Photographers and Motion. One Art Producers View.

Milam3I met Ben Milam, a producer at Leo Burnett’s Arc Worldwide on a shoot with one of my clients.  Since he came all the way to San Francisco we thought it would be fun to take him out for a nice dinner while he was here.  How we landed last minute reservations at DELFINA, I am not sure.  But I do know that the atmosphere, the delicious meal and the Italian red wine led to a very interesting conversation about photographers adding video and motion work to their offerings and how clients should consider video more often because photographers can now partner with them to provide it.

When he returned to Chicago, I asked him if he would write about his thoughts for our blog. Here is what he shared.

“Marketing dollars have a way of gravitating toward alternative methods of production in slow economic times causing clients to look for more ways to make their dollars go further. The general consensus in marketing and advertising is that restricting resources can cripple the final creative product. And in some cases, fiscal restrictions on production costs can do more harm than good.

In other cases, having limited resources can also concentrate creative output. A perfect example is the increasing focus of still photographers to also create motion work. Technology is granting more and more photographers access to quality motion output. Combine that with the rising amount of digital signage plus a sluggish economy and you’ve got a market for hybrid, budget-friendly photo shoots that also now have a need for capturing motion.

Numerous photographers already offer this type of hybrid shoot but can experience criticism when their work is compared to traditional broadcast work.  Motion equipment used by photographers can sometimes be lower caliber compared to that on a motion shoot. And it’s true that most photographers don’t have a vast amount of experience with broadcast work. Even though there are plenty of reasons to ignore this type of hybrid shoot, the ever-increasing amount of digital executions will drive an increased demand for budget-minded motion work.

This doesn’t mean that traditional motion shoots are going away. It also doesn’t mean that the quality of the hybrid shoot should be sub-par. It simply means that we will see a growing demand for this type of photographer.

In order to capitalize on its full capabilities, why not consider motion more often? It’s helpful to look at this from a retail and shopper marketing standpoint instead of from a traditional broadcast view. Digital signage opens up the option for motion in point-of-sale outlets that were normally static and it continues to expand.   Monitors continue to show up at bus stops, retail storefronts, and everywhere else you can think of.  Some might even go as far as to suggest repurposing TV spots for retail outlet use but why treat retail content the same as television spots? Remember that most digital signage will not have the consumer’s full attention the same way that a television screen does.

So, why not find a creative partner that can help you explore these possibilities?  The goal is to find great photographers that share the creative vision of their client and agency partners while having the agility to capture relevant motion work.  A photographer is the perfect partner.  They are willing to evolve their offerings, they have experience with working with smaller budgets and they are knowledgeable as to what is needed on set to combine both still and motion.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start thinking about the upcoming challenges of presenting larger production budgets to clients that normally see estimates for still-only photo shoots.

How to Best Maximize the Pintrest Potential

Do you know Amanda Cooper?  Well, if you don’t I strongly recommend you get to know her or at least her work.  She is one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated creatives that I know.  When she and I connected at Le Book Connections LA I knew instantly she would be a great contributor to our blog.  Her ideas about the industry were spot on and she obviously had her finger on the pulse of what was going on in our industry. That made her idea to start a conversation about the real Potential of Pintest that much more interesting.

Amanda described her post best when she titled her contribution:  Pintrest Potential; An informative guide to helping to navigate and leverage the creative community capabilities of one of the web’s hottest visual social sharing tools.

Here is what she had to say.

There’s been quite a lot of buzz around the site lately, and it’s pretty hard not to notice the growing volume of visual updates by photographers, stylists and art directors via Facebook and Twitter which map back to beautiful images hosted on this very site.

Especially with recent statistics (posted April 13, 2012) reporting data:

—As of February 2012, Pinterest had accumulated 10.4 million users.

—Over 80% of pins are repins.

—Pinterest is retaining & engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in history.

—Daily Pinterest users have increased by more than 145% since the beginning of 2012.

—As of January 2012, American users spent an average of 97.8 minutes on Pinterest.

So that’s pretty great for general public stats…

But how does that translate to our industry and specifically as a professional tool for photographers, directors/DPs, stylists, art buyers and/or art directors??

If you’re not already using Pinterest, it’s a great platform both for finding and collecting inspiration as well as organizing and archiving your discoveries for future project resources. Pinterest, in general, works as a great tool for conducting client, product and/or consumer/demographic research as well as for the creative responsibilities of developing mood boards or treatments for bids, putting together comps and assembling storyboards.

Pinterest provides a great opportunity for photographers/DPs to gain more exposure of their work to general public and also to network with other professional creatives and brands.  Many agency art directors, graphic designers and typographers are incredibly enamored with the site and often frequent the site on a near-daily basis to gather research and/or archive their work. Thus, it’s a huge opportunity to network and connect with creatives who may be affiliated with agencies a photographer may want to reach out to—or simply collaborate with an art director or designer on a side project or identity re-design.

The great thing about Pinterest, is that the social sharing is based around visual files. Much like Instagram—it provides the ability to discover others’ galleries and work developments via the connections based on like-minded, relative visual styles. (And since Pinterest provides a profile area at the very top of each user page—it’s incredibly easy to source a particular artist’s website, twitter or facebook page after discovering their Pinterest pins.

I’ve noticed several photographers and brands even beginning to create pinboards that additionally showcase their image libraries, instagram galleries, campaigns and recent projects.

This is a simply yet another free social platform which allows for very quick and easy hosting of one’s work, increasing the opportunity to gain more public exposure.

Obviously, posting on Pinterest as a photographer allows possibilities for the general public, art directors and/or art buyers, brands and potential clients to discover one’s images. Thus, the more clearly the credit attribute information is labeled, (in addition to website URL) ensures a greater chance of proper credit to be established, as well as chance for others to re-direct back to portfolio site as a resource. Having the artists’ name with copywright symbol also helps in discouraging those re-pinning the image(s) from modifying associated credit information and provides greater chance for this information to travel around the Pinterest site (and distributed web) with proper credit attributes.

Here is a great format that I personally use when pinning images from professional photographers which helps provide a pretty visible, clear copyright association:

When other pinners notice this image on my board—they are more hesitant to manipulate the image if they see the photographer’s credited name and the “©” copyright symbol.

Additionally, there are a few other ways in which professional photographers can prepare their galleries on portfolio sites to help encourage Pinterest integration with their work:

-Adding instant share (Pinterest) social icon button to website images:

-Although many photographers are less concerned with using watermarks these days as it discourages the “social share” factor—even if you decide not to incorporate them into images, it’s best to add any relative copyright adjacent to image(s) or ensure to have a page on website clearly showing general copyright information whenever possible.

Embedding metadata into image files and in image file naming system (ie. when saving/exporting out of Lightroom, Photoshop, ensure to embed all associated URLs, copyright info and meta data) so that if someone does pull an image which may have missing info—there is a chance of still maintaining related information. (This is especially key for videographers and DPs out there, as Pinterest is now allowing users to pin videos—if a pinner pulls a video from Vimeo or YouTube—Vimeo currently features the Pinterest-share icon associated with videos, however, YouTube currently does not offer this direct capability at the time of this post.)

Do note, most flash galleries do not allow for compatibility with the Pinterest browser toolbar app.

See image below for what occurs when one attempts to use the Pinterest toolbar app. to pin an image featured in a flash gallery:

(In some cases, I have seen images on Pinterest by photographers who I know host flash-based galleries.) My guess it that these images were then either screen-shots or they were pulled from images hosted externally from portfolio(s) elsewhere on the distributed web.

For general public pinners, if you can additionally try to ensure the following information is visible whenever you add new content, or simply help to correct/update the information (if you notice it’s missing credits) when re-pinning any images/videos—that is always ideal…And somewhere the original artist will be thanking you for taking the time to help preserve the integrity of their work as they generously allow our greater community to enjoy it!

Amanda N. Cooper is a freelance Art Director, Designer living/working between S.F. & L.A. and is deeply passionate about photography and surfing. She has been an active member of the Pinterest community since April of 2011 and her first re-pin on the site was of a beautiful, rusted-out vintage VW bus parked at a surf break. You can see more of Amanda’s work, link to Pinterest collection and learn more about her at: