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January 29th, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography and Filmmaking

quattrostagioni | Flickr

quattrostagioni | Flickr

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz

Photojournalism and the Middle East – Lens Culture

Keep it Simple: The Life of Magnum’s Dark Room Printer Gup

The Quandary of the Unreliable Narrator Documentary.org

Two Takes on Virtual Reality FilmmakingPost

The Master of All Photo TradesRangefinder

How Birth of a Nation Became Sundance’s Biggest SaleWired

Kodak’s Old School Response to DisruptionNew Yorker

Photography as ProvocationThe Economist

Funding and Distributing a Full-Length Documentary – PDN

Not enough? Find past weekend reads here.

January 25th, 2016

Time Inc. Issues Amended Contract; Sports Illustrated Rescinds Assignments

Four long-time Sports Illustrated photographers who lost NFL assignments for refusing to sign Time Inc’s controversial photo agreement have been given a second chance to sign, according to a photographer who spoke to PDN on condition of anonymity.

The photographers were reportedly sent new, revised contracts on Tuesday, January 19. The revision was in the form of a letter clarifying the terms of the contract. Time Inc. issued the letter earlier this month to all contributors, but critics said it was not legally binding. According to PDN‘s source, Time Inc. has made the letter a legally-binding addendum for the hold-out SI contributors.

Those contributors were reportedly told they would be reinstated for future assignments, if they sign the contract with the addendum.

The addendum includes two specific references to Sports Illustrated. One states that the brand “will continue its current practice of sharing syndication revenue 50/50 with photographers for individual photos that are licensed without the SI brand and SI content.” The other reference confirms that “Sports Illustrated will continue to allow its photographers to sign for credentials.”

Four SI contributors were unsatisfied by the contract addendum and were pulled off of the games this past weekend because they still have not signed the agreement, according to a source.

A Time Inc. spokesperson contacted by PDN did not answer questions regarding the photographers’ football assignments for Sports Illustrated, or comment on the revision that made the “clarifications” legally binding.

Jill S. Davidson, Time Inc’s VP of corporate communications, said in a statement sent to PDN, “Time Inc. informed photographers, including those who received assignments for Sports Illustrated, over two months ago that assignments for 2016 would be made under an approved Time Inc. agreement and that photographers who did not sign an approved Time Inc. agreement cannot take commissioned photographs for Time Inc. starting in 2016.”

A photographer who spoke with PDN said the SI contributors’ loss of assignments is not the fault of SI photo editors: “If they had their druthers, they would have their old staffers covering the football… as was planned,” the photographer said.

The rescinded assignments followed the shakeup of the Sports Illustrated photo department. Director of photography Brad Smith, longtime picture editor Claire Bourgeois and SportsIllustrated.com photo director John Blackmar were all laid off on Friday, January 15.

A year ago Sports Illustrated laid off its six remaining staff photographers.

Related: Photographers, Reps Push Back on Time Inc Contract’s Rights Grab
Time Inc. Issues “Clarifications,” But No Changes, to Photo Contract

December 14th, 2015

Free Toolkit and Video Series Provide Business Education for Artists

It’s difficult for many artists to think rigidly about time management, goal setting, branding, marketing, social media strategy and other decidedly business-like actions, but that’s exactly what a new, free artist’s education series from Creative Exchange proposes artists do.

Work of Art, as the video and workbook series is called, was produced from a professional development and entrepreneurship curriculum that has been taught to artists at colleges and cultural institutions for the past five years. Based on input from working artists, the curriculum aims to give both current and would-be artists the tools to run a successful creative business.

Creative Exchange, the organization that developed the Work of Art curriculum, is a national organization that connects and educates artists and community leaders in an effort to strengthen communities at a local level.

Topics covered in the workbook and video series include career planning, time management, portfolios, marketing, social media, pricing, recordkeeping, legal considerations, funding and business plan writing. In each topic category, the workbook suggests written exercises that will help an artist do things like define their brand, set goals and make personal assessments. One of the workbook tasks, for example, is to create an “Accountability Mailer.” The artist is encouraged to define goals for a six-month period, and to mail or give a copy of those goals to a person who will hold them accountable.

It may be difficult for the creative-minded to see their life and work structured like a Six Sigma certification course. However, with a focus on clear thought, organization and goal-driven work, the Work of Art toolkit has the potential to give artists more of what they really want and need: time in the day to focus on their creative work.

Related: What I Didn’t Learn in Art School: Life Lessons from Photographers (subscriber login required)
Advice From the Trenches for Graduating Photography Students
13 Tips For Building Your Fine-Art Network (subscriber login required)

November 5th, 2015

B&H Photo Video Warehouse Workers Vote to Unionize

Warehouse employees of B&H Photo Video have voted to unionize under the umbrella of the United Steelworkers, radio station WNYC has reported.

The vote, held yesterday among workers in two B&H warehouses in Brooklyn, was 200 to 88, according to the union.

After the vote, B&H spokesperson Henry Posner said in a prepared statement, “B&H Photo has always stood behind our employees’ legal right to seek union representation, and today’s outcome and our commitment to engage in a respectful dialogue with our employees and their representatives still holds true.”

Workers at the warehouses—many of whom are Hispanic—had complained of unsafe working conditions and discrimination, according to press reports. For instance, The New York Times reported last month that union organizers claimed B&H warehouse employees had been forced to work in warehouses where emergency exits were blocked; were exposed to dusty air that allegedly caused rashes and nosebleeds; and were pressured by management to sign English-language forms releasing B&H from medical claims.

A B&H senior executive countered in that same Times article that “B&H provides terrific benefits, highly competitive wages, and a safe, friendly environment.”

Laundry Workers Center, a non-profit labor group, began its efforts last year to help B&H workers unionize. United Steelworkers contacted B&H management last month, asking to be recognized “as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of the employees.”

That request set the union vote in motion. Shortly afterwards, hundreds of photographers, filmmakers, and other industry professionals began signing a petition in support of the B&H employees. (The petition was initiated by union organizers, including Laundry Workers Center.)

The union alleges that B&H “ran an aggressive anti-union campaign prior to the vote.”

In his statement asserting B&H’s commitment to work with the union, Posner also said that the company has “gone to great lengths to ensure the highest standards for living wages and benefits, workplace safety, and respect and dignity in the workplace.”

—David Walker

 

November 5th, 2015

DJI Buys “Strategic Minority Stake” in Hasselblad

DJI Phantom 3

Drone-maker DJI is buying a strategic minority stake in Hasselblad, the two companies announced today.

Just how much DJI paid was not disclosed, but the Chinese drone builder earns a place on Hasselblad’s Board of Directors.

According to a joint press release, the tie-up “will allow opportunities and new ways of combining the technical knowledge and inventive spirit of the two industry leaders in their respective fields.”

The companies “will each focus on their individual strategic directions and related growth opportunities, with marketing and branding platforms continuing to delineate the two companies,” the release stated.

As far as manufacturing, Hasselblad cameras and gear will still be produced in Sweden, and DJI will continue to make products in Shenzhen, China.

A DJI spokesperson told us that the two companies will not only continue to develop their own gear, they are also “exploring ways to combine the strengths of DJI and Hasselblad through joint projects.”

We can only speculate what that will mean. A 50-megapixel drone, perhaps?

November 3rd, 2015

Approximately 180 National Geographic Employees Being Laid Off, Others Offered Buyouts

National Geographic has confirmed that 9 percent of their 2,000 employees (approximately 180 people) are being laid off, less than two months after the National Geographic Society announced that 21st Century Fox had acquired a controlling stake in the magazine and other media assets for $725 million. There is no word yet on how many people in National Geographic’s photography department have been affected. One photo editor for the magazine, Sherry L. Brukbacher, confirmed on Twitter that she was among the “many” let go today. In addition to the staffers being laid off, the company is offering buyouts to an unknown number of longtime employees.

“The National Geographic Society and the National Geographic Channels are in the process of reorganizing in order to move forward strategically following the closing of the NG Partners deal [with Fox], which is expected to occur in mid-November,” National Geographic’s SVP of communications M.J. Jacobsen told PDN via email.

“Involuntary separations will represent about 9 percent of the overall workforce reduction, many in shared services and a voluntary separation offer has also been made to eligible employees,” Jacobsen added.

We’ll update this story as we learn more.

Update: Senior photo editor Kim Hubbard confirmed on Facebook that she was among those let go today. “Thank you for the calls and messages on what has been a surreal and sad day,” she wrote. “Over the past five years I’ve worked with some amazing photographers, designers, writers, editors, and scientists on stories that I am incredibly proud of. Now I’m looking ahead to the next big thing (if you know what that is, please let me know! ?) I’ll be with Nat Geo until Jan 31st.”

November 2nd, 2015

Staying Ahead of the Curve: The Importance of Photography Education

Sponsored by NYIP

 

© Chris Corradino Photography 

© Chris Corradino Photography

The age-old adage goes: “It’s never too late to learn.” The saying is especially true in photography, a field that’s a breeding ground for rapid advancements. Even for professionals, instruction can be vital at all stages of a photographer’s career. New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) student advisor George Delgado points to the fact that photography is both timeless and in constant flux, particularly with technology evolving at so fast a pace.

Licensed by the New York State Department of Education, the New York Institute of Photography is largest online photography school in the world. After more than a century of training photographers, the reach and influence of this venerable institution is now global thanks to the modern-day luxury of online education. The school’s most popular program, the Complete Course in Professional Photography is widely considered to be the gold standard for a well-rounded photographic education by many in the image-making industry today.

© Chris Corradino Photography

© Chris Corradino Photography

NYIP lessons incorporate audio, video and reading assignments—accessed in an online learning center—with exams and photo projects judiciously reviewed by professional photographers. While the courses are delivered using Internet technology, all students benefit from the personal mentoring and assistance provided by licensed instructors—professional photographers themselves—via email and telephone.

Chris Corradino, a professional photographer based in New York City, is NYIP’s faculty director as well as an instructor. He’s also a graduate of the program. With his own business specializing in photojournalism, travel and editorial photography—some of his recent credits include work published by the Associated Press, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal—Corradino knows firsthand the value of NYIP’s curriculum. “Even if you are already comfortable with the technical aspects of photography, the program covers a wide array of topics,” he says. “The teachers provide personalized evaluations full of useful information you can take into the field with you.”

© Chris Corradino Photography

© Chris Corradino Photography

While the curriculum is designed to start with the basics of any subject and build upon skills as they develop, many photographers who are already working in the field sign up for courses in order to keep ahead of the curve in their ever-changing profession. Delgado too was an NYIP student before joining the staff. He first enrolled in order to find out if he could match his lifelong enthusiasm for photography with the skills needed to pursue a career as a professional. Years later, he credits the comprehensive education he got from NYIP for the success of his New York City-based business of portrait photography.

A formally structured curriculum, such as the Complete Course in Professional Photography, is an invaluable means for gaining the in-depth knowledge and skills needed for a lucrative career in photography. In addition, an NYIP Graduation Certificate serves as an important professional credential.

See the full NYIP course listing here: https://www.nyip.edu/courses

October 28th, 2015

Keeping Your Photo Business Profitable During the Holidays

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Sponsored by Zenfolio

The holidays can be a stressful time when you may find yourself spending more money than you’re making. But if you’re a photographer, fear not! You can turn the holidays into a very profitable season. The experts at Zenfolio provide five easy ways to market your photography business during the holidays, because let’s face it: what says “personal” more than giving a photo gift to loved ones?

mobile-selling

Here, Zenfolio provides five ways to advertise your site (and how to host a sale) during the busiest shopping season of the year:

  1. Offer Coupons and Gift Certificates

Everyone loves a good deal. Offer clients a coupon during the holiday season for an incentive to buy. Zenfolio offers three types of coupons: amount-based, percentage-based and base cost. Amount-based coupons subtract the discount amount from the order total, percentage coupons subtract discounts as a percentage of order total (sales tax excluded) and, lastly, base-cost coupons allow customers to order products at their base cost, bypassing any markup you may have added. You also have the option with Zenfolio to create a huge batch of coupons all at once.

Gift certificates are foolproof: they allow the gift recipient to pick exactly what they want for the holidays. Zenfolio offers gift certificates that act as a credit where the photographer creates the code to share with clients, and can be a form of payment during checkout to make the process simpler.

  1. Banner Advertisement

What’s better than advertising your sale front and center on your homepage? Zenfolio allows users to display banners in several different ways: photo, video, slideshow or a horizontal photo strip. It’s easy to display a sale you’re having, and you can even link it directly to the products offered for sale.

banner-ad

  1. Expiring Galleries

A different approach to getting customers to act is to set a deadline on their galleries. This means you can put an expiration date on when their photos will be available for viewing online. This will give them a gentle nudge to buy before their photos disappear. Zenfolio gives the option to set expiration dates on galleries, and after that date it is only seen as private. A notification email is sent to clients to remind them of this date.

  1. Visitor Sign-In

A great way to build clients is to have a visitor sign-in page, so you can market to your visitors later. Think of it as a modern day guest book for your website. With Zenfolio, you can apply a sign-in page to a group or gallery to gather information from those interested in your photography. This will be a helpful list to have on hand when you have sales so you can share the sale details to your entire list.

sale

  1. Email Campaigns

Once you have that list of followers (even if it’s a small group, at first), Zenfolio allows you to send emails to your entire list, or to a selected tagged group of contacts. You can send out promotional emails for your sale with coupon code information inside, and push it with an expiration date (for example: two-day sale!). If it’s a previous client, it may be wise to direct them to a specific gallery. For example, you can entice them to buy framed prints from an old portrait that they can give to a loved one.

For more detailed information about how to advertise during the holidays, watch this free Zenfolio webinar. Get started on your own website with the two-week free trial today.

October 26th, 2015

PhotoPlus Expo 2015: John Keatley on Thriving in Business, Marketing and Style

In his seminar, “Learning to Thrive as an Artist: Business, Marketing and Style for Photographers,” during PhotoPlus Expo this past week, Seattle-based commercial photographer John Keatley neatly summed up one of the themes of the 2015 PhotoPlus Expo conference: In a market in which technically proficient, beautiful photography can be and is created by the masses, professional photographers are “hired [by commercial clients] to create something scarce.” Personal style and vision are essential, in other words. “Anyone can learn to master technique,” Keatley says. “No one can replicate your decision-making process.” The talk was an abbreviated version of the three-day workshop Keatley puts on a few times each year.

On style

In his relationships with clients, Keatley defines his style through the work he chooses to show, and how he talks in meetings and during creative calls as he’s bidding on jobs. Keatley says his “goal in talking to a client is to show them that I think about photography in a different way.” He shared with seminar attendees the dictionary definition of style and said he believes style “is not something you choose, it’s who you are.” He made an analogy with acting style, sharing a video in which the actor Brian Cranston talks about a revelation in his career when he stopped worrying during auditions about getting a job and started concentrating on showing who he was as an actor.

Keatley urged his audience to contemplate who they are as photographers by coming up with 7 to 10 words that describe ideas, attitudes and other things they value, and thinking about how those values manifest themselves in their work. Keatley also urged his audience to understand that developing one’s style “is a journey,” and it’s something that a photographer develops and evolves throughout their career.

(more…)

October 14th, 2015

PDN Parent Company Acquires HOW Graphic Design Events

Today Emerald Expositions, the parent company of Photo District News, Rangefinder, PhotoPlus Expo and WPPI, announced the acquisition of HOW Design Live, the largest graphic design conference and expo in the nation, and the HOW Interactive Design Conference series. “HOW is an institution in the graphic design industry and Emerald looks forward to continuing to deliver highly inspirational and educational events to this growing professional community,” said David Loechner, Chief Executive Officer of Emerald, in a statement.

Below is the full press release detailing the acquisition. (more…)