For those of you just joining us, welcome to Community Table – a series of blog posts sharing conversations held directly with our community leaders about top of mind industry issues. Community Table was formed from the collective efforts of Matt Nycz and Kate Chase of Brite Productions and Heather Elder and Lauranne Lospalluto of Heather Elder Represents with the idea that there is nothing more powerful in our industry than education.
To see the last two week’s posts , the Appetizer and Main Course portions, and read the introduction to this series, please do link here.
As a reminder, each Conversation Starter was directed to one person with a general discussion ensuing. We decided this was the best way to present the discussion, to share the experience as close as possible to how it actually happened to bring you all the to the table with us.
The first question for the Dessert part of our meal was given to Jill Hundenski currently at Team One. This question launched an insightful conversation and a peek into the inner workings of the creative teams and the clear differentiation between the roles of the producers and that of the art and creative directors.
CONVERSATION STARTER #6: Finding Creative Inspiration
Jill Hundenski, Freelance
Where are your creatives finding inspiration? When they show you new work where are they directing you? Are they utilizing photography websites such as At Edge,Le Book, Foundfolios and Workbook for their searches? Or, are they relying more on individual photographer websites, micro-sites, blogs or other unique sites they frequent?
“Generally, those that are not using At-Edge, FoundFolios and Workbook are using word of mouth, this guy down the street who knows this guy,” started Jill. “It’s a lot like how Todd Selby was found. An art director found his blog and now he’s huge.
Blogs and social media are huge for creatives. They talk with each other and do a lot of research,” said Jill. “It’s kind of like, the more creative they are, the more they are sharing and following blogs and they bring it to us and we research. They bring cool art and music and things branch out from there.”
Jigisha continued. “Creatives are very competitive in their own industry and are always looking at who won awards and who is doing what ads. They ask us to research who is doing competitive work and who is shooting something.
The older creative’s are still doing CA and Archive and the award shows. The younger guys are totally out there in the social world and coming up with things that are way off our radar for sure. They’re talking about installations in Spain.”
“Photographers need to be creative and find ways to be interesting to creatives,” concluded Melanie.
With a question from Kate about the relevance of sourcebooks, the conversation looked at who is still using them and why. No surprise, art buyers still find them very valuable.
“It’s rare now that an AD would mention something they saw in Archive,” responded Jill. Melanie continued, “The search function still makes them relevant. I go to them first. I can’t start looking through blogs to find someone who shoots still-life.”
Andrea said, “It used to be that everyone got CA. But now it’s just me. Although I still have to sharpie my name on it because they want it and pass it around.”
“There is still a place for the sites,” concluded Natalie Flemming. “And if you stop emailing and sending promos, you’re out of sight and out of mind. You never know who is going to look at you where, marketing is no longer linear so you have to be in as many places as you can afford
Andrea Mariash of David & Goliath very succinctly answered the first part of the last question first before getting right to the point when it comes to photographers shooting video. And the opinions were near unanimous. Photographers should really only show video if it is as strong as their photography.
CONVERSATION STARTER #7: The Value of Photography
Andrea Mariash, David & Goliath.
It used to be that print was often a strong choice for clients when it came to promoting their brand. Now they can choose from so many other vehicles for their communications and often times other media rather than photography is the chosen solution. Knowing this, how do you see clients utilizing photography most nowadays? And, along those same lines, how important is it that the photographer be able to shoot video?
In response to the relevance of photography, Andrea was clear. “Everyone can agree that there is a distinction between print and photography, because photography is used in many different mediums. And this is back to another panic button. Photography isn’t dying. I’m busier than ever because we are producing photographic content for online. Digital is becoming a huge part of our world.”
Moving quickly to the question about video, “I just want to put something out there that is probably controversial,” started Andrea. “I am not a big fan of photographers doing video as a response to where they think the industry is going. I see a lot of photographers doing video because they think they have to, to stay ‘relevant.’ And it really hurts their brand.
Creatives will talk about it if it is not as strong as their photography. They’re used to seeing TV reels. Just like you don’t have to show everything you ever shoot, you don’t have to shoot video.”
“The big panic button was hit by PDN two years ago when they said that photographers had to shoot video,” said Matt. “A lot of photographers thought they would be irrelevant if they didn’t.”
“There are some photographers who understand film and have that cinematic quality,” continued Cara. “They have to learn new language. If they can learn it and bring their sensibilities to motion, then it’s brilliant. Creatives will talk about it after seeing their reel and it hurts them as a photographer if they show work that isn’t as strong as their photography. Art directors have choice of anyone in world.”
“In retouching world, there were a lot of photographers who would do their own post and a lot who didn’t,” mentioned Kate. “And there were many who should not have done their own retouching. It’s the same threshold for video.”
“It’s more valuable for them to understand video. Art directors are not always sure how they want to use video, but they want it. There are so many different styles and sometimes they hire a DP to maintain the sensibility.”
To close our lunch, we asked everyone to go around the table and give us one word or phrase that described our industry right now. The list put words to what we all feel and left us with admiration for the group we had assembled. Positive, open-minded and ready to tackle the challenges of an industry and world in the middle of many exciting changes and tremendous challenges.
Learning experience for everyone
Never thought at this point that I’d really need ‘to learn that’
I’ve said ‘what’ a lot in the last two years
We hope that our first Community Table event has fed you insights, inspiration and a sense of shared community that help move us all upward as an industry with a sense of empowerment and adventure. Our village is a strong one, the more we connect and share, the stronger we will be become. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for a summary of the conversation as well as a request for questions for our next Community Table event in NYC this spring.
Thanks again for putting this together, Heather. What a great idea. And thanks to the participants who willingly shared their views of the industry with us. Your insight is invaluable.
Some really good insights about whether photographers should shoot video. It helps me feel good about focusing on making great images. Thanks.
Thank you for your kind words and feedback. It was a fun event to host and people have really found the posts helpful. Are next one will be in NYC this spring. Hope all is well and thanks for reading.
Kate, Heather & Team,
Thanks for revealing these insights, and for your great efforts. No wonder the two of you are my fav reps in the US.