to step into the situation. Her portfolio covers an array of journalistic photos from sporting events to news features to travel landscapes and holy week in Guatemala.

Jocelyn's work has been published in the Boston Metro, BostonNOW, and the Improper Bostonian. She also has an upcoming gallery show starting July 1 at the Almanac Gallery of Photography in Hoboken, New Jersey. To top it all off she already has a few awards under her belt through the BPPA and the PRC.

Jocelyn is a very driven young woman with incredible talent. For now she is staying in the Boston area to look for assisting and freelance gigs.

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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

File Delivery

Anthony Georgis from Portland, Oregon sent me an email last week about what I thought about file delivery. In his words specifically:
I've had a lot of issues with file delivery and maybe you have some thoughts on the subject. My personal preference is to deliver a final custom image from client selects. I make a point in bringing that up early in the conversation about the job and have very specific delivery terms and turn around times listed in the estimate. The most common problem is that the client calls and needs a final image RIGHT NOW and I have to scramble to prepare an image and FTP it. (This usually happens when I am on vacation)

As a precaution I usually hand over a back up drive to the client at the end of the shoot with whole job on it. I have mixed feelings about that because once the files are out of your hands you have no control over what they look like or how they get used.
Is handing over a drive is becoming an industry standard thing that art buyers expect?

File delivery is always a little difficult and sometimes can get overlooked if the photo shoot is a big production. Everyone worries about everything that needs to get done for the shoot that the delivery comes last. Repeating myself from a prior post - microwave society - we expect things to be instantaneous. Many clients and several agency people assume that if the photo shoot is being shot with digital that it should automatically be ready to go when the last shot is taken. It's a simple fact of being very up front with all parties in the beginning and building into the estimate and the schedule the necessary steps for the post production process.

It is also the art buyer's job to work with the print producer and traffic manager on the project and make sure there is an understanding for all parties of when the final layout needs to ship and back out the schedule from there. However there are quite a few cases when the client does request the image ASAP (usually a positive thing because it means they love the image so much they want to bump up its insertion date) and this is when everyone needs to scramble.

I have found the normal process usually goes as follows:
1. Photographer and art director review all images from shoot and their respective selects.
2. Art director and account manager present selects to client (sometimes in rough comp form)
4. Client gives feedback
This can sometimes go for a few rounds and can make timing tight depending on the feedback. The timing may not allow the photographer to do retouching as he/she might like but there should be collaboration between the art director and the photographer.

As far as handing over a hard drive this is starting to become an industry norm but not expected as of yet. I have worked on several shoots where we have brought our own drive along, the images all get copied over to it, and the art director leaves with it to make selects. More often than not the team is walking off the set with the images. This is a double sided coin though. While it works out great for the agency and the client, it doesn't necessarily give the photographer enough time to tag all the images or catalog them as he/she would like. The turnaround time for the agency is becoming shorter and shorter and having this drive is a huge help so the art director can start editing immediately.

However a downfall for the photographer is being able to track those images and make sure that the correct usage is being adhered to. In all the shoots I've worked on most of the time when we left with a drive there were only low or medium res jpegs and not camera raw files. It is also very important to have the conversations ahead of time with the agency (art buyer, art director and/or account manager) and get the agreement/usage license in writing. I'm not saying you should not trust your art buyer or your client but you also need to protect yourself. Handing over a drive with all the shots requires a leap of faith and mutual understanding.

Timing for shoots is never an exact science and we all know days get cut or added on. The best thing is to have a few buffer days built in for file prep and delivery... especially if the photographer wants to color correct/retouch the image. Keep an open conversation with the art buyer or whoever your contact is and make sure they know about how you like to work and your timeline, but compromise if necessary.

check out Anthony's work and his blog (he has some fun posts) over at

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Production Booklets

It may seem like an unecessary or time consuming step to some but it's all in the details. Having a production booklet is a huge help to art buyers, creatives and the client. It's also much better than just a simple call sheet.

Most big production shoots have a line producer or production company working to pull everything together on the photographer's end and will normally have a production booklet. For the smaller jobs or for photographers who decide not to pull in a producer it's a big help to the team you are working with.

On several projects that I have been the art buyer on, I have been the one to do the production booklet, which was fine by me (I actually like doing it). Not all agencies will do this however. If there is not a producer on set/location it's the photographer who ends up being responsible for putting everything together why not have it in a concise booklet for all parties.

Normally what I include in my packets is the general contact info:
Studio or location address with a map and directions

Then more specific information:
Shot list
Talent (if any) with headshots, wardrobe info (if already chosen) and sizing info
Location info (if any) with small jpegs and address information
Any layouts or product information (specs, images, etc.)

I also like to include any travel and hotel information (just in case).

I have found that the small detail of pulling this together has been immensely helpful prior to and on the set... especially for the client and the creatives. It's concise and all the information you might need is in one spot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Industry articles

I thought I'd share some articles I've seen the past few days. There are some fun reads here if you're interested in checking them out:

The Holy Grail written by Tim Brunelle of Hello Viking (about the digital age and social media)

Digital Forensics in Scientific America (thanks to Rachel Hulin at Shoot! the blog for finding this one.)

Yahoo's Branding
in Adweek (apparently they have "Google envy").

A Live Promotion reported by the New York Times (Honda takes it's advertising to new heights)

Reasons to Love Photography responses from PDN's article in the May edition.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Not Your Typical Talent Agency

Ugly Talent is perhaps the most innovative idea to hit the commercial print market in the last few years. The company was founded in London in 1969 by two photographers who saw a need for talent in the print advertising market who were not traditionally beautiful. Ugly Talent was brought to New York in 2007.

Ugly Talent is a tongue in cheek phrase, they're all about real people and finding all shapes and sizes that may not be your typical model.

Clients want to market their product and brand to average people. With clients looking for more and more street casting and "real" people this is a great talent agency to look into. They have found a perfect niche in the market.

They offer to their clients faces from all walks of life focusing on the "real" element - whether it is average to what one might consider bizarre. The Ugly roster includes a sumo wrestler, several tattooed talent, overweight individuals, and average people you might pass on the street. Check out the roster and the company at

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"The Harvest"

I thought this was a fun nugget to share on a Saturday. Porter Gifford sent this my way. Enjoy your weekends!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Artist Friday - Caleb Cole

This past Tuesday I was a guest portfolio reviewer at the New England School of Photography for the 2008 graduating class. First off, I was incredibly impressed at the level of professionalism of the students and second, the work was great. Over the next few Fridays I'm going to showcase a few students from the commercial/advertising major who I feel are going to be an asset in our industry.

Caleb Cole already has an eye for the conceptual and has quite a sense of humor. He majored in Fine Art Color with a minor in Digital Arts. Not only is he a fantastic up and coming photographer but he is an incredible photo retoucher/post producer. Caleb originally hails from Indianapolis but he plans to stay in the Boston area with his fiancee for the time being. When I met with him he mentioned to me that he will be looking for an assisting job or assisting with retouching and continuing to shoot. He has an incredible passion and creative eye.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Film vs. Digital

Boston-based photographer Bob O'Connor asked me the following question:
What is the agency feeling if a photographer still wants to shoot film (large format specifically 4x5 or 8x10)? Is it ok with agencies despite the fact that it slows down production a day or two?

I decided to get a few opinions on this instead of just giving mine so I asked the question on the art producers forum as well as LinkedIn. LinkedIn unfortunately wasn't abundant with answers (see the answers here) but a few had some interesting opinions.

Here are two quotes from art buyers:
"It didn’t seem to be a problem with our clients or our production department. The images were beautiful and we just went with it. I think it should be up to the photographer and the overall look you are after." (on shooting with film for a project last year)

"there are projects for clients that we shoot only digital because it's part of the look & feel of the brand. There are other times that the look of film or digital is an intrinsic part of the photographer' s style and that's what we are asking him/her for. Ultimately it is not a cost difference or enough of a time difference to matter."

My opinion is similar to the above opinions. It really depends on the project and the look of the concept the creatives are hoping to achieve. If they do not know the photographer shoots with traditional film it's a good idea to bring it up in the first creative call you have with the agency so it's worked into the budgeting and the schedule.

I am finding more and more that clients prefer to shoot with digital. Reason being is because they can see the image automatically and decide if they like the look of it or if they want it tweaked, with film there is not that automatic satisfaction. We're in a microwave society where everything is instantly at our fingertips. On set or on location, digital is great to work with as well because what we see with our eyes is very different from what is captured on the camera. It's an asset to have the client and agency see it on screen.

But the question is film or digital... essentially I don't believe it matters because the photographer is being hired for his/her visual creative and the successful quality it brings to the client's brand.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Digital Asset Management

Digital Asset Management or DAM (so many acronyms...) is useful for agencies and photographers alike. DAM is a way of storing, accessing and distributing all of your content assets. It allows the user to manage their digital and media material collection/s.

Ad agencies are hiring digital asset managers to organize and act as a digital librarian for all the agency assets as well as the client assets which include images, videos, contracts, and presentations. It is equally important that photographers, illustrators and artist reps have their own system of asset management with the image information but also including the usage license, talent, location, agency and client information in metadata.

The digital media life cycle goes from raw images and capture to post production and retouching to printing and mass market production to archiving and reuse. How can you keep up with all these versions of your imagery and assets yet maintain some sense of order.... enter digital asset management. It's all about syncing your workflow.

There are external software service hosts that can be hired to manage and maintain your assets. BUT I'm sure most of you are aware this can cost a bundle and for those of you familiar with Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge (my personal favorite!) these software programs have management functionalities that includes metadata and keyword writing as well as organizing.

I have also read that the following software resources are available for photographers/illustrators:
iView MediaPro
Extensis Portfolio 8

Manage and protect your creative.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Social Media Optimization - SMO

Social Media Optimization or SMO is quickly becoming a marketing and advertising tool that more clients want and are taking notice of. SMO means generating publicity (whether for a product, a name, etc) through social media and online communities by helping your content travel and increasing your linkage.

We're seeing a rise in social networking sites like Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Twitter,, Ning and more as well as syndication and RSS driven tools. Blogs are another big source of content sharing. Many photographers and some illustrators are creating their own blogs as a spin off of their traditional portfolio site. It's also a beneficial tool for people like myself to get a better feel about a photographer, their interests, their personal work etc. It's a wise choice to start a blog as another marketing tool for yourself and your work.

Understanding social media and the role it plays in the client's overall campaign can help you win the project. You'll know how your images can be used in this newer media as well as in traditional print media. The great thing about social media sites is people are visual beings... they want to see more images and less words.

It's about leveraging some of the simplest social media tools to connect with one another, engage users and reach audiences in a whole new way. The way we think and share information is changing so that means we have to adjust a little as well.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Global Electronic

On purchase orders many art buyers will have the usage rights for print written out and will also use the term "global electronic". This is usually stated instead of "web" because today the reach of digital includes so many different aspects. Global electronic or electronic media can include but is not limited to traditional websites, banner ads, email, mobile media, digital kiosk and billboards, blogs, postcardware, and games. The term can also sometimes include broadcast, for example using the still images in a viral video. It's best to work with the art buyer or client to spell out and clarify the uses of the intended electronic media.

Interactive and electronic costs are all over the board and vary wildly. It's a good idea, just like for print uses, to have possible electronic uses mapped out. If you're unsure, check out PLUS for usage definitions and license suggestions. Good resource communities are ASMP or ASPP.