So it’s Thursday, my upkeep day where I work on my Photoshelter site, this blog, creating links, banners and lightboxes on Istock, etc. Oh and sometimes I squeeze in a few uploads as well. So first thing today was completing an update on the construction gallery on Photoshelter. Most of the images there were shot during the construction of what would be my home for barely a year and a half before I relocated as a single man. I used my family as models – and perhaps I should have brought other variants, but it all really happened rather fast so I did what I could at that time. ANd it was probably a good decision as the images have been quite successful so far, both on IStock and Getty Images. One sad thing about this collection though, is that I never shot the finished house and garden… because neither was finished at the time I left, and I kept saying next year… next year… well maybe I’ll go back this Summer and complete this. It is rather bittersweet to see this project, so replete with promises, through these images, and know how it evolved for me. One shot has the dogs looking at me from the construction site… whenever I see that image I am filled with joy. In any case, my friends, enjoy the moment. And then learn to let go and keep an open mind for the next thing.
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…
Last September, I made a quick trip to London, UK and had the pleasure of working with four young models/actors for a whole day (and of seeing Kate Bush live -couldn’t help mentioning it). I had spotted some great locations in my previous trip there in 2013 for the London Istockalypse, and so I went back with these awesome young people to expand on some concepts that had been successful and try new one. I hand selected them from dozens of submissions and I’m very happy with the results.
I’m barely starting on editing this shoot, and it will likely go on until next Summer as I’ve thousands of images to choose from and I’m currently editing about 10 shoots at once, madly trying to clear my backlog for next Spring which will be full of new material. Still, the first few shots are available now and I’ve put them together in this lightbox:
Do favorite the lightbox it if this subject is of interest to you. Images will be added on and off all year. Some of the venues will include images shot in Chalk Farm, Camden Lock, a food market, Primrose Hill, Camden, a bus ride, Westminster, shots around the Thames and South bank.
Here’s an image from the first location in Chalk Farm:
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.
It was Christmas day, a year ago. I was at that moment still living in Sutton and we just had 2 full days of non-stop ice storms. Trees were heavy and as you stepped out into the woods, you would hear the rather scary sound of trees breaking under the pressure. Branches fell every ten seconds or so and of course we were out of electricity for a couple of days.
The resulting images were pleasingly successful. This one just sold an extended license this morning (many thanks to whoever chose it). It was shot on the road leading to the house I was living in. I’m very glad that despite all the cooking I had to do that day, I took the time to go on that little photo trip… not knowing that this was the last winter I would spend in that area, and most probably the last ice storm I would see there.
Many of you may have noticed my absence from this blog for the second half of 2014. Well I’m back. I’ve been through a whirlwind of activity: shooting, post processing, traveling, adjusting to my new single life, dealing with a lot of stress, packing, moving, getting back in touch with old (and new) friends and family, learning to recover lost energy, and getting back in shape. I’m quite happy with my uploading at Istock during these tumultuous times, and for keeping my head together long enough to shoot good material while attending the Istanbul Istockalypse in the middle of all this. As 2015 begins, I wish everyone a great year, full of revelations, clarity, good energy, creativity, opportunity and above all, the ability to give and receive love without fear.
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!