This October we wander back into DC to plop ourselves down in the cushy leather chairs at the Top of the Hill on Capitol Hill. We’ll gather in what’s billed as a WWII era lounge and shoot the breeze, talk shop, or play some pool. APA|DC chair Matthew Rakola will buy the first drink for anyone who comes in costume. (And no, dressing up as a photographer doesn’t count.)
Wednesday, October 23rd from 6 pm ish to 8 pm ish.
Frank Meo, the founder of www.thephotocloser.com, will share his insights on the various elements of project bidding. This seminar will breakdown, in detail, the process by which an estimate is put together. By sharing insights on the various elements of bidding from preparation, pricing, estimating, negotiating, producing, billing and follow-up, Meo will expose the entire process by which jobs are awarded. He will delve into the details of being awarded projects.
Attendees will learn the process of creating a buttoned-up, successful bid. Most importantly, Meo will discuss how to separate yourself from the competition and secure projects by bidding in a creative way. He calls this process ‘creative separation’. Creative separation is the space in which you truly connect with your client as well as their subject and/or product . This overlooked, misunderstood, and non-appreciated area is where jobs are awarded and lost. Using real-life case studies Meo will show photographers how to be a part of the creative solution.
It’s no revelation that we live in a culture where we are constantly inundated with images. The total (estimated) number of photos taken in 2012 was 380 BILLION. According to Facebook, in that same year, users uploaded over 300 MILLION photos EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The vast majority of these are only seen by a few people- shared mostly with the photographer’s circle of friends and family. Some might be seen by strangers with similar interests, who discover them via a hashtag, and fewer still make it into a print or online publication, get printed out and shown, or go viral online.
But who are the gatekeepers who decide which images make it to the party? Who separates the digital wheat from the proverbial chaff? In this panel discussion we will meet those curators of imagery, both off and on-line, who determine which images people see. These are the photo editors, the reviewers, the bloggers and the art directors who deal with hundreds, if not thousands of pictures each day and decide which images are worth sharing and promoting. We’ll find out what they look for in an image and how their opinions differ from other editors, curators, and bloggers.
Nicole Aguirre is CEO of Worn Creative, a creative agency that works with organizations including Planned Parenthood, NBC/Universal, and &pizza to produce marketing campaigns targeting multicultural millennials. She is also a professional photographer, and Editor in Chief of Worn Magazine, an art and fashion publication she founded in 2009. Reach Nicole via twitter @worncreative
Heather Goss is the founder of Exposed DC, which began in 2006 with the first annual photography contest and gallery show through local news website DCist, and throughout the year highlights the work of local photographers and provides information about D.C. area photo events. Heather has been a juror for FotoweekDC, the Phillips Collection, the Intersections Festival, and many other local contests. She was the arts and managing editor of DCist for six years, and is now an associate editor at Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, where she creates regular photography features and is a judge for its annual photo contest.
After leaving the restaurant management job behind four years ago to pursue his own career as a photographer, Patrick has shot weddings, celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, gourmet food, rehabilitating Marines, and everything in between, all while having his images printed in numerous books, magazines, and other publications such as the Washingtonian, American Way, and the Washington Post. He regularly shoots for and works with the United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment and has frequently been a guest speaker at American University. Patrick also hosts a weekly podcast called “Staying In Focus“, where he talks to some of the most creative and talented photographers in the business.
David Hicks has over twenty years experience providing visual direction for national and regional publications. As photo editor for Washingtonian Magazine, he art directed cover shoots for Washington’s top chefs, lawyers, and politicians. At USA Weekend Magazine, he art directed celebrity cover shoots for Jim Carrey, Uma Thurman, Geena Davis, and Paula Abdul. At the White House, he traveled internationally with President Clinton’s diplomatic corps, to provide media support across platforms.
He is also a regular contributing portfolio consultant to FotoDC, NYC Fotoworks, The Corcoran College of Art and Design, and his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. He is also on the faculty of Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Washington, DC.
True story. A WWII vet turned B movie star, in his fifth attempt at nuptials, weds an entrepreneurial rodeo dwarf. They gave birth to a feisty curly-haired little girl, who luckily, didn’t inherit her mother’s vertical challenge. Growing up in St. Louis under the roof of such interesting people, well, let’s just say her roots are more colorful than most.
Since leaving her home town of St. Louis, Missouri in pursuit of a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Center for Creative Studies in Motown, Motor City or simply Detroit, Michigan, Louise has called Minot, ND, Bitburg, Germany, Denver, CO, Little Rock, AR, Honolulu, HI and now Washington DC, home.
While spending the last 15 years in the advertising industry, starting her career as an art director, Louise has earned regional, national and even international awards for her creative work for clients like Meineke Car Care Center, Deltic Timber, E.C. Barton’s, Surplus Warehouse and the Nature Conservancy. In the local Hawaii market, her efforts were focused on launching brands like Mobi PCS, Sunetric, GreenCar Hawaii, Watermark Waikiki and Kauai Visitors Bureau. Since establishing herself in the DC market, she’s been fortunate to call Urban Igloo, Jonah’s Treehouse and JK Moving, client.
After working her way through the ranks to become a senior art director, she set her sights on creating a start-up agency, playing the role of Creative Partner. From there, she set-out to establish herself as a freelance creative / branding consultant building Sunetric from a small solar company to the largest solar intergrator in Hawaii, as well as becoming apart of Pineapple Tweed Public Relations & Marketing, working on Family Programs Hawaii, Hawaii Film Office and Hawaii’s Department of Defense. She has most recently found a new home at RTC Agency in Georgetown.
Louise has served on the DC Ad Club Board of Directors since 2010, serving as the Chair of the Social Committee and the 2012 & 2013 American Advertising Awards. She also now sits on the board for one of DC’s newest associations, FemCity DC where she plays the role of Creative Queen.
Michael Wichita is currently the Director of Photography for AARP Media. Wichita has worked for AARP for over 8 years working on print web and advancing into social platforms. Prior to that he was the Photo Editor at Metro Weekly, Washington, DC’s gay and lesbian magazine, where Wichita began work after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. A strong belief in collaboration, visual storytelling that mixes art and journalism and the passion of photographers keep him going. In his spare time Wichita is working on a photo book project.
How did you first get started in photography, was it one specific thing or a combination of events that drove you to photography?
It was a combination of events. I had been a sales rep for computers, found it unsatisfying, so went back to school and got an MS in exercise physiology. This led to a few ventures landing me back in pharmaceutical sales. Once again it didn’t fulfill me. After 3 years of that I quit, sold the condo and boat and travelled around the world doing different things to make money as I went and traveling quite cheaply. In India I was taking some pictures and getting paid with absolutely NO idea what I was doing. I faxed Paul Fetters, who was a friend, about advice on what lens to buy there and after a fax or two we decided I should come be his assistant and learn. I had no idea how much I had to learn, and was more than a little intimidated at the prospect but came back from this incredible adventure to embark on a new one.
You mentioned working in a different field before working as a full time photographer. What do you enjoy most about your switch to photography?
I love this job. I love that I get to go places I wouldn’t normally go, meet people I wouldn’t get to meet, and take a momentary peek into their worlds. It is, in a sense, a continuation of the early 2 year journey. I enjoy continuing to learn about the craft of photography and the business of photography and continuing to grow my business. The combination of all those things is really fulfilling.
Did you ever assist other photographers when you first started out? If so, what was the most valuable thing you learned from them to help you get started?
At first I was Paul Fetters’ full time assistant. That was invaluable. We had a year commitment, which of course morphed into a longer working relationship as I understood his approach at the time so we made a good team. The obvious is the lighting, but beyond that, Paul is great with clients and was good at discussing the business end of things with clients in a professional manner. He pretty much shaped how I approached things. After that I spent another year assisting Brett Littlehales who was also great to learn from and spend time with. Barb Ries was also another regular who had(s) a wonderful approach to things and always makes whoever she is photographing at ease. Another I used to assist frequently was Walter Calahan. Once again, seeing slightly different approaches to solving the same hurdles, was invaluable and everyone was very generous in sharing why the did certain things.
You spoke a lot about your work in education. What do you like most about working in schools or for your education clients?
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that I was decent at shooting in these educational environments. At one school recently, shooting images for their viewbook/website one middle schoolish kid looked at me and said…”its kind of like you are on safari, only in the schools….like…”oh hey theres a student studying! Thats a good shot!”. And to a degree he nailed it. It is really fun and sometimes challenging finding the good shots that serve the clients needs at the same time as being the less obvious cliched shot and one that is naturally lit well. And trying to fit that into a specific layout at times is an added challenge. I do a lot of work with/for Catalone Design and I really enjoy the thoughtful way they have planned out a piece and what sort of image might go where. So working with them and a specific layout to fill with my images is a wonderful process I have enjoyed.
Is there anything that inspires you when you work with the children and staff at the schools?
As a father of two young boys in school, I enjoy being in all these different learning environments getting a peek into the world these kids are growing up in. Plus kids are so great and unpredictable, there is always a reason to smile which is nice.
Your portrait work is really wonderful. When you first interact with a client, how do you decide what the best location/lighting/props/etc. will be right for that particular subject?
Thank you. I enjoy it. Its hard to say. I would say my work, clients vary so much. I have many long term clients I have never met, particularly the clients who are hiring me for portraits. They are usually in some other part of the states. But for me, basically I react to what is happening with the existing light and try to find a place that has something interesting going in in terms of light, shapes etc, keeping it relevant to the clients direction and needs while talking to the subject about what they do.
Are the shoots mainly your creative genius or do you work closely with the clients to come to a joint decision on what type of portrait will be appropriate?
Ha! Let’s leave the genius part out. I have both types of clients, some who are very specific and some who are looser. The longer the working relationship has gone on, the more trust on both sides exists which is nice for both of us. I did a shoot this week with a new client, a portrait for an alumni magazine, and the direction was very specific with a lot of caveats about what they don’t want and stories to accompany those concerns. The stories all involved photographers who didn’t listen to their layout needs or some such. Needless to say, I was a tad nervous until she saw the gallery and really liked it. But I am pretty easy to work with I think and will sometimes do exactly what they want and then when that is done shoot something slightly different that I see along the way. Because in the end, clients are hopefully assigning us for the way we see a picture.
I loved browsing through your travel images on your website. Was most of that shot for a client/job or did you shoot that while on a vacation of your own?
Most of those I shot on my own. I have done some travel photography for work and really enjoyed it. I would like to keep that in the mix, but the goal to have that be what I do all the time went away when I had kids.
What do you see for the future of your career, and do you see yourself in the field for quite a long time?
Yes, I see myself doing photography forever. As for where it is going, I hope to continue to mix it up, some education work, some portrait work, some lifestyle work and the occasional travel shoot.
Last but not least, how has your family influenced your career?
When I first got into this, I thought I would love to do travel photography. I have done some traveling to some cool places on assignment and gotten to see some interesting things. But getting married and having kids changed what I see as ideal. Now I really wouldn’t want to be on the road all the time, missing chunks of their lives. Everything changed for me once we had them and all for the good.