30 September 2007

What a day, PhotoShelter.

Well, I am back and filled with lots of interesting facts and information. Photoshelter is going to change the world of stock photos, at least they're going to try. If you are good, you will be able to sell your photos to others looking for what you do. That's a quick and dirty explanation of Photoshelter. Not fair, but maybe I'll talk more about them later. First let me give you my impressions of the day.

I thought that this being Los Angeles, the crowd would be a lot larger.( Samy's was the largest sponsor of this leg of the tour. They were holding a two day program at the same venue. Apple, JPG Magazine, and a few other vendors were present to sell stuff and get you excited about photography and its unlimitless boundaries.) Samy's had done a ton of advertising and so I thought their customers would fill the room. Not exactly. There were probably 100 - 175 people in attendance. 75% male, quelle suprise! And, about 25% of those males were not happy. You see they'd been photographers a long time. And now, it is getting harder and harder to make $$ due to the digital age, as they see it.

Call me Pollyanna. Simply put. I have an unending supply of optimism in certain circles. Photography being one of them. The world is my oyster, so to speak, I see things differently than anyone else. That is why I don't get upset about there being so many photographers. We each have different views of the world. How do I know? Well, if you've ever been at a wedding where they hand out those cameras and tell people to take shots of the day, rarely is there the same picture taken. Yes, there'll be a bunch of that cake cutting thing, but still each is different.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is all about the passion. There will always be someone better, worse, creatively challenged, just different from you. Don't let that get in your way. But passionate, build a niche and find your way. Marcus Swanson was one of the speakers. His presentation was filled with passion. He told a story of doing a photo shoot with an Olympic Speed Skater from China. YangYang was the ultimate athlete he explained. Yet she was petite, pixie like. He described the off side chance of taking her portrait, while doing the shoot. The opportunity arrived and he was able to get the perfect shot. It gives him goosebumps to describe the shoot when seeing the picture. Marcus - it gave me goosebumps too. His presentation was positive. It helped others see a path through the system that is advertising photography. He spoke of giving back. It was the best speech of the day.

His theme: the same as mine. Capture the moment in time, it will invoke memories for years. I was surfing the web this morning, Pixiegenne's blog is a favorite of mine. She has a post today called "it's a small world". She speaks of finding a relative through flickr. Of seeing his grandad's photo and seeing her father in those pictures. She shares a photo of her grandparent's wedding day, speaks of the church and the funerals 80 years hence, in that same church. That is what photography does. It binds us together through time and feelings and families.

There were a lot of other technical things I learned. About how long an entity owns the rights to a photo of yours, called an embargo in the magazine world. It's three months for most US magazines, then you own it outright, 4 months for European magazines and sometimes if it is a weekly publication the embargo is only a week long. I didn't know that. Good to know. Not that I am pursuing magazines, but another little factoid to keep in mind.

I learned that the New Yorker guy that spoke on the panel, I didn't get his name, doesn't respect food photography at all. His statement: "anyone can go in their closet and shoot a photo of a cheeseburger and use it in print". And he wonders why I didn't get his name...

I learned that photo editors are some of the busiest people on the planet. How to effectively get their attention. How not to waste their time. And why oh why to build a website that is user friendly and not artsy if you are trying to get noticed by them.

And then I also learned that the Orange County fairgrounds has a farm on the property so inner city kids can see what farms are: Cows, Horses, Mules, Pigs, Chickens, sheep and all the trappings. It was a small farm (I kindof felt sorry for the bulls and cows being crammed into such small quarters, and hope they get out a bit) I saw plants growing in rows and knew that having something like this available to children really puts a face on their burgers and other foods.

Smiley bull

All in all a great day, a good day.