Friday, September 30, 2011

Fearless Photographer: Portraits

From time to time a book comes out that challenges you to think differently about your portrait photography. To not just think outside the box (which is so cliche), but to really engage your subjects, and to get them to open up, be more of themselves that you're used to seeing (or they're used to showing), and really create some amazing portraiture. Fearless Photographer: Portraits - by Charlotte Richardson* is just such a book. I've added it to my recommended reading list, and encourage you to buy it and check it out.

Charlotte rarely uses Photoshop to composite/fabricate images (and discloses completely whatever may have been done in Photoshop) throughout the book. So, for example, when she places her subjects in a heart-shaped ring of fire - they really are surrounded by fire, not dropped in in post-production. As a photographer for over 20 years, she first trained to "get it right on film", so concepts like "we'll fix it in post-production" are approaches she abhors. Wherever possible, she strives to realize a vision in-camera, not as pieces composed after the fact. The book is a fun and easy read, with practical advice and Charlotte is never afraid to tell you her mistakes as well.

The book, in the end, isn't just a how-to, but also gives you inspiration and encouragement to really engage your subjects, and, yes, be fearless.

Here's an overview of the book and one of the behind-the-scenes videos (below), and after the jump are seven more videos showing behind-the-scenes looks at several chapters of the book.

Fearless Photographer Portaits - Behind the Scenes - Hearts on Fire: Ray and Angel

Fearless Photographer Portraits - Overview

(Continued after the Jump)

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Chloe Alyce and Lucky

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Preteens: Olivia and the Beach

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Soccer Stars

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Hunter: Rock Star (and cover subject)

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Blaine: A Man with a Message

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Lyndi and Clyde: Beauty Tames a Ton (Literally)

Fearless Photographer Portraits: Behind the Scenes - Agent C's Hot Wheels

* Charlotte is my better half, and I served as a humble assistant to bring her visions (and those of her subjects) to reality. She also cornered me into appearing a few times in the book.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

UPDATE: US Presswire & Gannett

Despite the deafening silence surrounding Gannett (NYSE: GCI) acquiring US Presswire officially from Gannett, other tidbits of information are coming through the grapevine, and other interesting places.

One such interesting insight comes from Photographer Thomas Shea, who's shot for USPW for some time. Shea posted this on his Facebook account:

As such, it seems that Gannett is making good on all the back debt that US Presswire photographers are owed. This is often the case when a company acquires another company - they not only get all the assets of that company, but also assume all the debt. Also what happens in many cases, is, if say, a company is valued at say $1,000,000, but the company also has $500,000 in debt, that debt is deducted from the valuation and while the purchase price/valuation is $1M, the actual payout to the company's owners is the net amount. While it is unclear if this happened in the Gannett USPW deal, it often does happen.

(Continued after the Jump)

For photographers looking at the potential detrimental effects on their bottom line, the website (here) shows a $375/$400 range of pay for an assignment. That's an incredible rate in comparison to the $100/$125 payments that Gannett is making to USPW photographers under the new deal.

As late as Sunday September 14, USPW Holdings COO Bob Rosato, is still working for Sports Illustrated, having been on the sidelines of the Ravens game and producing an SI regional cover, here. It may be that Rosato is playing out the end of a deal with SI as the Gannett arrangement ramps up, or there may be some other arrangement in place.

Also of interest, is that apparently Getty Images and US Presswire have exclusive licensing deals with college schools, whereby here, one photographer quotes the Michigan Wolverines as saying:
"The school also does not credential photography services beyond Getty Images and US Presswire, which have licensing relationships with the school, according to Ablauf."

Lastly, it seems that US Presswire (a la Gannett) is now covering high school sports - here. In the past (4 other times) USPW has covered a high school game, it was because 1. Ashton Kutcher was a coach; 2. Joe Montana's son was QB; 3.) Matt Barkey (went to play at USC). The only other thing about this game was it featured two USA Today top-5 teams. It could be that this is a new order, "on high", from Gannett.

It looks like photographers who used to earn $375/$400 won't be needed with the $100 photographer in abundance from the ranks of the USPW folks. This is yet one more example of how what you do not only affects others, but yourself, if, say, you were shooting for Gannett when they called, and USPW in the meantime - you contributed to your own cost-slashing.

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.

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