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.

Featuring David Martinez’s Video Portfolio This Week.

After spending all last week showing off our portfolios on appointments in NY, at the At Edge Face to Face event and in Los Angeles at Le Books’ Connections event, we were reminded how much people really appreciate flipping through an actual portfolio rather than clicking through one on line.

We know that timing and budget does not always allow for that, so we asked each of our artists to create a video of their portfolio for people to watch online.  It isn’t the same of course, but a little bit closer to the experience than a website.

This week we are featuring David Martinez.  See below for his full video.  To see the other videos from our group that we have posted so far, please link here.

Enjoy!

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Heather Elder Represents Rethinks the Agency Portfolio.

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Last year, we decided that it was a good time to create an AGENCY PORTFOLIO.  We had a fantastic group of photographers and many opportunities to show it off.  We didn’t want it to be a typical group book that had a section for each photographer.  While we like those and they are always very strong, we wanted ours to be a little different so that it would stand out more at events such as Le Book’s Connections.

What we came up with was a portfolio divided by SPECIALTY instead of by PHOTOGRAPHER.  We liked this idea because it allowed us to showcase the type of work our group can offer while allowing the viewer to file our group away by different specialities.  Of course it is always our main goal for a creative to learn who our photographers are and what they shoot individually.  This will never change.  But, by offering an alternate way for them to view the work in our group, we are opening up another opportunity for them to remember the work.

More often than not the Agency Portfolio is shown in conjunction with the individual portfolios so if a viewer is interested in seeing more, they can choose to do so right then and there.  This is particularly helpful in a setting like Le Book Connections because there are so many books to view and it can get overwhelming for some. We have found that our agency book provides a breath of fresh air in a crowded market.

Take a look for yourself and see.  It is no mistake that we chose the song, Breathe by Sia as the background music.  Enjoy!

Click here to see the video of our Agency Portfolio

Click here to see the video of our Agency Portfolio

Commercial Photography is Not Dead. Just ask Ram Trucks, The Richards Group and Ten Talented Photographers.

Last night, I watched on Facebook as people commented on the Superbowl commercials.  The best post came from my friend Will Burns, President of Ideasicle, around the third quarter.  It read, ” Do the ads know it is the Superbowl?”  By the amount of similar posts it was obvious that people agreed.

I agreed until the Ram Farmers ad created by The Richards Group aired.  Once that spot hit, Facebook was a buzz with cheers and recognition for a spot well done.  The Paul Harvey speech was powerful, the message was powerful, the farmers of course were powerful.  But, for those of us in the industry, it was also the photography that was powerful.  How nice to see a tv spot, let alone a Superbowl spot, be a hero with photography.  Wasn’t is just a few years ago we were hearing that commercial photography was dying?  Well, thank you Ram Trucks and The Richards Group for reminding us that is still very much alive.

I am proud to say that our photographer, Andy Anderson, was one of the ten photographers that participated in this wonderful project.  Andy was humbled by the opportunity and honored by the chance to document visually his connection to the farming community.   To see what Andy had to share about this project, link to his blog here.

Special thanks need to go out to the Ram Trucks client, The Richards Group, Jimmy Bonner, Rob Baker and Deb Grisham for their commitment to their vision.  And of course to the ten talented photographers:  William Allard, Andy Anderson, Jim ArndtDaniel BeltraMark GoochAndy MahrKurt MarkusDavid SpielmanMatt Turley and Olaf Veltman.

Don’t “Freak Out” – you can now see Hunter Freeman’s portfolio on video.

As with the others in our group, we have created a video for Hunter Freeman’s portfolio.  And, in keeping with his style he chose a song that will make you chuckle. Hint:  See title of this post.  And, to add his own brand of humor, the song is performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Check it out below.

Hunter Freeman’s Video Photography Portfolio

If you would like to see Hunter’s portfolio in person, please email us here.  And, to see more of his work.  Be sure to link to his website.

Haven’t had a chance to see Kevin Twomey’s portfolio up close and personal? See what you are missing.

As I mentioned in our first video portfolio post last week, it is pretty rare when we get to send out a portfolio for a request. Nowadays, they are used mostly for portfolio shows and events.  It doesn’t make them any less important of course.  In fact, I would argue they are even more important now.  They are rarely seen so when they are they need to shine!

We thought it would be great if more people were able to see the portfolio so we asked Marc Viarta, a videographer, to video tape someone reviewing Kevin Twomey’s portfolio.  We added some fun music and posted them to Vimeo.  We will be adding Kevin’s video as well as others from our group to our websites soon.

If you would like to see Kevin’s portfolio in person, please email us – we would love the request!  And, if you would like to see Kevin’s website, please link here.

Link here to see Kevin Twomey’s video portfolio

Birth of a Gummy Bear

When the trend started a few years back where photographers started learning to shoot video, many people wondered how a still life photographer could utilize video and still make it interesting.  Kevin Twomey has shown once again that it is entirely possible to do so by exploring yet another interesting subject, The Birth of a Gummy Bear.  When I asked him about it, here is what he had to say.

“I look at food as a still life challenge, asking myself how I would represent it in a way that stimulates the senses beyond the predictable “mmm, delicious”.   How might I evoke an emotional, rather than salivary, response?

The gummy bear imagery emerged after toying with ideas for a holiday card a couple of years ago, where I explored the after-effects of destroying
candy (mostly by smashing them to bits).  Experimentally melting some pieces, I saw how beautiful they looked as their sugars liquified.  That
led to the microwaving of gummy bears, which then led to my seeking a more precise way of melting: the hair dryer.  As I strategically melted the
gummy bears for my still shots, I noticed how beautifully the thick liquid flowed.  The dynamics were so compelling, I had to film them, not just
melting to their demise, but in a way that celebrates the creation of the beloved candy.”

To see more videos by Kevin Twomey, link to previous blog posts about other videos he created or to his website.

Want to see Ron Berg’s new portfolio? Just click here and think of the Fedex charges you will save.

As we all know, it is pretty rare when we get to send out a portfolio for a request. Nowadays, they are used mostly for portfolio shows and events.  It doesn’t make them any less important of course.  In fact, I would argue they are even more important now.  They are rarely seen so when they are they need to shine!

We thought it would be great if more people were able to see Ron Berg’s portfolio so we asked Marc Virata, a videographer, to video tape someone reviewing the book.  We added some fun music and posted it to Vimeo.  We will be adding Ron’s video as well as videos from the rest of our group,  to our websites soon.

If you would like to see the portfolio in person, please email us – we would love the request!  And if you would like to see Ron Berg’s work on line, please link here.

Click here for a video of Ron Berg’s portfolio

See why Kevin Twomey connects his shoot with a pelican to The Chaos Theory. Check out the images and video and see if you agree.

© Kevin Twomey

After the success of Julianna Baggot’s book PUR, Grand Central Publishing released the second book in the series, Fuse.  And, once again,  Kevin Twomey had the honor of photographing the cover.  And this time, it didn’t feature butterflies.  It featured a pelican.  When we asked Kevin to share some of his experience with us, here is what he wrote.

“There are times when I become so wrapped up in the technical challenges of an assignment that not until its end do I realize how inspiring it was.  The photographing of a pelican’s wing for the cover of Fuse, the second book in Julianna Baggott’s post-apocalyptic trilogy, was just such an assignment.

From the photograph, you can see the impressive 8-foot wingspan of Neptune, the year-old pelican we had the pleasure of showcasing for this assignment.  The relationship with his trainer, Joe Krathwohl, was heartwarming; the pelican toddled behind Joe everyplace he went, even waiting outside the bathroom door for him.  Joe’s knowledge and passion for his work soon prompted us to bestow upon him the title of “bird whisperer”.

But what really inspired me was the turbulence generated by the powerful flap of his wings.  It brought to mind the chaos theory quote about how a bird (or butterfly) flapping its wings can affect the future course of weather halfway around the world.  It generates the indescribable feeling of being at the source of something simple yet incredibly powerful, and not yet knowing in which direction it will go.

And how privileged I felt to be able to capture that moment, from our chaotic environment of passion and expertise and inter-species relationships, when the bird flapped his wings.”