I photographed Kaggle founder Anthony Goldbloom for the Australian magazine In The Black. Kaggle is one of the many tech startups in my old neighborhood SoMa (which to all I say, thank you for the higher rents). San Francisco magazine just did an article on the subject of the current influx of tech companies into San Francisco and how it’s changing the city. It’s an interesting read if you (can still) live in San Francisco.
Photo Editors, Art Directors and anyone with an email address at your magazine or agency (thanks for the feedback Bob the Janitor), get your SPAM filters ready! Once my new website design is up I’ll be sending out my first promo for the new site. My old Livebooks site has been upgraded and I now have larger images with the old design. I’m still in the process of resizing my images for the new site so there’s a mixture of old and new. The new design should be live sometime this week or early next week.
To date I’ve been doing my own design work, so I hope you like the new site (and promo piece). I think for the next round of revisions and promos I’ll be seeking professional help… and a designer.
I’m not exactly a celebrity photographer. Not that I wouldn’t want to photograph celebrities, but I just don’t seem to get many calls for celebrity shoots. They say if you want to shoot celebrities you need to already have celebrities in your portfolio. Quite the catch-22. However, the few times I have received a call to photograph a celebrity it seemed to be the same story: “we can’t pay much…. But hey, you’re going to get to photograph <insert b-list celebrity here> and you’ll get photo credit!”
I’m not sure why they think I would accept less money just because I’d be photographing a celebrity. I always want to ask, “would you do your job for 50% less pay just because Janeane Garofalo was in the cube next to you?” Probably not.
I’m always usually willing to work with clients to meet their budgets, but if it comes down to getting a good rate and photographing a nerd in Los Angeles (Seriously, I just did a shoot for Psychology Today… they called and told me they wanted me to photograph a nerd) or a low rate and photographing Brad Pitt, I’ll take the nerd every time.
iBid is a “boutique” stock agency. The work in their collection was amazing and not the normal crap you find in every other stock agency and its damn sure you wouldn’t find anything as creative in a microstock agency.
If you go to their website as of today this is the message you will see:
“Ibid launched in 1966. In a time when photography was simple, life was simple and people wore more hats. Morton Shapiro, photographer and Ibid’s daddy, wanted to create a resource of high class and totally unique images. Simple. We are still here and we’ve grown up right. And we keep on providing the world’s finest creatives with the best conceptual photography. Because it’s what we do. We love photography. We’ve been at the heart of the industry as it has grown and developed over nearly 40 years. We have adapted, evolved. We remain true to Morton’s original idea. We have kept our eye for beautiful, ‘real’ photography.”
Unfortunately, I just received this email:
September 27, 2007
Dear ibid Photographer,
It is with deep regret but a clear head that I must inform you that ibid will cease operations as of December 31, 2007. We will continue to collect on any outstanding sales made prior to that date and will forward payment to you in the usual time frame. As of January 1, 2008, ibid relinquishes any right and license which it had to publish and market for commercial use your photographs, and beginning as of January 1, 2008, you are free to allow anyone else to use your photographs for any commercial use whatsoever. As of the end of the calendar year all of ibid’s license agreements with its photographers are terminated.
I have decided it is time to face the new reality of the stock photo industry. After forty years of a very good run it is no longer a business environment in which ibid can reasonably exist without cannibalizing its collection. We simply cannot compete with the giants that outsell us by undercutting prices and have successfully turned lower standards into the art buyer’s habit and necessity. In short, we have become an anachronism; too excellent for mediocre times.
Each and every image that has ever graced the ibid collection has been an outstanding expression of the great art of photography. We thank you for the honor of representing your work and wish you the fame and fortune you all deserve.
It is too bad to see this. At least they didn’t make things worse by moving everything to microstock pricing or royalty free pricing like other agencies that used to promote quality rights managed images.
I don’t know how things will play out for them, but I’m glad to see something new to offer photographers like the new Photoshelter Collection.
I thought I’d post a link to a blog entry I read recently on John Loomis’ Blog about the bidding process and low priced photographers. It was a coincidence he posted about this subject when he did because not a week before his post I was confronted with the same exact problem he writes about and was discussing it with some other photographers. I guess all photographers who value their work and bid on projects accordingly run into this problem all the time. The problem of course being photographers who bid next to nothing for a shoot and give away all their rights to the images.
As a client, I would be worried about hiring the lowest bidder for fear that they don’t really know what they’re getting into. If you’re dealing with a larger production and someone says they can do it for a quarter of what an experienced photographer can do the job , chances are they don’t really understand the complexity of the shoot. Once you’ve hired this photographer, you may not know how badly things are going to turn out until its too late. Not only that, there is usually a reason the low priced photographer is low priced and even if it isn’t a big production you can’t be sure of the quality you will get.
Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and quite often it is the lowest bidder, and thus lowest quality, that is chosen. Not only that, often times “good enough” is good enough as can be seen by the abundance of visual crap we see on a daily basis. I remember not too long ago, after i submitted an estimate for a job I was called by the potential client asking if I could come down in my price. They told me another photographer was significantly lower in price. I asked who the photographer was and looked at his work online. As politely as I could, I let them know why that photographer was so cheap. Clearly they would have been getting a lower quality photograph. The potential client’s response to this was… and I kid you not… “how much would you charge to take a bad photograph?” I laughed and told him I just didn’t think it would work out.
Here is to the clients that want to produce something better than”just good enough.” Thank you!