Sunday, June 21, 2009

John Huet and Michael Phelps

©John Huet

John Huet's study of Olympian Michael Phelps is incredibly gorgeous. From action/motion shots to detailed portraits John exhibits his artistry at being a top sports photographer. The thing that intrigues me the most is the underwater shots that while displaying sports motion are truly more a fine art approach.

Check out the entire gallery here at

And That's How Time Flies...

8 full weeks seem to have flown by incredibly fast and each day I kept saying.."Must update blog" and every day kept racing away from me without that time to get a topic and share it. I'm sure I've lost some people in the process but I do vow to update at least once a week.

I received an email a little while back asking about illustrator books that I thought I'd share here.

What do other people's illustration books look like? I'm talking literally, not so much content-- like are they normally contained in that standard black portfolio? 8 x 10? Or are they a printed book that you can make on line from places like Literally how many images do they usually include?

I always listen to those great podcasts on Adbase and they speak of such things sometimes, like I just heard mention that in photography plastic sleeves are passe. Just wondering what the current expectations are for illustration.

My Opinion:
I feel like an artist's portfolio is an extension of themselves and gives the viewer some insight to the artist. Most of the portfolios I see are leather bound with the artist's name embossed on the front. But some of my favorites tend to have quirky elements, like a textured cover or a fabric-like cover with your name The one thing I can definitely recommend is keeping the portfolio closer to book or coffee book size. 8x10 is perfect. I've come across portfolios that are so obscenely large in size it makes it hard to flip through at my desk.

I do recommend quality prints and I'd say about 15 - 20 is a good number of images to put in the book. Too few and people feel like you don't have enough work to put in the book and are hesitant to hire, too many and people are overwhelmed. I'd say put together a good mix/range of work that truly represents your breadth of work from personal, editorial and commercial.

I think advice you hear the AdBase podcasts about photography books is absolutely applicable for illustrators as well. I have not seen any portfolios made on blurb as of yet. Definitely if you're putting out a printed book that's meant to be story-telling or a take away book/coffee table book I think blurb is a great idea. For trying to go after jobs I'm not exactly sure if I'd recommend putting forward a printed book BUT I think it's innovative and it really depends on the design of the book and how you put it together.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Update about 'Must Read' post

Last week I had posted some information about a must read.. a designer who was reportedly having his artwork and intellectual property stolen. Of course this wasn't the whole story as we saw a few articles from both sides.

Well in addition to all that hoopla that overtook twitter and blogs everywhere it seems as though the designer, Jon Engle, has taken down his website (which is why the link no longer works).

Here is a post from LogoFactory from this past week (here)

So now that Jon's profile, blog, twitter account and logo design work has been pulled from several sites (in addition to the fundraiser for his legal fees canceled), it begs to ask the question if he's the one being ripped off and having his intellectual property exploited why is he fading into obscurity and backing off?

A severe reminder to all artists to keep meticulous records of your work, metadata attached to the work and to protect your intellectual property.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Postings will become sporadic the next few months. This art producer will be starting a new job and will need to throw myself wholeheartedly into this new endeavor.

I will continue to keep the blog going and update as often as possible.

Agency Scoop

A new LinkedIn type of networking website but for the ad industry.
Take a gander or join at

Monday, April 13, 2009

MITX Event

Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), The Digital Combine: The Next Generation Employer and Talent Showcase

A half day program to help both entry-level and seasoned marketing professionals think differently about the job market in general and the digital marketplace in particular.

Chris Colbert will be leading a session entitled "Managing and Marketing Your Personal Brand," which will provide attendees with a different way to think about how they package and promote themselves to create employment opportunities.

If you are interested or know of marketers and communications folk that are out of work or seeking a way to get into the industry please direct them to the following:

The event is free. Attendance is limited to 500 people and is expecting to sell out, so please encourage friends and peers to sign up as soon as possible.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Boston Ad Club

An update since I last posted about this event being hosted by Boston's AdClub (Agency Reunion):
From the Boston AdClub:
"Dear Friends,
With networking being more important than ever, we're excited about putting on the first ever Ad Club Agency Reunion. It promises to be the biggest networking event of the year.

A lot of our friends and partners have already told us they're coming. But we've also heard that some of you would like to attend but can't really afford the $200 ticket because the economy's kicked us all in the butt a little.

So we're offering a special Stimulus Package price of $140.

There's no difference between this ticket price and the full price. You still get a night of networking complete with an open bar and buffet dinner.

However, if advertising continues to be good to you and you would like to support The Ad Club, we will graciously accept the full $200 ticket price.

See you at The Garden!"

See more info here:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Matt Hoyle's Barnumville

They are a series of black and white portraits of sideshow performers called "Barnumville". Over 3 weeks, Matt photographed nearly 30 portraits of physically amazing people including performers from the two remaining "freakshows" (as they call themselves).

"It's about a fictitious town in 1940's Florida inhabited by sideshow performers of all shapes and sizes. It's inspired by the real life town of Gibsonton Florida which used to be an active vacation town for wintering circus folk. I was lucky enough to shoot many known sideshow performers and physically intriguing characters who are in the last remaining sideshows in America, Coney Island Sideshow and 999 Eyes Freakshow from Austin Texas."

The portraits are beautiful with a cinematic quality and the raw personality of the people he photographed coming right through. The images are intense but so beautiful in the stark black and white he's presented to the viewers. Instead of seeing the bold bright colors of the circus we see in ads and on TV today, it's like Matt has transported us back to the 30's when the circus was a traveling show of animals, trainers, working men and best of all the side show freaks.

The images include a Lobster Clawed Man, a Giant, Sword Swallowers, Little People, Fire Breathers, Clowns, a Serpent Lady, a Tattooed Lady and more...

Check out more of the work here:

all images ©Matt Hoyle

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New England Portfolio Review

On Friday May 8th through Saturday May 9th, the Photographic Resource Center and the Griffin Museum will be hosting a New England portfolio review at Northeastern University. You can find more information here:

Here is a full description from the PRC:
This year the PRC and the Griffin Museum of Photography have teamed up to co-sponsor the New England Portfolio Review Event 2009. Photographers of all genres and skill levels will have a rare opportunity to have their work assessed by leading curators, gallery owners, editors, and educators during this two-day event hosted on the campus of Northeastern University.

Photographers can sign up for a single review, a package of three reviews, or a package of six reviews. Photographers can sign up for reviews on Friday, May 8th, Saturday May 9th, or both days. There will be a morning session on Friday, and morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday. Each portfolio review will last 20 minutes with a 10 minute break between reviews.

Registration is open at 9am on Monday, April 13th and will occur online only. Processing is done on a first come, first serve basis. The cost of the portfolio reviews will range from $45 for one review to $250 for 6 reviews for members of each of the organizations.

Please note: There are no guarantees that photographers will be assigned the reviewers that they requested. Once the portfolio review sessions are full, photographers have the option of being placed on the wait list.

Here is a list of participating reviewers:

Dealing with Crises

This is a great post and can relate to anyone across the board. I think it's especially useful in dealing with clients and being on a production/job. It's sound advice.
Read the article here.

  • Calm down, smile and remain polite to maintain any chance of success
  • Become a human being rather than a faceless number
  • Be persistent to grind away the brick wall
  • Be prepared to lose to expand your freedom of thought and action
  • Be clear about your objective so you can be flexible about how to achieve it
  • Find who can, since often the first person you speak to cannot help
  • Take an active part in making things happen more efficiently
  • Make the other person feel good about helping you so that they are more likely to help you
  • Don’t relax this stance until it’s over, it’s easy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Thanks to my husband for finding this one.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heather Morton art buyer

Heather Morton is back to blogging and regular postings. After a 5 month hiatus she comes back with contributors Myles McCutcheon and Liz Ikiriko, both photo editors and photographers.

It's fantastic to have Heather back and sharing her opinion. check out her blog (if you haven't already) at

Artists with Blogs

I find that artists blogs keep coming up in conversation, particularly artists asking if it's even a useful tool.

It should be completely up to you whether to maintain blogs and social networking. If you feel it's beneficial to your business or if it's a way to share personal opinions, images, etc. then go for it.

Personally I love artists' blogs. It's a nice insight into other work as well as the personality of that artist. It's sort of like peeling back another layer. The portfolios are useful to find appropriate talent for projects but the blogs for me are useful to find out a little more about the talent.

My only suggestion is that if you maintain a blog try to update it. It doesn't have to be everyday or even every week if you don't have anything or are busy but try to keep it as up to date as possible. Especially with imagery or a behind the scenes look at a recent project. I've also found a few photographers and illustrators who use their blog to show some new work or a new style they are experimenting with. The blog is a great way to showcase more work and outtakes of some shots that are in your portfolio.

Just remember to keep it honest but also a little professional (I don't want to read about a rant on a client). Express your opinions but remember who your potential audience is and the fact that they could potentially hire you. It's also a good format to not only promote personal work but share information that helps the creative community (award announcements, networking events, lectures, student shows, etc.)

Here are a few artist blogs I enjoy reading that are really good examples:

Finn O'Hara:
Andrew Hetherington:
Timothy Archibald:
Susana Raab:
Thomas Broening:

also check out this Q&A on Photo-Blogging on the Glasshouse blog, Stone-Thrower.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Must Read

Granted this person is a designer and this information posted on his blog is logo related but it relates to the entire creative community.

This post is a must read for all artists and their intellectual property -

This also makes a great argument for tagging everything with meta data and tracking your work.

**UPDATE: Thanks to Jason Campbell who sent this link to some info about the other side of the story, read it here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Adam Hester Portfolio Review

all photos ©Adam Hester, used with permission

I've had the opportunity to speak with several photographers over the phone regarding my offer in the beginning of March for portfolio reviews. My idea was this: provide completely honest feedback to the photographer's portfolio as well as answer questions they had and tailor the answers specifically to their work and aspirations.

Earlier this week I chatted with Adam Hester, who has okayed snippets of our conversation to be published here with a few pieces of his work. Adam's been assisting for a few years and is now shooting for himself and working on getting his own clients. His questions were:
Get some feedback on his website. How to approach art buyers? How could he come off as more prepared or assure potential art buyers/creatives of his attention to production value?

**Note: All of the feedback provided below is just my opinion and is specific to Adam and his work.

The set up of his portfolio starts with the sub head "Playful Surroundings", a personal project Adam's been working on and testing. When I search through websites looking for potential photographers for a project, I normally go to either the first subhead or the most obvious relevance to my project. Meaning - you have 5 subheads and I'm looking for portraits, I'm going to go to your portraits portfolio first look through it quickly to see if it jives with the needs of the project and then move onto the next photographer.

My suggestions were to use some different props or none at all. the images are great even without the subject holding anything. For instance a few of the images I didn't necessarily understand as far as the conceptual approach but the subject, the expression and the framing of the image was beautiful. Some of the strongest work that I reacted to in the portfolio were the snapshots in the "Instant Love" section. I know these are some personal projects hence the names associated with them but I suggested splitting some of these up to really show focus on the in the portfolio so the can attract work.

Approach art buyers with confidence in your work. I always suggest face to face meetings, it speaks so much more to the personality and associating the work with the photographer. Especially go after the clients that he wants to add to his roster. have an aspirational list of clients that he can see his work being associated with and start knocking on their doors.

As far as being prepared and working on projects that require more production, don't bite off more than you can chew, surround yourself with a very capable support team of producer, stylists, crew, and be honest.

You can view Adam Hester's work at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ad Club... seriously?

I love this idea... I love the visual that came in my email... I did not love the price of the tickets. Tickets are listed as $200... each.

AdClub of Boston has a brilliant idea to bring agencies and former/current employees together for a big networking event. But, AdClub, come on. The ad industry has been hit hard and for those people still employed at said ad agencies they probably won't even go, it's the people who have been laid off that want to network.

I hope it has open bar....

©2009 Boston Ad Club, Sprague/Nelson, Getty Images

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blender Closing The Doors

Unfortunately another magazine is biting the dust. Blender Magazine officially closed up last week with it's last publication. The magazine's parent company will continue to run Maxim.
Blender will be operating solely on the internet and keeping the brand name alive.
see the AdAge article here.

So I'm wondering with all the magazines and newspapers folding, are we witnessing the beginning of the death of print?

I personally say no but I'm curious to hear other thoughts.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Advance Checks

Check out this discussion on the liveBooks photo blog about the whole advance checks situation and Omnicom.

Specifically read the comments left by all the reps, photographers and even a few art buyers.

Moving Beyond Economic Fear

An interesting article (here) in The Boston Business Journal very much worth reading because it can be looked at from both a personal perspective as well as an institutional one.

Avoid the "fear" and build a sense of strength and confidence in your business.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Art Buyers Might Look For

In many of the portfolio reviews and calls I've been having with photographers one of the big questions being asked is What does an art buyer look for?

There is no exact science to what each of us is looking for. It greatly depends on the client and the project and trying to match the best talent with the client's brand and messaging.

To be completely and utterly honest you have to have great imagery. With all the competition out there, if your work is considered run of the mill or does not stand out from the pack (so to say) it won't get called in. I know this may sound harsh but it's the reality just like if an ad agency goes after a client and their brand book does not have stand out items or campaigns, the client passes on to the next "competitor".

I'm always interested in seeing something visually arresting... whether it's a lighting technique, an angle, the talent chosen, off the cuff set ups, etc. If what you're presenting is flat or looks (pardon the expression) "too pedestrian", there's a good chance you're work may get passed over.

To be blunt, presenting a local corporate portrait or a portrait from an annual report is not going to get you the next ad campaign for Dolce & Gabbana. Art Buyers are super picky when it comes to imagery, especially the imagery we're recommending to art directors, creative directors, and clients.

Challenge yourself and experiment with personal projects. Get to know art buyers and some of the clients they work on, if you start to develop a rapport with that person, they may be more likely to give you a chance (whether it's a pro-bono or smaller project) to get in the door. Most of all continue to develop your work.

additional note:
I also wanted to add this little bit that I thought of this afternoon. Make it real and make it your own (your images should speak to who you are as an artist). And by real I don't mean lifestyle or "slice of life" situations, I mean real as in the feel of the image.
Just like with some bad reality TV shows, the audience can tell when someone is fake or coming across too contrived. If your imagery is too propped or too staged it doesn't feel real and can drive people away. Art buyers will go to the stock sites if they want that feel. No offense but the typical image of the growl face with hands in the hair has been done so much that it turns me away from a portfolio.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ad Data In Magazines

Saw this in the New York Times and thought it'd be worth sharing - see it here. An interesting comparison of magazine ad pages from 2005 and 2008. Some have significant cut backs while others have significant increases. Click on the magazine to see how many advertising pages and the percentage. Most of the magazines featured are mainstream titles.

©2009 New York Times

Monday, March 23, 2009

Creative Database is a site I've visited to peruse through job postings before. I haven't been to the site in awhile or either hadn't been paying attention to hard. Essentially Krop is a job board for creative professionals however in 2008 they also lauched a creative database to build resumes and portfolios.

It's free (for the basic account) and no advertisements show up. I'm in the process of putting mine together on there but have also found some photographers (Michael Muller with Stockland Martel) and other artists through here.

check it out at

Thanks to Frank Rapp for sending.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Vacation

Apologies for the posting delay but I'm taking a little break for some island sun. I'll have more posts up in a couple of weeks when I'm back (physically and mentally).

In the meantime here's some things to look forward to:
Info and feedback on the artist meetings/portfolio reviews (from my perspective as well as some of the artists)
The one year Blogiversary of Art Producer's Perspective
Creative Opinions
Comparison of illustrator and photographer promos (per a reader's request)

I'm also welcoming any questions or topics you would like to discuss or bring up (email me or reply to a post).
One of the main reasons for this blog is to create open communication in the creative community.

See you soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Illustrator

I received a promo this morning from a new illustrator on the market and thought her work was worth mentioning here.

It's a nice combo of pencil and watercolor and has a beautiful fashion quality.
Take a look:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Come First Serve... Spots filled

The 10 spots are definitely filled. I'll be chatting with these people over the next two months. If it's successful and the artists feel it's beneficial to them, I'll make the offer again around the summer months, so keep an eye out.

Thanks so much

First Come First Serve

I'm offering to sit down with artists for a meeting if anyone is interested, for the first 10 people who email me.

Basically I'm offering my opinion as an art buyer to your portfolio, website, work, questions, etc. Anything you might want to discuss and ask an art buyer - literally anything and I will do my best to be honest and have some constructive words for you.

If you're in the New England area, I'm happy to meet with you one-on-one OR if you're not in the area we can have a chat on the phone.

The only thing I ask is that you come prepared with relevant questions and needs. We can set up a quick call first to have an interview of sorts and that way I can familiarize myself with your work. Then we can schedule another meeting to go more in depth.

You can email me here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get What You Want

It might sound idealistic but how do you get what you want in tough times?

Realign your focus
Trust in yourself to handle the challenges that come along
Become resourceful
Bring something unique to the table and look for ways to grow
Network, network, network

Find something you love to do and are passionate about and you end up being able to deal with more.

Monday, February 23, 2009

APA NY Event

Thought this was worth mentioning:
Advertising Professional of America, New York chapter is having a marketing seminar/event tomorrow.
Check out the details here.

For those of you not in the New York area reach out to local photography groups and chapters to see what they are offering.

Waiting For Payment

Advertising Age is reporting today that some large clients are asking their ad agencies and media firms to wait for payment, some as long as 120 days (4 months). The article is here at

This, in turn, means that the ad agencies are either paying the vendors out of the agency's pocket or not able to pay them at all until the client pays them. This is where your estimate and terms you agree to as an artist are exceptionally important.

Prior to the actual shoot or illustration project always have on your estimate your billing terms, in writing and agreed to by the client and reiterate it in conversation for them as well.
For instance:
Payment in full is to be issued within 30 days of final art delivery.
Past 30 days incurs additional finance fees (something like 2% per week or a rebilling fee).
Advance of 50% (or whatever you agree to) prior to start of job.

If these items are not in writing, even if they appear to be industry standard, the client might not adhere to them. In today's climate it's especially important (and acceptable) to discuss the billing process and how you as an artist and a vendor will be paid and on what time line.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Arrested for Photography

PDN reports a photographer was arrested in NYC for photographing a train.
Article here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Creative Opinion

Talking about ideas and plans for this year to drum up business, I thought it'd be interesting to ask this month's creative opinion.

What are you doing differently this year than you have in the past? (As far as marketing, approaching new clients, approaching existing clients who have had to cut budgets, etc.)

You can email me here to share anonymously or post a comment.

New Artist Rep Agency

A new rep agency in New York has popped up.

Ara Edsinger, formally of E. Poje, has started iCreate. She is representing some up and comers.

Check out the work at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inventive Idea

This morning I met with Valerie Gates, creative director at Gates Studio, who had contacted me through LinkedIn - just looking to network and connect. We discussed the state of the industry, local agencies, and tossed a couple of ideas back and forth.

We also were discussing marketing ideas and how to promote one's name in today's industry and economy. Valerie shared her current project with me, an idea that I think is incredibly inventive and a brilliant marketing tool for her studio.

This is definitely thinking outside of the box and proactively. She has issued a press release which I'm including below and reached out locally and nationally. The Boston Globe is featuring her story in their Sunday Globe edition. Oprah is a personal goal of hers. Aside from the idea of helping others she is creating quite the brand awareness for herself and her studio.

She, along with her business partner/husband, is documenting the experience on her blog at

Press Release
Wellesley, MA… When Gates Studio founder and principal, Valerie Gates read Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable and Miracle this winter, she knew she had to do something to help the small organic farms and the local food movement in the Boston area. Gates came up with the idea to offer local growers and farms her studio’s professional design and branding services on a creative pro-bono sliding scale. With help from the non-profit group, Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership, she put out the word to local farms that she was offering her studio’s services on a first-come, first-served basis as follows:

First five farms: a barter agreement of design time and services for organic food or CSA shares
Next five farms: 75% discount on rates for services
Next five farms: 50% discount on rates for services
Next five farms: 25% discount on rates for services

By the end of the second day, Gates had over 16 farms and local growers lined up to take advantage of her unique offer. “I wanted to do my part in helping even out the playing field for small growers and help them compete with larger farms and organizations that have larger marketing budgets,” explained Gates. “I also wanted to find a creative way to get my family to eat more organically and introduce them to sustainable farming life by creating a relationship with these local farms.” Gates Studio will also run a blog showcasing the farms and progress at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Update about Facebook TOS

As of this morning Facebook is taking the feedback to their recently revised Terms of Service:

"Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Agency Production

Creativity article about advertising production and agency producers - especially some of the work and obstacles that went into well known projects.
Check it out here at

Thursday, February 12, 2009


When invoicing for jobs it's important to include back up receipts for proof of line items. Nowadays clients are scrutinizing every dollar spent and making sure line items add up. It's my responsibility, as an art buyer, to review the invoice submitted with a microscope to justify all costs to the clients. In advertising, photographers are normally asked to submit all backup receipts.

Keep your receipts no matter what the cost is... if it's for a postage stamp, if it's for a latte, if it's for crew, etc. Whatever the case may be keep all receipts pertaining to the job you're working on. I have always asked this for every job I've ever worked on, as part of client requests and how the agencies work.

The agencies are working for the clients and therefore are also audited to ensure spending dollars are what they should be and that the agency is working in the best interest of the client (and their money). I've even heard from other art buyers that some agency accounting departments will not pay an invoice without the backup production expense receipts. Every dollar needs to be accounted for.

I bring this up because I ran into a situation and posed the question to several other art buyers... all agreed that when receiving invoices they require this backup.

I know people have brought up markups here when I've posted about billing before, I suggest including it in your creative fee or having a wrap fee.
Either way when you do larger advertising jobs you will always be asked to account for each line item in your invoice with backup receipts as proof.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Riding through the times

I really liked Leslie Burns Dell-Acqua's post yesterday (here) where she had some info about working with the client during these bumpy times.

I don't discuss clients or projects here for specific reasons (and I'm not going to disclose specific clients). However a few of the client projects I have been working have been changing because the companies are going through tough times (like the rest of us). One client is having to cut a substantial amount of their employees across the board nationwide. Therefore they are pulling back on their spending dollars. These clients however realize that they have a product to sell and in order to bounce back need to keep spending to get the product and messaging out there.

With this information photographers have been working with me and the agencies to be able to continue to work together at the budget constraints. One photographer is working with me on image re-negotiations and the next shoot. We're planning on "trimming the fat" on some of the production and he's also been flexible enough to adjust his fees, treating this particular shoot as a one-off.

Different ideas work for different people so it depends on what the artists and the agencies work out together.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fair Use

I thought this would be interesting to share. I'm sure some of you have heard about it already and probably have your own opinions as artists. Shepard Fairey's Obama posters used an AP photographer's image for the basis of his idea and concept. An image that is now on posters, T-shirts, buttons, stickers, and lots of other items. An image that was found simply by "Googling" it.

One art buyer shared this article while another added this link to the copyright clearance center discussing the idea of fair use.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Your networks can be your most valuable resource with finding jobs and remaining active right now. Reach into your roladex and any back files and reach out to people.

Sometimes if one hasn't had a job for a little bit, things can get static and one can even get lazy. The best asset is having others to reach out to. Networking on the phone or face-to-face is incredibly valuable. Reach out to other artists, stylists, producers, and agency people (especially art buyers, photo editors, and creatives). You never know when someone might have a one-off project they're working on, a freelance gig they heard about or can even put you in touch with someone they know.

Don't be weary of getting in touch with people. Use any time you have to reach out and not to solely rely on e-promos and mail promos. Especially now, in the reality of the employment situation, people are relying more and more on each other for ideas, work, industry references, support, etc.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Here's a run down of commentary about Superbowl ads:
Reviewing via Twitter so everyone can participate in the commentary (article here) and (here)

Adweek has a customized Superbowl media link (here)

AdAge's rundown including video commentary by ad critic Bob Garfield (here)

2009 Ad Meter at USA TODAY (here)

Art Producer's Perspective opinion:
top picks were the spot and the Doritos (Free Doritos/Crystal Ball) spot.
worst was a toss up between the spot and the Toyota Faces spot.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Ads

Check out all the ads here:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Communication Arts Photo Contest

This is definitely one of the contests you want to enter to get everyone to see your work. There is not one art director, designer, or art buyer I know who does not read Communication Arts or at least steal it from someone who does.

Deadline is March 6, 2009
enter at

Categories include:
Advertising, Books, Multimedia, Editorial, work produced For Sale, Institutional, Self-Promotion and Unpublished.

This is for both Illustration and Photography.

This is the type of competition that is known worldwide and definitely worth entering.

Taking a job

In times like these, freelancers will take any job (and we should), however don't take on anything that is more than you can handle. If you are used to doing smaller production jobs be wary of taking on a larger production (I'm NOT saying don't take the job). Make sure that the team you hire to help you is capable of taking on this type of job and also work with them to make sure the clients are getting the best value and work for their dollars. Be prepared and be confident.

Clients and agencies are super aware of the dollar amounts they are spending now (especially when a commercial shoot can be the same cost as an employee's yearly salary if not more). We will question every dollar if we're unsure of why the cost is higher than we expected or when there is a line item we think is unnecessary.

If the shoot is a bit bigger than you are used to, don't go overboard and get extravagant with the line items and your bottom line costs. Don't hire 3-4 photo assistants if you don't need them. Don't have set builders on location if there isn't a set to build. Unnecessary costs like these will be questioned and will be asked to be removed. Make sure you communicate the best you can between you, your producer, the art buyer and the art director. Make sure you have all the scenario or shot descriptions and keep those lines of communication open during the entire project

I had a recent job where I was working with a team that I felt got greedy and charged for several things that were overkill and not needed. The person even confided in me that this was only their 2nd large production job and wasn't sure how to come up with usage license costs for print advertising. This is a big no-no. As an art buyer I will work with artists but I completely lose confidence in the ability of the artist if something like this is said. It basically says to me ... this person didn't have a good handle on what they were doing.

If you are unsure, get help... ask someone you know who has done jobs like these, get a stellar line producer that can help, talk to a photo consultant or a photo rep to help with estimates or suggestions on the production and approach to the job. Most of all don't bite off more than you can chew if it will ultimately work against you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


About a month ago someone asked me here about estimating and I wanted to try and answer her questions:
How do you present your estimates?
Do you present the photography bids to the client or compile into your own? Do you show each line item? Do you pad anything on your own?

It really depends on the company I'm working for and how they format their estimates and terms and conditions. Normal practice is the photographer/producer estimates are worked into a separate estimate dictated by the company or the program the company is using. Not all line items are shown unless the client specifically requests it. I usually break the costs into photography fee (creative + usage fees) and then into production expenses (which include everything from crew, talent, and equipment to travel expenses and meals).

To be quite frank I usually will pad an estimate and most art buyers do depending on the project. If there is a strict bottom line we won't go above the number dictated by the client however I usually pad numbers because inevitably additional costs are incurred and if not, well then the costs come in lower. Although I should note I never pad the estimate by an incredible amount and usually will add sales tax (My state is 5%) to the bottom line. The thing about padding is that it is not an exact science and sometimes I won't even pad an estimate. It really depends on the project at hand.

In the event of a competitive bid I will do my own estimate formatting in excel to provide an "apples to apples" comparison of the photographer's bidding and where their line items are comparing. I will provide this if asked but also like to have it in my own files and available to the account executives so that they can answer any questions the client might have regarding the estimate (and use their own discretion to provide it to the client if they choose to).
It looks a little like this:

I also can't take credit for this design.. a friend and fellow art buyer showed me this several years ago and it has remained a great asset to my bidding process ever since.

The main thing to remember when presenting estimates is how do you normally put them together and present them and how/what does your client expect? If you morph the two make sure you have backup that details your break down of costs and then the breakdown of the estimate that goes to the client.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Photo Contests

One of the best ways to get your work seen is by entering into photo contests. With all the artists (photo, illustration, design, etc) out there, it's hard to be familiar with everyone. The photo contest work is published in materials that I read and peruse through, therefore I see it and become familiar with it. Many other buyers do the same thing, we read photo annuals and other trade materials. When an artist's work gets published in a photo contest it's viewed by several buyers of imagery which in turn means more views to the artist's website and other materials (add in plug for marketing plan here).

PDN has put a list together for January deadline contests (think "best of 2008" opportunities) here.

While yes most of these photo awards and contests require an entry fee, if you don't try you can't succeed or achieve.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Consultants can be an artist's best friend... so to speak.
They'll give you advice, they'll tell you how it is with honesty and help you morph a plan into reality.

It's a good idea to find a good fit though, most consultants offer preliminary services to make sure the partnership is a potential. For example a 20 minute introductory consultation where the artist can ask questions and the consultant can look at the portfolio and get an idea of the needs the artist is looking for.

Many consultants have a questionnaire they will give you to determine where you are at and any goals you may have. The artist should also go in with a small list of objectives they want to achieve - long term and short term. In addition ask about the consultant's experience and background. After all, this is the person who will be giving you advice on your livelihood. Speak to a few consultants to get an idea of which match the needs you are looking for.

Start your checklist for your 2009 plans and aspirations. If a consultant is someone you'd like to work with there are several well known and respected ones in the creative community. Ask for recommendations (from other artists, reps, art buyers/photo editors, adbase, agency access, etc.) and peruse through their sites (if they have them) or give them a call to start discussing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year, New You...

...well not really a new you. But it's the time of year to send out reminders of new work, new websites, new promos, new everything.

I've been getting a bunch of email promos with subject lines like:
New Year, New Work
New website for 2009
not participating in the recession so here's some new work

Lots of "new" in the title

A few suggestions when sending out e-promos to celebrate the new year and draw people into your 2009 marketing, website, imagery, etc.:

Make sure the work really is new. Don't include a few filler images from previous e-promos or imagery that people may have already seen. If you're calling out that it is new work, make sure it's brand new imagery that your audience hasn't experienced yet.

Also think about what your competitors are doing... the same thing. I get bombarded with emails the first 2 weeks in January and then hit a dead zone until late March or April.

I'm a big hater of New Year's resolutions (mostly because I can't keep them past 5 days). I always suggest making any resolutions/changes mid to late January or even in February, this way you actually have a chance of sticking with them. Same goes for e-promos and mailers, everyone sends them out at the same time and then you don't see or hear anything for several months after. When you start out the year with a marketing campaign, stick to it. Come up with a plan that works for you and gets a good response from your audience.

This is the biggest suggestion I have, to come up with a solid marketing plan for yourself this year. With all the hype about the economy, ad agencies having layoffs, magazines closing up shop, and the rest of the doom and gloom it is crucial that freelancers and artists have a plan to market themselves and make their work visible. There are several resources out there that can help with suggestions and ideas (consultants, websites, blogs, etc.). Having a plan can help you achieve this year.

Happy 2009!