Huge devastation in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam hits. Please help them if you can

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The Wonder List team with men from Rah Island dressed up to perform the snake dance

The Wonder List team with men from Rah Island dressed up to perform the snake dance

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The island nation of Vanuatu is a very special place and one that became special to myself and the rest of “The Wonder List” team when we filmed there in November for our premiere episode of the new series.

It’s been almost two weeks since that episode went out and for most people it was the first time they had heard of the country and seen how magical it is.  Vanuatu is full of some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Now it is in the news for the wrong reason as I am sure many of you know.

Cyclone Pam hit yesterday with winds up to 200mph causing massive devastation and an unknown death toll which is feared to be in the dozens._81636005_new-cyclone-map

This is a very poor nation with little infrastructure in most of the islands, most don’t even have proper roads let alone hospitals. The cyclone has reported flattened whole villages. There are confirmed deaths in the capital of Port Villa but there is no word from the other islands which is not surprising given the strength of this storm and the very poor communications on the islands. Very few people have phones so it’s going to be days before we find out the true devastation this cyclone has done to Vanuatu.

They need our help for the immediate relief and most likely for long term aid, as it’s going to take a long time for these people to recover from this. If you can spare anything to help please consider donating to one of the many organisations who have mounted campaigns for help. You can see a list of them and updates on the situation there on the CNN

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Tim Matsui Says Winning Contests Isn’t Everything | I Love Photography Ep. 49

Tim Matsui won first place honors in POYi and World Press Photo, but his real goal is to effect change through his documentary project covering domestic minor sex trafficking. Tim is using a variety of techniques (e.g. social media, community outreach, pounding the pavement) to reach a broader audience and make sure the project outcome isn’t just a coffee table book. Plus, Feature Shoot interviews Martin Schoeller, and Andrew Scrivani sure is skinny for a guy who shoots food for a living.

Download the podcast

Our weekly look at all things photographic with PhotoShelter co-founder Allen Murabayashi.

1:19 An interview with Tim Matsui who creates social change through documentary journalism
18:41 Disqualified World Press Photo Winner Giovanni Troilo gets exhibitions
20:22 Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein steps down; John Harrington reports on Getty turmoil
21:59 Justin & Mary share branding secrets, and we give away a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens!
23:01 Martin Schoeller says, “Go assist!”
24:32 The New York Times on Instagram
25:30 Texas Representative introduces bill to restrict the right to photograph police
26:37 Nicholas Williams attaches a camera to his face
28:17 Ricoh returned 90,000 photos to tsunami victims
29:34 Andrew Scrivani’s delicious food porn

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VIDEO: Getty Images Losing Ground in Mid-Stock Business as CEO Steps Down

With the news of Getty CEO Jonathan Klein stepping down to take on the role of Chairman (as reported here) Klein will have little to celebrate as the storied company itself celebrates 20 years in business this week.
Neither do the photographers whose work is in the Getty Images archives, and who see this announcement - where Klein is Chairman without CEO authority, effectively not much to do - as a last ditch effort to survive, so they are not celebrating either.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)


Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

VIDEO: Getty Images Losing Ground in Mid-Stock Business as CEO Steps Down

With the news of Getty CEO Jonathan Klein stepping down to take on the role of Chairman (as reported here) Klein will have little to celebrate as the storied company itself celebrates 20 years in business this week.
Neither do the photographers whose work is in the Getty Images archives, and who see this announcement - where Klein is Chairman without CEO authority, effectively not much to do - as a last ditch effort to survive, so they are not celebrating either.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)


Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

Natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom

HDR photography was made to address the restrictions of photography equipment, mainly in the sensors of digital cameras. This technology was intended to recreate in photos, as accurately as possible, a human experience by connecting what the human eye actually sees and what a digital camera can shoot.

You can think of HDR as being a complex, ND filter based on software. Instead of applying a filter on your lens when you shoot images, you can accomplish a natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom. You won’t have to carry massive equipment with you when taking shots and you can work on your image from the comfort of your own home.

The reason HDR received such bad press recently is that there is a misconception regarding what it actually stands for. The concept that HDR is a new type of photography is entirely incorrect. HDR isn’t a genre or style it’s simply a post-processing technique. It’s just a tool and you will have control over the process.

1. Bracketing images

Before you can get started on processing images for HDR you will have to take some bracketed photos with different levels of exposure. Typically you can take three to five shots for each series. However, if you plan on shooting in extreme conditions of light, such as with the sun right in front of you, it’s possible that you will have to shoot up to nine images.

It’s ideal to shoot multiple images with the help of a tripod, but it’s not completely necessary because Photoshop has a very good alignment function built in. It’s possible to take shots with the camera in your hands and align them in Photoshop.

2. Lightroom Preprocessing

The preprocessing step is a very easy one and shouldn’t take that long. You will have to import

Natural HDR in Photoshop
Natural HDR in Photoshop
Natural HDR in Photoshop
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This Week In Photography Books: Carolyn Drake

by Jonathan Blaustein

I didn’t sleep well last night. Forgive me if I ramble on. I’ve got no other options.

That’s the thing with a weekly column. The deadline is always there. Over the years, you learn to live with it. Rather than a demarcation of stress, the looming responsibility becomes a comfort, as my young daughter always clings to her fuzzy pink blanket. (Which she calls Cokie.)

It’s been years now, that I share my musings and life experiences with you: the nameless audience. You’ve been around for my ups and downs. As I write, some of the downs come back around again, like a decrepit ferris wheel in a faraway carnival.

The cages creak, in need of oil. The rust has overtaken the paint. Soon enough, it will all be a cacophony of textured brown. Like the desert, if it were only slightly darker in color.

Why didn’t I sleep last night? Because I’ve caught one hell of a wicked virus. The kind that makes my throat feel like a thousand tiny knives are puncturing my skin, every time I swallow. I had one of these bugs a few years ago, and wrote about it then. (Do you remember?)

Now, I’ve gotten another. Not two seconds ago, I swallowed, and the scratchy pain flooded my brain with cortisol. Yet the ferris wheel keeps spinning, and the book pile looms in the background, filled with goodies about which I expound, for your pleasure, every week.

What about today? Can you tell that I’m half-bonkers? Does it matter? What if I found a book, on my very first try, that matched my loopy mood perfectly, like yin abuts yang, forever in harmony?

Would it be possible? What would such a book look like?

I’m glad you asked.

“Wild Pigeons” is a new book by Carolyn Drake, recently produced by Colour & Books. That is was one of two books in my stack with pigeons in the title seems beyond coincidental. That it is the second book in a week that dares to “Put a Bird on It” is less surprising, as there would not be a cliché, there would be no smoke, without the fire.

I didn’t know it was Ms. Drake’s book though. Her name, and the title, are on the spine only, and I didn’t bother looking. So all I got was three white birds on a white cover. Honestly, such a book could be about anything. Presumably birds, but last week’s bird book was about the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake, so I was curious.

Oh yes.

It opens with a section of pages that are shorn shorter than what will come later. Two text pages greet us, the second states “I cannot tell if I am dreaming or awake.” Which is exactly how I feel at the moment, hopped up on honey tea and pain killers.

Then, we see a grave, below prayer flags, in a desert. After, a portrait on a wall: four boys with their heads covered with a certain kind of hat, like a yarmulke, only bigger. Then, more desert. And more desert still. A brown-skinned man on a motorcycle. A woman on the ground. A boy perched upon wires, tied by rope to a man on the ground.

Where are we? What is going on?

Time to guess, I thought. I supposed we were in Central Asia, though Mongolia did pop in my mind as well. Not enough grassland for Mongolia, though. We see headscarves, and farmers, yet lush things grow as well.

The words “fever dream” popped into my head, but that’s really not a phrase I ever use.

We get to the wider pages, and the orientation shifts entirely. You flip the book sideways, and are met with collage images. Some have text written on them. It is trippy, this book, and I like it very much. Very much indeed.

At some point, I see the word Uyghour, and then it makes sense. The asiatic features. The vast deserts. The head scarves. We are in Western China, I realize, and it has all been hinted at perfectly, so far.

Eventually, the pages shrink again, and we are back to straight photography. Apple carts, and pit bulls lunging. Cow throats slit in the streets, blacksmiths, and billiard games too. There are still blacksmiths in 2015? (Of course, silly American. Of course.)

Holy shit. This book is wild. If I were in a normal state of mind, I’m sure it would induce a sort of temporary insanity. As I am already temporarily insane, I feel like this book was made just for me.

The pages widen again, the orientation flips. Again. And now the photographs are at night. The close of the story. When the bats fly, and trouble canvasses the streets like a beat cop trying to avoid boredom.

Eventually, we reach the end text. A long story, translated for our benefit. A statement by the artist, who explains that the collages were her way of getting the local Uyghurs in Xinjiang to participate in her project. Anonymously. (She spent years visiting the place, and dug deep into the culture.)

Stranger still, there is a brief interview between the artist, an old grandfather, and an interpreter. Why is it stranger still? Because it’s printed on the back cover.

Somewhere, the ghost of Jack Kerouac is reading this review. He is judging me, and unfortunately, I’ve come up short. (“Listen, man. I get the vibe you’re grooving for. I do. I do. But it doesn’t feel quite right to me, man. Like, maybe you were trying too hard? Or maybe you weren’t on enough drugs? You know what I’m saying? The book though… it’s pretty hip. Hip, man. Hip.”)

Bottom Line: Amazing, innovative, mind-altering book made in the true hinterlands of Earth

To Purchase “Wild Pigeons” Visit Photo-Eye

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Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.

Chasing Photographs (and Adventure) On Location In New Zealand

One thing that never gets old for me is the adventure of location photography. I thrive on the travel and escaping from one’s day-to-day, the challenges that Mother Nature conjures up and deploys on you at a whim, and the camaraderie of a crew – be it large or small – united on a mission in search of a stunning photo or two.

Now combine that “one thing that never gets old” with another – the stunning country that is New Zealand.  This is perhaps the mother of all location shooting – there’s a reason that Peter Jackson chooses this backdrop for all the fantasy films he makes. It looks like a goddamn made up place. One where you’d expect unicorns and rainbows – and that’s basically what you get.

But in truth, it’s mind boggling not just because of the landscape, but also because of the earnest, heartfelt people, the can-do culture, the close proximity of insane geographic diversity, the food, the heritage and..well, so many things.

So in taking those two things together – the adventure of location-based adventure photography, and the stunning location that is NZ – THIS was my privilege last week on my latest photo assignment. And while you’ve seen NZ vids from me before like this one and this other one and others like this in posts from the past, this trip was just a little different

While I confess we had many of the requisite over-the-top accoutrements to our shoot (a few yachts, a helicopter, some strikingly beautiful people and a few characters to match), this trip – now my 10th or 11th to this paradise – marked a heartfelt return to some of NZed’s most classic locations as well as some of my favorite local flavor.

Because this was for a

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The Wonder List: Behind The Shot first 6 BTS episodes

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These aren’t the BTS videos put a playlist of additional clips for the show

The Wonder List is a new original documentary series for CNN that airs from March the 1st at 10pm EST in the US. It’s also available on CNN on demand. Other platforms and especially international I don’t know yet, but as soon as I do…

It’s a series about going to special places around the world that are on the brink of change, for whatever reason. We travelled to 5 continents and 8 countries for the 8 episodes over a period of around 6 months. It was truly epic.

I also chose (rather insanely!) to really put a huge amount of production value into shooting the series, despite shooting this more or less as a one-man-band (apart from the B camera and occasional C camera operated by the two producers.) We are talking Sony F55/ FS7 including lots of super slow motion, Sony A7s with Movi was also used a huge amount and, when permitted, I used a “drone” as they are now pretty much officially called, for better or worse. I used a Phantom 2 with GoPro first then switched to the DJI Inspire 1.

 

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BEHIND THE SHOT EPISODE 1

VANUATU: DRONE VS VOLCANO

As part of the additional online content for the show, I have made a series of videos with CNN called “Behind The Shot”. The premise is simple: I take a key shot from each episode and explain the background and thinking behind it. The first episode is about a specific shot I did with the Inspire One that is the debut episode filmed in Vanuatu, which is in the South Pacific.

The Wonder List: Vanuatu "Band Photo"

The Wonder List: Vanuatu “Band Photo”

The Inspire 1 at the time hadn’t been announced. I was use an

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The Wonder List: India "Band Photo"
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The exceptional Sony F55 with VOCAS gear on it. Superb add ons to make the camera more user friendly handheld
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Aputure DEC Lens Adapter + Wireless Follow Focus for Canon EF to Sony E-Mount and MFT

Last year NAB 2014 Aputure showed off an entirely new and innovative Wireless Remote Follow Focus system. It looks like a basic lens adapter to add a Canon EF (autofocus lens) to a Micro Four Thirds or Sony E-Mount camera, but this lens adapter has enough communication with the EF Lens that it can drive it’s focus motors, change aperture, and also send back the focal distance to the wireless remote.


NAB 2014 Video

The Aputure DEC Remote can also Start / Stop video on certain cameras, and A/B focus points can be set to rack from one focus point to another. If you’re familiar with traditional Wireless Follow Focus systems it typically requires a set of 15mm Rods, a Focus Motor, Lens Gears, Battery Pack, and Wireless Receiver. The Aputure DEC eliminates all of that extra gear into just a simple lens adapter which makes it perfect for small camera systems on small stabilizers (steadicams) and Gimbal Stabilizers.

It’s been a year since it’s been introduced, and what I thought was a lost idea is actually becoming reality. The product is still not available to purchase, but right now I have in possession a couple of prototypes to test out. I’m super excited about this, comments?

XUME Magnetic Quick Release Filter Adapters

I recently passed by WPPI Las Vegas and David from XUMEAdpters.com was there exhibiting the XUME Filter Adapters. These adapters have been around for a few years, but I thought we’d revisit the product now that cameras like the Sony A7s are hugely dependent on ND Filters when working outdoors with S-Log with it’s minimum ISO of 3200.

I’m a big fan of Variable ND Filters on my cameras when outdoors, but I really hate unscrewing them when moving to shaded areas or indoors. The XUME Adapter kits allow you fast installation and removal of your filters. In order for the system to work you’ll need a lens adapter (ideally placed on every lens) + a Filter Holder (ideally on every filter you plan to use). This can add up to be quite an expense if you want to convert everything you own, but personally I only find myself working with a handful of lenses outdoors and mainly 1 or 2 filters. With that in mind the XUME Pro Kit should cover most of your needs and would be a huge time saver.

As noted in the video, once the XUME Lens Adapter is placed onto your lens, your typical lens cap won’t work directly. You’ll need to utilize one of the XUME Filter Holders for the cap, or opt in for one of their new custom XUME Lens Caps.

Obviously many of use different lenses that may have varying filter sizes. My Sigma uses a 72mm, my Canon uses a 77mm, and my Lumix 58mm. Of course a simple fix to this is to purchase step-up filter rings so that all of your lenses share a common Filter Size. I typically step all of my lenses up to 77mm (as seen here), but this does mean you

XUME FILTER ADAPTERS
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The Art of the Personal Project: Matt Odom

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

Today’s featured photographer is: Matt Odom

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How long have you been shooting?

I’ve been shooting for eight years. I started shooting after being laid off of my old job in television and experienced a close family member’s death. I used photography as a way to alleviate the pain. I had always wanted to shoot but I didn’t have resources to get a camera when I was younger because I just couldn’t afford one.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?

I’m completely self- taught. I come from the school of YouTube and Books. I read, read, and read some more to get the technical aspects down. I used to gobble up every YouTube video I could find on lighting. For business I searched for podcasts and listened to anything that had to do with the business and marketing for photographers. As I grew in photography I began to follow photographers like Miller Mobley, Jeremy Cowart, Tim Tadder, Tom Hussey, Joe McNally, Seth Hancock (who I owe a lot of this to), Jeffery Salters, and Derek Blanks. I just studied their work and deconstructed their lighting and went from there. I almost did art school at UGA but having already graduated from a private university I didn’t want to incur any more debt. To me this is a constant learning process and I strive to improve all the time. You are only as good as that last photo!

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?

As a child I used to be mystified by huge exotic animals and I drive by a local taxidermy almost every other day. I decided that I wanted to spend half a day with a taxidermist and photograph the way the work. I felt that it presented such a weird art form they we aren’t used to seeing on an everyday basis.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?

This was one of my shortest projects it took about two months to get everything narrowed down. I’m in progress of doing a BBQ Project and that is more than likely going to be a year and a half in the making. 


How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?


I’m pretty nitpicky, so it varies on if I feel the project is something unique and provides the viewer with a perspective that they have not taken when looking at the subject matter.

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?

Personal work allows for full creativity and the opportunity to put your touch on something that you just can’t get on some commissioned jobs.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?


I have just become a huge blogger and I am always posting personal work to Tumblr. A lot of my photographer friends talked me into instagram and I’ll admit it’s pretty addictive normally I post a lot of behind the scenes stuff on there. I love the exposure that comes with social media!

If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?


Haven’t had that experience just yet! I will say that my Taxidermist project has began to pick up steam. The Kings of the Rings project is another one that has become pretty popular too.

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?

I actually just printed a small booklet of my Taxidermist project to go out in a few weeks to art directors, editors, and potential clients.
I received my copy and absolutely love it. Nothing beats seeing your work in print.


Artist Statement:

The Taxidermist project was done to provide people with an inside view of the hard work and art that goes into creating these larger than life replicas of nature’s most graceful and sometimes dangerous creatures.

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Matt is an award-winning editorial portrait, commercial, sports photographer out of a town just a few minutes south of Atlanta called: Macon, Georgia. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Mercer University. Back in the day, he tried his hand in television as a commercial TV producer and sports TV reporter. During that time there he shot local news and a little photography (he stuck with the later). When he’s not on assignment, he’s more than likely watching his favorite soccer team Arsenal Football Club, coaching soccer or listening to jazz.


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.

The Best Light Source is Sunshine

Most people think that the more equipment they have, the better. However, I’m quite the opposite. I find that carrying around heavy lights, flashes and reflectors is a pain. The best light source is sunshine, in my opinion.

I would like to share with you some words of advice that will help you take advantage of that big giant reflector up there. With a little luck, you will begin to appreciate the natural light much more whether you hate carrying around big equipment or not.

The sun is distinct

One of the things I appreciate about the sun is that it’s always different. While it may seem like quite the challenge to have a very unpredictable source of light, I really like that every shoot, every photo, every day is special and one of a kind. It would be impossible to recreate the exact lighting I had one day. There are some days when everything works absolutely perfect and I appreciate them completely.

Take notice on how the light looks on the face of your subject

The Best Light Source is Sunshine

Many beginner photographers take photos with very harsh shadows and lights on the faces. This is because in most cases they don’t really pay attention to the subject but on the background. This can be a huge issue if you try to take photos in very bright sunlight, such as early afternoon or midday.

Sunlight is a great source of light but you do have to put a little effort into it and position what you’re trying to take a picture of just right.

Try backlighting

Take a shot with the sun behind your subject. This is my favorite technique because if the sun is behind the subject and facing you it will make it glow. However, there are some things you need to

The Best Light Source is Sunshine
The Best Light Source is Sunshine
The Best Light Source is Sunshine
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Pricing & Negotiating: International Hospitality Shoot For A Luxury Hotel Chain

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental lifestyle and landscape images as well as b-roll video of cityscapes and hotel properties

Licensing: Advertising, collateral and publicity use of all images and video captured in perpetuity

Location: Three hotel properties in three different countries

Shoot Days: 13

Photographer: Lifestyle and travel specialist

Agency: Large international ad agency

Client: Luxury hotel chain with 70+ properties worldwide

Here is the estimate:

Blinkbid  Blinkbid  Blinkbid

Creative/Licensing: As with many projects, the agency presented a creative brief that included a great deal of inspirational vocabulary while being quite vague on what they wanted to specifically capture. We knew they wanted to create content at three hotel properties in three different countries, and generally speaking, they wanted images featuring people interacting and enjoying the hotels, landscapes of the properties and cityscapes of the surrounding areas. Without a specific shot list or more dialed-in ideas regarding the scenarios they hoped to capture, we knew that we’d have to make a lot of assumptions for the first round of the estimate, and then later revise it based on additional information regarding creative direction and budgetary constraints.

Typically, I’d determine the creative/licensing fee by analyzing the total number of shots/scenarios, and then take into account the usage and duration. Since the total number of shots and scenarios were unknown, I based the fee on my experience with similar productions in the past. Based on our correspondence with the agency, it was clear that they wanted to take their time throughout the shoot and didn’t want to rush anything. As a starting point, we planned to shoot three scenarios in and around each property per day, which would allow the photographer to generate about three final hero images per day, plus variations. This was a fairly conservative estimate, and depending on the final creative concept, the photographer would likely be able to capture much more on a given shoot day.

Using this as a starting point, I figured that the first hero image created on a given day would be worth about $5,000 and the second and third would be worth $2,500 each ($10,000 total) for one-year usage. In this case, the client’s requesteduse was for an unlimited duration, despite the fact that the creative brief made it very clear that their intended use was for a campaign that would most likely be used for one year. Given this information, I used $10,000/day as a starting point, which was in line with what we have previously estimated on similar projects, and was justified based on the idea that they’d be hiring the photographer for 13 shoot days. As for the b-roll video, based on my conversation with the agency, it was clearly an afterthought of the creative brief, and the responsibility would essentially be put on an additional camera operator who the photographer would bring along. I therefore didn’t put much value on it in the photographer’s creative/licensing fee, but rather in the day rate included for the camera operator listed in the expenses.

Photographer Tech/Scout/Production/Travel Days: Over the course of our correspondence, we were provided a tentative schedule that the client and agency hoped to use as a starting point to shoot three properties in three countries back-to-back-to-back. While we discussed how preliminary scouting and preparation would take place before the photographer’s arrival (which I’ll note later), the agency requested a significant amount of time on the ground in each location to scout the property and surrounding area and prep prior to the shoot (mostly due to an undefined shot list). This included five prep days on the ground before five shoot days at the first location, four prep days prior to five shoot days at the second location, and four prep days prior to three shoot days at the third location. On the front, back and in between those days we included six travel days (some of the international flights required two days worth of travel), and three additional prep days for the photographer prior to heading out for the project. The travel days are billed at a lower rate since they are typically less intense and require less focus and dedicated than the tech/scout/production days on the ground.

Primary Expenses: Rather than provide a laundry list of expenses that may seem unorganized and confusing, I decided to break out the expenses into four sections. The first set of primary expenses included all of the items related to traveling crewmembers and expenses like equipment and processing. The other three expense categories correspond to items that relate to a particular location.

First Assistant: This included two prep days prior to departure, 13 tech/scout days on location and 13 shoot days. We broke out the first assistant’s travel days separately and charged half their day rate for each of the six travel days. I don’t typically break out an assistant’s travel days and charge reduced rates, but given the total days they’d be booked for, the photographer’s assistant was willing to offer up the discount.

Producer: The photographer had a producer he worked closely with, who also planned to travel along for the length of the project. We included 10 prep days, 13 tech/scout days on location and 13 shoot days. Separately we included six travel days at half the daily rate.

Camera Operator: While labeled as “camera operator”, this person would really be the videographer in charge of capturing the b-roll video of cityscapes throughout the shoot. We included 13 tech/scout days on location and 13 shoot days in addition to breaking out their 6 travel days separately.

Airfare: I used Kayak.com to find estimated one-way flight rates from the photographer’s home city to each consecutive location and then back. Not surprisingly, flights ranged from a few hundred dollars for the short flights to a few thousand dollars for the longer flights including baggage fees. I multiplied the total cost by four to account for each person traveling and rounded up.

Meals, Per Diems, Carnets, Communications, Misc.: This covered all traveling meals, laundry services, international transaction fees, currency conversion fees, carnets, necessary visas, international cell phone plans and any other unforeseen travel related expenses.

Equipment: I included $1,000/day and used a loose rule of thumb that most equipment rental houses charge three days for a weekly rental, and I knew the shoot would span over about five weeks. The photographer would actually be bringing his own gear, but this rule of thumb was helpful to determine an appropriate rate. While he would likely bring more than $1,000 worth of gear, the photographer was satisfied with the overall $15,000 fee to cover the wear and tear on his gear throughout the trip.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Delivery of Images/Video by Hard Drive: I included $500 for each of the 13 shoot days for the photographer to color correct and provide web galleries for each day of shooting, and an additional $1,000 to cover the cost of a high-capacity hard drive (and a backup) and the shipping costs to deliver it to the agency.

Insurance: Since the locations, scenarios and general scope of the project were still a bit unknown, it was hard to determine exactly the amount of insurance the photographer would need. It was possible that his current international policy would cover the production, but just to be cautious, we included an extra $5,000 in case he needed to increase his policy and add additional coverages. We noted in the delivery memo that this could fluctuate based on the agencies potential requirements.

Expenses for locations one, two and three: For a project like this with a lot of unknowns in multiple international locations, it’s always a good idea to get some hard numbers from local people in each location. I reached out to multiple production companies in each city, and while each line item and overall quotes fluctuated from production company to production company and from city to city, there were a lot of common threads that helped me calculate estimated expenses. I cautiously leaned towards the higher end of the numbers I received, while including some additional items that made me confident that the overall budget would afford us any production company in each city, even if the funds for each estimated line were allocated differently than how I presented them.

Production Coordinator: While a producer would help to manage the entire project, we included a production coordinator in each city that could help with location-specific tasks, and who, perhaps most importantly, was fluent in the local language. The production coordinator days included the shoot days in each city plus the prep days the traveling team would be on the ground beforehand to prep in each city.

Second Assistant: We included a local second assistant to lend an additional set of hands on each shoot day in each city, and included a day before and after each shoot to help pick up and return any necessary additional gear or help with pre-production tasks.

Location Scout and Location Fees: The first two properties would be photographed along with the surrounding cityscapes, but the last location would exclusively be shot on the hotel property. In the cities requiring locations outside of the hotel property, we included four days for a local scout to find and secure permits for public spaces, street scenes and perhaps local shops/businesses. Since all of these locations were a bit undefined when we were estimating the project, we included a placeholder of $3,000 to cover the permits that might be needed. On one hand, this could have been much more than what would be required if the locations were all public spaces, but on the other hand, $3,000 offered flexibility in case a more robust or private property was needed.

Hair/Makeup/Wardrobe Styling: I’d typically separate the responsibilities of hair/makeup styling and wardrobe styling to two different people, but the agency and photographer were hoping to keep the crew footprint as light as possible (easier said than done for a project like this). So, we put these tasks on to one stylist who would have an assistant. In addition to the shoot days, their total days included shopping and return time as well as a talent fit day. The wardrobe costs were calculated by assuming $300 per talent in non-returnable wardrobe for up to four adult/child talent per shoot day.

Casting and Talent: Each shoot would require a casting day arranged by the local production company, and as noted in the estimate, the casting days included a studio, crew, equipment, talent booking and miscellaneous expenses. We anticipated needing a family of four (two adults, two children) for each shoot day and for each location/property. Additionally, each of the talent would come to a day where they’d be fitted for wardrobe, for which we estimated $1,500 per talent. I relied on the local production companies to quote appropriate talent rates, and I noted that the usage would be limited to five years rather than perpetual use. I did so because we’ve received pushback lately from talent agents who won’t convey perpetual use due to potential talent exclusivity conflicts down the road.

Drivers and Transportation: I figured on a driver at $200/day (for each day the traveling crew would be on the ground) plus a $700 fee for a rental van.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc.: While I accounted for per diems and meals for the traveling crew previously, I also wanted to include similar expenses for the local crew, even though the client would be providing catering throughout the shoot. As I did previously, I included $50 per person per day for the local production coordinator, scout, stylist, stylist assistant and talent. Additionally, I included and additional $100 per shoot day for miscellaneous expenses. These rates varied between the first two locations and the third location due to the number of days and crew involved.

Production RV: The hotel would offer up staging areas for the shoot days on its property, and I included a production RV as a TBD line item as an option for each location since I thought it may be valuable for some of our cityscape shooting. I also wanted the agency to know we were thinking about such items as an option.

Production Management Fees: Most production companies include a percentage of the overall expenses as a management fee to take on the responsibility of the project including managing the payment process for all subcontractors booked for the job. These percentages varied between the production companies in each city, but 15 percent of the city specific expenses was an appropriate fee based on various quotes I received.

Tax: Interestingly, the first city did not require tax to be added (which I did look further into after the local production company mentioned this). The second two production companies included their required tax percentages on their quotes, which I then included in our estimate. Tax requirements vary greatly from project to project and location to location, and it’s best to check with an accountant and/or local tax authorities.

Feedback: Not surprisingly, our estimate reached a bit too far over the client’s budget. I anticipated that this would be the case, but it was important for us to first show the agency the potential costs for what they were asking for in order for them to help their client determine a budget and dial in the scope of the project. Not too long after submitting our first estimate, the agency came back with a budget of $200,000, and their client was willing to make a few sacrifices. First, the third location was scrapped from the project and they wanted to limit the second location to three shoot days (this meant there would be 7 shoot days rather than 13). Second, they were willing to do without the b-roll video. Third, they were willing to reduce the licensing to three years. Those were great starting points, but after some quick calculations, we realized that some of the travel expenses, talent fees and a few other items were still putting us over that budget. Here is how we further reduced the estimate:

– One strategy was to have the photographer’s producer lay out the logistics of the shoot remotely, and to actually not travel while relying on the local production companies to execute the shoot on site. After taking the producer’s travel expenses out, we adjusted accordingly to reduce their overall days, while still including an appropriate amount of time for them to coordinate everything remotely.

– The most significant way we were able to reduce the cost was by removing the talent fees. Since the shot list wasn’t determined, the agency agreed for us to simply note what the fee per talent might be, and then they’d decide how many talent they’d ultimately need (or not need) in each city as the project progressed. It was possible that they’d rely on hotel staff and actual hotel residents to be unrecognizable talent, and while it was a big TBD cost that would ultimately be added back on later, it helped us bring the estimate under 200k and ultimately helped the agency sell the project to their client.

– For the photographer’s fee, I felt that a reduction to $4,000 for the first image per day and $2,000 for each additional image was appropriate given the licensing duration restriction.

– We reduced the shoot processing for client review to $250 per shoot day, and dropped the hard drive including delivery to $500 since they wouldn’t need as high of a capacity drive without the video.

– The client agreed that the talent would provide their own primary wardrobe, and the stylist would only be responsible to supplemental wardrobe options. This helped to reduce the number of shopping days and bring down the wardrobe budget.

– We reduced each casting day to $3,000, which would still be adequate based on the quotes I received from production companies. As I mentioned, I originally leaned on the higher end of the quotes I received to be safe.

-We slightly reduced the drivers and transportation in each city.

Here was the final estimate:

Blinkbid  Blinkbid  Blinkbid

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

Hindsight: While we hope every estimate should be the start of a healthy negotiation, sometimes clients seem to assume that an estimate represents the only approach, and one that can’t be finessed or reduced. However, maintaining a thorough correspondence during the estimating process and working closely with agency counterparts to help calculate a budget can go a long way. I knew that our first estimate would be much more than they hoped to spend, but that document helped the agency put a number on what their client was requesting, even though the agency also probably knew it would be too high. With all of the documentation and correspondence with local production companies in our back pocket, it was easy to have an educated conversation with the art buyer about the potential fluctuations in the estimate, and help them understand that there were many ways to reconfigure the project once a certain budget was determined…and thankfully the art buyer was able to explain to their client that they’d have to offer up some flexibility on their end to make it work as well.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.

The Daily Edit – Bloomberg Businessweek: Angie Smith

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Bloomberg Businessweek

Creative Director: Rob Vargas
Deputy Creative Director: Tracy Ma
Director of Photography: Clinton Cargill
Photo Editor: Romke Hoogwaerts
Photographer: Angie Smith
Read the story here

Heidi: How did this story idea come about? Why the Gem show?
Angie: The idea began when I went with a writer friend to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. We walked through the Gem and Mineral Hall and became completely mesmerized by all of the incredible minerals on display from the Congo, Afghanistan, Morocco, Brazil, China, Arizona etc. We realized that we had a common mineral obsession and a mutual desire to attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the largest mineral festival in the world. We plotted to pitch a story on it, or if anything, just travel to Tucson and experience it for ourselves. As the festival date drew closer, I began further research wrote drafts of the pitch and carefully decided whom I’d send it to.

My top choices were: Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times Magazine and California Sunday. Synchroncity was on my side as right before I sent it to Bloomberg, I received a package in the mail containing a book called Mossless that I had been published in. The man who edited and produced Mossless was Romke Hoogwaerts, who also coincidentally become a photo editor at Bloomberg Businessweek a few months before. I realized that the timing was perfect for me to reach out to him and introduce the story idea. Romke replied immediately, telling me he loved it and he would pass it along to Clinton Cargill, the Photo Director. Over the next 10 plus days I spent my days interviewing significant figures involved in mineral show, gaining a better understanding of how the whole festival worked, identifying who the key players were, making sure I could get the access that I needed – and then communicating that back to Clinton. I found out the story was a go and I was on my way to Tucson within a week.

How did you make the pitch stronger?
After I initially sent the pitch out to a few photo editors, I realized that my timing was a little bit off (this was right between Christmas and New Years) and I knew that I could make the pitch stronger simply with more clarity in my writing and waiting until after the holidays. I worked with my good friend and Photo Consultant Meredith Marlay on the structure of the pitch. She helped me tighten my writing into 3 concise paragraphs describing what The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show was, the story angle for the magazine that I was pitching to, and how I would approach the story aesthetically. Lastly, I included images that I found from Google image search showing what the festival looked like and the types of exotic minerals and people that could be found there.

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What direction did the magazine give you?
Clinton and I decided that the best and most interesting way to approach this festival was from a documentary/reportage approach, capturing not only the minerals and the people who attend this festival, but the entire context in which it exists- which is very bizarre. One of the most interesting aspects of this festival is that many of the dealers set up shop in hotel rooms for several weeks at a time. Mattresses were stacked and leaned against the walls to make way for tables and cases displaying rocks of all kinds. Dealers are not only selling from their hotel rooms but they are sleeping in these rooms. With just a peek behind a mineral case, you can see slightly disheveled hotel beds that have recently been slept in and bathrooms full of personal items, its very strange. Many of the high-end mineral dealers would show clients minerals privately – but the only place to do this was in the hotel bathroom. I often found myself and my assistant squeezed into a hotel bathroom photographing a dealer and a client examining a specimen worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A $500,000 mineral from the Congo would be sitting in a box next to a can of coke, some granola bars and a bunch of travel sized soaps and shampoos from the hotel. It was so strange and incredible to photograph.
After each day of shooting, I would send Clinton screenshots of the key images from that day and we would discuss how the story was shaping up as a whole. It was really helpful to talk with him and get an outsider’s perspective on how clearly I was communicating what it was like to be at this festival.

How long were you in Tucson working on this?
I spent about 9 days shooting the festival, then Bloomberg decided to run it immediately, so I spent a couple of extra days there gathering the caption info and getting the final images retouched and submitted. The story went to press as I drove back to Los Angeles.

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Was there any security involved since the gems and minerals were so valuable? Who attended this show?
Most of the shows took place in hotels, convention centers or large tents set up in parking lots. There were security guards at all of the shows- but not as many as I would have expected. People were walking around these hotels with thousands of dollars in cash in their pockets, carrying expensive minerals in boxes. One of the most interesting facets of this shoot was the people who attend- there were geologists, museums curators, miners, dealers, retired “rock hounds” or rock collectors, metaphysical types, traveling hippies- everyone was from all over the world- there were some real characters. A general observation that I made was that all of these mineral enthusiasts, whether high end or low end, all shared a deep passion and appreciation for the aesthetic and raw beauty of minerals that come from the earth. Many of these people have extensive scientific knowledge about the formation of minerals- and they appreciate not only the beauty of these specimens, but have an in depth understanding of how they were formed within the context of the earth’s geologic history.

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How the Hollywood feature film Focus was edited on Final Cut Pro X Part Two

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We are very pleased to publish part two of the story of how the Hollywood feature film Focus was cut on Final Cut Pro X.

This time we concentrate on how it was used and how the Libraries, Events and Projects were set up. Exactly how did Jan Kovac edit? What keyboard and control surfaces did he use? How did he trim? (Yes we asked that dynamic trimming question!) And the biggest job of all, how did he and his team keep everything organised?

We finish off with what Jan Kovac the Editor and the Directors Glenn Ficarra & John Requa liked about FCPX, what they didn’t like and some good ideas for the future.

The Daily Promo: Keith Barraclough

Keith Barraclough

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Who printed it?

A company out of Arlington, Texas called Liberty Playing Cards

Who designed it?

I designed the deck, using Liberty’s Adobe Illustrator-compatible playing card template.

Who edited the images?

My studio manager and I did an initial edit of the images (at the time the decks were produced, I’d photographed 75 redheads) and then I asked Maria Ragusa-Burfield, President of Alt-Pick, to weigh in.

How many did you make?

We ordered 250 packs.  Each pack contains a lead card describing The Redhead Project’s concept and features 54 different redheads’ portraits on the faces of 52 playing cards and two jokers. The backs of the cards feature a collage of 12 different portraits (all of which are featured in the deck).

How many times a year do you send out promos?

I have six email promos and six postcard promos scheduled for 2015. Many will be images from the Redhead series. The playing cards are being used as leave-behinds at portfolio showings and networking events.

Are you a card shark? Why the cards?

No, I’m not. The deck of cards idea came up while my studio manager and I were brainstorming ideas for showcasing and promoting my work on the project to prospective advertising and editorial clients.  We were immediately taken with the idea as a promotional tool.  It’s a tactile, novel, functional, and fun way to highlight 54 portraits from the project.

Where did your affinity for redheads come from?

The initial concept for The Redhead Project actually came to me during a corporate shoot while processing images of an executive who had red hair and piercing blue eyes. I was struck by the contrast of his features against the white Oxford he was wearing and the light seamless backdrop and thought that a series of redheads wearing white against a white seamless would make an interesting personal project.

Since I didn’t know any redheads, I initially relied on word of mouth to enlist participants. We hosted a Redhead Project launch party in July 2013 where we displayed images of the initial 10 redheads photographed, served red hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and invited creative professionals and friends to invite their favorite redheads to find out more about the project.

The scope, concept and reach of the Redhead Project have evolved since the early days of the project and social media (especially Instagram – @projectredhead) has really propelled interest.  All subjects still wear white—like the executive that unwittingly inspired this all—but I also have subjects bring their favorite clothes, accessories and props that reflect their personalities and style, and each shoot is a collaborative process.