Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Model Release: Legal stuff

I bought a book recently which I highly recommend "Business and Legal forms for Photographers" by Tad Crawford. Good investment at my regular Barnes&Nobles. (Oh! How I love this store!) In this incredible book, a CD is also added to the combo and the CD has a lot of documents in which you can base your own model releases in. It is an incredible tool that helps you out with the main ideas or the main structure the model release should have.

As a lawyer, one must never forget the importance of legal documents. In this case, I want to talk about the model release.
Talent/Model release is basic and a document you should keep with your files for the production and after production.
Items to write and NEVER forget:
1. Name of Project: As simple as it sounds, "Photo shoot for Fashion Magazine on June 2010 Issue"
2. Industry: Fashion Magazine
3. Usage and Territory: THIS IS JUST A VERY SELFISH EXAMPLE! "Unlimited Usage within the United States. Unlimited exclusive advertising and promotional rights and usage in any and all print for an unlimited time. Includes entire body of works. All images, including outtakes, may not be sold as stock until all usage expires. Client reserves first option of reuse upon expiration of current rights. Artist retains self-promotion rights forever, as 
does the agency. Total buyout of rights, usage and copyright. Artist retains self-promotion rights". And when I say selfish it is due the generality of the paragraph however, you may specify what it is for, the time that you will use it and where.
4. Compensation: Amount to be delivered to the talent in numbers and in written letters.
5. Agreement: Signatures of the talent, the agency and the photographer.

If the model is represented by a talent agency, consider that the talent agency should have a POA (Power-of-Attorney) to sign the release. Be sure to have a copy of the executed release and give one to the final client and keep also one for your records. Always!

One more thing....stock photographers: Do not forget when taking a photo when you have a model in it and you plan to sell it as a stock photo. Sign the model release!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is a pre-production book? - Celebrating 100th Post!

Last two weeks have been busy and now I finally sit down and write about what I love the most: producing.
On Monday 12, I had one of the most incredible projects I have had as a producer. I was able to work with around 25 professionals in the same room at the same time. And for that, I had to work a lot. Starting from the little time I had to pre-produce and prepare for casting and scouting I thought I managed very well.
In this journey, I was asked to do a pre-production book.
I have heard the term but thought of it as a completely different thing. I thought a pre-production book was that book that the producer had with the call sheet, important contact numbers, information on location and maybe a schedule. However, I learned that I was wrong. A pre-production book is to be delivered before production to the final client and to the agency and it must include lots of stuff; a lot more than I imagined.

Table of Contents:
Personnel - Client, Agency, Photographer and Production information.
Creative - Is there a reference you should base your work in?
Talent - Names and characters that they are playing.
Wardrobe- What are they wearing? Do you have pictures?
Location - Map and what location offers.
Map - As the one you'll see below.
Weather - As the one you'll see below.
Menu - This is something we added, and personally I think it was an incredible thing to add. If you need catering, Central Market, this was a tip from a friend of mine. Incredible catering!
Vendors - Address, and contact information of Photography Equipment, Catering, any other vendor you may have.
Hotlist - What to do in Austin? What are the good places to dine and shop?

Even weather must be included. You need to tell your clients what to expect from the weather at the city you are shooting. In this case, and specially if you are expecting a women, what to wear!

And of course, a map of the location doesn't hurt. Even if you are working with locals, having a map and a sense of where you can park always makes it easier.

I may say that this pre-production book not only makes you look good but also more professional bringing your work to a whole other level.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recap of Workshop by Diego Huerta in Amarillo, TX

I may not be the best writer however I do know how to express how I feel.
As long as the road seemed to get to Amarillo from Austin and as hard as some people say it would be, I must say this was pleasant. I can't remember how many times I changed roads, how many Interstates I took and how many times I went by little towns as Lampasas, Happy, Tulia and others that I don't remember... but I do know that it was a whole adventure.
Amarillo, TX- Your people is amazing! I fell in love with Amarillo as soon as I met the people who lived there. We were fortunate enough to hang out with people who are passionate, caring and above all- nice.

The lecture on Thursday "First feel then shoot" was one of the most fulfilling experiences for me. I was impressed by how Diego was so cool about speaking in public. He was able to have everyone's attention and I must say that motivated all the assistants to just take a camera and shoot. His main idea of the lecture was to do not overthink and to not care if you don't have all the equipment other photographers may have but to look in other resources such as a Home Depot where you can buy a light boom arm that you would usually use to paint your walls. When it was my turn, he had almost made me feel comfortable and although my speech was 1% of his, I felt cool. Tips as : Model releases, Make-up and permissions of locations when scouting were some of the things I talked about. And when the Q&A phase went on, we were asked many stuff: how much do you charge? how do you contact clients? how should you sell yourself? Many of these questions have been answered lately in reading books and I was pleased to share this experience with other photographers. I enjoyed meeting photographers and people who are as passionate and as compromised with capturing one single moment.

On Friday, things were less theoretical and more practical. We met at Rudy's for a workshop leaded by Diego on: lifestyle, portraits and product shots. Photographers and students got a chance to ask about technique, about day-to-day questions and got a chance to take pictures with one light, two lights and reflectors. I must say that I concluded that one more time, a good photographer is not that who has the best lens or the best camera, but the one that just can make art by clicking. My favorite part on Friday? Being able to listen to the attendees too, see Diego and them talking about their personal portfolios. And of course, the group shot, I think this is one of the favorites I have.

Congrats to everyone who attended and thank you to all of you who encouraged Diego and I to keep doing what we do. I personally enjoyed every single moment I was talking with someone and I enjoyed seeing everyone smile when they had a camera in their hands...it is amazing how photography brings us together.

This is what we work for and Amarillo reminded me that we don't work for ourselves but to give back also. There is always a good time to give back and you can never give enough.

Brent and Vicky - you treated us as if we were rockstars...thank you for all of your attentions and for just being so nice. This was an incredible journey.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Improvise - even if you have it written

I had a photo shoot today for an editorial publication called Nside. This is the second issue of the magazine after it's release in Austin. So, I have discussed with the Editor what the photos were going to be about...

I had three different set-ups all considering a white coat to be worn:
1. OR: Laser room with suit and white coat.
2. HALLWAY: Suit & white coat and without the white coat.
But, when I got there, the Dr. also had ideas in his mind, he didn't have the white coat that doctors commonly use and he wanted to wear scrubs. I have the experience of clients some what directing the shots so what I had to do was improvise.

What we ended up coming with was:
1. OR: Suit and Scrubs
2. HALLWAY: Only the suit.
3. WALL TEXTURE: Suit and scrubs.

I must say that the previews of the shots look incredible, I absolutely love them!
So, what I do recommend is that if you have a call sheet that says what you are looking for, and sometimes that does not result, do not panic. Things tend to get another result and maybe something you haven't imagined.

I also recommend that when you are shooting people who are way too busy, you get there at least 30 minutes early. It helped Diego and I to have it all covered and set-up with light tests when the Dr. arrived to the office and although he was a little bit late than what we had planned, I must say that it turned out to be okay. Also, I must thank him since he was very patient and so cooperative. Great model!

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Can a producer be creative?

Wonderful question!
Yes, a producer can get creative but, will always have to check with the client first.
There are clients that are very open to ideas and welcome insights but, you will have to get to know them first.
Also, creative can be applied into different things. A producer gets creative when thinking what resources to use, what options to give to Art Direction and what people to delegate stuff to.
So, a producer is someone creative when planning and creating a strategy and when putting the solutions into the final product.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Producer: Real Life inspired by TV Commercial

Just for fun.

Although in this video we are watching the life of a video producer, seems to me like it is very similar to the life of a photography producer. Your director (in my case the photographer) will have the last word and his/hers ideas will determine what you are supposed to do. It is your job to comply with the requirements and make it happen.

If you are a producer you know how it is. You do a lot of things as they ask and if you ever want to go with your intuition you may be wrong. Being creative is barely your thing so you must stick to what they have asked...even if it requires you to travel back and forth (which in fact I wouldn't mind).

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