Part three of my New York City images shot last Fall during a Getty Images event. For the first time I collaborated on this shoot with my friend and colleague Martine Doucet as well as the always talented and inspiring Lise Gagné and her creative powerhouse of a partner Louis Leblanc (rebelz). In the weeks preceding the event, after deciding to go, we facebooked back and forth, casting models and pitching ideas. Quebec power! It was nice to work with such great people… and then the models! One of the great advantages of going to a place like New-York City is the availability of such great talent. Dozens of applicants sent us their portfolios of which five were selected. They were energetic, professional, open and authentic, and helped turned a rainy, overcast, cold Autumn morning into some radiant photographs.
I shot the whole thing with my 200mm lens out of respect for my colleagues who were using other focal lengths. Obviously when you shoot in groups like this the same scenes it is important to try and get very different images as much as possible to not undercut each other. Different angles, colors, approaches and of course unique point of view and sensibilities. So in my case, I went for character and bright colors, with lots of close-up trying to show relationships. The atmosphere of the city is present, but mostly in colorful blurred backgrounds. And boy did I push the colors to their limits. It makes for a rather chaotic result overall, but one with the bright optimism that I saw with in so many of the young people I met there. It is after all the place where all the dreams are possible…
Part two of my New York City images shot last Fall during a Getty Image event. This one was shot at the same time and venue as Tia’s shoot and featured a real life couple of NYC artists – they’re musicians, actors, dancers, models and are looking great. I had approached them before leaving Montreal and unfortunately they couldn’t make the date I had in mind for an Astoria shoot. So I booked them for the Brooklyn one instead and it worked out great since Lorraine and Juan were with me and we could share.
I had asked them to bring something they would like to be pictured with and they brought a mandolin! Along with their styling there was something really American about this, so I decided to kind of de-contextualize the images by shooting in front of the gorgeous sky and sunset and then in the alleyway. I really liked the softness of the light in these last few shots (A. is an example) and left out my current flashy-composited-color-infused-light-bomb-is-that-Vaseline-on-the-lens-give-me-that-sig+-I’ll-never-make-10k-images-at-this-rate post processing routine to preserve the intimate mood. Sure enough, only A. and another from that set were selected to be on Getty. Still some of my favorite shots. Oh and I totally submitted D. as an afterthought – the image is totally out of focus and the model’s faces completely washed out by that humongous lens flare, but I thought the dreamy factor played really well with the action and since anonymity has a definite allure in stock, I thought hey, why not? Sure enough it not only made Sig+ but also is pulling ahead as one of the best sellers in the series.
Took me a few years, but I finally achieved the gold canister. I guess I’m doing fine… many people are reporting dropping sales, but mine are relatively stable – and hopefully will start growing again soon. Anyhow, huge thanks to all of you who support and use my work, and to all of my fellow photogs, ADs, my teachers (and students) at Marsan College of photography, everyone who posed and acted for me for one or many shoots, sometimes in the strangest conditions, and to the wonderful people at Istock and Getty Images whom I’ve met all over the world these past few years and who have taught me so much. I feel very lucky to be able to do this line of work which I love, so thanks also to Benoît without whom I would certainly not be where I am today. And here’s to many more years of making better and better photographs (and videos – watch out for this new 2015 line of production!).
Here’s one of the stock images that pushed me over that milestone today. It was shot at the City Beautiful 4 event last year in Orlando, organized by the wonderful Evelyn Peyton, and features the most amazing 6 year old girl I’ve ever worked with. Great talent and a lovely personality. Winning combo!
A reminder of where you can buy / download / license my photographs:
Ok, so I really slacked off on this one. Many apologies. One of my goals in 2014 was to get to 5000 images available on Istock, a feat that will be completed next week. Yay me! Send me many congratulations and pats on the back! But one of the things that happened to meet this goal was that I stopped using lightroom to sort out my keywords, a step that was taking way too time consuming and so easily bypassed by copying then altering keywords from similar images already uploaded with the brilliant Deepmeta tool for Istock contributors. And another is that I stopped updating my Photoshelter site which was also time consuming… and, I admit, boring as hell. And also, looking at google analytics, I found out that a lot of the traffic were people looking for porn, and not designers and ADs looking for the right photograph, which is what I had hoped for initially. So I took a break. Didn’t seem like a good investment in time nor money.
But then people left and right mentioned the site over the past year as their favorite place to look at my work. And just recently, IStock announced that they would be removing our linked banners and images from the photo close-up pages in the not too distant future. Ouch. So… Yup, the Photoshelter and similar personal mirroring sites, might end up being the only place left for a customer to view shoot-related images in one place easily. And so I have to do a revamp and upload the zounds of images I produced last year. Deep breath…
One of this I’ll do this time is completely separate the images by shooting themes, markets and models, to enable an easier fruitful experience for the customers. Links to Istock are provided in the information of each image, as always, if you view them at their own page. If you’re in the fancy animation section, you’ll have to copy paste the link in your browser manually because, somehow, Photoshelter never got to activate links in those spaces.
So today I did the work on a hundred images – all from the Orlando City Beautiful 4 event last February – split into these stock photography galleries (click on the text to view the gallery, and on the image to buy it on Istock):
Now, some of these collections have just a very few images. They were shot at the kind of event where we get only a few minutes with the models, and we have to think of a concept, set up the lights, direct and shoot at lightning speed, often resulting in short, but delightfully spontaneous, series. I love that kind of event. This one was fantastic, even though most of the images were uploaded at the worst possible time (ultra low Sig+ acceptance rate and a search engine that killed most new images on arrival) and as a result underperformed badly. Perhaps the exposure on Photoshelter will give them new life. One can hope…
Over the years, all over the world, the stock photographer who travels in group events will sometimes hear others whisper to each other in a somewhat hushed guilty fashion: “When in doubt, just throw in a tablet.” It took me a while to get on that train, but yes, often they do sell. And let’s face it, tablets and mobile phones are everywhere. So in the Summer of 2012, I got my own tablet just for a shoot idea. I didn’t feel the need for one and frankly thought these things were just a fad. Even today I’m not so sure that they’ll be around for much longer. Trust that industry to come up with something new every two years.
A few weeks ago, I decided to make a few new galleries on IStock featuring my work around certain subjects. Over the years I have uploaded hundreds of images featuring people using phones and tablets in a wide array of different setting and situations. Here is the link the lightbox:
And, of course, here are a few personal favorites from this collection:
This was shot while my friends Lorraine and Adrian joined me for the 2013 London Istockalypse. At this event, we were introduced to the paparazzi style of shooting: the same scene is shot by 20 other photographers at the same time. This format doesn’t really agree with my rather soft voice and frequent use of long lenses. To the organizers’ credit, they refined this type of shoot later on by limiting the number of photographers shooting at once to a handful, which made them great fun, and more profitable, the next year in Hong Kong and Istanbul. But back in London that year, on the way to the afternoon shoot, we just started photographing each other in transit, which was exciting as it filled a need of transit images in my portfolio and had known some success with a similarly themed shot I had set up in Montreal in 2012. So here is Lorraine with Adrian’s tablet on a bus. I got very lucky with the light and the scene – it’s so tricky to get everything together for a nice shot when things are moving and you never can tell what the background will be like… but it worked here and became my best selling image from this event. We never found the afternoon group shoot and spent an awesome day visiting the Shoreditch area instead.
This one was shot during the City Beautiful 4 event in Orlando, Florida in early 2014. Thanks to the great work of my friend Evelyn, we had access to a resort, tons of festive props and great models of all ages and ethnicity. On this particular segment, I worked with a seven fantastic African American models pretending to be a three generations family. After working for a while around the gifts and Christmas tree, I sat down the “mother” with two of the kids to interact with my fabulously dead tablet (it stopped working barely a year after I got it). They did a wonderful job of pretending it was in working condition. Love the acting here.
A brand new image from the Istanbul Istockalypse shot last Fall. So sometimes the weather goes all wrong. This was part of a pitch shoot sponsored by Getty Images, arranged by Lorraine, where we were to shoot beautiful models having a great time on a yacht cruising the Bosphorus with the amazing sights of the city as a background. Of course, for most of the day we were shooting, the weather was freezing, it was raining hard and the wind was frightening. Amidst some seasick photographers and models, I took this suited heartthrob aside, put a life vest on him and turned the shoot concept around, feeling something might be done around a manager trying to save his sinking business. Here he is trying to shout directions into his phone and pointing to a solution. Kudos to Demir who was cold and soaked, and still acted convincingly. And well yes, I was cold and soaked too and so was my camera, the lens covered in water as you can see in this shot. So real! Thanks Canon for making weather resistant body and lenses!
During the Summer of 2013, my friend Martine Doucet and I produced a shoot in the area near Sutton, Quebec, where I lived at the time, featuring two teenaged girls. The first scene was around a high school, and, as she was shooting, I looked around for suitable locations. I found a stairways and immediately remembered how me and my friends used to sort of hide in stairways to play games, gossip and talk of personal subjects. So I sat the girls down and ask them to incorporate the phone into this. They did a spot on job and I love the gleeful tension in this one. “Quick! have a look at this!”
And a last one, on the funny side. What would a decent young American woman do if she were faced with a friendly alien? Well, of course, act like the kids in E.T., dress her up in her clothes and show her how to use a tablet. Isn’t that obvious? This was shot during the Summer 2013 Montana Aliens Stampede event, where we were faced with surprise after surprise and the challenges that come with having to come up with salable stories with out-of-the box situations, and no real preparation. Talk about thinking fast! I also shot the opposite exchange where the alien shows the cowgirl how to create energy out of thin air.
This year I’m working the soil in my garden so that next year I can grow my own food. In the meantime, going to local markets is an absolute must – I’m an organic guy as much as possible. This image was shot during the Summer of 2012 and is standing at 9 downloads. One more and it hits the big time in the search engine. I’ll be very grateful, if this fills a need in your work or hobby, to get that extra sale ASAP (you can just click on the shot to get to the shot’s Istock page). Many thanks!
Hello readers, first off, thank you all for your support yesterday during 100% royalty to the artists day on Istock, especially the ones that acted from my suggestions on twitter (@mccomberphoto) and transformed the day from blah to exciting. It was the first time that I sent multiple tweets in a day and the response was far better than I expected, so I might just make this a habit.
Anyhow, I’m back from the Hong Kong 2014 Istockalypse event, and what a blast! Everything was well organized and smooth: we had great models and art direction, believable settings and of course an extraordinary destination to discover through our lenses. I spent an amazing 8 days in HK and discovered a rich, vibrant and welcoming megapolis with the kindest strangers I’ve ever met. I mean somebody actually ran after me to warn me that my photo bag was unzipped. No, we’re not in New York.
Since I registered too late to put together pitch shoots, a brilliant new concept for the Lypses, I had ample time to just walk in the city and visit some locations without feeling rushed. I did so with my two friends Lorraine and Adrian whom I met during the Switzerland minilypse in 2012 and since then had the good fortune to meet again and again all over the world at the Istock events. Really fun times.
Unlike London last Fall, I decided to try and get into people’s faces and shoot some editorial images of the daily life of the Hong Kong people. Boy, was I surprised at the reaction. Whereas in many large cities of the Western world being targeted by a camera is seen as an intrusive, borderline aggressive gesture that is often met with a frown and sometimes outright outrage, over in Hong Kong, people kindly posed and walked up to me to discuss what they and I were doing, hand me cards, invite me to participate, etc. It was wonderful. I love this city!
So I came back on the 10th and I started uploading right away. You will find my work in this Istock Lightbox as it arrives. I should work only on this shoot for the remainder of May, so check daily to see the new work. I have no firm plans yet to upload the new work to the Photoshelter site, as it is rather time consuming and brings back weak results. Here’s the banner to the lightbox:
And here are 4 early acceptances from the trip:
I’m editing in chronological order, so there are lots of nice surprises coming and don’t be disappointed by the more mundane material: I’m putting up anything that I think has a market. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of “wow” shots along the way. Model shots should come later, probably next week, when I get the releases.
And yes, of course, huge thanks and bravos to the team behind this event – Elissa, Rebecca, Simon, Bill and all the others: you made this one of the best Lypses ever and I hope the format survives for many Lypses to come.