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Thread: Too committed?

  1. #31

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    I think you did the right thing. The fact of the matter is that if you had done it, they probably would have been unhappy, because what they really wanted was their idea of how your black & white work would have looked in color, and your work probably wouldn't have met what they had imagined.

    They'll call you when they want black & white.

    Tim

  2. #32

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    You did the right thing if you were uncomfortable shooting in color. Because if you were uncomfortable you most probably would not have done a job that you were happy with and odds are neither would the client. Looking at your work I can only guess that it was an inexperienced art director who decided that you were appropriate for a color project.

    Shooting color portrait on assignment is very different than doing B&W. When you shoot color proper color balance is very important and difficult to acheive in many available light circumstances. That is why most of the time advertising oriented color portrait uses artificial light or light enhancement. And as most experienced art directors are quite literal in their choices of photographers, I can not imagine that an experienced art director would hire someone who does not show any color work for a color job. This is another good reason why your declining this project was a good move. Did you want to work in a medium you are not comfortable in, with an inexperienced art director as well? Some jobs aren't worth the money. So don't regret the loss of money and to be honest the vast majority of advertising assignments are not campaigns that would change your life in any significant way.
    Do the photography that matters to you. If they love your work that much, they'll switch the campaign to B&W.

  3. #33
    davetravis's Avatar
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    Looks like I'm the outsider, but I think you cut yourself off at the creative knees. From a purely professional portrait photographers point of view, new business is new business. Why couldn't you treat this as a learning experience? They were willing to work with you right? Let you make some mistakes, until you got it right? This might have lead to more business from referrals. What's wrong with expanding your creative horizons? Maybe you would really enjoy the change...As an artist, you can do more than one thing.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by davetravis
    Looks like I'm the outsider, but I think you cut yourself off at the creative knees. From a purely professional portrait photographers point of view, new business is new business. Why couldn't you treat this as a learning experience? They were willing to work with you right? Let you make some mistakes, until you got it right? This might have lead to more business from referrals. What's wrong with expanding your creative horizons? Maybe you would really enjoy the change...As an artist, you can do more than one thing.
    Dave, respectfully, you really don't know anything about ad agencies. There may be a few people not experienced enough making choices about talent, but I know of no ad agency in the world where they will let you treat an assignment as a "learning experience" or "let you make mistakes, until you got it right".

    The art director would have been fired, and the photographer replaced long before the photographer learned how to do it. There's just too much money riding on these things. Clients fly in for the shoot, talent and crew are hired, locations booked and paid for, props and stylists, etc. Often the ad space has been purchased before the final ad is even shot, often at a cost of hundreds of thousands, even millions. And with the all too often short deadlines, if the photographer does not come through the ad agency has paid a fortune for a blank magazine page, a rehash of an old ad, or an all type ad done at the last minute. As for the photographer that fails to come through, they may be sued for those costs. Advertising photography is not a hobby or something you dabble in, it's a serious business with serious consequences for those who take it lightly.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser
    Dave, respectfully, you really don't know anything about ad agencies.
    Look back Brian, it was an editorial shoot for a magazine, not the new line from NIKE... hardly the type of thing a client is going to fly in for or for which there would be a huge budget. We're not talking New York photo district kind of stuff, at least that is not how I read it. I hardly think that if this is a big agency that we all know that they would have such an inexperienced art director calling the shots on any substantial job nor would they be picking someone at random from the Web. It is still my opinion that this could have been a good break. Very often for a shoot of this type they are simply looking for someone local that can do a decent job. I used to do them all the time. Do one good job and they come back again and again. Turn them down and I doubt they will ever call again.

    Bill

  6. #36

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    Bill this is from the original post:

    "We received a phone call from a very prominent ad agency (I'd rather not use their name as it may bite me on the butt later...I'm sure you all understand ). They said they found my work via my web site and contacted me based on the impact of my portraits and on the work they needed. They wanted to hire me for an editorial shoot for a national magazine."

    I added the bold typeface. Sounds like an ad agency assignment to me. However I find the "editorial shoot for a national magazine" part a little confusing. Ad agencies don't give out editorial assignments, maybe what she's referring to are one of those advertising layouts that take several pages and look like editorial content, an advertorial. Anyway, that's an advertising assignment, and national, not a local editorial job.

    Bill I can understand your POV about accepting assignments because you never know and because it's tough to make a living as a photographer, but it's also a disservice to the people hiring you, and yourself if you're really not the right person for the job. You have a commercial photography background so it's not a stretch for you to accept a range of assignments, but not many people here have your background and they can easily get in over their heads.

  7. #37
    bill schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser
    Anyway, that's an advertising assignment, and national, not a local editorial job.
    You seem to have misunderstood me Brian. I know this is for a national magazine and not a local one. As I said... these type of assignments happen all the time. I did literally hundreds of them. TIME, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, SPIN, Money, Wired. You name it. Some jobs did come from ad agencies too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser
    You have a commercial photography background so it's not a stretch for you to accept a range of assignments, but not many people here have your background and they can easily get in over their heads
    You have to start somewhere and if you take the time to look at Dorothy's work, she seems to have what it takes to do an editorial job. You know as well as I that a nationally known agency isn't going to give a big budget job to an unknown.

    Bill

  8. #38
    davetravis's Avatar
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    Well Early,
    What you say may be true.
    I don't sell my images to ad agencies.
    Thank's for the education.
    But still, I think she could expand her horizons with a little experiment.
    And who knows? Those southern folks are real flexible, and she might experience a new art form, and grow as an artist.

  9. #39

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    Bill, were you a self taught photographer or did you assist many photographers and get experience with a wide array of subject matter, film types, situations, and all of the issues of working on assignment? I know you assisted and had a commercial background, that's how we first met. From what I got from Dorothy's web site is that she's self taught and hasn't done much in the way of advertising or editorial assignment work. Sometimes it's better to back out of a project that you are not suited for and show potential clients that you are honest in your assessment of your abilities and not willing to take on a job at their expense that you may fail at. I think she has a far better chance of working with that agency in the future, because she was straight with them. They may come back at a later date with a job that mirrors what she actually does. If she takes on a job beyond her experience and blows it, she's poisoned her name with that agency, and as word tends to spread fast among the ad industry, with other agencies as well.

    But you know Bill I may be the wrong person to ask about this situation as at age 44 I retired from advertising photography, closed my studio, walked away from a business I spent 25 years creating and now only shoot my personal work. I still have close friendships with many of my former clients, however I have been unavailable for any commercial assignments for the last 4 years and I haven't shot any color film in that time.

    She said Prominent ad agency and national magazine, that doesn't sound like the Pennysaver to me and I got plenty of assignment work whilst still unknown, then again my portfolio reflected a certain level of experience and I got assignments that matched my portfolio.

    I agree with you when you say you have to start somewhere. But the vast majority of people have done a certain amount of assisting of photographers on assignments before they took on advertising or editorial assignments. You know there is huge difference between working on assignment and just going out and shooting, there's a huge difference in pressure and consequence.

  10. #40
    bill schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser
    She said Prominent ad agency and national magazine, that doesn't sound like the Pennysaver to me...
    Pennysaver??? I'm guessing you are not hearing me. Outside of NY where I think you have your experience, this is done all the time. You think they fly-in the heavy hitters for everything out here in the flyover? Not so.

    Brian, I have no interest in arguing with you about this. You apparently have much more experience than most of the people here and who am I to challenge you. The fact you retired, as you say, at 44 makes that pretty obvious. There are not many well known photographers I know that can do that so you must have had a pretty shining career while still working.

    However, I will say that not every person working out here cut their teeth doing assisting on big editorial or ad jobs. There just aren't that many. There comes a time when you have to jump in, trust your collective experience and sink or swim. I think Dorothy would swim just fine if she chose to do so.

    Bill

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