The Phoenix SMUG welcomed Ryan Emenecker, creative director, and Adam Garcia, senior graphic designer, from Canyon Communications, a top Phoenix advertising agency. Ryan and Adam came and taught us “The Photo Shoot to Photoshop” by finding and working with models, tips on marketing yourself to an agency, and Photoshop tips.
28 people came to hear Ryan and Adam give advice on breaking into the advertising market as a photographer. Ryan began his talk by stating: “I hate taking photos.” That’s not exactly what photographers usually come to hear, but Ryan’s unique perspective from the advertising side captured everyone’s attention. “I love photographers – you make my job, and what we present to the client, great,“ he said, and he gave some tips on how photographers can get their foot in the door of the advertising industry.
When looking for models, Ryan’s advice is to use friends, family, and co-workers for models. It has the obvious benefit of being cost effective for everyone concerned, but the drawbacks of that are they don’t have acting experience, they are not comfortable in front of the camera, and it is hard to find the right person for the job. Professional models, on the other hand, are comfortable in front of the camera, it is easier to find exactly the right person, but they are more expensive. Art and graphic designers don’t want to hear, “We can Photoshop that out later,” so it’s important to get the right models and to get it right in-camera
When it comes to connecting and developing relationships with ad agencies, Ryan suggested:
- Contact the creative director, art director, designer or production manager by phone, not email. Email is too easy to delete.
- You may want to consider doing your first photo shoot for free, to demonstrate that you understand the needs of the agency’s clients.
- Have an online portfolio and website that is easy to navigate, showing photos from different industries.
A photographer’s specialty is to “make our dreams come true. Be creative using people and places.” The photographer’s role is to bring the ideas of the creative
designers to life, and they want to be able to trust the photographer with their vision.
His suggestions were:
- Use a studio, if possible, to save time and travel expenses.
- Be creative with suggestions for lighting and placement of models and products.
- Be aware of the things that don’t belong in a shot (like a stray piece of paper, cords, etc.),
- Be on time.
- It is also important to understand where the final photos are going to be placed– magazine, an online campaign, flyer, and other medias, so that you can shoot accordingly.
Adam’s skills as an artist are used at the advertising agency to sketch a clients ideas and take it from concept to photo shoot to Photoshop. After his sketch is complete, he will photograph the concept with a friend or fellow employee, and then the professional photographer is enlisted to bring the idea to a higher level. By clipping objects out of a photo, or compositing images together, Adam creates the clients final vision in Photoshop if they were unable to get what was needed in the initial photo shoot. His Photoshop tip for the group was about alpha channels and how to use them to adjust different areas of a photo independently.
We all had a great time at the SMUG, and Adam and Ryan were great speakers. Our next meeting will be just as informational, so if you’re in the Phoenix area, make sure to check out our group to polish your photography skills!
The Phoenix SMUG Group welcomed Khara Plicanic, a wedding photographer from Lincoln, Nebraska. She gave an enthusiastic presentation on building a “Wickedly Fast Wedding Workflow.” Khara and her husband, Emir, just recently finished a cross-country bicycle trip, The Untour, from San Diego to Florida. While on her bike trip, she taught photography workshops in eight different cities along the way. Years of photography experience have led to the development of Khara’s workflow techniques, and she loves to share her knowledge with other photographers to help them gain quality time back into their lives. Khara is also the author of “Your Camera Loves You: Learn to Love It Back.”
Of the 23 photographers in attendance, several experienced some clear “ahhh-ha” moments as Khara revealed how simple she keeps her workflow. Khara explained that, several years ago, she was so overwhelmed with her shooting and workflowschedule, she decided it was time to get her life under control and bring simplicity to the business for both her and her clients. She was inspired by Barry Schwartz and the concepts presented in his book “The Paradox of Choice.” He says that more choices do not equal freedom, but paralysis and dissatisfaction. By using the “less is more” philosophy, she moved from a tiered product offering and began offering one package for everyone – full coverage of the wedding day (she stays until she feels she has all the images she needs and no longer bases her coverage on a time limit). Also, everyone gets an album, which she considers non-negotiable. Khara says, “Every package is a full package.”
Khara designs her albums in InDesign, uses Lightroom and Photoshop for her main workflow, Flaunt for her client slideshow, and Banti Album Proofing for her clients to see their album and communicate any changes. Her workflow is fast! On the wedding night, she downloads her photos and gets them backed up. The next day, she begins the process of picking her favorites, retouching, exporting to her blog and Facebook, creates a slideshow, designs the album, and uploads the proofs to the client gallery, all of which she gets done within a week, but often in just 8 hours! By designing the album at the same time, she is editing, she simplifies the process for her clients and considers it a part of the service they pay for. She picks out a storytelling variety of photos, making it easier for the client than if they had to start with a blank slate. Her clients have 3 weeks to make album changes (up to 2 rounds) , but she often finds they have little to change after seeing it laid out. She reminds us of how often wedding albums often get put off, delayed, or never done if left to the bride/groom to decide and mull over all the photo choices for an album.
This meeting with Khara was informative and insightful for the photographers struggling with simplifying their workflow and the basics of their business. It’s not a joke, it’s not a secret, and it’s certainly not rocket science. It’s just the potent combination of effectiveness and efficiency.
Submitted by the Phoenix SMUG Scribe: Gail Kiehlbaugh