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21 Behind-the-Scenes Photos from an Un-Belizeable Photo Assignment

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If you’ve been following along socially you’re in the know that I’m on a commercial assignment in Belize that targets the life and wonder of the world’s water, lakes, oceans, etc. [...You might remember this video of the SuperPod of dolphins from the South African leg of this campaign with long time friend Mike Horn...]

In short, I can’t say enough good stuff about Belize. It’s seemingly impossible to take a bad photo here…even without the high-falutin’ tools that we’ve been using –helicopters, boats, diving rigs, etc)… If you just had your phone, you could slay it here. Anyway – wanted to share some quick behind-the-scenes shots that let y’all in on a little of what we’ve had going. [#HumbleBrag?!]

Lots of love for Ambergis Caye + Placencia. Costs in Belize are reasonable – especially given the epic-ness of the visuals. Special props to the great resort down south… Robert’s Grove. En route back to the USA now – but keep your eyes peeled for a few definitive RAW and TECH videos that we made while down there, based on your requests for more o’ that stuff. Hit me with questions about Belize or our trip – happy to help inspire / enable as many people as possible to learn about this fresh spot.

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Robert's Grove, Placencia

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Lazy Caye - Erik and I filming a TECH about our GoPro set up - stay tuned!

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Fishing out of Placencia with Elroy

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The Blue Hole from above

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My good friend Danny and his wife Susan have been cruising the Caribbean with their two children for 15 months. Their 50-foot catamaran the S/V Blue Kai was a great model too. Almost as good as Danny in this photo. www.svbluekai.com

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Walking on water to get the shot at Roberts Grove, Placencia

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Jerard doing some underwater work for the shoot - not a bad office

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Jerard and Clifford got after this little Hobie Cat. In fact, they flipped it about 5 minutes after this shot. #WorkingHardPlayingHard

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When working in tropical climes I try to keep my crew hydrated - with margaritas.

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4 Great Ways to Get the Look of Film in Your Digital Darkroom

Photo by Rachel A. K.

A lot of us still shoot film for love and for fun. I’m often dragging around my Polaroid 600, my Hassie 500cm, some Lomo stuff (or these other film cameras)… but it’s next to impossible to have clients get fired up to shoot film in a professionals setting. They wanna see their picture NOW. Well, if you’ve ever been in a pickle over how to get the speed of digital with the look of film, join the crowd. In my studio we use a lot of digital tools to get this look and it seems there ar always new software toys emerging for this very job… But since I’m out on assignment now, I can’t think of a better guy to walk you through a handful of the very best options than my pal Sohail. And no doubt you all will have some other tricks not covered here to add…

Thanks Chase. As the man said, the “look” of film isn’t something we are willing to part with….(and we’re not talking the vintage filters on your iphone or droid..) Some of this comes from an old-school love of grain; some of it has to do with the fact that we just love the way film renders tonality and color. We can all love digital photography just as much, however, so finding a happy medium is the task of this post. I’ll run you through the faves and you can decide for yourself what might suit you well…

For the past year or so, I’ve cycled various plugins and applications through my workflow, trying to find the right add-ons that bring the response curves and grain of old film back into digital images. I found four options that do just that.

The ground rule

I decided that I wanted the look and feel of “real” emulsions like Ilford HP5 or Kodak Portra. Although I’ve liked the look and feel of “vintage” filters that mimic (but not truly reproduce or emulate) old films, I made the conscious decision to seek apps and add-ons that seek to reproduce the look of black-and-white, color negative, slide, and instant film emulsions produced currently and in the past. There are a number of apps today that can apply that vintage look, but that, to me, is not the same as truly emulating film.

The apps

With that simple ground rule in place, I settled on four apps to look over. These aren’t by ANY MEANS all the apps out there that allow you to emulate film, but they are the four that do offer both color and B&W film emulation. They are:

Nik Collection by Google

"Somewhere in Utah" Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. © Sohail Mamdani

"Somewhere in Utah" Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. © Sohail Mamdani

Until recently, the two plugins from Nik Software, Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2, were both available as individual downloads for about $99 each. Following Google’s purchase of the company, the entire suite is now available for $149, which makes this collection one of the best in the “bang for your buck” category. FWIW, this is the one Chase makes primary use of in his studio.

Color Efex Pro 4 has a number of film effects, ranging from the aforementioned “vintage” effects that don’t appear to be based on any specific film stock, to effects based on a very nice list of modern color films.

Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Interface

Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Interface

From slide films like Velvia to modern negative stock like Portra, Color Efex Pro 4 is a first-rate one-stop-shop for the most popular emulsions out there.

Silver Efex brings a similar range of choices for B&W images. Some of my favorite films are represented here; Ilford Delta 100 and 400, Fuji Acros 100, and Kodak Tri-X. The interface is somewhat similar to that of Color Efex Pro, and is pretty simple to use.

Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 Interface

Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 Interface

Silver and Color Efex also include Nik’s unique Control Point technology, which lets you make some pretty sophisticated selective adjustments without having to deal with masks and selections in photoshop. Additionally, Silver Efex Pro also gives you a range of color filters you can use to adjust tonality in your B&W images. The Red filter, for example, can darken blue skies, while the Green filter lightens greens, helping to separate a flower from a background of bushes.

The Nik Collection (which includes Silver and Color Efex) is available now for $149.

Alien Skin Exposure

"Colorado Road" Treated with Fuji Velvia 50 in Exposure 4. © Sohail Mamdani

"Colorado Road" Treated with Fuji Velvia 50 in Exposure 4. © Sohail Mamdani

Alien Skin’s Exposure plugin for Lightroom isn’t just a film effects plugin; it also places a number of powerful exposure controls at your disposal. It gives you very specific control over elements like film grain, aging, and vignetting, in addition to letting you adjust the tone curve of your images.

The interface is pretty straightforward and functional. Very little consideration seems to have gone into making it “pretty”; rather, it uses the most simple possible interface elements. Most of the research into this app seems to have gone into the “under the hood” area rather than window chrome.

The Alien Skin Exposure Interface

The Alien Skin Exposure Interface

This is a good thing. The app is reasonably fast, applying effects and saving files very quickly. That last item might seem like a small thing, but when you’re saving 100MB+ .tiff files, the extra few seconds is kinda nice.

For those who aren’t looking to emulate film, Exposure also offers many other presets and effects out of the box as well. One major ding against them, however: they don’t make an Aperture version of their plugin. Aperture users will have to round-trip their images through Photoshop to take advantage of Exposure.

Alien Skin Exposure is available now for $199.

DxO Filmpack

Image treated with DxO Filmpack, Kodachrome 64 setting. © Sohail Mamdani

Image treated with DxO Filmpack, Kodachrome 64 setting. © Sohail Mamdani

DxO’s Filmpack is available as both, a standalone plugin or as part of DxO Optics Pro, which is a collection of various image tools, from perspective correction to sharpening and denoising.

There’a decent number of films represented here, from slide films like Velvia to black-and-white emulsions like Ilford Pan F 50. They also pack in refinement tools to adjust elements like HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance), noise, and film grain.

The DxO FilmPack Interface

The DxO FilmPack Interface

The interface is pretty straightforward and well-designed. You pick your film, make your deeper adjustments, then close it out. DxO installs two versions of the plugin, a 32-bit one and a 64-bit version, so if you’re on an older version of Lightroom, you can still go back and use the 32-bit version.

Filmpack itself also has two tiers, “Essential” and “Expert.” They’re priced at $49 and $99, respectively, and the “Expert” version, in addition to having certain emulsions that the “Essential” version doesn’t, also has a few features like batch processing and noise reduction.

DxO Filmpack is available for $49 (“Essential”) and $99 (“Expert”).

VSCO Film

"Freighter and Alcatraz." Treated in VSCO with Fuji Superia 1600. © Sohail Mamdani

"Freighter and Alcatraz." Treated in VSCO with Fuji Superia 1600. © Sohail Mamdani

VSCO is perhaps the most unique of the plugins I worked with. Available for Lightroom, Camera RAW or Aperture (I tested the Lightroom version), the plugin is implemented in Lightroom as a collection of presets and camera profiles, all of which can be accessed without ever leaving Lightroom.

VSCO Presets and Camera Profiles in Lightroom

VSCO Presets and Camera Profiles in Lightroom

There are currently three collections available; 01, 02, and 03. Each adds a number of specific films to the roster of available emulsions, building on the previous version. Every film is made available in four presets. There is a normal version that is, according to VSCO, the most faithful representation of what that particular film would look like for the image you’re working on, a “-“ version that tones the effect down somewhat, a “+” version that ratchets the effect up, and a “++” version that pushes it even further.

Each of the three packs is sold separately, and is priced at $119, making VSCO’s collection the most expensive of the lot here. VSCO does offer a loyalty discount, so if you buy one of the packs, the others are available for a discount, bringing the price for all three packs under $300.

It should be noted that the real strength of VSCO is, in my opinion, their combination of both camera profiles and presets. They currently have Canon and Nikon camera profiles for all three packs, and in something of a first, they also have Fuji presets for 01 and 03. A Fuji preset for 02 is apparently in the works.

You can certainly apply the generic “Standard” presets to images shot on other cameras, and they still do a neat job, but the effect won’t be as faithful to the original film you’re looking to emulate. In my quick tests, RAW images taken with a Sony A99 still looked pretty darn good though.

Aperture users, take note that the camera profiles feature in VSCO Film isn’t available to you. Aperture doesn’t support that feature, so that isn’t VSCO’s fault, and the plugin for Aperture is priced at $79 to reflect that loss in functionality.

VSCO Film is available now for $119 per pack.

The results

I worked on several images over the last few months, from portraits to landscapes, and came away with some pretty clear ideas and opinions on the strengths and weakness of each plugin. The thing to remember is that these are just that — ideas and opinions. I’m applying my subjective judgement to these images, and that should be taken into account when you make your own choices.

That said, let’s have a look at what I found.

Initially, I thought of judging them based on criteria such as ease of use, speed, features, and final product.

Ease of use

After using all four apps over a few weeks, the first criteria almost fell by the wayside, since all four are pretty straightforward to use. A few factors did arise, however, that are worth mentioning.

The Nik Collection was perhaps the only one that had a bit of a learning curve. That’s directly due to its Control Point technology, which you don’t have to use unless you want to adjust specific parts of your image — and if you do, the learning curve is absolutely worth it.

VSCO was the other one that has a learning curve, but again, only for a specific reason. If you do things like retouching skin in Photoshop, there is a workaround you’ll need to use to avoid smearing the grain pattern and messing with the other settings for your images.

Speed

Hands-down, VSCO was the fastest of the lot. Since you never leave Lightroom, there’s no round-tripping of images through an external program. Even better is the fact that the presets render lightning fast, and you can reset them with just a click.

Alien Skin’s Exposure was the other app that did a pretty decent job of round-tripping images from and to Lightroom. While it’s not orders of magnitude faster than its competitors, as I mentioned, the few extra seconds you eke out while working with 100MB+ .tiff files is kind of nice.

Features

If you’re looking for a plugin that does some pretty advanced film effects and has a good selection of emulsions to chose from, you can’t go wrong with the Nik Collection from Google.

Control Points in Nik Silver Efex

Control Points in Nik Silver Efex

Between the truly awesome Control Point technology and the collection of popular films like Velvia and my personal favorites like Acros, the Nik Collection knocks it out of the park in the “packed with a bunch of features” category. At $149 for the whole dang thing, it’s also the clear winner in the “bang for your buck” section.

Lest you think it’s the clear overall winner in this criteria, however, let me throw a twist at you. VSCO has what I believe to be two truly killer features: its edits are non-destructive, and it actually takes your specific camera model’s output into consideration when applying its edits (as long as you shoot Canon, Nikon, or Fuji).

All the other apps output TIFF files. This is just fine; Photoshop does the same when you roundtrip files from Lightroom to it and back. What you lose there is the ability to fine-tune the changes after the plugin is done exporting the finished file back to Lightroom.

Since you never leave Lightroom, and are working on the original RAW file, VSCO’s edits are easy to roll back the edits – just select the “RESET VSCO FILM” preset in Lightroom and you’re back to your starting point. You can also adjust the preset’s effects at any time simply by moving the sliders in Lightroom or Camera RAW around to get your final look.

So, to me, this criteria has a two-way tie between Nik and VSCO.

Final Product

Here’s the meat of the review. The long story is below, but the short story is this: for my use, it’s a two-way tie for first place between VSCO Film and Nik Collection.

Let’s dive in a bit more.

In the images below, I’ve used the film preset in each app/plugin, with no additional adjustments in the plugins themselves. Any adjustments were made beforehand in Lightroom. Global adjustments were restricted to white balance and exposure, and there are some localized adjustments like dodging, burning, and skin smoothing. The original image in each case is shown as well.

In each of the image comparisons below, the original starting image is shown in the top-left. Clockwise from there, we have the adjusted images from VSCO Film, Nik Collection, Alien Skin Exposure, and DxO Filmpack.

Let’s start with B&W. I chose a film that all four apps had in common, Ilford HP5. The subject is the wetlands in the Alviso area of the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge.

Comparison Between All Apps for B&w Film

Comparison Between All Apps for B&w Film

Clockwise from top-left, we have the original DNG with basic Lightroom edits for exposure and white balance, followed by VSCO Film, Nik Collection, Alien Skin Exposure, and DxO Filmpack.

What struck me here was how similar Nik and VSCO’s output was. VSCO laid the grain down a bit more evenly, while Nik Silver Efex was more selective about it. Silver Efex, on the other hand, crushed a little of the detail in some midtones and highlights.

VSCO Film on the Left, Nik Silver Efex on the Right, 100% crop

VSCO Film on the Left, Nik Silver Efex on the Right, 100% crop

Alien Skin’s Exposure, on the other hand, tended to underexpose the sky, and lay down far less grain than either VSCO or Silver Efex for this film emulsion. It did, however, do a great job of holding detail throughout the frame.

The real surprise here was DxO Filmpack. The output is nothing like that of the other three apps; in fact, I re-ran the original file through Filmpack again just to be sure, and the results were replicated exactly. DxO’s output looks almost washed out in comparison, with far less contrast than I remember seeing in images taken with actual HP5 film. The grain pattern is weak as well, which is odd considering that HP5 usually has some pretty good contrast with decent grain.

The color images showed a similar disparity in final results as well. I chose a portrait for the this round of images, and picked an image I’d made of my friend Alexandria (an awesome photographer in her own right). The image had gone through a bit of retouching in Lightroom, but Alex has pretty flawless skin, so I didn’t need to round-trip it through Photoshop.

The film I chose was Kodak Portra NC. Portra was originally available in two flavors, NC and VC, but the two lines were combined into one single Portra emulsion a while back. Portra NC is also one of the films that all four apps had in common, so I went with it over the standard version.

Once again, clockwise from top left, we have the pre-film-effect Lightroom version, followed by VSCO, Nik Color Efex, Alien Skin Exposure, and DxO Filmpack.

Here, Nik Color Efex and Alien Skin’s seem to be the two closest, but both look somewhat washed out. I almost like that effect, but VSCO’s render looks more natural to my eye. Color Efex and Exposure really reduced detail in the highlight areas, while VSCO managed to retain them nicely.

VSCO Film on the Left, Nik Color Efex on the Right, 100% crop

VSCO Film on the Left, Nik Color Efex on the Right, 100% crop

DxO managed to disappoint me here again. Their render is, I think, over-saturated with a strong bias towards red. In fact, if you look towards the base of Alex’s neck, it almost looks like she’s blushing. DxO also reduced contrast in some areas and laid down a heavier grain pattern than any of the other apps.

So who’s the clear winner for the “Final Product” criteria? I’d say it’s a tie between VSCO and the Nik Collection.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier, this test ended in a two-way tie for first place between VSCO Film and the Nik Collection by Google. but thing is that there is no real way to quantify a choice when it comes to applications like these.

The final product and featureset are the two most important things to me, and in both those categories, I came up with a tie between VSCO and the Nik Collection. I do wish VSCO had some slide films in their packs; this is a glaring omission, but then so is the lack of “real” instant film emulsions from Color Efex. The Nik Collection has that awesome Control Point technology, but you can apply VSCO’s effects to video in Lightroom.

In an ideal world, I’d tell you all to go buy both, but that’d run you upwards of $450. Instead, I’d say this – you can’t truly go wrong with either. Look at the samples here and elsewhere on the interwebs, and decide for yourself.

Win $15,000 From Burn Magazine. Emerging Photographers Apply By May 5th.

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Photo: Matt Lutton/ Pristina, Kosovo


Need a little more change in the pocket (or a lot)? If you’re doing top-notch work, you may be in luck because Burn magazine is giving away $15,000 in grants for three photographers. Called the “Emerging Photographer Fund”, the grants will be awarded in three allotments; one photographer will win $10,000, and two others will get $2,500 a piece.

Initiated by legendary photographer David Alan Harvey in 2008 and awarded by the Magnum Foundation, the site describes the grants as “Designed to support continuation of a photographer’s personal project…[whose]…body of work may be of either a journalistic mission or purely personal artistic imperative. We just want to support committed authored photography of any ilk.”

A maximum of 25 photos may be submitted for a non-refundable submission fee of $25.

Entry deadline is May 5, 2013 at 6pm (EST), and winners will be announced in June 2013. Get on it.

Check out the exact rules and contest description HERE
Or to apply directly for the EPF grant for 2013, click HERE.

12 Tips for Entering the Commercial Photo & Film World [Hint: It's Not What You Think]

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Hi folks, Megan here, long time staff Producer for Chase. We get a ton of email inquiries every day from guys and gals looking to “work their way into the industry” or utilize skills learned while at school. Most inquire about being a photo assistant. And while that’s certainly an option to learn a ton on-set, it’s not the only path you can take to get your feet wet in the business of commercial photography and film. It’s not often discussed, but as valuable as a good photo assistant is to a photographer, a good production assistant can be just as clutch. And it’s a way to ease in the biz without the same level of knowledge as the photo assistant gig, because a production assistant is even more about the hustle.

So I thought I’d have a little fun here and describe to you the Best Production Assistant in the World. This is all hypothetical, but if you think these are all qualities you possess, please, feel free to give your local photographer hero (or heck, even me) a call..

YOU:
…are the 1st person on set
One of my favorite sayings in photography + film industries: If you’re early to the set (or location), you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, you’re fired. You should be standing around waiting, long before you’re supposed to arrive. You might not get fired the first time you’re not early, but the point is, don’t be late. Ever. Ever. Ever. Trust me, the producer doesn’t care if traffic was bad, or if your dog threw up. Be on time (= early).

…know when to be quiet
We champion the concept that a good idea can come from anywhere, but there’s a time and a place. The best PA knows when to chime in to their peers (almost NEVER directly to the photographer or director with a “creative idea” unless they ask but ALWAYS as a matter of safety – “hey that light is about to fall!”). So you’ve primarily got to know to stay quiet and observe. Getting caught chatting with the crew and making a bunch of noise is a quick way to not get hired again. Don’t be a know it all, but offer solutions to your peer group on set if you have a great idea. Generally speaking, keep your nose down and the work ethic up.

…have a car
And a decent driving record. A big part of being a PA is running errands, which is hard to do efficiently if you’re always waiting for the bus. Public transport is acceptable in NYC, Paris, London, etc, but usually frowned upon in non major-metro areas.

…are able to lift 50 lbs… easily.
There’s a lot of schlepping that goes on. You need to have some decent bicep strength and a healthy back. Be in shape, don’t be a slacker. If you’re not tired after a day of work, you either a) didn’t work hard enough or b) got lucky with a slack job. If b), don’t count on getting too many of those and don’t build your mentality of how in shape you should or shouldn’t be around the b) scenario. Be at least moderately physically fit – it will pay off.

…have no ego
Being a PA is not glamorous. At all. You’ll be asked to do things like take out the trash + clean up spills, all with a smile on your face. But doing so with pleasure and expediently is sure to get noticed and respected. Seriously. And in fact, I’ll add to this category… maybe even the most important thing… Have an amazing attitude. Nobody likes a whiner, a nay-sayer, a negative Nancy. Be a yes-boss, with a smile and some skills. Be positive. Oh, and be polite too. It’s amazing how far that goes.

…have a strong work ethic
You are working your tail off from the moment you walk on set, until you step out the door. The best PA is ready to work as hard and as long as it takes to get the job done. If any other PA or assistant is carrying stuff, cleaning, etc and you’re not, you’re not doing your job. Know when you need to steer clear of certain roles (Gaffer, Grip, etc) especially on union jobs – and know when to help. The more you’re around this stuff, the more you’ll understand the subtleties here.

…have a slight case of OCD
Attention to detail is the name of the game in production. The best PA is super organized and on top of his or her stuff. Always. If you’re a flake or even moderately poorly organized, this will show up quickly. Respect gets doled out if you can take on a project and complete it without being micro managed. On the contrary, no one wants to have to tell you the best way to “get coffee”. So you have to be able to figure it out. Efficiently and effectively.

…anticipate what needs to be done
See that the recycle bin is full? You empty it before being asked. The coffee pot is empty? You brew another pot before another crew member goes to refill his or her cup. Find yourself with nothing to do? Start making the rounds and ask if anyone needs a water. Anticipation shows that you understand what the heck is going on. Which, in turn, is the fastest way to get respect, a raise, a promotion.

…think on your feet
We’re always dealing with real-time problems on-set that need real-time solutions. The best PA is able to go with the flow and help resolve the issues at hand in a timely manner.

…remain calm under pressure
In the immortal words of Jimmy Dugan, “there’s no crying in baseball.” Or on photography sets. Be clear headed. Like Fonzi.

…value presentation
Sometimes there’s a designated Craft Services professional on set, and sometimes it falls on the PA to shop for and put out breakfast, lunch, snacks and bevies. The best PA has a keen eye for presentation, whether it’s food, a pile or cords, a stack of apple boxes, or whatever. Make stuff look nice. (You also hopefully have a sense of style, whether it’s food or design. Understand that setting down a can of Cheese Whiz and a pack of Saltines OR wearing your flip flops to a celebrity shoot is usually no bueno.)

…are resourceful
Perhaps the most useful and prized of all PA attributes, this one will help you out in any and/or all facets of the creative industry. You know who to call, where to go, how to make it happen, or you can figure it out without much oversight. Try to “know people” who can get shiz done – whether it’s a welder or a car wash, the owner of a photo store or the guy behind the rental counter. Make an effort to know people. And know how to do stuff. Lots of stuff. Sure you can make coffee, but can you properly coil cords and cables? Can you paint (as in walls)? Can you parallel park? Can you fix broken stuff? Can you MacGyver your a$$ off? The more stuff you know how to do, the better. BE RESOURCEFUL.

Of course having some experience is preferred in every line of work, but it’s not 100% required when starting out. There’s something to be said for possessing the innate ability to “figure it out.” If you’re eager to please and ready to work your booty off, starting as a PA might be a good entrée to the industry. You’ll certainly get to see the underbelly of the photography + film worlds, which is often a good thing if you’re wondering if this photography thing is a good line of work for you. Gotta see the sausage being made in the basement to know where all that industry flavor comes from…

Everybody’s gotta start somewhere.

Join Me! LIVE in a Google Hangout from Aspen Talking Photography, Music, SXSW and more…. with Robert Scoble & Chris Davenport.

UPDATE: here’s a recording of our chat…above! Thanks to all of you who watched live.
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LIVE today at 9:30 PDT, 10:30 Aspen, 12:30 NYT, 17:30 London right here on the blog or on my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/chasejarvis.

I’m smack dab in the middle of shooting next year’s campaign for Aspen (last years BTS video here with octocopers and wicked visuals) but had the morning off and managed to wrangle a couple friends for a live Google Hangout to discuss a bunch of questions that have come across my desk in the last week about the Aspen/Snowmass campaign (helicopters and photography), my new favorite music, the democratization of technology and a few other odds and ends that you will find of interest. Joining me is one of the key talent for my Aspen shoot, one of the world’s best skiers, Chris Davenport, the tech guru Robert Scoble (fresh outta SXSW) and the digital maven here in Aspen, David Amirault.

Photographing with Remote Helis & World Class Athletes in Crazy Locations — Behind-the-Scenes in Aspen

Using the Force


Remember last year’s Aspen campaign? Well, we’re back at it again this year with even better conditions. We’ve been up before dawn and burning the midnight oil. Out the door right now – but stay tuned via social channels to follow along. In the meantime here’s a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos. Enjoy.

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Photo: Scott Rinckenberger

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Chris Davenport shows Scotty his backyard

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Andrew Price

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Photo: Scott Rinckenberger

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Photo: Jerard

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Photo: Jerard

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Safety first: Davenport digs a pit to check snow stability

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Chris Davenport - Professional at crushing it for the camera.

3 Undeniable Reasons To Pursue Personal Work — Why Being The Guinea Pig Pays Off…Bigtime

I have been a long-time, huuuuge proponent of taking time to pursue personal work. Its in fact my pursuit of personal work to which I attribute a good bit of my success. In short, it’s by taking time to investigate your personal vision that you will be rewarded. My homie Joey L., has been finding time to uncover personal gems throughout his career. And you’ll see in his guest post below – it has paid off for him bigtime. Take it away Joey. – Chase

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UPDATE: Joey is actually giving a free, LIVE class right now on creativeLIVE. Check it here…
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Thanks Chase and greetings Chase Jarvis readers. I am humbled to be able to post here, and speak to you directly.If you’re familiar with my photography and behind the scenes blog, you probably already know that I’m a huge advocate of photographers spending time on personal work.

Although I’ve shot many commercial photo shoots you may or may not have bumped into on the street or on a magazine rack, I’m glad to say I’m actually most associated with my portraits of people from Southern Ethiopia, and the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia.

chasejarvis_JOEYLhamar_tribe_ethiopia
The Image above is a Panoramic image of Hamar Women at Sunrise, Southern Ethiopia. Photographed with Mamiya 645DF with Phase One P65+ Digital Back. Lit with 1 Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Octa and a Profoto 7b power pack.

When I say “personal work”, I’m referring to any body of work that wasn’t paid for by a client; work you created out of sheer passion. Now, I’m not saying I am not passionate about my commissioned jobs! Lately I’ve been fortunate to work on some truly interesting stuff that keeps me wired all day long. However, what I am talking about is a project that comes 100% from your soul. While your commissioned work may be an artistic collaboration with a brand or product, your personal work is an extension of yourself.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share how committing to personal projects can directly benefit your portfolio and career as a whole. Even if a photographer has never done a commercial shoot before, it doesn’t mean they can’t get hired off a body of personal work that relates to a brief. Whether you like to shoot landscapes, beautiful women, quirky characters or still life, there is a client out there that is looking for this type of work. For me, its environmental portraits. Images of humans in their surroundings extends to everywhere around the globe, not just the endangered cultures in remote locations I choose to focus on. There is a market for this type of photography, as well as many types of photography you like to work with, I’m sure.


chasejarvis_JoeyL_killing_lincoln_movie_poster_blog
The movie poster above, shot for National Geographic’s “Killing Lincoln” just came out the other day. I think it’s a perfect example of my personal style extending to a commissioned job. The lighting is actually quite simple. A Briese DP90 camera left, high above eye-level of the actors, angled in such a way to get dramatic shadows on the opposite side of the face. Inside is a 5K bulb, which allowed me to get an exposure ideal for my Phase One back- which only really shoots up to ISO200 before the grain is terrible. There are 3 constant lights on the background set- 2k Arri fresnels at the left and right side, and a 5k Arri fresnel in the middle. A hazer machine brought in a thin layer of “fog” to help the light feel more painterly. The microscopic particles of the haze catch the light trails. To view more information about this project, check out my blog post here.



Now, I realize a lot of you are like me, and enjoy nerdy gear-related technical information too, so I’m dropping some of those goodies below each one of the photos.

Okay, let’s start with the 3 main points:

1- Personal Work Keeps The Portfolio fresh
ChaseJarivs_joey_l_photographer_turkana
Above you will see me half submerged in Lake Turkana, Ethiopia, photographing a man named Shallowgo checking his fishing nets. The final image is below. I’m shooting with Mamiya 645DF with Phase One P65+ Digital Back. Assistant is holding Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Octa and a Profoto 7b power pack.



You’d be surprised at how many artistic people there are out there who reach a certain level, then simply give up on improving their craft. Even photographers with extensive client lists who were once busy can find themselves going through dry periods because they forgot the value of progressing their work to even greater heights and creating something new.

In the past, I have absolutely been guilty of this. Sometimes I work myself into a creative funk and it takes months to realize I haven’t been pushing myself hard enough. Then all of a sudden, a storm of new ideas hits me, and I start experimenting and trying new things I’ve never done before. Sometimes these new shoots work out and provide valuable pieces to my portfolio, but sometimes they don’t work at all. Even if I spend a week in pre-production, a whole day shooting, and walk away with one new picture that is portfolio worthy, I’m happy. I recommend a photographer’s portfolio to not last over 30-50 images, so a single photo every once and awhile is going to build this body of work in no time.

The best thing about testing new ideas in a personal setting is that there is no pressure to deliver. A real commercial set where people have paid you to deliver a certain amount of key images is not exactly the place to be testing new wonky ideas you aren’t sure will work. So, you start a guinea pig project on your own time to try new things, and hopefully you can implement what you learned on paid gigs later.

Failure is okay. After all, as photographers and filmmakers we don’t even have to show the world the work we failed all. In our portfolios, all we show is a pretty little selection of where we succeeded. The rest can stay hidden on a hard drive forever, (which you can decide to keep or destroy with a sledge hammer, depending on how bad it was.)

















2- Passion Draws Eyes
ChaseJarivs_JoeL._sadhu_varanasi





When he was young, Lal Baba’s parents arranged a marriage for him. Uncertain about his future, he ran away from home in Bihar Siwan and took up the lifelong task of becoming a sadhu. This was taken in Varanasi, India.



I like to show people updated portfolios. Whether I meet new potential clients, or co-workers who have known my work for years, I always like to start the meeting with new personal work. This way, these new images become a conversation piece, since there are usually some interesting stories behind how the images came to be. “I got a flat tire in Ethiopia and was stranded for days” can be an interesting conversation.

Passion doesn’t lie. When other photographer’s show me their work and I can hear an undeniable sense of excitement in their voice, it gets me interested in what they have to say. Instead of pretending to be excited about work that’s several years old, it’s much better just to go out and create something new that keeps your blood pumping.

Sharing personal work is one simple way of showing passion. The last person someone wants to hire is someone who doesn’t care about what they do, and only creates when they’re on a job. There is a way better vibe, and it is easier to be productive around motivated people.

3 – Personal Work Gets You Hired To Shoot What You Like to Shoot

ChaseJarvis_JoeyL._robert_de_niro

The above portrait I took of Robert De Niro was for Screen Actor’s Guild which has light reminiscent of my personal portraits. 


When you photograph a subject or in a certain style that interest you, it’s usually the same style you end up getting hired to shoot. An art director has a lot of confidence in hiring a photographer who has already shot something that vaguely matches their vision for the project. Personally, a lot of the times I am hired because of what’s already in my portfolio. I often hear something like “we used this photo of yours as a reference, and we’d love if you could create something similar for our photoshoot.” This doesn’t mean you should do the exact same thing you’ve already done, it just means that you’re being hired for what you’re most passionate about! Now it’s time to apply those skills for other purposes. I’ve developed a lot of skills I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for keeping myself busy. For example, I’ve found that working with foreign subjects who aren’t used to photography has really boosted my communication skills in every aspect of my life. Another example, is that I use a lot of the same lighting styles first developed in a safe, controlled studio setting when shooting in the field.

Another key thing I’d like to mention here is spreading your photographs by using the power of the internet. With todays technology there’s no excuse for your work not be seen. With social media, blogs and photography contests such as PDN, if you do good work, someone is going to see it and share it. This doesn’t mean that these tools do the work for you, but it does give you a platform that spreads your work instantly. The more eyeballs on my portfolio, the more likely it is that a single one of those pairs of eyeballs can translate into a real job.

So now a plan of action. Ask yourself these question: What’s something you’ve always wanted to photograph that excites you? How are you going to photograph it differently, and make it yours? And most importantly — how are you going to make it happen?

My Next Personal Project

I want to share my next kickass personal project with you. It’s overly ambitious, and recently keeps me up at night with extreme jolts of both fear and passion. (A good sign- this means it’s something worth doing.)

People of the Delta is my first major film project, which was written in collaboration with the tribes I’ve photographed in Southern Ethiopia while working on my personal series “The Cradle of Mankind.” This video pretty much sums up everything I could write about the film in this post, so if you’re interested, take a gander here:

Kickstarter Campaign for: “People of the Delta” Film Project from Joey L on Vimeo.

You can check out everything about the project on the Kickstarter website here:
I’m not going to ask you to back this project unless you can get something valuable in return. I’ve set up a bunch of interesting rewards geared at photographer’s to help this project happen. On the Kickstarter site, you’ll find all sorts of rewards. There are downloads of the final project, a complete lighting and production tutorial on the creation of the film, gallery prints, gear with my photos on it, and even portfolio reviews where I’ll sit down with you on Skype to have a one to one chat.

Another reward I just launched is an NYC photography workshop with me, and spaces are quite limited. If you’d like to meet me and see me ramble about Lighting, Photoshop and other stuff related to our industry, this would be a good chance.

I’m guessing that if you’ve sat there and read this whole article, you’re passionate enough about what we do to go out there and start your own project. You don’t need fancy tools or a plane ticket to some remote place, all you really need is a vision and a strong desire to make it happen.

Joey L.

People of the Delta Kickstarter:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joeyl/people-of-the-delta-film-project
Portfolio Website: http://www.joeyL.com
Behind the Scenes Blog: http://www.joeyL.com/blog
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joeyldotcom
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joey-L-The-Photographer/166804470002802

A Robot That Drives Your Camera — The Little Motion Control Dolly That Could

I stumbled on this gem via Kickstarter a week or two ago and reached out to my camera tech pal Sohail to get his take. In short, we cranked out this review in short order to give you a first look AND… I’ve got another prototype en route to my studio now to put it thru the paces of an actual commercial job… Will report back again after all is said and done, but in the meantime, Sohail goes deep with this little monster and validates that this motion-control timelapse dolly is a worthy endeavor… Take it away, Sohail… – chase

Often, the simplest of ideas, executed without bloat, result in the most elegant and useful of solutions. That is what the L’il Mule personifies. In fact, when it was handed to me, my first reaction was, “That’s it?”

That was, in fact, it. The L’il Mule is a trackless dolly that is the brain child of Warren Herndon, the man behind the popular Omni-Tracker line of video dollies. Warren appears to have taken the feedback he received from the Omni-Tracker to heart and has used it to build a dolly that, if you’re interested in video or timelapse, you should take a good look at. The Kickstarter project that he used to launch the L’il Mule is still ongoing, and has been funded at over 200%.

The L'il Mule dolly

The L'il Mule dolly

Continue Reading →

Survivorman Les Stroud: Produce the Creative Work & Life You Want [Jan 30, 11am PST]

ChasejarvisLIVE_LesStroud

UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is January 30th – 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) – mark your calendars and flip your dial to http://www.chasejarvis.com/live.

Les Stroud combined his love of the outdoors as a professional survival instructor with a passion for film and photography and created a new genre of television with the highest ratings in the history of both OLN Canada, the Science Channel US, and among the most popular shows ever on Discovery Channel US. But more importantly he created the life he wanted to live through his own creativity. As the only producer in the history of television to produce an internationally broadcast series entirely written, filmed and hosted alone, Les is a seriously accomplished creative. And obviously, when he is alone in the wilderness, life hangs in the balance of good decision making. One wrong decision can make the difference between living and dying. The consequences are well-known to Les, who has spent a lifetime surviving everywhere from the Amazon jungles to the vast Arctic tundra. But what about the decisions he has made as a creative? What decisions did have to make to pursue his dreams and share his vision? Tune in to find out.

WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE conversation with internationally known ‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud.
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

Think YOU couldn’t do this or something like it? Think again. By following his passions, Les is the autonomous star of a show which is licensed for broadcast in over 120 countries worldwide and millions of people tune in to each episode. Join me n’ Les on the couch in my studio to discover:

_How to face and overcome your fears – in a survival situation and when it comes to your creative work
_What it’s like to negotiate with a cable network and the pitfalls to look out for
_Why you should pursue your creative vision and live the life you want
_When to outrun a 1500lb Bull Moose – and what not to do when you see one in the wild
_What it takes to survive for 10 days alone stranded in the middle of the Norwegian winter
_How to combine passions into your creative work

See you on the Wed the 30th. LIVE from my studio… In the meantime, here’s a teaser for Les’s new show:

JOIN US LIVE.
If you want to be part of the live, in-studio audience, send an email to production@chasejarvis.com with “Les Stroud” in the subject line. Winners will receive a confirmation email with attendance instructions. Bonus points for tweeting about the show and sending folks here.

HELP US PROMOTE THE SHOW AND WIN GEAR:

Pre-Show Contest:
For a chance to win: Send out a creative tweet promoting the show with #cjLIVE +@manfrotto_tweet + the short link to this page (http://bit.ly/WLMOLK) included.

_Les Stroud 10″ SK Mountain™ Ultimate Survival Knife – Carbontitride Titanium 440 Steel, Non-Stick Drop Point Blade, Survival Sheath with Survival Features

_Les Stroud Ultimate Fan Package:
-Les Stroud signature harmonica, Stranded DVD & Les Stroud cooling bandana.

And…
THIS IS HUGE – DURING THE LIVE BROADCAST WE’RE GIVING AWAY GOPRO HERO3 BLACK EDITION
But you’ll have to tune-in to find out how.

Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
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Also, our friends at liveBooks are offering special starter package deal for a photo website, exclusive for chasejarvisLIVE fans, here. Check it out.

View Official Contest Rules here.

D600 the Affordable full-frame DSLR — What’s the Catch? [Hands on Review]

It’s been out in the marketplace for a while now – but the conversation and questions continue to churn around the D600. Is it all that and a bag of chips? Or is there a catch? Is it a good choice for the working pro and how does it compare to Nikon’s D800? At a pricepoint that is majorly accesible, it offers similar features as the DX-format D7000 and seems to represent a big leap for photographers. For those of us who have been around for a while, it’s interesting to think back only 4 years ago when the D90 landed and changed the way we use our DSLRs forever. (Check out that vintage video I made to launch Nikon’s first-in-class here) In fact, it was just over a decade ago that the first full frame DSLR was announced (Canon EOS 1Ds). At that point it was the realm of the elite pro or wealthy enthusiast at $8,000. Today, the D600, can be found for less than $2,000. We’ve come a long way baby. Given the response to my post on the launch of the D600 , I invited my friend Ben Pitt to continue the conversation with a hands on review of the camera. [At this moment, I'm climbing Kilimanjaro with some friends to bring awareness to clean, safe water in Africa. I've loaded up content for this week with the help of experts like Ben.] You might remember Ben’s last post that described How to take a 7-Gigapixel photo. Take it away Ben. – Chase

When Chase asked for your thoughts about the D600 in September, you didn’t hold back. There was a surprising number of negative comments, but perhaps it’s not so surprising. After all, $2,000 is an amazing price for a full-frame SLR, so anyone with a healthy dose of scepticism will be looking for a catch.

I’ve been shooting with a D600 for a few weeks, and I can confirm that there’s a huge amount to love about this camera. The 24-megapixel full-frame sensor delivers what is, for me, the perfect balance of high detail and low noise. It also allows for 5.5fps continuous shooting – a big improvement on the pricier D800′s 4fps. The controls are almost identical to the D7000′s, but that’s not a criticism – all the key functions fall under the fingers.

Having said that, the Auto ISO mode is more sophisticated than on the D7000 (adapting the shutter speed in line with the focal length) and is quicker to switch on and off. The viewfinder is as big as the D800′s, the screen is just as big and sharp, the weather-sealing equally substantial, and it includes mic in and headphone out sockets. It’s a little smaller and lighter than the D800 but it’s still a comfortable fit in the hand.

There’s not much to report about image quality. We know what Nikon’s JPEG processing engine is capable of, and it’s firing on all cylinders here. Details are sharp and noise is far lower than any cropped-sensor camera. It’s a little lower than from the D800, too, thanks to the lower pixel density.

But surely there’s a catch? Otherwise, the D800 is dead in the water. Yes, there are a few downgrades compared to the D800, which I’ll run through below (I’m not counting the sensor, which for me a sideways movement with its lower detail and lower noise). It’s up to you whether you see them as deal-breakers.

 

Smaller, simpler autofocus sensor

The D600′s 39-point autofocus sensor uses the same layout as the D7000′s. I’ve got no issue with the number of points – after all, Canon’s rival 6D only has 11. However, while the array of points largely fills the D7000′s viewfinder, they’re much more bunched in the centre of the D600′s full-frame viewfinder. This makes it harder to track erratic subjects. Subjects towards the edges of the frame require a focus-recompose-shoot technique.

No aperture adjustment during live view or video capture

Live view generally works well, taking about one second to autofocus – not great but better than many SLRs’ live view. However, while you can adjust the aperture value, it only adjusts the aperture blades just before you take a photo, so there’s no real-time preview of the depth of field.

Personally, I’m not too bothered about this. I’m more bothered by the limited aperture control for video. Here, the only way to adjust the aperture is by exiting live view, spinning the command dial and then re-entering live view. It’s not possible to adjust the aperture while composing a shot on the screen or while recording (unless your lens has an aperture ring). Shutter priority isn’t available for video, either – it’s fully automatic or fully manual only.

No 1080p/60 video

On the subject of video, it doesn’t seem unreasonable in 2012 for a $2,000 camera to be able to record 1080p at 60fps. There are enough $500 cameras that can do it. 60fps shooting is great for slow motion, but on the D600 it’s only available if you’re willing to drop the resolution to 720p. Then again, the same applies to the D800 too. Otherwise, this is an extremely capable video camera, with crisp details and the same colour output as in JPEGs.

No AF On button, PC sync or CompactFlash slot. Different button layout to other full-frame Nikons.

These issues might put off people considering the D600 as a backup camera to a pricier Nikon SLR, and who don’t want to have to give a moment’s thought when switching between cameras. For those coming from the other direction – perhaps going full-frame for the first time – there are easy workarounds.

AF-On lets you assign autofocus and shutter release to separate buttons to avoid unnecessary refocusing when taking a string of shots. The D600 doesn’t have a dedicated AF-On button, but either the AE Lock or front-mounted Fn button can be assigned to this task. You still get a dedicated DOF preview button as well as this Fn button.

PC Sync – add this for $20 or even just $3 with a shoe adapter.

CompactFlash – the fastest 16GB SDHC cards costs $40 – it’s not worth worrying about your old CF cards.

1/200s flash sync

A few comment posters complained about the relatively slow flash sync speed. This seems to be more a criticism of the general direction that Nikon, Canon et al are going – after all, 1/200s isn’t much slower than the D800 and D4′s 1/250s. Besides, switching the D600 to Auto-FP mode (short for Auto Flash Power), I had no problem syncing an off-camera strobe at 1/250s. If you want 1/500s flash sync to reduce the amount sunlight in your flash photography, get yourself a D40 – no current full-frame or cropped-sensor SLR that I know of can do it.

Mysterious dust problems

Various reviewers and forum posters have noticed a build-up of dirt on the D600′s sensor. There’s a risk of this with any SLR, of course, but I can confirm what others have found – the D600 does appear to be more prone to it than most, particularly in the top-left of the frame. More worryingly, the dirt seems to be coming from inside the camera. I’ve been shooting with a single lens, which hasn’t come off since the camera arrived, and there are dust spots now that weren’t there earlier. They’re just about visible on plain areas of photos (such as clear skies) at f8, but in most cases I have to shoot at f/16 or higher for them to show up. That doesn’t excuse it, though. I’ve asked Nikon for a comment, and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. I’d be tempted to hold out parting with any cash until they do.

The D7000 was – and is – a fantastic camera, but the D600 is a compelling upgrade, delivering the lower noise and extra detail that comes with full-frame but without the usual prohibitive price tag. The smaller autofocus sensor area and dust problems are the only lingering issues for me – hopefully the latter can be resolved. If so, I’d happily pick the D600 over the D800. In the end, it seems there is really no catch.

Professionals looking for a backup camera are probably better off with the D800. It will feel more familiar, and its 36-megapixel sensor is a welcome compliment to the 16-megapixel D4.

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You can buy the Nikon D600 from B&H here.

How To Prepare for Your Commercial Photo or Video Shoot — 10 Things Clients Expect In Your Production Notebook


One golden rule to a great photoshoot is to start with great production. A smooth production puts everyone and everything in the right place for the shoot to succeed long before the shutter button gets pressed. That said, I have some of the best producers in the biz on staff. And here, Megan outlines one essential to every commercial production – the production notebook. Use this info to help make your next production run smooth like butta’… Take it away, Meg.
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Hello peeps, Megan here, producer for Chase. We’re gearing up for a several big international jobs, so as I’m booking travel and working with a local producer on locations + permits, I’m also putting the Production Book together. This is critical information that all professional production houses put together and it’s something clients and agencies expect from you on any large-scale shoot. Think of it as a one-stop shop for all pertinent details. It can be distributed to all parties via email prior to the shoot, and a printed copy should accompany you to set. Not only does it help make you look super professional, it just might be the most practical thing you carry (aside from your camera, of course).

You don’t need special software; start with a Word or Pages doc. Just keep an eye on formatting. It should be clean, easy to read and align with your brand. Once it’s complete, save a template you can always use to generate this doc for your next shoot, then output a PDF for the production crew and send it out!

Here’s a basic list of things to include (as applicable):

1. cover sheet: a nicely laid out page that identifies the client, the production company and/or the photographer
_client + photographer logos
_name of job

2. contact info: detail the names, titles, phone numbers + email address of all associated parties
_client
_agency
_crew

3. shot list / creative: detailed shot list and/or photo references
_wardrobe/prop specs
_art direction

4. travel itineraries: who’s going where and when?
_flights
_confirmation numbers

5. accommodations: where is everyone staying? 
_address
_contact
_check in/out dates
_directions to/from airport
_meeting room location + details

6. location info: every shoot happens somewhere, whether it’s at your studio or the Mojave desert
_address
_contact info (i.e. site rep)
_map
_directions
_photos
_certificates of insurance for each
_releases
_permit info
_copy of permits
_contact info for city or governing agency (i.e. FilmLA)

7. talent: actors, models, friends, guy you scouted on the subway
_contact info
_agency info
_call times
_locations
_photos
_releases

8. vendors: a list of any and all 3rd party resources involved in the shoot
_visa/Carnet confirmations
_caterers
_shipping
_equipment rentals
_ground transpo

9. shooting schedule: what does each day look like?
_call times
_wrap times
_travel to/from locations
_HMU + wardrobe prep
_lunch + breaks
_shot breakdown

10. production calendar: all pertinent deadlines should be identified here
_pre-production hot items (i.e. location + talent selection due dates, permit approval process, etc.)
_shooting window
_post-production requirements (i.e. number of rounds to client, amount of time allotted for feedback, proofing, due date of final images, etc.)

There you have it! Start with these categories as a template, and add or subtract as needed. May seem kind of tedious as you’re doing it, but I promise you, it’s so worth it. Until next time! Stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes goodness from our shoots, trips, and travels! -Megan the Producer

LIVE Photoshoot using the World’s Biggest Camera + The Power of Personal Work

Update: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY Wednesday December 19th. Check out the post below and be sure to tune into http://www.chasejarvis.com/live — 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) — and enjoy the show. See you on there.

I am an advocate of personal work. Finding time to create personal projects has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career as a visual artist. My guest on the next week’s episode of chasejarvisLIVE is Ian Ruhter. Ian’s commitment to his personal work has been turning heads. A professional snowboarder turned photographer he was at the top of his game as a staff photographer and commercial shooter for the most respected magazines and brands in the snowboarding world. Then, more than 2 years ago, he had a vision of a photo that had never been taken – and he needed to be the one to create it. In a moment he went “all in” and started his pursuit of a new, completely unique, creative experience. He spent all his savings and converted a box truck into a tintype camera and started traveling around the country in his camera taking wetplate processed tintype photos – some of the largest that have ever been created. Check out the video above for a teaser on Ian and his work.

I’m so stoked that Ian is coming to Seattle next week to share his experience on chasejarvisLIVE. And even more exciting – he will be shooting the camera with me, my team and YOU. Dont miss this. It will be LIVE, un-scripted and inspirational.

WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE photo shoot with Ian Ruhter’s wetplate camera-truck + worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, December 19th, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

We will be giving this signed photo of Ian’s away during the show – you have to tune in to find out how to win!

Watch the show today and find out how to win a signed print this Ian Ruhter photo

As always, you can ask any question of me or Ian (@ianruhter) that you might have, as we’ll be taking your question via my twitter handle + hashtag #cjLIVE and via my Facebook page.

THIS IS HUGE – WE’RE GIVING AWAY TWO MANFROTTO GEAR SET UP.
Help us promote the show by sending a creative tweet out to your friends to help promote this show
@manfrotto_tweet + #cjLIVE [note: you must follow @manfrotto_tweet to be eligible to win]

Bundle #1: Manfrotto Bundle composed of:
_Manfrotto 290 3-section carbon fiber tripod with quick-release 3-way photo head
_Manfrotto Midi-36 LED Light
_Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Shoulder Bag
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell Jacket
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter
Total Bundle Value: $780.00

Product Bundle # 2:
Manfrotto Bundle composed by:
Manfrotto Compact Photo Head Kit
Manfrotto Klyp Kit with Case for iPhone 4/4S + ML 240 LED Light + Pocket Tripod
Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Camera Shoulder Bag
Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell
a Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter

Total Bundle Value: $ 474.98

ALSO – FOR EVERYONE RIGHT NOW
We’re working with our good friends at liveBooks for 50% off an Emerging Predesigned Package site. Use the promo code CJLIVE. The discount is good for a yearly package, expiring 12/31/2013.[You can get it for $99 - regularly $199]

Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
HP: @hpprint
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New Terms of Use for Instagram: Users React with Outrage

chasejarvis_INSTAGRAM ANOTHER UPDATE 12/19: today Instagram did a much better job in the media explaining their position – specifically around not “selling” your images as in “here ya go company X, use this in your next billboard”. As an artist & entrepreneur, having been involved in IP licensing all my professional career and navigated these waters before…as such I think I understand their challenge better than most. The legalese required around IP creators (in this case photographers using the platform ) in a social sharing environment is tricky and has some specific requirements and often positions such a service in an unintended light. Clearly IG wants to make money in/around your photos – they’re a business. But without getting in the weeds on that, the key point they articulated more clearly today is their lack of intent to outright “sell” images. That’s not their game – at least not yet. I’d guess those inside the org are trying to position the widest possible array of future revenue streams so that they don’t have to change the ToC much in the future as these things always create a shitstorm for the social sites and they can’t do that without going to great lengths to explain this to their community. There are still open issues that many creators will take up with such ToC (as there are in Fbook for example), so there is still work on their part to be done, but there is likely a future where the words in the ToC can better capture the ground between Instagram and it’s users. TBD.
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UPDATE 3:00pm Pacific Time 12/18: Instagram has rescinded its position. I applaud them. I hope what comes back (and it will) will be better, and more in accordance with the community they created in the first place. Check out co-founder statement here.
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NEWS: You might remember the well-known mobile phone app Instagram made big news a few months back when it was acquired by Facebook (FB) for $1 billion. Instagram is back in the news today, especially…ahem…with creatives and photographers, with an update to its terms of service that will let the company sell users’ photos to other companies.

The new terms of use (below for your reference), effective January 16, have many changes — but the biggest changes came in the section about users’ rights. “A business or other entity may pay” Instagram to display users’ photos and other details “in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

Users can’t opt out of the new provisions. The only way to avoid them is to delete your Instagram account.

This is a rather large change effing ginormous change in the terms. The current terms simply note that “Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content.” The new terms make it a “sub-licensable” agreement, with an updated emphasis seemingly focused on Instagram’s ability give content to third parties. In addition, users waive their rights to a class-action lawsuit or class-wide arbitration. A note at the top of the new terms, in bolded caps, says that any dispute between Instagram and a user “will be resolved by binding, individual arbitration,” unless the user opts out of the provision in writing. (If you want to do that, you need to snail mail in your opt-out statement. The address is buried in the Terms of Use: search for “Arbitration Opt-out.”)

ANALYSIS: Instagram is blowing it hard on both the WHAT (selling out your images with no profit to you) and the HOW…by changing the ToC to gobble up your imagery bound to by using the service after allowing users to build up huge followings and large libraries of imagery. Lame sauce and an assault on your work.

Let’s call it what it is… this idea isn’t new, it’s just a shitty way – the shittiest way – of going about monetization. In truth, I had plans to allow photographers to opt into a sales program as a source of income for photogs if they so desired back in 2009 when I launched Best Camera app, the first photo app to share images direct to social networks (top 20 App of 2009 – Wired, NYTimes, Macworld, etc), but there were key differences then…the same key differences that, if I were in charge of Instagram’s ToC (and what I had in my roadmap for Best Camera before it was derailed), could make/have made a huge benefit for photographers. Here’s a different approach that would be acceptable

1. Make the program an opt in program. Check a box in your user settings that says “this image can be sold (or x’d or y’d whatever)”, with some legal jargon, and have only those images be available in the marketplace. Make it image specific. For the people who want to manage that – who want to earn money – this won’t be a burden. For those who don’t want to play, it’ snot an issue.

2. Assuming #1 above, then split the revenue with the photographer. As the creator, you should own the right to exploit the work you create. A simple rev share would generate tons of dough and be perceived as a win for photography, not an attack on it by a multi billion dollar company.

There are just two things that could have changed today’s news into a huge win instead of a f*&king disaster. And FWIW, there are 100 other ways to monetize their platform that could be a win for content creators instead of an assault. If they need help, Kevin (founder), just give me a ring. I’ll help outline some alt options for you.

I’m flattered that not so long ago Instagram was a lift and stamp copy of Best Camera. I had my reasons for letting BC go that way and I think they did a marvelous job of executing – better than I ever could have done, especially without giving up my career as an artist. I love the results of what they’ve been able to build, almost flawlessly to date, a massive global community creating photos! But let’s face it. Instagram was a silicon valley startup on its second pivot (translation: tap into something hot right now and try to make it happen to get your investors money back…which they did). They saw market opportunity, not photography. The founders are nice guys (we have lots of the same friends) who certainly “like” photography, but they are not photographers, and they don’t have the sensitivities IMHO required to navigate the creators’ landscape (or if they have them, we have’t seen them yet…). I hope they can recover. For them, for you. I actually think they CAN recover. These guys are super smart and I’ll be in support of them if they can change and adapt to what the world wants – fair terms. But… For now, I recommend that those of you on the platform let them know that this isn’t cool.

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