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Location, location, location


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Ed,  I am in Denver, and for the most part, the news images we see are from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston.  I have some images from the Denver/Boulder area that have been licensed - one is of a business in Boulder that has been licensed 4 times from major news outlets (Huffington Post, Businessweek, etc.)

 

That popular image was taken when I got together with 4 or 5 friends and we strolled down a street in Boulder.

 

I say forget the touristy areas of New York and if you can, get out of the city.

 

Queries:

 

Queens, New York - 11,091 results

Woodstock, New York - 1,712 results

Brooklyn, New York - 45,201

Manhattan, New York - 198,929

Greenwich Village, New York - 5,913 results

Endicott, New York - 37 results (sorry, I had to throw that in - I've actually been there LOL)

 

My advice - stay out of Manhattan and take a stroll or drive in new areas.

 

I have the same issue with Denver - there are a TON of images of downtown and few images of surrounding areas.  Today I went to a location I've been meaning to check out.  I decided to take a drive there to scope it out because I know a few landscape/wildlife photographers that frequent the area.  I ended up uploading a live news story of the National Guard practicing bucket drops from helicopters in preparation for fire season.  Images may not sell, but I did get a few that can be used in the future for stock.

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Try making work like this in Oxfordshire.... the best commercial stock is old advertising - old adage. Original image from http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/viaje_mais_magazine_usa

 

 

 

This looks even more photoshopped than a Vogue photo of Kim and Kanye ;)

fail.jpg

 

http://oystermag.com/kim-kanyes-vogue-photoshop-fail

 

 

I love this image - it shows Kanye is a vampire.  No reflection in the mirror?

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Linda, that is NOT the cronut place. The cronut was invented at a very French bakery in SoHo, on Spring Street, I think. And there it was mice, not rats. After 2 years, I saw signs of mice in my flat last week. I hate having to kill mice, but there it is. The French place is about 10 minutes away from me. Having recently having "cured" myself of diabetes 2 (lost 45 lbs and brought my blood sugar back to normal) I won't be trying the cronut. 

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I would do all the cool and inexpensive (no, free) events and stuff that takes place in a major city. If I could get accreditation I would shoot them too, catch the occasional big-name actor/singer/sportsman doing someone a favour, returning to their roots or just having a  bit of fun (not papparazo stuff); but that is not the prinipal purpose. Like Ed I don't spend any money on stock (it shows) but I do spend money covering events that I might otherwise have paid to go to.

 

Oh, and I would stand in line to try a cro-nut - I'll sign a release Lisa!

But if you do the celebrity thing you'd be standing next to 25 Getty photogs who are having their images given away or sold for litterally  pennies for subscription sales. It's turned into a big "why bother" for many of them.

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I would do all the cool and inexpensive (no, free) events and stuff that takes place in a major city. If I could get accreditation I would shoot them too, catch the occasional big-name actor/singer/sportsman doing someone a favour, returning to their roots or just having a  bit of fun (not papparazo stuff); but that is not the prinipal purpose. Like Ed I don't spend any money on stock (it shows) but I do spend money covering events that I might otherwise have paid to go to.

 

Oh, and I would stand in line to try a cro-nut - I'll sign a release Lisa!

But if you do the celebrity thing you'd be standing next to 25 Getty photogs who are having their images given away or sold for litterally  pennies for subscription sales. It's turned into a big "why bother" for many of them.

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Ed, understand that if something even has the slightest scent of being a news story, I want nothing to do with it. There's no rational argument to be made with me about this. 

 

But if I were going to shoot "news" on spec . . . Well, I have 6 to 10 pics of the horse and carriages in Central Park. Our new mayor has absolutely promised to get ride of this long-time cultural feature of the city. (I don't care if you're for it or against it -- I'm half for, half against.) But it is news and it was all over the media a few weeks ago. "Stop abusing our horses, etc." I didn't have a sale and I didn't have a zoom. 

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New York,London,Chicago...I think no matter where you are at if you've lived a life of variety and travel and no longer living that life,you're probably getting bored in your surroundings not matter what they offer.

I am sure many people in other locations would give anything to be in a big metropolitan city and live that lifestyle.

I know my life use to be much more exciting than it is now because I don't travel as much and there are not as many fun events to cover here anymore;especially celebrity of which I've been doing since 1980 or so.

 

I've owned my current condo for 11 years and I'm grateful to be in such an impressive building and location.However,I too go thru the same that Ed  is experiencing and I think,at least what would do it for me is to move.

However,owning my place is much cheaper than renting and I'm paying about $1000 a month less than if I had to rent in a building with the same size and amenities.

 

But if I could,I'd move!

 

Being free and having a lot of different experiences is what makes me create more sellable stock.

 

I had to turn in a spreadsheet of all my sales since I started photography to prove my income from photos I sold.

I was injured in an accident last year and might not be able to do regular big 5+ hour assignments on location anymore.

 

As Iooked thru the figures of what sold,I clearly remembered what my life was at the time and how I was having so much fun in every aspect.

 

It's quite easy to burn out and then you have to get back to what makes you happy.

 

L

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I'm so sorry to hear about your accident, Linda. A long time ago, in both NYC and then Rome, I did some of what you do with celeb photo shoots . . . not much, but enough to understand what hard work it is. Travel marketing work was hard work, too; Yes, it's all the positive things one thinks it is, but there's also a dark side. I got burned out twice. I took many 3 month trips and worked every day and night that it didn't rain. Did you see Lost in Translation? That reminded me of aspects of my life on the road, the big soulless chain hotels, not speaking the language . . . except I never ran into Scarlett Johansson. 

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"I love this image - it shows Kanye is a vampire.  No reflection in the mirror?" Ed E

 

Part of the intrigue is also what we don't see - the other reflection, although we can't be sure there is one.  

 

Games of perception go back a long way.  Whenever I look at this shot  from the 17C it never fails to give me a little shiver:

 

http://stephaniekrills.wordpress.com/2011/02/

 

They should have shot whoever forgot to photoshop out those dusty figures in the mirror.

 

RB

 

My ... this this thread is getting seriously off topic.

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I'm so sorry to hear about your accident, Linda. A long time ago, in both NYC and then Rome, I did some of what you do with celeb photo shoots . . . not much, but enough to understand what hard work it is. Travel marketing work was hard work, too; Yes, it's all the positive things one thinks it is, but there's also a dark side. I got burned out twice. I took many 3 month trips and worked every day and night that it didn't rain. Did you see Lost in Translation? That reminded me of aspects of my life on the road, the big soulless chain hotels, not speaking the language . . . except I never ran into Scarlett Johansson. 

I can still shoot the celebrity jobs since they are not that long.The celebrity stuff does not pay like it use to. Not much happening in Chicago since Oprah left and Borders shut down. I had my first paid big gala the other day since my accident and I was in major pain every minute...days later,still sore. I can't do paid events like big galas,weddings etc that still pay a great day rate $1900-7,000(wedding) not that I do many weddings. I don't have a huge wedding portfolio and that's all brides want to see.

L

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Maybe it's better if it goes off topic--Ed in Denver will have me spending my time out on Staten Island soon. There's a reason these outer boroughs are not covered well . . . nobody cares!

 

Staten Island Ferry - 1,647 results 

Staten Island - 3,462 results

 

I've never been in the city (drove by on the turnpike at 3am one time on my way to Hartford, CT from Washington Dulles - flight was late, missed my connection, and I had to be at an 8am meeting the next day) but even I've heard of the ferry.

 

I should note - the majority of the images with the keyword State Island Ferry are of the ferry itself.  There seem to be a handful of images of what it's actually like ON the ferry - and of the images on ON the ferry, non of them are IN the ferry.

 

Just some thoughts - maybe suggestions for future shoots.  I only make these suggestions because I've lived in Denver for over 20 years and there are still things I haven't done or photographed - I've never been to the U.S. Mint (though I pass it every day) and I've never been to the Federal Reserve Bank here, though I am usually 3 blocks away during the week.

 

Does anyone care?  I have no idea but sometimes I'm surprised at what gets licensed.

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I really love that cab shot.Is that a composite image? As for Kim and Kanye....they are so overcooked aren't they?  

 

L

 

 

Either a digital composite or a studio shot with a backdrop. As a native New Yorker I've never actually been to Ellis Island ;) but, if you were to photograph the Statue of Liberty with morning light on the front, we'd be looking at Staten Island in the background. Ellis Island is a small island that only accessible via boat or bridge from New Jersey. It would cost poor Ed a pretty penny to dig up a vintage checker cab and transport it there.

 

15,214 results for "Statue of Liberty" in the Alamy achive. 9,748 Results for "Yellow Cab and 180 Results for "Checker Cab." I think Ed's money might be better spent elsewhere.

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London is 'moving East' so the political mantra goes and some of my photographs are of these outer boroughs where change is/may be happening. It also happens to be on my doorstep and I find it interesting, which helps.  I can't say how successful this strategy is or how it might translate to New York - my only license so far has been a travel photo!

 

Anthony.

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I would do all the cool and inexpensive (no, free) events and stuff that takes place in a major city. If I could get accreditation I would shoot them too, catch the occasional big-name actor/singer/sportsman doing someone a favour, returning to their roots or just having a  bit of fun (not papparazo stuff); but that is not the prinipal purpose. Like Ed I don't spend any money on stock (it shows) but I do spend money covering events that I might otherwise have paid to go to.

 

Oh, and I would stand in line to try a cro-nut - I'll sign a release Lisa!

But if you do the celebrity thing you'd be standing next to 25 Getty photogs who are having their images given away or sold for litterally  pennies for subscription sales. It's turned into a big "why bother" for many of them.

 

 

I agree Linda, and I have no intention of doing the celebrity photoshoot thing. I am so totally uninterested (It is big "Why? get a life!" topic for me) that I wouldn't know Johnny Depp from Russell Crowe or recognise few of the women! Not news anyway. No I was thinking more of small local events where (rare occasions) you get a "star" slumming it, doing a favour or in the case of sports people testing their recovery from an injury out of the spotlight - done that in the past.

 

I was actually picking up on David K's point about Keith Morris and others  and how they manage to make a decent liiving from surprising small places that have certain characteristics. My home town, Nottingham,  fits that profile and I don't actually need to earn  much (or particularly want to) so if I get it working I can pace myself, fit it in with other things. Will probably be traveling in Europe 3-6 months of the year from 2015.

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I really love that cab shot.Is that a composite image? As for Kim and Kanye....they are so overcooked aren't they?  

 

L

 

 

Either a digital composite or a studio shot with a backdrop. As a native New Yorker I've never actually been to Ellis Island ;) but, if you were to photograph the Statue of Liberty with morning light on the front, we'd be looking at Staten Island in the background. Ellis Island is a small island that only accessible via boat or bridge from New Jersey. It would cost poor Ed a pretty penny to dig up a vintage checker cab and transport it there.

 

15,214 results for "Statue of Liberty" in the Alamy achive. 9,748 Results for "Yellow Cab and 180 Results for "Checker Cab." I think Ed's money might be better spent elsewhere.

 

 

Completely missing the point, it's not a secondary editorial image. I was pointing out that the icons of New York are still alive and well in the visual reference library.... we see NY and it's shorthand for certain things inc the largest financial centre, the Yellow cab is another icon - busy, American etc...... You can then hand any concept you want around that. The keywords you want in stock for the people with big wallets are more likely business, woman, lifestyle.....the three most searched on Getty IIRC. Hang those around a few NY icons and kerching!!

 

How much does it cost to use the stock exchange building as a borrowed background....I have no idea if it can be used without a mass of people in front but you don't need to pay for locations that are simply borrowed backgrounds.....add in suitable business or good lifestyle.

 

Going to NY and shooting what anyone else can easily shoot is a recipe for poor results.

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"Completely missing the point, it's not a secondary editorial image. I was pointing out that the icons of New York are still alive and well in the visual reference library.... we see NY and it's shorthand for certain things inc the largest financial centre, the Yellow cab is another icon - busy, American etc...... You can then hand any concept you want around that."

 

Bang on.  Iconography is key in stock photography.  It can be obvious, it can be subtle, or you can play games with it, as this image does.  "Get to know the world LIKE NO ONE ELSE".  Which is why the cabbie is the one looking lost and confused and needing directions.  And the Statue of Liberté seems to be out to lunch (remember the rumoured statement of George Bush to Tony Blair: "The problem with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur.”)

 

I would say this ad is aimed at a European audience who would see the joke.  If you can see the joke, you will be confident, you will know your way around.

 

(Obviously you won't.  You will be confused and lost, and struggling to understand what the big burly cabbie is yelling at you in Brooklynese as you go along the turnpike)

 

I would add: iconography can be just as important in editorial as in commercial photography - if you want to make sales, that is, obviously not everyone does - but it works differently. 

 

RB

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No critiques from me, but I see one trend in the replies which misses a point. People shots do really matter, but not JUST people, and not with too much of a passive context. One of the few activities which is passive but does sell is eating/drinking, so that's an exception, and the reason it sells is because eating and drinking is so important physically. Just being an interesting character doesn't sell, though it may gain competition prizes. A lot of street photography today just seeks to find people who look a bit distinctive or are positioned in the frame as a shape which works.

My experience from the very beginning is that actions and interactions, acitivities and communication are the keys to people shots which sell. They must be 'doing' pictures, and the action is incredibly important. Just occasionally I'll find a pic which has no action at all, in which people are simply 'there', which works - generally those tend to be crowd scenes or single figures given significance by their position/context. I think one of my earliest sales as a teenager was a shot which countless people take, figure walking on Whitby sands seen from cliff and therefore isolated against backlit wet sand as a semi-silhouette. The reason for the sale was that the figure was using a spade and digging for lugworms - the sale was because of the activity.

As a general point, people who are engaged in an activity are also better able to understand why a photographer may turn the lens on them. They understand that their activity (work, sports, whatever) is photographically interesting and 'they' are not being photographed, it's what they are doing. Similarly, people with pets - they know it's really the cute/huge/funny dog you are photographing, not themselves as the owner. We don't ask for model releases, if we did, we would never cover the ground - but a surprising proportion of candidly taken pictures are of 'aware' subjects who signal their agreement. That's because we generally do not photograph anyone unless something interesting in happening.

 

I don't know how New York is now but most large cities seem to have a constant flow of people who want to be seen doing what they do.

 

David

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Fair enough. Apology accepted.

 

I don't want to do anymore critiques nor have anyone critique me. The few times I jumped in on a newbie begging for comments, I wish I had not. 

 

More a metaphor that factual, I don't believe in creative writing classes.

 

What was it that guy said who used to put on plays about an hour north of me in Woodstock? Oh, "All's well that ends well." Enjoy your Sunday.

Slightly off topic - but the best comment I know on creative writing classes came from the great Flann O'Brien - when asked whether the teaching of creative writing stifled the creativity of young writers, he replied "Not nearly often enough"

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I really love that cab shot.Is that a composite image? As for Kim and Kanye....they are so overcooked aren't they?  

 

L

 

 

Either a digital composite or a studio shot with a backdrop. As a native New Yorker I've never actually been to Ellis Island ;) but, if you were to photograph the Statue of Liberty with morning light on the front, we'd be looking at Staten Island in the background. Ellis Island is a small island that only accessible via boat or bridge from New Jersey. It would cost poor Ed a pretty penny to dig up a vintage checker cab and transport it there.

 

15,214 results for "Statue of Liberty" in the Alamy achive. 9,748 Results for "Yellow Cab and 180 Results for "Checker Cab." I think Ed's money might be better spent elsewhere.

 

 

My god, foto, get thee to the Staten Island Ferry! I've been riding the ferry since I was a kid. It's pure pleasure . . . and it will cost you nothing, a free ride. They are in the middle of building a tourist attraction on Staten Island, and so in the near future tourists may being hanging around on the island for a while. 

 

"I must add that my jaw dropped when I read Ed Endicott's post where he says: "I've never been in the city (drove by on the turnpike at 3am one time on my way to Hartford, CT from Washington Dulles - flight was late, missed my connection, and I had to be at an 8am meeting the next day) but even I've heard of the ferry." -- EE

 

Ed, are you somehow under the impression that I, who was born and grew up in NYC and live here now, have never heard of the Staten Island Ferry? I almost lost my virginity on the Staten Island Ferry. I didn't, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Maybe I should write you a short list of tips on what to shoot in Denver. At least I've been to Denver. Please, please, please stop it with the single subject shot suggestion on what to shoot in NYC. I know 100% more about this city than any of you do! My father was a New York congressman for thirty years. You guys are out of towners. Is the point of my original post really that hard to grasp? 

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As to the original point of the post - location. I don't think New York has lost its appeal as a location, its just that the market for all the large cities is hugely saturated and its tougher to sell a photo where the location is the point of the shot, not what's going on in the shot. Coming up with original shots of the same shots thousands of others have taken is getting harder.

 

You did ask that if you lived in New York City, and had all the time in the world, what would you do. I suppose that is what people are answering, especially if you don't want to do studio work (which would bore me to tears) or pay for models, etc. I agree that to spend money on stock is not smart these days.

 

My philosophy is simple. I don't spend any money i wouldn't spend otherwise and shoot what appeals to me and not over think it.. So if shooting New York the location is what turns your crank, then shoot New York the location. I don't think you would have had any better luck in Rome or Paris as those cities are saturated as well.

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I really love that cab shot.Is that a composite image? As for Kim and Kanye....they are so overcooked aren't they?  

 

L

 

 

Either a digital composite or a studio shot with a backdrop. As a native New Yorker I've never actually been to Ellis Island ;) but, if you were to photograph the Statue of Liberty with morning light on the front, we'd be looking at Staten Island in the background. Ellis Island is a small island that only accessible via boat or bridge from New Jersey. It would cost poor Ed a pretty penny to dig up a vintage checker cab and transport it there.

 

15,214 results for "Statue of Liberty" in the Alamy achive. 9,748 Results for "Yellow Cab and 180 Results for "Checker Cab." I think Ed's money might be better spent elsewhere.

 

 

My god, foto, get thee to the Staten Island Ferry! I've been riding the ferry since I was a kid. It's pure pleasure . . . and it will cost you nothing, a free ride. They are in the middle of building a tourist attraction on Staten Island, and so in the near future tourists may being hanging around on the island for a while. 

 

"I must add that my jaw dropped when I read Ed Endicott's post where he says: "I've never been in the city (drove by on the turnpike at 3am one time on my way to Hartford, CT from Washington Dulles - flight was late, missed my connection, and I had to be at an 8am meeting the next day) but even I've heard of the ferry." -- EE

 

Ed, are you somehow under the impression that I, who was born and grew up in NYC and live here now, have never heard of the Staten Island Ferry? I almost lost my virginity on the Staten Island Ferry. I didn't, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Maybe I should write you a short list of tips on what to shoot in Denver. At least I've been to Denver. Please, please, please stop it with the single subject shot suggestion on what to shoot in NYC. I know 100% more about this city than any of you do! My father was a New York congressman for thirty years. You guys are out of towners. Is the point of my original post really that hard to grasp? 

 

 

I'm not under the impression you've never seen the ferry, I'm under the impression that the ferry hasn't been photographed as the subject of a story or a series of images (and those images are not here on Alamy) - rather the ferry is something caught in passing.  I once knew a gentleman who has passed on (Bill Wiser - he was a novelist) that met his wife on the ferry.  She fell into his lap.  All I see on Alamy is people waving to where the ferry docs and images of the ferry passing, but I don't see the story behind the ferry, the things that happen inside the ferry, or the people that ride it daily.  I'm suggesting that the ferry (and much of the city) has been photographed by outsiders - what's the real New York look like.  There is a community on Facebook - Old Images of New York  http://www.facebook.com/OldNewYorkImages the images are fascinating and many of them tell a story that the images here on Alamy do not (there is also a similar community about Denver which I follow).

 

I would absolutely LOVE to hear your opinion on things to photograph in Denver.  I live here so like you in New York, I don't see the city like a tourist.  I moved here when I was 20 years old from Los Angeles - the only things that stick out to me are the lack of good food, the lack of beach front, and the lack of culture.  Perhaps it is I who is jaded - I've been told we have great food (though I never see Denver mentioned as a destination food location as I do Kansas City, New York, or Los Angeles), and I've been told we are a culturally diverse city (which aside from a few blocks here and there, I simply don't see).  That's the challenge - those that come to Denver who ask advice of where to go, I send downtown or to the mountains to ski.  When looking for images or planning shoots I ask myself if I were a tourist coming to Denver, what would I want to see?  What story does Denver have to tell and what story do tourists want to see in images?

 

That's my point - you're in a great location!  Tell the story behind the location.

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