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January 5th, 2016

Nikon Unveils D5, D500 and New 4K 360-Degree VR Camera


Following a brief internet tease, Nikon revealed the much sought-after specs for its newest flagship full frame DSLR, the D5. The camera checks off a lot of boxes including super-high ISO, 4K video recording and a burst mode of 12 fps with tracking AF engaged.

The company also pulled back the curtain on its new flagship crop sensor camera, the D500, and marked its entry into the action camera market with a new 360-degree camera.

But first, the big gun.

Here are the D5’s highlights:

    • The camera features a newly developed 20-megapixel CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100-102,400 with extended settings for ISO 50-3,280,000 (not a typo!).
    • EXPEED 5 Image processor
    •  4K videos recording (3840x2160p30) with clean HDMI out
    • 153 AF points, including 99-point cross sensor and 15 points functional at f/8 plus a new AF processor
    • Continuous shooting at 12 fps with AF tracking up to 200 frames when shooting 15-bit lossless RAW
    • focusing down to -4 EV illumination
    • a 3.2-inch, 2.36 million dot touchscreen display
    • dual memory card slots
    • 100 field of view through the viewfinder with a magnification of .72 times
    • USB 3.0 connection
    • Battery EN-EL18a


The D5 will be sold in a body with two XQD card slots or a model with two CF card slots. Both models are due in March for a body-only price of $6,500. Nikon says the XQD cards will deliver image transfer speeds 35 percent faster than CF cards. (More images of the D5 are below.)


Nikon also debuted a new flagship DX (crop sensor) camera in the D500. The highlights:

  • a  20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor with a native  ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to 50-1,640,000
  • 10 fps burst shooting (up to 79 shots in 14-bit uncompressed RAW) with AF and AE engaged
  • Same AF system as the D5 with a 153-point AF array that fills the frame from side to side
  • A 3.2-inch touch screen display
  • A dual memory card slot for SD cards and XQD cards
  • Updated SnapBridge technology for easier wirelessly photo transfers via Bluetooth.
  • 4K recording at 3840x2160p30

It will ship in March with a body-only price of $2,000.



There were fewer details on Nikon’s entry into the 4K camera market. The company plans to call the lineup KeyMission with the first camera, the KeyMission 360. It will offer a pair of image sensors/lenses on either side of the device to capture and stitch a single 360-degree still or 4K video. It will be waterproof to a depth of 100 feet and shock resistant. Electronic VR will keep things steady.

Nikon will have more details closer to the spring, when the camera is set to launch.

nikon_18-55_af-p-550x316Nikon also added a pair of DX format 3.1x zoom lenses, the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G.

According to Nikon, these are the first “AF-P” lenses for Nikon digital SLR cameras, which incorporate stepping motors to drive autofocusing. They offer retractable lens barrels and two aspherical lens elements. The AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR also features vibration reduction good for a CIPA-rated 4 stops of compensation.

The lenses accept 55m filters. Prices weren’t announced.


Finally, Nikon released a new speedlight, the SB-5,000. It’s the first Nikon model that operates via radio frequency without requiring a direct line-of-sight. It will have a range of 98 feet.  When paired with the WR-R10 and the D5 or the D500, this speedlight can control up to six groups / 18 speedlights. The flash will offer a programmable “i” button for access to frequently used settings.

It will ship in March for $600.


January 5th, 2016

Seagate Unveils Worlds Thinnest 2TB Portable Drive

Unlike the rest of those early January gym goers huffing on the treadmill, Seagate’s newest portable hard drive can already fit it its skinny clothes–and yours as well.

The company’s new Backup Plus Ultra Slim external drive, introduced at CES, measures in at 9.6mm thick, 50 percent thinner than rival 2TB drives, Seagate claims.

The drive includes Seagate Dashboard software for backing up your laptop or desktop. It also includes 200GB worth of free storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud for two years.

It will come in either a golden or platinum metal finish. Prices haven’t been finalized but the drives are said to ship in the first quarter.


Seagate-owned Lacie made its own CES introduction, albeit it one with a bit more girth.

The new Lacie Chrome desktop storage device features a pair of 500GB SSD drives configured in RAID 0. Together, the drives and USB 3.1 connection can deliver transfer speeds up to 940MB/s or, as Lacie put it, the ability to ingest two hours of 4K GoPro footage in just over a minute.

The Chrome uses the new USB-C connection (learn about USB-C and what it means for photographers here)  and includes a standard USB 3.0 (Type-A) adapter cable if you don’t have the newest USB hardware.

The Chrome enclosure is built from solid chromed zinc and is hand assembled, then chromed to a mirror polish.

The 1TB drive will retail for $1,100 and ships this quarter.


LaCie also unveiled a new line of Porsche Designed drives with the new USB-C connector (and an included Type-A connector cable). The drives will be sold in both mobile and desktop varieties and feature all-aluminum enclosures that’s scratch resistant and dissipates heat.

When the drives are connected to a power supply, they’ll be able to charge any connected laptop over USB, allowing users to both charge their computer and access the drive’s contents simultaneously.

The LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive will be available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities starting at $110. The LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive comes in 4TB, 5TB and 8TB capacities starting at $210. The drives will be available starting in March.


Follow PDN’s CES 2016 coverage here.


January 4th, 2016

Photographer Sues Richard Prince Over Instagram Rip-offs… At Last

"Rastafarian Smoking a Joint" ©Donald Graham

“Rastafarian Smoking a Joint” ©Donald Graham

Photographer Donald Graham has sued appropriation artist Richard Prince and his gallerist Lawrence Gagosian for copyright infringement of a photo that appeared without Graham’s authorization on Instagram, and then in a gallery exhibition of Prince’s appropriation work.

Prince drew public complaints and vitriol last year for unauthorized reproduction, display and sale of a series of 67 x 55-inch inkjet prints of Instagram “screen saves” of images by other artists and photographers. But Graham is the first to sue.

The Los Angeles-based photographer filed suit in federal court in New York on December 30, alleging unauthorized use of a 1996 photograph (shown here) of a Rastafarian man lighting a joint. Graham alleges in his claim that a third party posted his photograph on Instagram without permission, and that Prince copied and enlarged that unauthorized photo and displayed it as part of his 2014 “New Portraits” exhibition.

Graham’s complaint calls Prince out for “his blatant disregard for copyright law” and goes on to say that “Mr. Prince consistently and repeatedly has incorporated others’ works” into his own works, without permission, credit or compensation. (more…)

December 23rd, 2015

Great Photography and Filmmaking Reads for Your (Extended) Weekend

Tom Moscardo | Flickr

Tom Moscardo | Flickr

We’ve got a nice long weekend ahead of us and we hope you’ve carved out a few minutes to catch up on some reading. Here are a few pieces that caught our eye this week.

The Small, Stylish Comeback of Steampunk

Frederick Douglass Knew the Power of PhotographyBaltimore Sun

Slow Photojournalism: The Rise of Long-Term AssignmentsBBC

Photographers on the Downside of Going Viral Feature Shoot

Virtual Reality: Should You Believe the Hype?PDN

December 17th, 2015

Prints Under Pressure: Lindsay Adler’s Whirlwind Live Shoot

Presented by Canon

The dissemination of photography online has plenty of advantages, and the ability to visually communicate without barriers on the Web has become a monumental boon for contemporary photographers. But for fashion and beauty photographer Lindsay Adler, who does attribute much of her success to her online reach, printing her work still makes an impact unrivaled by any touchscreen.

On her blog, Adler writes: “[In person], viewers take their time exploring the image, appreciating the detail and interacting with art you’ve created. Seeing your images in print feels like taking the image to its final conclusion.”

Adler’s quote comes from her blog post about a live shoot, gallery show and panel she participated in earlier this fall, hosted by Canon. Adler’s vivid work was a perfect fit for the event, titled Behind The Print: A Look Inside A Photographer’s Obsession, which celebrated Canon’s launch of the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer. The two-day whirlwind event included a combined 24 hours of production, culminating in a 1.5-hour shoot in front of a live audience. Portrait photographer Joel Grimes and sports photographer David Bergman were also on set conducting their own shoots in front of the audience. Adler, who is comfortable working with big sets and multiple concepts, took on the project.

Canon imagePROGRAPH Pro 1000 Printer event - Lindsay Adler Photo

A final image from the first live-shoot setup. Photo © Lindsay Adler


The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 turning out Adler’s prints. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Adler

In an interview with Adler, she says, “I love clean, bold and graphic imagery that demand viewers’ attention. That’s what I aimed to create while showing the Pro-1000’s ability to show rich and saturated colors, shadow detail and fine detail.” After pitching different mood boards to Canon, Adler assembled her team, including hair and makeup artist Griselle Rosario, styling teams 4 Season Style Management and Ivie Joy Flowers and retoucher Tetyana Mykhalska.

In a typical shoot, Adler says she budgets several hours per shot to get the lighting, posing and concept right. For this event, she created 13 different looks over two 12-hour sessions. Then came the live shoot, for which hundreds of people were ushered in to watch Adler, Bergman and Grimes each construct sets, shoot and print work in less than two hours. Adler, who created two sets—one with an elaborate floral wall and one all-red-everything motif—had no room for error. Lighting, posing, image selection, retouching and printing all had to be achieved within the time frame.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 12.16.23 PM

Behind the scenes of the first live-shoot setup. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Adler

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 12.16.38 PM

Behind the scenes of the second live-shoot setup. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Adler

“This event was as far opposite of [typical] conditions as possible,” she says. But the purpose it served was unique: viewers were invited to view all of the moving parts that go into a shoot from inception to print. The on-the-fly choices made by Adler and her team were accessible to the audience, highlighting the obsessive attention to detail that goes into production, right up to the prints made by the equally detail-oriented PRO-1000.

Communication was the foundation for this type of shoot. “If I failed to communicate concepts or ideas, the shot would have fallen flat—and we would have lost a lot of time trying to salvage it,” she explains. Adler recommends practice, practice, practice for shoots with little time and lots of pressure. Her mood board, which included inspiration for hair, makeup, wardrobe and lighting, became the shoot’s blueprint, keeping everyone visually on the same page.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 12.15.24 PM

Lindsay Adler and her team on set selecting images for print. Photo courtesy of Lindsday Adler

No matter how much a photographer plans for a shoot, though, technology can sometimes throw a wrench into the works. But the PRO-1000, the final step in Adler’s shoot, kept humming along and making true-to-color prints. “I didn’t need to worry about the limitations of the printer,” Adler says. “I knew that if I captured rich colors, the printer would show them. If I wanted high contrast while maintaining details in the black—no problem.” And there was never a bottleneck, she says, calling the speed “lightning fast.”

Canon imagePROGRAPH Pro 1000 Printer event - Lindsay Adler Photo

A final image from the second live-shoot setup. Photo © Lindsay Adler

Seeing her work hung on the gallery walls gave both the audience—and Adler—more appreciation for the level of detail she put in. And while she believes that social media is still an “incredibly powerful tool” for sharing her work, printing her photographs does justice to her meticulousness. “The two processes together—sharing images [online] and printing your favorite shots,” she explains, “are a powerful approach to appreciating and sharing your vision.”

December 17th, 2015

Some (Mostly) Fun Photo Stats for 2015


Simon Cunningham | Flickr

Simon Cunningham | Flickr

With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to reflect on the year that was and there’s no better way to do that than through a bulleted list of statistics. Here are a few that caught our eye:

  • 1.2 trillion: The number of photos humans have collectively snapped in 2015, according to the UK research firm Futuresource. The number of images snapped per year has grown by a factor of six since 2005. The figure may sound huge, but an analysis of InfoTrends data released in late 2014 suggests it may even be a bit conservative.
  • 33 percent: the decline in selfie photos on the EyeEm platform vs. 2014.
  • 69.2 million: the number of digital cameras sold in 2015, down from a 2011 peak of 137.4 million.
  • 80 million: number of images uploaded to Instagram every day.
  • 80 million: the number of EOS camera systems Canon had sold as of 11/10/2015.
  • 60,000: number of nude selfies taken off the Internet by the Internet Watch Foundation.
  • $10-$20,000: what a director of photography can make a week in 2015 on a major motion picture.
  • $59 million: the decline in Kodak film revenue through September 2015 vs. the prior period in 2014. Amazingly, however, Kodak expects to see a return to profitability in its film business in 2016 thanks to support from the motion picture industry.


December 10th, 2015

PDN 12-Day Holiday Giveaway

PDN is offering 12 products from the 2015 Gift Guide to readers! The 12-day giveaway is a daily sweepstakes, so save the dates for the prizes you want to win. You may enter once a day for the duration (12 weekdays starting Thursday, Dec 3).  Each new prize is offered at 11 am EST and entries remain open until 11 am EST the following day. Sharing the sweepstakes on your own page after entering will boost your chances of winning for the day, so spread the word!
The sweepstakes can be accessed through the “12-Day Giveaway” tab on the PDN Facebook page.

Our giveaway products and services by date are listed below.

1) THURSDAY, DEC 3, 11 AM – DEC 4, 11 AM (EST)
Photography is Magic, published by Aperture Foundation (Value: $34)
Winner: Stephanie Fletcher

Lightroom Import
2) FRIDAY, DEC 4, 11 Am – DEC 5, 11 AM
One-year subscription to Adobe Photography Plan CC (Value: $120)
Winner: Kathryn Brantley

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.21.25 PM
3) MONDAY, DEC 7, 11 AM – Dec 8, 11 AM
 RØDE VideoMic GO hot-shoe microphone (Value: $99)
Winner: Tim Cross

Acrylic Block_Family ∏
4) TUESDAY, DEC 8, 11 AM – DEC 9, 11 AM
Three custom-printed WhiteWall 4 x 6 acrylic blocks (Value: $120)

(Bonus! WhiteWall is also offering $30 off holiday orders + free shipping with code MERRYDP30 to all PDN readers)
Winner: Joe Coots

5) WEDNESDAY, DEC 9, 11 AM – DEC 10, 11 AM
Tamrac Corona 14 Sling to Backpack Convertible Camera Bag (Value: $170)
Winner: Jimmy Arcade

6) THURSDAY, DEC 10, 11 AM – Dec 11, 11 AM
Samsung Gear VR Headset (Value: $100)
Winner: Ephraim Lee


7) FRIDAY, DEC 11, 11 AM – DEC 12, 11 AM
A one-year PHOTO+ Basic Membership (Value: $149-199)
Includes subscriptions to PDN and Rangefinder, a 30% discount on contest entry fees, a Full Platform Pass to WPPI Conference & Expo, discounts to PhotoPlus Expo, discounts with our vendor partners and much more!
Winner: Carrie Brown

8) MONDAY, DEC 14, 11 AM – DEC 15, 11 AM (EST)
MagMod 2 Hot-Shoe Flash Modifier Basic Kit (Value: $90)
Winner: Kiersten Michelle

LomoInstant_Wide_Portobello Road_with film

9) TUESDAY, DEC 15, 11 AM – Dec 16, 11 AM (EST)
 Lomo’Instant Wide Camera (Value: $199)
Winner: Lily Frenette

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.38.04 PM
10) WEDNESDAY, DEC 16, 11 AM – DEC 17, 11 AM (EST)
SpiderPro Single Camera System Arca Swiss version (Value: $205)
Winner: Patrycja Adamowska


11) THURSDAY, DEC 17, 11 AM – DEC 18, 11 AM (EST)
8GB Ricoh Theta S 360 camera (Value: $347)
Winner: Jeff Ford

12) FRIDAY, DEC 18, 11 AM – Dec 19, 11 AM
 Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with lens kit (Value: $628)
Winner: Aaron Mace


See the full PDN and Rangefinder Gift Guide at

December 3rd, 2015

PDN Presents: 12-Day Holiday Giveaway

PDN is offering 12 products from the 2015 Gift Guide to readers! The 12-day giveaway is a daily sweepstakes, so save the dates for the prizes you want to win. You may enter once a day for the duration (12 weekdays starting Thursday, Dec 3).  Each new prize is offered at 11 am EST and entries remain open until 11 am EST the following day. Sharing the sweepstakes on your own page after entering will boost your chances of winning for the day, so spread the word!
The sweepstakes can be accessed through the “12-Day Giveaway” tab on the PDN Facebook page.

Our giveaway products and services by date are listed below. Keep this page bookmarked for updates.

1) THURSDAY, DEC 3, 11 AM – DEC 4, 11 AM (EST)
Photography is Magic, published by Aperture Foundation (Value: $34)


Lightroom Import
2) FRIDAY, DEC 4, 11 Am – DEC 5, 11 AM
One-year subscription to Adobe Photography Plan CC (Value: $120)


Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.21.25 PM
3) MONDAY, DEC 7, 11 AM – Dec 8, 11 AM
 RØDE VideoMic GO hot-shoe microphone (Value: $99)
Winner: Tim Cross

Acrylic Block_Family ∏
4) TUESDAY, DEC 8, 11 AM – DEC 9, 11 AM
Three custom-printed WhiteWall 4 x 6 acrylic blocks (Value: $120)

(Bonus! WhiteWall is also offering $30 off holiday orders + free shipping with code MERRYDP30 to all PDN readers)



5) WEDNESDAY, DEC 9, 11 AM – DEC 10, 11 AM
Tamrac Corona 14 Sling to Backpack Convertible Camera Bag (Value: $170)

6) THURSDAY, DEC 10, 11 AM – Dec 11, 11 AM
Samsung Gear VR Headset (Value: $100)


7) FRIDAY, DEC 11: A one-year PHOTO+ Basic Membership (Value: $149-199)


8) MONDAY, DEC 14: MagMod 2 Hot-Shoe Flash Modifier Basic Kit (Value: $90)


LomoInstant_Wide_Portobello Road_with film

9) TUESDAY, DEC 15: Lomo’Instant Wide Camera (Value: $199)

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.38.04 PM
10) WEDNESDAY, DEC 16: SpiderPro Single Camera System Arca Swiss version (Value: $205)


11) THURSDAY, DEC 17: 8GB Ricoh Theta S 360 camera (Value: $347)


12) FRIDAY, DEC 18: Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with lens kit (Value: $628)

See the full PDN and Rangefinder Gift Guide at

November 30th, 2015

Keeping It Natural: Pascal Shirley’s Tips for Portraiture

Sponsored by Adobe

Venice Beach-based photographer Pascal Shirley, true to the West Coast, keeps his portrait shoots relaxed. Whether he’s shooting for brands like The North Face and Adidas or magazines like Men’s Journal and TIME, Shirley brings an exuberance and natural esthetic that permeates his portraiture.


A summery shoot for Vagabond Towels. Photo © Pascal Shirley


Adidas #mygirls campaign with snowboarder Helen Schettini and friends. Photo © Pascal Shirley

“I like to keep things loose,” Shirley says. “I let people open up to me. Everyone has a different vibe and I try to feel that out.”

Don’t be fooled by how easy he makes it seem. In his ten years as a photographer, Shirley has worked tirelessly to develop the photo skills to put people at ease and the post-production chops to bring out the best in every photo. Shirley uses Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan to keep his effortless style—well, effortless.

Shirley has a few suggestions, from directing to shooting to post-production, for achieving the same look and feel:

Develop a relationship

When Shirley arrives at a shoot, he takes time to get to know his subjects and make them feel comfortable. It’s all based on a truism that he learned early on: “People open up when you get to know them,” Shirley says. “That’s why some of my best shots are of my friends. I’ve shot them over and over and over again.”

Recently, Shirley has taken that idea one step further. Instead of cramming a shoot into a single day, he’ll shoot a subject over the course of several months. It lets him and the subject develop a relationship where the photos get better and better with time.

Keep the possibilities open

When Shirley begins shooting, it’s not unusual for his subjects to act stiff. The key to breaking the ice, he’s found, is an open mind and a little creativity. While Shirley develops a general concept before a shoot begins, he listens to his instincts in the moment.

“My shoots are very free-form. I have a general idea of what I want, but I’m not afraid to try something else,” Shirley says.

Shirley responds to his subjects and tries out new backgrounds, poses and angles. Often, he asks subjects to run around, roll on the floor or even kiss. It’s all about making subjects relax, have fun and forget about the camera.


Photo © Pascal Shirley

Shoot a lot

Authentic moments come unpredictably. “When it can be one subtle little thing that makes or breaks a photo, it helps to shoot a lot,” Shirley says. According to him, it gives you more opportunities for those serendipitous “in between” photos where everyone looks comfortable, authentic and perfectly arranged. It’s in post-production, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, when you can look for and select those moments.

Organize and edit

Retouching every photo from a photo shoot is overwhelming. Instead, Shirley organizes his photos into collections and goes collection by collection to star each of his favorites.

“Half of photography is in the editing,” Shirley says.

Lightroom CC (on desktop) and Lightroom on mobile make editing on any device seamless. Keyword tagging keeps shoots organized, the rating system helps narrow down captures and “smart collections” combine the two to streamline your process.


Photo © Pascal Shirley

Don’t do more work than you have to

“The key to editing quick is developing your workflow,” Shirley says. With the powerful editing tools in Lightroom CC, all you have to do is take advantage. While Shirley tweaks settings in all of his photos—everything from exposure to contrast—he avoids tweaking each photo separately.

Instead, Shirley identifies sets of photos with similar coloration and lighting. He processes one photo from the set and then syncs the tweaks across the entire set using Lightroom’s “Sync Settings” feature. Once the “keepers” are tweaked, export directly to Photoshop CC for the final touches.

Be a responsible retoucher

“Some people get heavy-handed with [retouching] and you can tell,” Shirley says.

To keep a “natural” look, only retouch what you have to. Shirley takes a light hand with selective coloring and lightening or darkening areas in Adobe’s mobile Photoshop app, Photoshop Fix. And, instead of trying to airbrush every imperfection away, Shirley combines Photoshop CC and Photoshop Fix’s content-aware Healing and Patch tools with the Opacity slider to eliminate blemishes and wrinkles while retaining the character that makes each person unique.

Shirley paints away blemishes using a soft brush with the opacity set between 5 and 15 percent and works progressively on the target area.

“If you keep the opacity really low, it looks more natural,” Shirley says. “Less is more.”

Before_Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.02.12 AM

A “before” image in Photoshop CC. Photo © Pascal Shirley

After_Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.02.02 AM

An “after” image in Photoshop CC. Photo © Pascal Shirley

Edit where your photo is going

Shirley often shows off his latest photos on Instagram, but not before giving them an edit on his iPhone. According to Shirley, photos can look very different from computer monitor to iPhone screen. If he’s shooting for print or web, he edits on Photoshop CC. If he’s showing off a photo on a mobile platform like Instagram, he edits on his phone using Photoshop Fix.

“When I bring my photos to the iPhone, I will often notice that the colors look different. That’s when I open up Photoshop Fix to give them a little tweak,” says Shirley “It’s nice editing on your phone and knowing exactly what it’s going to look like in Instagram.”

Learn more and try the $9.99/month Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan for free at



November 23rd, 2015

Back to Print: The Making of Ian Spanier’s Promo Magazine

Sponsored by Blurb

Ian Spanier is a photographic chameleon. One day he’s shooting a magazine cover of UFC superwoman Ronda Rousey, and the next he’s shooting advertisements of Danskin ballerinas or U.S. Navy servicemen in the Gulf of Oman. While he always saw his eclectic work as a strength, it often confused clients. “For a long time, I struggled to explain that I shoot a lot of different things. People would wonder which photographer they were going to get when they hired me,” he says.

Spanier decided that he needed a new promotional tool that would champion his diverse photographic voice—the traditional 5 x 7-inch promo cards that most photographers send out weren’t cutting it.


IAN, issues 1 through 4 / Photos © Ian Spanier

To come up with a solution, Spanier brought in Warren Mason, a veteran creative director and designer. The two weren’t brainstorming long before the idea hit them. Spanier had spent more than a decade at magazines like Esquire, GQ and Men’s Journal before becoming a full-time photographer. Mason had even more experience in publishing. The two realized that a custom magazine printed-on-demand was the ideal format to engage clients with Spanier’s voice and versatility. “Once we decided on a magazine, the ideas started flowing,” Spanier says.

First, Spanier and Mason decided how to design and print the magazine—Blurb, the creative self-publishing platform, was the first and only choice. The printing quality and the paper offered by Blurb immediately stood up to the discerning eyes of both Spanier and Mason. Blurb’s plug-in for Adobe InDesign made it simple to create and upload original layouts, and the streamlined print-on-demand capabilities met their needs. Finally, Blurb’s Economy Magazine printing option allowed Spanier to make the magazine the length he wanted—from 20 pages to 240 pages—while keeping the price affordable.

“There was no thought to do it with any company other than Blurb. Their paper and printing quality stands out. They stand behind their product and work with me to make sure it looks the way I want,” Spanier says.

The genius of the magazine is in the details. While it is called IAN, the magazine is a true collaboration that joins Spanier’s photography with Mason’s design and editor Brian Dawson’s copy. Advertisements come from actual advertisements from Spanier’s ad work, while editorial spreads are “features” that Spanier and Mason create from Spanier’s wide array of work. Each issue has a theme, a knockout cover photo, and recurring “columns,” like “Behind the Scenes,” which gives readers a peak into Spanier’s copiously annotated shoot notebooks. Another recurring column is “Client Speak,” where he asks one of his clients to provide their own testimonies.


An editorial spread in IAN. / Photo © Ian Spanier

“I want the magazine to help clients and potential clients understand who I am as a photographer and what I am like to work with,” Spanier explains. “Each aspect of the magazine is meant to tell viewers who I am.”

Since IAN began in late 2014, Spanier and Mason have published four issues—one for each season—and the plan is to continue to do so in the coming years. Each new issue focuses on a different aspect of Spanier’s photography, from travel to sports to portraiture, and work is chosen from Spanier’s portfolio to reflect that. The magazine evolves each issue, with new columns being added as Mason and Spanier come up with new ideas. In recent issues, Spanier has shot entire editorial features solely for the magazine. For Issue 3, Spanier worked with make-up artist Michelle Coursey to shoot portraits mimicking a set of vintage 1920s-era mug shots that had gone viral on the Internet earlier this year.

“I’ve always been a photographer that pushes myself to do personal work. I think it’s important so that people can see your vision as opposed to those assignments when you are solely completing someone else’s,” Spanier says.


IAN editorial spreads and a client-testimonial page. / Photos © Ian Spanier

Though Spanier is able to publish multiple issues annually thanks to the ease of production, he says it’s especially important for photographers to connect with clients at the year’s close. “I know it’s pretty ambitious putting out a quarterly issue,” he says. “For photographers who can’t do so, I would recommend producing a magazine at the end of the year. It’s always a great time of year to make sure clients and potential clients get a little reminder what you can do for them, and it doubles as a holiday gift.”

IAN gives Spanier another way to communicate with clients, complementing his marketing on Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Facebook, and in e-mail campaigns. Spanier sends out personal emails to each member of his extensive 2,000+ person mailing list of clients and potential clients to give them sneak peeks of the next issue of IAN, to send them electronic versions housed by Blurb and Issuu and to solicit feedback. For Spanier, it’s an excuse to check in every couple of months with people he works with and wants to work with in the future.

The response has been very positive. “When people write me back, their response, across the board, is: ‘Wow, this is great. How did you come up with it?’ People love to ask questions about it,” Spanier says.

The effect is even more pronounced in person. When Spanier takes personal meetings, he always brings copies of IAN along. After walking photo editors, art buyers or creative teams through his extensive portfolio, he closes by handing everyone at the meeting a copy of IAN printed by Blurb. Getting in-person meetings is hard, according to Spanier, so when you have face time, you want to make sure clients won’t forget you. For Spanier, IAN does the trick.

IAN Cover.indd

Ronda Rousey featured in IAN, issue 1. / Photos © Ian Spanier

“It’s a memorable product. People want to know how I made it,” Spanier says. “Everything is digital these days—having something tactile that I can hand to someone as a ‘thank you’ and a product they keep on their shelf really makes a difference.”

Best of all, IAN has allowed Spanier to show off his versatility—what he thinks is his greatest asset—without confusing clients about the type of photographer he is.

“No one is confused anymore as to why I have so much different work mixed together,” Spanier says. “Instead of carrying around 45 pounds of portfolios, I bring an iPad and a few issues of my magazine, and people really understand my work.”

Get started on your own Blurb print magazine or book at