“To be really good at photography you have to be obsessed with it.” Andy Anderson

© Andy Anderson - wwww.andyandersonphoto.com

Just last week, Greg Bennett, Creative Director at WORKtoDATE  featured Andy Anderson their blog.  He republished part of the interview that Anne Telford wrote about Andy for a  Communication Arts feature story.  It struck me as I read it that Andy’s passion for photography is as timeless as his imagery.

Thank you Greg for sharing Andy’s work and vision.  To see the images featured and read the article, link here.

FoundFolios suggests that Ann Elliott Cutting’s work has become “Unhinged”

Juliette Lewis from FoundFolios recently reached out to Ann Elliott Cutting to ask her permissions to share two of her images in their newsletter.  The theme of the newsletter was “Unhinged; an exploration into what is real and not real.”  Click here for the complete posting on their site.

Juliette asked Ann to provide some background on each of the images.  Here is what she had to say about her Floating House image:

“This piece was created for an editorial assignment for Ladies Home Journal.  The story was about a clean home. Knowing that many concepts are repeated in editorial stories, I try to have fun with the assignments and give them a fresh twist. When I sketch the ideas, the most important thing is to stay at it after all the expected ideas have been fleshed out. Sketching a few more ideas usually is when the gems appear.    That is how this image came about.  (The house model was built by an Architect, and the composite was made by photographing the house on a matt of grass and adding in the sky and flowers.  The Art Director was Clare Lissaman.)

© Ann Elliott Cutting - http://www.cutting.com

Here is what she had to say about the image of  Man and Clouds:
“This image was created for a promo piece. It was a new take on having your head in the clouds.  I thought that taking it on location and having it be as if the guy is put a little off balance gave the concept a new twist.  The final image is a composite with the cloud. “

Curiosity, inspiration and finding your own voice are three of the things that Alison McCreery of POP blog discusses with Andy Anderson. That and how he got arrested in Cuba.

© Andy Anderson

Once again Alison McCreery conducts a wonderful interview.  This time with Andy Anderson.  She always finds a way to bring out the most interesting and relevant stories for her readers.

Together she and Andy talk about the importance of staying curious, bringing inspiration to his projects, and the idea of photographers having a voice.   He shares with her his ideas on collaboration and the details of his “greatest story.”

Thank you Alison for being so thoughtful in your interview and providing Andy with a chance to share his vision with your readers.

Link here for the full interview.

Jim Smithson shares how he shot 6 ads and 4 countries in just 10 hours.

Recently Jim Smithson had the pleasure of working with RR Partners shooting for their client Norwegian Cruise Lines. He and his team produced 6 ads of NCL’s associates in New York, Alaska, Bermuda, Hawaii, Italy and the Caribbean.

The catch is that he shot them all at Smashbox LA in a 10 hour span.

“Naturally, my preference would be to shoot them on location so this gig was going to be a real challenge.  We had 6 stock images that our real people talent had to be inserted into, with each location requiring a total re-light. In addition, issues of perspective and focal lengths had to be visually matched. Throw in a full compliment of agency and client in the studio and 10 hours to get it all done.  His first though was, ‘What the hell was I thinking!’

In order to maintain the tight schedule, production had to be seamless and efficient. Sr. AD Hosea Gruber was instrumental in communicating the expectations of the campaign, which meant I had a clear understanding of each locations relationship to the travel agent and vice versa.”

Hosea had this to say about working with Jim, “From an art director’s perspective, working with Jim was just about as good as it gets. We had a challenging shoot, followed by some challenging compositing to get the campaign that we needed. Not only did Jim deal with all the pre-shoot changes, the during-shoot pressure, the post-shoot curve balls, and still deliver the beautiful art we needed — he also made our clients feel listened to and taken care of throughout the entire process. He was a true collaborator and that’s what I look for.”

Jim’s experience with post/retouching also played a key role, ensuring all the visual cues were in sync while he shot and retouched on the fly. “It was pretty smooth. It generally took a few takes to get lighting and perspective matched. Being able to drop them into the backgrounds and quickly treat them was very helpful to me and reassuring to the agency and client.”

More QR Code Fun

As I mentioned in a previous post, the photographers in our group have a new perspective on their businesses and are constantly looking for new opportunities to showcase their ever evolving creative talents.  Last week, I wrote about how many of them are enjoying playing with QR Codes to hopefully engage creatives on a different level.  Hunter Freeman was the first to send out his postcard with the QR Code as part of his photograph. He has been receiving a steady stream of print requests so it has been a fun way to get instant feedback.

Kevin Twomey and Richard Schultz both also embraced the idea and have direct mail cards arriving this week.  I encouraged them both to think of an idea that was relevant to their photography and the image they chose to promote.  Here is what they came up with:

Kevin Twomey

© Kevin Twomey-www.kevintwomey.com

As is the case with many photographers, Kevin is embracing video and learning how it is relevant to his still life clients.  He has been having fun learning the technology and is looking for new ways to share what he has learned.

When he recently stumbled across Mar Glusker, a man who collects calculating machines, he knew this was the perfect opportunity to shoot both film and video. He liked the idea of not just photographing the machines but concepting an idea with the machines and the owner that utilized photography, video and sound.   He knew that together, the film and video would make for the perfect mailer and QR code reward.  With the help of Sirius Sound he directed a video that has a bit of a “STOMP” feel to it.   He is hopeful that his video is a fun payoff for those who try the scanner.  To see the link, click here.

Richard Schultz

© Richard Schultz-www.rschultz.com

Richard Schultz’s images are about finding what is most unique in a situation and capturing a moment that feels true and authentic.  He uses what he finds to create a photograph that perfectly captures the emotion of the person in their environment.  He is the true definition of a “real people” photographer.

Therefore, it was not a surprise that his idea for the link from the code centered around the people he photographed for his mailer. On a recent shoot to a girls camp in New Hampshire he photographed the campers in their own setting.  He explains that “their gift to me was forgetting that I was there.  By giving me nothing, they gave me everything.”

Therefore, it is natural that Richard’s QR code links to a note from him about his experience and a more of the photographs that he took while he was there.  It is a special glimpse into a private world.  A perfect way to get us all thinking about summer.  Link here to see where the QR code takes you.  

Hunter Freeman makes complicated seem effortless. Here are 4 tips for a successful photo shoot.

© Hunter Freeman - http://www.hunterfreeman.com

I have been representing Hunter Freeman for almost 15 years now and I am still constantly learning from him. He has a professionalism and approach to business and life that I model as best that I can in my own business and life.  He is respectful, thoughtful and truly a genuine person.  He makes everything he does seem effortless.  And, for those of us who strive for this, we know how hard effortless can be.  It is no wonder then that the photo shoots he orchestrates are well oiled machines where the clients walk away happy.

Hunter recently produced and shot a complicated campaign for Executive Creative Director Sunny Teo and Senior Designer Gigi Lam of  DAE and Wells Fargo.  It was complicated because not only was there a variety of talent and ethnically specific wardrobe to manage but there were multiple locations and many shots in one day.

The first scenario was a series  in a Chinese “Saturday school” classroom, which included multiple repositioning and relighting options.   Following that scenario, in a different area of the location, was a scene shot in an Indian Kathak dance studio, which had a group of Kathak dancers in the background.

The day had a schedule and Hunter depended on the crew to help make it run smoothly.   As a team they  had to load in gear, props and wardrobe, light and prop the sets, direct talent into wardrobe and makeup, postion them on the set, shoot them (minor detail, right?), and then wrap out of the location within the scheduled ten hours.

When it went off without a hitch, I asked him to share with me what made it work.  Of course the list is straight forward and all about common sense.  But then again, so is Hunter.

Here is what he had to say about his experience:

1)  It was very organized. My producer, Sue Pinkerton, put in more than enough time on the front end (as did the prop stylist and location scout), and it paid off when I shot.  The timing during the whole day, the arrival/departure of talent, prep areas, lunch break area, really everything, had been considered and squared away ahead of time.  There was no room for error and every scenario and every need was well thought out.

2)  We were flexible.  When the client had specific needs that changed, we were able to move quickly to adapt our talent, props, wardrobe, etc., to those needs.  On any shoot, anything can change, and the fact that everyone was aware that things could change, and was prepared to handle it, proved invaluable.  No time wasted scrambling for an unexpected change of wardrobe, or an added prop.

3)  The whole crew was thoroughly professional. I am so grateful to work with people who are so patient and SMART. I try to always hire people who are smarter than I am, and they’re intelligent enough to think, plan, and act in advance of the day’s events.   No egos, no problems.

4)  We didn’t lose the forest for the trees. Focused:  Everyone was keeping an eye on all parts of the shoot, so that no details went wrong or, worse missing.  The stylists were extremely organized and laid out everything we would need.  The hair and makeup stylists more than kept up with the shoot, and were there on set when needed.   Photo assistants  were always right there to move a light, change a flag, raise/lower the tripod – you name it, they did it.

“The bottom line is that everyone acted as part of the team – always keeping an eye on the goal.  I know that the ideas are obvious but I remind myself all the time that it is the obvious details that can make or break a shoot.  If I get the easy ones right there is plenty of time to spend on the more complicated ones.”  – Hunter Freeman

Bell jars + soot + Blue Morpho Butterly = a cover image by Kevin Twomey for a post-apocoalyptic story.

© Kevin Twomey-www.twomey.com

Kevin Twomey was recently approached by  Grand Central publishing to create the cover image for critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott‘s upcoming novel, Pure.  After a day of playing with beautiful Blue Morpho Butterfly specimens and covering bell jars with soot, he came up with the following image for this post-apocoalyptic story, which will be released this May.

Looking for some eye candy today? Ann Elliott Cutting delivers in blue and red.

© Ann Elliott Cutting - http://www.cutting.com

Ann Elliott Cutting has a knack for everything conceptual so when I asked her to send me something  visual for the blog I wasn’t surprised when she sent me these images.  None of them were shot together nor were they for the same project.  This is just Ann pairing images that go well together.  That common thread that runs through all of her imagery sure does runs deep with her.