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 is the first and only photograph lifted from the 2012 Orlando minilypse that crawled its way up to this list. Yes I’m majorly disappointed in their performance, but I have to remind myself that they were uploaded during the worst possible time for new photographs: in the darkest pits of Best match search engine hell and a mere few weeks before the collection restructure and the massive appearance of the cheaper yet very relevant main collection. To think that they made the search engine all about relevance and yet had no measure in place to give relevance to new photos – which basically means that they were thrown in against millions of photos that had a relevance history without any major artificial push, just a very meak and volatile one. In short, they were invisible, dead on arrival, and only got very few sporadic sales over the year. What a waste. Are things better? Not really. My patterns show that new material enjoy a couple of sales early during their Newness push and then go into comatose mode until they reach enough sales (around 4 or 5) to show up in “Fresh Match” searches. Nothing really happens until they hit 10 sales and head on up in the big “Best Match” leagues. Which can take years in this climate.
Anywho, back to this photo. When I edited this shoot initially, it was to give 3 photos to the models as per the agreement to attend the Lypse. So I chose photographs that were good, classical portraits that the models would love. This is one of them for the lovely Jeanette, who was fantastic to work with. Another shot, which was sacrificed to the situation above and is in a deep coma since is this one. And the third is this colorfully serene ranch shot – that hasn’t sold at all. (fill this space with fuming expletives).
It was a difficult day to work – full on hot Florida sun and deep, harsh shadows everywhere. And so I went looking for shade. And I loved the shade pattern on this tree. So I carefully positioned Jeanette so her face would be in the light and directed her expression, which I wanted joyful but in a calm and serene fashion. I think she did great. Here is a detail showing her face:
Why a panoramic? Well it was a phase I was going through. I loved the effect of using long lenses in a panoramic way. There is just something fresh and beautiful about it. It’s a lot more work when processing them, but I was thinking that the designer can just crop the shot to suit her needs. The left side, filled with tree bark, can be used as a texture. The middle as a portrait and lifestyle image for retirement and satisfaction, and the right side as a background with a great boca and progressive lens blur. See? Three photos all rolled into one. Plus sometimes when designing for the web, you do need the panoramic format. So why not do a few?
All good intentions, thwarted by a search engine from hell in regards to new material. Sigh. Well perhaps putting it here will help it in finding its clientele. And perhaps it shall rise in 2014? Who knows?
“What are they doing over there? Oh? Some gay stuff? Oooh, hum.” I overheard the bulk of the models saying while doing a group shot on the street nearby during the minilypse in Orlando last Winter. They moved on while I turned to the two fantastic men posing for me. I’d found this great wooden fence by the side of the house and I thought it’d make an appropriate background for this shot and a few others. I’d gotten the guys to agree to do something a little more intimate – they were together at the time and willing, and since I too rarely cater to my demographics, I just got on the ground and directed them to give something suggestive, yet not overly erotic. It’s tricky when doing something like this in stock – I always have in mind where the photo can end up, and I just won’t shoot anything that could potentially be harmful to the model’s rep. Well, they were troopers and after this shoot, they’ve offered to do something more risqué over the Summer in Montreal, but that wasn’t to be. Anyhow, this shot sold again yesterday and coupled with its Getty Images sales revenue, is a contender for my most successful image from that event, which so far is this one, and hence, here it is. I have other images from this shoot, and will eventually release more when I come around to it, promise!
This one just sold this morning for the first time and I’m quite glad to feature it here as it shows two good friends at work during the Orlando Minilypse last winter. The tall guy on the left holding the reflector is Adrian, from Switzerland, who came to Florida partly to have a good time with me and Lorraine (who’s the photographer and the resulting photo is here)… and the plan worked. We had a great time on the shoots, at a bar and we even played a couple of great runs of minigolf – and incredibly I won both runs. We laughed so much. Great times. Can’t wait to see them again. Adrian recently spent two months on a deserted island near Fiji just for the heck of it and is making a movie about it. I’ll link it when it comes out. Lorraine is about to leave for the UK for a Month and I’m sure she’ll be flabbergasted by the sights. As for me, I’m leaving for Paris tomorrow, so there will not be an update on this blog for a week since all my laptops have decided to blow up at the same time. Have a great week everyone!
Shot in March, during the City Beautiful 3 minilypse in Orlando, this was a bit tricky to get. As this was at the end of the day right before we were asked to give up all the models so we could each get 5 minutes with all of them to do group shots, I didn’t have time to set up the lights so I had to shoot with whatever was there. I placed Garry front and center to reflect the above neon on his head to help make the subject pop and asked all the models to stand still for a long exposure to compensate the lack of light. I really liked shooting Garry during those 3 days – he didn’t overplay it and made complex but compelling expressions. I went for this frame to avoid looking at the cubicles – which were all empty – and asked the models to look to the right with a careful, suspicious look. Are they hiding from their boss? Or from a crazy co-worker? Or from a restructuring agent chopping heads off? Hehe – up to you to see what you want. This shot finally sold on IStock this week after almost 5 months online. Crazy. It was way faster to sell on Getty Images. Just shows you…